England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west, the Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east, the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain in its centre and south, and includes over 100 smaller islands such as the Isles of Scilly, and the Isle of Wight. England became a state in the 10th century, and since the Age of Discovery. The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the worlds first industrialised nation, Englands terrain mostly comprises low hills and plains, especially in central and southern England. However, there are uplands in the north and in the southwest, the capital is London, which is the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland through another Act of Union to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain, the name England is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means land of the Angles. The Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages, the Angles came from the Angeln peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea. The earliest recorded use of the term, as Engla londe, is in the ninth century translation into Old English of Bedes Ecclesiastical History of the English People. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars, it has been suggested that it derives from the shape of the Angeln peninsula, an angular shape. An alternative name for England is Albion, the name Albion originally referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus, specifically the 4th century BC De Mundo, in it are two very large islands called Britannia, these are Albion and Ierne. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, the word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins. Albion is now applied to England in a poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England, Lloegr, the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximately 780,000 years ago. The oldest proto-human bones discovered in England date from 500,000 years ago, Modern humans are known to have inhabited the area during the Upper Paleolithic period, though permanent settlements were only established within the last 6,000 years
Aston Villa F.C.
Aston Villa Football Club is a professional association football club based in Aston, Birmingham, that plays in the Championship, the second level of English football. Founded in 1874, they have played at their current home ground, Villa Park, Aston Villa were one of the founder members of the Football League in 1888. They were also one of the members of the Premier League in 1992. Aston Villa are one of only five English clubs to be crowned champions of Europe and they have also won the First Division Championship seven times, the FA Cup seven times, the Football League Cup five times, and the UEFA Super Cup once. They have a local rivalry with Birmingham City and the Second City derby between the sides has been played since 1879. The clubs traditional kit colours are claret shirts with sky blue sleeves, white shorts and their traditional badge is of a rampant lion, which was introduced by the clubs Scottish chairman William McGregor in honour of the Royal Standard of Scotland. The club is owned by Recon Group Limited, a company chaired by Chinese businessman Tony Xia. Aston Villa Football Club were formed in March 1874, by members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel in Handsworth which is now part of Birmingham, the four founders of Aston Villa were Jack Hughes, Frederick Matthews, Walter Price and William Scattergood. Aston Villas first match was against the local Aston Brook St Marys Rugby team, as a condition of the match, the Villa side had to agree to play the first half under Rugby rules and the second half under Association rules. The club won their first FA Cup in 1887 with captain Archie Hunter becoming one of the games first household names. Aston Villa were one of the teams that competed in the inaugural Football League in 1888 with one of the clubs directors. Aston Villa emerged as the most successful English club of the Victorian era, winning no fewer than five League titles, in 1897, the year Villa won The Double, they moved into their present home, the Aston Lower Grounds. Supporters coined the name Villa Park, no official declaration listed the ground as Villa Park. This was largely the result of a defensive record, they conceded 110 goals in 42 games,7 of them coming from Arsenals Ted Drake in an infamous 1–7 defeat at Villa Park. Like all English clubs, Villa lost seven seasons to the Second World War, the team was rebuilt under the guidance of former player Alex Massie for the remainder of the 1940s. The team struggled in the league though and were relegated two seasons later, due in part to complacency. However, under the stewardship of manager Joe Mercer Villa returned to the top-flight in 1960 as Second Division Champions, the following season Aston Villa became the first team to win the Football League Cup. Mercers forced retirement from the club in 1964 signalled a period of deep turmoil, the most successful club in England was struggling to keep pace with changes in the modern game, with Villa being relegated for the third time, under manager Dick Taylor in 1967
