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
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
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
Sittingbourne Football Club are a football club based in Sittingbourne, Kent, England. They were established in 1886 and were members of the Kent League. They have reached the 2nd round of the FA Cup at least twice in their history and they are currently playing in the Isthmian League Division One South. Although an earlier Sittingbourne United club had been playing since as early as 1881, the club moved to a field behind the Bull pub in 1892, where they were to remain for nearly 100 years. Senior status was acquired in 1893, and the year the club joined the first incarnation of the Kent League. After World War I the club rejoined the Kent League, where they played until 1927 when they joined the Southern League, in 1930 they left this league and it is unclear where they played next. After World War II the Brickies rejoined the Kent League once again and this lasted for one season and the league folded. In 1968 a new Kent league was formed which the club joined, during season 1961–62 Accrington Stanley left the football league. This created a vacancy and 25 clubs applied to join, of which Sittingbourne were one and they did not obtain any votes and Oxford United were elected with 39 votes. Sittingbourne were Kent League champions in 1975–76, 1983–84 and 1990–91, in 1992–93, by now playing at the new Central Park ground, they won promotion to the Southern League Premier Division, however a financial crisis led to relegation two years later. Although the team bounced back, winning the Southern Division title at the first attempt, in 2006 a re-organisation of the English football league system saw Sittingbourne moved into the Isthmian League, starting in Division One South. The 2009–10 season ended with Sittingbourne winning the Kent Senior Cup for the first time in 52 years, gary Abbott left his position as manager in May 2011 and was replaced by his assistant Richard Brady. He brought in ex-brickie Jamie Coyle as his assistant, in September 2011 after a brief spell in charge they were offered management positions at Leatherhead and indicated that the positions were too good to turn down. Long serving player, Joe Dowley took over the position of manager with the assistance of players Bradley Spice. In November 2011 the committee were impressed with what had been achieved that they made their positions permanent, Joe Dowley resigned as manager after the last game of the 2011–12 season stating that he wished to return to his playing career. In May 2012 the club employed the Scottish brothers Jim & Danny Ward as joint managers and they were previously with Ramsgate who they left in April 2012. The Ward brothers left their position in September 2013 by mutual consent, in September 2013 after a brief successful spell as caretaker managers, Matt Wyatt and current player and captain Nick Davis were appointed joint managers. In July 2014 Nick Davis resigned as joint manager and Matt Wyatt continued as manager on his own for a short period and his replacement was his previous joint manager Nick Davis
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
Salisbury City F.C.
Salisbury City Football Club was an English football club based in Salisbury, Wiltshire. They were formed in 1947 and played at The Raymond McEnhill Stadium, the club spent two seasons in the Conference South before winning promotion to the Conference Premier via the play-offs in the 2012–13 season. In 2014, the club were removed from the Football Conference after failing to pay debts, the club has reformed as Salisbury F. C. for the 2015–16 season. The club was founded as Salisbury F. C. in 1947, Salisbury immediately entered the Western League and won the Second Division title at the very first attempt. An attendance of 8,902, a figure never beaten, saw the championship decider, in 1993 the clubs name was officially changed to Salisbury City, and in 1994–95 they won the Southern League Southern Division championship. After redevelopment work at the council-owned Victoria Park, the club was able to step up to the Premier Division, a promotion which had been denied them two years earlier due to ground gradings. Salisbury lasted seven seasons in the Premier Division, but troubles off the field led to the departure of manager Geoff Butler. On 13 May 2007, they defeated Braintree Town 1–0 in the Conference South promotion play-off final, in front of a record attendance at The Raymond McEnhill Stadium of 3,100, Salisbury held Forest to a 1–1 draw live on BBC One. The replay at the City Ground saw Forest progress into the 3rd round with a 2–0 victory, salisburys first season in the Conference Premier saw them finish a credible twelfth after a run of several wins in the second half of the season. This success continued into the 2008–09 season when they hit top spot in early September, however, this run soon came to an end when they suffered many injuries which saw their form slip. Then an appeal to raise £100,000 in two weeks was asked of the fans and the city, but only £33,000 was raised. This was insufficient to keep the club going with the squad they had, in April 2009 the club was put up for sale for £1 in a bid to attract new investors to help the club survive. However, the future of the club remained unclear after it was announced that the club had been unable to find a willing to assume the financial liabilities. On 3 September 2009 Salisbury entered administration clearing debts of £200,000, in the summer of 2009, Salisbury City Football Club faced bankruptcy and in early September the club was formally placed in administration. Whilst still functioning as a team, The Whites were fined and were punished further by the football authorities with the deduction of points. From September 2009, Salisbury City FC was being run by Carl Faulds and Michael Fortune operating as agents and contracting for Portland Business, on 19 May 2010 the club was demoted two divisions to the Southern League Premier Division due to a breach of Conference rules. A consortium of William Harrison-Allan, Chris Brammall and Jeff Hooper took the club on, what followed was a complete restructure with manager Tommy Widdrington going to Southend United as assistant manager in the summer of 2010. Long-serving Nick Holmes followed him out the door, which left Darrell Clarke and they managed to assemble a squad of youngsters over pre-season to go with the players that remained at the club