Stoke City F.C.
Stoke City Football Club is a professional football club based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. Founded as Stoke Ramblers in 1863 the club changed its name to Stoke in 1878 and they are the second oldest professional football club in the world, after Notts County, and are one of the founding members of the Football League. Their first, and to date only major trophy, the League Cup was won in 1972, the clubs highest league finish in the top division is 4th, which was achieved in the 1935–36 and 1946–47 seasons. Stoke played in the FA Cup Final in 2011, finishing runners-up to Manchester City and have reached three FA Cup semi-finals, in 1899 then consecutively in 1971 and 1972. Stoke have competed in European football on three occasions, firstly in 1972–73 then in 1974–75 and most recently in 2011–12, the club has won the Football League Trophy twice, in 1992 and in 2000. Stokes home ground is the bet365 Stadium, a 28,116 all-seater stadium, before the stadium was opened in 1997, the club was based at the Victoria Ground, which had been their home ground since 1878. The clubs nickname is The Potters, named after the industry in Stoke-on-Trent and their traditional home kit is a red and white vertically striped shirt, white shorts. Stokes traditional rivals are Midlands clubs West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers whilst their local rivals are Port Vale with whom they contest the Potteries derby, the clubs first documented match was in October 1868, against an EW May XV at the Victoria Cricket Club ground. Henry Almond, the founder, was also captain. During this period they played at the Victoria Cricket Ground, however, in 1878, the club merged with Stoke Victoria Cricket Club, and became Stoke Football Club. They moved from their previous ground, Sweetings Field, to the Athletic Club ground and it was around this time that the club adopted their traditional red-and-white striped kit. In August 1885, the club turned professional, Stoke were one of the twelve founding members of the Football League when it was introduced in 1888. The club struggled in their first two seasons, 1888–89 and 1889–90, finishing bottom on both occasions, in 1890 Stoke failed to be re-elected and joined the Football Alliance, which they won and thus were re-elected to the Football League. Stoke spent the next 15 seasons in the First Division and reached the FA Cup Semi-Final in the 1898–99 season before being relegated in 1907, Stoke went bankrupt and entered non-league football until 1914, when the First World War meant the Football League was suspended for four years. During the wartime period, Stoke entered the Lancashire Primary and Secondary leagues, when football recommenced in August 1919, Stoke re-joined the league. The club became owners of the Victoria Ground in 1919 and this was followed by the construction of the Butler Street stand, which increased the overall capacity of the ground to 50,000. In 1925, Stoke-on-Trent was granted city status and this led the club to change its name to Stoke City F. C, the 1930s saw the debut of clubs most celebrated player, Stanley Matthews. Matthews, who grew up in Hanley, was an apprentice at the club and made his first appearance in March 1932, against Bury, by end of the decade, Matthews had established himself as an England international and as one of the best footballers of his generation
The Victoria Ground was the home ground of Stoke City from 1878 until 1997, when the club relocated to the Britannia Stadium after 119 years. At the time of its demolition it was the oldest operational football league ground in the Football League. The Victoria Ground had been Stoke Citys home since March 1878, the ground took its name from the nearby Victoria Hotel and was originally an oval shape, built to accommodate a running track and used by the local athletic club. There was a grass bank at each end, and a small. Opposite this stand was another bank which could hold 4,000, the ground remained this way for 30 years during which time Stoke had become members of the Football League. Stoke suffered financial difficulties and dropped out of the league in 1908, Stoke got back into the league in 1919 and the ground had now been improved considerably. There were two good sized grandstands and a wooden one which was situated opposite the main stand. The players changing rooms were set in the corner of the ground which included a stove so players could keep warm. Above the changing hut was the box, a rather primitive building. During the early 1920s a new, mainly wooden main stand was erected alongside the hut, by 1930 Stoke had added City to their name and the Boothen End was terraced and later covered, and consequently the ground lost its oval shape. 1935, when the likes of Stanley Matthews was beginning to draw in the crowds, in front of the seats was a small paddock, room for another 2,000 and it took the ground capacity to around the 45,000 mark. A record crowd of 51,380 packed into the Victoria Ground on 29 March 1937 to watch a First Division match against Arsenal, during World War II the Butler Street Stand was used as an army storage camp. Floodlights were installed at the ground in 1956 and local rivals Port Vale marked the official switching on ceremony by playing Stoke in a friendly on 10 October 1956, in 1960 another new main stand was built and the dressing rooms were revamped. In the summer of 1963 concrete was laid on the paddock terracing, more improvements continued in the 1960s and the ground remained in a good condition until January 1976. The strong winds blew a section of the roof off the Butler Street Stand leaving only the west corner intact, top priority was to put the roof back in order that the replay against Tottenham could take place on 7 January. Stoke had to play one home match against Middlesbrough at Vale Park on 17 January. The final improvements to the ground were made during the 1980s with the Stanley Matthews suite being opened as well as a new club shop, with many clubs converting to all-seater stadium due to the Taylor Report the club drew up plans to meet the requirements at the Victoria Ground. However the Club instead decided to build a new ground and so in 1997 Stoke left the Victoria Ground after 119 years for the new modern 28,000 seater Britannia Stadium, archived from the original on 28 January 2010
West Midlands (Regional) League
It has three divisions, the highest of which is the Premier Division, which sits at step 6 of the National League System, or the tenth level of the overall English football league system. The league currently acts as a feeder to the Midland Football League Premier Division, approximately fifty teams compete in the league each season, with new members regularly joining from a number of lower, more local leagues. In the late 1880s, Birmingham and the region boasted many of the countrys strongest football teams. On 31 May 1889 a meeting place at Birminghams Grand Hotel with the view to forming a Birmingham & District League. A total of 17 clubs were invited but only 13 attended, of which 12 were selected to form the new league, the one club which sent a representative to the meeting but was not invited to take part in the league, for unknown reasons, was Worcester Rovers. Although Kidderminster Olympic topped the table, no championship was awarded as a number of fixtures had not been completed. A number of clubs which had enjoyed success in the Birmingham Combination also joined the league, the Combinations committee then attempted to re-open the merger talks but, having just bolstered its ranks with six new members, the League was not interested. A year later, all of the Combinations 14 remaining clubs, with the exception of West Bromwich Albions A team, left to join the League, which effectively absorbed its former rival. The 40 member clubs were split into Northern and Southern divisions, at the end of the 1957–58 season, Burton Albion and Nuneaton Borough left to join an expanding Southern League, followed a year later by Hinckley Athletic. In an attempt to consolidate the league decided to all remaining reserve teams. Four years later it changed its name to the West Midlands League to more accurately reflect its catchment area, for the 1965–66 season the league was able to revert to a two-division structure when it rebranded its existing single division the Premier Division and added a new Division One. By 1976, a flow of teams joining from smaller regional leagues led to Division One being split into Divisions One and One, revised a year later to Divisions One. The Alliance Premier League was formed in 1979, pushing the Regional League further down the English football league system, reflecting the demographics of the West Midlands area, a number of British Asian teams joined the league, including Sikh Hunters, Englands first ever all-Sikh team. The league currently has no title sponsor, previously it has been sponsored by Sport Italia, the Wolverhampton-based Express & Star newspaper, and Black Country brewery Bankss. In the 2014–15 season,55 teams are competing in the league, some of the teams in the lower two divisions are reserve teams of clubs playing at a higher level. Each division is contested on a double round-robin basis, with each playing each of the other teams in the division once at home. Three points are awarded for a win, one for a draw, goal difference is used to separate teams on the same points, having replaced goal average at the start of the 1978–79 season. Since the 1994–95 season the Regional League, along with the Midland Football Combination, has served as one of the two official feeders to the Midland Football Alliance
Crewe Alexandra F.C.
