Prenton Park is an association football stadium in Birkenhead, England. It is the ground of the non-league Tranmere Rovers F. C. The club moved to the current Prenton Park in 1912, the ground has had several rebuilds, with the most recent occurring in 1995 in response to the requirement of the Taylor Report to become all-seater. Todays stadium holds 16,567 in four stands, the Kop, the Johnny King Stand, the Main Stand, attendances at the ground have fluctuated over its hundred-year history. Its largest-ever crowd was 24,424 for a 1972 FA Cup match between Tranmere and Stoke City, in 2010, an average of 5,000 fans attended each home game. Tranmere Rovers F. C. were formed in 1884, they played their first matches at Steeles Field in Birkenhead but, in 1887, the ground was variously referred to as the Borough Road Enclosure, Ravenshaws Field and South Road. The name Prenton Park was adopted in 1895 as a result of a suggestion in the page of the Football Echo. Not strictly within Prenton, it is likely that the name was chosen as the area was regarded as more upmarket than nearby Tranmere, because the land was required for housing and a school, Tranmere were forced to move and the name went with them. The present Prenton Park was opened by the Mayor of Birkenhead, Councillor George Proudman and their first match was played against Lancaster Town in the Lancashire Combination. There were stands on both sides of the pitch, a paddock and three terraces, the general format which remained until 1994. Floodlights were installed in the ground in September 1958, the supporters association raised the £15,000 cost of the new lights. This allowed supporters to watch Tranmere on Fridays and First Division sides Everton or Liverpool on Saturdays, the idea was successful and continued until the 1990s. Over the years, various upgrades and repairs have been made to the stadium, by 1968, the old wooden Main Stand was in poor condition and in need of replacement. At a cost of £80,000, todays Main Stand was erected and opened by Minister for Sport, in 1979, the terracing on the Cowshed and Paddock was concreted. The Tranmere suite was added to the Main Stand in 1988, with further bars, many improvements to the ground were driven by changes in legislation. In 1985, the Safety of Sports Grounds Act led to a reduction in capacity from 18,000 to 8,000, the Kop End was closed, and the Main Stand capacity was reduced by 3,000, because there were insufficient access points. £50,000 was spent on safety work to maintain a capacity of 8,000, but the biggest change of all took place during 1994 and 1995. The Taylor Report suggested that all stadia in the top two divisions of English football should no longer permit standing, the clubs response was to redevelop three sides of the ground with entirely new all-seater stands created – the Borough Road Stand, the Cowshed and the new Kop
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
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
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
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
Darlington 1883 is an English football club that plays at Blackwell Meadows, Darlington. This policy had previously applied to other collapsing clubs, such as Chester City FC. Darlington applied to join the Northern League as a new club, a deadline imposed by the FA meant the board was unable to wait for the results of a poll of supporters, so the name Darlington 1883 was chosen. The company Darlington 1883 Limited was incorporated on 18 Jan 2012 by owners of Darlington Football Club and this company then went on to purchase the assets of Darlington F. C. on 3 May 2012 when a CVA could not be agreed with creditors. Darlington Football Club itself was founded in 1883, and became a football club in 1908. The club became a member of the Football League in 1920, in which it competed until 1989, in the 1989–90 season and from 2010 to 2012, Darlington played in the Football Conference. The club was taken over by Darlington1883, a group of local fans. Darlington1883 failed to arrange a CVA, and as such on 21 June 2012 Darlington F. C. ceased to exist, an appeal against the FA decision was inevitably rejected, confirming that the new club would not be able to play as Darlington F. C. On 25 June 2012 the new registration of a new club. In March 2013 it was confirmed that the Darlington Football Club Community Interest Company and this made the club 100% fan and community owned, with 26% owned by the Darlington 1883 Supporters Club and 22% by 22 individual fans. Following a successful first season in the Northern League Division One, Darlington 1883 were crowned champions with a haul of 122 points. As a result, Darlington 1883 were promoted to the Northern Premier League Division One North, even though Darlington 1883 are a new club, they are committed to paying the former clubs debt including a recent payment of £53,000 to HMRC. Darlington played in the Northern Premier League Division One North for the 2013–14 season, in the 2013–14 season, Darlington finished 2nd and qualified for the playoffs, where they were beaten in the semifinal by Ramsbottom United. Ramsbottom went on to win the final and achieve promotion, in the 2014–15 season, Darlington again finished 2nd and on 2 May 2015 they won the playoff final 2–0 against Bamber Bridge to win promotion to the Northern Premier League Premier Division. In the 2015–16 season, Darlington clinched the Northern Premier League Premier Division title on 21 April 2016 after beating Whitby Town 7–1 to seal promotion to the National League North. Norman Stephens and some of the staff were retained by Darlington who took Hordens place in the Wearside League. They played their first game under the new name on 6 October in a 1–0 away defeat to Boldon C. A, plans had originally been laid down to move to Shildon Football Club, but Heritage Park was eventually chosen as Darlingtons first official home. Heritage Park is south-west of Bishop Auckland, the attendance was exactly 3,000 at Blackwell Meadows
