Southern Football League
Together with the Isthmian League and the Northern Premier League it forms levels seven and eight of the English football league system. The structure of the Southern League has changed several times since its formation in 1894, the Premier Division is at step 3 of the National League System, and is a feeder division, mainly to the National League South but also to the National League North. Feeding the Premier Division are two divisions, Division One South & West and Division One Central, which are at step 4 of the NLS. These divisions are in turn fed by various regional leagues, professional football developed more slowly in Southern England than in Northern England. Additionally, a league, the Southern Alliance was founded in 1892, with seven clubs from the region. Nonetheless, another attempt was made to form the Southern League, a competition for both professional and amateur clubs was founded in 1894 under the initiative of Millwall Athletic. Initially only one division was envisaged, but such was the enthusiasm, the sixteen founder members were, 2nd Scots Guards withdrew before the first season started and were replaced by Southampton St Marys. Woolwich Arsenal attempted to add their reserve side to the second division, the Southern League soon became the dominant competition below The Football League in Southern and Central England. By the turn of the century a few of the Southern League sides began to rival the Football League in the FA Cup, Two Southern League clubs, Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur reached the final of the FA Cup around the turn of the century. Tottenham Hotspur are the club from below the 2nd level of English football to have won the FA Cup. The champions of the two leagues during this period met in the annual Charity Shield, in 1907, it accepted Bradford Park Avenue, a northern club, as a member, reflecting its senior position at the time. In 1920, virtually the top division of the Southern League was absorbed by the Football League to become that leagues new Third Division. A year later the Third Division was expanded and regionalised, the Third Division clubs from the previous season became the Third Division South, with the addition of the Third Division North. Of the original members, six – Gillingham, Luton Town, Millwall, Reading. For the next six decades, the Football League and Southern League would exchange a number of clubs as a result of the older leagues re-election process. From 1920 onward, the Southern Leagues status as a league was firmly established. In turn, the APL would eventually succeed in becoming a feeder to the Football League, the league lost more of its top clubs in 2004 when the Conference added two regional divisions below the existing National League, the Conference South and Conference North. The first sponsor of the Southern League was Beazer Homes who sponsored the league from 1987–96, the sponsors after Beazer Homes to the present day are, Dr Martens, British Gas, Zamaretto, Evo-Stik, Calor Gas, and Evo-Stik
Dartford Football Club is an English association football club based in Dartford, Kent. The club participates in the National League South, the tier of English football. After finishing as champions of the Isthmian League Division One North in the 2007–08 season and they finished in 8th position in their first season. They were crowned champions of the Isthmian League Premier Division in their second season and that season they finished in 10th place, but once again gained promotion at the second attempt in 2011–12, by winning the play off final, after finishing second in the table. Since the 2012–13 season they have playing in the Conference Premier. Home matches are played at the environmentally friendly stadium, Princes Park. The club was formed in 1888 by members of the Dartford Working mens club and they have also reached the final of the FA Trophy once. Dartford Football Club was formed in 1888 by members of the Dartford Working Mens Club, the club soon was entering cup competitions, reaching the final of the Kent Senior Cup in 1894. Following this, Dartford were founder members of the Kent League for the 1894–95 season, Two seasons later, Dartford became founder members of the Southern League Division Two, winning the Championship at the first attempt. The club moved between the Southern and Kent Leagues several times over the seasons, dropping to the West Kent League in the 1900s. Around the same time the club found its first permanent home ground, Summers Meadow in Lowfield Street, in 1908–09 Dartford won the West Kent League and Cup double and rejoined the Kent League where they remained until the outbreak of the First World War. In 1913 Dartford undertook a tour of Norway culminating in a 6–1 win over a Norway XI. Darts continued their association with the Kent League, winning the cup in 1923–24. At the start of the 1930s the Dartford Board appointed the successful Kettering Town manager, Bill Collier, the Scot continued his pattern of success with Dartford and won trophies by the shoal during the decade leading up to the 1939–45 war. In county football Dartford won the Kent Senior Cup four times in five seasons, in addition Dartford gained a reputation nationally by becoming the first club outside the Football League to reach the FA Cup Third Round Proper in successive seasons. In 1935–36 Dartford lost to a star-studded Derby County by 3–2 at the Baseball Ground having at one time led by 2–0, leading player Fred Dell was transferred to West Ham United for a reported £2,000 immediately after the game. The following season saw Dartford lose 0–1 at home to Darlington at the same stage, for a decade and a half following the 1939–1945 war, Dartford had little to show for its efforts except for a sparkling win over Bromley in Kent Senior Cup in 1947. Included in the Dartford line-up that day was Ted Croker, later to become the Secretary of the Football Association, soon after this win Dartford transferred Riley Cullum and Fred Alexander to Charlton Athletic for £6,000, which wiped out the clubs debts entirely
Exeter City F.C.
