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
Bromsgrove Rovers F.C.
Bromsgrove Rovers F. C. were a non-League football club from the town of Bromsgrove in Worcestershire. The peak of the success was in 1993 when Rovers finished runner-up in the Football Conference. Their ground is used by successor club Bromsgrove Sporting. Bromsgrove Rovers were formed in 1885 and initially played in the local Studley & District League, Rovers were promoted to the Birmingham & District League in 1898, where they were runners up in the 1904–05 season. The club switched to the Birmingham Combination in 1908, where they were to remain until 1954 when it was absorbed into the Birmingham & District League (later renamed the West Midlands League, Rovers were champions of the Combination on two occasions and runners-up on four other occasions. In 1972 Rovers joined the Southern Football League, initially in Division One North, in 1979 the league was re-organised and they were placed in the Midland Division, which they won in 1985–86 to gain a place in the Premier Division. The most successful period in the history is without doubt between 1991 and 1998, particularly under the management of Bobby Hope. In the 1991–92 season a remarkable run saw them win 15 home games in a row and this saw Bromsgrove promoted to the Football Conference, the highest level of non-league football in England. The remarkable form from the season continued during the 1992–93 season. Bromsgrove were one of smallest clubs in the Conference, yet managed to finish runners-up to the eventual champions Wycombe Wanderers, the following season saw Bromsgrove get past the first round of the FA Cup, claiming their only ever league scalp with an away victory over Northampton Town. After another away victory in the round, Bromsgrove were drawn at home to Barnsley. A capacity crowd of 4,893 was in attendance for the game, Bromsgrove were 1–0 up with just two minutes of time remaining, when Barnsley scored two late goals to end up winners. In post-match comments, the Barnsley manager Viv Anderson described his team as the luckiest in the world. During this time Bromsgrove also won the Conference League Cup two years in a row during the 1994–95 and 1995–96 seasons, they were the first team in the history to win it back to back. The 1995–96 final saw Bromsgrove involved in a high scoring 10–2 aggregate victory over Kettering Town, Bromsgrove were eventually relegated from the Conference in 1996–97. By this time Bobby Hope had left as manager, and many of the clubs finest players had either left, retired. These included the inspirational captain Kevin Psycho Richardson, Paul Webb, Chris Hanks and Martyn OConnor, after this the club went into an almost constant decline. Their relegation to the Southern League Premier Division in 1996–97 was followed by relegation to Division One West in 1998–99, promotion back to the Southern League was gained at the first attempt, but the club still found itself a long way removed from its successes of the early 1990s
Wealdstone Football Club is a football club based in Ruislip, west London, England. The club is affiliated to the Middlesex County Football Association and currently plays in the National League South, the team play in royal blue shirts, white shorts and royal blue and white socks, and are nicknamed The Stones or The Royals. The club appeared in the first televised match in 1946. They were also the first club to win the non-League double, the club was formed at the start of the 1899–1900 season. Their first game was a match on 7 October 1899 against Northwood. They joined Division Two of the Willesden & District League, and were promoted to Division One for the 1900–01 season after Division Two was scrapped, the club was reformed in time for the 1908–09 season, rejoining Division One of the Willesden & District League. In 1910 they moved to Belmont Road, and won Division One again in 1912–13, following World War I the club joined the London League and the Middlesex Senior League. They moved to the Lower Mead ground at the start of the 1922–23 season, the club had their record win on 13 October 1923, beating the 12th London Regiment 22–0 in an FA Amateur Cup game. In 1928–29 they switched again, this time joining the Athenian League. In 1929–30 the club won the Middlesex Senior Cup and the Middlesex Senior Charity Cup for the first time, during World War II the club continued to play, playing at Wembley Stadium in the final of the Middlesex Senior Red Cross Cup in 1943. The following year recorded their heaviest-ever defeat, losing 14–0 to Edgware Town in the London Senior Cup. In 1946 the BBC showed part of Wealdstones Athenian League match at Barnet, after beating Colchester, Wealdstone reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time, losing 1–0 to Port Vale. In 1951–52 the club won the Athenian League, and went on to win the Middlesex Senior Cup in 1959,1963 and 1964, in 1964 they switched to the Isthmian League. In 1965–66 the club reached the first round of the FA Cup again, losing 3–1 at Millwall, the following season saw Wealdstone entered at the first round of the FA Cup, losing 2–0 at home to Nuneaton Borough. The club joined the Division One North of the Southern League in 1971 and they were moved to Division One South the following season, and won the division in 1973–74, earning promotion to the Premier Division. In 1979 the club were members of the Alliance Premier League. In 1984–85 the club won the Alliance Premier League, and also went on to win the FA Trophy, however, a period of decline set in, after finishing tenth the following season, they finished 19th in 1986–87, and were relegated the season after. At the end of the 1990–91 season financial problems led to the club selling their Lower Mead ground, in 1993 they moved to the Warren, Yeadings ground
Poole Town F.C.
