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
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
Coventry City F.C.
Coventry City Football Club is a professional football club in Coventry, West Midlands, England, which plays in League One, the third tier of English football. Coventry City formed as Singers F. C. in 1883 and they won their only major trophy in 1987 when they beat Tottenham Hotspur 3–2 to win the FA Cup. They are one of five clubs to have ever won the FA Cup and FA Youth Cup in the same season. They returned to Wembley in April 2017, beating Oxford United 2-1 to win the English Football League Trophy. Following eleven seasons in the second-tier Football League Championship, Coventry were relegated to Football League One in 2012, Coventry have qualified for European competitions twice. In the 1970–71 season, they competed in the European Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, despite beating Bayern Munich 2–1 in their home leg, they had lost 1–6 in the first leg in Munich to go out of the competition. They were unable to compete in the 1987–88 UEFA Cup Winners Cup due to the ban on English clubs at that time, from 1899 to 2005, Coventry City played at Highfield Road. A return to the Ricoh Arena was announced on 21 August 2014 by the club after a one-year absence,1883 – The club is founded by employees of Singer, the cycle firm, with William Stanley one of the leading lights. 1898 – The clubs name is changed from Singers F. C. to Coventry City,1899 – The club move to Highfield Road following stints at Dowells Field and Stoke Road. 1901 – The club suffer their worst ever defeat with an 11–2 loss against Worcester-based Berwick Rangers in the round of the FA Cup. 1919 – The club are voted into the Football League, where they have remained ever since,1928 – In February, and with Coventry struggling near the foot of Division Three South, the clubs worst ever attendance is recorded. Only 2,059 turn up for the match against Crystal Palace,1932 – Centre-forward Clarrie Bourton heads the Football League scoring lists with 49 goals. The following season he scored 40 goals,1934 – City record their biggest ever victory a 9–0 league drubbing of Bristol City. 1936 – Coventry City win the Third Division South championship after a final day 2–1 victory over Torquay United. 1958 – Goalkeeper Alf Wood becomes the oldest player to start a game for the club and he played against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup aged 43 years and 207 days. 1961 – Former Fulham player and PFA chairman Jimmy Hill is appointed following an embarrassing FA Cup defeat at home to non-league Kings Lynn. 1964 – Jimmy Hill guides Coventry to promotion from Division Three as champions after a final day 1–0 victory over Colchester United,1967 – Coventry City promoted as Second Division champions to the top flight for the first time in their history. This made manager and BBC Sport presenter Jimmy Hill a legend at the club, Coventrys record attendance was also set in this year – officially recorded as 51,455, against Wolverhampton Wanderers, the team that finished a close second to Coventry at the top of the table
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
Luton Town F.C.
Luton Town Football Club /ˈluːtən ˈtaʊn/ is a professional association football club based at Kenilworth Road, Luton, Bedfordshire since 1905. Founded in 1885, it is nicknamed the Hatters and affiliated to the Bedfordshire County Football Association and its first-team is contesting the fourth tier of English football, League Two, during the 2016–17 season. The clubs history includes major trophy wins, several financial crises, numerous promotions and relegations, the club was the first in southern England to turn professional, making payments to players as early as 1890 and turning fully professional a year later. It joined the Football League before the 1897–98 season, left in 1900 because of financial problems, Luton reached the First Division in 1955–56 and contested a major final for the first time when playing Nottingham Forest in the 1959 FA Cup Final. The team was relegated from the top division in 1959–60. However, it was promoted back to the top level by 1974–75, Luton Towns most recent successful period began in 1981–82, when the club won the Second Division, and thereby gained promotion to the First. Luton defeated Arsenal 3–2 in the 1988 Football League Cup Final, between 2007 and 2009, financial difficulties caused the club to fall from the second tier of English football to the fifth in successive seasons. The last of these came during the 2008–09 season, when 30 points were docked from Lutons record for various financial irregularities. Luton thereafter spent five seasons in non-League football before winning the Conference Premier in 2013–14, Luton Town Football Club was formed on 11 April 1885, the product of a merger of the two leading local teams, Luton Town Wanderers and Excelsior. Initially based at Excelsiors Dallow Lane ground, the club began making payments to individual players in 1890. The following year, Luton became the first club in southern England to be fully professional, the club was a founder member of the Southern Football League in the 1894–95 season and finished as runners-up in its first two seasons. It then left to form the United League and came second in that leagues inaugural season before joining the Football League for 1897–98. The club continued to enter a team to the United League for two seasons, and won the title in 1897–98. A return to the Southern League was therefore arranged for the 1900–01 season, eight years after arriving at Dunstable Road, Luton moved again, settling at their current ground, Kenilworth Road, in 1905. Captain and left winger Bob Hawkes became Lutons first international player when he was picked to play for England against Ireland on 16 February 1907, a poor 1911–12 season saw Luton relegated to the Southern Leagues Second Division, the club won promotion back two years later. After the First World War broke out, Luton took part in The London Combination during 1915–16, a key player of the period was Ernie Simms, a forward. Simms was invalided back to England after being wounded on the Italian front, however, after Luton finished fourth in the division, the squad was broken up as Simms, Bookman and Mathieson joined South Shields, Port Vale and Exeter City respectively. Luton stayed in the Third Division South until 1936–37, when the team finished top and won promotion to the Second Division, during the early 1950s, one of Lutons greatest sides emerged under manager Dally Duncan
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
