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
Essex /ˈɛsᵻks/ is a county in England immediately north-east of London. It borders the counties of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent across the estuary of the River Thames to the south, the county town is Chelmsford, which is the only city in the county. Essex occupies the part of the old Kingdom of Essex, before this. As well as areas, the county also includes London Stansted Airport, the new towns of Basildon and Harlow, Lakeside Shopping Centre, the port of Tilbury. Originally recorded in AD527, Essex occupied territory to the north of the River Thames, incorporating all of what later became Middlesex and its territory was later restricted to lands east of the River Lea. In changes before the Norman conquest the East Saxons were subsumed into the Kingdom of England and, following the Norman conquest, Essex became a county. During the medieval period, much of the area was designated a Royal forest, including the county in a period to 1204. Gradually, the subject to forest law diminished, but at various times included the forests of Becontree, Chelmsford, Epping, Hatfield, Ongar. County-wide administration Essex County Council was formed in 1889, however County Boroughs of West Ham, Southend-on-Sea and East Ham formed part of the county but were unitary authorities. 12 boroughs and districts provide more localised services such as rubbish and recycling collections, leisure and planning, parish-level administration – changes A few Essex parishes have been transferred to other counties. Before 1889, small areas were transferred to Hertfordshire near Bishops Stortford, Essex became part of the East of England Government Office Region in 1994 and was statistically counted as part of that region from 1999, having previously been part of the South East England region. Two unitary authorities In 1998 the boroughs of Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock were granted autonomy from the county of Essex after successful requests to become unitary authorities. Essex Police covers the county and the two unitary authorities. The county council chamber and main headquarters is at the County Hall in Chelmsford, before 1938 the council regularly met in London near Moorgate, which with significant parts closer to that point and the dominance of railways had been more convenient than any place in the county. It currently has 75 elected councillors, before 1965, the number of councillors reached over 100. The highest point of the county of Essex is Chrishall Common near the village of Langley, close to the Hertfordshire border, the pattern of settlement in the county is diverse. Epping Forest also acts as a barrier to the further spread of London. Part of the southeast of the county, already containing the population centres of Basildon, Southend and Thurrock, is within the Thames Gateway
Reading Football Club is a professional association football club based in Reading, Berkshire, England. The team play in the Championship, the tier of English football. The club played at Elm Park for 102 years between 1896 and 1998, in 1998 the club moved to the new Madejski Stadium, which is named after the clubs co-chairman Sir John Madejski. Reading then finished eighth in the 2006–07 Premier League, their first ever season as a top flight club, Reading were formed on 25 December 1871, following a public meeting at the Bridge Street Rooms organised by the future club secretary Joseph Edward Sydenham. The early matches were played at Reading Recreation Ground, and later the club held fixtures at Reading Cricket Ground, Coley Park and Caversham Cricket Ground. The switch to professionalism in 1895 resulted in the need for a ground and, to this end. In 1913, Reading had a tour of Italy, prompting the leading sports newspaper Corriere della Sera to write without doubt. Reading were elected to the Football League Third Division South of the Football League in 1920, Reading lost their place in Division Two in May 1931, and remained in Third Division South until the outbreak of World War II. When League football resumed after the war, Reading quickly came to prominence once again, the sides moment of cup glory came in 1988 when they won the Simod Cup, beating a number of top flight sides en route to their Wembley win over Luton Town. Reading were promoted to the Second Division as champions in 1986 under the management of Ian Branfoot, the appointment of Mark McGhee as player-manager, shortly after the takeover by John Madejski, in 1991 saw Reading move forward. They were crowned champions of the new Division Two in 1994, in 1995, Reading had eased past Tranmere Rovers in the play-off semi-finals and looked to have booked their place in the Premier League only to lose against Bolton Wanderers in the final. Quinn and Goodings contracts were not renewed two years later after Reading had slid into the half of Division One. Their successor, Terry Bullivant, lasted less than one season before being sacked in March 1998, the year 1998 also saw Reading move into the new 24,200 all-seater Madejski Stadium, named after Chairman John Madejski. Tommy Burns had taken over from Terry Bullivant but lasted just 18 months before being replaced by Alan Pardew, the club finished third in 2000–01 qualifying for the play-offs, losing 2–3 in the final against Walsall at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Reading returned to Division One for 2002–03 after finishing runners-up in Division Two, the following season, they finished fourth in Division One and qualified for the play-offs, where they lost in the semi-final to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Alan Pardew moved to West Ham United the following October and was replaced by Steve Coppell, Reading won the 2005–06 Championship with a league record 106 points, scoring 99 goals and losing only twice. Reading were promoted to English footballs top division for the first time in their history, the 2006–07 season saw Reading make their first appearance in the top flight of English football. Reading defied pre-season predictions of relegation to finish the season in place with 55 points
West Ham United F.C.
