St Andrew's (stadium)
St Andrews is an association football stadium in the Bordesley district of Birmingham, England. It has been the ground of Birmingham City Football Club for more than a century. The attendance record, variously recorded as 66,844 or 67,341, was set at a 1939 FA Cup tie against Everton. During the Second World War, St Andrews suffered bomb damage, in the 1950s, the club replaced the stand and installed floodlights, and later erected a second small stand and roofed over the open terraces, but there were few further changes. The ground became dilapidated, a boy was killed when a wall collapsed during rioting in the 1980s, the seating capacity of the modern stadium is just over 30,000. It has function rooms suitable for business or social events and a store selling Birmingham City merchandise. A2004 proposal that the club should sell the ground and move into a multi-purpose City of Birmingham Stadium remains speculative, in 2013, the ground was listed as an Asset of Community Value under the Localism Act 2011. St Andrews has been the venue for England international football matches at all levels below the national team. It has played host to events in sports, including rugby union and professional boxing. In 1876, they made a move to a fenced-off field in Ladypool Road, Sparkbrook, with an estimated capacity of 3,000 spectators, because the field was enclosed. This ground, which known as Muntz Street, had four sides of open terracing, a small covered wooden stand. When first opened it could hold approximately 10,000 spectators, over the years the height of the terracing was raised, which increased the capacity to around 30,000, but this became insufficient to cope with the demand. The attendance at a match in 1905 against local rivals Aston Villa was officially recorded as 28,000 spectators, the landlords refused to sell the freehold of the ground, nor would they permit major extensions to be made. As the board of directors estimated that staying at Muntz Street was costing the club £2,000 a year, director Harry Morris identified a site for a new ground in Bordesley, some three-quarters of a mile from Muntz Street towards the city centre. Covering an area of 7.5 acres, bounded by Cattell Road, Coventry Road, Tilton Road, Garrison Lane and the railway, and near St Andrews church, the site was where a brickworks had once operated. Club director Thomas Turley, a builder, acted as clerk of works, artesian springs, which kept the land flooded, had to be drained and blocked off with tons of rubble before soil could be laid on top. To create height for the terracing on the Coventry Road side of the ground and this embankment was known from the beginning as the Spion Kop, stood 110 terraces high at its highest point, and had a reported capacity of 48,000 spectators, each paying 6d. The Grandstand, on the Garrison Lane side of the ground, was 123 yards in length and it held 6,000 seats divided among six sections, priced from 1s to 2s, and all accesses were lit by electricity
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
Leicester City F.C.
Leicester City Football Club, also known as the Foxes, is an English professional football club based at the King Power Stadium in Leicester. They compete in the Premier League, Englands top tier of football, having been promoted as champions of the Football League Championship in 2013–14, this signalled a return to the top flight of English football after a decade away. The club was founded in 1884 as Leicester Fosse F. C. playing on a field near Fosse Road and they moved to Filbert Street in 1891, were elected to the Football League in 1894 and adopted the name Leicester City in 1919. They moved to the nearby Walkers Stadium in 2002, which was renamed the King Power Stadium after a change of ownership in 2011, Leicester City won the 2015–16 Premier League, their first top-level football championship. They are one of six clubs to have won the Premier League since its inception in 1992. A number of newspapers described their title win as the greatest sporting upset ever, multiple bookmakers had never paid out at such long odds for any sport. Due to the magnitude of the title win, it went down in English football history as one of the games finest ever achievements. The clubs previous highest ever finish was second place in the top flight, throughout Leicesters history, they have spent all but one season within the top two leagues of English football. They hold a joint-highest seven second-tier titles, the club have been FA Cup finalists four times, in 1948–49, 1960–61, 1962–63 and 1968–69. This is a tournament record for the most defeats in the final without having won the competition, City have several promotions to their name, two play-off final wins, and one League One title. In 1971, they won the FA Community Shield, and in 2016 and they have also won the League Cup three times in 1964,1997 and 2000, as well as being runners up in 1964–65 and 1999. Formed in 1884 by a group of old boys of Wyggeston School as Leicester Fosse, before moving to Filbert Street in 1891, the club played at five different grounds, including Victoria Park south-east of the city centre and the Belgrave Road Cycle and Cricket Ground. The club also joined the Midland League in 1891, and were elected to Division Two of the Football League in 1894 after finishing second. Leicesters first ever Football League game was a 4–3 defeat at Grimsby Town, with a first League win the following week, the same season also saw the clubs largest win to date, a 13–0 victory over Notts Olympic in an FA Cup qualifying game. In 1907–08 the club finished as Second Division runners-up, gaining promotion to the First Division, however, the club were relegated after a single season which included the clubs record defeat, a 12–0 loss against Nottingham Forest. In 1919, when League football resumed after World War I, the club was reformed as Leicester City Football Club, particularly appropriate as the borough of Leicester had recently been given city status. However the 1930s saw a downturn in fortunes, with the relegated in 1934–35 and, after promotion in 1936–37. City reached the FA Cup final for the first time in their history in 1949, the club, however, was celebrating a week later when a draw on the last day of the season ensured survival in Division Two
