Worcester City F.C.
Worcester City Football Club is an English football club based in Worcester, Worcestershire. The club participates in the National League North, the tier of English football. Established in 1902, they have spent the majority of their history in non-league football and they currently play at Victoria Ground, home to Bromsgrove Sporting, after leaving St Georges Lane in 2013. Initially they played on Pitchcroft on an area called Severn Terrace. They played there until the start of the 1905 season and it was in 1905 that they reached the first round of the FA Cup, losing 6–0 at home to Watford. In 1924–25 they won the league for the first time, the club won back-to-back league titles in 1928–29 and 1929–30, also reaching the FA Cup first round in the former, losing 3–1 at Walsall. In 1938 they joined the Southern League, in 1940 they won the Southern League Cup beating Chelmsford 7–3 over two legs under the guidance of former Fulham F. C. legend Syd Gibbons. During World War II the club returned to the Birmingham & District League for two seasons, after the war Worcester rejoined the Southern League. In 1958–59 the club reached the first round of the FA Cup again, after beating Chelmsford City in a replay and then Millwall 5–2 in the second round, they were drawn against Liverpool. A 2–1 win saw Worcester qualify for the round against Sheffield United. They were defeated 2–0 in front of a home attendance of 17,042 at St Georges Lane. In 1973–74 the club were relegated to Division One North of the Southern League and they returned to the Premier Division as Division One champions in 1977, and in 1978–79 won the title. The following season they became members of the Alliance Premier League. However, they were relegated at the end of the 1984–85 season, the 1973–74 season saw City reach the quarter-final of the FA Trophy. They beat Taunton Town 1–0 away from home and then a 5–1 home win over Bletchley saw the club reach the third round. Having beaten Sandbach Ramblers 4–1, City progressed to the last eight where a 2–0 away defeat followed a draw against South Shields ended their cup run. In the 1978–79 season, Worcester reached the semi-finals after beating Cardiff City 3–2 in the quarters and they again played Shrewsbury, this time losing 2–0 away. The club remained in the Southern League Premier Division until 2004, in 2008 they were moved to the Conference South after no southern teams were relegated from the Conference National
West Midlands (Regional) League
It has three divisions, the highest of which is the Premier Division, which sits at step 6 of the National League System, or the tenth level of the overall English football league system. The league currently acts as a feeder to the Midland Football League Premier Division, approximately fifty teams compete in the league each season, with new members regularly joining from a number of lower, more local leagues. In the late 1880s, Birmingham and the region boasted many of the countrys strongest football teams. On 31 May 1889 a meeting place at Birminghams Grand Hotel with the view to forming a Birmingham & District League. A total of 17 clubs were invited but only 13 attended, of which 12 were selected to form the new league, the one club which sent a representative to the meeting but was not invited to take part in the league, for unknown reasons, was Worcester Rovers. Although Kidderminster Olympic topped the table, no championship was awarded as a number of fixtures had not been completed. A number of clubs which had enjoyed success in the Birmingham Combination also joined the league, the Combinations committee then attempted to re-open the merger talks but, having just bolstered its ranks with six new members, the League was not interested. A year later, all of the Combinations 14 remaining clubs, with the exception of West Bromwich Albions A team, left to join the League, which effectively absorbed its former rival. The 40 member clubs were split into Northern and Southern divisions, at the end of the 1957–58 season, Burton Albion and Nuneaton Borough left to join an expanding Southern League, followed a year later by Hinckley Athletic. In an attempt to consolidate the league decided to all remaining reserve teams. Four years later it changed its name to the West Midlands League to more accurately reflect its catchment area, for the 1965–66 season the league was able to revert to a two-division structure when it rebranded its existing single division the Premier Division and added a new Division One. By 1976, a flow of teams joining from smaller regional leagues led to Division One being split into Divisions One and One, revised a year later to Divisions One. The Alliance Premier League was formed in 1979, pushing the Regional League further down the English football league system, reflecting the demographics of the West Midlands area, a number of British Asian teams joined the league, including Sikh Hunters, Englands first ever all-Sikh team. The league currently has no title sponsor, previously it has been sponsored by Sport Italia, the Wolverhampton-based Express & Star newspaper, and Black Country brewery Bankss. In the 2014–15 season,55 teams are competing in the league, some of the teams in the lower two divisions are reserve teams of clubs playing at a higher level. Each division is contested on a double round-robin basis, with each playing each of the other teams in the division once at home. Three points are awarded for a win, one for a draw, goal difference is used to separate teams on the same points, having replaced goal average at the start of the 1978–79 season. Since the 1994–95 season the Regional League, along with the Midland Football Combination, has served as one of the two official feeders to the Midland Football Alliance
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
Newport County A.F.C.