They were established in 1880 and joined the Western League Division Two in 1930. The club is affiliated to the Dorset County Football Association and is a FA Charter Standard Community Club. They won the Western League title in 1957 and reached the First Round Proper of the FA Cup four times in their history and they play at Tatnam, Poole, and finished the 2008–09 season as Double winners – champions and Dorset Senior Cup winners. In 2009–10 they became champions of the Wessex League and completed an unprecedented treble winning the League for the 3rd time in a row in 2010–11. Promotion to the Southern League was finally achieved after an upgrade to the Tatnam facilities, Poole were second in their first season, losing to Gosport in a playoff final and then Champions and promoted to the Southern Premier League the following season. Poole Town were formed when two teams, Poole Hornets and Poole Rovers, merged in 1890. Both teams had been in existence since 1880, Poole joined the Dorset League in 1896 then the Hampshire League in 1903. The club enjoyed success in the Dorset Senior Cup in their early years, after several seasons without football because of the First World War, the club began playing again in the 1919–20 season under the name Poole & St. Marys. They changed their name back to Poole FC after one season, Poole joined the Western League in 1923. Poole won the Dorset Senior Cup again in 1926, the club turned professional that year and joined the Southern Football League. The 1926–27 season saw the clubs best FA Cup run in its history and they reached the third round and played Everton, losing 3–1 at Goodison Park. They won the Dorset Senior Cup again in 1927 and reached the First Round of the FA Cup three seasons in a row, Poole rejoined the Western League in 1930 and stayed there until 1957. In 1933, Poole moved into Poole Stadium and they became known as Poole Town in 1934. Poole Town reached the First Round Proper of the FA Cup in 1946 and they held Queens Park Rangers to a 2–2 draw before losing in the replay 6–0. They reached the first round again in 1963 and 1967, losing to Watford and Queens Park Rangers, the Main Stand at Poole Stadium was built by supporters of the Club for the Football Club in the 1950s. In 1994 the Dog Track was widened making the center green too small for a regulation pitch, Poole Town were obliged to move on and find a new home. In 1994, Poole Town were forced to leave Poole Stadium to make way for Poole Pirates speedway, the record was subsequently beaten by A. F. C. Poole Town were relegated from the Southern League and joined the Hampshire League Division One, Poole won the Dorset Senior Cup for the 12th time in 1998
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
Ebbsfleet United F.C.