Blackpool Football Club is a professional association football club based in the seaside town of Blackpool, Lancashire, England. For the 2016–17 season, they are competing in League Two, founded in 1887, Blackpools home ground has been Bloomfield Road since 1901. Their main nickname is the Seasiders, but they are called the Pool and the Tangerines, the latter in reference to the colour of their home kit. Blackpools least successful period was in the 1980s, particularly when, in the 1982–83 season, they finished 21st in English League footballs lowest tier, the clubs motto is Progress, as featured on the club crest. Blackpool have a rivalry with Preston North End, and matches between the two clubs are known as the West Lancashire derby. They have not met in a match since February 2010. Football had developed in Blackpool by 1877 when Victoria F. C. were founded as a club with a ground in Caunce Street. This team disbanded a few years later but some of its members are understood to have merged with old boys from St Johns School to form a new club called Blackpool St Johns. The new club managed to win two pieces of silverware in its first season in existence, 1887–88, the Fylde Cup, at the conclusion of the following 1888–89 season, Blackpool became founder members of the Lancashire League. In their first season in the competition, the club finished out of the 13 member clubs. They finished as runners-up over the three seasons, before winning the championship themselves on their fourth attempt. Blackpools home at that point in time was Raikes Hall, which was part of an entertainment complex that included a theatre. This meant that the average attendances were around the 2000 mark. Their application was successful, and for the debut season, 1896–97. Blackpools first-ever Football League game took place on 5 September 1896, at Lincoln City, for the 1897–98 campaign, the club played their home games at the Athletic Grounds. They remained there for the first seven games of 1898–99. After finishing third-bottom, the club were not re-elected at the end of the 1898–99 season and they finished third, and after the Football Leagues annual meeting, on 25 May 1900, were permitted back into Division Two. It was during this season out of the League that Blackpool amalgamated with local rivals South Shore, during the 10 seasons that followed, Blackpool could finish no higher than 12th place
Kit (association football)
In association football, kit is the standard equipment and attire worn by players. The sports Laws of the Game specify the minimum kit which a player must use, footballers generally wear identifying numbers on the backs of their shirts. Professional clubs also usually display players surnames or nicknames on their shirts, Football kit has evolved significantly since the early days of the sport when players typically wore thick cotton shirts, knickerbockers and heavy rigid leather boots. The Laws of the Game set out the equipment which must be worn by all players in Law 4. Five separate items are specified, shirt, shorts, socks, footwear, goalkeepers are allowed to wear tracksuit bottoms instead of shorts. While most players wear studded football boots, the Laws do not specify that these are required, shirts must have sleeves, and goalkeepers must wear shirts which are easily distinguishable from all other players and the match officials. Thermal undershorts may be worn, but must be the colour as the shorts themselves. Shin pads must be covered entirely by the stockings, be made of rubber, plastic or a similar material, and provide a reasonable degree of protection. The only other restriction on equipment defined in the Laws of the Game is the requirement that a player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player. In the event of a match between teams who would wear identical or similar colours the away team must change to a different colour. The England national team plays in red shirts even when it is not required. Many professional clubs also have a kit, ostensibly to be used if both their first-choice and away colours are deemed too similar to those of an opponent. Most professional clubs have retained the basic colour scheme for several decades. Teams representing countries in international competition generally wear national colours in common with other sporting teams of the same nation, shirts are normally made of a polyester mesh, which does not trap the sweat and body heat in the same way as a shirt made of a natural fibre. Depending on local rules, there may be restrictions on how large these logos may be or on what logos may be displayed, competitions such as the Premier League may also require players to wear patches on their sleeves depicting the logo of the competition. The captain of team is usually required to wear an elasticated armband around the left sleeve to identify him as the captain to the referee. Most current players wear specialist football boots, which can be either of leather or a synthetic material. Modern boots are cut slightly below the ankles, as opposed to the high-ankled boots used in former times, studs may be either moulded directly to the sole or be detachable, normally by means of a screw thread
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
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
Glossop North End A.F.C.
