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
Yeovil Town F.C.
Yeovil Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Yeovil, Somerset, England. They play in League Two, the tier of English football. The club won the League Two championship in 2004–05, and promotion to the Championship through the play-offs in 2013, founded in 1895, Yeovil took 108 years to enter the Football League when they were promoted from the Football Conference as champions in 2003. This success was repeated in 2005 when they reached the round and were drawn away against Charlton Athletic, then in the Premier League. Yeovils home ground is Huish Park, built in 1990 on the site of an old camp and named after their former home, Huish, itself known for its pitch. The clubs nickname The Glovers is a reference to the history of glove-making in the town of Yeovil, Yeovil Football Club was founded in 1890, and shared its ground with the local rugby club for many years. Five years later the club was renamed Yeovil Casuals and started playing games at the Pen Mill Athletic Ground. In 1907 the name Yeovil Town was adopted, which on amalgamation with Petters United became Yeovil, the name reverted to Yeovil Town before the 1946–47 season. The club came to attention as giant-killers during the 1948–49 FA Cup, in which they defeated Sunderland 2–1 in the fourth round. They were defeated 8–0 in the round by Manchester United. Between 1955 and 1973 they were champions of the Southern Football League three times, and runners-up twice, during this period, Yeovil Town applied for election to the Football League on a number of occasions, coming within a few votes of being elected in 1976. In 1979 the Glovers were founder members of the new national non-league division, in 1985, they were relegated to the Isthmian League. Yeovil won that championship in 1988 and returned to the Conference, there was success in the Bob Lord Challenge Trophy in 1990 and three years later Yeovil finished fourth in the Conference, their best finish ever. In January 1995, former Weymouth and Spurs player Graham Roberts was appointed manager, Yeovil secured promotion back into the Conference in 1997 after winning the Isthmian League with a record number of points –101. Colin Lippiatt became manager for the 1998–99 season and brought Terry Skiverton to the club as a player and their team included many top players, some of whom went on to play Premier League football. Notable players include Gavin Williams who moved to West Ham United, Lee Johnson, Chris Weale, Darren Way, Yeovils first game in the Football League was a 3–1 away win over Rochdale. The Glovers finished their first season in position, and reached the third round of the FA Cup before losing 2–0 at home to Liverpool. The following season Yeovil finished as champions of League Two with 83 points, partway through the season the club was sold by Jon Goddard-Watts to David Webb, who took over the role of chief executive from chairman John Fry
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
Newport County A.F.C.
Newport County Association Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Newport, South Wales. The team play in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. Most recently reformed in 1989, the club is a continuation of the Newport County club which was founded in 1912 and was a member of the Football Leagues new Third Division in 1920. Newport County were Welsh Cup winners in 1980 and subsequently reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1981, the club was relegated from the Football League in 1988 and went out of business in February 1989. The club reformed shortly afterwards and entered the English football league system at a lower level. In 2013 the club won back to the Football League for the first time since 1988. Newport County, originally nicknamed The Ironsides due to Newport being home to Lysaghts Orb Works steel works, the official name of the club was The Newport & Monmouth County Association Football Club, although the shorter Newport County was soon adopted. The club were reformed in 1919 and were first elected to the Football League in 1920 and they were not re-elected after the 1930–31 season but rejoined for 1932–33. After almost 20 years in the Third Division South, the club clinched promotion to the Second Division as champions in 1939 under manager Billy McCandless. Hopes were high that the side could prosper in the Second Division. Newport County managed a 1–1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur and a 3–1 win over Southampton, the War League operated for the remainder of the 1939–40 season and County finished 10th in the South-West Division. After the war, the reformed and competed in the temporary Football League South for the 1945–46 season. Newcastle player Len Shackleton remarked they were lucky to get nil, despite victories over Coventry City, Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham, the club needed four wins out of the last four games to have any hope of safety. Despite a revenge victory over Newcastle United, defeats to Birmingham City, Luton Town, County finished bottom of the Second Division and were relegated. Newport reached the round of the 1948–49 FA Cup under manager Tom Bromilow. They only narrowly lost the game 3–2 away to Portsmouth, the eventual FA Cup semi-finalists, after 11 further seasons in the Third Division South, the club narrowly avoided another effective relegation with the creation of the Fourth Division for the 1958–59 season. The bottom 12 teams from the Third Division North and South were placed in the new division, County avoided this fate by a mere four points. However, in 1962, with seven wins all season
Sheppey United F.C.
Sheppey United F. C. is an English football club based on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. The club are members of the Southern Counties East League Premier Division, the club is affiliated to the Kent County Football Association. The club was formed in 1890 by a merger of Sheerness Victoria and Invicta and they were founder members of both the Southern League and the Kent League in 1894. In the Southern League they were placed in Division Two, in which finished as runners-up in the first season. The following season finished second again, and this time won the test match. At the end of the season left the Kent League. The season also saw the club make their debut in the FA Cup when they played Millwall Athletic, in their first season in Division One they finished second bottom of the table, but avoided relegation by defeating RETB Chatham 2–1 in the test matches. In 1898–99 they again finished bottom of the table but retained their Division One status after drawing the test match against Thames Ironworks 1–1. However, the season they finished bottom of the table and lost the test match against Watford 2–1. The club rejoined the Kent League prior to the start of the 1900–01 season, however, after a single season back in Division Two, the club withdrew from the Southern League. In 1905–06 they won the Kent League and repeated the feat the following season, a third title was won in 1927–28, by the reserve team as the first team had rejoined the Southern League for that season and were placed in the English Section. However, after finishing bottom of the league in both 1930–31 and 1931–32 they resigned, and returned to the Kent League in Division One. At the end of the 1938–39 season Sheppey finished bottom of the league and should have been relegated, after the war Sheppey were placed back in the top division of the Kent league for the 1945–46 season. The club then remained in Division one until the 1958–59 season when the Kent league stopped, in 1959 they were founder members of the Aetolian League, which they played in until it merged with the London League to form the Greater London League in 1964. After winning Section B of the Greater London League in 1964–65 and they had a single season in the Metropolitan–London League in 1971–72 after it was formed by a merger of the Metropolitan League and the Greater London, before rejoining the new Kent League in 1972. They won the title in their first season back in the league and were champions again in 1974–75 and 1978–79, as well as winning the League Cup in 1975–76. After finishing second in 1983–84, the club rejoined the Southern League for a third spell, however, after finishing bottom of Division One South in 1989–90 they returned to the Kent League. They finished bottom of the table in their first season back, in March 2001 the club resigned from the Kent League and their record was expunged