Exeter City Football Club /ˈɛksɪtə ˈsɪti/ is a professional association football club based in Exeter, Devon, England. The team play in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. The club is owned by the clubs supporters through the Exeter City Supporters Trust, the club was a member of the Football League from 1920 to 2003. Following five seasons in the Conference National, Exeter were promoted back to League Two for the 2008–09 season, in the 2011–12 season of League One Exeter City were relegated to League Two, finishing 23rd with 48 points, they have remained in League Two ever since. Exeter City was founded in 1904 and began playing on an old used for fattening pigs. Exeter remain at St James Park to this day, the club is nicknamed The Grecians. For the 2016–17 season Citys home kit is supplied by Joma and it consists of red and white shirts, black shorts, and black and white socks. The club is known as the first side to play a team from Brazil. As a result, City and Brazilian side Fluminense are now also partner clubs, Exeter City F. C. was formed from two predecessor clubs, Exeter United F. C. and St Sidwells United. Exeter United was a club from Exeter, Devon, that played between 1890 and 1904. In 1904, Exeter United lost 3–1 to local rivals St Sidwells United, the new team took the name Exeter City and continued to play at Exeter Uniteds ground, St James Park, where Exeter City still play today. Exeter United was formed from the team of the same name and were one of the first football teams with the moniker United. St Sidwells United was a club that had formed from the regulars who frequented the Foresters Inn in Sidwell Street, Exeter, although the house was always known as the Drum. The team played in St Sidwells old colours of green and white, on 10 September 1904, Exeter City played its first ever competitive match, a 2–1 victory at St James over 110th Battery of the Royal Artillery, in the East Devon League. The attendance was 600, and the goal scored by Sid Thomas. City topped the East Devon League with 11 wins, two draws, one defeat in its first season, and transferred to the Plymouth & District League for next three seasons, in 1908, Exeter City A. F. C. became a limited company. City became a professional team, and applied successfully for membership of the Southern League. A wooden grandstand was erected, and the club entered into an arrangement over the ground
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
Norwich City F.C.
Norwich City Football Club is an English professional football club based in Norwich, Norfolk. The club currently plays in the Championship, the tier of English football. They were first promoted to the top flight in 1972, Norwich have won the League Cup twice, in 1962 and 1985. The club has never won the top flight, but finished third in 1993, the club was founded in 1902. The fans song On the Ball, City is regarded as being the oldest football song in the world which is still in use, the club plays in characteristic yellow and green kits and are nicknamed The Canaries after the history of breeding the birds in the area. They joined the Norfolk & Suffolk League for the 1902–03 season, but following a FA Commission, the club was ousted from the amateur game in 1905, deemed a professional organisation. Later that year Norwich were elected to play in the Southern League and with increasing crowds, they were forced to leave Newmarket Road in 1908, moving to The Nest, a disused chalk pit. During the First World War, with football suspended and facing spiralling debts, the club was officially reformed on 15 February 1919 – a key figure in the events was Charles Frederick Watling, future Lord Mayor of Norwich and the father of future club chairman, Geoffrey Watling. When, in May 1920, the Football League formed a third Division and their first league fixture, against Plymouth Argyle, on 28 August 1920, ended in a 1–1 draw. The club went on to endure a mediocre decade, finishing no higher than eighth, the inaugural match, held on 31 August 1935, against West Ham United, ended in a 4–3 victory to the home team and set a new record attendance of 29,779. The biggest highlight of the four seasons was the visit of King George VI to Carrow Road on 29 October 1938. However, the club was relegated to the Third Division at the end of the season, the league was suspended the following season as a result of the outbreak of the Second World War and did not resume until the 1946–47 season. City finished this and the season in 21st place, the poor results forcing the club to apply for re-election to the league. The 1958–59 season saw Norwich reach the semi-final of the FA Cup as a Third Division side, in the 1959–60 season, Norwich were promoted to the Second Division after finishing second to Southampton, and achieved a fourth-place finish in the 1960–61 season. In 1962 Ron Ashman guided Norwich to their first trophy, defeating Rochdale 4–0 on aggregate in a final to win the League Cup. They made their first appearance at Wembley Stadium in 1973, losing the League Cup final 1–0 to Tottenham Hotspur. Relegation to the Second Division in 1974 came after Saunders had departed and been succeeded by John Bond, a highly successful first season saw promotion back to the First Division and another visit to Wembley, again in the League Cup final, this time losing 1–0 to Aston Villa. Bond departed to Manchester City in the autumn of 1980 and the club were relegated six months later, Norwich had also been the beneficiaries of one of English footballs first million-pound transfers when they sold striker Justin Fashanu to Nottingham Forest in August 1981