Glossop North End Association Football Club are an English football club in Glossop, Derbyshire. Formerly members of the Football League, they are currently in the Northern Premier League Division One North and are members of the Derbyshire County Football Association and they play their home matches at Surrey Street, which has a capacity of 1,350. The club play in blue, and are known as the Hillmen, between 1899 and 1992 the club were known as Glossop. At the turn of the 20th century, Glossop played in the Football League First Division, during this period the club was bankrolled by Sir Samuel Hill-Wood, who was later to become chairman of Arsenal, and the club retains connections with Arsenal to this day. Glossop North End were founded in 1886, when they played friendly amateur matches and they played at various grounds in the town, including Pyegrove, Silk Street, Water Lane and Cemetery Road before settling at North Road. The club joined the North Cheshire League in 1890, before moving to the Combination in 1894, in their first season in the Combination, 1894–95, they finished as runners-up. After ending the season, 1895–96, in third, the club moved to the Midland League. The clubs chairman and benefactor at the time was Sir Samuel Hill-Wood, however, the club became perennial strugglers in the Second Division. The 1913–14 season saw a record attendance of 10,736 for an FA Cup second round match against Preston North End on 31 January 1914. However, the season they finished bottom of the league. The start of World War I meant the Football League closed down, Glossop were re-formed toward the end of the war by Oswald Partington, but failed to be re-elected to the Football League. Glossop then joined the Lancashire Combination, playing just one season, Northern Nomads ground-shared with Glossop for several years during this time. The club then dropped out of the Lancashire Combination and into the Manchester League, in the 1920s and 1930s they won the Gilcryst Cup three times and were crowned Manchester League champions in 1927–28. They won the Gilcryst Cup for a time in 1947–48. During 1955, the club moved from its home of North Road to their current ground Surrey Street. In 1957 Glossop rejoined the Lancashire Combination, finishing in eighth in 1957–58 and they spent nine seasons in the league before dropping back down once more to the Manchester League after the 1965–66 season. They joined the Cheshire County League as founder members of Division Two in the 1978–79 season, in 1980–81 they were Division Two runners-up, only losing out on the title on goal difference, but still winning promotion to Division One. In 1986, the club marked their centenary season with a match with sister club Arsenal and they joined Division One, however they struggled in the league for the next six seasons and after finishing bottom in 1987–88 were relegated to Division Two
Fulham Football Club is a professional association football club based in Fulham, Greater London, England. Founded in 1879, they play in the Championship, the tier of English football. They are the football team from London to have played in the Premier League. The club has spent 25 seasons in English footballs top division, the latter spell was associated with former chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed, after the club had climbed up from the fourth tier in the 1990s. The club has produced many English greats, including Johnny Haynes, George Cohen, Bobby Robson, Rodney Marsh and they play at Craven Cottage, a ground on the banks of the River Thames in Fulham which has been their home since 1896. Fulhams training ground is located near Motspur Park, where the clubs Academy is also situated, Fulham were formed in 1879 as Fulham St Andrews Church Sunday School F. C. founded by worshipers at the Church of England on Star Road, West Kensington. Fulhams mother church still today with a plaque commemorating the teams foundation. They won the West London Amateur Cup in 1887 and, having shortened the name from Fulham Excelsior to its present form in 1888, one of the clubs first ever kits was half red, half white shirts with white shorts worn in the 1886–87 season. Fulham started playing at their current ground at Craven Cottage in 1896, the club gained