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
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
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
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
Reading Football Club is a professional association football club based in Reading, Berkshire, England. The team play in the Championship, the tier of English football. The club played at Elm Park for 102 years between 1896 and 1998, in 1998 the club moved to the new Madejski Stadium, which is named after the clubs co-chairman Sir John Madejski. Reading then finished eighth in the 2006–07 Premier League, their first ever season as a top flight club, Reading were formed on 25 December 1871, following a public meeting at the Bridge Street Rooms organised by the future club secretary Joseph Edward Sydenham. The early matches were played at Reading Recreation Ground, and later the club held fixtures at Reading Cricket Ground, Coley Park and Caversham Cricket Ground. The switch to professionalism in 1895 resulted in the need for a ground and, to this end. In 1913, Reading had a tour of Italy, prompting the leading sports newspaper Corriere della Sera to write without doubt. Reading were elected to the Football League Third Division South of the Football League in 1920, Reading lost their place in Division Two in May 1931, and remained in Third Division South until the outbreak of World War II. When League football resumed after the war, Reading quickly came to prominence once again, the sides moment of cup glory came in 1988 when they won the Simod Cup, beating a number of top flight sides en route to their Wembley win over Luton Town. Reading were promoted to the Second Division as champions in 1986 under the management of Ian Branfoot, the appointment of Mark McGhee as player-manager, shortly after the takeover by John Madejski, in 1991 saw Reading move forward. They were crowned champions of the new Division Two in 1994, in 1995, Reading had eased past Tranmere Rovers in the play-off semi-finals and looked to have booked their place in the Premier League only to lose against Bolton Wanderers in the final. Quinn and Goodings contracts were not renewed two years later after Reading had slid into the half of Division One. Their successor, Terry Bullivant, lasted less than one season before being sacked in March 1998, the year 1998 also saw Reading move into the new 24,200 all-seater Madejski Stadium, named after Chairman John Madejski. Tommy Burns had taken over from Terry Bullivant but lasted just 18 months before being replaced by Alan Pardew, the club finished third in 2000–01 qualifying for the play-offs, losing 2–3 in the final against Walsall at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Reading returned to Division One for 2002–03 after finishing runners-up in Division Two, the following season, they finished fourth in Division One and qualified for the play-offs, where they lost in the semi-final to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Alan Pardew moved to West Ham United the following October and was replaced by Steve Coppell, Reading won the 2005–06 Championship with a league record 106 points, scoring 99 goals and losing only twice. Reading were promoted to English footballs top division for the first time in their history, the 2006–07 season saw Reading make their first appearance in the top flight of English football. Reading defied pre-season predictions of relegation to finish the season in place with 55 points
Sheffield United F.C.
Sheffield United Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. The team competes in League One, the tier of English football. The football club was formed in 1889 as an offshoot of Sheffield United Cricket Club, the club have played their home games at Bramall Lane since their formation in 1889. Bramall Lane is currently an all-seater ground with a capacity of 32,609, Sheffield United won the original First Division in 1898 and the FA Cup in 1899,1902,1915 and 1925. They were beaten finalists in the FA Cup in 1901 and 1936 and they reached the semi-finals of the League Cup in 2003 and 2015. For most of the history they have played in red. Their closest rivals are Sheffield Wednesday, with whom they contest the Steel City Derby, Sheffield United formed on 22 March 1889 at the Adelphi Hotel, Sheffield by the President of the Cricket Club Sir Charles Clegg. The Wednesday had moved from Bramall Lane to their own ground at Olive Grove, Sir Charles Clegg was incidentally also the president of The Wednesday. Their darkest days came between 1975 and 1981 and they did fall back into the Third Division in 1988, but new manager Dave Bassett masterminded a quick revival which launched the Blades towards one of the most successful eras in their history. Successive promotions in the aftermath of the 1988 relegation saw them return to the First Division in 1990 after a 14-year exile and they survived at this level for four seasons and reached an FA Cup semi-final in the 1992–93 season before being relegated in 1994. Three years later, however, Warnock delivered a Premier League return as the Blades finished runners-up in the rebranded Football League Championship, Neil Warnock resigned as manager after the Blades went down. The Blades did reach the Championship playoff final in 2009 under Kevin Blackwell, in the 2011–12 season, the club finished third in League One, narrowly missing out on automatic promotion to rivals Sheffield Wednesday, and entered the playoffs. With victory over Stevenage in the semi-final, United missed out on a return to the Championship after suffering a penalty shootout defeat to Huddersfield Town. In 2014, the Blades gained the nickname of giant-killers, having reached the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley, losing 5–3 to Hull City. In 2014–15, they reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and semi-finals of the Football League Cup, the club was formed by members of the Sheffield United Cricket Club, itself formed in 1854 and the first English sports club to use United in its name. Sheffield Uniteds predominant nickname is The Blades, a reference to Sheffields status as the producer of cutlery in the United Kingdom. Because of this, the nickname would also be used in reference to rivals Sheffield Wednesday, another nickname used was The Cutlers. In 1907, Wednesday came to be referred to as The Owls, in reference to their new ground in Owlerton, within Sheffield fans of the club are also sometimes referred to as Unitedites
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
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
Kettering Town F.C.