West Ham United Football Club is a professional football club based in Stratford, East London, England. They compete in the Premier League, the top tier of English football, in 2016 the club re-located to the London Stadium. The club was founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks and reformed in 1900 as West Ham United and they moved to the Boleyn Ground in 1904, which remained their home ground for more than a century. The team initially competed in the Southern League and Western League before joining the Football League in 1919 and they were promoted to the top flight in 1923, when they also losing finalists in the first FA Cup Final held at Wembley. In 1940, the won the inaugural Football League War Cup. West Ham have been winners of the FA Cup three times, in 1964,1975, and 1980, and have also been runners-up twice, in 1923, and 2006. The club have reached two major European finals, winning the European Cup Winners Cup in 1965 and finishing runners up in the competition in 1976. West Ham also won the Intertoto Cup in 1999 and they are one of eight clubs never to have fallen below the second tier of English football, spending 59 of 91 league seasons in the top flight, up to and including the 2016–17 season. The clubs highest league position to date came in 1985–86 when they achieved third place in the then First Division, three West Ham players were members of the 1966 World Cup final-winning England team, captain Bobby Moore and goalscorers Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters. The club, Thames Ironworks were the first ever winners of the West Ham Charity Cup in 1895 contested by clubs in the West Ham locality and they turned professional in 1898 upon entering the Southern League Second Division, and were promoted to the First Division at the first attempt. The following year they came second from bottom, but had established themselves as a fully fledged competitive team and they comfortably fended off the challenge of local rivals Fulham in a relegation play-off, 5–1 in late April 1900 and retained their First Division status. In 1899, they acquired their now-traditional home kit combination of claret shirts and sky blue sleeves in a wager involving Aston Villa players, because of the original works team roots and links, they are still known as the Irons or the Hammers amongst fans and the media. West Ham Utd joined the Western League for the 1901 season while continuing to play in the Southern Division 1. In 1907, West Ham were crowned the Western League Division 1B Champions, the reborn club continued to play their games at the Memorial Grounds in Plaistow but moved to a pitch in the Upton Park area in the guise of the Boleyn Ground stadium in 1904. The Cup Final match itself ended 2–0 to Bolton, the team enjoyed mixed success in Division 1 but retained their status for ten years and reached the FA Cup semi-final in 1933. In 1932, the club was relegated to Division Two and long term custodian Syd King was sacked after serving the club in the role of manager for 32 years, following relegation, King had mental health problems. He appeared drunk at a meeting and soon after committed suicide. The club spent most of the next 30 years in division, first under Paynter
Canning Town is a district in the West Ham area of the London Borough of Newham in East London, England. It is situated in the area of the former Royal Docks on the side of the River Thames. It is the location of Rathbone Market, the area is currently undergoing significant regeneration. This £3.7 billion project aims to transform the area physically, socially and economically, prior to the 19th century, the district was largely marshland, and accessible only by boat, or a toll bridge. In 1809, an Act of Parliament was passed for the construction of the Barking Road between the East India Docks and Barking, a five span iron bridge was constructed in 1810 to carry the road across the River Lea at Bow Creek. This bridge was damaged by a collision with a collier in March 1887, the abutments of the old iron bridge have now been utilised for the Jubilee footbridge, linking the area to Leamouth, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, on the western bank of the Lea. The area is thought to be named for the first Viceroy of India, Charles John Canning, the population increased rapidly after the North London Line was built from Stratford to North Woolwich, in 1846. This was built to carry coal and goods from the docks, the opening of the Royal Victoria Dock in 1855 accelerated the development of the area creating employment and a need to house dock workers and their families. New settlements around the developed, starting with Hallsville, Canning Town and Woolwich. The new settlements lacked water supply and had no sewage system, leading to the spread of cholera, the condition of this place and of its neighbour prevents the steadier class of mechanics from residing in it. They go from their work to Stratford or to Plaistow, many select such a dwelling place because they are already debased below the point of enmity to filth, poorer labourers live there, because they cannot afford to go farther, and there become debased. The Dock Company is surely, to a great extent. Not a few of the houses in it are built by poor and ignorant men who have saved a few hundred pounds, the industries around the dock were often unhealthy and dangerous. From the late 19th century, a large African mariner community was established in Canning Town as a result of new shipping links to the Caribbean and West Africa. In 191750 tons of TNT exploded at the Brunner Mond & Co ammunition work in Silvertown, causing the largest explosion in Londons history and damaging more than 70,000 buildings, in the 1930s the County Borough of West Ham commenced slum clearances. New houses, clinics, nurseries and a lido were opened, Silvertown ByPass and Britains first flyover, the Silvertown Way, were built along with other new approach roads to the docks. The slum clearances and the devastation of World War II, destroying 85% of the housing stock, post-war housing schemes followed the urban planning principles of the garden city movement. As demand for housing grew the first high buildings were built in Canning Town in 1961
