Stoke City F.C.
Stoke City Football Club is a professional football club based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. Founded as Stoke Ramblers in 1863 the club changed its name to Stoke in 1878 and they are the second oldest professional football club in the world, after Notts County, and are one of the founding members of the Football League. Their first, and to date only major trophy, the League Cup was won in 1972, the clubs highest league finish in the top division is 4th, which was achieved in the 1935–36 and 1946–47 seasons. Stoke played in the FA Cup Final in 2011, finishing runners-up to Manchester City and have reached three FA Cup semi-finals, in 1899 then consecutively in 1971 and 1972. Stoke have competed in European football on three occasions, firstly in 1972–73 then in 1974–75 and most recently in 2011–12, the club has won the Football League Trophy twice, in 1992 and in 2000. Stokes home ground is the bet365 Stadium, a 28,116 all-seater stadium, before the stadium was opened in 1997, the club was based at the Victoria Ground, which had been their home ground since 1878. The clubs nickname is The Potters, named after the industry in Stoke-on-Trent and their traditional home kit is a red and white vertically striped shirt, white shorts. Stokes traditional rivals are Midlands clubs West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers whilst their local rivals are Port Vale with whom they contest the Potteries derby, the clubs first documented match was in October 1868, against an EW May XV at the Victoria Cricket Club ground. Henry Almond, the founder, was also captain. During this period they played at the Victoria Cricket Ground, however, in 1878, the club merged with Stoke Victoria Cricket Club, and became Stoke Football Club. They moved from their previous ground, Sweetings Field, to the Athletic Club ground and it was around this time that the club adopted their traditional red-and-white striped kit. In August 1885, the club turned professional, Stoke were one of the twelve founding members of the Football League when it was introduced in 1888. The club struggled in their first two seasons, 1888–89 and 1889–90, finishing bottom on both occasions, in 1890 Stoke failed to be re-elected and joined the Football Alliance, which they won and thus were re-elected to the Football League. Stoke spent the next 15 seasons in the First Division and reached the FA Cup Semi-Final in the 1898–99 season before being relegated in 1907, Stoke went bankrupt and entered non-league football until 1914, when the First World War meant the Football League was suspended for four years. During the wartime period, Stoke entered the Lancashire Primary and Secondary leagues, when football recommenced in August 1919, Stoke re-joined the league. The club became owners of the Victoria Ground in 1919 and this was followed by the construction of the Butler Street stand, which increased the overall capacity of the ground to 50,000. In 1925, Stoke-on-Trent was granted city status and this led the club to change its name to Stoke City F. C, the 1930s saw the debut of clubs most celebrated player, Stanley Matthews. Matthews, who grew up in Hanley, was an apprentice at the club and made his first appearance in March 1932, against Bury, by end of the decade, Matthews had established himself as an England international and as one of the best footballers of his generation
Johannes Johan/Jan Boskamp is a retired Dutch footballer and manager. He played the majority of his career for hometown club Feyenoord and Belgian side RWDM, currently he is a regular sports commentator on two Dutch and Belgian football television programs. He is commonly addressed as Jan in the Netherlands and Johan in Belgium and his former clubs as a player include RVV HOV, Feyenoord Rotterdam, Holland Sport, R. W. D. Boskamp was furthermore voted Belgian Golden Shoe winner in 1975 and he was part of the Dutch team for the 1978 FIFA World Cup, making one substitute appearance against Scotland. Later Boskamp became a manager and coached Belgian clubs Lierse, Dender, Beveren, Kortrijk, Anderlecht and he then moved to Georgia in 1999 to manage Dinamo Tbilisi and also the Georgia national team. After a return to Belgium with Genk he moved to the Middle East and managed United Arab Emirates side Al Wasl and he became manager of English side Stoke City for the 2005–06 season. Stokes Icelandic board wanted the club to start mounting an attempt at gaining promotion to the Premier League. He also broke the record transfer fee with a £950,000 signing of Standard Liège striker Sambégou Bangoura. However results were poor and after a number of heavy home defeats to Watford, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Cardiff