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
Robert Gerald Bob McGrory was a Scottish footballer who played in the Football League for Burnley and Stoke City with whom he later had a long spell as manager. McGrory played football with Dumbarton before joining English side Burnley in August 1920, after only making three appearances for the Clarets he signed for Stoke City in May 1921. He soon became a part of Tom Mathers first team and was made club captain, skippering the side to promotions in 1926–27. He spent 15 seasons as a player for Stoke racking up 511 appearances although he did fail to score a single goal and he took over as Stoke manager in 1935 and in his first season in charge guided Stoke to a highest position finish of 4th. World War II disrupted what could have been a spell for Stoke. But an ongoing dispute with star winger Stanley Matthews saw him leave for Blackpool just before the end of the season, McGrory remained in charge until 1952 when he ended his 31-year association with the club. He spent a spell in charge of Merthyr Tydfil leaving after one season due to ill health. He died a year later on 24 May 1954, born in Bishopton, Renfrewshire, McGrory began work as an apprentice joiner on a shipyard in Clydeside. In 1914 he signed for Dumbarton, despite only previously playing boys brigade football and he missed only two games in five seasons for the Sons and began at attract interest from south of the border. Burnley signed him in August 1920 for a fee of £3,500 and he joined Stoke on 23 April 1921, spotted by soon to be chairman Arthur Sherwin. Rumours has it that McGrory had reservations about joining Stoke as he did not like the look of the City, whether this was true or not, he went on to spend 31 years living in Stoke-on-Trent. Solidly built at 6 ft, McGrory was frequently described as stout-hearted and played with an absence of flurry no matter what the situation. He acquired the reputation as a fearless man-marker, and if dour described McGrorys approach on the field, it aptly summed up the non-nonsense Scots personality off it. After an early 7–1 aberration at Hull City, Stoke, with McGrory a major influence at the back, the run allowed Stoke to claim second spot in 1921–22 to gain promotion to the First Division. McGrory proved to be one of the few Stoke players to cope with the top-flight as Stoke were relegated back to the Second Division and he took over from Alec Milne as club captain in 1925 a position he did not lose for ten years. Stoke suffered relegation again in 1925–26 but McGrorys drive helped Stoke win the Third Division North title in 1926–27, famously consistent he played 101 consecutive league games from Match 1926 to September 1928. Promoted to assistant manager in 1934, McGrory appeared in all 42 league matches in 1934–35 at the age of 41 and his career at Stoke the took a dramatic turn as Mather left to become manager of Newcastle United and chairman Sherwin offered the job to McGrory who accepted. McGrorys club record of 511 appearances for Stoke would stand for 24 years, McGrorys managerial style was abrasive, contrasting starkly with that of his predecessor
The Victoria Ground was the home ground of Stoke City from 1878 until 1997, when the club relocated to the Britannia Stadium after 119 years. At the time of its demolition it was the oldest operational football league ground in the Football League. The Victoria Ground had been Stoke Citys home since March 1878, the ground took its name from the nearby Victoria Hotel and was originally an oval shape, built to accommodate a running track and used by the local athletic club. There was a grass bank at each end, and a small. Opposite this stand was another bank which could hold 4,000, the ground remained this way for 30 years during which time Stoke had become members of the Football League. Stoke suffered financial difficulties and dropped out of the league in 1908, Stoke got back into the league in 1919 and the ground had now been improved considerably. There were two good sized grandstands and a wooden one which was situated opposite the main stand. The players changing rooms were set in the corner of the ground which included a stove so players could keep warm. Above the changing hut was the box, a rather primitive building. During the early 1920s a new, mainly wooden main stand was erected alongside the hut, by 1930 Stoke had added City to their name and the Boothen End was terraced and later covered, and consequently the ground lost its oval shape. 1935, when the likes of Stanley Matthews was beginning to draw in the crowds, in front of the seats was a small paddock, room for another 2,000 and it took the ground capacity to around the 45,000 mark. A record crowd of 51,380 packed into the Victoria Ground on 29 March 1937 to watch a First Division match against Arsenal, during World War II the Butler Street Stand was used as an army storage camp. Floodlights were installed at the ground in 1956 and local rivals Port Vale marked the official switching on ceremony by playing Stoke in a friendly on 10 October 1956, in 1960 another new main stand was built and the dressing rooms were revamped. In the summer of 1963 concrete was laid on the paddock terracing, more improvements continued in the 1960s and the ground remained in a good condition until January 1976. The strong winds blew a section of the roof off the Butler Street Stand leaving only the west corner intact, top priority was to put the roof back in order that the replay against Tottenham could take place on 7 January. Stoke had to play one home match against Middlesbrough at Vale Park on 17 January. The final improvements to the ground were made during the 1980s with the Stanley Matthews suite being opened as well as a new club shop, with many clubs converting to all-seater stadium due to the Taylor Report the club drew up plans to meet the requirements at the Victoria Ground. However the Club instead decided to build a new ground and so in 1997 Stoke left the Victoria Ground after 119 years for the new modern 28,000 seater Britannia Stadium, archived from the original on 28 January 2010
