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
Colchester United F.C.
Colchester United Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Colchester, Essex, England. The team competes in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. Founded in 1937, the club spent its early years playing in the Southern Football League until they were elected to the Football League in 1950. Colchester United were relegated to the Football Conference in 1990 following a decline in the late 1980s and they achieved promotion to the Second Division in 1998 following a 1–0 win against Torquay United in the play-off final. The club were promoted in 2006, achieving second place in League One. The club returned to League One in 2008 following relegation from the Championship, Colchester United play their home games at Colchester Community Stadium in Colchester. They relocated to the stadium in 2008 when they moved away from Layer Road, until 1937, Colchester Town were Colchesters main club and were the original tenants of Layer Road. Colchester Town joined the Eastern Counties League in 1935, but their performances in the league convinced supporters that the club should turn professional. With club officials against the idea of turning professional, a new club was formed in March 1937, Colchester United. United joined the Southern Football League as crowds for Town matches dwindled, in December 1937, Colchester United formed a reserve team, signing many of Towns players. As a result of this and Town struggling with £300 debts, the club won the Southern League Cup in their first season of existence, and were Southern League champions during in 1939 prior to the Second World War. They finally fell to Blackpool in the fifth round and this set them in good stead for potential election to the Football League. Colchester United were elected to the Football League in 1950 on the back of their second Southern League Cup win and ending the 1949–50 season second to Merthyr Tydfil on goal average alone. With the draw having been made prior to the replay against Rochdale, the Us knew they would face a home tie with First Division Leeds United, and duly trounced Dale 5–0. In the match with Leeds, the Us raced to an unprecedented 3–0 lead in front of a 16,000 Layer Road crowd, Leeds did grab two goals back but Colchester held on for a famous 3–2 victory. The club faced Everton in the quarter-finals but succumbed to a 5–0 defeat in front of 53,028 at Goodison Park. Financial difficulties and a number of changes at board level in the mid-1980s caused a slide towards the end of the Fourth Division table. Despite a brief turn around in form under former Rangers manager Jock Wallace, despite their relegation, the Us remained a full-time club while playing in the Football Conference, as they sold their Layer Road ground to the Colchester Borough Council to clear the clubs debts
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
World War II
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although related conflicts began earlier. It involved the vast majority of the worlds countries—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing alliances, the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, and directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. Marked by mass deaths of civilians, including the Holocaust and the bombing of industrial and population centres. These made World War II the deadliest conflict in human history, from late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, and formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Poland, Finland, Romania and the Baltic states. In December 1941, Japan attacked the United States and European colonies in the Pacific Ocean, and quickly conquered much of the Western Pacific. The Axis advance halted in 1942 when Japan lost the critical Battle of Midway, near Hawaii, in 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained all of its territorial losses and invaded Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in South Central China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy, thus ended the war in Asia, cementing the total victory of the Allies. World War II altered the political alignment and social structure of the world, the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The victorious great powers—the United States, the Soviet Union, China, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next 46 years. Meanwhile, the influence of European great powers waned, while the decolonisation of Asia, most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic recovery. Political integration, especially in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities, the start of the war in Europe is generally held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or even the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred simultaneously and this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935. The British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the forces of Mongolia and the Soviet Union from May to September 1939, the exact date of the wars end is also not universally agreed upon. It was generally accepted at the time that the war ended with the armistice of 14 August 1945, rather than the formal surrender of Japan
Gillingham Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Gillingham, Kent, England. The only Kent-based club in the Football League, the Gills play their matches at the Priestfield Stadium. The team compete in League One, the tier of the English football league system. The club was founded in 1893 and joined the Football League in 1920 and they were voted out of the league in favour of Ipswich Town at the end of the 1937–38 season, but returned to it 12 years later after it was expanded from 88 to 92 clubs. Twice in the late 1980s they came close to winning promotion to the tier of English football. The local success of a football side, Chatham Excelsior F. C. encouraged a group of businessmen to meet with a view to creating a football club which could compete in larger competitions. New Brompton F. C. was formed at the meeting, the founders also purchased the plot of land which later became Priestfield Stadium. The new club played its first match on 2 September 1893, New Brompton were among the founder members of the Southern League upon its creation in 1894, and were placed in Division Two. They were named Champions in the first season going on to defeat Swindon Town in a test match to win promotion, in the seasons that followed, the club struggled in Division One, finishing bottom in the 1907–08 season, avoiding relegation only due to expansion of the league. In 1938 the team finished bottom of the Third Division and were required to apply for re-election for the time since joining the league. This bid for re-election failed, with Gillingham returning to the Southern League, Gillingham quickly established themselves as one of the stronger sides in the league, winning a local double of the Kent League and Kent Senior Cup in the 1945–46 season. In the 1946–47 season the team won both the Southern League Cup and the Southern League championship, during which they recorded a club record 12–1 victory over Gloucester City, the Gills also won the league title in 1948–49. The team spent eight seasons in Division Three before the restructuring of the system for the 1958–59 season saw them placed in the newly created Fourth Division. They remained in this division until 1964, when manager Freddie Cox led them to promotion, the team finished the season level on 60 points with Carlisle United, but with a fractionally better goal average, which was the tightest league title finish in Football League history. After relegation back to the Fourth Division in 1970–71, the Gills were soon promoted back to the Third Division in the 1973–74 season. During this period the club produced future stars Steve Bruce and Tony Cascarino, in 1987, the Gills hit the headlines when, on consecutive Saturdays, they beat Southend United 8–1 and Chesterfield 10–0, the latter a club record for a Football League match. Just a few later, however, manager Keith Peacock was controversially sacked. The ensuing spell in the division brought little success
Chelmsford City F.C.