Newport County Association Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Newport, South Wales. The team play in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. Most recently reformed in 1989, the club is a continuation of the Newport County club which was founded in 1912 and was a member of the Football Leagues new Third Division in 1920. Newport County were Welsh Cup winners in 1980 and subsequently reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1981, the club was relegated from the Football League in 1988 and went out of business in February 1989. The club reformed shortly afterwards and entered the English football league system at a lower level. In 2013 the club won back to the Football League for the first time since 1988. Newport County, originally nicknamed The Ironsides due to Newport being home to Lysaghts Orb Works steel works, the official name of the club was The Newport & Monmouth County Association Football Club, although the shorter Newport County was soon adopted. The club were reformed in 1919 and were first elected to the Football League in 1920 and they were not re-elected after the 1930–31 season but rejoined for 1932–33. After almost 20 years in the Third Division South, the club clinched promotion to the Second Division as champions in 1939 under manager Billy McCandless. Hopes were high that the side could prosper in the Second Division. Newport County managed a 1–1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur and a 3–1 win over Southampton, the War League operated for the remainder of the 1939–40 season and County finished 10th in the South-West Division. After the war, the reformed and competed in the temporary Football League South for the 1945–46 season. Newcastle player Len Shackleton remarked they were lucky to get nil, despite victories over Coventry City, Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham, the club needed four wins out of the last four games to have any hope of safety. Despite a revenge victory over Newcastle United, defeats to Birmingham City, Luton Town, County finished bottom of the Second Division and were relegated. Newport reached the round of the 1948–49 FA Cup under manager Tom Bromilow. They only narrowly lost the game 3–2 away to Portsmouth, the eventual FA Cup semi-finalists, after 11 further seasons in the Third Division South, the club narrowly avoided another effective relegation with the creation of the Fourth Division for the 1958–59 season. The bottom 12 teams from the Third Division North and South were placed in the new division, County avoided this fate by a mere four points. However, in 1962, with seven wins all season
Leek Town F.C.
Leek Town Football Club is an English football club based in Leek, Staffordshire, currently playing in the Northern Premier League Division One South. The team, nicknamed The Blues, play their games at Harrison Park. Leek Town reached the final of the FA Trophy in 1990, having progressed all the way from the first qualifying round, but lost in the final at Wembley Stadium. The club began playing in the local Leek and Moorlands League, playing on a field adjoining a pub. In 1949–50 Lowe Hamil were champions of this league, becoming the first team to win the title without losing a single match, in 1968 a new committee was formed, under which the club emerged from the doldrums. Manager Paul Ogden took over in 1969 and led the club to two Staffordshire County League championships, followed in succession by two Manchester League titles. In 1982 the Cheshire County League merged with the Lancashire Combination to form the new North West Counties League, following Kevin Lewis brief reign Neil Baker took over in 1986 and was to lead the club to some of its greatest successes to date. In 1993–94 Leek finished second in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, however, they were refused promotion due to financial irregularities. To compound their problems, they were shifted from the Northern Premier League to the Southern League, after one season the club was allowed to return to the Northern Premier League. In 1996–97 Leek claimed the Northern Premier League title by ten points and were this time granted promotion to the Conference. In their first season at this level they narrowly managed to avoid relegation, in 2000–01 the Blues were relegated to Division One, but regained their place in the Premier Division when the league was restructured due to the formation of Conference North in 2004. The club achieved several mid-table finishes in the league but struggled off the pitch, in the 2007–08 season Leek finished in the bottom four, resulting in relegation to Division One South. Four seasons later the club qualified for the play-offs for promotion back to the Premier Division, Leeks home colours have traditionally been all blue, and their away colours all yellow, both colours which reflect the towns coat of arms, which is predominantly blue and gold. The club has used a blue and white kit similar to that of Blackburn Rovers. Since 1997, the shirts have been sponsored by butter manufacturer Kerrygold. Harrison Park lies on the outskirts of Leek and has been the home since 1948. The ground currently has a stand along one side of the pitch. In 1998 the ground was flooded when a nearby reservoir overflowed, Leek County School Old Boys, when they were in the North West Counties Football League, shared the ground between the early 1990s and 2014
Nuneaton Town F.C.
