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
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
Dorchester Town F.C.
Dorchester Town Football Club are a semi-professional football club, based in Dorchester, Dorset, England. They currently play in the Southern League Premier Division, the tier of English football. The club is affiliated to the Dorset County Football Association and is a FA chartered Standard club and they play at the Avenue Stadium, on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. They were founder members of the Conference South in 2004, which was the highest standard they have ever reached, founded in 1880, Dorchester Town were Dorset Senior Cup finalists in 1888 and 1890 before joining the Dorset League in 1896. Despite being founder members of the league, the club had success before winning the championship in 1937/38 with a 2–0 victory at Sherborne on 25 April 1938. The club joined the Western League in 1947, winning promotion from Division Two in 1950, and going on to take the league championship in 1954/55. In 1954, Dorchester reached the 2nd Round before eventually losing out to York City in front of 5,500 fans at the old Avenue ground, following four more victories in the Dorset Senior Cup, the club entered the Southern League in 1972. Stuart Bell succeeded David Best as manager during the season, before leaving the Magpies, Senior helped the club reach the 2nd Round of the FA Cup again before losing out to AFC Bournemouth in a replay at Dean Court in front of a crowd of 8,700. A goal four minutes from the end of time was enough to end Dorchesters dreams of a place in the third round – a feat they have still yet to achieve. Relegated at the end of the 1983/84 season following a financial crisis. The return to the top division has been a rollercoaster of emotions for Dorchester fans. Having been a team for a number of years, a brush with relegation came at the start of the nineties. In his first full season, Morgan took the club to sixth in the league, a season earlier the Magpies had picked up the Southern League Cup for the first time, again defeating Kings Lynn in a 4–0 aggregate victory in the final. A season later the Magpies almost saw further play-off glory, but missed out on another promotion opportunity on the day of the season. A mid-table finish the year ended with the resignation of Mark Morris – arguably the clubs most successful manager in recent history – with Mick Jenkins taking charge of the first team. In September 2014, Dorchester suffered a loss, their kitman Alex Legge, aged 38. He was well known around the club and town and was loved by many, the club is democratically run by its supporters. The club have a tradition of playing in black and white striped shirts with black shorts
Gosport Borough F.C.
Gosport Borough Football Club is a semi-professional football club based in Gosport, Hampshire, England. The club is affiliated to the Hampshire Football Association, and is a FA Charter Standard Community Club and they currently compete in the National League South, the sixth tier of English football. Gosport Borough Athletic Club were founded in 1944 in an initiative to bring back organised football, athletics, in their first season, the football section of the Club won the Portsmouth and District League Division One under the guidance of former Southampton player, Stan Cribb. The line-up at that time included Jimmy Scoular and Peter Harris, for their second season, the Club were accepted into the Hampshire League and won the Division One title at their first attempt. This feat was not repeated for thirty-one seasons, despite the club being a force in Hampshire football during that period. In the teams first four seasons they never finished outside the top four, two years later Gosport lost their Premier Division status and were relegated to the Southern Division. However, the season saw the team bounce straight back after an incredible run of sixteen wins in their final nineteen matches. Boro still needed to win the match to be certain of promotion and, in front of a home crowd in excess of 1,500. In the 1987–88 season the team were again threatened with relegation. However, a run in the Hampshire Senior Cup that took the all the way to the final – played at The Dell, home of then-Premier League club Southampton. Victory over favourites Farnborough in the final was followed by a run of results in the league – lifting the team out of trouble to remain in the Premier Division. The club enjoyed their highest ever finish in the 1988–89 season, unfortunately, a mass exodus of players and a change in the management saw the team relegated to the Southern Division the following season, before a further relegation to the Wessex League in 1992. Following relegation the Chairman at the time, Ian Hay, appointed Roger Sherwood as manager, although Boro had three good seasons under Sherwood, the Wessex League Cup in 1992–93 was, in his first season in charge, his only major success. In 1997, Boro approached Gomer Football Club, a youth club. Nevertheless, Boros position in the Wessex League continued to deteriorate, dave Pitt and Barry Cook resigned in October 1999 after a particularly difficult start to the 1999–2000 season. John Hawes became Chairman of the club, but resigned from position after one year to return to his coaching role. During this period, Ian Hay restructured the clubs finances and implemented a new and relatively unique Trustee Scheme, dave Taviner, another former player, took over as caretaker manager until former reserve team manager Mick Marsh was appointed as the new first team manager in December 1999. At the start of the 2000–01 season, Vice-Chairman John Stimpson was elected to the Chairmanship of the club and he immediately agreed with Marsh that the club should continue to develop young local players and also look to include a mix of more experienced players in the first team
