Port Vale F.C.
Port Vale Football Club is a professional association football club based in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, England. The team compete in League One, the tier of the English football league system. Port Vale is one of the few English league clubs not to be named after a location, their name being a reference to the valley of ports on the Trent. They were founder members of the Second Division in 1892 and of the Fourth Division in 1958 and they have never played top-flight football, and hold the record for the most seasons in the English Football League without reaching the top tier. After playing at the Athletic Ground in Cobridge and The Old Recreation Ground in Hanley, outside the ground is a statue to Roy Sproson, who played 842 competitive games for the club. John Rudge was manager from 1983 to 1999, under his leadership the club lifted the Football League Trophy in 1993, since his reign the club have declined, slipping into the fourth tier whilst entering twice administration in 2003 and 2012. The decline was arrested when Norman Smurthwaite brought the club out of administration in 2012, the clubs traditional rivals are Stoke City, and games between the two are known as the Potteries derby. However, the story given on the club website is that Port Vale F. C. was formed in 1876, following a meeting at Port Vale House. They played their football at Limekiln Lane, Longport and from 1880 at Westport, the club moved to Burslem in 1884, changing its name to Burslem Port Vale in the process, they played at Moorland Road before moving into the Athletic Ground in 1885. In 1892 the club were members of the Football League Second Division. The club dropped Burslem from their name in 1907 – a dark time of financial difficulties where the club were forced to resign from the league, the club were relegated for the first time during the 1928–29 season, going from the Second Division to the Third Division North. They came up the season as champions. In the 1930–31 season they placed fifth in the tier of English football. After this peak, the club were again relegated in the 1935–36 season. In 1950, Vale Park was completed, the fifth ground. Steele quickly established himself at the club, masterminding the celebrated Iron Curtain defence, three years later, the club were once again relegated, and once again became founder members of a league – this time the Football League Fourth Division. In their first season in new division the club took the title with a club record 110 goals. During the 1960s, the Vale fans witnessed numerous good cup runs, in 1967, Stanley Matthews took over, his reign ended in tears in 1968 as Vale were expelled from the Football League over seemingly illegal payments made to players
Athletic Ground (Cobridge)
The Athletic Ground also known as Cobridge Stadium was a football stadium and greyhound racing stadium, located in Cobridge, Stoke-on-Trent. The ground was home to Port Vale for 27 years, hosting twelve Football League seasons and it was located opposite the church on Waterloo Road, directly on the Hanley and Burslem tram line. The seven-acre site was obtained from the Sandbach Charity on a 21-year lease and it was surrounded by a 430-yard cinder track for athletics and cycling, hence the name. On the north side was a 1,000 capacity grandstand and they left the stadium for The Old Recreation Ground in 1913, and it was demolished in the 1980s after decades of use for amateur football. A Mercedes garage was built near the site. In 1932 a Glasgow company called Albion Greyhounds affiliated to the National Greyhound Racing Society formed Albion Greyhounds Ltd by raising £40,000 capital in £1 shares. A greyhound track and associated facilities were constructed around the pitch, all races were over 480 yards with winners times ranging from 28.65 to 30.29. The all-electric totalisator consisted of 31 issuing machines, general Manager Brigadier-General Frank Logan decided not to have track bookmakers, a decision which would backfire when the government restricted the use of them later in the year. The ban on totes forced the track to close its doors for three months before re-opening with track bookmakers in December 1932, Racing would be held on Friday and Saturday evenings with former Albion Glasgow Racing Manager Major J. S. Woolley taking up the same position at Stoke. After the war the circuit was 428 yards in circumference with long 125 yard straights, the Outside M. S Cable hare system was in operation with distances of 280,500 and 650 yards being used. Unusually the hare control was between the first and second bends but the small box was directly next to the winning line. Attendances during the 1950s in the area had decreased resulting in the closure of the stadium by the Albion Greyhound company, the final meeting was on 1 October 1954. The stadium had remained intact and was used as a sports stadium afterwards and it seemed unlikely that greyhound racing would return following the start of greyhound racing at the nearby Chesterton Greyhound Stadium in 1975. However a company called Aclecourt Ltd re-opened the stadium to independent racing on 24 July 1982, the lease would change hands several times before the council sold the site for housing in 1991 with the last meeting held on 17 September 1991. The redevelopment included the Greyhound Way and Stadium Court
Birmingham Senior Cup
The Birmingham Senior Cup is a football competition for Birmingham County FA club teams, organised by the Birmingham County Football Association. It began in 1876 and is the oldest county cup competition still active, ^ The 1893–94 cup was shared following a 3–3 draw b. ^ In 1954–55 the trophy was shared after a replay c
Staffordshire Senior Cup
The Staffordshire Senior Challenge Cup is a football cup tournament based in the county of Staffordshire in England first competed for in 1877-78. Organised by the Staffordshire Football Association, it is competed for by a mix of clubs from Staffordshire, both professional and amateur clubs may enter. This has left the open for non-league sides to have more success in the cup as it is classed as a bigger achievement for them to win it. In recent years the entries from clubs from neighbouring counties have virtually been phased out. Most County FAs now have their own separate Senior Cup competitions and this has seen Market Drayton Town and Shifnal Town both enter since the turn of the millennium to make up the numbers, despite not being located in Staffordshire. From the 2008–09 season the Staffordshire FA introduced a cut off point whereby teams lower than level 9 in the English football league system can not compete in the Senior Cup. Teams below the level of the North West Counties League Premier Division, stoke City are the most successful sides in the competitions history with 18 wins. Historically the non-league side with the most wins is Stafford Rangers who have won the cup 11 times since the Second World War, the most successful side from outside what is traditionally classed as Staffordshire are Kidderminster Harriers from Worcestershire, who won the competition 4 times in the 1980s
Grimsby Town F.C.
