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
Sunderland Association Football Club is a professional football club based in the North East city of Sunderland in the larger metropolitan area of Tyne and Wear. The club is playing in the Premier League, the top league of English football. Since its formation in 1879, the club has won six top-flight First Division titles, a total bettered by five other clubs. The club has won the FA Cup twice and been runners-up twice, as well as winning the FA Community Shield in 1936. Sunderland have also been Football League Cup finalists in 1985 and 2014, Sunderland won their first FA Cup in 1937 with a 3–1 victory over Preston North End, and remained in the top league for 68 successive seasons until they were relegated for the first time in 1958. Sunderlands most notable trophy after the Second World War was their second FA Cup in 1973, the team has won the second tier title five times in that period and the third tier title once. Sunderland play their games at the 49, 000-capacity all-seater Stadium of Light having moved from Roker Park in 1997. The original ground capacity was 42,000 which was increased to 49,000 following expansion in 2000, Sunderland have a long-standing rivalry with their neighbouring club Newcastle United, with whom they have contested the Tyne–Wear derby since 1898. Founded 17 October 1879 as Sunderland and District Teachers A. F. C. by schoolmaster James Allan and they replaced Stoke, who had failed to be re-elected, becoming the first new club to join the league since its inauguration in 1888. During the late 19th century, they were declared the Team of All Talents by William McGregor, Sunderland won the league championship in the 1891–92 season, one season after joining The Football League. The clubs 42 points were five clear of nearest rivals Preston North End, Sunderland successfully defended the title the following season, aided by centre forward Johnny Campbell, who broke the 30-goal mark for the second time in consecutive seasons. In the process, they became the first team to score 100 goals in a season, a feat not matched until 1919–20, Sunderland came close to winning a third successive league championship in the 1893–94 season, finishing second behind Aston Villa. However, they regained the title in the 1894–95 season, ending the five points ahead of Everton. After winning the English League Championship, Sunderland played against Heart of Midlothian, Sunderland won the game 5–3 and were announced Champions of the world. Sunderland came close to winning another title in the 1897–98 season. That season was their last at Newcastle Road, as moved to Roker Park the following season. After coming second in 1900–01, the club won their league title in the 1901–02 season. In 1904, Sunderlands management was embroiled in a payment scandal involving player Andrew McCombie, the club was said to have given the player £100 to help him start his own business, on the understanding that he would repay the money after his benefit game
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
Liverpool Football Club is a professional association football club based in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. They compete in the Premier League, the top tier of English football, the club has won 5 European Cups,3 UEFA Cups,3 UEFA Super Cups,18 League titles,7 FA Cups, a record 8 League Cups, and 15 FA Community Shields. The club was founded in 1892 and joined the Football League the following year, the club has played at Anfield since its formation. The club holds many long-standing rivalries, most notably the North West Derby against Manchester United, the clubs supporters have been involved in two major tragedies. The second was the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, where 96 Liverpool supporters died in a crush against perimeter fencing, the team changed from red shirts and white shorts to an all-red home strip in 1964 which has been used ever since. The clubs anthem is Youll Never Walk Alone, Liverpool F. C. was founded following a dispute between the Everton committee and John Houlding, club president and owner of the land at Anfield. After eight years at the stadium, Everton relocated to Goodison Park in 1892, the team won the Lancashire League in its début season, and joined the Football League Second Division at the start of the 1893–94 season. After finishing in first place the club was promoted to the First Division, Liverpool reached its first FA Cup Final in 1914, losing 1–0 to Burnley. Liverpool suffered its second Cup Final defeat in 1950, playing against Arsenal, the club was relegated to the Second Division in the 1953–54 season. Soon after Liverpool lost 2–1 to non-league Worcester City in the 1958–59 FA Cup, the club was promoted back into the First Division in 1962 and won it in 1964, for the first time in 17 years. In 1965, the club won its first FA Cup, in 1966, the club won the First Division but lost to Borussia Dortmund in the European Cup Winners Cup final. Liverpool won both the League and the UEFA Cup during the 1972–73 season, and the FA Cup again a year later, Shankly retired soon afterwards and was replaced by his assistant, Bob Paisley. In 1976, Paisleys second season as manager, the club won another League, the following season, the club retained the League title and won the European Cup for the first time, but it lost in the 1977 FA Cup Final. Liverpool retained the European Cup in 1978 and regained the First Division title in 1979, Paisley retired in 1983 and was replaced by his assistant, Joe Fagan. Liverpool won the League, League Cup and European Cup in Fagans first season, Liverpool reached the European Cup final again in 1985, against Juventus at the Heysel Stadium. Before kick-off, Liverpool fans breached a fence separated the two groups of supporters, and charged the Juventus fans. The resulting weight of people caused a wall to collapse, killing 39 fans. The incident became known as the Heysel Stadium disaster, the match was played in spite of protests by both managers, and Liverpool lost 1–0 to Juventus
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
Blackburn Rovers F.C.
