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
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
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
Nottingham Forest F.C.
Nottingham Forest Football Club is a professional association football club based in Nottinghamshire, England. The team play in the Championship, the tier of English football. The club, often referred to as Forest, have played matches at the City Ground since 1898. Founded in 1865, Forest were founder members of the Football Alliance in 1889, since then, they have mostly competed in the top two League tiers, bar five seasons in the third tier. Forest won the FA Cup in 1898 and 1959, Forest were founded in 1865 as Nottingham Forest Football and Bandy Club by a group of shinty players shortly after their neighbours Notts County, in 1862. They joined the Football Alliance in 1889, and won the competition in 1892, in their early years Forest were a multi-sports club, as well as their roots in bandy and shinty, the baseball club Forest deployed were British champions in 1899. Forests charitable approach to the sport helped teams like Liverpool, Arsenal, in 1886, Forest donated a set of football kits to help Arsenal establish themselves – the North London team still wear red. Forest also donated shirts to Everton and helped secure a site to play on for Brighton, Forest claimed their first major honour when they won the 1898 FA Cup, beating Derby County 3–1 at Crystal Palace. However, for much of the first half of the 20th century the club spent life in the Second Division and had to seek re-election in 1914 after finishing bottom. In 1949 the club were relegated to the Third Division, but were promoted back two years later as champions having scored a record 110 goals in the 1950–51 season. They therefore became the first team to defeat the Wembley hoodoo, by this time Forest had replaced Notts County as the biggest club in Nottingham and went on to become runners-up in the First Division and FA Cup semi-finalists in 1967. However, after a successful period for the club, Forest were relegated from the First Division in 1972. Clough became the most successful manager in the history of Nottingham Forest, cloughs first game in charge was the third round FA Cup replay against Tottenham Hotspur, a 1–0 victory thanks to a goal by Scottish centre-forward Neil Martin. Nottingham Forest became one of the few teams to win the First Division Championship a year after winning promotion from the Second Division and they also won the European Super Cup and two League Cups. The club reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup in 1983–84 but were knocked out by Anderlecht in controversial but uncertain circumstances. The case was dismissed and Anderlecht was acquitted from all charges Nottingham Forests next major trophies came in 1989 when they won the Football League Cup. Cloughs side retained the League Cup in 1990 when they beat Oldham Athletic 1–0, in Forests team that day was young Irish midfielder Roy Keane, who had joined the club the previous summer. In the summer of 1991, Brian Clough broke Forests transfer record fee by signing the top scorer, Millwall striker Teddy Sheringham
The City Ground is a football stadium in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, England, on the banks of the River Trent. It has been home to Nottingham Forest Football Club since 1898 and they are located on opposite sides of the River Trent. Nottingham Forest moved to their new ground on 3 September 1898 –33 years after their formation, to raise the £3,000 required to finance the move the club asked members, supporters and businessmen to subscribe to New Ground Scheme bearer bonds which cost £5 each. Over £2,000 was raised this way, the new ground was called the City Ground. It was only a few hundred yards from the old Town Ground at the end of Trent Bridge. Nottingham was granted its Charter as a City in 1897 and it was called the City Ground to commemorate this as the land on which it stands was at that time within the City boundary. In 1952 boundary changes resulted in the ground coming under the council of West Bridgford rather than the City. Opposite the City Ground, still within the City boundaries, lies Meadow Lane, the City Ground was wide open on three sides with no protection from the weather but the pitch was one of the finest in the country. This was due to the presence on the committee of J. W. Bardill, in 1935, the club had the opportunity to buy the ground from Nottingham Corporation for £7,000 but they declined. On 12 October 1957, a new East Stand opened at the City Ground costing £40,000, the visitors for the opening were Manchester United’s Busby Babes, just four months before eight of them died in the Munich air disaster. A new record attendance of 49,946 was set in October 1967 when Forest beat Manchester Utd 3-1 in a First Division fixture, on 11 September 1961, the floodlights at the ground were officially turned on for the first time as Forest faced Gillingham in the League Cup. The Main Stand was largely rebuilt in 1965 but on 24 August 1968 fire broke out during a First Division game against Leeds United, the stand was damaged by fire but thankfully, despite a crowd of 31,126, there were no injuries among the crowd. The fire started in the room, just before half-time. As a result, Forest played six matches at nearby Meadow Lane. Sadly many of the records, trophies, memorabilia etc. were lost in the fire. In December 1967 the City Ground was host to an England U23 match against Italy, Forest also won the Football League Cup twice during this era. The stand was renamed The Brian Clough Stand after Cloughs retirement, the stand also incorporates 36 executive boxes and a large dining area which was designed to be the focus of the club’s corporate hospitality arrangements. More major development took part in 1992–93 with the rebuilding of the Bridgford Stand, work started in April 1992 and when completed the Stand had a capacity of 7,710, the lower tier of 5,131 being allocated to away supporters