Grimsby Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in the seaside town of Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, England. The team compete in League Two, the tier of league football in England. They were formed in 1878 as Grimsby Pelham and later became Grimsby Town, the club is located at Blundell Park where it has been since 1898. They are the most successful of the three professional clubs in historic Lincolnshire, being the only one to play top-flight football. It is also the club of the three to reach an FA Cup semi-final It has also spent more time in the English games first. In 2008 Buckley took Grimsby to the again, but lost out to MK Dons in the final of the Football League Trophy. Grimsby managed to reach the Conference play-off final in both 2015 and 2016, after losing to Bristol Rovers they defeated Forest Green Rovers to earn promotion back to the Football League. Initial relegation back in 2010 made them the club to compete in all top five divisions of English football. Grimsbys claims to fame are that their 1939 FA Cup semi-final with Wolverhampton Wanderers attendance of 76,962 is still a record at Manchester Uniteds Old Trafford stadium and they were also the first English club to appoint a foreign manager doing so in 1954 with Hungarian manager Elemér Berkessy. The clubs record holder is John McDermott, who made 754 appearances between 1987 and 2007, while their leading scorer is Pat Glover, with 180 goals. Grimsby Town F. C. was formed in 1878 after a meeting held at the Wellington Arms public house in Freeman Street, Grimsby. Several attendees included members of the local Worsley Cricket Club who wanted to form a club to occupy the empty winter evenings after the cricket season had finished. The club was originally called Grimsby Pelham, this being the name of the Earl of Yarborough. In 1880 the club purchased land at Clee Park which was to become their ground until 1889 when they relocated to Abbey Park, before moving again in 1899 to their present home, Blundell Park. The original colours were blue and white hoops, which were changed to chocolate, in 1888 the club first played league football, joining the newly formed Combination. The league soon collapsed and the year the club applied to join the Football League. Instead the club joined the Football Alliance, in 1890 the club became a limited company and in 1892 finally entered the Football League, when it was expanded to two divisions. The first game was a 2–1 victory over Northwich Victoria, however they finished as champions at the first attempt and at the subsequent re-election vote, replaced local rivals Lincoln City in the Football League
Kit (association football)
In association football, kit is the standard equipment and attire worn by players. The sports Laws of the Game specify the minimum kit which a player must use, footballers generally wear identifying numbers on the backs of their shirts. Professional clubs also usually display players surnames or nicknames on their shirts, Football kit has evolved significantly since the early days of the sport when players typically wore thick cotton shirts, knickerbockers and heavy rigid leather boots. The Laws of the Game set out the equipment which must be worn by all players in Law 4. Five separate items are specified, shirt, shorts, socks, footwear, goalkeepers are allowed to wear tracksuit bottoms instead of shorts. While most players wear studded football boots, the Laws do not specify that these are required, shirts must have sleeves, and goalkeepers must wear shirts which are easily distinguishable from all other players and the match officials. Thermal undershorts may be worn, but must be the colour as the shorts themselves. Shin pads must be covered entirely by the stockings, be made of rubber, plastic or a similar material, and provide a reasonable degree of protection. The only other restriction on equipment defined in the Laws of the Game is the requirement that a player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player. In the event of a match between teams who would wear identical or similar colours the away team must change to a different colour. The England national team plays in red shirts even when it is not required. Many professional clubs also have a kit, ostensibly to be used if both their first-choice and away colours are deemed too similar to those of an opponent. Most professional clubs have retained the basic colour scheme for several decades. Teams representing countries in international competition generally wear national colours in common with other sporting teams of the same nation, shirts are normally made of a polyester mesh, which does not trap the sweat and body heat in the same way as a shirt made of a natural fibre. Depending on local rules, there may be restrictions on how large these logos may be or on what logos may be displayed, competitions such as the Premier League may also require players to wear patches on their sleeves depicting the logo of the competition. The captain of team is usually required to wear an elasticated armband around the left sleeve to identify him as the captain to the referee. Most current players wear specialist football boots, which can be either of leather or a synthetic material. Modern boots are cut slightly below the ankles, as opposed to the high-ankled boots used in former times, studs may be either moulded directly to the sole or be detachable, normally by means of a screw thread
English Football League