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west, the Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east, the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain in its centre and south, and includes over 100 smaller islands such as the Isles of Scilly, and the Isle of Wight. England became a state in the 10th century, and since the Age of Discovery. The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the worlds first industrialised nation, Englands terrain mostly comprises low hills and plains, especially in central and southern England. However, there are uplands in the north and in the southwest, the capital is London, which is the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland through another Act of Union to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain, the name England is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means land of the Angles. The Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages, the Angles came from the Angeln peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea. The earliest recorded use of the term, as Engla londe, is in the ninth century translation into Old English of Bedes Ecclesiastical History of the English People. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars, it has been suggested that it derives from the shape of the Angeln peninsula, an angular shape. An alternative name for England is Albion, the name Albion originally referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus, specifically the 4th century BC De Mundo, in it are two very large islands called Britannia, these are Albion and Ierne. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, the word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins. Albion is now applied to England in a poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England, Lloegr, the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximately 780,000 years ago. The oldest proto-human bones discovered in England date from 500,000 years ago, Modern humans are known to have inhabited the area during the Upper Paleolithic period, though permanent settlements were only established within the last 6,000 years
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain. It shares a border with England to the south, and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east. In addition to the mainland, the country is made up of more than 790 islands, including the Northern Isles, the Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI, King of Scots, became King of England and King of Ireland, Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain. The union also created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles, titles, the legal system within Scotland has also remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland, Scotland constitutes a distinct jurisdiction in both public and private law. Glasgow, Scotlands largest city, was one of the worlds leading industrial cities. Other major urban areas are Aberdeen and Dundee, Scottish waters consist of a large sector of the North Atlantic and the North Sea, containing the largest oil reserves in the European Union. This has given Aberdeen, the third-largest city in Scotland, the title of Europes oil capital, following a referendum in 1997, a Scottish Parliament was re-established, in the form of a devolved unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, having authority over many areas of domestic policy. Scotland is represented in the UK Parliament by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs, Scotland is also a member nation of the British–Irish Council, and the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland comes from Scoti, the Latin name for the Gaels, the Late Latin word Scotia was initially used to refer to Ireland. By the 11th century at the latest, Scotia was being used to refer to Scotland north of the River Forth, alongside Albania or Albany, the use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass all of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages. Repeated glaciations, which covered the land mass of modern Scotland. It is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, the groups of settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, and the first villages around 6,000 years ago. The well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period and it contains the remains of an early Bronze Age ruler laid out on white quartz pebbles and birch bark. It was also discovered for the first time that early Bronze Age people placed flowers in their graves, in the winter of 1850, a severe storm hit Scotland, causing widespread damage and over 200 deaths. In the Bay of Skaill, the storm stripped the earth from a large irregular knoll, when the storm cleared, local villagers found the outline of a village, consisting of a number of small houses without roofs. William Watt of Skaill, the laird, began an amateur excavation of the site, but after uncovering four houses
Thames Ironworks F.C.
