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
Weymouth Football Club is an English football club based in the town of Weymouth, who currently play in the Southern League Premier Division. The club is affiliated to the Dorset County Football Association and is a FA chartered Standard club, Weymouth Football Club were founded in 1890 and played their first game on 24 September of that year. Nicknamed The Terras due to their terracotta strip, the won the Dorset Junior Cup for the first three seasons, becoming a senior club as the team rose in stature. Founder members of the Dorset League, Weymouth joined the Western League in 1907–08, the club embraced full-time professionalism in 1923 after winning the Western League, joining the Southern League in the process. By 1928–29, with debts mounting, the club withdrew from the Southern League to become once again. They climbed back up the table and reached the Premier League and then folded for five years, the Second World War saw an end to football in Weymouth as the Recreation Ground was requisitioned for the War effort in 1939. The club reformed in 1947 on a basis, and soon achieved promotion back into the Southern League. The club suffered a tragedy on 28 February 1967 when player Dick Keith was killed in a building site accident at the age of 33. Keith had previously played in the Football League for Newcastle United and Bournemouth, Weymouth have enjoyed considerable FA Cup success since first entering in 1893–94. They first reached the stages in 1905–06 when they were thrashed 12–1 by Gainsborough Trinity. In 1949 they lost 4–0 at Maine Road to Manchester United in the Third round, in 2005, the team held former European Champions Nottingham Forest to a 1–1 draw at the City Ground, before losing 2–0 in the replay. In the 2006–07 FA Cup, Weymouth held Bury to a 2–2 draw at home, on 21 October 1987, Manchester United came to play against Weymouth on the night of the stadium unveiling by Ron Greenwood. Weymouth won 1–0 against Manchester United which included such as Remi Moses. Peter Conning scored the goal for the Terras, within a season they had turned the club around from relegation fodder to just missing out on promotion to the Conference. Gates also increased from around 500 to 1,200, Harrison sacked Claridge within a month. When the team dropped down the league, Johnson was sacked by Harrison in March 2005 with Garry Hill taking over. The club won promotion to the Conference in May 2006 but at a heavy price with large loans from Harrison to meet soaring wage bills of around £20,000 a week. At the clubs 2005 AGM, Harrison confirmed plans, pending local authority approval, to re-develop the Wessex Stadium and this now looks very unlikely with local planners opposed to such a deal
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
Margate Football Club, originally called Margate Town, is an English football team based in the seaside resort of Margate, Kent. They currently play in the National League South, the tier of English football. The club was known for a number of years during the 1980s as Thanet United, the club was founded in 1896 and joined the Southern Football League in 1933. The team, nicknamed The Gate, have to date reached the third round proper of Englands premier cup competition, on the second of these occasions they played Tottenham Hotspur, a First Division team and the reigning UEFA Cup holders. This ground became known as the Hall-by-the-Sea Ground, taking its name from a dance hall. After the First World War, Margate joined the Kent League, but in 1923 the league suspended the team due to financial irregularities and the club promptly folded. A year later the reformed, initially under the name Margate Town, and returned to the Kent League, still playing at Dreamland. In 1929 the club reformed again and moved to its present home at Hartsdown Park, around this time Margate signed a Dutch player, a highly unusual move in an era when it was almost unknown for Continental players to move to English clubs. Goalkeeper Gerrit Gerard Keizer, who joined the Kent club from Ajax Amsterdam, from 1934 until 1938 Margate, by now playing in the Southern League, served as the official nursery side for Arsenal. Under this arrangement the London club regularly loaned promising young players to Margate in order for them to gain match experience, star players such as Eddie Hapgood also turned out for Margate whilst regaining match fitness after injuries. After the Second World War the Gate continued to play in the Kent League under new manager Charlie Walker, who led the team to two Kent League championships but was then controversially sacked. The team slumped during a succession of managerial changes which only ended in 1950 when Almer Hall was appointed manager. Under Hall the team won a host of local cup honours and reached the proper of the FA Cup on a number of occasions. In 1959–60 Margate returned to the Southern League after the Kent League folded, two years later the club turned full-time professional but this policy proved financially untenable when the team were relegated back to Division One in 1965–66. Nonetheless, they won promotion at the first attempt and returned to the Premier Division in 1967, during the 1970s Margate endured severe financial problems and a series of mediocre league seasons, but took part in two famous FA Cup ties. In 1971 the Gate lost 11–0 to Bournemouth, with Ted MacDougall scoring a cup record nine goals, then, a year later, Margate beat Swansea City and Walton & Hersham to set up a third round tie against First Division Tottenham Hotspur, then UEFA Cup holders. A record crowd of around 14,500 packed into Hartsdown Park for a match which Margate lost 6–0. The negotiations floundered, however, and Ramsgate ultimately had no involvement in the formation of Thanet United F. C. in 1981, which turned out to be purely a name change for Margate
Rugby Town F.C.
