Port Vale F.C.
Port Vale Football Club is a professional association football club based in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, England. The team compete in League One, the tier of the English football league system. Port Vale is one of the few English league clubs not to be named after a location, their name being a reference to the valley of ports on the Trent. They were founder members of the Second Division in 1892 and of the Fourth Division in 1958 and they have never played top-flight football, and hold the record for the most seasons in the English Football League without reaching the top tier. After playing at the Athletic Ground in Cobridge and The Old Recreation Ground in Hanley, outside the ground is a statue to Roy Sproson, who played 842 competitive games for the club. John Rudge was manager from 1983 to 1999, under his leadership the club lifted the Football League Trophy in 1993, since his reign the club have declined, slipping into the fourth tier whilst entering twice administration in 2003 and 2012. The decline was arrested when Norman Smurthwaite brought the club out of administration in 2012, the clubs traditional rivals are Stoke City, and games between the two are known as the Potteries derby. However, the story given on the club website is that Port Vale F. C. was formed in 1876, following a meeting at Port Vale House. They played their football at Limekiln Lane, Longport and from 1880 at Westport, the club moved to Burslem in 1884, changing its name to Burslem Port Vale in the process, they played at Moorland Road before moving into the Athletic Ground in 1885. In 1892 the club were members of the Football League Second Division. The club dropped Burslem from their name in 1907 – a dark time of financial difficulties where the club were forced to resign from the league, the club were relegated for the first time during the 1928–29 season, going from the Second Division to the Third Division North. They came up the season as champions. In the 1930–31 season they placed fifth in the tier of English football. After this peak, the club were again relegated in the 1935–36 season. In 1950, Vale Park was completed, the fifth ground. Steele quickly established himself at the club, masterminding the celebrated Iron Curtain defence, three years later, the club were once again relegated, and once again became founder members of a league – this time the Football League Fourth Division. In their first season in new division the club took the title with a club record 110 goals. During the 1960s, the Vale fans witnessed numerous good cup runs, in 1967, Stanley Matthews took over, his reign ended in tears in 1968 as Vale were expelled from the Football League over seemingly illegal payments made to players
Freddie Steele (footballer)
Frederick Charles Steele was an English professional footballer who played as a forward for Stoke City and England. He also had spells at Mansfield Town and Port Vale as a player-manager and he remains a legendary figure in the histories of both Stoke and Vale. His nephew is former England cricketer David Steele, signing with Stoke City in 1931 at the age of fifteen, he set a club record when he scored 33 league goals in the 1936–37 season. During the season his 214-day-long international career also made for impressive reading, however a series of misfortunes severely disrupted his playing career. Picking up a knee injury in 1937, he retired two years later after suffering from depression – aged just 23. After an improvement in his physical and mental state he resumed his career, only to have it cut short again, this time due to the outbreak of World War II. Guesting for several clubs, he also had a spell in Iceland where he coached KR Reykjavík and was appointed manager of the team for their first ever international match in 1946. He continued his Stoke career after the war, before joining Mansfield Town as player-manager in 1949, in 1951 he was appointed as Port Vale manager. After the team he cultivated proved to be past it by 1957, returning as manager in 1962, his second spell would prove less successful and he left the club for good three years later. Freddie Steele was signed for Stoke City in 1931, aged 15 and he carried out work in the clubs offices until he was old enough to turn professional. He made his first team debut on 22 December 1934, in a 4–1 win over Huddersfield Town in a First Division match at Leeds Road and he scored his first goal for the club four days later, in a 3–0 victory over West Bromwich Albion at the Victoria Ground. He was nicknamed Nobby by the clubs supporters and his tally included five goals in a 10–3 victory over West Brom on 4 February, a club record victory. He continued to terrorise the Baggies in 1937–38, scoring a hat-trick in a 4–0 home win on 6 September and he finished the 1937–38 campaign with 15 goals in 23 games, having struggled to recover from a knee injury sustained in a game against Charlton Athletic. Steele then returned to form in 1938–39, scoring 27 goals in 33 matches, including four against Birmingham and he then decided to retire due