Crewe Alexandra Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Crewe, Cheshire, England. Nicknamed The Railwaymen because of the links with the rail industry. The team compete in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. The club was formed in 1877 and named after Princess Alexandra and it was a founding member of the Football League Second Division in 1892, but only lasted four years in the League. Since re-entering the competition in 1921, they have remained in the lower divisions. Crewes only major honour is the Football League Trophy which they won in 2013 and they have also won several minor trophies, including the Cheshire Premier Cup and the Cheshire Senior Cup. Gradi is known for focusing on development and promoting attractive. Notable players brought through the Crewe youth system include former internationals Rob Jones, Neil Lennon, Danny Murphy, Seth Johnson, other notable players to have made their name at Crewe in that time include Geoff Thomas, David Platt and Robbie Savage. Crewe Alexandra were formed in 1877 as Crewe Football Club, separate from the successful Crewe Cricket Club and they were based at the Alexandra Recreation Ground and played their first match against North Staffs that same year, a match that ended 1–1. In 1883, Crewe Alexandras first match in the FA Cup was against Scottish club Queens Park of Glasgow, in 1888, the club reached the FA Cup semi-finals, defeating Derby County and Middlesbrough en route, before going out to Preston North End. Crewe were founding members of the Football League Second Division in 1892, having previously been members of the Football Alliance, in 1906 the current Gresty Road ground was rebuilt to the west of the original site. Crewe rejoined the Football League in 1921, during which season a crowd of 15,102 packed into Gresty Road to watch Crewe entertain local rivals Stoke City. Crewe earned their first honours by winning the Welsh Cup in 1936 and 1937, in 1936, Bert Swindells scored his 100th League goal for Crewe Alexandra. He went on to score 126 goals for the club, a record still stands today. 1955 saw Crewe embark on a sequence where they did not win away from home for 56 matches, the dismal run ended with a 1–0 win at Southport. One of Crewes most famous took place against Spurs in the FA Cup in 1960. A new record attendance of 20,000 saw lowly Crewe hold Spurs to a 2–2 draw on 30 January, on 3 February, Tottenham convincingly won the replay 13–2, which remains a record defeat for the club. Llewellyn and Nev Coleman scored for Crewe,1961 saw Crewes most notable win in their history, Jimmy McGuigans side defeated Chelsea 2–1 in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge
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
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
Merthyr Town F.C.
Merthyr Town Football Club is a Welsh semi-professional football club based in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. The club will play in the Southern Football League Premier Division, Merthyr Town were founded in 1909 and played in the Football League during the 1920s, but the club folded in 1934 and were replaced by new formed Merthyr Tydfil F. C. in 1945. In 2010, the club reformed again after Merthyr Tydfil FC was liquidated, after finishing third in 1911–12 the club were promoted to the first division, though they were relegated back to the second division in 1913–14. The Southern League did not operate during the First World War, in the summer of 1920 the Football League expanded with the creation of a new Third Division, which was made up entirely of the First Division of the Southern League from the previous season. Despite having finished bottom in season before, usually a relegation place. In their first season in the Football League, the club had a better season. This, however, proved to be their most successful league season, from then on the club declined further, and finished bottom of the Third Division in 1924–5. Although they finished 14th in 1925–6, in the seasons the club finished 17th, 21st, 20th and then bottom again. They were replaced by the ill-fated Thames, during their penultimate season in the Football League the club had their best season in the FA Cup, getting past the first round for the only time, before losing to Watford in the second round. The club dropped back into the Southern League, but lasted four seasons. In 2010, Merthyr Tydfil F. C. of the Southern Football League Premier Division were liquidated despite finishing the 2009–10 season 17th of 22 clubs. The club was reformed under the name of Merthyr Town and consequently were required to drop three divisions to begin the 2010–11 season in the Western Football League Division One. The club was forced to switch grounds, and left Penydarren Park to take Rhiw Dda’r. In their first season they won Division One and were promoted to the Western League Premier Division, the newly promoted club once again called Penydarren Park home. Their first match back at their ground was a 1–9 defeat to Welsh Premier League side Llanelli in a pre-season friendly in July 2011. However Merthyr went on to secure a consecutive championship and with it promotion to the Southern League. On 6 April 2015, Merthyr Town were promoted back to the Southern League Premier Division only five years after being expelled, the club is fully owned by the supporters trust. As of 02 February 2017 Note, Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules, players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality
Oldham Athletic A.F.C.
Oldham Athletic Association Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Oldham, Greater Manchester, England. The team compete in League One, the tier of English football. The history of Oldham Athletic A. F. C. begins with the founding of Pine Villa F. C. in 1895, playing in the Manchester and Lancashire leagues. When rivals Oldham County F. C. folded in 1899, Pine Villa F. C. moved into their stadium and they were Football League runners-up in the 1914–15 season but were relegated from the Football League First Division in 1923. They reached the 1990 Football League Cup Final and won the Football League Second Division title in 1991 and they secured their top division status a year later to become founder members of the new Premier League but were relegated in 1994. After a period of insolvency in 2003–04, the club was taken over by a group of US-based expatriate British businessmen led by Simon Blitz, Pine Villa Football Club was formed in 1895, though the club changed its appearance and name in 1899 to Oldham Athletic Football Club. The club immediately gained professional status and played in both the Lancashire Combination and Lancashire League, unlike many clubs, Oldham Athletic gained quick success and gained acceptance into the Football League in 1907–08. After three years in the Second Division, Latics gained promotion to the First Division, within a couple of seasons, Oldham had announced themselves serious contenders, finishing 4th in the league in 1912–13, and reaching the F. A. Cup semi-finals the same season, losing out 1–0 versus Aston Villa, in 1914–15, Latics reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup but were knocked out once again after a 0–3 replay against Sheffield United. In the league season they almost won it all, Latics lost the league by one point. Latics early success was halted by the First World War. Many of the players from their former squads had either retired from football or had killed in the war. Their highest success came in the 1929–30 season as finished in 3rd. From then on they slowly but surely fell down the league table and they found life in this new division much more to their liking, coming 7th in their first season and following this with three seasons in the top five. Promotion back to the Second Division looked like it might just be a possibility, players contracts were terminated, and relying largely on guest players, the club was to play in the war-time Northern League until August 1946. Following the return of football there was to be no immediate success for Oldham Athletic. They finished 19th in the first league season after the war, Hardwicks appointment came at a cost, with a £15,000 transfer fee paid to Middlesbrough. In Hardwicks first full season in charge they finished 4th after topping the table for a considerable time, eric Gemmell scored seven of these to establish an individual club record for one game which still stands to date
Newcastle United F.C.
