Stoke City F.C.
Stoke City Football Club is an English professional football club based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. Founded as Stoke Ramblers in 1863 the club changed its name to Stoke in 1878 and to Stoke City in 1925 after Stoke-on-Trent was granted city status, they are the second-oldest professional football club in the world, after Notts County, were a founding member of the Football League in 1888. The team competes in the second tier of English football, their first, to date only, major trophy, the League Cup was won in 1972, when the team beat Chelsea 2–1. The club's highest league finish in the top division is fourth, 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. Stoke have competed in European football on three occasions, firstly in 1972–73 in 1974–75 and most in 2011–12; the club has won the Football League Trophy twice, in 1992 and in 2000. Stoke's home ground is Bet365 Stadium.
Before the stadium was opened in 1997, the club was based at the Victoria Ground, their home ground since 1878. The club's nickname is'The Potters', named after the pottery industry in Stoke-on-Trent and their traditional home kit is a red and white vertically striped shirt, white shorts and stockings. Stoke's 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. Stoke City F. C. was formed in 1863 under the name Stoke Ramblers, when pupils of Charterhouse School formed a football club while they were apprentices at the North Staffordshire Railway works in Stoke-upon-Trent. The club's first documented match was in October 1868, against an EW May XV at the Victoria Cricket Club ground. Henry Almond, the club's founder, was captain, scored the club's first goal. During this period they played at the Victoria Cricket Ground. In 1878, the club merged with Stoke Victoria Cricket Club, became Stoke Football Club.
They moved from their previous ground, Sweetings Field, to the Athletic Club ground, which soon became known as the Victoria Ground. It was around this time. 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 Secondary leagues; when football recommenced in August 1919, Stoke re-joined the league. The club became owners of the Victoria Ground in 1919.
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 Stanley Matthews. Matthews, who grew up in Hanley, was an apprentice at the club and made his first appearance in March 1932, against Bury, at the age of 17. By end of the decade, Matthews had established himself as an England international and as one of the best footballers of his generation. Stoke achieved promotion from the Second Division in 1932–33 – as champions – however Matthews only featured in fifteen games in this season, he did however score his first goal for the club in a 3–1 win against local rivals Port Vale. By 1934, the club's average attendance had risen to over 23,000, which in turn allowed the club to give the manager Tom Mather increased transfer funds; the club was now considered one of the top teams in the country.
It was in this period that the club recorded its record league win, a 10–3 win over West Bromwich Albion in February 1937. In April of that year, the club achieved its record league crowd – 51,373 against Arsenal. Freddie Steele's 33 league goals in the 1936–37 season remains a club record. Following the resumption of the FA Cup after World War II, tragedy struck on 9 March 1946, as 33 fans died and 520 were injured during a 6th round tie away against Bolton Wanderers; this came known as the Burnden Park disaster. In 1946–47, Stoke mounted a serious title challenge; the club needed a win in their final game of the season to win the First Division title. However, a 2 -- 1 defeat to Sheffield United meant. Stanley Matthews left with 3 games remaining of the 1946–47 season, opting to join Blackpool at the age of 32. Stoke were relegated from the First Division in 1952–53. Former Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Frank Taylor took over at the club looking to gain promotion back to the First Division.
However, after seven seasons in the Second Division without promotion, Taylor was sacked. Taylor vowed never to be associated with football again. Tony Waddington was appointed as the club's manager in June 1960, he joined the club in 1952 as a coach, before being promoted to assistant manager in 1957. Waddington pulled off a significant coup by enticing Stanley Matthe
Middlesbrough Football Club is a professional association football club based in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, England. They are competing in the EFL Championship, the second tier of English football. Formed in 1876, they have played at the Riverside Stadium since 1995, their third ground since turning professional in 1889, they played at the Linthorpe Road ground from 1882 to 1903 and at Ayresome Park for 92 years, from 1903 to 1995. They were one of the founding members of the Premier League in 1992 and became one of the first clubs to be relegated from it following the 1992–93 season; the club came close to folding in 1986 after experiencing severe financial difficulties before it was saved by a consortium led by board member and chairman Steve Gibson. The club's main rivals are Newcastle United. There is a rivalry with fellow Yorkshire club Leeds United. Middlesbrough won the League Cup in the club's first and only major trophy, they were beaten by Spanish side Sevilla. The club's highest league finish to date was third in the 1913–14 season and they have only spent two seasons outside the Football League's top two divisions.