Nuneaton Town Football Club is an English football club based in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. The club participates in the National League North, the tier of English football. In 1889 Nuneaton St. Nicholas were the first team to senior football within Nuneaton. Five years later, they changed their name to Nuneaton Town, however, two days later Nuneaton Borough F. C. were founded. In 2008 the club was liquidated, and due to a FA ruling were reformed as Nuneaton Town – suffering a two division demotion, the club is still known as The Boro by its supporters. The club currently play their fixtures at Liberty Way, Nuneaton. The clubs home colours are blue & white, local rivals include Tamworth, Leamington, Bedworth United and Coventry City. The club origins date from 1889 when young men from Nuneaton St. Nicolas Parish Church formed a team to represent the town. Originally playing only friendly games, from 1892 Nuneaton St. Nicolas entered Charity Cup competitions, in September 1894 the Nicks’ changed their name to Nuneaton Town Association F. C. This was despite Nuneaton Town being financially sound, following the disbandment of the Boro by its shareholders, a new group of local gentlemen decided to reform the football club. The new name Nuneaton Borough reflected the royal charter status that the town had been granted, Southern League Cup, Winners 1995–96, Runners Up 1962–63, Southern League Championship Match, Winners 199. Runners Up 1996, Home, At Manor Park 22,114, in May 2007, the curtain came down on Manor Park as they drew the last game 1–1 against Vauxhall Motors. Striker Gez Murphy took the honour of being the last Nuneaton Borough scorer at the ground, in the 2007–08 season, ill-health meant that the clubs owner, Ted Stocker, decided to sell his shares. March 2008 saw local businessman Ian Neale planned to take ownership of the club for a trial period, however, he took 100% ownership of the club in April. In May 2008, Mr Neale found some irregularities in the finances of the club, on 2 June 2008 Nuneaton Borough went into liquidation. Following the clubs liquidation, the reformed, this time as Nuneaton Town. The new club was forced to revert to its name of Nuneaton Town. Falling foul of regulations regarding football finance, the new club was demoted two divisions from Conference North to Southern League Division One, nevertheless, successive promotions saw the club quickly regain its former league status
Burton Albion F.C.
Burton Albion Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, England. The team play in the Championship, the tier of English football. Burton Albion competed in the non-League of English football from their formation in 1950 until 2009, when they were promoted to the Football League. The clubs home ground is the Pirelli Stadium, having moved from Eton Park in 2005, Burton Albion were formed in 1950, and joined the Birmingham & District League. They finished the 1953–54 season as runners-up, and in 1958–59 joined the Southern League North Western zone, in 1965–66 Burton missed out on the runners-up place on goal difference, but were still promoted to the Southern League Premier Division. They avoided relegation in 1968, thanks to Stevenage Town folding, Burton missed out on promotion on goal average in 1970–71, but finished as runners-up the following season and were promoted back to the Premier Division. The next two seasons saw them relegated, and then promoted back to the Premier Division again and they stayed in the same division until being relegated once more at the end of 1976–77. In October 1998, Nigel Clough was appointed as player-manager and he led the club to two successive runners-up spots, in 1999–2000 and 2000–01. Burton were again moved to the Northern Premier League Premier Division in 2001–02, the club were promoted to the Football Conference for the first time. The club was brought to attention when they were drawn at home against 11-times winners Manchester United in the third round of the 2005–06 FA Cup. The Brewers held the Premier League team to a 0–0 draw at home, at the end of the season Roy McFarland left the club and was replaced by Paul Peschisolido, with Gary Rowett acting as his assistant. Burtons first win in the Football League was 5–2 against Morecambe at the Pirelli Stadium, in their second season Burton claimed a notable scalp in the FA Cup third round when they knocked out Championship team Middlesbrough 2–1 at the Pirelli Stadium. In the league, Burton experienced a 17-game winless run and fell from fifth place on Boxing Day to 17th place at the end of the 2011–12 season, Gary Rowett was appointed as the new manager of Burton in May 2012. In his first full season in charge, he led Burton to a fourth-place finish, Burton lost their play-off semi-final 4–5 on aggregate to Bradford City despite winning the first leg 3–2 at Valley Parade. In the 2013–14 season, Burton finished sixth, reaching the final in which they lost 1–0 against Fleetwood Town. During the 2014–15 season, Rowett left to join Birmingham City, under Hasselbaink the Brewers won League Two and were promoted to League One for the first time in their history. Hasselbaink left by mutual consent in December 2015 to join Queens Park Rangers as manager, Clough returned to Burton to replace him for his second spell as manager and led the club to a second-place finish in the league, earning promotion to the Championship, another first for Burton. Albion began life at the Lloyds Foundry ground on Wellington Street, Eton Park was built off Derby Road and officially opened on 20 September 1958, coinciding with the clubs promotion to the Southern League
Gloucester City A.F.C.