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
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
Rochdale Association Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England. The team compete in League One, the tier in the English football league system. The clubs colours are black and blue and they play their games at Spotland Stadium. Formed in 1907 and nicknamed the Dale, they were accepted into the Football League in 1921, since then, the club has remained in the bottom two professional divisions of English Football. The team has achieved promotion three times – in 1969,2010 and 2014. Rochdale attract a small, but loyal fanbase, with a hardcore following of around 3000 home fans on average per match. Local fixtures however attract a higher turnout. The club reached the League Cup Final in 1962 and this was the first time a club from the bottom league division had reached the final of a major competition – where they lost to Norwich City. During its history, the club has had three promotions and three relegations, with coming in 1969 and 2010 and 2014 and relegation in 1959,1974 and 2012. The 1959 relegation followed the 1958 restructuring which saw the combination of the two Third Division sections into the Third Division and Fourth Division. In the restructuring, Rochdale managed to secure a spot in the Third Division, Rochdale A. F. C. was formed in 1907. After World War I the Football League was expanded and the club applied to join. In 1921 Rochdale was recommended to be included in the new Third Division North, however, this first season ended with the club at the bottom of the League, having to reapply for membership. In the early stages of the 1969–70 season, Rochdale topped the Division Three table, the teams form significantly declined around Christmas 1969, however, and a failure to halt the teams decline led to the dismissal of Richley. He was succeeded by Dick Conner, who stabilised the clubs form, the following three seasons saw the club finish in the lower reaches of the Division Three table, narrowly avoiding relegation each time. The board viewed merely surviving in Division Three as unacceptable and replaced Conner with Walter Joyce for the 1973–74 season and this move failed to pay off, and Rochdale was relegated after a campaign in which they won only 2 of 46 league games. The club finished bottom of the league in 1977–78, but was successful in their bid for re-election, southport, which had finished one place above Rochdale, was demoted instead and replaced by Wigan Athletic. Rochdale finished bottom for a time in 1979–80, but was again re-elected – by one vote over Altrincham
Hartlepool United F.C.
Hartlepool United Football Club is a professional association football club based in Hartlepool, County Durham, England. The team plays in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. Hartlepool play their games at Victoria Park on Clarence Road. The club was founded in 1908 as Hartlepools United Football Athletic Company and their main rivals were Darlington, until that club entered into administration in 2012. Brian Clough began his career at the club in 1965. Under Cyril Knowles management the club won promotion to the Third Division in 1990, in 2005, Hartlepool narrowly missed promotion to the Football League Championship. The team mascot HAngus the Monkey was elected mayor at the 2002 Hartlepool Council election, the club receives vocal support from Jeff Stelling, the presenter of Sky Sports Soccer Saturday. In 1920, the Football League formed a third division and this was based almost entirely in the south, as the new division was created by absorbing virtually the entire top division of the Southern League, with Grimsby Town the only northern representative. This was rectified the following season when a Third Division North was created, brian Clough was invited to manage Hartlepool in 1965. His reaction was, I dont fancy the place, but he took the job, in 1968 the s and the United were dropped from the team name of Hartlepools United. This was in connection with West Hartlepool being absorbed along with the old town of Hartlepool. The appendage of United was restored in 1977, under Len Ashurst, the team slowly began to revive after years of largely indifferent form. Ashurst did precisely that, finishing in 11th in 1973–74, he left the club to manage Gillingham. Ken Hale took over and guided the team to 13th and 14th over the two seasons and also reached the League Cup Fourth round in 1974–75. However, 1976–77 saw a return to the doldrums, Hale was sacked after failing to win any of the first nine games at the start of October and his successor Billy Horner could not stop the rot either, and the team finished in 22nd place. Over the close season the name was changed to its current form of Hartlepool United. A tragedy struck the club a few weeks before the end of the season when 20-year-old player Dave Wiggett was killed in a car crash and it seemed to be only a matter of time before Hartlepool United followed the same way. Once again then, it was a relief for the supporters that Horner managed to make considerable improvements the following season
Tranmere Rovers F.C.