Newcastle United Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Following the clubs most recent relegation from the top-flight during the 2015–16 season, Newcastle returned to the Football Leagues 2nd tier, the Championship, for the 2016–17 campaign. Newcastle United was founded in 1892 by the merger of Newcastle East End and Newcastle West End, the ground was developed into an all-seater stadium in the mid-1990s and now has a capacity of 52,354. They have won four League Championship titles, six FA Cups and a Charity Shield, as well as the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, Newcastle United has the ninth highest total of trophies won by an English club. The clubs most successful period was between 1904 and 1910, when they won an FA Cup and three of their First Division titles. The club were successful in the Premier League in the 1990s and early 2000s, but have been mostly struggling since the 2006–07 season. Newcastle has a local rivalry with Sunderland, and the two clubs have engaged in the Tyne–Wear derby since 1898. The clubs traditional kit colours are black and white striped shirts, black shorts and their traditional crest takes elements of the city coat of arms, which features two grey seahorses. The club has been owned by Mike Ashley since 2007, succeeding long term chairman, the club is the seventeenth highest revenue producing club in the world in terms of annual revenue, generating €169. 3m in 2015. Historically, Newcastles highest placing was in 1999 when they were the fifth highest revenue producing club in the world. The first record of football being played on Tyneside dates from 3 March 1877 at Elswick Rugby Club, later that year, Newcastles first football club, Tyne Association, was formed. The origins of Newcastle United Football Club itself can be traced back to the formation of a club by the Stanley Cricket Club of Byker in November 1881. This team was renamed Newcastle East End F. C. in October 1882, to avoid confusion with the club in Stanley. Rosewood F. C. of Byker merged with Newcastle East End a short time later, in 1886, Newcastle East End moved from Byker to Heaton. In August 1882, Newcastle West End F. C. formed from West End Cricket Club, and in May 1886, the two clubs became rivals in the Northern League. In 1889, Newcastle East End became a team, before becoming a limited company the following March. However, on the hand, Newcastle West End were in serious financial trouble. With only one club in the city for fans to support
Ilkeston Football Club is an English football club based at the New Manor Ground in Ilkeston, Derbyshire. They play in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, the club was founded in 2010 as a successor to the liquidated Ilkeston Town. The club have played since their formation at the 3,029 capacity New Manor Ground, like Ilkeston Town, they are known as The Robins. Two months after liquidating, a new club was reformed as Ilkeston F. C. and were admitted into the Northern Premier League Division One South in May 2011. The club won promotion at the end of its first season by beating Leek Town 2–0 in front of 1,670 supporters in the play off final after finishing 3rd behind runaway winners Grantham Town, note, Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality, Northern Premier League Division One South Play-off Winners 2011–12 Derbyshire Senior Cup Winner 2012–13, 2013–14. Official website Ilson Football – Unofficial history website
Exeter City F.C.
Exeter City Football Club /ˈɛksɪtə ˈsɪti/ is a professional association football club based in Exeter, Devon, England. The team play in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. The club is owned by the clubs supporters through the Exeter City Supporters Trust, the club was a member of the Football League from 1920 to 2003. Following five seasons in the Conference National, Exeter were promoted back to League Two for the 2008–09 season, in the 2011–12 season of League One Exeter City were relegated to League Two, finishing 23rd with 48 points, they have remained in League Two ever since. Exeter City was founded in 1904 and began playing on an old used for fattening pigs. Exeter remain at St James Park to this day, the club is nicknamed The Grecians. For the 2016–17 season Citys home kit is supplied by Joma and it consists of red and white shirts, black shorts, and black and white socks. The club is known as the first side to play a team from Brazil. As a result, City and Brazilian side Fluminense are now also partner clubs, Exeter City F. C. was formed from two predecessor clubs, Exeter United F. C. and St Sidwells United. Exeter United was a club from Exeter, Devon, that played between 1890 and 1904. In 1904, Exeter United lost 3–1 to local rivals St Sidwells United, the new team took the name Exeter City and continued to play at Exeter Uniteds ground, St James Park, where Exeter City still play today. Exeter United was formed from the team of the same name and were one of the first football teams with the moniker United. St Sidwells United was a club that had formed from the regulars who frequented the Foresters Inn in Sidwell Street, Exeter, although the house was always known as the Drum. The team played in St Sidwells old colours of green and white, on 10 September 1904, Exeter City played its first ever competitive match, a 2–1 victory at St James over 110th Battery of the Royal Artillery, in the East Devon League. The attendance was 600, and the goal scored by Sid Thomas. City topped the East Devon League with 11 wins, two draws, one defeat in its first season, and transferred to the Plymouth & District League for next three seasons, in 1908, Exeter City A. F. C. became a limited company. City became a professional team, and applied successfully for membership of the Southern League. A wooden grandstand was erected, and the club entered into an arrangement over the ground
Aston Villa Under-23s and Academy
The team were part of the FA Premier Reserve League since its foundation in 1999 and were winners of the 2011-12 Premier Reserve League South title, the last in that format. The team plays its games at Villa Park and Bescot Stadium. Aston Villa also have a side that competes in the Under-18 division of the Professional Development League. The side also won the NextGen Series in 2013, a Europe-wide tournament for elite academies, the Villa academy also developed England and Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge and Arsenal midfielder Daniel Crowley. The U23 team is made up of players under the age of 23. These may include fringe first-team players and first-team players recovering from injury, the origins of the team date back to 1892, when Aston Villa Reserves joined the Birmingham & District League. Several titles followed after this achievement, including a run of 8 consecutive titles between 1902 and 1910, when Villa finally left the Birmingham & District League in 1915, they had accumulated a total of 12 league titles and 6 runners-up finishes. After that, the team played in the Central League for many years, becoming champions in 1929–30, 1963–64. In 1999–2000, the FA Premier Reserve League was set up, Villa were one of the founding members, three disappointing seasons followed, however in the 2003–04 season, inspired by brothers Stefan Moore and Luke Moore, Villa eased to their first title. In the two seasons followed, Villa agonisingly finished both campaigns as runners-up, both times to Manchester United. Villa eventually finished 4th - winning 9 out of their 18 games, with Luke Moore the top goalscorer, inspired by Swedish striker Tobias Mikaelsson, Aston Villa Reserves clinched the 2007–08 Southern title, their second regional success since the inception of the league in 1999. However, they were beaten 3-0 in the Play-Off Final by Northern champions Liverpool, Andreas Weimann netted nine goals, to help Villa keep up their trend of securing the Southern title - their third on the trot - in the 2009–10 season. This included a remarkable 15-game unbeaten streak, running from the game of the campaign. However, the club were denied a second national title, as they were beaten on penalties by Manchester United. The 2010–11 season saw changes to the format of the league. Only 16 clubs competed, which meant a split between the top heavy Northern league, undoubtedly the highlight of the season, was a 10-1 home victory over Arsenal at the Greene King Stadium, en route to finishing third in the league. Following changes arrived in the 2011–12 season, three leagues were abolished, returning to two, whilst each team played the teams in their own league home and away. They also played each team in the league once, with home
Brierley Hill Alliance F.C.