City. Bangoura then went on a run of form scoring seven goals in six matches as Stoke won six matches in November and December to give them a platform to build on going into the new year. But in one of those wins away at Coventry City Boskamp and his assistant Jan de Koning, Stoke began 2006 in terrible form winning just one match in ten and scoring a mere six goals in that time. Coates then re-appointed Tony Pulis as manager who had spent the season with Plymouth Argyle and he was then briefly manager at Standard Liège in 2006. In November 2007 he became coach of another Belgian club, FCV Dender EH, on 19 May 2009 he quit Dender after an argument with his coaching assistant Patrick Asselman, who has been named new coach. In June 2009, Boskamp signed with SK Beveren but was sacked in December 2009 after poor results. com Welfussball profile Soccerbase managerial profile Just who is Johan Boskamp
The bet365 Stadium is an all-seater football stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England and the home of Premier League club Stoke City. The stadium was called the Britannia Stadium but was renamed on 1 June 2016 when the club entered into a new stadium-naming rights agreement with its parent company. It has space for 27,902 spectators with expansions plans announced by the club, the stadium was built in 1997 at a cost of £14.7 million as a replacement for the Victoria Ground. The highest attendance recorded at the stadium was 28,218 for the fixture against Everton in their FA Cup 3rd Round tie in 2002. Former player Sir Stanley Matthews ashes were buried beneath the circle of the pitch following his death in February 2000. In European competitions it is known as the Stoke Stadium due to UEFA regulations on sponsorship, the all-seater stadium cost nearly £15 million to build and brought the club up to standards with the Taylor Report of January 1990 to end 119 years at the Victoria Ground. Relocation had been considered by 1994 and by early 1996 the decision to build a new stadium had been confirmed, by early 1997, the skeletal steel superstructure was in place and the stadium began to take shape. Another £3 million was given as a grant by the Football Trust, the stadium was officially opened made by club legend Sir Stanley Matthews, then aged 82. After he died in February 2000, his ashes were buried beneath the centre circle. The first season at the new ground was a bad one as Stoke were relegated from Division One, four seasons of third tier football followed with Gunnar Gíslason taking control of the club in November 1999. The name of the ground was changed to the bet365 Stadium in June 2016, in total, the stadium cost £14. 7million and took around ten months to construct on the former site of Stafford No.2 Colliery, which had been closed in 1969. Building work began in late autumn 1996 and was completed in August 1997, the all-seater stadium can hold 28,384 supporters in four cantilever stands. The main West stand consists of two tiers of seating which house 7,357 spectators, plus all of the stadiums corporate, the L-shaped Boothen and East stands hold 6,006 and 8,789 people respectively. The South Stand, which is used by home and away supporters can hold 4,996 people but is unlikely to reach capacity due to spectator segregation. The clubs dressing rooms, offices, boardroom, ticket office, in 2006, work took place on the A50 to allow direct access to the stadium from the eastbound direction, involving building a bridge across the road. It is close to the Sideway junction with the A500, at the start of the 2010–11 season, the stadium was accessible via a new underpass under Stanley Matthews Way, to reduce traffic problems with exiting the area back onto the A50. In the middle of 2009, surveyors were asked to investigate the feasibility of filling in one, filling in a corner of the ground would cost approximately £3 million, increasing capacity by around 3,000 seats and taking the total capacity to over 30,000. In November 2009, chairman Peter Coates said that a decision on expansion would be made at the end of the season and was dependent on the clubs Premier League survival
Paul Gallagher (footballer)
