Watford Football Club is a professional football club based in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, that plays in the Premier League, the highest level in the English football league system. Founded in 1881 as Watford Rovers, the club entered the FA Cup for the first time in 1886, after finishing the 1914–15 season as Southern League champions under the management of Harry Kent, Watford joined the Football League in 1920. The club played at grounds in its early history, before moving to a permanent location at Vicarage Road in 1922. Watford spent most of the half century in the lower divisions of The Football League, changing colours. England manager Graham Taylors tenure at the club saw Watford scale new heights, between Taylors appointment in 1977 and departure in 1987, Watford rose from the Fourth Division to the First Division. The team finished second in the First Division in the 1982–83 season, competed in the UEFA Cup in 1983–84, the club experienced a further one season stint in the top division of English football during the 2006–07 season, under Aidy Boothroyds management. After eight years, Watford are again competing in the Premier League 2015–16 season, Watford is currently owned by the Pozzo family, which also owns Udinese Calcio in Italy and previously Granada CF in Spain. Watford Rovers was formed in 1881 by Henry Groverand, who went on to play for the club as a full-back, Rovers, originally composed entirely of amateur players, held home games at several locations in the town of Watford. The team first competed in the FA Cup in the 1886–87 season, the team became the football section of West Hertfordshire Sports Club in 1890, and consequently moved to a ground on Cassio Road. Renamed as West Hertfordshire in 1893, Rovers joined the Southern Football League in 1896, West Hertfordshire merged with local rivals Watford St. Marys in 1898, the merged team was named Watford Football Club. Following relegation to the Southern League Second Division in 1903, Watford appointed its first manager – former England international and he led Watford to promotion, and kept the team in the division until his departure in 1910. Despite financial constraints, Watford won the Southern League title in the 1914–15 season under his successor, there was a re-election system in place which meant the bottom two teams in each of the two divisions had to apply for re-election to the league. Watford finished outside the top six positions in every season between 1922 and 1934. The Football League was suspended in 1939 due to the Second World War, Football resumed in 1946, with Watford still in the Third Division South. Ron Burgess replaced McBain during that season, and in the following campaign Burgess presided over Watfords first Football League promotion and this team included Fourth Division top scorer Cliff Holton, who scored a club record 42 league goals in the season. Holton was sold to Northampton the following year after another 34 goals, eighteen-year-old Northern Irish goalkeeper Pat Jennings also featured under McGarry, and made his international debut despite being a Third Division player. Furphys rebuilding came to fruition in 1969 with the signing of Barry Endean, Watford secured the Third Division title in April, at home to Plymouth Argyle. A year later Watford reached the FA Cup semi-final for the first time, defeating First Division teams Stoke City, hampered by a lack of funds, however, Furphy eventually joined Blackburn Rovers, to be succeeded by George Kirby
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
The FA Cup, known officially as The Football Association Challenge Cup, is an annual knockout association football competition in mens domestic English football. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest association football competition in the world and it is organised by and named after The Football Association. For sponsorship reasons, from 2015 through to 2018 it is known as The Emirates FA Cup. A concurrent womens tournament is held, the FA Womens Cup. A record 763 clubs competed in 2011–12, the tournament consists of 12 randomly drawn rounds followed by the semi-finals and the final. The last entrants are the Premier League and Championship clubs, into the draw for the Third Round Proper, in the modern era, only one non-league team has ever reached the quarter finals, and teams below Level 2 have never reached the final. As a result, as well as who wins, significant focus is given to those minnows who progress furthest, especially if they achieve an unlikely giant-killing victory. Winners receive the FA Cup trophy, of which there have two designs and five actual cups, the latest is a 2014 replica of the second design. Winners also qualify for European football and a place in the FA Community Shield match, in 1863, the newly founded Football Association published the Laws of the Game of Association Football, unifying the various different rules in use before then. On 20 July 1871, in the offices of The Sportsman newspaper, the inaugural FA Cup tournament kicked off in November 1871. After thirteen games in all, Wanderers were crowned the winners in the final, Wanderers retained the trophy the following year. The modern cup was beginning to be established by the 1888–89 season, following the 1914–15 edition, the competition was suspended due to the First World War, and did not resume until 1919–20. The 1922–23 competition saw the first final to be played in the newly opened Wembley Stadium, due to the outbreak of World War II, the competition was not played between the 1938–39 and 1945–46 editions. Having previously featured replays, the modern day practice of ensuring the semi-final and final matches finish on the day, was introduced from 2000 onwards. Redevelopment of Wembley saw the final played outside of England for the first time, the final returned to Wembley in 2007, followed by the semi-finals from 2008. The competition is open to any club down to Level 10 of the English football league system which meets the eligibility criteria, all clubs in the top four levels are automatically eligible. Clubs in the six levels are also eligible provided they have played in either the FA Cup. Newly formed clubs, such as F. C. United of Manchester in 2005–06 and also 2006–07, all clubs entering the competition must also have a suitable stadium
Southend United F.C.