The League Cup win and the UEFA Cup run was part of an 11-year consecutive stay in the Premier League, before a relegation in 2009. Although the club returned in 2016, instant relegation followed; the club's traditional kit is red with white detailing. The various crests throughout the club's history, the most recent of, adopted in 2007, incorporate a lion rampant, they won the FA Amateur Cup in 1895 and again in 1898. The club turned professional in 1889, but reverted to amateur status in 1892, they turned professional permanently in 1899. After three seasons, they won promotion to the First Division, where they would remain for the next 22 years. In 1903, the club moved to their home for the next 92 years. In 1905, the club sanctioned the transfer of Alf Common for £1,000, a record fee. Over the next few years, their form fluctuated rising to sixth in 1907–08 before dropping to 17th two seasons later; the club rose to their highest league finish to date, third, in 1913–14. World War I soon intervened and football was suspended.
Before league football resumed, Middlesbrough won the Northern Victory League, but the team were unable to maintain their previous form and finished the 1919–20 season in mid-table. They remained in the First Division for the next few seasons, but were relegated in 1923–24 after finishing bottom, 10 points adrift of their nearest rivals. Three seasons they won the Division Two title. During that season, debutant George Camsell, who had signed from Third Division North side Durham City the previous season, finished with a record 59 league goals, which included nine hat-tricks, he would continue as top scorer for each of the next 10 seasons. Their tenure back in the top flight lasted only one season, the club were relegated, they were promoted at the first attempt in 1928–29, winning another Second Division title. The club remained in the First Division until 1954; the decade before the war saw the emergence of Wilf Mannion and George Hardwick, both of whom would go on to become England internationals in the years ahead.
Middlesbrough climbed to fourth in the last full season before World War II and were expected to challenge for the title next season, but the war intervened. After the war, the club was unable to recover the form of the previous seasons and hovered around mid-table and exited in the early rounds of the FA Cup. Soon afterwards, the team began to falter suffering relegation in 1953–54; this was the start of a 20-year spell outside the top division, but saw the emergence of one of the club's top goalscorers, Brian Clough, who scored 204 goals in 222 games, before he left for Sunderland. Over that period, Middlesbrough maintained reasonable progress in the Second Division but were never serious contenders for promotion. After a fourth-place finish in 1962–63, the club endured a steady decline and were relegated to the Third Division for the first time in their history in 1966. New manager Stan Anderson returned the club to the second flight at the first attempt. Middlesbrough would not finish below ninth during the next eight seasons.
By 1974, Jack Charlton had guided the team back to the top flight. They ensured promotion as early as 23 March, with eight games of the season left, they became runaway champions, finishing with a record 65 points. Middlesbrough won their first silverware as a professional side in the 1975–76 season, lifting the Anglo-Scottish Cup in its inaugural season after a two-legged final win over Fulham; the club experienced severe financial difficulties during the mid-1980s. Middlesbrough were dropping down the table, finished 19th in the 1984–85 season. In April 1986, the club had to borrow £30,000 from the Professional Footballers' Association to pay wages; the final game of the season saw Middlesbrough relegated to the Third Division again. That summer, the club called in the Provisional Liquidator and shortly afterwards, the club was wound up and the gates to Ayresome Park were padlocked. Without the £350,000 capital required for Football League registration, a new rule, it seemed inevitable that the club would fold permanently.
Steve Gibson, however, a member of the board at the time, brought together a consortium, with 10 minutes to spare before the deadline they completed their registration with the Football League for the 1986–87 season. Following the registration came both a change of club crest and a change of the official company name to Middlesbrough Football and Athletic Club Ltd. Over the next two seasons, Middlesbrough gained successive promotions into Division Two and into Division One; the nex
Manchester United F.C.
Manchester United Football Club is a professional football club based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, that competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. Nicknamed "the Red Devils", the club was founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to its current stadium, Old Trafford, in 1910. Manchester United have won more trophies than any other club in English football, with a record 20 League titles, 12 FA Cups, 5 League Cups and a record 21 FA Community Shields. United have won three UEFA Champions Leagues, one UEFA Europa League, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup. In 1998–99, the club became the first in the history of English football to achieve the continental European treble. By winning the UEFA Europa League in 2016–17, they became one of five clubs to have won all three main UEFA club competitions; the 1958 Munich air disaster claimed the lives of eight players.