to depression in 1939, aged only 23. However, after receiving treatment from psychiatrists he opted to return to the game. The outbreak of World War II then halted his progress, as the Football League was suspended and he guested for Sheffield United, Northampton Town, Notts County, Leicester City, Doncaster Rovers, Bradford Park Avenue, Leeds United, Nottingham Forest and Fulham. He returned to the Potteries in 1945–46, scoring 49 goals in 43 games during the course of the season and he hit 19 goals in 42 games in 1948–49, though Frank Bowyer had by then taken up the mantle as Stokes main goal getter. Steele left the club in 1949, due to persistent knee problems, nicknamed Nobby by fans, Steele scored 220 goals in 384 games in all competitions during his tenure at the club
Vale Park is a football stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, England. It is the ground of Port Vale F. C. who have played at the ground since 1950. At 520 feet above sea level it is the eleventh highest ground in the country, the pitch is clay underneath the grass, rather than sand. These two factors make the pitch vulnerable to freezing temperatures, there is also a coal seam under the pitch, and numerous mine shafts dotted around the local area, including many under the park opposite the ground. The Vale Park pitch is one of the widest in the Football League, the head groundsman since September 1992 is Steve Speed. He was one of three nominated for the League Two Groundsmen of the Year award in 2009. Denis Dawson was head groundsman from 1966 to 1975, he succeeded Len Parton and was followed by Graham Mainwaring. Following the club being informed that they would be evicted from The Old Recreation Ground by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, plans for a new stadium in a new area began to be made. In 1944 Hamil Road – the site of a clay pit – was chosen, a site opposite Burslem Park. The development became known as The Wembley of the North due to the size of the stadium. The clubs leadership had not allowed the third tier status or their lack of money to curb their ambition. Life-time seats were sold for £100 but fewer than 100 fans bought them, also costing £100, the pitch was the most expensive ever laid in the country at the time. The ground opened in 1950 having eventually cost £50,000, the original ground consisted of just two stands with banks of terracing at the Bycars and Hamil ends of the ground. The first match was a 1–0 victory over Newport County on 24 August 1950 in front of 30,196 rain-soaked spectators, walter Aveyard took the honour of being the first to score at the ground. On the same day the name was revealed for the first time – Vale Park. Vale Park initially had problems with drainage, leaving many games of the 1950–51 to be postponed, the problem was finally resolved in summer 1960, when new drains were installed to help ease the winter mud spots. In summer 1951,578 seats were installed on the Railway Terrace, in 1954 the Railway Stand was built, as capacity gradually increased to 50,000 by the end of the decade. On 24 September 1958, Vale Park saw its first match under the new £17,000 floodlights, in summer 1973, the club erected a 2.5 feet high steel fence around the Bycars End to help combat hooliganism
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
West Ham United F.C.
West Ham United Football Club is a professional football club based in Stratford, East London, England. They compete in the Premier League, the top tier of English football, in 2016 the club re-located to the London Stadium. The club was founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks and reformed in 1900 as West Ham United and they moved to the Boleyn Ground in 1904, which remained their home ground for more than a century. The team initially competed in the Southern League and Western League before joining the Football League in 1919 and they were promoted to the top flight in 1923, when they also losing finalists in the first FA Cup Final held at Wembley. In 1940, the won the inaugural Football League War Cup. West Ham have been winners of the FA Cup three times, in 1964,1975, and 1980, and have also been runners-up twice, in 1923, and 2006. The club have reached two major European finals, winning the European Cup Winners Cup in 1965 and finishing runners up in the competition in 1976. West Ham also won the Intertoto Cup in 1999 and they are one of eight clubs never to have fallen below the second tier of English football, spending 59 of 91 league seasons in the top flight, up to and including the 2016–17 season. The clubs highest league position to date came in 1985–86 when they achieved third place in the then First Division, three West Ham players were members of the 1966 World Cup final-winning England team, captain Bobby Moore and goalscorers Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters. The club, Thames Ironworks were the first ever winners of the West Ham Charity Cup in 1895 contested by clubs in the West Ham locality and they turned professional in 1898 upon entering the Southern League Second Division, and