Thames Ironworks Football Club, the club that later became West Ham United, was founded by Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Co. Ltd owner Arnold Hills and foreman Dave Taylor in 1895, Thames Ironworks took over the tenancy of The Old Castle Swifts Hermit Road ground in Canning Town until their eventual eviction in October 1896. They would briefly play at Browning Road in East Ham, before moving to the Memorial Grounds, the ground was built at Arnold Hills own expense, costing £20,000. Thames Ironworks were West Ham Charity Cup winners in 1895–96 and London League runners up and champions in 1896–97 and they were promoted to Southern League Division One in 1898–99 as Southern League Division Two Champions. They retained their Southern League status the following season by beating Fulham 5–1 in a Test Match, at the end of June 1900, Thames Ironworks F. C. resigned from the Southern League and were officially wound up. On 5 July 1900 they reformed under the new name of West Ham United F. C. there were platers and riveters in the Limited who had chased the big ball in the north country. There were men among them who had learned to give the subtle pass, no thought of professionalism, I may say, was ever contemplated by the founders. They meant to run their club on amateur lines and their first principal was to choose their team from men in the works, – Syd King, Thames Ironworks player and West Ham United manager 1902–1932. Thames Ironworks F. C. was founded by Dave Taylor, Taylor was a foreman at the Thames Iron Works and a local football referee. Fifty would-be players paid half-a-crown for a membership, and Taylor spent the summer arranging the fixtures for Thames Ironworks F. C. Before The Irons played their first game Taylor returned to refereeing, handing over duties to Ted Harsent. The birth of Thames Ironworks F. C. coincided with the demise of Old Castle Swifts, see also Old Castle Swifts F. C. The Ironworks played their first ever fixture against Royal Ordnance reserves on 7 September 1895, One of the players likely to have been involved in this first game was Iron Works employee Charlie Dove, who had played at full-back and centre forward during his time as a school player. Dove would be used as a right-half, but would play every position for The Irons during his time with them. In what would be their first competitive game, Thames Ironworks took on Chatham Town in a qualifying round of the FA Cup on 12 October. Their biggest defeat came on 14 December when they lost in a game away to Millwall Athletic 0–6. Millwall were also an Iron Works side, whose south London company competed with Thames Iron Works for contacts, the rivalry between the two clubs would continue into the present day. The Irons would soon bolster their strength, with the signing of Gainsborough Trinity inside forward George Gresham
Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company
Its main activity was shipbuilding, but it also diversified into civil engineering, marine engines, cranes, electrical engineering and motor cars. The company notably produced iron work for Isambard Kingdom Brunels Royal Albert Bridge over the Tamar in the 1850s, the company originated in 1837 as the Ditchburn and Mare Shipbuilding Company, founded by shipwright Thomas J. Ditchburn and the engineer and naval architect Charles Mare. Originally located at Deptford, after a fire destroyed their yard the company moved to Orchard Place in 1838, there they took over the premises of the defunct shipbuilders William and Benjamin Wallis. The firm did well and within a few years occupied three sites covering an area of over 14 acres, in this period the company was also awarded several contracts by the Admiralty, including HMS Recruit which was one of the first iron warships built. They also constructed the P & O Companys steamers Ariel and Erin, Thomas Ditchburn retired in 1847 and the business was carried on by Charles Mare, under the name of C. J. Mare and Company. He was joined by naval architect James Ash, who began his own shipyard at Cubitt Town. From 1847 the company grew considerably and Mare purchased land on the Canning Town side of the River Lea, in 1853 the company launched the SS Himalaya for the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, briefly the worlds largest passenger ship before becoming a naval troopship. In 1855, the company which by now had more than 3000 employees, was threatened with closure following Mares bankruptcy, the business did not lack orders, having in hand six contracts for gunboats and the contract for Westminster Bridge. The companys chief creditors moved to keep the company in operation, the main figure in saving the company was Peter Rolt, Mares father-in-law and Conservative MP for Greenwich. Rolt was also a merchant and a descendant of the Pett shipbuilding family. He was supported in the venture by another director, Lord Alan Spencer-Churchill. Rolt took control of the assets and in 1857 transferred them to a new limited company, named the Thames Ironworks. It had a capital of £100,000 in 20 