Chelmsford City Football Club is a football club based in the city of Chelmsford, Essex, England. They are currently members of the National League South and play at the Melbourne Stadium, Chelmsford Football Club was established in 1878 by members of the Chelmsford Lawn Tennis and Croquet club in order to give them something to do in the winter. The club won the Essex Senior Cup in 1892–93 and again in 1901–02, in 1895 they were founder members of the North Essex League, but left in 1900 to join the South Essex League. In 1903–04 the club entered a team into the newly-formed South East Anglian League. In 1908–09 they spent a season playing in the Eastern Division of the Spartan League, in 1912 Chelmsford were amongst the founder members of the Athenian League, although they also continued to play in the South Essex League for another season. In 1922 the club failed to be re-elected and dropped into the Middlesex County League, in 1923–24 they also entered a team into the Essex & Suffolk Border League. That season saw the win the Middlesex County League and finish second in the Border League. In the following season, Chelmsford won the East Anglian Cup, the club won the London League Premier Division title in 1930–31, before becoming founder members of the Eastern Counties League in 1935. Two years later left the ECL to become founder members of the Essex County League. In 1938, it was decided to form a club in order to join the Southern League. Chelmsford City was established in 1938 and took over Chelmsfords New Writtle Street ground and they joined the Southern League and made an immediate impact in the FA Cup, reaching the fourth round in its first season. In the fourth round they lost 6–0 at Birmingham City, at the end of the season the club applied to join the Football League, but received only one vote. The club were the Southern Leagues first champions when football resumed after World War II, Chelmsford won the league cup again in 1959–60 and the league title in 1967–68 and 1971–72. They continued to apply to join the Football League, making bids in 1960,1961,1962, the club remained in the top division of the Southern League until 1976–77, when they were relegated to Division One South. In 1977, City were one of six clubs to represent England in the Anglo-Italian Cup, after the formation of the Alliance Premier League they regained their top division status in the Southern League. The club were relegated again in 1987–88 but made a return to the Premier Division after winning Division One South the following season. Another relegation was experienced in 1996–97 and after an issue with the seating at the ground meant they were refused promotion in 1997–98, in 2004, Chelmsford transferred to the Premier Division of the Isthmian League and were champions in 2007–08, earning promotion to the Conference South. They reached the play-offs in the season but lost to Hampton & Richmond in the play-off semi-finals
Worcester City F.C.
Worcester City Football Club is an English football club based in Worcester, Worcestershire. The club participates in the National League North, the tier of English football. Established in 1902, they have spent the majority of their history in non-league football and they currently play at Victoria Ground, home to Bromsgrove Sporting, after leaving St Georges Lane in 2013. Initially they played on Pitchcroft on an area called Severn Terrace. They played there until the start of the 1905 season and it was in 1905 that they reached the first round of the FA Cup, losing 6–0 at home to Watford. In 1924–25 they won the league for the first time, the club won back-to-back league titles in 1928–29 and 1929–30, also reaching the FA Cup first round in the former, losing 3–1 at Walsall. In 1938 they joined the Southern League, in 1940 they won the Southern League Cup beating Chelmsford 7–3 over two legs under the guidance of former Fulham F. C. legend Syd Gibbons. During World War II the club returned to the Birmingham & District League for two seasons, after the war Worcester rejoined the Southern League. In 1958–59 the club reached the first round of the FA Cup again, after beating Chelmsford City in a replay and then Millwall 5–2 in the second round, they were drawn against Liverpool. A 2–1 win saw Worcester qualify for the round against Sheffield United. They were defeated 2–0 in front of a home attendance of 17,042 at St Georges Lane. In 1973–74 the club were relegated to Division One North of the Southern League and they returned to the Premier Division as Division One champions in 1977, and in 1978–79 won the title. The following season they became members of the Alliance Premier League. However, they were relegated at the end of the 1984–85 season, the 1973–74 season saw City reach the quarter-final of the FA Trophy. They beat Taunton Town 1–0 away from home and then a 5–1 home win over Bletchley saw the club reach the third round. Having beaten Sandbach Ramblers 4–1, City progressed to the last eight where a 2–0 away defeat followed a draw against South Shields ended their cup run. In the 1978–79 season, Worcester reached the semi-finals after beating Cardiff City 3–2 in the quarters and they again played Shrewsbury, this time losing 2–0 away. The club remained in the Southern League Premier Division until 2004, in 2008 they were moved to the Conference South after no southern teams were relegated from the Conference National