The English Football League is a league competition featuring professional football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888 as the Football League, the league is the oldest such competition in world football and it was the top-level football league in England from its foundation in the 19th century until 1992, when the top 22 clubs split away to form the Premier League. The league has 72 clubs evenly divided into three divisions, which are known as the Championship, League One and League Two, with 24 clubs in each division, the Football League has been associated with a title sponsor between 1983 and 2016. As this sponsor changed over the years the league too has been known by various names, the English Football League is also the name of the governing body of the league competition, and this body also organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The operations centre of the Football League is in Preston, while its commercial office is in London, the commercial office was formerly based in Lytham St Annes, after its original spell in Preston. The Football League consists of 70 professional association football clubs in England and 2 in Wales and it runs the oldest professional football league competition in the world. It also organises two knockout cup competitions, the Football League Cup and Football League Trophy, the Football League was founded in 1888 by then Aston Villa director William McGregor, originally with 12 member clubs. Steady growth and the addition of more divisions meant that by 1950 the League had 92 clubs, the Football League therefore no longer includes the top 20 clubs who belong to this group, although promotion and relegation between the Football League and the Premier League continues. In total,136 teams have played in the Football League up to 2013, the Football Leagues 72 member clubs are grouped into three divisions, the Football League Championship, Football League One, and Football League Two. Each division has 24 clubs, and in any season a club plays each of the others in the same division twice, once at their home stadium. This makes for a total of 46 games played each season, clubs gain three points for a win, one for a draw, and none for a defeat. At the end of the season, clubs at the top of their division may win promotion to the higher division. At the top end of the competition, three Championship clubs win promotion from the Football League to the Premier League, with the bottom three Premier League clubs taking their places, reserve teams of Football League clubs usually play in the Central League or the Football Combination. Since the 2004–05 season, penalties have existed for clubs entering financial administration during the season and it is also required that a club exiting administration agree a Creditors Voluntary Agreement, and pay in full any other footballing creditors. Failure to do either of these result in a second. The other main situation in which is a club may lose points is by fielding an improperly registered or otherwise ineligible player. If a club is found to have done this, then any points earned from any match that player participated in will be deducted, the EFL organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The EFL Cup was established in 1960 and is open to all EFL and Premier League clubs, the EFL Trophy is for clubs belonging to EFL League One and EFL League Two
Sheffield United F.C.
Sheffield United Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. The team competes in League One, the tier of English football. The football club was formed in 1889 as an offshoot of Sheffield United Cricket Club, the club have played their home games at Bramall Lane since their formation in 1889. Bramall Lane is currently an all-seater ground with a capacity of 32,609, Sheffield United won the original First Division in 1898 and the FA Cup in 1899,1902,1915 and 1925. They were beaten finalists in the FA Cup in 1901 and 1936 and they reached the semi-finals of the League Cup in 2003 and 2015. For most of the history they have played in red. Their closest rivals are Sheffield Wednesday, with whom they contest the Steel City Derby, Sheffield United formed on 22 March 1889 at the Adelphi Hotel, Sheffield by the President of the Cricket Club Sir Charles Clegg. The Wednesday had moved from Bramall Lane to their own ground at Olive Grove, Sir Charles Clegg was incidentally also the president of The Wednesday. Their darkest days came between 1975 and 1981 and they did fall back into the Third Division in 1988, but new manager Dave Bassett masterminded a quick revival which launched the Blades towards one of the most successful eras in their history. Successive promotions in the aftermath of the 1988 relegation saw them return to the First Division in 1990 after a 14-year exile and they survived at this level for four seasons and reached an FA Cup semi-final in the 1992–93 season before being relegated in 1994. Three years later, however, Warnock delivered a Premier League return as the Blades finished runners-up in the rebranded Football League Championship, Neil Warnock resigned as manager after the Blades went down. The Blades did reach the Championship playoff final in 2009 under Kevin Blackwell, in the 2011–12 season, the club finished third in League One, narrowly missing out on automatic promotion to rivals Sheffield Wednesday, and entered the playoffs. With victory over Stevenage in the semi-final, United missed out on a return to the Championship after suffering a penalty shootout defeat to Huddersfield Town. In 2014, the Blades gained the nickname of giant-killers, having reached the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley, losing 5–3 to Hull City. In 2014–15, they reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and semi-finals of the Football League Cup, the club was formed by members of the Sheffield United Cricket Club, itself formed in 1854 and the first English sports club to use United in its name. Sheffield Uniteds predominant nickname is The Blades, a reference to Sheffields status as the producer of cutlery in the United Kingdom. Because of this, the nickname would also be used in reference to rivals Sheffield Wednesday, another nickname used was The Cutlers. In 1907, Wednesday came to be referred to as The Owls, in reference to their new ground in Owlerton, within Sheffield fans of the club are also sometimes referred to as Unitedites
History of Port Vale F.C.