Tranmere Rovers Football Club is a professional association football club founded in 1884, and based in Birkenhead, Wirral, England. Originally known as Belmont Football Club, they adopted their current name in 1885. They were a member of Division Three North in 1921, and were a member of The Football League until 2015, when they were relegated to the National League. During the 1980s, they were beset by problems and, in 1987. Under Kings successor, John Aldridge, Tranmere experienced a number of cup runs, other cup runs include reaching FA Cup quarter-finals in 2000,2001 and 2004. Tranmeres regular kit is a strip with blue trim, their main colours since 1962. The club moved to its current home, Prenton Park, in 1912, in 1995, the ground had a major redevelopment in response to the Taylor Report. It now seats 16,567 in four stands, the Main Stand, the Kop, the Johnny King Stand, Tranmere Rovers were, initially, formed as Belmont Football Club when the football arms of two cricket clubs – Lyndhurst Wanderers and Belmont – came together in 1884. On 15 November 1884, they won their first game 4–0 against Brunswick Rovers and this was a friendly match, as there were no leagues until 1888. Under the presidency of James McGaul, the team had an inaugural season. An unrelated, disbanded side had played under the name Tranmere Rovers Cricket Club in 1881–82, on 16 September 1885, before their second season began, Belmont F. C. adopted this name Tranmere Rovers. Tranmere played their first matches at Steeles Field in Birkenhead, in 1887, they bought Ravenshaws Field from Tranmere Rugby Club. In 1895, their ground was renamed Prenton Park, although it was 25 years later that the team moved into the current stadium of the same name, Tranmere first wore a kit of blue shirts, white shorts and blue socks. In 1889 they adopted orange and maroon shirts, but in 1904 returned to wearing their original kit, in 1886, Tranmere entered their first competition, the Liverpool and District Challenge Cup, in 1889, they entered the West Lancashire League. They joined the Combination, a stronger league, in 1897. Tranmere won the Lancashire Combination Championship in 1914 and Stan Rowlands became the first Tranmere player to receive a cap when he was selected to play for Wales. Rovers continued to play throughout the First World War, although their players were criticised for avoiding military service, following the expulsion of Leeds City Reserves in 1919, Tranmere were able to enter the Central League. Their timing was excellent as the season, four Central League clubs – including Tranmere – were invited to join the new Division Three North
Southport Football Club are a professional association football club based in Blowick, Southport, Merseyside. The club participates in the National League, the tier of English football. From 1921 to 1978 they were a Football League club and they play their home matches at Haig Avenue, which has a capacity of 6,008. They are known by their nickname the Sandgrounders and it was on Thursday 12 November 1881 that Southport played its first association football match. Although association football was played in the private schools in the late 1870s the original Southport Football Club began as a rugby team. Southport Football Club arranged rugby fixtures for 1881–82, after some heavy defeats, the last recorded being on 15 October 1881, the club switched to association football. On 12 November, six of that lined up when Southport played Bootle second in their first match under Association Rules. Ralph Rylance did more than anyone to establish association football in the town and he came to Southport from Blackburn having played for the Blackburn Law team, a noted eleven in those days. Performances soon improved with him playing, and Tranmere Rovers were beaten twice whilst the Tradesman of Southport, on 7 October 1882, Southport entertained Liverpool Ramblers in their first ever F. A. or English Challenge Cup tie as the competition was called for years. The game was watched by 300 spectators and resulted in a 1–1 draw, in the 1884–85 season the club merged with the Southport Athletic Society and the team moved to the Sports Ground, Sussex Road. As football grew in popularity other clubs sprang up in the town, Southport Wanderers, High Park, Churchtown and Southport Old Boys were amongst the most prominent however Southport Football Club was considered to be the towns premier side. After 5 years existence Southports first football club folded, at least six former Southport players and many of their supporters transferred their affiliations to Southport Wanderers. Southport Wanderers moved to a new ground in Scarisbrick New Road for the 1886–87 season, on 28 September 1886, at a General Meeting held in the Mathers Saleroom, it was unanimously resolved that in future the club be called Southport Football Club. In the summer of 1888, the year the Football League was founded, with the increasing in popularity. The idea met with favour and the meeting called to form such a club took place on 12 June at Scarletts Rooms. At a second meeting, held at the Railway Hotel a week later, at the start of the 1905–06 season Central moved to its present home, Haig Avenue, which was then known as Ash Lane. In 1911, the club became members of the Central League. In 1918, the club was renamed as Southport Vulcan – having been bought by the Vulcan Motor Company – becoming the first club to take a sponsors name