Stourbridge Football Club is an English association football club based in the town of Stourbridge, West Midlands. The club currently plays in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, the club was founded in 1876 and was originally known as Stourbridge Standard. The 1923–24 season was one of the best in the history, as they clinched the Birmingham League championship. The club returned to the Birmingham League in 1954 on the disbanding of the Birmingham Combination and were runners-up in 1955–56. The Birmingham Senior Cup was won for a time in 1958–59. Twin strikers Ray Haywood and Chic Bates each notched 50 goals that season and were transferred to Shrewsbury Town, where Bates served 13 years as both player and manager. Another highlight in 1973–74 was a run in the Welsh Cup. A record crowd of 5,726 saw the Glassboys lose the home leg 1–0, Stourbridge were one of the first English semi-professional clubs to tour the South East of the USA in the early Eighties. In 2000 a new owner came to the club, and swiftly appointed Mark Serrell as chairman, along with FA Qualified coach and ex-Birmingham City player Mark Harrison as manager. Despite an influx of new players, continued poor results meant Stourbridges 29-year spell at Southern League level ended with defeat in the last game of the season at Hinckley United in May 2000. With many players moving on, the new management team had to rebuild the side from scratch, the following season saw a memorable run in the FA Vase, culminating in a quarter-final defeat at A. F. C. Sudbury in the quarter-final before finally succumbing to a 4–1 defeat after extra time, in May 2005 Hackett took sole charge of the team after Ford decided to step down due to work and family commitments. After a poor start, a run of 14 league games unbeaten was enough to clinch a runners-up spot and with it promotion back to the Southern League. Victories over Burton Albion and Moor Green also saw the team reach the Birmingham Senior Cup Final for the first time in 30 years, Stourbridges first season back in the Southern League Midlands Division in 2006–07 saw them finish in seventh place. The 2007–08 season saw Stourbridge seal a third-place finish in the Midlands Division to reach the play-offs, however Stourbridge once again suffered heartbreak in the final as Hednesford Town defeated the Glassboys 2–0 at Burton Albions Pirelli Stadium. In the 2009–10 season, Stourbridge reached the FA Cup first round for the first time in their 133-year history and were drawn at home to Walsall, the game ended in a 1–0 defeat for Stourbridge in front of 2,014 fans. In the 2011–12 season, the club won their way through four qualifying rounds to reach the first round of the FA Cup. They were drawn away to League Two side Plymouth Argyle where they drew 3–3 at Home Park to earn themselves a replay, the replay at the War Memorial Ground was chosen for live coverage by ESPN, netting the club over £33,000
Sutton Coldfield Town F.C.
Sutton Coldfield Town Football Club are a football club based in Sutton Coldfield, England. They were formed in 1879 and currently play in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, the club was founded in 1879 and played its first match against the 2nd XI of Birmingham F. C. on 1 February of that year. In their early years played in Sutton Park and competed in the Central Birmingham League, Aston and District League, Small Heath League. In the 1930s, now playing at Coles Lane, they competed in the Birmingham Alliance and Birmingham Combination, but met with little success. After World War II the club, at the time playing under the name Sutton Town played in the Walsall League and they were champions of this league on two occasions before rejoining the West Midlands League in 1979, where they were champions at the first attempt. In 1982, after a finish, they stepped up to the Southern League. In 2015 they won promotion via the play-offs to the Premier Division, on 10 May 2011 Sutton Coldfield took part in their first ever Birmingham Senior Cup Final which they won with a 1–0 win over Nuneaton Town. During the summer of 2011 the club installed a new third generation football pitch, after 12 years at the helm Chris Keogh resigned as manager on 15 September 2012. Within 48 hours Keoghs assistant Neil Tooth was promoted to the managers role, as of 30 July 2014 Note, Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality
Cheltenham Town F.C.