were promoted to the First Division at the first attempt. The following year they came second from bottom, but had established themselves as a fully fledged competitive team and they comfortably fended off the challenge of local rivals Fulham in a relegation play-off, 5–1 in late April 1900 and retained their First Division status. In 1899, they acquired their now-traditional home kit combination of claret shirts and sky blue sleeves in a wager involving Aston Villa players, because of the original works team roots and links, they are still known as the Irons or the Hammers amongst fans and the media. West Ham Utd joined the Western League for the 1901 season while continuing to play in the Southern Division 1. In 1907, West Ham were crowned the Western League Division 1B Champions, the reborn club continued to play their games at the Memorial Grounds in Plaistow but moved to a pitch in the Upton Park area in the guise of the Boleyn Ground stadium in 1904. The Cup Final match itself ended 2–0 to Bolton, the team enjoyed mixed success in Division 1 but retained their status for ten years and reached the FA Cup semi-final in 1933. In 1932, the club was relegated to Division Two and long term custodian Syd King was sacked after serving the club in the role of manager for 32 years, following relegation, King had mental health problems. He appeared drunk at a meeting and soon after committed suicide. The club spent most of the next 30 years in division, first under Paynter
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
The Potteries derby is the football local derby in Stoke-on-Trent between Port Vale and Stoke City. The fans of each club both consider the other to be their main rivals, this has led to an atmosphere at these matches, especially with the rise of football hooliganism. The two teams have met a total of 185 times, consisting of,44 The Football League,6 FA Cup,62 friendlies, Stoke-on-Trent is the least populous city to have two Football League clubs. Leeds, Leicester, Coventry, Hull, Bradford, and Cardiff are all cities that contain just one league club. Both clubs come from Stoke-on-Trent and are the clubs from the city to have played in the football league. Port Vale are Burslem based and Stoke City traditionally are based in Stoke-upon-Trent, the city of Stoke-on-Trent was incorporated in 1910, therefore before this time the two clubs were based in separate towns and were local rivals rather than rivals within the same city. Despite this however, the Valiants did use The Old Recreation Ground as their home stadium, both clubs had strong links to the local pottery industry, Port Vales unique name being based on the Trent and Mersey Canal and with Citys nickname being The Potters. Port Vale tends to get support from the North of the city, notably Tunstall, Stoke therefore tend to enjoy greater support in the South of the city. The two clubs have long histories, Stoke City were founded in 1863 or 1868 and Port Vale were probably formed in 1879. In the early 20th century, both spent time out of the Football League structure, from 1907 and 1908 until 1919 - both had resigned due to financial troubles. Stoke were founder members of the league in 1888 and Port Vale were founder members of both the Second Division in 1892 and the Fourth Division in 1958. City have tended to be the successful club over the years. Although Vale did reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 1954, Stoke have also tended to play in higher tiers of the football league throughout the clubs history, although since 1919 the two clubs have found themselves in the same league for 22 seasons. Vale have had five seasons playing at a higher level than City. Whilst competing in the division, Vale have finished above Stoke on seven occasions. Stoke therefore have finished above Vale 87 times, the first derby game was played at Westport Meadows on 2 December 1882, in the Second Round of the Staffordshire Senior Cup. Vale were complete unknowns, and so pulled off a surprise by managing a 1–1 with their more established rivals-to-be, no details of the match were recorded, though The Staffordshire Sentinel did mention the match along with the comment that it was a spirited game. Stoke won the replay 5–1 at the Victoria Ground seven days later and it took Vale seventeen attempts to register their first victory over Stoke, which they finally did in a friendly on 29 March 1890, winning 2–1
Republic of Ireland