The history of Port Vale F. C. an English association football club based in Stoke-on-Trent, began with the formation of the club, which was probably in 1879. In 1884, the moved to the town of Burslem. The club joined the Football League Second Division upon its formation in 1892, in 1907, the clubs name was reverted to Port Vale Football Club when the club moved to The Old Recreation Ground in Hanley. The club then moved in 1950 to Vale Park, a stadium located in Burslem with a capacity of over 20,000. The club have twice come close to the highest tier of English football, in 1930–31 they finished fifth, the precise details of the clubs founding are not known. A Port Vale cricket club were in existence in 1874, which may or may not have had any relation to the football club. The most-widely accepted story is that Port Vale were formed during an 1876 meeting at Port Vale House, evidence in support of this came from Vale chairman Robert Audley writing that the club was an organisation of twenty-eight years standing in 1907. Also John Hood and an E. Hood were recorded as having scored goals for Porthill Victoria on 4 January 1879, which seems to have disbanded at the end of that season. The 1879 theory suggests that Porthill Victoria players broke away to found Port Vale in 1879, before 1926, the occasional mentions in print of the clubs founding had given the year of formation as 1879, and most of the original founders would not have reached adulthood by 1876. To add to the confusion, local newspaper The Sentinel also printed 1879 as the founding date on 10 March 1928 and 24 August 1931. Another theory on the origins is that Port Vale was formed from a merger of Wolstanton, Middleport and Burslem St. Pauls. A further theory is that Port Vale were originally a team, mainly based on the existence of bricks with Burslem Port Vale. However, these appear to be indicative of their place of manufacture and often have a company name upon them. The unique name of Port Vale has attracted interest and debate, the players lived near such places as, Port Vale Wharf, Port Vale Street, Port Vale Corn Mills and Port Vale House. Also, with nearby Porthill Victoria having played upon a hill, another theory was that the name came from a shortening of Longport Vale. The club played their football at Limekiln Lane, Longport and from 1880 at Westport, the 1851 Ordnance Survey Map of Longport clearly shows the Port Vale Wharf and the adjacent Longport Lime Kilns, including the eponymous lane. Under its founder Enoch Hood, the club rose rapidly above the dozen or so other local Burslem clubs to become the strongest club in the town within a few years. Already in 1880 the club had a Reserve side and managed to attract the best players from their local rivals and they began to charge admission to their games and joined the Staffordshire Football Association on 6 September 1882
Northwich Victoria F.C.
Northwich Victoria Football Club is an English football club based in Northwich, Cheshire, playing their home games at Wincham Park, Northwich, the home of Witton Albion. The new club was a member of several leagues including the Football League Second Division. They played at the same Drill Field ground for over 125 years, at the time Drill Field was believed to be the oldest ground in the world on which football had been continuously played. The generally accepted year for the original Northwich Victoria Football Clubs founding is 1874 by Charles James Hughes and James Heyworth, however, according to club historian Ken Edwards book A Team for All Seasons, the organisation itself could have been in existence earlier in the 1870s. Northwich played their first challenge matches in the 1874 season and originally accepted both association football and rugby rules. This was shown in 1876 when they contested a match under Rugby rules at Farnworth and Appleton F. C. and then at home under association rules. The first time the club entered a competition was the 1877 Welsh Cup. Its best achievement in the competition was in the 1881–82 and 1888–89 seasons, when they reached the final in 1882, they were the first English club to do so. In 1880, the club entered the competition for the new Cheshire Football Association Challenge Cup. They went on to win the cup for the five seasons, defeating in the finals, Birkenhead, Northwich Novelty, Crewe Alexandra. In 1890, the became a founding member of the second incarnation of The Combination. In their second season in the league they finished as runners-up, a great leap forward was taken in 1892, when Northwich became one of the founding members of the English Second Division, which saw the team turn professional. In the leagues inaugural season, Northwich finished 7th, the highest finish in the clubs history and it was during the latter stages of this season that Northwich acquired the services of Billy Meredith, the Welsh International, who is widely regarded as the first football superstar. It was said by many that Finnerhan made Meredith, another notable result was holding Woolwich Arsenal to a 2–2 draw at the Drill Field. However, as a result of their position at the bottom of the league. Up to the middle of decade, Northwich played in red. However a major change in the clubs livery occurred when they adopted the colours they wear today, green. Lured by the chance of increased revenues, the joined the Manchester League in the 1900–01 season
Captain (association football)
The team captain is usually identified by the wearing of an armband. The only official responsibility of a captain specified by the Laws of the Game is to participate in the toss prior to kick-off. Contrary to what is said, captains have no special authority under the Laws to challenge a decision by the referee. However, referees may talk to the captain of a side about the general behaviour when necessary. At an award-giving ceremony after a fixture like a cup competition final, any trophy won by a team will be received by the captain who will also be the first one to hoist it. The captain also generally leads the teams out of the room at the start of the match. The captain generally provides a point for the team, if morale is low. Captains may join the manager in deciding the first team for a certain game, in youth or recreational football, the captain often takes on duties, that would, at a higher level, be delegated to the manager. A club captain is usually appointed for a season, if he is unavailable or not selected for a particular game, then the club vice-captain will be appointed to perform a similar role. The match captain is the first player to lift a trophy should the team win one, a good example of this was in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final when match captain Peter Schmeichel lifted the trophy for Manchester United as club captain Roy Keane was suspended. In the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final, match captain Frank Lampard jointly lifted the trophy for Chelsea with club captain John