Paul Gallagher is a Scottish professional footballer who plays as a forward for Preston North End. Born in Glasgow, he has played in the Premier League for Blackburn Rovers, and he has been capped once by the Scotland national team. Gallagher made his performance as a substitute in a 2–0 win over the 2001–02 Premier League champions Arsenal on 15 March 2003. He scored his first goal in a 4–0 win over Birmingham City in the 2003–04 season, on 21 February 2004, in an away game against Charlton Athletic, Gallagher assisted goalkeeper Brad Friedel to his only career goal from open play in the 90th minute. Friedels goal equalised the game at 2–2, but seconds later Charlton scored again through Claus Jensen and he spent almost all of the 2005–06 season on loan to Stoke City. He played most of his 36 games on the left or right wing, scoring 12 goals. Against Southampton on 15 April 2006, he exchanged a one-two on the edge of the area with Adam Rooney before drilling home a thunderous thirty yard drive into the far top corner of the net. On transfer deadline day 31 August 2007, Gallagher signed a 6-month loan deal with Championship side Preston North End and he scored once during his spell at Preston, scoring the winner in a 1–0 win over Sheffield Wednesday. The following January, he moved from Blackburn back to Stoke City on loan again until summer of 2008, then-manager Tony Pulis however, was not impressed with Gallagher, remarking he hasnt done as well as the other players. On 30 August 2008, Gallagher signed on loan for the rest of the 2008–09 season with Plymouth Argyle, making his debut that day at Turf Moor against Blackburns fierce local rivals. Although Blackburn Rovers appointed Sam Allardyce as their new manager in December 2008 and he was a huge impact for the club, scoring 13 goals in 40 league games. Gallagher was hopeful that he would secure a permanent deal with Plymouth after resigning himself to the fact that he was not wanted at Blackburn, seeing his return to Blackburn as a fresh start, Gallagher was informed by Sam Allardyce he could yet have a future at the club. On 21 August 2009, Gallagher signed a deal with Leicester City for an undisclosed fee. Handed the number 24 shirt, Gallagher was delighted to be here and he scored his first two goals for Leicester in a 2–0 win over Crystal Palace on 20 October 2009, coming on as a half-time substitute for Lloyd Dyer. Gallagher failed to score for 17 games before bagging a hat-trick, leaving the field to a standing ovation 7 minutes from the final whistle, it was his first ever professional hat-trick. On 27 February, Gallagher scored from a free-kick in a 3–0 win over Nottingham Forest and his fine form earned him the Championship Player of the Month award for February. He signed an extension with the club on 15 March 2011. Gallagher scored two goals in Leicesters 3–0 win over Crystal Palace at the King Power Stadium on 20 November 2011, in September 2012, Gallagher joined Sheffield United on a month-long loan
Leeds United F.C.
Leeds United Football Club is a professional association football club in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. The club was formed in 1919 following the disbanding of Leeds City F. C. by the Football League and they play in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. Leeds United have won three First Division league titles, one FA Cup and one League Cup, the club has also won two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups. The majority of the honours were won under the management of Don Revie in the 1960s and 1970s, Leeds lost the 1975 European Cup Final against Bayern Munich and reached the semi-finals of the tournaments successor, the Champions League, in 2001. Leeds play in all-white kits, leading to their nickname being the whites, the clubs badge features the White Rose of York together with the monogram LUFC. The clubs anthem is Marching On Together, Leeds Uniteds predecessor team, Leeds City, was formed in 1904, and were elected League members in 1905. At first they found it hard to draw big crowds to Elland Road, in 1919, Leeds United was formed and they received an invitation to enter the Midland League, being voted into it on 31 October, taking the place vacated by Leeds City Reserves. Following Leeds Citys disbanding, Yorkshire Amateurs bought their stadium Elland Road, Yorkshire Amateurs offered to make way for the new team under the management of former player Dick Ray. The chairman of Huddersfield Town, Hilton Crowther loaned Leeds United £35,000 and he brought in Barnsleys manager Arthur Fairclough and on 26 February 1920, Dick Ray stepped down to become Faircloughs assistant. On 31 May 1920, Leeds United were elected to the Football League, over the following few years, they consolidated their position in the Second Division and in 1924 won the title and with it promotion to the First Division. They failed to establish themselves and were relegated in 1926–27, after their relegation, Fairclough resigned, which paved the way for Ray to return as manager. In the years up until the start of World War II Leeds were twice relegated, on 5 March 1935, Ray resigned and was replaced by Billy Hampson, who remained in charge for 12 years. In the 1946–47 season after the war, Leeds were relegated again, after this