Kettering Town Football Club is an English football club originating in Kettering, Northamptonshire but currently based in the town of Burton Latimer. The club participates in the Southern League Premier Division, the tier of English football. Kettering Town were originally formed in 1872, turning professional in 1891, the club graduated through twelve different leagues from 1892 until they became founding members of the Alliance Premier League in 1979. The club maintained its status in the top flight of football until the 2000–01 season. Many honours have found their way to Rockingham Road, winning the Midland Football League title in 1896 and 1900, the Southern League Championship was won on three occasions by the club, in 1928 and 1957 under Tommy Lawton and in 1973 under the guidance of Ron Atkinson. In the 1930s the club won the East Midlands League and in 1948 the Poppies became Birmingham League Champions, during the 1970s, Kettering Town sought election to the Football League, coming five votes short of election in 1974. The deal was brokered by chief executive and manager Derek Dougan, four days later, The Football Association ordered the club to remove the slogan, but Dougan changed the words on the shirts to Kettering T, and claimed that the T stood for Town. Nonetheless, the FA ordered the club to remove the words, shirt sponsorship was eventually permitted within the English game in 1977, although the ban on shirt sponsors in televised games wasnt lifted until 1983. Kettering are also the first ever British team to have their initials on their grounds floodlights, the club finished runners-up in the Football Conference in 1981,1989,1994 and 1998. The GMAC Cup was won in 1987 and the Poppies were runners-up in 1995, County competitions have been won regularly by Kettering Town, with the Northants Senior Cup won on 28 occasions and the Maunsell Cup 13 times. The FA Cup has brought success and publicity to Rockingham Road with the first round proper being reached on 41 occasions. During the 1994–95 season the club made their debut live on Sky TV in a first round tie against Plymouth Argyle, as of 2016 the Poppies had scored more goals than any other team in the FA Cups history, with 870 goals scored in 381 appearances. Wembley has been reached on two occasions before, the Poppies lost 2–0 to Stafford Rangers in the 1979 FA Trophy Final. More recently, the FA Trophy Final in 2000 saw the Poppies lose a closely fought final with Kingstonian 3–2, most recently, the club were narrowly relegated on the last day of the 2000–01 season which ended 30 years in the top flight of non-league football. The following season was a disappointment and the club, rarely out of the bottom three, were again demoted – this time to the Isthmian League. Carl Shutt left the club in April 2003 and Dominic Genovese, after a period as acting manager. After a poor run of results and a disappointing defeat to Boreham Wood in the FA Cup Dominic Genovese was replaced by former Northampton Town manager. Changes to the team were made and the finished the season on a 12-game unbeaten run
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
Lincoln City F.C.