Terry, a club may appoint two distinct roles, a club captain to represent the players in a public relations role, and correspondent on the pitch. After Neville retired in 2011, regular starter Nemanja Vidić was named as club captain, são Paulos Rogério Ceni is the player who has worn the captains armband the most times. A vice-captain is a player that is expected to captain the side when the captain is not included in the starting eleven, or if, during a game. Examples include Manuel Neuer succeeding Philipp Lahm at Bayern Munich, Marcelo attaining from Sergio Ramos at Real Madrid C. F, gary Cahill being the understudy of John Terry at Chelsea FC and Lionel Messi taking over from Andrés Iniesta at FC Barcelona. Similarly, some clubs also name a 3rd captain to take the role of captain when both the captain and vice-captain are unavailable, during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Germany had three captains. Michael Ballack had skippered the team since 2004, including the successful qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup. Lahm ended up becoming the permanent captain of Germany, as Ballack was never called up for the national team
William Edwin Beats was an England international footballer. A centre-forward, he scored 150 goals in 403 league games in 16 years from 1891 to 1907 and he began his career with Burslem Port Vale in 1891, and played in the inaugural season of the Second Division. He was sold on to Wolverhampton Wanderers for £80 in June 1895, whilst with the club he won two England caps. He moved on to Bristol Rovers in 1903, and helped the club to the Southern League title in 1904–05 and he made a return to Port Vale in August 1906, before he joined Reading the following year. Beats probably joined Burslem Port Vale from Port Hill Victoria in the autumn of 1891 and he made his debut in a Midland League match on 10 October 1891, in a 4–1 defeat at Burton Wanderers. A regular in the team from March 1892, he scored four goals in 23 appearances in the 1892–93 season and he scored one goal in a defeat to Lincoln City at the Athletic Ground, and hit three goals over the two games against Northwich Victoria. He started the 1893–94 season with a brace against Manchester City and he also hit a hat-trick past Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Staffordshire Senior Cup. He never missed a game all season long, and finished the campaign as the clubs top-scorer with 20 goals in 32 games, Beats scored seven goals in 31 appearances in the 1894–95 season, as Vale struggled, finishing above only Crewe Alexandra in the league. In June 1895, he was sold to Wolverhampton Wanderers for a £80 transfer fee and he played at Crystal Palace in the 1896 FA Cup Final, which ended in a 2–1 defeat to The Wednesday following a brace from Fred Spiksley. Beats finished as the clubs top-scorer in the 1896–97 season with ten goals and he scored 12 goals in 1897–98 to finish as the clubs top-scorer for a second time, as Wolves posted a third-place finish. He helped the club to eighth in 1898–99, fourth in 1899–1900, 13th in 1900–01, 14th in 1901–02. In eight seasons at Molineux, he scored 67 goals in 199 top-flight matches and he moved on to Bristol Rovers in 1903. The Pirates finished third in the Southern League in 1903–04, before winning the championship by a five-point margin in 1904–05 and they finished a disappointing eighth in 1905–06. Beats scored 44 goals in 94 games in his three years at Eastville, in August 1906, Beats returned to Port Vale, and scored 15 goals in 38 games in the 1906–07 season to become top-scorer once more. However he was released at the end of the season as the club were liquidated in the midst of a financial crisis and he then joined Reading in the Southern League. He became a trainer for the Royals in 1911, before becoming the licensee of the Truro pub in Reading during World War I and he returned to Reading as a coach in 1924, before leaving his post at Elm Park to again tend to his pub. Beats won two caps for England whilst a player at Wolves and his first came on 18 March 1901, in a 6–0 thrashing of Wales as part of the 1901 British Home Championship. His second cap came on 3 May 1902, in a 2–2 draw with Scotland
Birmingham City F.C.
Birmingham City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Birmingham, England. Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, they became Small Heath in 1888, then Birmingham in 1905, the team compete in the EFL Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. As Small Heath, they played in the Football Alliance before becoming founder members, the most successful period in their history was in the 1950s and early 1960s. They won the competition for the second time in 2011. St Andrews has been their ground since 1906. They have a long-standing and fierce rivalry with Aston Villa, their nearest neighbours, the clubs nickname is Blues, due to the colour of their kit, and their fans are known as Bluenoses. Birmingham City were founded as Small Heath Alliance in 1875, the club turned professional in 1885, and three years later became the first football club to become a limited company with a board of directors, under the name of Small Heath F. C. Ltd. From the 1889–90 season they played in the Football Alliance, which ran alongside the Football League, in 1892, Small Heath, along with the other Alliance teams, were invited to join the newly formed Football League Second Division. The club adopted the name Birmingham Football Club in 1905, and moved into their new home, St Andrews Ground, matters on the field failed to live up to their surroundings. Birmingham were relegated in 1908, obliged to apply for two years later, and remained in the Second Division until after the First World War. Frank Womacks captaincy and the creativity of Scottish international playmaker Johnny Crosbie contributed much to Birmingham winning their second Division Two title in 1920–21, Womack went on to make 515 appearances, a club record for an outfielder, over a twenty-year career. 1920 also saw the debut of the 19-year-old Joe Bradford, who went on to score a club record 267 goals in 445 games, and won 12 caps for England. In 1931, manager Leslie Knighton led the club to their first FA Cup Final and they were finally relegated in 1939, the last full season before the Football League was abandoned for the duration of the Second World War. The name Birmingham City F. C. was adopted in 1943, under Harry Storer, appointed manager in 1945, the club won the Football League South wartime league and reached the semifinal of the first post-war FA Cup. Two years later won their third Second Division title, conceding only 24 goals in the 42-game season. Storers successor Bob Brocklebank, though unable to stave off relegation in 1950, when Arthur Turner took over as manager in November 1954, he made them play closer to their potential, and a 5–1 win on the last day of the 1954–55 season confirmed them as champions. In their first season back in the First Division, Birmingham achieved their highest league finish of sixth place. They also reached the FA Cup final, losing 3–1 to Manchester City in the game notable for Citys goalkeeper Bert Trautmann playing the last 20 minutes with a bone in his neck