In 1968, under the management of Matt Busby, Manchester United became the first English football club to win the European Cup. Alex Ferguson won 38 trophies as manager, including 13 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups and 2 UEFA Champions Leagues, between 1986 and 2013, when he announced his retirement. Manchester United was the highest-earning football club in the world for 2016–17, with an annual revenue of €676.3 million, the world's most valuable football club in 2018, valued at £3.1 billion. As of June 2015, it is the world's most valuable football brand, estimated to be worth $1.2 billion. After being floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1991, the club was purchased by Malcolm Glazer in May 2005 in a deal valuing the club at £800 million, after which the company was taken private again, before going public once more in August 2012, when they made an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. Manchester United is one of the most supported football clubs in the world, has rivalries with Liverpool, Manchester City and Leeds United.
Manchester United was formed in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club by the Carriage and Wagon department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway depot at Newton Heath. The team played games against other departments and railway companies, but on 20 November 1880, they competed in their first recorded match. By 1888, the club had become a founding member of a regional football league. Following the league's dissolution after only one season, Newton Heath joined the newly formed Football Alliance, which ran for three seasons before being merged with the Football League; this resulted in the club starting the 1892–93 season in the First Division, by which time it had become independent of the railway company and dropped the "LYR" from its name. After two seasons, the club was relegated to the Second Division. In January 1902, with debts of £2,670 – equivalent to £280,000 in 2019 – the club was served with a winding-up order. Captain Harry Stafford found four local businessmen, including John Henry Davies, each willing to invest £500 in return for a direct interest in running the club and who subsequently changed the name.
Under Ernest Mangnall, who assumed managerial duties in 1903, the team finished as Second Division runners-up in 1906 and secured promotion to the First Division, which they won in 1908 – the club's first league title. The following season began with victory in the first Charity Shield and ended with the club's first FA Cup title. Manchester United won the First Division for the second time in 1911, but at the end of the following season, Mangnall left the club to join Manchester City. In 1922, three years after the resumption of football following the First World War, the club was relegated to the Second Division, where it remained until regaining promotion in 1925. Relegated again in 1931, Manchester United became a yo-yo club, achieving its all-time lowest position of 20th place in the Second Division in 1934. Following the death of principal benefactor John Henry Davies in October 1927, the club's finances deteriorated to the extent that Manchester United would have gone bankrupt had it not been for James W. Gibson, who, in December 1931, invested £2,000 and assumed control of the club.
In the 1938–39 season, the last year of football before the Second World War, the club finished 14th in the First Division. In October 1945, the impending resumption of football led to the managerial appointment of Matt Busby, who demanded an unprecedented level of control over team selection, player transfers and training sessions. Busby led the team to second-place league finishes in 1947, 1948 and 1949, to FA Cup victory in 1948. In 1952, the club won its first league title for 41 years, they won back-to-back league titles in 1956 and 1957. In 1957, Manchester United became the first English team to compete in the European Cup, despite objections from The Football League, who had denied Chelsea the same opportunity the previous season. En route to the semi-final, which they lost to Real Madrid, the team recorded a 10–0 victory over Belgian champions Anderlecht, which remains the club's biggest victory on record; the following season, on the way home from a European Cup quarter-final victory against Red Star Belgrade, the aircraft carrying the Manchester United players and journalists crashed while attempting to take off after refuelling in Munich, Germany.
Football in England
Association football is the most popular sport in England, where the first modern set of rules for the code were established in 1863, which were a major influence on the development of the modern Laws of the Game. With over 40,000 association football clubs, England has more clubs involved in the code than any other country as well as the world's first club, the world's oldest professional association football club, the oldest national governing body, the first national team, the oldest national knockout competition and the oldest national league. Today England's top domestic league, the Premier League, is one of the most popular and richest sports leagues in the world, with six of the ten richest football clubs in the world as of 2019; the England national football team is one of only eight teams to win the World Cup, in 1966. A total of five English club teams have won the UEFA Champions League. Football was played in England as far back as medieval times; the first written evidence of a football match came in about 1170, when William Fitzstephen wrote of his visit to London, "After dinner all the youths of the city goes out into the fields for the popular game of ball."