Southend United Football Club is a professional association football club based in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England. The team compete in League One, the tier of English football. Southend are known as The Shrimpers, a reference to the maritime industry included as one of the quarterings on the club badge. Founded 19 May 1906 in the Blue Boar pub Southend has been a member of the Football League since 1920, the club has spent most of its League career in the English lower divisions, with seven seasons in the Leagues second tier. The club is based at Roots Hall Stadium in Prittlewell, with plans to move to a new stadium at Fossetts Farm. The club has played at five grounds, the original Roots Hall, the Kursaal, the Greyhound Park, Roots Hall was the first stadium that the club owned and was built on the site of their original home, albeit at a lower level. The site previous to Southend purchasing it in 1952 had been used as a quarry, by the council as a landfill site. It took 10 years to complete the building of Roots Hall. The first game was played on 20 August 1955, a 3–1 Division Three victory over Norwich City, the North Stand had a single-barrelled roof which ran only the breadth of the penalty area, whilst the West Bank was covered at its rear only by a similar structure. Drainage was a problem, and the wet winter turned the ground into a quagmire, the terracing was finally completed soon after, but the colossal task of completely terracing the South Bank, all of its 72 steps, was not completed until 1964. The North Bank roof was extended in the early 1960s, floodlights were also installed during this period. Until 1988 Roots Hall was still the newest ground in the Football League, United had hit bad times in the mid-1980s and new chairman Vic Jobson sold virtually all of the South Bank for development, leaving just a tiny block of 15 steps. In 1994, seats were installed onto the original terracing whilst a second tier was added, the West Bank had already become seated in 1992 upon Uniteds elevation to Division Two whilst the East Stand paddock also received a new seating deck, bolted and elevated from the terracing below. The application was submitted to Ruth Kelly, then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. However, the application was called in at the beginning of April 2007, the inquiry began in September 2007, followed in October 2007 by a final inquiry, when chairman Ron Martin called for supporters to show in numbers at Southends local government headquarters. On 6 March 2008, permission to develop Fossetts Farm was given by the government, the club has a fierce local rivalry with fellow Essex side Colchester United. The two clubs were promoted from League One at the end of the 2005–06 season after a battle for top spot was eventually won by Southend. The rivalry extends back many years, the two clubs met again in an Essex derby match in the same competition the following season, with Southend emerging as the victors once more after a penalty shootout
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
Newport County A.F.C.
Newport County Association Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Newport, South Wales. The team play in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. Most recently reformed in 1989, the club is a continuation of the Newport County club which was founded in 1912 and was a member of the Football Leagues new Third Division in 1920. Newport County were Welsh Cup winners in 1980 and subsequently reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1981, the club was relegated from the Football League in 1988 and went out of business in February 1989. The club reformed shortly afterwards and entered the English football league system at a lower level. In 2013 the club won back to the Football League for the first time since 1988. Newport County, originally nicknamed The Ironsides due to Newport being home to Lysaghts Orb Works steel works, the official name of the club was The Newport & Monmouth County Association Football Club, although the shorter Newport County was soon adopted. The club were reformed in 1919 and were first elected to the Football League in 1920 and they were not re-elected after the 1930–31 season but rejoined for 1932–33. After almost 20 years in the Third Division South, the club clinched promotion to the Second Division as champions in 1939 under manager Billy McCandless. Hopes were high that the side could prosper in the Second Division. Newport County managed a 1–1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur and a 3–1 win over Southampton, the War League operated for the remainder of the 1939–40 season and County finished 10th in the South-West Division. After the war, the reformed and competed in the temporary Football League South for the 1945–46 season. Newcastle player Len Shackleton remarked they were lucky to get nil, despite victories over Coventry City, Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham, the club needed four wins out of the last four games to have any hope of safety. Despite a revenge victory over Newcastle United, defeats to Birmingham City, Luton Town, County finished bottom of the Second Division and were relegated. Newport reached the round of the 1948–49 FA Cup under manager Tom Bromilow. They only narrowly lost the game 3–2 away to Portsmouth, the eventual FA Cup semi-finalists, after 11 further seasons in the Third Division South, the club narrowly avoided another effective relegation with the creation of the Fourth Division for the 1958–59 season. The bottom 12 teams from the Third Division North and South were placed in the new division, County avoided this fate by a mere four points. However, in 1962, with seven wins all season
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