English Football League
The English Football League is a league competition featuring professional football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888 as the Football League, the league is the oldest such competition in world football and it was the top-level football league in England from its foundation in the 19th century until 1992, when the top 22 clubs split away to form the Premier League. The league has 72 clubs evenly divided into three divisions, which are known as the Championship, League One and League Two, with 24 clubs in each division, the Football League has been associated with a title sponsor between 1983 and 2016. As this sponsor changed over the years the league too has been known by various names, the English Football League is also the name of the governing body of the league competition, and this body also organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The operations centre of the Football League is in Preston, while its commercial office is in London, the commercial office was formerly based in Lytham St Annes, after its original spell in Preston. The Football League consists of 70 professional association football clubs in England and 2 in Wales and it runs the oldest professional football league competition in the world. It also organises two knockout cup competitions, the Football League Cup and Football League Trophy, the Football League was founded in 1888 by then Aston Villa director William McGregor, originally with 12 member clubs. Steady growth and the addition of more divisions meant that by 1950 the League had 92 clubs, the Football League therefore no longer includes the top 20 clubs who belong to this group, although promotion and relegation between the Football League and the Premier League continues. In total,136 teams have played in the Football League up to 2013, the Football Leagues 72 member clubs are grouped into three divisions, the Football League Championship, Football League One, and Football League Two. Each division has 24 clubs, and in any season a club plays each of the others in the same division twice, once at their home stadium. This makes for a total of 46 games played each season, clubs gain three points for a win, one for a draw, and none for a defeat. At the end of the season, clubs at the top of their division may win promotion to the higher division. At the top end of the competition, three Championship clubs win promotion from the Football League to the Premier League, with the bottom three Premier League clubs taking their places, reserve teams of Football League clubs usually play in the Central League or the Football Combination. Since the 2004–05 season, penalties have existed for clubs entering financial administration during the season and it is also required that a club exiting administration agree a Creditors Voluntary Agreement, and pay in full any other footballing creditors. Failure to do either of these result in a second. The other main situation in which is a club may lose points is by fielding an improperly registered or otherwise ineligible player. If a club is found to have done this, then any points earned from any match that player participated in will be deducted, the EFL organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The EFL Cup was established in 1960 and is open to all EFL and Premier League clubs, the EFL Trophy is for clubs belonging to EFL League One and EFL League Two
World War I
World War I, also known as the First World War, the Great War, or the War to End All Wars, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history and it was one of the deadliest conflicts in history, and paved the way for major political changes, including revolutions in many of the nations involved. The war drew in all the worlds great powers, assembled in two opposing alliances, the Allies versus the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. These alliances were reorganised and expanded as more nations entered the war, Italy, Japan, the trigger for the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. This set off a crisis when Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia. Within weeks, the powers were at war and the conflict soon spread around the world. On 25 July Russia began mobilisation and on 28 July, the Austro-Hungarians declared war on Serbia, Germany presented an ultimatum to Russia to demobilise, and when this was refused, declared war on Russia on 1 August. Germany then invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving towards France, after the German march on Paris was halted, what became known as the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, with a trench line that changed little until 1917. On the Eastern Front, the Russian army was successful against the Austro-Hungarians, in November 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers, opening fronts in the Caucasus, Mesopotamia and the Sinai. In 1915, Italy joined the Allies and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers, Romania joined the Allies in 1916, after a stunning German offensive along the Western Front in the spring of 1918, the Allies rallied and drove back the Germans in a series of successful offensives. By the end of the war or soon after, the German Empire, Russian Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire, national borders were redrawn, with several independent nations restored or created, and Germanys colonies were parceled out among the victors. During the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, the Big Four imposed their terms in a series of treaties, the League of Nations was formed with the aim of preventing any repetition of such a conflict. This effort failed, and economic depression, renewed nationalism, weakened successor states, and feelings of humiliation eventually contributed to World War II. From the time of its start until the approach of World War II, at the time, it was also sometimes called the war to end war or the war to end all wars due to its then-unparalleled scale and devastation. In Canada, Macleans magazine in October 1914 wrote, Some wars name themselves, during the interwar period, the war was most often called the World War and the Great War in English-speaking countries. Will become the first world war in the sense of the word. These began in 1815, with the Holy Alliance between Prussia, Russia, and Austria, when Germany was united in 1871, Prussia became part of the new German nation. Soon after, in October 1873, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck negotiated the League of the Three Emperors between the monarchs of Austria-Hungary, Russia and Germany