He went on to mention that each trade had their own team, "The elders, the fathers, the men of wealth come on horseback to view the contests of their juniors, in their fashion sport with the young men. Kicking ball games are described in England from 1280. In 1314, Edward II the King of England, said about a sport of football and the use of footballs, "certain tumults arising from great footballs in the fields of the public, from which many evils may arise." An account of an kicking "football" game from Nottinghamshire in the fifteenth century bears similarity to association football. By the 16th centuries references to organised teams and goals had appeared. There is evidence for refereed, team football games being played in English schools since at least 1581; the eighteenth-century Gymnastic Society of London is, the world's first football club. The Cambridge rules, first drawn up at Cambridge University in 1848, were influential in the development of subsequent codes, including association football.
The Cambridge Rules were written at Trinity College, Cambridge, at a meeting attended by representatives from Eton, Rugby and Shrewsbury. They were not universally adopted. During the 1850s, many clubs unconnected to schools or universities were formed throughout the English-speaking world, to play various forms of football; some came up with their own distinct codes of rules, most notably, Sheffield Football Club, formed by former public school pupils in 1857, which led to formation of the Sheffield & Hallamshire Football Association in 1867. In 1862, John Charles Thring of Uppingham School devised an influential set of rules, his brother, headmaster of the school Reverend Edward Thring, was a proponent of football as an alternative to masturbation, seen as weakening the boys, through football hoped to encourage their development of perceived manly attributes which were present in the sport. These ongoing efforts contributed to the formation of The Football Association in 1863, which first met on 26 October 1863 at the Freemasons' Tavern in Great Queen Street, London.
The Sheffield FA played by its own rules until the 1870s with the FA absorbing some of its rules until there was little difference between the games. A match between Sheffield and Hallam F. C. on 29 December 1862 was one of the first matches to be recorded in a newspaper. With the modern passing game believed to have been innovated in London and with England being home to the oldest football clubs in the world dating from at least 1857, the world's oldest football trophy, the Youdan Cup, the first national competition, the FA Cup founded in 1871, the first association football league as well as England having the first national football team that hosted the world's first international football match, a 1–1 draw with Scotland on 5 March 1870 at The Oval in London, England is considered the home of the game of football. On 8 March 1873, the England national team's 4–2 win over Scotland at the Oval was the first victory in international football; the late nineteenth century was dominated by the growing split between the amateur and professional teams, aligned along a North-South divide.
Northern clubs were keen to adopt professionalism as workers could not afford to play on an amateur basis, while Southern clubs by the large part stuck by traditional "Corinthian" values of amateurism. In 1885 the FA legalised professionalism, when Aston Villa director William McGregor organised a meeting of representatives of England's leading clubs, this led to the formation of the Football League in 1888. Preston North End were inaugural winners in 1888–89, were the first club to complete the double of both winning the league and the FA Cup. Aston Villa repeated the feat in 1896–97; the League expanded over the next 25 years as football boomed in England, from one division of twelve clubs in 1888, to two divisions by the 1892–93 season, with a total of 28 clubs and with the gradual addition of more clubs, a total of 40 by 1905–06. It remained at 40 until the league was suspended after the 1914–15 season with the outbreak of World War I. During this time clubs from the North and Midlands dominated, with Aston Villa, The Wednesday and Newcastle United all winning three
Arsenal Football Club is a professional football club based in Islington, England, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. It has won 13 League titles, a record 13 FA Cups, two League Cups, the League Centenary Trophy, 15 FA Community Shields, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, one Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. Arsenal was the first club from the South of England to join The Football League, in 1893, they reached the First Division in 1904. Relegated only once, in 1913, they continue the longest streak in the top division, have won the second-most top-flight matches in English football history. In the 1930s, Arsenal won five League Championships and two FA Cups, another FA Cup and two Championships after the war. In 1970 -- 71, they won their first FA Cup Double. Between 1989 and 2005, they won five FA Cups, including two more Doubles, they completed the 20th century with the highest average league position. Herbert Chapman died prematurely, he helped introduce the WM formation and shirt numbers, added the white sleeves and brighter red to Arsenal's kit.