Brierley Hill Alliance F. C. was an English association football club based in Brierley Hill in the West Midlands. Alliance also won the Birmingham Senior Cup in 1932–33, 1936–37, 1951–52, the club began at Brockmoor Harriers Labour In Vain ground in Moor Street, then moved to Cottage Street during the 1888–89 season. This was their home until 1977, it is now a car park. Alliance moved to The Dell which was their home until the club folded in June 1981, players that have played/managed in the Football League or any foreign equivalent to this level. Players that hold a club record
Walsall Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Walsall, West Midlands, England. The team play in League One, the tier in the English football league system. The club was founded in 1888 as Walsall Town Swifts, an amalgamation of Walsall Town F. C. and their first match at Wembley Stadium was the 2015 Football League Trophy Final, which they lost to Bristol City. Walsall moved into their Bescot Stadium in 1990, having played at nearby Fellows Park for almost a century. The ground is known as Bankss Stadium for sponsorship purposes, the team play in a red and white kit and their club crest features a swift. The clubs nickname, The Saddlers, reflects Walsalls status as a centre for saddle manufacture. Walsall were formed as Walsall Town Swifts in 1888 when Walsall Town F. C. Walsall Town had been founded in 1877 and Walsall Swifts in 1879. Both clubs had played at the Chuckery, and the new club remained at the same ground, Walsall Town Swifts first match was a draw against Aston Villa. Two players from this early era received international caps, in 1882, Alf Jones won the first two of his three caps while with Walsall Swifts, and in 1889 Albert Aldridge received the second of his two caps while playing for Walsall Town Swifts. The club were first admitted to the Football League in 1892 and they moved to the West Bromwich Road ground in 1893. After finishing 14th out of 16 teams in 1894–95 the club failed to be re-elected to the Football League, at the start of the 1895 season the club moved to Hilary Street, later renamed Fellows Park. In 1896 they changed their name to Walsall F. C. a year later, they returned to the Second Division, three teams having failed re-election in 1896. The team finished in place in 1898–99, but once again failed re-election two years later, dropping back into the Midland League. A move to the Birmingham League followed in 1903, and in 1910, with the expansion of the Football League after World War I, Walsall became a founding member of the Third Division North in 1921. Walsalls highest home attendance was set in 1930, when played in of front of 74,600 fans against Aston Villa in the FA Cup Fourth Round. Although a home match for Walsall, the tie was played at their opponents Villa Park ground, in 1933, Walsall won 2–0 in the FA Cup against Arsenal at Fellows Park. Arsenal went on to win the First Division that season, in 1958, following a reorganisation of the Football League, Walsall became founder members of the Fourth Division. Players such as Bill Chopper Guttridge, Tony Richards and Colin Taylor were intrinsically important to the success of the side
Stourbridge Football Club is an English association football club based in the town of Stourbridge, West Midlands. The club currently plays in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, the club was founded in 1876 and was originally known as Stourbridge Standard. The 1923–24 season was one of the best in the history, as they clinched the Birmingham League championship. The club returned to the Birmingham League in 1954 on the disbanding of the Birmingham Combination and were runners-up in 1955–56. The Birmingham Senior Cup was won for a time in 1958–59. Twin strikers Ray Haywood and Chic Bates each notched 50 goals that season and were transferred to Shrewsbury Town, where Bates served 13 years as both player and manager. Another highlight in 1973–74 was a run in the Welsh Cup. A record crowd of 5,726 saw the Glassboys lose the home leg 1–0, Stourbridge were one of the first English semi-professional clubs to tour the South East of the USA in the early Eighties. In 2000 a new owner came to the club, and swiftly appointed Mark Serrell as chairman, along with FA Qualified coach and ex-Birmingham City player Mark Harrison as manager. Despite an influx of new players, continued poor results meant Stourbridges 29-year spell at Southern League level ended with defeat in the last game of the season at Hinckley United in May 2000. With many players moving on, the new management team had to rebuild the side from scratch, the following season saw a memorable run in the FA Vase, culminating in a quarter-final defeat at A. F. C. Sudbury in the quarter-final before finally succumbing to a 4–1 defeat after extra time, in May 2005 Hackett took sole charge of the team after Ford decided to step down due to work and family commitments. After a poor start, a run of 14 league games unbeaten was enough to clinch a runners-up spot and with it promotion back to the Southern League. Victories over Burton Albion and Moor Green also saw the team reach the Birmingham Senior Cup Final for the first time in 30 years, Stourbridges first season back in the Southern League Midlands Division in 2006–07 saw them finish in seventh place. The 2007–08 season saw Stourbridge seal a third-place finish in the Midlands Division to reach the play-offs, however Stourbridge once again suffered heartbreak in the final as Hednesford Town defeated the Glassboys 2–0 at Burton Albions Pirelli Stadium. In the 2009–10 season, Stourbridge reached the FA Cup first round for the first time in their 133-year history and were drawn at home to Walsall, the game ended in a 1–0 defeat for Stourbridge in front of 2,014 fans. In the 2011–12 season, the club won their way through four qualifying rounds to reach the first round of the FA Cup. They were drawn away to League Two side Plymouth Argyle where they drew 3–3 at Home Park to earn themselves a replay, the replay at the War Memorial Ground was chosen for live coverage by ESPN, netting the club over £33,000
Wrexham Association Football Club is a professional association football club based in Wrexham, Wales. Based on the clubs recorded formation date of 1864, they are the oldest club in Wales, since August 2011 Wrexham have been a supporter-owned football club. As of May 2015, the club has 4,129 adult members, Wrexham are perhaps most notable for an FA Cup upset over reigning English Champions Arsenal in 1992 and a 1–0 victory over FC Porto in 1984 in the European Cup Winners Cup. Wrexhams home stadium, the Racecourse Ground, is the worlds oldest international stadium that still continues to host international games, the record attendance at the ground was set in 1957, when Wrexham hosted a match against Manchester United in front of 36,445 spectators. Their first game was played on 22 October 1864 at the Denbigh County Cricket Ground against the Prince of Wales Fire Brigade, as the rules of football were still somewhat fluid at the time, early matches featured teams with up to 17 players on each side. In these early years Wrexham were leaders of the campaign to restrict teams to having just 11 players on the pitch at any one time. C, in the 1877–78 season the FAW inaugurated the Welsh Cup competition, to run on similar lines to the English FA Cup. The first Welsh Cup Final was played at Acton Park, Wrexham got to the final of the inaugural competition, where they defeated Druids F. C. 1–0, with James Davies being credited with the goal. Because of a lack of money at the fledgling FAW, Wrexham did not receive their trophy until the next year. 1883 also saw Wrexhams first appearance in the FA Cup, when receiving a bye to the second round of the competition they were defeated 3–4 at home by Oswestry. Crowd trouble at the game led to the club being expelled from the Football Association, Olympic was dropped from this clubs name in 1888. In 1890 Wrexham joined The Combination league, playing their first game against Gorton Villa on 6 September 1890, Lea played for the club despite only having one arm as did playing colleague James Roberts. Wrexham finished the second from bottom in eighth place in the first season. Wrexham played in the Combination for four years before an increase in costs resulted in the club joining the Welsh League in the 1894–95 season. The club then remained in the Combination league until 1905, by time they had managed to win the league four times. After several unsuccessful attempts Wrexham were finally elected to the Birmingham, Wrexhams first ever match in this league was at home against Kidderminster Harriers at the Racecourse, and two thousand spectators witnessed Wrexham win the match 2–1. Wrexham finished sixth in their first season in this league, during their time in the Birmingham and District League, Wrexham won the Welsh Cup six times, in 1908–09, 1909–10, 1910–11, 1913–14, 1914–15, and 1920–21. They also reached the First Round proper of the FA Cup for a time in the 1908–09 season before losing a replay 1–2 to Exeter City after extra time. In 1921 Wrexham were elected to the newly formed Third Division North of the Football League and their first League game was against Hartlepool United at the Racecourse in front of 8,000 spectators
Shrewsbury Town F.C.
