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
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
Cambridge City F.C.
Cambridge City Football Club is an English football club based in Cambridgeshire, currently playing in the Southern League Premier Division. Formed in 1908, as Cambridge Town, the club have spent their whole history as a club, and have operated as amateur, professional. The club does not own its own ground and currently plays its games at Westwood Road in St Ives. For most of their history, between 1922 and 2013, they played in Cambridge at the City Ground and their home colours are white and black, leading to the clubs nickname of The Lilywhites. The club was founded in 1908 as Cambridge Town F. C. as Cambridge had not been granted city status at that point, the club competed in the Southern Amateur League, developing a fierce rivalry with Ipswich Town that was evident both on and off the pitch. In 1936 the club were invited to apply to the Football League, however, City declined in order that the club should uphold its amateur nature, though Ipswich took up the offer and were elected in 1938. Cambridge was formally granted city status in 1951, both Cambridge Town and their neighbours Abbey United applied to change their name to Cambridge City. The club went on to make five applications to join the Football League between 1959 and 1974, all of which were unsuccessful and they were Southern League Champions in 1962–63 and stayed in the Leagues top division until 1968, when they were relegated and turned semi-professional. They were promoted back to the Premier Division after finishing in the Division One runners-up spot in 1969–70, 1975–76 saw the second relegation in the clubs history, into the Southern Leagues Division One North. They remained here until 1979–80, when a re-organisation of the structure, in order to become a feeder to the newly formed Football Conference. The then board announced that it was to scrap the first team and this prompted the formation of a supporters trust, who within weeks had taken over the running of the club. Though the original deal was not overturned, in May 2008 City were demoted from the Conference South, after their ground failed an FA inspection, to the Southern League Premier Division for the 2008–09 season. Cambridge City have traditionally played in shirts, leading to the club being nicknamed The Lilywhites, they currently play in white shirts, black shorts. Their current away strip is sky blue shirts, sky blue shorts, the clubs badge is a simplified version of the crest of the city of Cambridge, featuring a fortified bridge over a river. The City Ground, was Cambridge Citys home ground from 29 April 1922 until 27 April 2013 and it is located in the Chesterton area of the city, approximately 0.62 miles north of the city centre. In the mid 80s, part of the land the original ground stood on was sold for redevelopment, the capacity of the second ground was approximately 3,000 with 700 seats. The club was in a dispute with their landlords over the ground. The High Court ruled that the club had been misrepresented
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
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