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
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
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
Gresley Football Club are an English football club from Church Gresley, near Swadlincote, Derbyshire. Gresley play in the Northern Premier League Division One South, playing their games at the Moat Ground. They were known as Gresley Rovers until 2009, when they were reformed under their current name, Gresley Rovers were formed in 1882 in the small mining village of Church Gresley, near to Swadlincote, Derbyshire. The clubs first ground was at Mushroom Lane in Albert Village a mile or so from Church Gresley, Gresley played only friendlies and cup games before joining the Burton Junior League for the 1892–93 season, winning their first title in 1894–95. Rovers acquired a new home, the Church Street Ground, in time for the 1895–96 season, despite the grounds lack of facilities the club were accepted into the Midland League for the 1903–04 season where they struggled for three seasons, to the local league in 1905. Rovers stepped up a couple of grades to join the Central Alliance, at the start of the 50s the club made the decision to join the Central Alliance. However, on occasion, their stay in that League was only brief. They then rejoined the Central Alliance in 1959–60 and stayed in that League until 1974–75 during which time the League changed its title to the East Midlands Regional League. At the start of the 1975–76, they moved to the West Midlands League, which was a much stronger League, and in the early years they always ended in the lower regions of the table. However, after hard work off the field, runners-up spot was achieved in 1985–86. During that period also won the Derbyshire Senior Cup on four successive occasions. Their opponents were Guiseley and some newspapers reported it as the most exciting Wembley Cup Final ever. Then in extra time Gresley went 4–3 in front but this time Guiseley scored a dramatic equaliser as they levelled things in injury time at the end of the second half of extra time. The replay at Bramall Lane saw Gresley lose by 3–1, however, despite that tremendous season their application to join the Southern League was not successful but they battled on to win the league again the following season. This time their application to the Southern League was successful and they were placed in the Midland Division for the 1992–93 season. The 1993–94 season saw them consolidate in 14th position but medals did come to the club as they won the Derbyshire Senior Cup. An improved League position of 8th was achieved in 1994–95 and that season saw them reaching the First Round Proper of the FA Cup for only the time ever before losing away to Crewe. Paul Futcher was appointed manager with Garry Birtles, the former England International, Rovers improved their League position yet again in 1995–96 as they ended the season in 5th place and had the bonus of winning the Derbyshire Senior Cup yet again
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
Havant & Waterlooville F.C.
Havant & Waterlooville Football Club is an English football club based in Havant, Hampshire. The club participate in the Isthmian League Premier Division as of the 2016-17 season, the club formed in 1998 after a merger between Havant Town and Waterlooville. Nicknamed The Hawks, they play at West Leigh Park, in 1998 Havant Town and Waterlooville merged to play at Havant Towns West Leigh Park ground. In their first season as a team, Havant & Waterlooville won the Southern League Southern Division under the management of former Crystal Palace. There was also instant success in the FA Cup, a penalty defeat to Hayes was all that denied the Hawks an opportunity to visit league side Mansfield Town in the first round proper. After Billy Gilbert left Havant & Waterlooville, Mick Jenkins and Liam Daish were appointed joint managers in April 2000, Jenkins and Daish guided the Hawks to notable successes in the FA Cup where they reached the first round, the first of four occasions achieved by the club. In 2000–01, Havant & Waterlooville lost 2–1 at home to Southport of the Conference North, the 2002–03 season was also notable for the Hawks FA Trophy run when Havant & Waterlooville giant-killed Forest Green Rovers en route to the semi-final where Hawks lost 2–1 on aggregate to Tamworth. During a 5-year stay in the Southern League Premier Division from 1999-2000 to 2004-05, Havant & Waterloovilles best season came in 2001–02, in the 2003–04 season, the club struggled and this led to Jenkins and Daish being dismissed in January 2004. However, the club recovered and finished 12th in the Southern League Premier Division, Ian Baird took over the part-time managerial post at Havant & Waterlooville in November 2004. Hawks manager Ian Baird claimed that a crisis had forced him to field Taggart in the home game with Weymouth. In the 2006–07 season, the Hawks qualified for the promotion play-offs but were beaten in the semi-final by Braintree Town. The club met a Football League club in a match for the first time in the 2006–07 competition. Baird resigned as manager on 1 October 2007 to become manager of Eastleigh and was replaced by Shaun Gale, in the fourth round, they played Premier League Liverpool at Anfield and caused a sensation by leading twice before eventually losing 5–2. Havant & Waterlooville player Alfie Potter, on loan at the time from Peterborough United, was voted Player of the Round, 2008–09 did, however, see diverting runs in the FA Cup and in the FA Trophy. In 2009–10, Havant & Waterlooville made a run that almost got them to the play-offs. In July 2011, the played a once in a lifetime game against La Liga side Real Betis, losing 7–0. The 2011–12 season was a one for Havant & Waterlooville. Assistant manager Steve Johnson and stadium manager/fitness coach Adrian Aymes were placed in charge on a caretaker basis
Clevedon Town F.C.