Ebbsfleet United Football Club is a football club in Northfleet, Kent, England, which is in the National League South, the sixth tier of English football. The team plays matches at Stonebridge Road. Before 2007, the club was called Gravesend & Northfleet, from 1969 and 1971, Roy Hodgson, who later became manager of the national teams of Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Finland and England, was a player at the club, making 59 appearances. In 1979, the team was one of the members of the Alliance Premier League. For the 1997–98 season, Gravesend & Northfleet left the Southern League, on 13 November 2007, it was announced that the website MyFootballClub had entered a deal in principle to take over the club. Approximately 27,000 MyFootballClub members each paid £35 to provide an approximate £700,000 takeover fund and all owned a share in the club. Members had a vote on transfers as well as player selection, because of the nature of MyFootballClub, it was announced that manager Liam Daish would become instead the first team head coach. His backroom staff would remain at the club, both resulted in overwhelming Yes votes,95. 89% voted to proceed with the takeover while 95. 86% voted to allow Daish to continue his transfer plans. The deal was ratified at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the board on 19 February. On 10 May 2008, Ebbsfleet United won the FA Trophy, defeating Torquay United 1–0 in the final on the clubs first trip to Wembley, becoming the first Kentish team to win this trophy. Ebbsfleet United went on to win the Kent Senior Cup in the same season, with a 4–0 victory over Cray Wanderers on 26 July 2008. After one year of ownership a majority of MyFC members failed to renew, the club had previously stated that 15,000 was the minimum required. As of September 2010, two and a years after the takeover, there were around 3,500 members. Both the manager and the club secretary opposed the change, Liam Daish subsequently departed as manager and the new ownership appointed Dover Athletic coach and former Charlton Athletic defender Steve Brown as the new manager. Steve Browns first competitive game was a draw at home to Havant & Waterlooville. A club record was broken just before Christmas as Browns team achieved nine wins in succession, Ebbsfleet eventually reached the playoffs, helped by goalkeeper Preston Edwards keeping eleven clean sheets at Stonebridge Road over the course of the season. The playoff semi-final first leg against Bromley at Stonebridge Road ended in a 4–0 win for the Fleet, despite Bromley winning the second leg, Browns side won 4–1 on aggregate. The playoff final was against Dover Athletic at Stonebridge Road in front of a 4,200 crowd, Dover dominated the encounter, winning 1–0 with a goal early in the second half from former Ebbsfleet striker Nathan Elder
Solihull Borough F.C.
For the metropolitan borough, see Metropolitan Borough of Solihull Solihull Borough F. C. was an English football club from Solihull. In 2007 the club merged with Moor Green to form a new club, Solihull Borough FC was founded in 1953 by Joe McGorian. They originally played at Widney Lane in Solihull under the name of Lincoln FC, after changing their name to Solihull Borough, they joined the Midland Football Combination Division Two in 1969. In 1971 they were promoted to Division One, which was renamed the Premier Division. They were runners-up in 1984–85 and again in 1990–91, after which they stepped up to the Southern League, in 1989, financial problems had forced the club to sell their Widney Lane Ground to property developers and eventually agreed a ground share with their local rivals, Moor Green. In 1993, Solihull managed to get to the first round of the FA Cup, but lost out to fellow non-leaguers VS Rugby, in 1995, Solihull won the Birmingham Senior Cup for the first time, but were relegated back to the Southern League Midland Division. Despite finishing only 7th in the table, the Boro were promoted to the Southern League Premier Division, after one season in the Western Division the club were placed in the new Division One Midlands. Following an arson attack at Moor Greens stadium in 2005, from then onwards Solihull, in January 2007 the two clubs applied to the Football Association to formally merge. The merger was confirmed on 30 March 2007 when it was revealed that a new club under the name Solihull Moors would be formed on 1 June, Moor Green boss Bob Faulkner was later confirmed as the new clubs football manager
Hastings United F.C.