Lincoln City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Lincoln, Lincolnshire. The club participates in the National League, the tier of English football. The club plays at the 10, 312-capacity Sincil Bank, and are nicknamed the Imps after the legend of the Lincoln Imp and they have also been known as the Red Imps. Traditionally they play in red and white striped shirts with shorts and red. Their most recent championship win was the Football Conference, in the 1987–88 season. This season saw the set a all-time record attendance for a Conference match, attracting 9,432 spectators in a 2–0 win against Wycombe Wanderers, on 2 May 1988. The game also decided the championship, as beforehand Lincoln had not occupied the top spot at any point in the season, the clubs highest-ever position is fifth in the Second Division in 1901–02. They have not been higher than the third tier since 1960–61 and their best performance in the League Cup came in 1967–68, when they reached the fourth round before losing 0–3 at home to Derby County in a replay. Lincoln have reached the play-offs of the Third Division/League Two in five seasons, from 2002–03 to 2006–07, losing in the final twice. This failure to succeed in five consecutive play-off competitions is also a record, having formed officially as an amateur association in 1884 after the disbanding of Lincoln Rovers, football in the city of Lincoln had been prominent since the 1860s. George Hallam set two records for the club that day and he scored the first ever goal for the club, and also the first ever hat-trick. Their first competitive game at home ended in an emphatic manner, beating Boston Excelsior 11–0. It was at time, before the club gained entry into the Football League and professional status. They won it for the first time in the 1886–87 season with a 2–0 replay victory over neighbours Grimsby Town F. C. after the match had finished 2–2. Lincoln soon helped to form what was then the Second Division in 1892–93 season and their first game in the Football League was a 4–2 away defeat to Sheffield United on 3 September 1892. Their first home game was also against Sheffield United, this time, however, the first game at Sincil Bank in 1895, after moving from the John OGaunts Ground due to Dawbers death, was a 0–0 friendly draw with local rivals, Gainsborough Trinity. The first competitive fixture at the ground was against Arsenal, the game ended 1–1, in January 1907 The Imps knocked Chelsea out of the FA Cup after a replay. Managed by David Calderhead, two goals salvaged a home draw in the first leg
Manchester City F.C.
Manchester City Football Club is a football club in Manchester, England. Founded in 1880 as St. Marks, they became Ardwick Association Football Club in 1887, the club moved to the City of Manchester Stadium in 2003, having played at Maine Road since 1923. After losing the 1981 FA Cup Final, the club went through a period of decline, having regained their Premier League status in the early 2000s, the club was purchased in 2008 by Abu Dhabi United Group and has become one of the wealthiest in the world. Since 2011 the club have won five major honours, including the Premier League in 2012 and 2014, by 2014–15, Manchester City had the sixth-highest revenue in the footballing world with an annual revenue of €463.5 million. In 2016, Forbes magazine estimated they were the sixth most valuable football club. City gained their first honours by winning the Second Division in 1899, with it promotion to the highest level in English football. A fire at Hyde Road destroyed the main stand in 1920, in the 1930s, Manchester City reached two consecutive FA Cup finals, losing to Everton in 1933, before claiming the Cup by beating Portsmouth in 1934. The club won the First Division title for the first time in 1937, after relegation to the Second Division in 1963, the future looked bleak with a record low home attendance of 8,015 against Swindon Town in January 1965. In the summer of 1965, the management team of Joe Mercer, in the first season under Mercer, City won the Second Division title and made important signings in Mike Summerbee and Colin Bell. Further trophies followed, City won the FA Cup in 1969, before achieving European success by winning the European Cup Winners Cup in 1970, beating Górnik Zabrze 2–1 in Vienna. City also won the League Cup that season, becoming the second English team to win a European trophy, the club continued to challenge for honours throughout the 1970s, finishing one point behind the league champions on two occasions and reaching the final of the 1974 League Cup. Former United player Denis Law scored with a backheel to give City a 1–0 win at Old Trafford, the final trophy of the clubs most successful period was won in 1976, when Newcastle United were beaten 2–1 in the League Cup final. A long period of decline followed the success of the 1960s and 1970s, Malcolm Allison rejoined the club to become manager for the second time in 1979, but squandered large sums of money on unsuccessful signings, such as Steve Daley. A succession of managers then followed – seven in the 1980s alone, under John Bond, City reached the 1981 FA Cup final but lost in a replay to Tottenham Hotspur. The club were relegated from the top flight in the 1980s. However, this was only a respite, and following Reids departure Manchester Citys fortunes continued to fade. City were co-founders of the Premier League upon its creation in 1992, after two seasons in Division One, City fell to the lowest point in their history, becoming the second ever European trophy winners to be relegated to their countrys third league tier, after 1. After relegation, the club underwent off-the-field upheaval, with new chairman David Bernstein introducing greater fiscal discipline, under manager Joe Royle, City were promoted at the first attempt, achieved in dramatic fashion in a play-off against Gillingham
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
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
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
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
Wednesbury Old Athletic F.C.