Sunderland Association Football Club is a professional football club based in the North East city of Sunderland in the larger metropolitan area of Tyne and Wear. The club is playing in the Premier League, the top league of English football. Since its formation in 1879, the club has won six top-flight First Division titles, a total bettered by five other clubs. The club has won the FA Cup twice and been runners-up twice, as well as winning the FA Community Shield in 1936. Sunderland have also been Football League Cup finalists in 1985 and 2014, Sunderland won their first FA Cup in 1937 with a 3–1 victory over Preston North End, and remained in the top league for 68 successive seasons until they were relegated for the first time in 1958. Sunderlands most notable trophy after the Second World War was their second FA Cup in 1973, the team has won the second tier title five times in that period and the third tier title once. Sunderland play their games at the 49, 000-capacity all-seater Stadium of Light having moved from Roker Park in 1997. The original ground capacity was 42,000 which was increased to 49,000 following expansion in 2000, Sunderland have a long-standing rivalry with their neighbouring club Newcastle United, with whom they have contested the Tyne–Wear derby since 1898. Founded 17 October 1879 as Sunderland and District Teachers A. F. C. by schoolmaster James Allan and they replaced Stoke, who had failed to be re-elected, becoming the first new club to join the league since its inauguration in 1888. During the late 19th century, they were declared the Team of All Talents by William McGregor, Sunderland won the league championship in the 1891–92 season, one season after joining The Football League. The clubs 42 points were five clear of nearest rivals Preston North End, Sunderland successfully defended the title the following season, aided by centre forward Johnny Campbell, who broke the 30-goal mark for the second time in consecutive seasons. In the process, they became the first team to score 100 goals in a season, a feat not matched until 1919–20, Sunderland came close to winning a third successive league championship in the 1893–94 season, finishing second behind Aston Villa. However, they regained the title in the 1894–95 season, ending the five points ahead of Everton. After winning the English League Championship, Sunderland played against Heart of Midlothian, Sunderland won the game 5–3 and were announced Champions of the world. Sunderland came close to winning another title in the 1897–98 season. That season was their last at Newcastle Road, as moved to Roker Park the following season. After coming second in 1900–01, the club won their league title in the 1901–02 season. In 1904, Sunderlands management was embroiled in a payment scandal involving player Andrew McCombie, the club was said to have given the player £100 to help him start his own business, on the understanding that he would repay the money after his benefit game
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies making it the worlds most popular sport, the game is played on a rectangular field with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by getting the ball into the opposing goal, players are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms while it is in play, unless they are goalkeepers. Other players mainly use their feet to strike or pass the ball, the team that scores the most goals by the end of the match wins. If the score is level at the end of the game, the Laws of the Game were originally codified in England by The Football Association in 1863. Association football is governed internationally by the International Federation of Association Football, the first written reference to the inflated ball used in the game was in the mid-14th century, Þe heued fro þe body went, Als it were a foteballe. The Online Etymology Dictionary states that the word soccer was split off in 1863, according to Partha Mazumdar, the term soccer originated in England, first appearing in the 1880s as an Oxford -er abbreviation of the word association. Within the English-speaking world, association football is now usually called football in the United Kingdom and mainly soccer in Canada and the United States. People in Australia, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand use either or both terms, although national associations in Australia and New Zealand now primarily use football for the formal name. According to FIFA, the Chinese competitive game cuju is the earliest form of football for which there is scientific evidence, cuju players could use any part of the body apart from hands and the intent was kicking a ball through an opening into a net. It was remarkably similar to football, though similarities to rugby occurred. During the Han Dynasty, cuju games were standardised and rules were established, phaininda and episkyros were Greek ball games. An image of an episkyros player depicted in low relief on a vase at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens appears on the UEFA European Championship Cup, athenaeus, writing in 228 AD, referenced the Roman ball game harpastum. Phaininda, episkyros and harpastum were played involving hands and violence and they all appear to have resembled rugby football, wrestling and volleyball more than what is recognizable as modern football. As with pre-codified mob football, the antecedent of all football codes. Non-competitive games included kemari in Japan, chuk-guk in Korea and woggabaliri in Australia, Association football in itself does not have a classical history. Notwithstanding any similarities to other games played around the world FIFA have recognised that no historical connection exists with any game played in antiquity outside Europe. The modern rules of football are based on the mid-19th century efforts to standardise the widely varying forms of football played in the public schools of England
Crystal Palace National Sports Centre
