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
Chelsea Football Club is an English professional football club based in Fulham, London, that competes in the Premier League. Founded in 1905, the home ground since then has been Stamford Bridge. Chelsea had their first major success in 1955, when they won the league championship and they then won various cup competitions between 1965 and 1996. The clubs greatest period of success has come during the last two decades, winning 21 trophies since 1997. Chelsea are the only London club to win the UEFA Champions League, and one of four clubs, Chelseas regular kit colours are royal blue shirts and shorts with white socks. The clubs crest has changed several times in attempts to re-brand the club. The current crest, featuring a lion rampant regardant holding a staff, is a modification of the one introduced in the early 1950s. The club have the sixth-highest average all-time attendance in English football and their average home gate for the 2015–16 season was 41,500, the seventh highest in the Premier League. Since 2003, Chelsea have been owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, in 2016, they were ranked by Forbes magazine as the seventh most valuable football club in the world, at £1.15 billion. In 1904, Gus Mears acquired the Stamford Bridge athletics stadium with the aim of turning it into a football ground, an offer to lease it to nearby Fulham was turned down, so Mears opted to found his own club to use the stadium. Chelsea were founded on 10 March 1905 at The Rising Sun pub, opposite the main entrance to the ground on Fulham Road. The club won promotion to the First Division in their second season and they reached the 1915 FA Cup Final, where they lost to Sheffield United at Old Trafford, and finished third in the First Division in 1920, the clubs best league campaign to that point. Chelsea attracted large crowds and had a reputation for signing big-name players, former Arsenal and England centre-forward Ted Drake became manager in 1952 and proceeded to modernise the club. The following season saw UEFA create the European Champions Cup, but after objections from The Football League, Chelsea failed to build on this success, and spent the remainder of the 1950s in mid-table. Drake was dismissed in 1961 and replaced by player-coach Tommy Docherty, Docherty built a new team around the group of talented young players emerging from the clubs youth set-up and Chelsea challenged for honours throughout the 1960s, enduring several near-misses. They were on course for a treble of League, FA Cup and League Cup going into the stages of the 1964–65 season, winning the League Cup. In three seasons the side were beaten in three major semi-finals and were FA Cup runners-up, under Dochertys successor, Dave Sexton, Chelsea won the FA Cup in 1970, beating Leeds United 2–1 in a final replay. Chelsea took their first European honour, a UEFA Cup Winners Cup triumph, the year, with another replayed win
Middlesbrough Football Club is a professional association football club based in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, England. Formed in 1876, they have played at the Riverside Stadium since 1995 and they played at the Linthorpe Road ground from 1882 to 1903 and at Ayresome Park for 92 years, from 1903 to 1995. They were one of the members of the Premier League in 1992. The clubs main rivals are Sunderland and Newcastle United, there is also a rivalry with fellow Yorkshire club Leeds United. The clubs highest league finish to date was third in the 1913–14 season, the club came close to folding in 1986 after experiencing severe financial difficulties before it was saved by a consortium led by then board member and later chairman Steve Gibson. Middlesbrough were deducted three points for failing to fulfil a fixture against Blackburn Rovers in the 1996–97 Premier League season and they were promoted the following season and spent 11 seasons in the top division before being relegated again in 2009. Middlesbrough won the League Cup in 2004, the clubs first and they reached the 2006 UEFA Cup Final, but were beaten by Spanish side Sevilla. After seven years in the Championship, Middlesbrough secured promotion to the Premier League in 2016 after finishing in second place, the clubs traditional kit is red with white detailing. The various crests throughout the history, the most recent of which was adopted in 2007. They won the FA Amateur Cup in 1895 and again in 1898, the club turned professional in 1889, but reverted to amateur status in 1892. They turned professional permanently in 1899, after three seasons, they won promotion to the First Division, where they would remain for the next 22 years. In 1903, the moved to Ayresome Park, their home for the next 92 years. In 1905, the club sanctioned the transfer of Alf Common for £1,000, over the next few years, their form fluctuated greatly, rising to sixth in 1907–08 before dropping to 17th two seasons later. The club rose to their highest league finish to date, third, World War I soon intervened and football was suspended. Before league football resumed, Middlesbrough won the Northern Victory League and they remained in the First Division for the next few seasons, but were relegated in 1923–24 after finishing bottom, ten points adrift of their nearest rivals. Three seasons later, they won the Division Two title, during that season, debutant George Camsell, who had signed from Third Division North side Durham City the previous season, finished with a record 59 league goals, which included nine hat-tricks. He would continue as top scorer for each of the ten seasons. Their tenure back in the top flight lasted one season
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