Ireland, also known as the Republic of Ireland, is a sovereign state in north-western Europe occupying about five-sixths of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the part of the island. The state shares its land border with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. It is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, Saint Georges Channel to the south-east, and it is a unitary, parliamentary republic. The head of government is the Taoiseach, who is elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President, the state was created as the Irish Free State in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It was officially declared a republic in 1949, following the Republic of Ireland Act 1948, Ireland became a member of the United Nations in December 1955. It joined the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union, after joining the EEC, Ireland enacted a series of liberal economic policies that resulted in rapid economic growth. The country achieved considerable prosperity between the years of 1995 and 2007, which known as the Celtic Tiger period. This was halted by a financial crisis that began in 2008. However, as the Irish economy was the fastest growing in the EU in 2015, Ireland is again quickly ascending league tables comparing wealth and prosperity internationally. For example, in 2015, Ireland was ranked as the joint sixth most developed country in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index and it also performs well in several national performance metrics, including freedom of the press, economic freedom and civil liberties. Ireland is a member of the European Union and is a member of the Council of Europe. The 1922 state, comprising 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland, was styled, the Constitution of Ireland, adopted in 1937, provides that the name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland. Section 2 of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 states, It is hereby declared that the description of the State shall be the Republic of Ireland. The 1948 Act does not name the state as Republic of Ireland, because to have done so would have put it in conflict with the Constitution. The government of the United Kingdom used the name Eire, and, from 1949, Republic of Ireland, for the state, as well as Ireland, Éire or the Republic of Ireland, the state is also referred to as the Republic, Southern Ireland or the South. In an Irish republican context it is referred to as the Free State or the 26 Counties. From the Act of Union on 1 January 1801, until 6 December 1922, during the Great Famine, from 1845 to 1849, the islands population of over 8 million fell by 30%
Memorial Stadium (Bristol)
It is currently the home stadium of Bristol Rovers. From its foundation in 1921 until moving to Ashton Gate in 2014 the Memorial Ground was the home to Bristol Rugby, the stadium is also used for the rugby varsity between the citys two universities, University of the West of England and University of Bristol. In 2013, the hosted the Rugby League World Cup Group D match between the Cook Islands and the USA attracting a crowd of 7,247. The site was created on an area of land called Buffalo Bills Field, two years later in September 1893 Clifton RFC played on the site for the first time. During the First World War the site was converted into allotments but after the war Buffalo Bills Field was bought by Sir Francis Nicholas Cowlin and given to Bristol Rugby Club. In 1921 it became the Memorial Ground, home of Bristol Rugby Club, britton, the Lord Mayor of Bristol, as a home for Bristol Rugby Club. Situated on Filton Avenue in Horfield, Bristol, it has developed significantly over the years, a massive crowd turned out to watch the first game ever game to be held there against Cardiff, but did so from wooden terraces and stands. With the advent of leagues in the late 1980s, Bristol looked to develop the ground, the West Stand, an original feature of the ground, was demolished in 1995 having been condemned, and replaced. In 1996, Bristol Rovers moved in as tenants of Bristol Rugby Club, the rugby club became tenants in their original home. By 2005, the Memorial Stadium was hosting Bristol Rugby Club back in the Guinness Premiership, a roof was added to the Clubhouse Terrace and temporary stands at the south and south-west of the ground have brought capacity up to 11,916. Bristol Rugby were again relegated out of the Premiership in 2009, in February 2013, after months of speculation, Bristol Rugby announced that they would move and share a ground with Bristol City at the redeveloped Ashton Gate Stadium. The rugby club played their game at the Mem on 4 June 2014. There was no fairytale ending for Bristol though as London Welsh won the game 21–20 to condemn the side to a sixth straight season outside the Premiership. The Memorial Stadium Company proposed a wide ranging £35 million refurbishment of the Memorial Stadium, on 17 January 2007, Bristol City Council granted permission for the stadium redevelopment. The new stadium would have included a 97-room hotel,99 student flats, a restaurant, a store, offices. On 17 August 2007, it was announced that the redevelopment had been delayed and would commence in May 2008. This caused the redevelopment to be put back another year, to 2009, more delays, mostly attributed to the ongoing financial crisis, meant that by mid-2011 the stadium redevelopment had yet to begin. In June 2011, Bristol Rovers announced its intentions to relocate the club to the newly proposed UWE Stadium instead of redeveloping the Memorial Stadium, planning permission was granted for the UWE Stadium site in July 2012 and the Sainsburys plans for the Memorial Stadium in January 2013
Bristol Rovers F.C.