Shrewsbury Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. The team compete in League One, the tier of the English football league system. The club was formed in 1886 and was elected to the Football League in 1950 and it has also competed in the Welsh Cup, winning it six times, a record for an English team. From 1910 onwards, the club was based at Gay Meadow on the banks of the River Severn, since 2007, they have played at the New Meadow, Shrewsbury Town were formed at a meeting on 20 May 1886 at the Turf Hotel in Claremont Hill, Shrewsbury. This was following the demise of first Shropshire Wanderers and later indirectly after Castle Blues, the Blues were a rough team, leading to their demise after several games were marred by violence. The new team hoped to be as successful but without the notoriety, press reports differ as to the date the new club was formed, The Eddowes Shropshire Journal of 26 May 1886 reported the birth of the club at The Lion Hotel, Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury. The Shrewsbury Chronicle reported the clubs being formed at the Turf Hotel, Claremont Hill and it may be both accounts are true, with a get-together at The Lion being finalised at the Turf. In 1910, Shrewsbury looked to move to a new ground, having spent early years at locations across the town, the club moved to Gay Meadow on the edge of the town centre, within sight of Shrewsbury Abbey, and stayed 97 years. Shrewsburys Birmingham League days were mostly mid-table, with a few seasons challenging near the top, a move to the Midland Champions League in 1937–38 saw the club enjoy one of its most successful seasons, winning a league and cup treble. Shrewsbury were league champions, scoring 111 goals, in addition, the Welsh Cup was won following a replay, the team enjoyed a run in the FA Cup, and won the Shropshire Senior Cup. After a run of seasons in post-war years, Shrewsbury were admitted to the old Division 3 of the Football League in 1950. Shrewsbury Town were elected to the Football League Division 3 North for 1950–51 following the decision to expand from 88 to 92 clubs, Shrewsbury were then promoted to the Third Division in 1958–59. They remained in the third tier 15 years, slipping back to Division Four at the end of 1973–74, 1960–61 season saw Shrewsbury Town reach the Semi Final of the League Cup. After beating Everton in the quarter-finals, they narrowly lost over two legs 4–3 on aggregate to Rotherham United and this era was also remembered for Arthur Rowley. He arrived from Leicester City in 1958, the clubs first player/manager, during his playing and managerial career, he broke Dixie Deans goal-scoring record, scoring his 380th league goal against Bradford City at Valley Parade on 29 April 1961. Retiring from playing in 1965 he remained manager until July 1968, Shrewsbury were promoted to the Third Division in 1974–75 as runners-up, before another successful season in 1978–79, when they were league champions under Ritchie Barker and later Graham Turner. Over 14,000 fans packed Gay Meadow on 17 May 1979 to see Shrewsbury seal promotion with a 4–1 win over Exeter City, in addition, the club had their first run to the FA Cup quarter-finals, before a replay defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Turner is the teams most successful manager, winning the Third Division Championship in 1978–79 – his first season in charge – to take the club into the Second Division for the first time and they remained for ten years, although Turner departed for Aston Villa in 1984
Worcester City F.C.
Worcester City Football Club is an English football club based in Worcester, Worcestershire. The club participates in the National League North, the tier of English football. Established in 1902, they have spent the majority of their history in non-league football and they currently play at Victoria Ground, home to Bromsgrove Sporting, after leaving St Georges Lane in 2013. Initially they played on Pitchcroft on an area called Severn Terrace. They played there until the start of the 1905 season and it was in 1905 that they reached the first round of the FA Cup, losing 6–0 at home to Watford. In 1924–25 they won the league for the first time, the club won back-to-back league titles in 1928–29 and 1929–30, also reaching the FA Cup first round in the former, losing 3–1 at Walsall. In 1938 they joined the Southern League, in 1940 they won the Southern League Cup beating Chelmsford 7–3 over two legs under the guidance of former Fulham F. C. legend Syd Gibbons. During World War II the club returned to the Birmingham & District League for two seasons, after the war Worcester rejoined the Southern League. In 1958–59 the club reached the first round of the FA Cup again, after beating Chelmsford City in a replay and then Millwall 5–2 in the second round, they were drawn against Liverpool. A 2–1 win saw Worcester qualify for the round against Sheffield United. They were defeated 2–0 in front of a home attendance of 17,042 at St Georges Lane. In 1973–74 the club were relegated to Division One North of the Southern League and they returned to the Premier Division as Division One champions in 1977, and in 1978–79 won the title. The following season they became members of the Alliance Premier League. However, they were relegated at the end of the 1984–85 season, the 1973–74 season saw City reach the quarter-final of the FA Trophy. They beat Taunton Town 1–0 away from home and then a 5–1 home win over Bletchley saw the club reach the third round. Having beaten Sandbach Ramblers 4–1, City progressed to the last eight where a 2–0 away defeat followed a draw against South Shields ended their cup run. In the 1978–79 season, Worcester reached the semi-finals after beating Cardiff City 3–2 in the quarters and they again played Shrewsbury, this time losing 2–0 away. The club remained in the Southern League Premier Division until 2004, in 2008 they were moved to the Conference South after no southern teams were relegated from the Conference National
Kidderminster Harriers F.C.
Kidderminster Harriers Football Club is a professional association football club based in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, England. The club participates in the National League North, the tier of English football. Formed in 1886, Kidderminster have played at Aggborough Stadium since they were formed and they are the only club from Worcestershire ever to have played in the Football League, competing from 2000 to 2005. Kidderminster Harriers were formed in 1886 from a successful athletics. In July 1880 the Athletics club amalgamated with the local Clarence rugby club to become Kidderminster Harriers, matches were played at White Wickets on the Franche Road in Kidderminster. 1885-6 was the last season played as a club and the Harriers switched to Association rules for the next season. Playing games at Chester Road Harriers first game was 18 September 1886, away to Wilden, the town saw a rival team start up as Kidderminster Olympic in 1887, rapidly becoming one of the best sides in the area. In 1887–88 the club started playing its matches at Aggborough, both Olympic and Harriers were founder members of the Birmingham and District League in 1889, Olympic won the league in 1890, with Harriers runners-up. Both sides regularly attracted crowds of 2–4,000, with the local derbies seeing over 7,000 attending, in 1890 the two clubs amalgamated as Kidderminster FC on a full professional basis, the new club being admitted to the Midland League which had been formed in 1889. The club became the first from the town to enter the FA Cup and after winning 4 qualifying round games and they lost 3–1 away to Darwen but protested the result because of the poor state of the pitch. Their protest was upheld and the tie was replayed a week later, again at Darwen, however the club found things difficult financially as a fully professional club, resigned from the league and were wound up in March 1891. The club reverted to amateur status in the Birmingham and District League the following season as Kidderminster Harriers, the club again reached the 1st Round of the F. A Cup in 1906–07, losing to Oldham Athletic away 5–0. In 1910 the then current England international full-back Jesse Pennington signed for Harriers after a dispute with his then club West Bromwich Albion and he played one game before the dispute was resolved and he returned to Albion. The twenties were hard going for the club as poor form on the pitch, Harriers did manage a League runners-up place in 1924–25. The then Wolves captain George Getgood, also in dispute at the time. The 1927–28 season saw another accusation of bribery, this time against secretary Pat Davis by Cradley Heath, during an investigation Davis admitted he had offered Burton Town players a ten shillings bonus if they managed to beat Worcester City in the last match of the season. The match was drawn so the bonus was never paid, the case made the national newspapers and Pat Davis was temporarily suspended from all duties. In 1935–36 a new scoring record for the club was set, Harriers did not win the West Midlands League until 1938, finishing the season undefeated
Dudley Town F.C.