Walsall Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Walsall, West Midlands, England. The team play in League One, the tier in the English football league system. The club was founded in 1888 as Walsall Town Swifts, an amalgamation of Walsall Town F. C. and their first match at Wembley Stadium was the 2015 Football League Trophy Final, which they lost to Bristol City. Walsall moved into their Bescot Stadium in 1990, having played at nearby Fellows Park for almost a century. The ground is known as Bankss Stadium for sponsorship purposes, the team play in a red and white kit and their club crest features a swift. The clubs nickname, The Saddlers, reflects Walsalls status as a centre for saddle manufacture. Walsall were formed as Walsall Town Swifts in 1888 when Walsall Town F. C. Walsall Town had been founded in 1877 and Walsall Swifts in 1879. Both clubs had played at the Chuckery, and the new club remained at the same ground, Walsall Town Swifts first match was a draw against Aston Villa. Two players from this early era received international caps, in 1882, Alf Jones won the first two of his three caps while with Walsall Swifts, and in 1889 Albert Aldridge received the second of his two caps while playing for Walsall Town Swifts. The club were first admitted to the Football League in 1892 and they moved to the West Bromwich Road ground in 1893. After finishing 14th out of 16 teams in 1894–95 the club failed to be re-elected to the Football League, at the start of the 1895 season the club moved to Hilary Street, later renamed Fellows Park. In 1896 they changed their name to Walsall F. C. a year later, they returned to the Second Division, three teams having failed re-election in 1896. The team finished in place in 1898–99, but once again failed re-election two years later, dropping back into the Midland League. A move to the Birmingham League followed in 1903, and in 1910, with the expansion of the Football League after World War I, Walsall became a founding member of the Third Division North in 1921. Walsalls highest home attendance was set in 1930, when played in of front of 74,600 fans against Aston Villa in the FA Cup Fourth Round. Although a home match for Walsall, the tie was played at their opponents Villa Park ground, in 1933, Walsall won 2–0 in the FA Cup against Arsenal at Fellows Park. Arsenal went on to win the First Division that season, in 1958, following a reorganisation of the Football League, Walsall became founder members of the Fourth Division. Players such as Bill Chopper Guttridge, Tony Richards and Colin Taylor were intrinsically important to the success of the side
Crewe Alexandra F.C.
Crewe Alexandra Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Crewe, Cheshire, England. Nicknamed The Railwaymen because of the links with the rail industry. The team compete in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. The club was formed in 1877 and named after Princess Alexandra and it was a founding member of the Football League Second Division in 1892, but only lasted four years in the League. Since re-entering the competition in 1921, they have remained in the lower divisions. Crewes only major honour is the Football League Trophy which they won in 2013 and they have also won several minor trophies, including the Cheshire Premier Cup and the Cheshire Senior Cup. Gradi is known for focusing on development and promoting attractive. Notable players brought through the Crewe youth system include former internationals Rob Jones, Neil Lennon, Danny Murphy, Seth Johnson, other notable players to have made their name at Crewe in that time include Geoff Thomas, David Platt and Robbie Savage. Crewe Alexandra were formed in 1877 as Crewe Football Club, separate from the successful Crewe Cricket Club and they were based at the Alexandra Recreation Ground and played their first match against North Staffs that same year, a match that ended 1–1. In 1883, Crewe Alexandras first match in the FA Cup was against Scottish club Queens Park of Glasgow, in 1888, the club reached the FA Cup semi-finals, defeating Derby County and Middlesbrough en route, before going out to Preston North End. Crewe were founding members of the Football League Second Division in 1892, having previously been members of the Football Alliance, in 1906 the current Gresty Road ground was rebuilt to the west of the original site. Crewe rejoined the Football League in 1921, during which season a crowd of 15,102 packed into Gresty Road to watch Crewe entertain local rivals Stoke City. Crewe earned their first honours by winning the Welsh Cup in 1936 and 1937, in 1936, Bert Swindells scored his 100th League goal for Crewe Alexandra. He went on to score 126 goals for the club, a record still stands today. 1955 saw Crewe embark on a sequence where they did not win away from home for 56 matches, the dismal run ended with a 1–0 win at Southport. One of Crewes most famous took place against Spurs in the FA Cup in 1960. A new record attendance of 20,000 saw lowly Crewe hold Spurs to a 2–2 draw on 30 January, on 3 February, Tottenham convincingly won the replay 13–2, which remains a record defeat for the club. Llewellyn and Nev Coleman scored for Crewe,1961 saw Crewes most notable win in their history, Jimmy McGuigans side defeated Chelsea 2–1 in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge
Bootle Football Club is an English football club based in Bootle, Merseyside. The club are members of the North West Counties League Premier Division, the original Bootle F. C. were formed in 1879 and played their first fixture in 1880, adjacent to Bootle Cricket Club, on Hawthorne Road. The club were Everton FC’s main rivals and competed with Everton for the place in the newly formed Football League. However Bootle lost out and in 1889–90 Bootle became founder members of the Football Alliance and that season was the most successful as the club finished league runners-up and reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, losing to Blackburn Rovers. When the Alliance merged with the Football League in 1892, Bootle became founder members of the new Second Division, however, despite finishing in a respectable 8th place, the club dropped out after one season due to ongoing financial problems. Ironically a new club, Liverpool, took Bootle’s place in the second division. For years now it had been an exporter of its players to other clubs. The promise of money from local businesses brought great optimism. Players mostly came from the league and surrounding clubs, however one player that Bootle overlooked was a tall, blonde, ex-prisoner-of-war German. They kicked off their new campaign in 1948 against Barnoldswick and district, the league was won at the first attempt. However, Bootle struggled