Thomas Tommy Sale was an English footballer who played as a forward. Born in Stoke-on-Trent, Sale had two spells at his town club, Stoke City, amassing 483 appearances, either side of a two-year stint at Blackburn Rovers. Later in his career, he had spells at Northwich Victoria and Hednesford Town. As a fourteen-year-old, Tommy Sale worked in a Pottery factory, in conjunction with his work, he played football for Stoke St Peters. His performances attracted the attention of Tom Mather, Stoke Citys manager, in August 1929, at the age of 19, he signed with Stoke City on amateur terms. In May 1930, Sale signed a contract with Stoke City. On Christmas Day, of the year, Sale made his senior début in a match against Bradford City. By the 1932–33 season, Sale had established himself as a prominent member of the team, in the following two seasons, Sale was the clubs top scorer. He scored 17 times in the 1933–34 season, in which Stoke finished 12th in the First Division, in the subsequent season, 1934–35, Sale scored 21 goals, helping Stoke to a 10th-place finish in the First Division. Bob McGrory, Tom Mathers successor as Stoke manager, sold Tommy Sale to Blackburn Rovers in March 1936 and this surprised supporters at the time, however McGory had confidence in Freddie Steele, who he had earmarked as a potential replacement for Sale. Sale spent two years at Blackburn before departing, Blackburn were relegated from the First Division in his first season at the club, 1935–36, finishing bottom of the table. He left the club halfway through the subsequent season, 1936–37, bob McGrory, Stokes manager, re-signed Sale for Stoke in March 1938, initially as cover for Freddie Steele, who was injured at the time. Following his return, Sale scored five goals in three games, as he set about regaining his place in the team and he re-established his place in the side, as he scored 18 further goals in the remainder of the 1938–39 season. In the latter of two seasons, Sale netted six times in an 8–0 win over Walsall. Despite most of his goals coming from play, Sale was a penalty specialist. Sales last appearance for Stoke came on 8 April 1946, at the age of 35, in a War League game against Sheffield United at Stokes home ground, the Victoria Ground. Following his departure from Stoke, Sale had two spells at Northwich Victoria and Hednesford Town before announcing his retirement in 1949, at the age of 39, sourced from Tommy Sale profile at the English National Football Archive Stoke City Football League Second Division champions, 1932–33
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
Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club /ˌwʊlvərˈhæmptən/ is a professional association football club based in the city of Wolverhampton, West Midlands. The club was known as St. Lukes FC and was founded in 1877. They compete in the Championship, the second highest tier of English football, the following season saw two further managers dismissed as the club then suffered a second relegation, ending up in League One. However, in the season they gained promotion back to the Championship where they currently reside. The clubs current head coach is Paul Lambert, who took charge in November 2016, having become professional, the club were nominated to become one of the twelve founder members of the Football League in 1888, in which they played the first Football League match ever staged. They ended the season in third place, as well as reaching their first FA Cup Final, losing 0–3 to the first Double winners. At the conclusion of the campaign the club relocated for a time when they moved to Molineux. Wolves lifted the FA Cup for the first time in 1893 when they beat Everton 1–0, and added a second triumph in 1908, two years after having dropped into the Second Division. After struggling for years to regain their place in the top division, the club suffered a further relegation in 1923, entering the Third Division. Eight years later Wolves regained their status after winning the Second Division title under Major Frank Buckley. This game had been the last in a Wolves shirt for Stan Cullis, the 1950s were by far the most successful period in the clubs history. Captained by Billy Wright, Wolves finally claimed the championship for the first time in 1953–54. This became the final spur for Gabriel Hanot, the editor of LÉquipe, to propose the creation of the European Cup, although the decade opened with a fourth FA Cup victory and almost the first double of the 20th century, the 1960s saw Wolves begin to decline. Cullis was sacked in September 1964 in a season that ended with relegation and this exile would last only two seasons though, as they were promoted in 1967 as runners-up. During the close season in 1967, Wolves played a season in North America as part of the fledgling United Soccer Association league which imported clubs from Europe. Playing as the Los Angeles Wolves, they won the Western Division, the clubs return to the English top flight heralded another period of relative success under Bill McGarry, with a fourth place in 1971 qualifying them for the newly created UEFA Cup. They lifted silverware though two later, when they won the League Cup for the first time by beating Manchester City 2–1 in the final. The club was saved from liquidation at the last minute when it was purchased by a consortium fronted by former player Derek Dougan
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