Dudley Town Football Club is a football club based in Dudley, West Midlands, England. The club is one of the oldest non-league teams in the Midlands region, Dudley Town was founded in 1888, and in 1898 incorporated another club from the town, Dudley St Johns, moving onto the latters ground at Shavers End and entering the Birmingham & District League. After World War I the club was dormant for a number of years, in 1932 the club moved into the Sports Ground, which had been built as part of a project to provide work for the large number of unemployed men in the borough in the inter-war years. Over 16,000 people attended the match at what was to remain the Robins home for fifty years. After the war the club was resurrected and progressed via the Birmingham Combination to rejoin the Birmingham League, in the 1981–82 season the Robins were promoted to the Southern Football League Midland Division for the first time in the clubs history. During that same season the club installed floodlights for the first time, the floodlights were switched on by local hero Billy Wright. Reportedly Wolverhampton Wanderers even turned down a prestigious close season tour to allow Wright to perform the ceremony, the club also refurbished the 1,800 seated stadium and installed a VIP section, press box and state of the art public address system. On 24 April 1986 Dudley won the Birmingham Senior Cup against local rivals Willenhall Town 4–2 and this was played at West Bromwich Albions ground, The Hawthorns in front of over 4,000 fans. In 1988 the club moved to a new permanent home at the Round Oak Stadium in Brierley Hill, the club officially moved out in 1996, to a groundshare arrangement at the home of Halesowen Town, with plans to sell Round Oak. However, the sale dragged on, and in 1997, facing increasing financial difficulties. In late 1997, club president Nevil Jeynes reformed the club and they were accepted into the West Midlands League, exactly 100 years after they had first joined its predecessor, in the same year, they received entry into the FA Cup after an absence of over 15 years. Nonetheless, the club plans to eventually return to a ground in the heart of Dudley itself. The 2008–09 season saw Dudley Town achieve their highest ever points total of 79, the season also saw their longest ever run in the FA Vase, reaching the second round before losing away against Daventry Town. The goalscoring exceeded that achieved in the last 14 years, with three players scoring over 15 goals, the season also ended with them being awarded FA Charter Standard. 1945–46 Joint Holders Worc Senior Cup, 1964–65 Runners Up Birmingham Senior Cup. Cup 1st Rd Proper v York City, 1980–81 Runners up West Mids Lge Div 2 Cup. 1983–84 Runners up Birmingham Senior Cup, 1984–85 Champions Southern Lge Mid Div. 2006–07 5th in West Midlands Prem League – highest league position since reforming, 2006–07 Runners up in West Midlands Premier League Cup
Stafford Rangers F.C.
The team wear black and white stripes with black shorts. Stafford Rangers rivals include Tamworth, Hednesford Town, Burton Albion, despite extensive research, no one has been able to prove conclusively when Stafford Rangers was actually formed, as early minute books were destroyed during the First World War. Rangers early matches were cup games and friendlies, with the reaching the FA Cup First Round in both 1884–85 and 1885–86. The club then had spells in the Shropshire League, Birmingham League and North Staffordshire League up to the turn of the century, and moved to their present Marston Road home in 1896. In 1900–01 Stafford rejoined the Birmingham League and in 1904–05 had an FA Cup run to the last Qualifying Round bowing out in a replay at Second Division Blackpool. They were demoted to the Birmingham Combination in 1912 but won the championship at the first attempt, Rangers won the Birmingham League title in 1926–27, twice finished runners-up and were twice third in five memorable seasons. During this period a total of 542 league goals were scored with striker Eddie Cameron regularly scoring goals, during April 1935 a successful appeal for £100 to pay creditors enabled the club to survive. When war broke out in 1939, Rangers participated in an emergency Birmingham League during the 1939–40 season, finishing as runners-up, after the Second World War the club reformed and played in the Birmingham Combination for six seasons, achieving a highest position of 6th in 1950–51. With a view to progress, Rangers joined the Cheshire County Football League in 1952, however, Rangers spell in the Cheshire Football League was generally one of struggle and during the early sixties financial difficulties again threatened the clubs existence. There were, however, some results, including the seven goals scored by Les Box in an 11–0 FA Cup victory over Dudley Town during September 1957. In 1965, the appointment of Colin Hutchinson as manager started an improvement, Rangers won the 1967–68 Cheshire League Cup and following season finished as Cheshire League runners-up to earn a place in the Northern Premier League. The seventies were the most successful era in the clubs history, however, they failed to gain election to the Football League, and have never since finished high enough to enter the Football League. The home Third Round tie with Rotherham attracted a record of 8,536 people to Marston Road. After Chapman had departed to manage League club Stockport County, Rangers were again at Wembley Stadium in 1975–76 for their second FA Trophy Final, roy Chapman returned as manager and success continued with a second FA Trophy Final win in 1979, this time against Kettering Town. After four seasons Rangers were relegated to the Northern Premier League and this form continued, but with the appointment of Ron Reid as manager during the 1983–84 season as manager the club soon began to rebuild its reputation and won the 1984–85 League title. Back in the Alliance, the Bob Lord Trophy, Jim Thompson Shield, during the late eighties and early nineties, Rangers struggled in the Conference, with six managers in seven seasons following Reids departure in May 1988. The sale of striker Stan Collymore to Crystal Palace in December 1990 for a substantial six-figure fee stands out in this period, under the management of Dennis Booth, Rangers enjoyed a tremendous 1992–93 campaign. In the league they finished 6th and reached the FA Cup Second Round, after Booth departed for Bristol Rovers, Rangers found success difficult to achieve and were relegated from the Conference to the Southern League Premier Division at the end of the 1994–95 season
Halesowen Town F.C.