in the top-flight and after several seasons and also a change in Council priorities they withdrew from the league. In 1953, the current club was formed as Langton with Frank Doran Senior, the club played in the various local Bootle leagues. After a very successful spell in the Liverpool County Combination – winning the leagues and this was accepted in 1973 and a year later ‘the Bucks’ joined the Lancashire Combination. After winning the Combination in both 1976 and 1977, Bootle then joined the Second Division of the Cheshire County League, which was won in the first season, and were promoted to the First Division. In 1982 the Cheshire County League was one of the leagues merged to form the North West Counties League. The club spent most of their time in the First Division until 2000 when the club was relegated to the Second Division. However, despite finishing 6th in 2002, the club dropped into the Liverpool County Combination as Bucks Park on Copy Lane closed its doors for the final time. In 2006 the club, with a new ground on Vesty Road, in 2009 Bootle won promotion to the NWCFL Premier Division and also won the Championship
The FA Cup, known officially as The Football Association Challenge Cup, is an annual knockout association football competition in mens domestic English football. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest association football competition in the world and it is organised by and named after The Football Association. For sponsorship reasons, from 2015 through to 2018 it is known as The Emirates FA Cup. A concurrent womens tournament is held, the FA Womens Cup. A record 763 clubs competed in 2011–12, the tournament consists of 12 randomly drawn rounds followed by the semi-finals and the final. The last entrants are the Premier League and Championship clubs, into the draw for the Third Round Proper, in the modern era, only one non-league team has ever reached the quarter finals, and teams below Level 2 have never reached the final. As a result, as well as who wins, significant focus is given to those minnows who progress furthest, especially if they achieve an unlikely giant-killing victory. Winners receive the FA Cup trophy, of which there have two designs and five actual cups, the latest is a 2014 replica of the second design. Winners also qualify for European football and a place in the FA Community Shield match, in 1863, the newly founded Football Association published the Laws of the Game of Association Football, unifying the various different rules in use before then. On 20 July 1871, in the offices of The Sportsman newspaper, the inaugural FA Cup tournament kicked off in November 1871. After thirteen games in all, Wanderers were crowned the winners in the final, Wanderers retained the trophy the following year. The modern cup was beginning to be established by the 1888–89 season, following the 1914–15 edition, the competition was suspended due to the First World War, and did not resume until 1919–20. The 1922–23 competition saw the first final to be played in the newly opened Wembley Stadium, due to the outbreak of World War II, the competition was not played between the 1938–39 and 1945–46 editions. Having previously featured replays, the modern day practice of ensuring the semi-final and final matches finish on the day, was introduced from 2000 onwards. Redevelopment of Wembley saw the final played outside of England for the first time, the final returned to Wembley in 2007, followed by the semi-finals from 2008. The competition is open to any club down to Level 10 of the English football league system which meets the eligibility criteria, all clubs in the top four levels are automatically eligible. Clubs in the six levels are also eligible provided they have played in either the FA Cup. Newly formed clubs, such as F. C. United of Manchester in 2005–06 and also 2006–07, all clubs entering the competition must also have a suitable stadium
Aston Villa F.C.
Aston Villa Football Club is a professional association football club based in Aston, Birmingham, that plays in the Championship, the second level of English football. Founded in 1874, they have played at their current home ground, Villa Park, Aston Villa were one of the founder members of the Football League in 1888. They were also one of the members of the Premier League in 1992. Aston Villa are one of only five English clubs to be crowned champions of Europe and they have also won the First Division Championship seven times, the FA Cup seven times, the Football League Cup five times, and the UEFA Super Cup once. They have a local rivalry with Birmingham City and the Second City derby between the sides has been played since 1879. The clubs traditional kit colours are claret shirts with sky blue sleeves, white shorts and their traditional badge is of a rampant lion, which was introduced by the clubs Scottish chairman William McGregor in honour of the Royal Standard of Scotland. The club is owned by Recon Group Limited, a company chaired by Chinese businessman Tony Xia. Aston Villa Football Club were formed in March 1874, by members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel in Handsworth which is now part of Birmingham, the four founders of Aston Villa were Jack Hughes, Frederick Matthews, Walter Price and William Scattergood. Aston Villas first match was against the local Aston Brook St Marys Rugby team, as a condition of the match, the Villa side had to agree to play the first half under Rugby rules and the second half under Association rules. The club won their first FA Cup in 1887 with captain Archie Hunter becoming one of the games first household names. Aston Villa were one of the teams that competed in the inaugural Football League in 1888 with one of the clubs directors. Aston Villa emerged as the most successful English club of the Victorian era, winning no fewer than five League titles, in 1897, the year Villa won The Double, they moved into their present home, the Aston Lower Grounds. Supporters coined the name Villa Park, no official declaration listed the ground as Villa Park. This was largely the result of a defensive record, they conceded 110 goals in 42 games,7 of them coming from Arsenals Ted Drake in an infamous 1–7 defeat at Villa Park. Like all English clubs, Villa lost seven seasons to the Second World War, the team was rebuilt under the guidance of former player Alex Massie for the remainder of the 1940s. The team struggled in the league though and were relegated two seasons later, due in part to complacency. However, under the stewardship of manager Joe Mercer Villa returned to the top-flight in 1960 as Second Division Champions, the following season Aston Villa became the first team to win the Football League Cup. Mercers forced retirement from the club in 1964 signalled a period of deep turmoil, the most successful club in England was struggling to keep pace with changes in the modern game, with Villa being relegated for the third time, under manager Dick Taylor in 1967
Manchester City F.C.