Wednesbury Old Athletic was an English association football club based in Wednesbury, West Midlands. There were three clubs that had this name, the first began life as the Wednesbury Literary & Athletic Institute in October 1874, adopting the more familiar title of Wednesbury Old Athletic Club the following year. WOAC became a member of the Birmingham & District Football Association in December 1875 and won the inaugural Birmingham Cup competition. This success was repeated two years later, and in 1880, having joined the Staffordshire Football Association, the Old Athletic won the Staffs Cup, beating Aston Villa 2–1 in the Final. The club played in the FA Cup of 1881–82 and reached the quarter finals, but they lost 13–0 to Villa in the Cup on 30 October 1886 and would later be knocked out of the competition by Blackburn Rovers. Wednesbury Old Athletic played in the Birmingham & District League from 1890 to 1891, after narrowly missing out on the Midland League championship in 1892 the clubs fortunes declined. Wednesbury was unable to support a club and the Old Athletic disbanded in July 1893. The second club was formed from the ashes of the first, unable to obtain the use of a regular home ground, the club withdraw from the Walsall Junior League half way through the season and subsequently folded. The third club began life as Wednesbury Excelsior in around 1891 and it existed in local football, playing cup ties and friendlies, before joining the West Midlands Amateur League in 1896. Finishing as runners-up at the first attempt, the joined the Walsall & District League in 1897. WOAC spent 10 seasons in league, winning the title in 1900 &1905. The club dropped back down to the Birmingham Combination, but after collecting just a point from 12 fixtures the Old Athletic withdrew from the competition. The original club played at the Wells Field, through which Rooth Street now runs. It later played at the Athletic Ground, on the side of Wood Green Cemetery. Its best known home ground is listed as the Oval on St Pauls Road, Wood Green. It was also nearby Bescot Junction and Wood Green railway station and this is close to the site of present-day Wood Green High School, where a playing field known affectionately as Elwells existed until recently. The name Elwell refers to Edward Elwell, who owned a forge in Wednesbury that was previously situated at Wood Green. The later club played at different grounds, including The Press Ground in Wood Green, The Oval, The Central Grounds on Lloyd Street
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
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
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
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
Cardiff City F.C.
Cardiff City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Cardiff, Wales that competes in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. The club was founded in 1899 as Riverside A. F. C. before changing its name to Cardiff City in 1908 and they play their home games at the Cardiff City Stadium, after moving from Ninian Park in 2009. The club reverted to their traditional blue in January 2015 and they have long-standing rivalries with nearby clubs Swansea City, known as the South Wales derby, and Bristol City, known as the Severnside derby. The club was founded in 1899 as Riverside A. F. C and their first season saw them playing friendlies against local sides at their Sophia Gardens ground, but in 1900 they joined the Cardiff & District League for their first competitive season. To combat this they arranged to join the South Wales Amateur League in 1907, with the club growing in stature, they were forced to turn down the opportunity to join the newly formed Southern League Second Division due to the lack of facilities at their Sophia Gardens ground. The club eventually secured land to build their own stadium, moving into Ninian Park, the club made its first signing the following year with the acquisition of Jack Evans from fellow Welsh club Cwmparc. With the new ground in place, Cardiff joined the Southern League Second Division, and appointed their first manager in Davy McDougall, who became player-manager. They went on to finish in place in their first year in the league but the board decided to replace McDougall with Fred Stewart. In 1920, the club submitted an application to join the Football League and were placed into the Second Division for the 1920–21 season. Stewart brought in players with Football League experience, breaking the clubs transfer record on two occasions to sign Jimmy Gill and later Jimmy Blair from The Wednesday. In the 74th minute, after collecting a throw George MacLachlan, dan Lewis, the Arsenal goalkeeper, appeared to collect the ball but, under pressure from the advancing Len Davies, clumsily allowed the ball to roll through his grasp. In a further attempt to retrieve the ball Lewis only succeeded in knocking the ball with his elbow into his own net, captain Fred Keenor