shares of each, five of which were held by Rolt who was the main shareholder. The new company was the largest shipbuilder on the Thames, its premises described by the Mechanics Magazine in 1861 as Leviathan Workshops, the main yard had a quay 1,050 feet long. To the south-east the yard occupied the north bank of the Thames east of Bow Creek, today the site is crossed by the A1020 Lower Lea Crossing and the Docklands Light Railway south of Canning Town station. By 1863 the company had the capacity to build 25,000 tons of warships and 10,000 tons of mail steamers simultaneously. One of its first Admiralty contracts was for HMS Warrior, launched in 1860, at the time the worlds largest warship, HMS Minotaur followed in 1863,400 feet long and 10,690 tons displacement. Work on vessels such as Minotaur was performed on the Canning Town side of the Lea, and this is where the Thames Ironworks expanded from less than 10 acres in 1856 to 30 acres by 1891
West Ham is in the London Borough of Newham in London, England. The area has one of the most deprived in the country and as part of the New Deal for Communities programme it forms, with neighbouring Plaistow. The place lends its name to West Ham United F. C. a settlement in the area named Ham is first recorded as Hamme in an Anglo-Saxon charter of 958 and then in the 1086 Domesday Book as Hame. The earliest recorded use of West Ham, as distinct from East Ham, is in 1186 as Westhamma, West Ham formed a large ancient parish of around 4,500 acres in the Becontree hundred of Essex. The parish was divided into three wards, Church-street, Stratford-Langthorne, and Plaistow, with the village of West Ham corresponding to the Church-street ward, the parish also included the hamlet of Upton. In 1840 the parish was included in the Metropolitan Police District, the parish did not form part of the statutory metropolitan area established in 1855 or the County of London established in 1889. Instead, administrative reform was undertaken in the area in much the way as a large provincial town. A local board was formed in 1856 under the Public Health Act 1848, in 1889 the borough was large enough in terms of population to become a county borough and was outside the area of responsibility of Essex County Council. At the time of the 1901 census it was the ninth most populous district in England with a population of 267,308, the former county borough was merged with the adjacent County Borough of East Ham to form the new London Borough of Newham on 1 April 1965. West Ham is located 6.1 mi east of Charing Cross, West Ham station on Manor Road is served by the London Underground Jubilee, Hammersmith and City and District lines, the National Rail c2c services, and from 2010 the Docklands Light Railway. Plaistow and Stratford stations are close by. Post-industrial land and a network of waterways separate West Ham from Bromley-by-Bow, to the north and east the area bleeds into Stratford and Plaistow, with Canning Town to the south. To the west lies Bromley by Bow, the football club West Ham United F. C. is named after the area. Their nicknames, the Irons and the Hammers derive from their association with the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company, West Ham United F. C. have played at the Boleyn Ground in nearby Upton Park since 1904. The West Ham Stadium, a football, greyhound racing and speedway stadium, the street names of housing developed on the site of the former stadium pay homage to the speedway greats associated with West Ham, including Bluey Wilkinson and Jack Young. The West Ham Hammers team were involved in the top flight leagues 1929 to 1939,1946 to 1955 and 1964 to 1971, while football is probably the main focus for the community, there is quite a lot of interest in other sports—with rugby being one of them. Next to West Ham station, on Holland Road, is the home of 3 rugby teams, all playing in Essex RFU leagues, Phantoms RFC, Kings Cross Steelers, lennox Lewis, boxer and last undisputed world heavyweight champion Leon Greene, opera singer and actor. Allan Levene, information technology specialist Glen Murphy, Actor, producer, colin Towns, composer and keyboardist Joseph Lister, antiseptic surgeon
Southern Football League
Together with the Isthmian League and the Northern Premier League it forms levels seven and eight of the English football league system. The structure of the Southern League has changed several times since its formation in 1894, the Premier Division is at step 3 of the National League System, and is a feeder division, mainly to the National League South but also to the National League North. Feeding the Premier Division are two divisions, Division One South & West and Division One Central, which are at step 4 of the NLS. These divisions are in turn fed by various regional leagues, professional football developed more slowly in Southern England than in Northern England. Additionally, a league, the Southern Alliance was founded in 1892, with seven clubs from the region. Nonetheless, another attempt was made to form the Southern League, a competition for both