professional status on 12 December 1898, the same year that they were admitted into the Southern Leagues Second Division. They were the club from London to turn professional, following Arsenal. They adopted a red and white kit during the 1900–01 season, in 1902–03, the club won promotion from this division, entering the Southern League First Division. The club won the Southern League twice, in 1905–06 and 1906–07, Fulham joined The Football League after the second of their Southern League triumphs. The clubs first league game, playing in the Second Divisions 1907–08 season, the first win came a few days later at Derby Countys Baseball Ground by a score line of 1–0. Fulham finished the three points short of promotion in fourth place. The club progressed all the way to the semi-final of that seasons FA Cup, in the semi-final, however, they were heavily beaten, 6–0, by Newcastle United. This is still a loss for an FA Cup semi-final game. Two years later, the won the London Challenge Cup in the 1909–10 season. Fulhams first season in Division Two turned out to be the highest that the club would finish for 21 years, until in 1927–28 when the club were relegated to the 3rd Division South, created in 1920
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
Hull City A.F.C.
Hull City Association Football Club is a professional association football club based in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England. The club participates in the Premier League, the top tier of English football – and their greatest achievement in cup competitions came in 2014, when the team reached the final of the FA Cup. In 2007–08 they achieved promotion to the top flight of English football for the first time in their history by winning the Championship play-off Final at Wembley Stadium and their highest league finish was for the 2013–14 season, in which they finished 16th in the Premier League table. Hull City play their games at the KCOM Stadium. They moved there in 2002 after playing their previous 56 seasons at Boothferry Park, Boothferry Park has since been demolished and been replaced by a housing development. Hull traditionally play in black and amber, often with a shirt design. The clubs mascots are Roary the Tiger and his sister Amber. C. and these early matches were played at the Boulevard, the home of Hull F. C. The clubs first competitive match was in the FA Cup preliminary round, drawing 3–3 with Stockton on 17 September. After disputes with landlords at the Boulevard, Hull City moved to Anlaby Road Cricket Ground, after having played 44 friendly fixtures the previous season, Hull City were finally admitted into the Football League Second Division for the 1905–06 season. Other teams competing in the league season included the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, as well as Yorkshire rivals Barnsley, Bradford City. Hull defeated Barnsley 4–1 at home in their first game and finished the season in fifth place, the following season a new ground was built for Hull City across the road from the cricket ground. Still under the managership of Ambrose Langley, Hull continued to finish consistently in the top half of the table and they came close to promotion in the 1909–10 season, recording what would be their highest finish until they matched it in 2008. Hull finished third, level on points with second placed Oldham Athletic, Hulls greatest achievement in cup competitions until 2014 was in 1930, when they reached the FA Cup semi-finals. The cup run saw Hull knock out the champions of the Second and Third Divisions, Blackpool. They then knocked out Manchester City, to meet Newcastle United in the quarter-finals, the first game at St James Park finished as a 1–1 draw, but in the replay Hull beat Newcastle 1–0. The semi-final match against Arsenal took place at Elland Road in Leeds, the game ended 2–2, Arsenal knocked Hull out at Villa Park, the game ending 1–0. After the Second World War, the moved to another new ground. In the 1948–49 season, managed by former England international Raich Carter, Hull also became the first team in the world to go out of a cup competition on penalties, beaten by Manchester United in the semi-final of the Watney Cup on 1 August 1970
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