Arsenal Football Club is a professional football club based in Highbury, London, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. The club has won 13 League titles,12 FA Cups, Arsenal was the first club from the South of England to join The Football League, in 1893. They entered the First Division in 1904, and have accumulated the second most points. Relegated only once, in 1913, they continue the longest streak in the top division, in the 1930s, Arsenal won five League Championships and two FA Cups, and another FA Cup and two Championships after the war. In 1970–71, they won their first League and FA Cup Double, between 1989 and 2005, they won five League titles and five FA Cups, including two more Doubles. They completed the 20th century with the highest average league position, Herbert Chapman won Arsenals first national trophies, but died prematurely. He helped introduce the WM formation, floodlights, and shirt numbers, Arsène Wenger has been the longest-serving manager and has won the most trophies. His teams set several English records, the longest win streak, the longest unbeaten run, in 1886, Woolwich munitions workers founded the club as Dial Square. In 1913, the crossed the city to Arsenal Stadium in Highbury. They became Tottenham Hotspurs nearest club, commencing the North London derby, in 2006, they moved down the road to the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal earned €435. 5m in 2014–15, with the Emirates Stadium generating the highest revenue in world football, based on social media activity from 2014–15, Arsenals fanbase is the fifth largest in the world. In 2016, Forbes estimated the club was the second most valuable in England, on 1 December 1886, munitions workers in Woolwich, now South East London, formed Arsenal as Dial Square, with David Danskin as their first captain. Named after the heart of the Royal Arsenal complex, they took the name of the complex a month later. Royal Arsenal F. C. s first home was Plumstead Common, though spent most of their time in South East London playing on the other side of Plumstead. Royal Arsenal won Arsenals first trophies in 1890 and 1891, Royal Arsenal renamed themselves for a second time upon becoming a limited liability company in 1893. They registered their new name, Woolwich Arsenal, with The Football League when the club ascended later that year, Woolwich Arsenal was the first southern member of The Football League, starting out in the Second Division and winning promotion to the First Division in 1904. Falling attendances, due to financial difficulties among the munitions workers, businessmen Henry Norris and William Hall took the club over, and sought to move them elsewhere. In 1913, soon after relegation back to the Second Division, Woolwich Arsenal moved to the new Arsenal Stadium in Highbury and this saw their third change of name, the following year, they reduced Woolwich Arsenal to simply The Arsenal
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
Their home ground since 2001 has been St Marys Stadium, before which they were based at The Dell. Southampton has a rivalry with Portsmouth due to its close proximity. Matches between the two sides are known as the South Coast derby, the club has won the FA Cup once, in 1976, and their highest-ever league finish was second in the First Division in 1983–84. Southampton were relegated from the Premier League on 15 May 2005 and they returned after a seven-year absence, and have played there ever since. Southampton were founded at St. Marys Church, on 21 November 1885 by members of the St. Marys Church of England Young Mens Association. More important matches, such as cup games, were played either at the County Cricket Ground in Northlands Road or the Antelope Cricket Ground in St Marys Road. During this time, they moved to a newly built £10,000 stadium called The Dell, the club reached the first of their four FA Cup Finals in 1900. On that day, they went down 4–0 to Bury and two later they would suffer a similar fate at the hands of Sheffield United as they were beaten 2–1 in a replay of the 1902 final. After World War I, Saints joined the newly formed Football League Third Division in 1920 which split into South and North sections a year later, the 1921–22 season ended in triumph with promotion and marked the beginning of a 31-year stay in the Second Division. The 1922–23 season was a unique Even Season –14 wins,14 draws and 14 defeats for a total of 42 points, goals for and against statistics were also equal and the team finished in mid-table. In 1925 and 1927, they reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, losing 2–0 and 2–1 to Sheffield United, in the 1948–49 and 1949–50 seasons, Charlie Wayman rattled in a total of 56 goals. Then relegation in 1953 sent Saints sliding back into Division 3 and it took until 1960 for Saints to regain Second Division status with Derek Reeves plundering 39 of the champions’106 league goals. On 27 April 1963 a crowd of 68,000 at Villa Park saw them lose 1–0 to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final. In 1966, when Ted Bates’ team were promoted to the First Division as runners-up, for the following campaign Ron Davies arrived to score 43 goals in his first season. Saints stayed among the elite for eight years, with the highest finishing position being seventh place in 1968–69 and again in 1970–71. These finishes were high enough for them to qualify for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969–70 and its successor, the UEFA Cup in 1971–72, in December 1973, Bates stood down to be replaced by his assistant Lawrie McMenemy. The Saints were one of the first victims of the new three-down relegation system in 1974, the following season, they played in Europe again in the Cup Winners Cup, reaching Round 3 where they lost 2–3 on aggregate to Anderlecht. In 1977–78, captained by Alan Ball, Saints finished runners-up in the Second Division and they finished comfortably in 14th place in their first season back in the top flight
West Bromwich Albion F.C.