The National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace in south London, England is a large sports centre and athletics stadium. The sports centre building was designed by the LCC Architects Department under Sir Leslie Martin between 1953–54 and is a Grade II* listed building, the athletics stadium has a capacity of 15,500, which can be increased to 24,000 with temporary seating. The current 15,500 seater athletics stadium was built on the site of the ground by M J Gleeson. From 1999 to 2012 it hosted the London Grand Prix, the stadium can be expanded to 24,000 with temporary seating if required. With the opening of the London Olympic Stadium in 2012, its future as a stadium hosting athletics events is in doubt. Crystal Palace F. C. has submitted plans to rebuild the stadium as a 40,000 seater football stadium without a running track, but with a new indoor aquatic and sports centre as part of the complex. The current athletics stadium is on the land as a previous football ground. In 1905, the owners wanted their own club to play at the venue. They were forced to leave by the military, in 1915, the largest domestic attendance ever at the stadium was in the 1913 Cup final between Aston Villa and Sunderland, when 121,919 spectators squeezed into the stands. The previous world record had been the 1901 Cup Final, when 114,815 amassed to watch Tottenham Hotspur, Tottenham Hotspur F. C. However, Spurs plans were cancelled due to their failure to obtain the Olympic Stadium. AC London used the stadium during the 2015–16 season, four more teams won the FA Cup during this time, after replays at other grounds. All but two of the finalists from that era a century ago are still playing in either the Premier League or the Football League Championship, the exceptions being Bradford City, and Bury. Newcastle United appeared in the most finals at the ground, five, results of finals at Crystal Palace FA Cup Wins at Crystal Palace Crystal Palace FA Cup Final appearances Goals Scored in FA Cup Finals at Crystal Palace Goals Conceded in F. A. Cup Finals at Crystal Palace On 2 December 1905, the ground held the first England Rugby Union international match against New Zealand in England. On Wednesday 18 August 1965, the ground was the venue of the Rugby league match in which the Commonwealth XIII rugby league team were defeated 7–15 by New Zealand. It also played host to Fulham Rugby League in the mid-1980s for a couple of seasons, London County Cricket Club was a short-lived cricket club founded by the Crystal Palace Company. In 1898 they invited W. G. Grace to help form a first-class cricket club. Grace accepted the offer and became the secretary, manager
London /ˈlʌndən/ is the capital and most populous city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south east of the island of Great Britain and it was founded by the Romans, who named it Londinium. Londons ancient core, the City of London, largely retains its 1. 12-square-mile medieval boundaries. London is a global city in the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism. It is crowned as the worlds largest financial centre and has the fifth- or sixth-largest metropolitan area GDP in the world, London is a world cultural capital. It is the worlds most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the worlds largest city airport system measured by passenger traffic, London is the worlds leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. Londons universities form the largest concentration of education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted the modern Summer Olympic Games three times, London has a diverse range of people and cultures, and more than 300 languages are spoken in the region. Its estimated mid-2015 municipal population was 8,673,713, the largest of any city in the European Union, Londons urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census. The citys metropolitan area is the most populous in the EU with 13,879,757 inhabitants, the city-region therefore has a similar land area and population to that of the New York metropolitan area. London was the worlds most populous city from around 1831 to 1925, Other famous landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Pauls Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, and The Shard. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world, the etymology of London is uncertain. It is an ancient name, found in sources from the 2nd century and it is recorded c.121 as Londinium, which points to Romano-British origin, and hand-written Roman tablets recovered in the city originating from AD 65/70-80 include the word Londinio. The earliest attempted explanation, now disregarded, is attributed to Geoffrey of Monmouth in Historia Regum Britanniae and this had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had allegedly taken over the city and named it Kaerlud. From 1898, it was accepted that the name was of Celtic origin and meant place belonging to a man called *Londinos. The ultimate difficulty lies in reconciling the Latin form Londinium with the modern Welsh Llundain, which should demand a form *lōndinion, from earlier *loundiniom. The possibility cannot be ruled out that the Welsh name was borrowed back in from English at a later date, and thus cannot be used as a basis from which to reconstruct the original name. Until 1889, the name London officially applied only to the City of London, two recent discoveries indicate probable very early settlements near the Thames in the London area