Bristol Rovers Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Bristol, England. They compete in League One, the tier of English football. The team play their matches at Memorial Stadium, in Horfield, a suburb of Bristol. The club was founded in 1883 as Black Arabs F. C. and were known as Eastville Rovers. The clubs official nickname is The Pirates, reflecting the history of Bristol. According to a survey conducted in December 2003, Cardiff City and Swindon Town are considered their second, Rovers were admitted to the Football League in 1920 and have played there ever since, apart from spending the 2014–15 season in the Conference Premier. Their highest finishing positions were in 1956 and 1959, on both occasions ending the season in 6th place in Division Two, then the tier of English football. Rovers were Football League Trophy finalists in 1990 and 2007, the club was formed following a meeting at the Eastville Restaurant in Bristol in September 1883. It was initially called Black Arabs F. C. after the Arabs rugby team and this name only lasted for the 1883–84 season, and in a bid to draw more fans from the local area the club was renamed Eastville Rovers in 1884. The club played friendly games until the 1887–88 season, when it took part in the Gloucestershire Cup for the first time. In 1892 the club became a member of the Bristol and District League. In 1897 Eastville Rovers joined the Birmingham and District League, at the beginning of the 1897–98 season, the club turned professional and changed its name to Bristol Eastville Rovers, and on 17 February 1899 the name was officially changed to Bristol Rovers. In 1899 Bristol Rovers joined the newly formed Southern League, where remained until 1920. For the 1920–21 season, the Southern League teams were moved into the new Division Three of the Football League and they remained in this division for over 30 years, before winning the league, and promotion in the 1952–53 season. The club has been relegated six times—in 1961–62, 1980–81, 1992–93, 2000–01, 2010–11 and most recently at the end of the 2013–14 season. The highest position in the football ladder achieved by Rovers at the end of season is sixth place in the tier, which they did twice, once in 1955–56. The closest they came to the top flight was in 1955–56, the lowest league position achieved by the club is twenty-third out of twenty-four teams in the fourth tier, which has occurred twice. This position was matched at the end of the 2013–14 season and they returned to the league at the end of their first Conference season, with a penalty shootout victory over Grimsby Town in the play-off final
Notts County F.C.
Notts County Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England. With records of games as early as 28 November 1862, Notts County is recognised as the oldest association football team in the world now playing at a professional level. Between 1888–89 and 2013–14 they played a total of 4,756 Football League matches – more than any other English team, the team plays in League Two, the fourth tier of the English football league system. County play their games at Meadow Lane in black and white striped shirts. The club has had spells in the top division of English football, most recently in 1991–92. Notable former managers of Notts County include Jimmy Sirrel, Howard Wilkinson, Neil Warnock, Howard Kendall, the club has had several owners. In the 21st century, a series of problems has seen the club owned by a supporters trust. Notts County are the oldest professional club in the world having been formed in 1862. Notts pre-dated The Football Association and initially played a game of its own devising, at the time of its formation, Notts County, like most sports teams, were considered to be a gentlemen-only club. Notts County are considered to be one of the pioneers of the game and are the oldest of the worlds professional association football clubs. In November 1872, the Notts County full-back Ernest Greenhalgh played for England against Scotland in the international match. In 1888, Notts County, along with 11 other football clubs and they finished their first league season in 11th place, but avoided the dubious honour of the wooden spoon, which went to Midlands rivals Stoke. However, Notts County did achieve their highest ever finish of third in 1890–91. On 25 March 1891, Notts County reached the FA Cup final for the first time, the Magpies were defeated 3–1 by Blackburn Rovers at The Oval, despite having beaten the same side 7–1 in the league only a week earlier. This achievement is also memorable for Notts County becoming the first club outside the top division to win the FA Cup, in 1910 they moved to Meadow Lane. Notts County were relegated in 1926 in what was to be their last season in the English top flight for half a century. The 1925–26 season was the last season that famed giant goalkeeper Albert Iremonger played for the club, in the 1946–47 season, the ground was used temporarily by Nottingham Forest after the River Trent flooded both Meadow Lane and the City Ground. Forest again used Meadow Lane in 1968, after fire destroyed the main stand at the City Ground, the golden age of the club came just after the end of World War II
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