The club was established in 1883 as Gloucester, they became Gloucester City in 1902, but were briefly known as Gloucester YMCA from 1910 to 1925, before returning to their previous name. The club has competed in the Conference North since 2009, having been promoted from the Southern Premier League at the end of the 2008–09 season and it spent a record 70 years within the Southern Football League from 1939 until 2009. The club secured promotion after a Playoff final win against Farnborough, in July 2007, the club was considerably affected by the Gloucestershire floods with their Meadow Park stadium under eight feet of water. The floods have meant the club has been in exile away from Gloucester since 2007, the current team manager is Tim Harris. The club is affiliated to the Gloucestershire County FA, the club was formed on 5 March 1883 as Gloucester, but the first recorded match came during 1883–84 when a scratch team representing Cheltenham played a match against the new Gloucester side. Gloucesters first competitive game in October 1889 was a Gloucestershire FA Junior Challenge Cup 1st Round tie beating Clifton Association Reserves 10–0 at Buddings Field, the club became members of the Bristol and District League which subsequently became the Western League. During this era the club was noted as The Gloucestrians and The Citizens in local media, after the end of the First World War in 1918 most of the players who had been with City joined Gloucester YMCA. By 1925 they had assumed the name of Gloucester City once more and had become members of the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League. In 1939 the club played in the Southern Football League for the very first time, albeit in a wartime competition. After the war City rejoined the Southern League and went on to become the Leagues longest serving members. For three consecutive seasons, 1948–51, the reached the First Round of the FA Cup, each time losing to Football League opponents, Mansfield Town, Norwich City. It took until the 1955–56 season for Gloucester to taste their first success in the Southern League. A famous Southern League Cup final win against Yeovil Town in which City had lost the first leg 4–1, only to beat Yeovil 5–1 in the second leg, won the club their first major honour. In 1964 the club moved again, from Longlevens to the massive Horton Road stadium, closer to the centre of Gloucester. Although Gloucester City were promoted to the Southern Football League Premier Division in the 1968–69 season, in the 1981–82 season a sixth-place finish was enough to clinch a place in the reformed Premier Division. They were also runners-up in the League Cup, going down 1–2 to Wealdstone, despite Kim Casey scoring 40 goals, the club were relegated to the Midland Division in 1984–85, after 3 seasons in the Premier Division. In 1986 the club moved once more, this time to Meadow Park, the Horton Road ground became a housing estate which now boasts the names of City legends, Myers Road, Etheridge Place and Coltman Close amongst others. Former Aston Villa and Wales player Brian Godfrey was appointed manager in 1988, the next big achievement of the Godfrey years was the famous FA Cup run in 1989–90 which has still not been matched
Midland Football Alliance
The Midland Football Alliance was an English association football league for semi-professional teams. It covered Leicestershire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire, the league consisted of a single division which sat at Step 5 of the National League System, or the ninth level of the overall English football league system. Each season, the club of each feeder league was eligible for promotion to the Alliance. Successful teams in the Alliance were eligible for promotion to a Step 4 league, the league merged with the Midland Combination in 2014 to form the new Midland Football League. The league drew ten member clubs from each of the two leagues for its inaugural season, paget Rangers won the first league championship by a margin of 12 points from Hinckley Athletic in the 1994–95 season, and gained promotion to the Southern League. The Alliances status as a feeder to the Southern League was cemented when Armitage 90 were relegated in the opposite direction, Armitage went on to dominate the league in the 1995–96 season but disbanded midway through the season, with the result that their record was expunged from the table. For the 1999–2000 season the increased in size to 22 clubs when two clubs were promoted into the Alliance but none relegated out of it. One of the clubs was Oadby Town of the Leicestershire Senior League. The following season Coalville Town became the first Alliance team to reach the first round proper of the FA Cup, with