Everton F. C. /ˈɛvərtən/ is a football club in Liverpool, England, that currently competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. The club have competed in the top division for a record 114 seasons and won the League Championship nine times, formed in 1878, Everton were founding members of The Football League in 1888 and won their first League Championship two seasons later. The mid-1980s represented their most recent period of sustained success, with two League Championships, an FA Cup, and the 1985 European Cup Winners Cup, the clubs most recent major trophy was the 1995 FA Cup. The clubs supporters are known as Evertonians, Everton have a rivalry with neighbours Liverpool, and the two sides contest the Merseyside derby. The club have been based at Goodison Park in Walton, Liverpool, since 1892, the clubs home colours are royal blue shirts with white shorts and socks. Everton were founded as St Domingos in 1878 so that people from the parish of St Domingos Methodist Church Everton could play year round — cricket was played in summer. The clubs first game was a 1–0 victory over Everton Church Club, the club was renamed Everton in November 1879 after the local area, as people outside the parish wished to participate. The club was a member of the Football League in 1888–89. Everton won the FA Cup for the first time in 1906, the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 interrupted the football programme while Everton were champions, which was something that would again occur in 1939. It was not until 1927 that Evertons first sustained period of success began, in 1925 the club signed Dixie Dean from Tranmere Rovers. In 1927–28, Dean set the record for league goals in a single season with 60 goals in 39 league games. He helped Everton win their third League Championship that season, however, Everton were relegated to the Second Division two years later during internal turmoil at the club. The club quickly rebounded and was promoted at the first attempt, on return to the top flight in 1931–32, Everton wasted no time in reaffirming their status and won a fourth League Championship at the first opportunity. Everton also won their second FA Cup in 1933 with a 3–0 win against Manchester City in the final, the era ended in 1938–39 with a fifth League Championship. Everton were relegated for the time in 1950–51 and did not earn promotion until 1953–54. The club have been a top-flight presence ever since, Evertons second successful era started when Harry Catterick was made manager in 1961. In 1962–63, his season in charge, Everton won the League Championship. In 1966 the club won the FA Cup with a 3–2 win over Sheffield Wednesday, Everton again reached the final in 1968, but this time were unable to overcome West Bromwich Albion at Wembley
Bolton Wanderers F.C.
Bolton Wanderers Football Club is a professional association football club based in Bolton, Greater Manchester. The club currently competes in League One, the tier of the English football league system. The club was formed as Christ Church Football Club in 1874, founder members of the Football League in 1888, Bolton have spent the highest number of seasons of any club in the top flight without winning the title. The closest they have come to the title is third in the First Division on three occasions, as of 2015, the club has spent more seasons in the top division than any other club outside the current Premier League. Bolton were a successful cup side in the 1920s, winning the FA Cup three times, the club won the cup a fourth time in 1958. A leaner spell followed, reaching a nadir in 1987 when the club spent a season in the Fourth Division, the club regained top-flight status in 1995 after a 15-year absence. In a period of success, the club qualified for the UEFA Cup twice, reaching the last 32 in 2005–06. The club played at Burnden Park for 102 years from 1895, on 9 March 1946, The Burnden Park disaster occurred, which was a human crush in which 33 Bolton fans lost their lives. In 1997 it moved out of town to the Reebok Stadium, the stadium was renamed the Macron Stadium in July 2014, to reflect the clubs new deal with Italian sportswear company Macron. The club was founded by the Reverend Joseph Farrall Wright, Perpetual curate of Christ Church Bolton and Thomas Ogden, the schoolmaster at the adjacent church school in 1874 as Christ Church F. C. It was initially run from the church of the name on Deane Road. The club left the following a dispute with the vicar. The name was chosen as the club initially had a lot of difficulty finding a permanent ground to play on, Bolton were one of the 12 founder members of the Football League, which formed in 1888. At the time Lancashire was one of the strongest footballing regions in the country, having remained in the Football League since its formation, Bolton have spent more time in the top flight than out of it. In 1894 Bolton reached the final of the FA Cup for the first time, a decade later they were runners-up a second time, losing 1–0 to local rivals Manchester City at Crystal Palace on 23 April 1904. In this period Bolton equalled their record finish of third twice, in 1920–21 and 1924–25, on 28 April 1923, Bolton won their first major trophy in their third final, beating West Ham United 2–0 in the first ever Wembley FA Cup final. The match, famously known as The White Horse Final was played in front of over 127,000 supporters, boltons centre-forward, David Jack scored the first ever goal at Wembley Stadium. Driven by long-term players Joe Smith in attack, Ted Vizard and Billy Butler on the wings, in 1928 the club faced financial difficulties and so was forced to sell David Jack to Arsenal to raise funds
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
Birmingham City F.C.