Arsène Wenger won the most trophies. He won a record 7 FA Cups, his title-winning team set an English record for the longest top-flight unbeaten league run at 49 games between 2003 and 2004, receiving the nickname The Invincibles, a special gold Premier League trophy. In 1886, Woolwich munitions workers founded the club as Dial Square. In 1913, the club crossed the city to Arsenal Stadium in Highbury, becoming close neighbours of Tottenham Hotspur, creating the North London derby. In 2006, they moved to the nearby Emirates Stadium. In terms of revenue, Arsenal is the ninth highest-earning football club in the world, earned €487.6m in 2016–17 season. Based on social media activity from 2014 to 2015, Arsenal's fanbase is the fifth largest in the world. In 2018, Forbes estimated the club was the third most valuable in England, with the club being worth $2.24 billion. In October 1886, Scotsman David Danskin and his fellow 15 munitions workers in Woolwich, now South East London, formed Arsenal as Dial Square, with each member contributing sixpence and Danskin adding another three shillings to help form the club.
Named after the heart of the Royal Arsenal complex, they took the name of the whole complex a month later. Royal Arsenal F. C.'s first home was Plumstead Common, though they spent most of their time in South East London playing on the other side of Plumstead, at the Manor Ground. Royal Arsenal won Arsenal's first trophies in 1890 and 1891, these were the only football association trophies Arsenal won during their time in South East London. In 1891, Royal Arsenal became the first London club to turn professional. Royal Arsenal renamed themselves for a second time upon becoming a limited liability company in 1893, they registered their new name, Woolwich Arsenal, with The Football League when the club ascended that year. Woolwich Arsenal was the first southern member of The Football League, starting out in the Second Division and winning promotion to the First Division in 1904. Falling attendances, due to financial difficulties among the munitions workers and the arrival of more accessible football clubs elsewhere in the city, led the club close to bankruptcy by 1910.
Businessmen Henry Norris and William Hall became involved in the club, sought to move them elsewhere. In 1913, soon after relegation back to the Second Division, Woolwich Arsenal moved to the new Arsenal Stadium in Highbury, North London; this saw their third change of name: the following year, they reduced Woolwich Arsenal to The Arsenal. In 1919, The Football League voted to promote The Arsenal, instead of relegated local rivals Tottenham Hotspur, into the newly enlarged First Division, despite only listing the club sixth in the Second Division's last pre-war season of 1914–15; some books have speculated. That year, The Arsenal started dropping "The" in official documents shifting its name for the final time towards Arsenal, as it is known today. With a new home and First Division football, attendances were more than double those at the Manor Ground, Arsenal's budget grew rapidly, their location and record-breaking salary offer lured star Huddersfield Town manager Herbert Chapman in 1925. Over the next five years, Chapman built a new Arsenal.
He appointed enduring new trainer Tom Whittaker, implemented Charlie Buchan's new twist on the nascent WM formation, captured young players like Cliff Bastin and Eddie Hapgood, lavished Highbury's income on stars like David Jack and Alex James. With record-breaking spending and gate receipts, Arsenal became known as the Bank of England club. Transformed, Chapman's Arsenal claimed their first national trophy, the FA Cup, in 1930. Two League Championships followed, in 1930–31 and 1932–33. Chapman presided over multiple off the pitch changes: white sleeves and shirt numbers were added to the kit. In the middle of the 1933–34 season, Chapman died of pneumonia, his work was left to Joe Shaw and George Allison, who saw out a hat-trick with the 1933–34 and 1934–35 titles, won the 1936 FA Cup and 1937–38 title. World War II meant The Football League was suspended for seven years, but Arsenal returned to win it in the second post-war season, 1947–48; this was Tom Whittaker's first season as manager, after his promotion to succeed Allison, the club had equalled the champions of England record.
They won a third FA Cup in 1950, won a record-breaking seven
Bolton Wanderers F.C.
Bolton Wanderers Football Club is a professional football club in Bolton, Greater Manchester, which competes in the EFL Championship, the second tier of English football. Formed as Christ Church Football Club in 1874, it adopted its current name in 1877 and was a founder member of the Football League in 1888. Bolton have spent more seasons than any other club in the top flight without winning the title, they finished third in the First Division in 1891–92, 1920–21 and 1924–25. Bolton won three FA Cups in the 1920s, a fourth in 1958; the club spent a season in the Fourth Division in 1987-88 before regaining top-flight status in 1995 and qualifying for the UEFA Cup twice, reaching the last 32 in 2005–06 and the last 16 in 2007–08. The club played at Burnden Park for 102 years from 1895. On 9 March 1946, 33 Bolton fans lost their lives in the Burnden Park disaster when a human crush occurred. In 1997, Bolton moved to the Reebok Stadium, renamed the Macron Stadium in 2014, now known as the University of Bolton Stadium.