Halesowen Town Football Club is an English association football club formed in 1873, that play in Halesowen and as of 2014 are playing in the Northern Premier League Premier Division. The team is nicknamed The Yeltz, Halesowen Town FC was formed in 1873, making it one of the oldest clubs in the Midlands, and initially played in the Birmingham Combination. In 1946, it joined the Birmingham and District League and was champions in its very first season, the 1960s saw it consistently finish high in the league, but by contrast the 1970s saw it struggle, finishing bottom of the table twice. The 1983 final saw the club lose 1–0 to VS Rugby, in 1983, the club also beat Heybridge Swifts in the final of the Thorn EMI six-a-side tournament at the Alexandra Stadium and won a £20,000 set of floodlights for their ground. The early 1990 were dominated by players leaving to join clubs, including Dean Spink, Stuart Cash, Andy Pearce, Tim Clarke, Sean Flynn. For its first eight seasons at this level Halesowen never finished outside the top 10, including being beaten to promotion by Rushden. Financial difficulties, however, led to a slump which culminated in relegation in 2001, although Halesowen bounced back in style, winning the Western Division championship at a canter, the club was relegated once again in 2003. The club failed to return to two of the non-league pyramid the following season, finishing fourth and missing out on the new Conference North. The club appointed the former Walsall and Birmingham City captain Martin OConnor as manager in late 2006, Halesowen came close to gaining promotion in 2006–07, losing to Hitchin Town in the last game of the season, which meant missing the playoffs. In October 2007, the club was sold to an owner who brought in former Kettering FC manager Morell Maison. On October 18, former Manchester United and Aston Villa manager Ron Atkinson was appointed as a consultant to the new manager, in autumn 2009, insolvency experts Marshman Price were appointed as the clubs administrators. The team enjoyed a successful start to the 2009–10 season after receiving a 10-point deduction for entering administration. Brendan Phillips left the club and the rose to fifth position by the turn of the new year. Shaun Cunnington appointed Paul Tomlinson as his assistant manager and made staying up his top priority, according to the clubs records, it has played at The Grove since its formation in 1873. The ground was originally a cricket pitch and was therefore a three sided stadium, in the 1930s, a small wooden stand was constructed along the perimeter of the James Grove Button Factory. During the 1950s, the Old Hawne Lane end was constructed along with changing rooms, during this time players had to change in the Waggon and Horses public house on Stourbridge Road. In the 1980s, the three sided ground was converted to four with the addition of the uncovered terracing along the Recreation Park side of the ground. In 1987, the 420 seater Harry Rudge Stand was completed on the site of the 1930s vintage wooden cover, the stand was extended in 1998 and again in 2000
Burton United F.C.
Burton United Football Club was a football club based in Burton upon Trent in England. The club was established in 1901 by a merger of Burton Swifts and Burton Wanderers, between 1901 and 1907 the club were members of the Football League. The club was formed in 1901 when Burton Swifts merged with Burton Wanderers, Swifts had played in the Football League since 1892, whilst Wanderers had been Football League members between 1894 and 1897 but were now members of the Midland League. It was unusual for a town such as Burton to host two Football League clubs so it was hoped the merger would see an upturn in fortunes for the United club. The new club took Swifts place in the Second Division of the Football League, however, the new club failed to achieve success, and never finished above 10th place or made it past the first round of the FA Cup. In the 1904–05 and 1905–06 seasons the club finished in second last place, at the end of the season the club failed to win re-election, losing their Football League place to Fulham. Following the re-election meeting Burslem Port Vale resigned from the League, the club dropped into the Birmingham & District League, and in 1909 also became members of the Southern League. They became Burton Town in 1924 and they ceased playing in 1940, and were merged into Burton Albion shortly after they were founded in 1950. Albion did not reach the tier of English football, however, until 2015–16
Aberdare Athletic F.C.
Aberdare Athletic Football Club were a Welsh football club founded in 1893 and based in Aberdare. They joined the Football League in 1921 but were replaced by Torquay United after failing to be re-elected in 1927, founded in 1893, Aberdare were Welsh Cup runners-up, in 1903–04 1904–05 and 1922–23. In 1920–21 they joined the Welsh Section of the Southern League and that gained them entry to the Football League Third Division South in time for 1921–22. Aberdare spent six seasons in the League, with their best season being 1921–22, however, in the next season, 1926–27 Aberdare Athletic finished bottom of the Third Division South and failed to gain re-election to the league, Torquay United took their place. The merged club fully renamed themselves as Aberdare & Aberaman Athletic, however, the merged club only survived for another year, and in 1928 the Aberaman faction split away from the club to re-form Aberaman Athletic, while the Aberdare half folded. The club had several different team colours during their existence and their membership of the Football League coincided with that of a team from another Welsh town Merthyr Town. Comprehensive histories of the ex-Football League clubs, Volume 1, Aberdare Athletic at the Football Club History Database
Molineux Stadium is a Championship football stadium situated in Wolverhampton, England. The stadium has however hosted England internationals and, more recently, England under-21 internationals, although currently a 31,000 seater stadium, the record attendance at Molineux stands at 61,315. Initial plans were announced in May 2010 to rebuild two sides of the stadium by the 2014–15 season to increase capacity to around 36,000, the first stage of this project began in summer 2011 and was completed on course for the start of the 2012–13 season. There are also future plans for a longer term redevelopment of every stand that could potentially create a 50,000 capacity. It consists of four stands, the Steve Bull Stand, the Sir Jack Hayward Stand, the Stan Cullis Stand, both the Billy Wright and Stan Cullis stands feature statues of each man in front of them. The total seated capacity of the stands is approximately 31,500, the 1940s and 1950s saw average attendances for seasons regularly exceed 40,000, coinciding with the clubs peak on the field. The first was a 6–1 win over Ireland on 7 March 1891, England again beat Ireland, this time 4–0, on 14 February 1903 and lost to Wales 2–1 on 5 February 1936. The last was a 5–2 defeat of Denmark in a 1958 World Cup qualifier on 5 December 1956 and it has also hosted three England under-21 internationals and, in 2005, hosted some European Youth Championship qualifying matches. On 24 June 2003, Molineux also became Wolverhamptons biggest live concert venue, up until May 2011, the ground had a capacity of 29,400. The lower tier of the new North Bank was opened for use in September 2011 for the second home game of the season. The upper tier on the new stand was completed by the start of the 2012–13 season, however the club have delayed the second phase of the redevelopment in rebuilding the Steve Bull Stand. For both the 2012–13 and 2013–14 seasons in the Championship and League One respectively, the South-West Corner has been closed. The Molineux name originates from Benjamin Molineux, a local merchant who, in 1744, purchased land on which he built Molineux House. The estate was purchased in 1860 by O. E, mcGregor, who converted the land into a pleasure park open to the public. Molineux Grounds, as it was titled, included a range of facilities including an ice rink, a cycling track, a boating lake and, most crucially. The grounds were sold to the Northampton Brewery in 1889, who rented its use to Wolverhampton Wanderers, after renovating the site, the first ever league game was staged on 7 September 1889 in a 2–0 victory over Notts County before a crowd of 4,000. Wolves bought the freehold in 1923 for £5,607 and soon set about constructing a grandstand on the Waterloo Road side. In 1932, the club built a new stand on the Molineux Street side