Liverpool Football Club is a professional association football club based in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. They compete in the Premier League, the top tier of English football, the club has won 5 European Cups,3 UEFA Cups,3 UEFA Super Cups,18 League titles,7 FA Cups, a record 8 League Cups, and 15 FA Community Shields. The club was founded in 1892 and joined the Football League the following year, the club has played at Anfield since its formation. The club holds many long-standing rivalries, most notably the North West Derby against Manchester United, the clubs supporters have been involved in two major tragedies. The second was the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, where 96 Liverpool supporters died in a crush against perimeter fencing, the team changed from red shirts and white shorts to an all-red home strip in 1964 which has been used ever since. The clubs anthem is Youll Never Walk Alone, Liverpool F. C. was founded following a dispute between the Everton committee and John Houlding, club president and owner of the land at Anfield. After eight years at the stadium, Everton relocated to Goodison Park in 1892, the team won the Lancashire League in its début season, and joined the Football League Second Division at the start of the 1893–94 season. After finishing in first place the club was promoted to the First Division, Liverpool reached its first FA Cup Final in 1914, losing 1–0 to Burnley. Liverpool suffered its second Cup Final defeat in 1950, playing against Arsenal, the club was relegated to the Second Division in the 1953–54 season. Soon after Liverpool lost 2–1 to non-league Worcester City in the 1958–59 FA Cup, the club was promoted back into the First Division in 1962 and won it in 1964, for the first time in 17 years. In 1965, the club won its first FA Cup, in 1966, the club won the First Division but lost to Borussia Dortmund in the European Cup Winners Cup final. Liverpool won both the League and the UEFA Cup during the 1972–73 season, and the FA Cup again a year later, Shankly retired soon afterwards and was replaced by his assistant, Bob Paisley. In 1976, Paisleys second season as manager, the club won another League, the following season, the club retained the League title and won the European Cup for the first time, but it lost in the 1977 FA Cup Final. Liverpool retained the European Cup in 1978 and regained the First Division title in 1979, Paisley retired in 1983 and was replaced by his assistant, Joe Fagan. Liverpool won the League, League Cup and European Cup in Fagans first season, Liverpool reached the European Cup final again in 1985, against Juventus at the Heysel Stadium. Before kick-off, Liverpool fans breached a fence separated the two groups of supporters, and charged the Juventus fans. The resulting weight of people caused a wall to collapse, killing 39 fans. The incident became known as the Heysel Stadium disaster, the match was played in spite of protests by both managers, and Liverpool lost 1–0 to Juventus
Swindon Town F.C.
Swindon Town Football Club is a professional football club in Swindon, Wiltshire, England. Founded as Swindon AFC in 1879, they became Spartans in 1880, the team compete in League One, the third tier of the English football league system. The clubs home ground, where it has played since 1896, is the 15,728 capacity County Ground, the club went professional in 1894 and entered the Football League in 1920. Swindon Town won promotion to the Premier League in the 1992–93 season, Swindon Town Football Club was founded by Reverend William Pitt of Liddington in 1879. The team turned professional in 1894 and joined the Southern League which was founded in the same year, during this period Septimus Atterbury played for the club. Swindon reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time in the 1909–10 season, Barnsley and Swindon were invited to compete for the Dubonnet Cup in 1910 at the Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris. The result was a 2–1 victory for Swindon with Harold Fleming scoring both of the clubs goals, the following season, 1910–11, Swindon Town won the Southern League championship, earning them a Charity Shield match with the Football League champions Manchester United. This, the highest-scoring Charity Shield game to date, was played on 25 September 1911 at Stamford Bridge with Manchester United winning 8–4, some of the proceeds of this game were later donated to the survivors of the Titanic. In 1912 Swindon Town reached the finals of the FA Cup for a second time in 3 years. Swindons exploits at this time owed a lot to the skilful forward H. J. Fleming who was capped by England 11 times between 1909 and 1914 despite playing outside the Football League. Fleming remained with Swindon throughout a career spanning 1907 and 1924. Swindon entered the Football League in 1920 as a member of Division Three. This result stands as a record for the club in League matches, the club was relegated back into Division Three in 1965 but it was about to create a sensation. In 1969, Swindon beat Arsenal 3–1 to win the League Cup for the time in the clubs history. As winners of the League Cup, Swindon were assured of a place in their first European competition, however, the Football Association had previously agreed to inclusion criteria with the organizers which mandated that only League Cup winners from Division One would be able to take part. As the team were not eligible, the short lived Anglo-Italian competitions were created to give teams from lower divisions experience in Europe, the first of these, the 1969 Anglo-Italian League Cup, was contested over two legs against Coppa Italia winners A. S. Swindon won 5–2, with the scorer of two goals in the League Cup final – Don Rogers – scoring once and new acquisition Arthur Horsfield acquiring his first hat-trick for the club. The team then went on to win the 1970 Anglo-Italian Cup competition in a tournament beset by hooliganism, napoli was abandoned after 79 minutes following pitch invasions and a missile barrage, with teargas being employed to allow the teams to return to the dressing room