Rugby Town Football Club is a football club based in Rugby, Warwickshire, which plays in the Northern Premier League Division One South. It is nicknamed The Valley, and plays its matches at Butlin Road. It was originally named New Bilton Juniors and renamed four times, first, in 1956, to Valley Sports. The next time was in 1971 to Valley Sports Rugby, or simply VS Rugby, then in 2000 to Rugby United, formed by Keith Coughlan and under the name of New Bilton Juniors, the Valley played its first friendly match in 1955. In 1956, the club was renamed for the first time, to Valley Sports and entered the Rugby, the club progressed to the Coventry and North Warwickshire Football League in 1963, and to the United Counties League in 1969 changing the name to VS Rugby. VS Rugby moved into their own ground, Butlin Road, in 1973 the first competitive game there being a 0-0 draw against Burton park Wanderers in The United Counties league. In 1975 the club was invited to join the West Midlands League, in 1981, the Valleys most successful manager, Jimmy Knox, took over. He had previously managed the then Rugby Town and AP Leamington. Knox turned around the clubs fortunes dramatically and in1983 they won The FA Vase and they also had memorable cup ties against Northampton Town, Bristol City, and Leyton Orient. A group of supporters that included founder Keith Coughlan, however, rescued the club, the same season the club also again reached the first round of The FA Cup losing at home to Brentford. VS Rugby changed its name to Rugby United in 2000, Valley came close to promotion twice under manager Dave Stringer in the 2012–13 and 2013–14 seasons. In 2012–13 they missed out on the title on the day before losing to Biggleswade Town in the play-off final at Butlin Road. The following season saw Valley once again in contention for the title on the day only to fail to secure top spot. Promotion hopes once again ended in the play-offs after a defeat to Slough Town over two legs in the semi-final, the 2014/15 season was less successful for Valley with the club failing to make the play-offs after an inconsistent season. At the end of the campaign, Rugby Town parted company with manager Dave Stringer, for the first time in the clubs history, Rugby Town were moved into the Northern Premier League system for the 2015–16 season. Stringers replacement, former Rushden & Diamonds midfielder Gary Mills, tendered his resignation early into the season after a start and was replaced by ex-Tamworth boss Dale Belford. Now, approximately 2,800 spectators are able to be accommodated under cover and 740 of these can also be seated, the main stand, which holds 500 fans and also includes the dressing rooms. New facilities under the also include 4 changing rooms, referees room, male, female and disabled toilets
Tonbridge Angels F.C.
Tonbridge Angels Football Club is an English football club who play at Longmead Stadium in Tonbridge, Kent, since moving from the Angel Ground in 1980. The club were promoted to the Conference South after beating Lowestoft Town 4–3 in the final of the Isthmian League Premier Division in the 2010–11 season. They were relegated back to the Isthmian League in 2014 where they compete as of the 2016-17 season, notable ex-players include England international Malcolm Macdonald, Aston Villas league championship winning manager Ron Saunders and former England manager Roy Hodgson. The club took out a lease on the Angel Ground, formerly the home of Kent County Cricket Club and named after the nearby hotel, hence Tonbridge FC became known as The Angels. A crowd of around 5,000 turned up for the opening league fixture against fellow newcomers Hastings United but the match was lost 2–1. Throughout the 1950s the Angels would struggle to make any progress in the Southern League and a peak of 11th place was reached in 1949–50, however, Tonbridge would prove to be a strong side in cup competitions. In 1949–50, the reached the semi-finals of the Southern League Cup. In three successive seasons, 1950–51, 1951–52 and 1952–53, Tonbridge reached the First Round Proper of the FA Cup, the Angels opponents were Chelmsford City, Aldershot and Norwich City respectively. The Aldershot tie at the Angel Ground saw an attendance of 8,236, while the Norwich City game was shrouded in controversy. The first trophy to be lifted came in 1951/52 with the Angels winning the Kent Senior Shield, Tonbridge would go on to win this trophy a further four times, in 1956,1958,1959 and 1964. Two Southern League Cup finals were reached and lost, beaten in 1954–55 by Yeovil Town, the club were relegated from the Premier Division in 1961–62, but were promoted two seasons later finishing in 4th place after narrowly missing out the year before. However the club were relegated back to Division One in 1965–66. The notable success of the 1960s was the achievement of reaching the First Round Proper for a fourth time, the club also won the Kent Senior Cup for the first time in 1964–65. In 1972–73 the Angels won promotion to the Premier Division by finishing as runners-up to Maidstone United, in the same season the First Round Proper of the FA Cup was reached once again as Charlton Athletic were the visitors to the Angel Ground. A crowd of 7,770 saw Charlton win 5–0, Tonbridge won the Kent Senior Cup in 1974–75 while managed by former World Cup winner George Cohen. After struggling to stay in the Premier Division, the club suffered financial troubles, Tonbridge Angels FC was then formed and allowed to complete the fixture list on the understanding that relegation would result at the end of the 1975–76 season, wherever the club finished. Another major problem loomed soon after, the clubs landlords, the local council, wanted the Angel Ground for development. A battle lasting up to three years went as far as the High Courts ensued before the club was eventually offered a new ground at Longmead
Corby Town F.C.