Harold Leese was an English footballer who played for Bradford City, Crewe Alexandra, Port Vale and Stoke. He helped Stoke to win two league titles. Leese was born in Staffordshire and played football with local sides Smallthorne and Goldenhill Villa. After playing for Golden Hill, he had a spell with Bradford City between July 1908 and May 1909, making one appearance, before returning to Stoke in 1909. He scored 19 goals in 50 appearances in the 1909–10 season and he scored nine goals in 53 matches in the 1910–11 season, as the Potters won the Birmingham & District League title and finished second in the Southern League Division Two. He scored once in 14 games in the 1911–12 season, and he moved to local rivals Port Vale in May 1913. He played regular football between September and December 1914, but then left to help his country fight World War II and he made two appearances whilst on leave, returning permanently upon his demobilization in April 1919. He left at the end of the 1918–19 campaign as he was unable to agree terms with the club, instead he joined nearby Crewe Alexandra, and later played for Goldenhill Wanderers. Sourced from Harry Leese profile at the English National Football Archive
Villa Park is a football stadium in Aston, Birmingham, England, with a seating capacity of 42,682. It has been the home of Aston Villa Football Club since 1897, the ground is less than a mile from both Witton and Aston railway stations and has hosted sixteen England internationals at senior level, the first in 1899 and the most recent in 2005. It was the first English ground to stage international football in three different centuries, Villa Park has hosted more FA Cup semi-finals than any other stadium, having hosted 55 matches in total. In 1897, Aston Villa moved into the Aston Lower Grounds, a ground in a Victorian amusement park in the former grounds of Aston Hall. The stadium has gone through stages of renovation and development, resulting in the current stand configuration of the Holte End, Trinity Road Stand, North Stand. The club has planning permission to redevelop the North Stand. Before 1914, a track ran around the perimeter of the pitch where regular cycling meetings were hosted as well as athletic events. Aside from football-related uses, the stadium has seen various concerts staged along with sporting events including boxing matches and international rugby league. In 1999, the last ever final of the UEFA Cup Winners Cup took place at Villa Park, Villa Park also hosted the 2012 FA Community Shield, as Wembley Stadium was unavailable due to it staging the final of the Olympic football tournament. The Aston Lower Grounds, later renamed Villa Park, was not the first home of Aston Villa F. C and their previous venue, Wellington Road faced increasing problems including an uneven pitch, poor spectator facilities, a lack of access and exorbitant rents. As a result, in 1894, Villas committee began negotiations with the owners of the Aston Lower Grounds, situated in the former grounds of Aston Hall, a Jacobean stately home, the Lower Grounds had seen varied uses over the years. The current pitch stands on the site of the Dovehouse Pool, the committee immediately engaged an architect who began preparing plans for the site, which included construction of a new 440 yards cement cycle track to replace the existing cinder one. The main stand was to be built to the east on the Witton Lane side, with the track, construction of the final phase of the stadium began in the winter of 1896 following negotiations with contractors over the price. Several months behind schedule, the stadium finally opened on 17 April 1897. The process of fixing issues with the work would continue for a number of months thereafter. As built, the stadium could house 40,000 spectators, the first match at the ground, a friendly against Blackburn Rovers, took place on 17 April 1897, one week after Aston Villa had completed the League and FA Cup Double. After winning the championship in 1899, Villas record-breaking average crowd of 21,000 allowed the club to invest in a two-stage ground improvement programme. In 1911, Villa bought the freehold of the ground for £8,250, the buildings in the old aquarium and car park area for £1,500
War Memorial Athletic Ground
The War Memorial Athletic Ground, often referred to as simply the War Memorial Ground, is a sports ground in the Amblecote region of Stourbridge, West Midlands, England. It plays host to cricket and football, being the home of Stourbridge Cricket Club and Stourbridge Football Club. Two ICC Trophy matches have been played at the War Memorial Ground, Bermuda v Papua New Guinea in 1979, the ground also hosted a match in the 1997 Triple Crown Tournament, between an England Cricket Board XI and Ireland. Worcestershire County Cricket Club played 61 first-class matches at the ground,60 between 1905 and 1962, and a one in 1981. All these games were in the County Championship, only three List A games have been played here, in 1969,1970 and 1982, again all involving Worcestershire. The county played Second XI cricket at the ground into the early 1990s, on this ground in 1911, Worcestershire lost to Lancashire by 372 runs, which as of the beginning of the 2009 season remains the countys largest ever defeat in terms of runs. C. The ground hosted League One team Walsall in the FA Cup 1st round on 7 November 2009, the match finished in a 0-1 loss for Stourbridge. It also hosted a replay between Stourbridge and Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup on 22 November 2011
Telford /ˈtɛlfərd/ is a large new town in the borough of Telford and Wrekin and ceremonial county of Shropshire, England, about 13 miles east of Shrewsbury, and 30 miles north west of Birmingham. With an estimated population of 170,300 in 2010 and around 155,000 in Telford itself, Telford is the largest town in Shropshire and it is named after civil engineer Thomas Telford, who engineered many road and rail projects in Shropshire. The town was put together in the 1960s and 1970s as a new town on previously industrial and agricultural land and smaller towns. Like other planned towns of the era, Telford was created from the merger of other, smaller settlements, most notably the towns of Wellington, Oakengates, many of the New Towns newer inhabitants were originally from Birmingham or Wolverhampton. Telford Shopping Centre, a shopping mall, was constructed at the new towns geographical centre. The M54 motorway was completed in 1983, improving the road links with the West Midlands conurbation. On Telfords southern boundaries is the Ironbridge Gorge, a scenic tourist destination, the town advertises itself as The Birthplace of Industry, due to it having Coalbrookdale and other places in the Ironbridge Gorge area, within its boundary. These areas are internationally recognised as being important to the Industrial Revolution, early settlement in the area was thought to be on the land that sloped up from the Weald Moors towards the line along which the Roman Watling Street was built. Farmland surrounded three large estates in the 10th century, namely Wellington, Wrockwardine and Lilleshall, from the 13th century there was urban development in Wellington and Madeley, where Wenlock Priory founded a new town. Six monastic houses, founded in the 11th and 12th centuries, had interests in the areas economic growth. They collectively acquired almost half of the area, and profited from coal and ironstone mines, the New Town was first designated on 16 January 1963 as Dawley New Town, covering 9,100 acres of Dawley, Wenlock, Oakengates, Wellington Rural District and Shifnal Rural District. Development started, guided by the Dawley New Town Development Corporation, initial planning and design concepts for Dawley New Town were produced by the Birmingham-based John Madin Design Group. The Minister proposed an extension of 12,000 acres in 1968, which saw objections and this Order also renamed the new town Telford, after the Scottish-born civil engineer Thomas Telford who, in 1787, became Surveyor of Public Works for Shropshire. Other suggested names at the time were Dawelloak and Wrekin Forest City, Telford was now 25 years old and was firmly established as one of the most important towns in the region. In 1983, after fierce opposition and three public enquiries, the M54 motorway was completed, connecting the town to the M6, other major roads are the A5, A518 and A442, which is commonly known as the Eastern Primary or EP, and is officially branded Queensway. Many of the new residents were originally from the West Midlands conurbation. The vast majority of the council house tenants in Telford were rehoused from inner city Birmingham. g, the new towns residents who arrived in the 1960s and 1970s earned the unwanted nickname overspill from people living in the existing towns and villages. The reason for expansion is that the original centre was only ever a shopping place with no real heart