Birmingham City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Birmingham, England. Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, they became Small Heath in 1888, then Birmingham in 1905, the team compete in the EFL Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. As Small Heath, they played in the Football Alliance before becoming founder members, the most successful period in their history was in the 1950s and early 1960s. They won the competition for the second time in 2011. St Andrews has been their ground since 1906. They have a long-standing and fierce rivalry with Aston Villa, their nearest neighbours, the clubs nickname is Blues, due to the colour of their kit, and their fans are known as Bluenoses. Birmingham City were founded as Small Heath Alliance in 1875, the club turned professional in 1885, and three years later became the first football club to become a limited company with a board of directors, under the name of Small Heath F. C. Ltd. From the 1889–90 season they played in the Football Alliance, which ran alongside the Football League, in 1892, Small Heath, along with the other Alliance teams, were invited to join the newly formed Football League Second Division. The club adopted the name Birmingham Football Club in 1905, and moved into their new home, St Andrews Ground, matters on the field failed to live up to their surroundings. Birmingham were relegated in 1908, obliged to apply for two years later, and remained in the Second Division until after the First World War. Frank Womacks captaincy and the creativity of Scottish international playmaker Johnny Crosbie contributed much to Birmingham winning their second Division Two title in 1920–21, Womack went on to make 515 appearances, a club record for an outfielder, over a twenty-year career. 1920 also saw the debut of the 19-year-old Joe Bradford, who went on to score a club record 267 goals in 445 games, and won 12 caps for England. In 1931, manager Leslie Knighton led the club to their first FA Cup Final and they were finally relegated in 1939, the last full season before the Football League was abandoned for the duration of the Second World War. The name Birmingham City F. C. was adopted in 1943, under Harry Storer, appointed manager in 1945, the club won the Football League South wartime league and reached the semifinal of the first post-war FA Cup. Two years later won their third Second Division title, conceding only 24 goals in the 42-game season. Storers successor Bob Brocklebank, though unable to stave off relegation in 1950, when Arthur Turner took over as manager in November 1954, he made them play closer to their potential, and a 5–1 win on the last day of the 1954–55 season confirmed them as champions. In their first season back in the First Division, Birmingham achieved their highest league finish of sixth place. They also reached the FA Cup final, losing 3–1 to Manchester City in the game notable for Citys goalkeeper Bert Trautmann playing the last 20 minutes with a bone in his neck
Sheffield United F.C.
Sheffield United Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. The team competes in League One, the tier of English football. The football club was formed in 1889 as an offshoot of Sheffield United Cricket Club, the club have played their home games at Bramall Lane since their formation in 1889. Bramall Lane is currently an all-seater ground with a capacity of 32,609, Sheffield United won the original First Division in 1898 and the FA Cup in 1899,1902,1915 and 1925. They were beaten finalists in the FA Cup in 1901 and 1936 and they reached the semi-finals of the League Cup in 2003 and 2015. For most of the history they have played in red. Their closest rivals are Sheffield Wednesday, with whom they contest the Steel City Derby, Sheffield United formed on 22 March 1889 at the Adelphi Hotel, Sheffield by the President of the Cricket Club Sir Charles Clegg. The Wednesday had moved from Bramall Lane to their own ground at Olive Grove, Sir Charles Clegg was incidentally also the president of The Wednesday. Their darkest days came between 1975 and 1981 and they did fall back into the Third Division in 1988, but new manager Dave Bassett masterminded a quick revival which launched the Blades towards one of the most successful eras in their history. Successive promotions in the aftermath of the 1988 relegation saw them return to the First Division in 1990 after a 14-year exile and they survived at this level for four seasons and reached an FA Cup semi-final in the 1992–93 season before being relegated in 1994. Three years later, however, Warnock delivered a Premier League return as the Blades finished runners-up in the rebranded Football League Championship, Neil Warnock resigned as manager after the Blades went down. The Blades did reach the Championship playoff final in 2009 under Kevin Blackwell, in the 2011–12 season, the club finished third in League One, narrowly missing out on automatic promotion to rivals Sheffield Wednesday, and entered the playoffs. With victory over Stevenage in the semi-final, United missed out on a return to the Championship after suffering a penalty shootout defeat to Huddersfield Town. In 2014, the Blades gained the nickname of giant-killers, having reached the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley, losing 5–3 to Hull City. In 2014–15, they reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and semi-finals of the Football League Cup, the club was formed by members of the Sheffield United Cricket Club, itself formed in 1854 and the first English sports club to use United in its name. Sheffield Uniteds predominant nickname is The Blades, a reference to Sheffields status as the producer of cutlery in the United Kingdom. Because of this, the nickname would also be used in reference to rivals Sheffield Wednesday, another nickname used was The Cutlers. In 1907, Wednesday came to be referred to as The Owls, in reference to their new ground in Owlerton, within Sheffield fans of the club are also sometimes referred to as Unitedites
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