Manchester City Football Club is a football club in Manchester, England. Founded in 1880 as St. Marks, they became Ardwick Association Football Club in 1887, the club moved to the City of Manchester Stadium in 2003, having played at Maine Road since 1923. After losing the 1981 FA Cup Final, the club went through a period of decline, having regained their Premier League status in the early 2000s, the club was purchased in 2008 by Abu Dhabi United Group and has become one of the wealthiest in the world. Since 2011 the club have won five major honours, including the Premier League in 2012 and 2014, by 2014–15, Manchester City had the sixth-highest revenue in the footballing world with an annual revenue of €463.5 million. In 2016, Forbes magazine estimated they were the sixth most valuable football club. City gained their first honours by winning the Second Division in 1899, with it promotion to the highest level in English football. A fire at Hyde Road destroyed the main stand in 1920, in the 1930s, Manchester City reached two consecutive FA Cup finals, losing to Everton in 1933, before claiming the Cup by beating Portsmouth in 1934. The club won the First Division title for the first time in 1937, after relegation to the Second Division in 1963, the future looked bleak with a record low home attendance of 8,015 against Swindon Town in January 1965. In the summer of 1965, the management team of Joe Mercer, in the first season under Mercer, City won the Second Division title and made important signings in Mike Summerbee and Colin Bell. Further trophies followed, City won the FA Cup in 1969, before achieving European success by winning the European Cup Winners Cup in 1970, beating Górnik Zabrze 2–1 in Vienna. City also won the League Cup that season, becoming the second English team to win a European trophy, the club continued to challenge for honours throughout the 1970s, finishing one point behind the league champions on two occasions and reaching the final of the 1974 League Cup. Former United player Denis Law scored with a backheel to give City a 1–0 win at Old Trafford, the final trophy of the clubs most successful period was won in 1976, when Newcastle United were beaten 2–1 in the League Cup final. A long period of decline followed the success of the 1960s and 1970s, Malcolm Allison rejoined the club to become manager for the second time in 1979, but squandered large sums of money on unsuccessful signings, such as Steve Daley. A succession of managers then followed – seven in the 1980s alone, under John Bond, City reached the 1981 FA Cup final but lost in a replay to Tottenham Hotspur. The club were relegated from the top flight in the 1980s. However, this was only a respite, and following Reids departure Manchester Citys fortunes continued to fade. City were co-founders of the Premier League upon its creation in 1992, after two seasons in Division One, City fell to the lowest point in their history, becoming the second ever European trophy winners to be relegated to their countrys third league tier, after 1. After relegation, the club underwent off-the-field upheaval, with new chairman David Bernstein introducing greater fiscal discipline, under manager Joe Royle, City were promoted at the first attempt, achieved in dramatic fashion in a play-off against Gillingham
Lincoln City F.C.
Lincoln City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Lincoln, Lincolnshire. The club participates in the National League, the tier of English football. The club plays at the 10, 312-capacity Sincil Bank, and are nicknamed the Imps after the legend of the Lincoln Imp and they have also been known as the Red Imps. Traditionally they play in red and white striped shirts with shorts and red. Their most recent championship win was the Football Conference, in the 1987–88 season. This season saw the set a all-time record attendance for a Conference match, attracting 9,432 spectators in a 2–0 win against Wycombe Wanderers, on 2 May 1988. The game also decided the championship, as beforehand Lincoln had not occupied the top spot at any point in the season, the clubs highest-ever position is fifth in the Second Division in 1901–02. They have not been higher than the third tier since 1960–61 and their best performance in the League Cup came in 1967–68, when they reached the fourth round before losing 0–3 at home to Derby County in a replay. Lincoln have reached the play-offs of the Third Division/League Two in five seasons, from 2002–03 to 2006–07, losing in the final twice. This failure to succeed in five consecutive play-off competitions is also a record, having formed officially as an amateur association in 1884 after the disbanding of Lincoln Rovers, football in the city of Lincoln had been prominent since the 1860s. George Hallam set two records for the club that day and he scored the first ever goal for the club, and also the first ever hat-trick. Their first competitive game at home ended in an emphatic manner, beating Boston Excelsior 11–0. It was at time, before the club gained entry into the Football League and professional status. They won it for the first time in the 1886–87 season with a 2–0 replay victory over neighbours Grimsby Town F. C. after the match had finished 2–2. Lincoln soon helped to form what was then the Second Division in 1892–93 season and their first game in the Football League was a 4–2 away defeat to Sheffield United on 3 September 1892. Their first home game was also against Sheffield United, this time, however, the first game at Sincil Bank in 1895, after moving from the John OGaunts Ground due to Dawbers death, was a 0–0 friendly draw with local rivals, Gainsborough Trinity. The first competitive fixture at the ground was against Arsenal, the game ended 1–1, in January 1907 The Imps knocked Chelsea out of the FA Cup after a replay. Managed by David Calderhead, two goals salvaged a home draw in the first leg