The club was formed in 1878 and has played at its home ground, The Hawthorns, since 1900. Albion were one of the members of the Football League in 1888 and have spent the majority of their existence in the top tier of English football. They have been champions of England once, in 1919–20 and have been runners-up twice but they have had success in the FA Cup. The first came in 1888, the year the league was founded, and they also won the Football League Cup at the first attempt in 1966. The clubs longest consecutive period in the top division spanned twenty-four years between 1949 and 1973, and from 1986 to 2002 they spent their longest ever spell out of the top division and they currently play in the Premier League. The team has played in blue and white stripes for most of the clubs history. The club was founded as West Bromwich Strollers in 1878 by workers from George Salters Spring Works in West Bromwich, the club joined the Birmingham & District Football Association in 1881 and became eligible for their first competition, the Birmingham Cup. They reached the quarter-finals, beating several longer-established clubs on the way, in 1883, Albion won their first trophy, the Staffordshire Cup. Albion joined the Football Association in the year, this enabled them to enter the FA Cup for the first time in the 1883–84 season. In 1885 the club turned professional, and in 1886 they reached the FA Cup final for the first time and they reached the final again in 1887, but lost 2–0 to Aston Villa. In 1888 the team won the trophy for the first time, as FA Cup winners, they qualified to play in a Football World Championship game against Scottish Cup winners Renton, which ended in a 4–1 defeat. Thus when the Football League started later that year, Albion became one of the founder members. Albions second FA Cup success came in 1892, beating Aston Villa 3–0 and they met Villa again in the 1895 final, but lost 1–0. The team suffered relegation to Division Two in 1900–01, their first season at The Hawthorns and they were promoted as champions the following season but relegated again in 1903–04. The club won the Division Two championship once more in 1910–11, and the season reached another FA Cup Final. Albion won the Football League title in 1919–20 for the time in their history following the end of World War I. The team finished as Division One runners-up in 1924–25, narrowly losing out to Huddersfield Town, in 1930–31, they won promotion as well as the FA Cup, beating Birmingham 2–1 in the final. The Double of winning the FA Cup and promotion has not been achieved before or since, Albion reached the final again in 1935, losing to Sheffield Wednesday, but were relegated three years later
Blackpool Football Club is a professional association football club based in the seaside town of Blackpool, Lancashire, England. For the 2016–17 season, they are competing in League Two, founded in 1887, Blackpools home ground has been Bloomfield Road since 1901. Their main nickname is the Seasiders, but they are called the Pool and the Tangerines, the latter in reference to the colour of their home kit. Blackpools least successful period was in the 1980s, particularly when, in the 1982–83 season, they finished 21st in English League footballs lowest tier, the clubs motto is Progress, as featured on the club crest. Blackpool have a rivalry with Preston North End, and matches between the two clubs are known as the West Lancashire derby. They have not met in a match since February 2010. Football had developed in Blackpool by 1877 when Victoria F. C. were founded as a club with a ground in Caunce Street. This team disbanded a few years later but some of its members are understood to have merged with old boys from St Johns School to form a new club called Blackpool St Johns. The new club managed to win two pieces of silverware in its first season in existence, 1887–88, the Fylde Cup, at the conclusion of the following 1888–89 season, Blackpool became founder members of the Lancashire League. In their first season in the competition, the club finished out of the 13 member clubs. They finished as runners-up over the three seasons, before winning the championship themselves on their fourth attempt. Blackpools home at that point in time was Raikes Hall, which was part of an entertainment complex that included a theatre. This meant that the average attendances were around the 2000 mark. Their application was successful, and for the debut season, 1896–97. Blackpools first-ever Football League game took place on 5 September 1896, at Lincoln City, for the 1897–98 campaign, the club played their home games at the Athletic Grounds. They remained there for the first seven games of 1898–99. After finishing third-bottom, the club were not re-elected at the end of the 1898–99 season and they finished third, and after the Football Leagues annual meeting, on 25 May 1900, were permitted back into Division Two. It was during this season out of the League that Blackpool amalgamated with local rivals South Shore, during the 10 seasons that followed, Blackpool could finish no higher than 12th place