professional and amateur clubs was founded in 1894 under the initiative of Millwall Athletic. Initially only one division was envisaged, but such was the enthusiasm, the sixteen founder members were, 2nd Scots Guards withdrew before the first season started and were replaced by Southampton St Marys. Woolwich Arsenal attempted to add their reserve side to the second division, the Southern League soon became the dominant competition below The Football League in Southern and Central England. By the turn of the century a few of the Southern League sides began to rival the Football League in the FA Cup, Two Southern League clubs, Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur reached the final of the FA Cup around the turn of the century. Tottenham Hotspur are the club from below the 2nd level of English football to have won the FA Cup. The champions of the two leagues during this period met in the annual Charity Shield, in 1907, it accepted Bradford Park Avenue, a northern club, as a member, reflecting its senior position at the time. In 1920, virtually the top division of the Southern League was absorbed by the Football League to become that leagues new Third Division. A year later the Third Division was expanded and regionalised, the Third Division clubs from the previous season became the Third Division South, with the addition of the Third Division North. Of the original members, six – Gillingham, Luton Town, Millwall, Reading. For the next six decades, the Football League and Southern League would exchange a number of clubs as a result of the older leagues re-election process. From 1920 onward, the Southern Leagues status as a league was firmly established. In turn, the APL would eventually succeed in becoming a feeder to the Football League, the league lost more of its top clubs in 2004 when the Conference added two regional divisions below the existing National League, the Conference South and Conference North. The first sponsor of the Southern League was Beazer Homes who sponsored the league from 1987–96, the sponsors after Beazer Homes to the present day are, Dr Martens, British Gas, Zamaretto, Evo-Stik, Calor Gas, and Evo-Stik
Sheppey United F.C.
Sheppey United F. C. is an English football club based on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. The club are members of the Southern Counties East League Premier Division, the club is affiliated to the Kent County Football Association. The club was formed in 1890 by a merger of Sheerness Victoria and Invicta and they were founder members of both the Southern League and the Kent League in 1894. In the Southern League they were placed in Division Two, in which finished as runners-up in the first season. The following season finished second again, and this time won the test match. At the end of the season left the Kent League. The season also saw the club make their debut in the FA Cup when they played Millwall Athletic, in their first season in Division One they finished second bottom of the table, but avoided relegation by defeating RETB Chatham 2–1 in the test matches. In 1898–99 they again finished bottom of the table but retained their Division One status after drawing the test match against Thames Ironworks 1–1. However, the season they finished bottom of the table and lost the test match against Watford 2–1. The club rejoined the Kent League prior to the start of the 1900–01 season, however, after a single season back in Division Two, the club withdrew from the Southern League. In 1905–06 they won the Kent League and repeated the feat the following season, a third title was won in 1927–28, by the reserve team as the first team had rejoined the Southern League for that season and were placed in the English Section. However, after finishing bottom of the league in both 1930–31 and 1931–32 they resigned, and returned to the Kent League in Division One. At the end of the 1938–39 season Sheppey finished bottom of the league and should have been relegated, after the war Sheppey were placed back in the top division of the Kent league for the 1945–46 season. The club then remained in Division one until the 1958–59 season when the Kent league stopped, in 1959 they were founder members of the Aetolian League, which they played in until it merged with the London League to form the Greater London League in 1964. After winning Section B of the Greater London League in 1964–65 and they had a single season in the Metropolitan–London League in 1971–72 after it was formed by a merger of the Metropolitan League and the Greater London, before rejoining the new Kent League in 1972. They won the title in their first season back in the league and were champions again in 1974–75 and 1978–79, as well as winning the League Cup in 1975–76. After finishing second in 1983–84, the club rejoined the Southern League for a third spell, however, after finishing bottom of Division One South in 1989–90 they returned to the Kent League. They finished bottom of the table in their first season back, in March 2001 the club resigned from the Kent League and their record was expunged