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
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
Gainsborough Trinity F.C.
Gainsborough Trinity Football Club is a football club based in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, England. They are currently members of the National League North and play at the Northolme, the club was established in 1873 as Trinity Recreationists by Reverend George Langton Hodgkinson, the vicar at the Holy Trinity Church. In 1889 the club were members of the Midland League. The club finished as runners-up the following season and again in 1895–96, in the vote they finished third, ahead of existing members Port Vale and Crewe Alexandra, and were elected into the Second Division. The clubs first season in Division Two of the League saw them finish seventh, in 1901–02 Trinity finished bottom of the division, but were re-elected. In 1904–05 the club finished sixth in Division Two, their best performance during their Football League membership. In 1911–12 Gainsborough finished bottom of the Second Division for a second time, the club returned to the Midland League, finishing third in 1912–13 and second in 1913–14, after which they unsuccessfully applied for readmission to the Football League. When the Football League created a new Third Division North in 1921, Trinity applied for membership, in 1931–32 they beat Crewe again in the first round, before losing 5–2 at home to Watford. In 1937–38 Trinity beat Port Vale in the first round, before losing to fellow non-League club Yeovil & Petters United, another Football League team was beaten the following season, when Trinity knocked out Gateshead in the first round, before losing to Doncaster Rovers. In 1948–49 they reached the round after defeating Witton Albion in the first round. They went on to win a third Midland League title that season and they reached the first round again the following season, before losing 4–1 at home to Chesterfield. The club failed to repeat the feat until 1959–60, when they lost to Doncaster Rovers in a replay, at the end of the 1959–60 season, the Midland League was disbanded. Gainsborough spent a season playing in both the Central Alliance and Division Two of the Yorkshire League, before returning to a reformed Midland League in 1961. Trinity won their fourth Midland League title in 1966–67, also reaching the first round of the FA Cup, the club applied to join the Football League again in 1975 and 1976, but received only a single vote on each occasion. The 1983–84 season saw them reach the first round of the FA Cup for over a decade, when the Northern Premier League added a second division in 1987, Gainsborough were placed in the Premier Division. In 1997–98 FA Cup saw them drawn against local rivals Lincoln City, another first round appearance in 2003–04 ended with a 7–1 defeat at Brentford. At the end of the season a tenth-place finish saw the club become members of the Conference North. FA Cup first round appearances followed in 2006–07 (a 3–1 defeat by Barnet, in 2011–12 the club finished fourth, qualifying for the promotion play-offs