The club was established in 1875, becoming a founding member of The Football League in 1888. It is one of three clubs to have been both a founder member of the Football League and the Premier League. In 1890, Rovers moved to Ewood Park, Blackburn Rovers have been English champions three times, and have won six FA Cups and one Football League Cup. Blackburn are the only extant club to have won three consecutive FA Cups, the club has spent the majority of its existence in the top flight of English football. In 1992, Rovers gained promotion to the new Premier League a year after being taken over by local entrepreneur Jack Walker, in 1995, Rovers became Premier League champions. In the 1998–99 season, the club was relegated and it was promoted back to the Premier League two years later, in the 2000–01 season. It has qualified for the UEFA Cup four times, once as League Cup winners, twice as the Premier Leagues sixth-placed team, the 2011–12 season marked the clubs 72nd, non-consecutive, year in the top flight. Rovers are currently one of six clubs to have won the Premier League, along with Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City. The clubs motto is Arte et Labore, By Skill and Hard Work in Latin, the club was founded following a meeting, at the Leger Hotel, Blackburn, on 5 November 1875. The meeting was organised by two men, namely John Lewis and Arthur Constantine. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of forming a club to play under Association rules. The first match played by Blackburn Rovers took place in Church, on 28 September 1878, Blackburn Rovers became one of 23 clubs to form the Lancashire Football Association. On 1 November 1879 the club played in the F. A, Cup for the first time, beating the Tyne Association Football Club 5–1. Rovers were eventually put out of the competition in the round after suffering a heavy 6–0 defeat by Nottingham Forest. On 25 March 1882 the club won through to the final of the F. A, Blackburn Rovers was the first provincial team to reach the final, but the result was a 1–0 defeat by the Old Etonians. Cup on 29 March 1884 with a 2–1 victory over the Scottish team Queens Park, the same teams played the F. A. Cup final again the season, with Blackburn Rovers again emerging victorious. Rovers repeated this success yet again the season, winning the final replay 2–0 against West Bromwich Albion
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
Derby County F.C.
Derby County Football Club is a professional association football club based in Derby, Derbyshire, England. Their home matches are played at Pride Park Stadium, where the club moved in 1997. Derby County F. C. was founded in 1884, by William Morley, as an offshoot of Derbyshire County Cricket Club, it has spent all, additionally, the club was a strong force in the interwar years and won the 1945–46 FA Cup. Derby County F. C. was formed in 1884 as an offshoot of Derbyshire County Cricket Club in an attempt to give players and supporters a winter interest as well as secure the cricket club extra revenue. The original intention was to name the club Derbyshire County F. C. The opening day of the first ever season was 8 September 1888. They absorbed another Derby club, Derby Midland F. C. who had members of the Midland League, in 1891. Steve Bloomer, generally considered to be Derby Countys best-ever player, in 1895 the club moved to a new stadium, the Baseball Ground, which became their home for the next 102 years and adopted their traditional colours of black and white. Although Derby were inconsistent in the league, they did finish runners-up to Aston Villa in 1896 as well as achieving a number of third-place finishes. They were a force in the FA Cup, appearing in three finals in six years around the turn of the 20th century, though lost all three, in 1898,1899 and 1903. In 1914 they were relegated again, but instantly won the Second Division to get promoted, after two seasons, they were relegated yet again in 1921. Derby were one of clubs to close down after the outbreak of World War II but restarted in the early 1940s, in part due to the persistence of Jack Nicholas. In 1967, Brian Clough and Peter Taylor took over and led them to their greatest glory, though Derby did not retain their title the following season, they did reach the semi-finals of the European Cup, where they lost to Juventus. Cloughs frequent outspoken comments against footballs establishment eventually led to him falling out with the board of directors at the club, and Clough and Taylor left in October 1973. Such was their impact on the club that,37 years later, though they challenged well in their first season, Derby were soon hit hard by rising debts, falling attendances and dismal performances. However, Derby did manage to avoid going out of business, after relegation to the Third Division in May 1984, the club appointed Arthur Cox as manager. A lack of any investment from Maxwell quickly led to a decline. At this time, local newspaper businessman Lionel Pickering became the majority shareholder of the club, in 1992, Derby County paid £2
Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club /ˌwʊlvərˈhæmptən/ is a professional association football club based in the city of Wolverhampton, West Midlands. The club was known as St. Lukes FC and was founded in 1877. They compete in the Championship, the second highest tier of English football, the following season saw two further managers dismissed as the club then suffered a second relegation, ending up in League One. However, in the season they gained promotion back to the Championship where they currently reside. The clubs current head coach is Paul Lambert, who took charge in November 2016, having become professional, the club were nominated to become one of the twelve founder members of the Football League in 1888, in which they played the first Football League match ever staged. They ended the season in third place, as well as reaching their first FA Cup Final, losing 0–3 to the first Double winners. At the conclusion of the campaign the club relocated for a time when they moved to Molineux. Wolves lifted the FA Cup for the first time in 1893 when they beat Everton 1–0, and added a second triumph in 1908, two years after having dropped into the Second Division. After struggling for years to regain their place in the top division, the club suffered a further relegation in 1923, entering the Third Division. Eight years later Wolves regained their status after winning the Second Division title under Major Frank Buckley. This game had been the last in a Wolves shirt for Stan Cullis, the 1950s were by far the most successful period in the clubs history. Captained by Billy Wright, Wolves finally claimed the championship for the first time in 1953–54. This became the final spur for Gabriel Hanot, the editor of LÉquipe, to propose the creation of the European Cup, although the decade opened with a fourth FA Cup victory and almost the first double of the 20th century, the 1960s saw Wolves begin to decline. Cullis was sacked in September 1964 in a season that ended with relegation and this exile would last only two seasons though, as they were promoted in 1967 as runners-up. During the close season in 1967, Wolves played a season in North America as part of the fledgling United Soccer Association league which imported clubs from Europe. Playing as the Los Angeles Wolves, they won the Western Division, the clubs return to the English top flight heralded another period of relative success under Bill McGarry, with a fourth place in 1971 qualifying them for the newly created UEFA Cup. They lifted silverware though two later, when they won the League Cup for the first time by beating Manchester City 2–1 in the final. The club was saved from liquidation at the last minute when it was purchased by a consortium fronted by former player Derek Dougan
Everton F. C. /ˈɛvərtən/ is a football club in Liverpool, England, that currently competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. The club have competed in the top division for a record 114 seasons and won the League Championship nine times, formed in 1878, Everton were founding members of The Football League in 1888 and won their first League Championship two seasons later. The mid-1980s represented their most recent period of sustained success, with two League Championships, an FA Cup, and the 1985 European Cup Winners Cup, the clubs most recent major trophy was the 1995 FA Cup. The clubs supporters are known as Evertonians, Everton have a rivalry with neighbours Liverpool, and the two sides contest the Merseyside derby. The club have been based at Goodison Park in Walton, Liverpool, since 1892, the clubs home colours are royal blue shirts with white shorts and socks. Everton were founded as St Domingos in 1878 so that people from the parish of St Domingos Methodist Church Everton could play year round — cricket was played in summer. The clubs first game was a 1–0 victory over Everton Church Club, the club was renamed Everton in November 1879 after the local area, as people outside the parish wished to participate. The club was a member of the Football League in 1888–89. Everton won the FA Cup for the first time in 1906, the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 interrupted the football programme while Everton were champions, which was something that would again occur in 1939. It was not until 1927 that Evertons first sustained period of success began, in 1925 the club signed Dixie Dean from Tranmere Rovers. In 1927–28, Dean set the record for league goals in a single season with 60 goals in 39 league games. He helped Everton win their third League Championship that season, however, Everton were relegated to the Second Division two years later during internal turmoil at the club. The club quickly rebounded and was promoted at the first attempt, on return to the top flight in 1931–32, Everton wasted no time in reaffirming their status and won a fourth League Championship at the first opportunity. Everton also won their second FA Cup in 1933 with a 3–0 win against Manchester City in the final, the era ended in 1938–39 with a fifth League Championship. Everton were relegated for the time in 1950–51 and did not earn promotion until 1953–54. The club have been a top-flight presence ever since, Evertons second successful era started when Harry Catterick was made manager in 1961. In 1962–63, his season in charge, Everton won the League Championship. In 1966 the club won the FA Cup with a 3–2 win over Sheffield Wednesday, Everton again reached the final in 1968, but this time were unable to overcome West Bromwich Albion at Wembley
Preston North End F.C.