Clevedon Town Football Club are an English semi-professional football club based in the village of Kenn outside of Clevedon, Somerset. The club is affiliated to the Somerset County Football Association and is an FA chartered Standard club They are currently members of the Western League Premier Division, Clevedon FC was formed in 1880, making the club one of the oldest clubs in the West Country. They were founder members of the Western League in 1892 although their stay only lasted three seasons, after dropping back into local football they re-joined the Western League in the 1910–11 season. They initially played at Dial Hill, still the home of the cricket club, but they moved to a new site at Old Street in 1895. After the War the club returned to the Western League. However the club became known for their runs in the FA Amateur Cup. This cup success, however, was not matched in the league and Clevedon spent several years in Division 2 before resigning, for financial reasons, the clubs name was later changed to Clevedon Town to reflect their new status. Clevedon joined the ranks in 1974 when Ray Mabbutt, father of future Spurs star Gary Mabbutt became their first paid player. The 1980s also saw the club pick up their first Somerset Premier Cup in the 1986–87 season, the protest was upheld and the tie ordered to be replayed. In their first season at their new home in 1992–93, the gained promotion to the Southern League for the first time. Promotion to the Premier Division followed in 1998 and, although Town were relegated again in 2000–01, in 2006 they reached the first round proper of the FA Cup but went down 4–1 to Football League opposition Chester City. The club at the end of the 2009–10 season suffered relegation, Clevedon Town have a fierce rivalry with neighbours Weston-super-Mare, who are situated in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. However, the rivalry has been put on the back-burner as of late since Weston-super-Mare was promoted to the Southern League Premier Division in 2002–03 after winning promotion at Clevedon Town 1–0, the two have not played in the same league since. Clevedon Town play their games at The Hand Stadium, Davis Lane, the Hand Stadium took its name from the Hand family, successive generations of which were involved in running the club for nearly 100 years. The facility includes a pitch, training facilities, a 300-seater stand, tiered terracing around the whole ground. The complex also includes function/conference facilities as well as Vibe, Clevedons only nightclub, the record attendance of the Hand Stadium is 2,261, when the club played Chester City in a First Round FA Cup tie on 11 November 2006. Note, Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules, players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality. Players that have achieved success in other sports
Margate Football Club, originally called Margate Town, is an English football team based in the seaside resort of Margate, Kent. They currently play in the National League South, the tier of English football. The club was known for a number of years during the 1980s as Thanet United, the club was founded in 1896 and joined the Southern Football League in 1933. The team, nicknamed The Gate, have to date reached the third round proper of Englands premier cup competition, on the second of these occasions they played Tottenham Hotspur, a First Division team and the reigning UEFA Cup holders. This ground became known as the Hall-by-the-Sea Ground, taking its name from a dance hall. After the First World War, Margate joined the Kent League, but in 1923 the league suspended the team due to financial irregularities and the club promptly folded. A year later the reformed, initially under the name Margate Town, and returned to the Kent League, still playing at Dreamland. In 1929 the club reformed again and moved to its present home at Hartsdown Park, around this time Margate signed a Dutch player, a highly unusual move in an era when it was almost unknown for Continental players to move to English clubs. Goalkeeper Gerrit Gerard Keizer, who joined the Kent club from Ajax Amsterdam, from 1934 until 1938 Margate, by now playing in the Southern League, served as the official nursery side for Arsenal. Under this arrangement the London club regularly loaned promising young players to Margate in order for them to gain match experience, star players such as Eddie Hapgood also turned out for Margate whilst regaining match fitness after injuries. After the Second World War the Gate continued to play in the Kent League under new manager Charlie Walker, who led the team to two Kent League championships but was then controversially sacked. The team slumped during a succession of managerial changes which only ended in 1950 when Almer Hall was appointed manager. Under Hall the team won a host of local cup honours and reached the proper of the FA Cup on a number of occasions. In 1959–60 Margate returned to the Southern League after the Kent League folded, two years later the club turned full-time professional but this policy proved financially untenable when the team were relegated back to Division One in 1965–66. Nonetheless, they won promotion at the first attempt and returned to the Premier Division in 1967, during the 1970s Margate endured severe financial problems and a series of mediocre league seasons, but took part in two famous FA Cup ties. In 1971 the Gate lost 11–0 to Bournemouth, with Ted MacDougall scoring a cup record nine goals, then, a year later, Margate beat Swansea City and Walton & Hersham to set up a third round tie against First Division Tottenham Hotspur, then UEFA Cup holders. A record crowd of around 14,500 packed into Hartsdown Park for a match which Margate lost 6–0. The negotiations floundered, however, and Ramsgate ultimately had no involvement in the formation of Thanet United F. C. in 1981, which turned out to be purely a name change for Margate
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