The club is based in the borough of Hastings and is based at The Pilot Field. The present-day team known as Hastings United Football Club was founded in 1894 as Rock-a-Nore, the team played in local leagues until 1921, when they merged with All Saints and joined the Sussex County League, where they played until 1927. In 1952, the club rejoined the Sussex County League, remaining there until the 1984/85 season, in 1921, Hastings & St. Leonards Amateurs moved to the Sussex County League and finished runners-up to Worthing. The club again finished second in the 1926–27 season, this time behind Southwick, the club joined the Sussex County League again in 1952, but had to wait until the 1959–60 for success, finishing second in Division Two of the Sussex County League. In 1979, the changed its name to Hastings Town and, in the 1979/80 season, won the Division Two championship. The 1980–81 season saw the win the County League Cup. The club also negotiated a long lease with Hastings Borough Council for use of Uniteds Pilot Field ground. 1991/92 culminated in a win at second placed Weymouth to clinch the title and promotion to the Southern League Premier Division. The Club was saved from extinction by a last gasp bid from another local lottery winner, Mick Maplesden and Town were accepted back into the Southern League, the 2002–03 season saw Hastings Town renamed as Hastings United, playing in the former teams traditional claret and blue kit. Following the restructuring of the football pyramid, United kicked off the 2004–05 season in the Isthmian League. A few months into the 2005/06 season, Southall parted company with the Club after disagreements with the chairman Dave Walters and he was replaced by the inexperienced management duo of senior players, Nigel Kane and Pat Brown. The 2006–07 season was a Jekyll & Hyde affair for the club, a dip in form towards the end of the campaign led to Hastings eventually finishing in fourth place, good enough for a place in the divisional play-offs. Hastings played away to Dover Athletic in the semi-final and, despite being reduced to ten men after half an hour, triumphed 2–0. The final saw Hastings travel to take on Tooting & Mitcham United at Imperial Fields, the return to Premier Division football began well, and a fine sequence of results at the Pilot Field enabled United to sit proudly in the top six at an early stage. A couple of later, his successor was named as the former Tonbridge Angels manager Tony Dolby. However, on 2 February 2009, John Lambert was sacked from his role of manager along with assistant Wayne Farrier, Tony Dolby returned to the role. From November 2011, Sean Ray was appointed player/manager, Ray and Mark Stapley initially took over in a caretaker capacity, but wins over Horsham and Aveley in their first two games led to Ray being appointed player-manager and Stapley assistant manager. United achieved back-to-back league wins early in the 2012/13 campaign before pulling off their first FA Cup victory in six years against Chatham Town and that proved the start of an unbelievable run in the world’s most decorated domestic knockout competition which ended with two of Ray’s finest moments in football
Hednesford Town F.C.
Hednesford Town Football Club is an association football team based in Hednesford, Staffordshire, England. The club plays in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, the club was formed in 1880 by the merger of two leading Hednesford clubs, the Red & Whites and Hill Top, and after many years in local competitions joined the Southern League in 1984. It was not until January 1990 that the fortunes turned for the better. In an effort to avoid relegation the club appointed former goalkeeper, John Baldwin, as manager and he began to turn the club around. The following season the finished third and thus gained promotion to the Southern League Premier Division. The club, also in the 1991–92 season, lost 1–0 to Cardiff City, in the first season in the Premier Division the Pitmen finished in fourth position and reached the Staffordshire Senior Cup Final losing to Stoke City over two legs. The 1993–94 season saw the club reach a cup final for the year running. This time it was The Birmingham Senior Cup Final where, at the Bescot Stadium, the club were beaten 3–0 by a full strength Walsall team. The 1996–97 season saw the Pitmen reach the first round of the FA Cup for the first time in 72 years, eventually losing in the round to Middlesbrough. In the 1998–99 season the club reached the first round of the FA Cup for the season running. This time the team beat Barnet 3–1 in the first round, a succession of managers were appointed to replace John Baldwin including Neil Pointon, Colin Lambert, Paul Raynor, Kenny Hibbitt and Ian Painter. The club also won the 2004 FA Trophy, beating Canvey Island 3–2 with the coming from Anthony Maguire, Les Hines. The 2005–06 season saw the Pitmen again reach the first round of the FA Cup, brindley’s assistant manager, former Wimbledon star, Steve Anthrobus, was appointed Manager but he was unable to save the club from relegation, after playing out a 0–0 draw at Vauxhall Motors. They were subsequently placed in the Northern Premier League, their first foray into Northern League football, the 2007–08 season saw the Pitmen start well, but a run of inconsistent form saw them finish outside the play-off places again, finishing eighth. After a busy first few days, Edwards brought in a succession of new players, a great start to the 2008–09 season saw the Pitmen hit top spot in the league, playing neat, attractive football. A young, locally based side enjoyed the status as favourites for the title, since the turn of the year, Hednesfords form dipped, although they enjoyed a good run in the FA Trophy. However, Kendal Town snatched the final spot, leaving Hednesford with a fourth successive season at step three. Former Northern Ireland international and AFC Telford United manager Bernard McNally was appointed caretaker manager while the club searched for a new manager, the club announced on Thursday 14 January 2010 that Simon Line had resigned from his managerial position at the club, citing personal reasons