season, Hampson resigned and was replaced in April 1947 by Willis Edwards. In 1948, Sam Bolton replaced Ernest Pullan as the chairman of Leeds United, Edwards was moved to assistant manager in April 1948 after just one year as manager. He was replaced by Major Frank Buckley, Leeds remained in the Second Division until 1955–56, when they once again won promotion to the First Division, inspired by John Charles. Charles was hungry for success at the highest level, and manager Raich Carter was unable to convince him that Leeds could satisfy his ambitions, Charles was sold to Juventus for a then world record of £65,000. The loss of Charles resulted in Leeds being relegated to the Second Division in the 1959–60 season, in March 1961, the club appointed former player Don Revie as manager, following the resignation of Jack Taylor. His stewardship began in adverse circumstances, the club was in financial difficulty, Revie implemented a youth policy and a change of kit colour to an all-white strip in the style of Real Madrid, and Leeds soon won promotion to the First Division in 1963–64
Crystal Palace F.C.
Crystal Palace Football Club is a professional football club based in South Norwood, London, that plays in the Premier League, the top tier of English football. The club was founded in 1905 at the famous Crystal Palace Exhibition building by the owners of the FA Cup Final stadium which was situated inside the historic Palace grounds. The club played their games at the Cup Final venue until 1915, but then the First World War forced them to move out and play at Herne Hill Velodrome. In 1924, the moved to their current home at Selhurst Park. Palace have been FA Cup finalists twice, in 1990 and 2016, the club were denied a place in Europe at the end of that season due to the partial UEFA ban on English clubs caused by the Heysel Stadium disaster. Palace were one of the founding members of the Premier League. The club were winners of the Full Members Cup in 1991 when they beat Everton in the Wembley final, Palace have been second tier champions twice and hold the record for the most play-off wins for promotion to the top flight, winning the final four times. In 1973, the changed its original nickname from The Glaziers to The Eagles. The club had played in claret and blue colours. Palace have rivalries with Brighton & Hove Albion, with whom they contest the M23 derby, in 1895, the Football Association had found a new permanent home for the FA Cup Final at the site of the famous Crystal Palace Exhibition building. There had been an amateur Crystal Palace team as early as 1861, the owners of the venue wanted a professional club to play there and tap into the vast crowd potential of the area. Crystal Palace Football Club, originally nicknamed The Glaziers, was formed on 10 September 1905 under the guidance of Aston Villa assistant secretary Edmund Goodman, the club applied to enter the Football League alongside Chelsea and Southampton, but was the only unsuccessful team of the three. The club instead found itself in the Southern League Second Division for the 1905–06 season, the club was successful in its inaugural season and was promoted to the First Division, crowned as champions. Palace remained in the Southern League up until 1914, their one highlight the 1907 shock First Round victory over Newcastle United in the FA Cup. The outbreak of the First World War led to the Admiralty requisitioning the Crystal Palace, Three years later the club moved again to the Nest due to the folding of Croydon Common F. C. The club joined the Football League Third Division in the 1920–21 season, finishing as champions, during this period, Palace also won the London Challenge Cup three times in 1913,1914, and 1921. Palace moved to the purpose-built stadium Selhurst Park in 1924, the ground the club plays at today, the opening fixture at Selhurst Park was against Sheffield Wednesday, Palace losing 0–1 in front of a crowd of 25,000. Finishing in twenty-first position, the club was relegated to the Third Division South, before the Second World War Palace made good efforts at promotion, never finishing outside the top half of the table and finishing second on three occasions
Kit (association football)