the creation of the National League System by the Football Association the league was officially defined as a Step 5 league. In 2014 the Alliance merged with the Midland Combination to form the new Midland Football League, the clubs which had been members of the Alliance formed the Premier Division of the new league. The Alliance was known under various sponsored names following deals with companies including Baker-Joiner, Polymac Services, Harvey World Travel, Travel Factory, and Aspire. The league was contested on a double round-robin basis, with each playing each of the other teams in the division once at home. Three points were awarded for a win, one for a draw, goal difference was used to separate teams on the same points. As the Alliance was a Step 5 league, its clubs were eligible to take part in the FA Cup. According to official FA regulations, clubs from the Alliance were eligible for promotion to a Step 4 league, clubs promoted from Step 5 leagues were placed in the most geographically appropriate Step 4 leagues as determined by the FAs Leagues Committee. The number of clubs promoted from the Alliance each season could vary, all clubs gaining promotion from the Alliance were placed in either the Southern League or the Northern Premier League. Attendances at Midland Alliance matches were generally small, with many matches attracting fewer than 100 spectators, in the 2006–07 season the average attendance across the league was 124, but in the 2007–08 season this fell to 87. The best supported team in that season was Atherstone Town, whose average attendance was 162
Bilston Town F.C.
Bilston Town Football Club is an English association football club based in Bilston, West Midlands. In the 2016–17 season they are playing in the West Midlands League Premier Division for the successive season. In 2007 the club folded but was rescued by a consortium, re-formed as Bilston Town, in 2015 the team adopted the name Bilston Town Community and is now competing in the West Midlands League Premier Division. The club was founded in 1894 after Bilston Rovers and Bilston Wanderers merged to form Bilston United In 1919 the club moved to Queen Street in Bilston, the club was disbanded in 1939 due to the outbreak of World War Two. The club reformed in 1946 simply as Bilston F. C, in 1954 the team joined the Birmingham & District League and won the championship in 1960–61 and again in 1972–73. In 1983 the clubs name changed to Bilston Town F. C, after finishing as West Midlands Regional League runners-up in 1984–85, the Steelmen were promoted to the Southern Football League, where they spent seventeen seasons in the Midland Division. After the 2006–07 season Bilston resigned from the West Midlands League, in June the clubs chairman issued a statement on the clubs future, Shortly after this the clubs official website was shut down. The club was taken from the owners, and reformed as Bilston Town and accepted back into the West Midlands League for the 2007–08 season, the club finished the season in second place behind Wellington Amateurs. In 2009 the club appointed a new board and manager, with the aim of developing the club as a force within the community and involving youth teams. After some mixed results, January 2010 saw Ian Broad appointed as Manager, new players joined the squad and the team finished in mid-table. In 2011 the club started a Saturday Soccer School for local youngsters, at the end of the 2011–12 season Ian Broad left the club, and was replaced by Andy Rutter as manager. In his first season in charge Andy Rutter led the club to runners-up in division 1 and promotion was achieved, the club also reached the quarter-finals of the Walsall Senior Cup, losing to Southern League team Sutton Coldfield Town after a penalty shoot-out. Floodlights, They were first used in a game where 8,000 Bilston Town fans came out to see them at Queen Street vs Wolverhampton Wanderers,10 March 1953 - Wolves won 4-2. The attendance of 8,000 fans is a record for Queen Street in all games. Within a year of going bust the club reformed and returned to Queen Street and has been playing games there ever since. The club house dates back to the mid fifties and floodlights were first installed in 1953, the ground, as it exists today, can hold 4000 spectators, with 300 of them seated. Vehicles can be parked within the ground itself, in April 2006 the BBC reported that the clubs Queen Street ground had been vandalised over 120 times in six years. In 2007 council officials ruled that the ground was unsafe, forcing the club to move out and play their matches in Bantock Park, a public recreation ground
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
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