The club was founded by the Reverend Joseph Farrall Wright, Perpetual curate of Christ Church Bolton, Thomas Ogden, the schoolmaster at the adjacent church school, in 1874 as Christ Church F. C, it was run from the church of the same name on Deane Road, Bolton, on the site where the Innovation factory of the University of Bolton now stands. The club left the location following a dispute with the vicar, changed its name to Bolton Wanderers in 1877; the name was chosen as the club had a lot of difficulty finding a permanent ground to play on, having used three venues in its first four years of existence. Bolton were one of the 12 founder members of the Football League, which formed in 1888. At the time Lancashire was one of the strongest footballing regions in the country, with 6 of the 12 founder clubs coming from within the boundaries of the historic county of Lancashire. Having remained in the Football League since its formation, Bolton have spent more time in the top flight than out of it. In 1894 Bolton reached the final of the FA Cup for the first time, but lost 4–1 to Notts County at Goodison Park.
A decade they were runners-up a second time, losing 1–0 to local rivals Manchester City at Crystal Palace on 23 April 1904. The period before and after the First World War was Bolton's most consistent period of top-flight success as measured by league finishes, with the club finishing outside the top 8 of the First Division on only two occasions between 1911–12 and 1927–28. In this period Bolton equalled their record finish of third twice, in 1920–21 and 1924–25, on the latter occasion missing out on the title by just 3 points. On 28 April 1923, Bolton won their first major trophy in their third final, beating West Ham United 2–0 in the first Wembley FA Cup final; the match, famously known as The White Horse Final was played in front of over 127,000 supporters. Bolton's centre-forward, David Jack scored the first goal at Wembley Stadium. Driven by long-term players Joe Smith in attack, Ted Vizard and Billy Butler on the wings, Jimmy Seddon in defence, they became the most successful cup side of the twenties, winning three times.
Their second victory of the decade came in 1926, beating Manchester City 1–0 in front of over 91,000 spectators, the third came in 1929 as Portsmouth were beaten 2–0 in front of nearly 93,000 fans. In 1928 the club faced financial difficulties and so was forced to sell David Jack to Arsenal to raise funds. Despite the pressure to sell, the agreed fee of £10,890 was a world record, more than double the previous most expensive transfer of a player. From 1935 to 1964, Bolton enjoyed an uninterrupted stay in the top flight – regarded by fans as a golden era – spearheaded in the 1950s by Nat Lofthouse; the years of the Second World War saw most of the Wanderers' playing staff see action on the front, a rare occurrence within elite football, as top sportsmen were assigned to physical training assignments, away from enemy fire. However, 15 Bolton professionals, led by their captain Harry Goslin, volunteered for active service in 1939, were enlisted in the 53rd Bolton Artillery regiment. By the end of the war, 32 of the 35 pre-war professionals saw action in the British forces.
The sole fatality was Goslin, who had by risen to the rank of Lieutenant and was killed by shrapnel on the Italian front shortly before Christmas 1943. 53rd Bolton Artillery took part in the Battle of Dunkirk and served in the campaigns of Egypt and Italy. Remarkably, a number of these soldiers managed to carry on playing the game in these theatres of war, taking on as'British XI' various scratch teams assembled by, among others, King Farouk of Egypt in Cairo and Polish forces in Baghdad. On 9 March 1946, the club's home was the scene of the Burnden Park disaster, which at the time was the worst tragedy in British football history. 33 Bolton Wanderers fans were crushed to death, another 400 injured, in an FA Cup quarter-final second leg tie between Bolton and Stoke City. There was an estimated 67,000-strong crowd crammed in for the game, though other estimates vary with a further 15,000 locked out as it became clear the stadium was full; the disaster led to Moelwyn Hughes's official report, which recommended more rigorous control of crowd sizes.
In 1953 Bolton played in one of the most famous FA Cup finals of all time – The Stanley Matthews Final of 1953. Bolton lost the game to Blackpool 4–3 after gaining a 3–1 lead. Blackpool were victorious thanks to the goals of Stan Mortensen. Bolton Wanderers have not won a major trophy since 1958, when two Lofthouse goals saw them overcome Manchester United in the FA Cup final in front of a 100,000 crowd at Wembley Stadium; the closes