Their home ground since 2001 has been St Marys Stadium, before which they were based at The Dell. Southampton has a rivalry with Portsmouth due to its close proximity. Matches between the two sides are known as the South Coast derby, the club has won the FA Cup once, in 1976, and their highest-ever league finish was second in the First Division in 1983–84. Southampton were relegated from the Premier League on 15 May 2005 and they returned after a seven-year absence, and have played there ever since. Southampton were founded at St. Marys Church, on 21 November 1885 by members of the St. Marys Church of England Young Mens Association. More important matches, such as cup games, were played either at the County Cricket Ground in Northlands Road or the Antelope Cricket Ground in St Marys Road. During this time, they moved to a newly built £10,000 stadium called The Dell, the club reached the first of their four FA Cup Finals in 1900. On that day, they went down 4–0 to Bury and two later they would suffer a similar fate at the hands of Sheffield United as they were beaten 2–1 in a replay of the 1902 final. After World War I, Saints joined the newly formed Football League Third Division in 1920 which split into South and North sections a year later, the 1921–22 season ended in triumph with promotion and marked the beginning of a 31-year stay in the Second Division. The 1922–23 season was a unique Even Season –14 wins,14 draws and 14 defeats for a total of 42 points, goals for and against statistics were also equal and the team finished in mid-table. In 1925 and 1927, they reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, losing 2–0 and 2–1 to Sheffield United, in the 1948–49 and 1949–50 seasons, Charlie Wayman rattled in a total of 56 goals. Then relegation in 1953 sent Saints sliding back into Division 3 and it took until 1960 for Saints to regain Second Division status with Derek Reeves plundering 39 of the champions’106 league goals. On 27 April 1963 a crowd of 68,000 at Villa Park saw them lose 1–0 to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final. In 1966, when Ted Bates’ team were promoted to the First Division as runners-up, for the following campaign Ron Davies arrived to score 43 goals in his first season. Saints stayed among the elite for eight years, with the highest finishing position being seventh place in 1968–69 and again in 1970–71. These finishes were high enough for them to qualify for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969–70 and its successor, the UEFA Cup in 1971–72, in December 1973, Bates stood down to be replaced by his assistant Lawrie McMenemy. The Saints were one of the first victims of the new three-down relegation system in 1974, the following season, they played in Europe again in the Cup Winners Cup, reaching Round 3 where they lost 2–3 on aggregate to Anderlecht. In 1977–78, captained by Alan Ball, Saints finished runners-up in the Second Division and they finished comfortably in 14th place in their first season back in the top flight
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
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
Gillingham Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Gillingham, Kent, England. The only Kent-based club in the Football League, the Gills play their matches at the Priestfield Stadium. The team compete in League One, the tier of the English football league system. The club was founded in 1893 and joined the Football League in 1920 and they were voted out of the league in favour of Ipswich Town at the end of the 1937–38 season, but returned to it 12 years later after it was expanded from 88 to 92 clubs. Twice in the late 1980s they came close to winning promotion to the tier of English football. The local success of a football side, Chatham Excelsior F. C. encouraged a group of businessmen to meet with a view to creating a football club which could compete in larger competitions. New Brompton F. C. was formed at the meeting, the founders also purchased the plot of land which later became Priestfield Stadium. The new club played its first match on 2 September 1893, New Brompton were among the founder members of the Southern League upon its creation in 1894, and were placed in Division Two. They were named Champions in the first season going on to defeat Swindon Town in a test match to win promotion, in the seasons that followed, the club struggled in Division One, finishing bottom in the 1907–08 season, avoiding relegation only due to expansion of the league. In 1938 the team finished bottom of the Third Division and were required to apply for re-election for the time since joining the league. This bid for re-election failed, with Gillingham returning to the Southern League, Gillingham quickly established themselves as one of the stronger sides in the league, winning a local double of the Kent League and Kent Senior Cup in the 1945–46 season. In the 1946–47 season the team won both the Southern League Cup and the Southern League championship, during which they recorded a club record 12–1 victory over Gloucester City, the Gills also won the league title in 1948–49. The team spent eight seasons in Division Three before the restructuring of the system for the 1958–59 season saw them placed in the newly created Fourth Division. They remained in this division until 1964, when manager Freddie Cox led them to promotion, the team finished the season level on 60 points with Carlisle United, but with a fractionally better goal average, which was the tightest league title finish in Football League history. After relegation back to the Fourth Division in 1970–71, the Gills were soon promoted back to the Third Division in the 1973–74 season. During this period the club produced future stars Steve Bruce and Tony Cascarino, in 1987, the Gills hit the headlines when, on consecutive Saturdays, they beat Southend United 8–1 and Chesterfield 10–0, the latter a club record for a Football League match. Just a few later, however, manager Keith Peacock was controversially sacked. The ensuing spell in the division brought little success