received the FA Cup trophy from King George V only seven years after Cardiff City had entered the Football League. However, he was unable to turn the fortunes around by the end of the season. McCandless left the club soon after and was replaced by Cyril Spiers who led the club to promotion the in 1951–52 season, however, despite spending five seasons in the First Division, the club continually struggled in the bottom half of the table and were eventually relegated in 1957. They returned to the First Division for two seasons between 1960 and 1962 before again suffering relegation, during the 1960s, Cardiff began qualifying for European competition for the first time as a result of winning the Welsh Cup. They went on to reach the quarter-finals before being knocked out by Real Zaragoza, despite their exploits in Europe, the club were still struggling in league competition under the stewardship of Jimmy Scoular, finishing in 20th position in the Second Division. After a 1–1 draw in the first leg, just over 43,000 fans turned out at Ninian Park to watch Hamburg win 3–2, during the 1970–71 season, Cardiff reached the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners Cup where they faced Spanish side Real Madrid. The first leg of the tie was held at Ninian Park where 47,000 fans watched one of the most famous victories in the history when Brian Clark headed in to give Cardiff a 1–0 win
Treharris Athletic Western F.C.
Treharris Athletic Western F. C. is a football club based in Treharris in south Wales. They play at the Athletic Ground, as of the 2011–12 season the club plays in the Welsh Football League Division Two. As of the 2012–13 season the club plays in the Welsh Football League Division Three and they joined the Western Football League Division Two in 1906 and were the Western League champions in 1910. The club played continuously in the Welsh Football League between 1958–59 and 2008–09, Welsh Football League Champions, 1909–10 Official website
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
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
Worcester is a city in Worcestershire, England,31 miles southwest of Birmingham and 27 miles north of Gloucester. The River Severn flanks the western side of the city centre, the Battle of Worcester was the final battle of the English Civil War, where Oliver Cromwells New Model Army defeated King Charles Is Cavaliers. Worcester is known as the home of Royal Worcester Porcelain, composer Edward Elgar, Lea & Perrins, makers of traditional Worcestershire sauce, the trade route past Worcester which later formed part of the Roman Ryknild Street dates to Neolithic times. The position commanded a ford over the River Severn and was fortified by the Britons around 400 BC and it would have been on the northern border of the Dobunni and probably subject to the larger communities of the Malvern hillforts. It may have been the Vertis mentioned in the 7th-century Ravenna Cosmography, using charcoal from the Forest of Dean, the Romans operated pottery kilns and ironworks at the site and may have built a small fort. In the 3rd century, Roman Worcester occupied an area than the subsequent medieval city. Industrial production ceased and the settlement contracted to a position along the lines of the old British fort at the river terraces southern end. This settlement is identified with the Cair Guiragon listed among the 28 cities of Britain by the History of the Britons attributed to Nennius. This is not a British name but an adaption of its Old English name Weorgoran ceaster, the Weorgoran were precursors of Hwicce and probably West Saxons who entered the area some time after the 577 Battle of Dyrham. The oldest known church was St Helens, which was certainly British, the town was almost destroyed in 1041 after a rebellion against the punitive taxation of Harthacanute. During this time, the relocated to the nearby Bevere Island,2 miles upriver. The following century, the town was attacked several times during The Anarchy, by late medieval times the population had grown to around 10,000 as the manufacture of cloth started to become a large local industry. The town was designated a county corporate, giving it autonomy from local government. Worcester was the site of the Battle of Worcester, when Charles II attempted to regain the crown, in the fields a little to the west and south of the city. Worcester had supported the Parliamentary cause before the outbreak of war in 1642 but spent most of the war under Royalist occupation. After the war it used its location as the site of the final battles of the First Civil War. As part of this and not based upon any historical fact, it invented the epithet Fidelis Civitas, in 1670, the River Severn broke its banks and the subsequent flood was the worst ever seen by Worcester. The closest flood height to what is known as The Flood of 1670 was when the Severn flooded in the rains of July 2007
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