The Vetch Field was a multi-purpose stadium in Swansea, Wales. It was used mostly for football matches and was the ground of Swansea City until the club moved to the newly built Liberty Stadium in 2005. Opened in 1912, the ground held around 12,000 at the time of its closure, as well as being home to the Swans, the Vetch also hosted games for the Wales national football team, with 18 internationals played at the Vetch between 1921 and 1988. Other sports also found a home at the Vetch, with 8 rugby league matches played there between 1990 and 1999, in 1960, local boy Brian Curvis beat the Australian boxer George Barnes at the Vetch to win the Commonwealth Welterweight title. The stadium also operated as a venue, hosting The Who in 1976. The Vetchs final Football League fixture was a 1-0 win for Swansea over Shrewsbury Town on 30 April 2005, the last ever game of football to be held at the Vetch was the 2005 FAW Premier Cup final, which saw Swansea beat Wrexham 2–1. Named due to the vetch that was grown on its surface at the time, the site was owned by Swansea Gaslight Company in 1912, the site was in a good location and deemed surplus to requirements at the Gas Company, so the club moved in. Originally, the surface was made of compacted coal cinder and players had to wear knee pads for the first season of football there, having seen many changes during its 93 years, the Vetch took its final bow with an FAW Premier Cup Final against Wrexham. The 2004-05 season was the first time in 93 years that the Vetch had the highest average attendance in its division, on 30 April 2005, Adrian Forbes scored the last ever league goal at the Vetch in Swanseas 1-0 win over Shrewsbury Town. The player who scored the goal at the Vetch was Andy Robinson. It was suggested that the gable and clock be moved to the Liberty Stadium, also the Away stand, it was a single tier terrace and held about 2,000. The stairs to the upper tier are still visible from the lower, in 2005, the stand was split to accommodate both home and away fans. The stadium had an unusual feature only found at Wembley as well. Originally just a mound of earth with some concrete and railway sleepers on top of it, the big bank grew to be the largest area of the ground. During the late 1950s the supporters trust paid for a roof to be installed, and during the 1970s, and 1980s the Bank became home to the majority of supporters, and the most vocal. The number it could hold was increased towards the end of its life. The East Terrace was originally another mound of earth with some railway sleepers, and remained so until the late 1970s, when the club began its rise through the divisions. It became the first area of the ground to be redeveloped, a small layer of steep terracing lay beneath a stand with a capacity of around 2,500
Swansea City A.F.C.
Swansea City Association Football Club is a Welsh professional football club based in Swansea, Wales, that plays in the Premier League, the top tier of English football. Swansea City represent England when playing in European competitions, although they have represented Wales in the past, the club was founded in 1912 as Swansea Town and joined the Football League in 1921. The club changed their name in 1969, when adopted the name Swansea City to reflect Swanseas new status as a city. Swansea have played their matches at the Liberty Stadium since 2005. In 1981, the club was promoted to the original Football League First Division and it was during the following season they came close to winning the league title, but a decline then set near the seasons end before finishing sixth, although a club record. The clubs subsequent climb from the division of English football to the top division is chronicled in the 2014 film. In 2011, Swansea were promoted to the Premier League, following the lead of many other South Wales sides, joined the second division of the Southern League for the following season. J. W. Thorpe was the clubs first chairman, a site owned by Swansea Gaslight Co. called Vetch Field due to the vegetables that grew there, was rented to be the clubs ground. The clubs first professional match was a 1–1 draw at the Vetch Field against Cardiff City on 7 September 1912. During that first season the Welsh Cup was won for the first time, before the game Bradshaw had scored with thirty-six consecutive spot kicks. Remarkably, the Swans played most of the half with ten men. The Swans drew at another First Division side, Newcastle United, in the next round, following the First World War the Southern League dropped its second division, and with many clubs dropping out due to financial difficulties, the Swans were placed in the first division. After just four seasons in the Southern League, Swansea Town became founder members of the new Third Division of The Football League in 1920, the side had remained unbeaten at home in the league all season – something the next promotion team would emulate over twenty years later. Sadly for the Swans, an experienced Bolton side won the game 3–0, Swans record their highest average attendance during the season of 16,118 for pre-war league games. During the 1926–27 season they beat Real Madrid 3–0 on tour, during the 1931–32 season they finished 1st and went out in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. However they won the Welsh Cup after beating Wrexham 2–0 away after a replay and it was not until the 1933–34 season that Wilfred Milne scored his first goal for Swansea at Lincoln City after 501 appearances without a goal. After just one back from wartime football, the Swans finished 21st in the Second Division. The following season was one of consolidation, however in 1948–1949 the Swans stormed their way to winning the division for the second time