Preston North End Football Club is a professional association football club located in the Deepdale area of Preston, Lancashire. They play in the Championship, the tier of the English football league system. Prestons unbeaten League and Cup season earned them the nickname The Invincibles, Prestons most recent major trophy success was their FA Cup victory over Huddersfield Town in 1938. Many notable players have played for the club, including Tom Finney, Bill Shankly, Tommy Docherty, Alan Kelly, Sr. and Graham Alexander. On 21 January 1875, the club leased a field opposite Moor Park on the site of the current Deepdale stadium, Preston North End were famously successful during the early years of professional football in England. In 1887, Preston beat Hyde 26–0 in the First Round of the FA Cup, Preston forward Jimmy Ross scored eight goals in the match, going on to score 19 goals in the competition that season, also still a record. The clubs last major win was their FA Cup triumph in 1938. Prestons most famous player, Sir Tom Finney, played for the club between 1946 and 1960, Finney is considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time, and was also a local lad, dubbed the Preston Plumber due to his professional training as a plumber. Finney remains the top goalscorer, with 187 goals from 433 appearances. Following Finneys retirement, Preston were relegated to the Second Division in 1961 and have not played in the top division since, the club did reach the FA Cup final in 1964, but lost to West Ham United. Preston were relegated to the Third Division in the 1969–70 season, Alan Ball, Sr. John McGrath oversaw Prestons promotion back to the Third Division a year later, where they remained when John Beck took over in October 1992. The 38-year-old Beck had only recently been sacked by Cambridge United, the club almost made it two promotions in a row to reach the Premier League, but lost to Bolton Wanderers in the 2001 play-off final. Simon Grayson was appointed by the club on 18 February 2013, of Simon Graysons next 10 games, Preston won 3, drew 4 and lost 3. In Simon Graysons first summer in charge, he permanently signed 4 players, Tom Clarke, a centreback, Chris Humphrey, a winger, Kevin Davies, a Centre forward and Alex Nicholson. He also signed Declan Rudd on a long loan from Norwich City. He allowed 3 players to leave during the summer, those being Luke Foster, Chris Robertson, the 2013–14 season started off well, unbeaten in their first 9 league games. They also beat local rivals Blackpool in the League Cup, before being beaten by Lancashire rivals Burnley in the second round. The 9 league game unbeaten run came to an end on 5 October, against Peterborough United, Preston then went on another 9 game unbeaten league run, winning 5 and drawing 4, including a win against Leyton Orient, only their second league defeat of the season
Stoke City F.C.
Stoke City Football Club is a professional football club based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. Founded as Stoke Ramblers in 1863 the club changed its name to Stoke in 1878 and they are the second oldest professional football club in the world, after Notts County, and are one of the founding members of the Football League. Their first, and to date only major trophy, the League Cup was won in 1972, the clubs highest league finish in the top division is 4th, which was achieved in the 1935–36 and 1946–47 seasons. Stoke played in the FA Cup Final in 2011, finishing runners-up to Manchester City and have reached three FA Cup semi-finals, in 1899 then consecutively in 1971 and 1972. Stoke have competed in European football on three occasions, firstly in 1972–73 then in 1974–75 and most recently in 2011–12, the club has won the Football League Trophy twice, in 1992 and in 2000. Stokes home ground is the bet365 Stadium, a 28,116 all-seater stadium, before the stadium was opened in 1997, the club was based at the Victoria Ground, which had been their home ground since 1878. The clubs nickname is The Potters, named after the industry in Stoke-on-Trent and their traditional home kit is a red and white vertically striped shirt, white shorts. Stokes traditional rivals are Midlands clubs West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers whilst their local rivals are Port Vale with whom they contest the Potteries derby, the clubs first documented match was in October 1868, against an EW May XV at the Victoria Cricket Club ground. Henry Almond, the founder, was also captain. During this period they played at the Victoria Cricket Ground, however, in 1878, the club merged with Stoke Victoria Cricket Club, and became Stoke Football Club. They moved from their previous ground, Sweetings Field, to the Athletic Club ground and it was around this time that the club adopted their traditional red-and-white striped kit. In August 1885, the club turned professional, Stoke were one of the twelve founding members of the Football League when it was introduced in 1888. The club struggled in their first two seasons, 1888–89 and 1889–90, finishing bottom on both occasions, in 1890 Stoke failed to be re-elected and joined the Football Alliance, which they won and thus were re-elected to the Football League. Stoke spent the next 15 seasons in the First Division and reached the FA Cup Semi-Final in the 1898–99 season before being relegated in 1907, Stoke went bankrupt and entered non-league football until 1914, when the First World War meant the Football League was suspended for four years. During the wartime period, Stoke entered the Lancashire Primary and Secondary leagues, when football recommenced in August 1919, Stoke re-joined the league. The club became owners of the Victoria Ground in 1919 and this was followed by the construction of the Butler Street stand, which increased the overall capacity of the ground to 50,000. In 1925, Stoke-on-Trent was granted city status and this led the club to change its name to Stoke City F. C, the 1930s saw the debut of clubs most celebrated player, Stanley Matthews. Matthews, who grew up in Hanley, was an apprentice at the club and made his first appearance in March 1932, against Bury, by end of the decade, Matthews had established himself as an England international and as one of the best footballers of his generation