Corby Town Football Club is a football club based in Corby, Northamptonshire, England. They are currently members of the Northern Premier League Premier Division, the club was established in 1948, taking over from Stewarts & Lloyds as the main team in the town. The new team contained a mix of Stewarts & Lloyds and new players and their first league match saw them win 5–1 against Wellingborough Town. In front of a crowd of 6,294, Corby lost the match, in 1954–55 the club reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time, losing 2–0 at home to Watford. In 1958 Corby transferred to the Southern League, spending their first season in the North-Western Division, despite only finishing sixth in 1961–62, Corby applied for election to the Football League. However, they failed to receive a single vote, after finishing seventh the following season the club applied again, and again received no votes. In 1963–64 they reached the first round of the FA Cup for a second time and they appeared in the first round again the following season, losing 3–1 at home to Hartlepools United. The season also saw them finish fourth in Division One, earning promotion to the Premier Division, in the third round they were beaten 6–0 at Plymouth Argyle. The club applied for Football League membership for a fourth time, the club made their final application in 1966–67, again receiving no votes. The following season saw another FA Cup first round appearance but ended in relegation to Division One, in 1971 the club were placed in Division One North after league reorganisation. Further reorganisation in 1979 and 1982 saw them placed in the Midland Division, after finishing bottom of the Premier Division in 1994–95, the club were relegated again. In 1998 they were moved to the Division One South, after being transferred to Division One West in 2004, they were moved back to Division One East the following season. In 2005–06 they finished second, and were promoted to the Premier Division, the 2008–09 season saw Corby win the Premier Division, earning promotion to the Conference North. In 2010–11 the club reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time since the 1960s and they appeared in the first round again the following season, losing 3–1 at Bristol Rovers. After four seasons in the Conference North, Corby were relegated at the end of the 2012–13 season and they were Southern League Premier Division champions again in 2014–15 and were promoted back to the renamed National League North. However, another relegation in 2015–16 saw the club relegated to the Premier Division of the Northern Premier League, the club originally played at Occupation Road. The new ground was opened on 6 September 1985 by Neil Kinnock, in 2011 the club moved to Steel Park, built adjacent to the athletics stadium. The first match was played on 25 July 2011, a 2–0 win over Notts County and it has a capacity of 3,893, of which 577 is seated. C
Hereford United F.C.
Hereford United Football Club was an English association football club based in the city of Hereford that last played in the Southern League Premier Division, the seventh tier of English football. Founded in 1924, the club was elected to the Football League in 1972, the club reached the old Second Division in 1976, its best league performance, but was relegated after only one season at that level. Hereford achieved national prominence in 1972 when, as a Southern League club, Hereford played at Edgar Street for their entire history. They were nicknamed The Whites or The Lilywhites, after their predominantly white kit, the clubs motto was Our greatest glory lies not in never having fallen, but in rising when we fall. The club was affiliated to the Herefordshire County FA, on 19 December 2014, the club was wound up in the High Court after a petition had been brought against it by HM Revenue and Customs. Following the demise of United, a new club was being set up. The new club incorporates the words Forever United into its crest design, for league and cup performance, see List of Hereford United F. C. seasons. Hereford United Football Club was founded in 1924 with the merger of two local clubs St Martins and RAOC, with the intention of sustaining a higher class of football in the city of Hereford, Hereford joined the Birmingham Combination and lost its first match 2–3 to Atherstone United. The clubs second match was an FA Cup Preliminary Round tie against future rivals Kidderminster Harriers which they lost 2–7. Hereford progressed to the Birmingham & District League in 1928 where the club spent 11 seasons, at the same time the club became a limited company. When football resumed after the war, Hereford finished 1st in their first full season in the only to be demoted to 2nd behind Chelmsford City. In 27 seasons in the Southern League, Hereford finished as runners-up three times, and also lifted the Southern League Cup three times, when the league was regionalised for one season in 1958–59, Hereford also won their regional division to add to their third League Cup win. In 1966 Hereford signed John Charles, the former Leeds United, Juventus and Welsh international and he became manager a year later and set about building a team to challenge at the top of the Southern League and gain election to the Football League. With the club becoming one of the best-supported non-league clubs in the country Charles used his standing within the game to canvass votes from member clubs for election to the Football League. The 1971–1972 season saw the club second in the Southern League. Charles had departed the club in October 1971 and his successor Colin Addison inherited a side that defeated top-flight Newcastle United in the FA Cup. The star player was Dudley Tyler, Ronnie Radford and Ricky Georges goals earned the club a Fourth Round tie against West Ham United where they were defeated in a replay at Upton Park. The Cup run played a part in the successful election to the Fourth Division