Cheltenham Town Football Club /ˈtʃɛltnəm ˈtaʊn/ is a professional association football club based in the town of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. The team compete in League Two, the tier of English football. Their nickname is The Robins, and the club is affiliated to the Gloucestershire County FA. Promoted to The Football League as Conference Premier champions in 1999, Cheltenham have played as high as League One and their best FA Cup run saw them reach the last 16 in 2002. The last piece of silverware won by the club was the National League title in 2015–2016 and its league status was lost with relegation in 2015, only for the team to return, as champions, a year later. Cheltenham has a history of prior to The Robins. In 1849, the first use of three referees in a match, two in field and one in tribune, was recorded in the town. However, the club was founded in 1887 by Albert Close White. The club spent its first three decades in local football, notable players from those days include cricketers Gilbert Jessop and brothers Charles Barnett and Edgar Barnett. In the early 1930s the club turned professional and joined the Birmingham Combination before joining the Southern League in 1935 and they won promotion to the Alliance Premier League in 1985, but were relegated seven years later. They were promoted back to the Conference in 1997 and two years later gained promotion to the Football League, after two mid-table finishes in Division Three they won via the playoffs and were promoted to Division Two. The appointment of Steve Cotterill as manager during the 1996–97 was the start of a period of success at the club resulted in Cotterill being their most successful manager. In 1997–98, Cheltenham finished runners-up in the Conference and were close to champions Halifax Town until the end of April 1998 and they secured a place at Wembley in the FA Trophy final, beating Southport 1–0 in front of a crowd of 27,000. In 1998–99 Cheltenham secured the Conference title and entry to the Football League, after two mid-table finishes in Division Three, Cheltenham finally won promotion to Division Two at the end of the 2001–02 season. Shortly after winning promotion, Cotterill left Cheltenham to join Stoke City as their manager, Cheltenham replaced Cotterill with first-team coach Graham Allner who had won the Conference championship with Kidderminster Harriers in 1994. Allner and assistant manager Mike Davis, who was assistant to Cotterill, were sacked in January 2003, after six months in the job. Cheltenham turned to Bobby Gould, one of the most experienced managers in English football whose exploits include an FA Cup victory with Wimbledon in 1988. Cheltenham continued to struggle, and defeat in their game of the season condemned the club to relegation back to Division Three after just one season
Fisher Athletic F.C.
The Bermondsey-based club ground-shared at Champion Hill Stadium, the home of Dulwich Hamlet. They were wound up by the High Court, after failing to repay their debts, however, it was announced on 29 May that a new club, Fisher F. C. had been formed. The new club was elected to the Kent League for the 2009–10 season, the club was founded in 1908 by Michael Culiton, headmaster at Dockland School, to provide sporting facilities for underprivileged youths of Bermondsey. The club was named after the Catholic martyr Saint John Fisher and they are thus one of the few sports clubs in the world to take their name from a person. The clubs closest neighbour is fellow dockers Millwall, but as the two teams meet in a competitive match there is no strong rivalry. Dulwich Hamlet are often considered the teams closest rivals, despite the current groundshare, the team competed in various district leagues before moving to the Parthenon League where they stayed until 1965. At this point the club folded and reformed, this time based in Mitcham, Fisher were elected to the Spartan League in 1974 and won back-to-back championships in 1980–81 and 1981–82. The latter season coincided with a move to their present home, Fisher were elected to the Southern Leagues Southern Division for the 1982–83 season and won the championship at the first attempt, earning promotion to the Southern League Premier Division. 1984–85 saw Fisher reach the first round of the FA Cup, in 1986–87 they won the Southern League title and were promoted to the Football Conference. The following year brought another run to the first round of the FA Cup where the Fish again lost 1–0, fishers success came to an end in 1990–91 when they finished bottom of the Conference and dropped back to the Southern League Premier Division. The following season brought a second relegation, to the Southern League Southern Division. The 1999–2000 season saw the win the Southern League Eastern Division. The following two season saw mid-table finishes, with Wayne Burnett taking over the managerial hotseat in February 2004, the Fish were promoted to the Isthmian League Premier Division for the 2005–06 season. Wayne Burnett resigned as manager for personal reasons on 21 November 2005, the 2006–07 season saw the club finish in 10th place in the Conference South under Edinburgh. Wayne Burnett returned to the club in the summer of 2007, the Fish played superb attacking football in 2007–08, but ended up finishing 4th, and losing to Hampton & Richmond Borough in the play-offs, the side theyd beaten to win promotion two years before. The summer of 2008 saw an exodus, with six of the previous seasons squad moving to Football League clubs. The clubs financial difficulties came to a head in the 2008–09 season, however, she wasnt actually a manager in the true sense of the term, just a publicity stunt, as Dave Mehmet was never actually relieved of the position. Droylsden had become the first British mens football club to play matches under a manager following a disagreement between manager Dave Pace and the Manchester F. A. in 2000