In association football, kit is the standard equipment and attire worn by players. The sports Laws of the Game specify the minimum kit which a player must use, footballers generally wear identifying numbers on the backs of their shirts. Professional clubs also usually display players surnames or nicknames on their shirts, Football kit has evolved significantly since the early days of the sport when players typically wore thick cotton shirts, knickerbockers and heavy rigid leather boots. The Laws of the Game set out the equipment which must be worn by all players in Law 4. Five separate items are specified, shirt, shorts, socks, footwear, goalkeepers are allowed to wear tracksuit bottoms instead of shorts. While most players wear studded football boots, the Laws do not specify that these are required, shirts must have sleeves, and goalkeepers must wear shirts which are easily distinguishable from all other players and the match officials. Thermal undershorts may be worn, but must be the colour as the shorts themselves. Shin pads must be covered entirely by the stockings, be made of rubber, plastic or a similar material, and provide a reasonable degree of protection. The only other restriction on equipment defined in the Laws of the Game is the requirement that a player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player. In the event of a match between teams who would wear identical or similar colours the away team must change to a different colour. The England national team plays in red shirts even when it is not required. Many professional clubs also have a kit, ostensibly to be used if both their first-choice and away colours are deemed too similar to those of an opponent. Most professional clubs have retained the basic colour scheme for several decades. Teams representing countries in international competition generally wear national colours in common with other sporting teams of the same nation, shirts are normally made of a polyester mesh, which does not trap the sweat and body heat in the same way as a shirt made of a natural fibre. Depending on local rules, there may be restrictions on how large these logos may be or on what logos may be displayed, competitions such as the Premier League may also require players to wear patches on their sleeves depicting the logo of the competition. The captain of team is usually required to wear an elasticated armband around the left sleeve to identify him as the captain to the referee. Most current players wear specialist football boots, which can be either of leather or a synthetic material. Modern boots are cut slightly below the ankles, as opposed to the high-ankled boots used in former times, studs may be either moulded directly to the sole or be detachable, normally by means of a screw thread
English Football League
The English Football League is a league competition featuring professional football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888 as the Football League, the league is the oldest such competition in world football and it was the top-level football league in England from its foundation in the 19th century until 1992, when the top 22 clubs split away to form the Premier League. The league has 72 clubs evenly divided into three divisions, which are known as the Championship, League One and League Two, with 24 clubs in each division, the Football League has been associated with a title sponsor between 1983 and 2016. As this sponsor changed over the years the league too has been known by various names, the English Football League is also the name of the governing body of the league competition, and this body also organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The operations centre of the Football League is in Preston, while its commercial office is in London, the commercial office was formerly based in Lytham St Annes, after its original spell in Preston. The Football League consists of 70 professional association football clubs in England and 2 in Wales and it runs the oldest professional football league competition in the world. It also organises two knockout cup competitions, the Football League Cup and Football League Trophy, the Football League was founded in 1888 by then Aston Villa director William McGregor, originally with 12 member clubs. Steady growth and the addition of more divisions meant that by 1950 the League had 92 clubs, the Football League therefore no longer includes the top 20 clubs who belong to this group, although promotion and relegation between the Football League and the Premier League continues. In total,136 teams have played in the Football League up to 2013, the Football Leagues 72 member clubs are grouped into three divisions, the Football League Championship, Football League One, and Football League Two. Each division has 24 clubs, and in any season a club plays each of the others in the same division twice, once at their home stadium. This makes for a total of 46 games played each season, clubs gain three points for a win, one for a draw, and none for a defeat. At the end of the season, clubs at the top of their division may win promotion to the higher division. At the top end of the competition, three Championship clubs win promotion from the Football League to the Premier League, with the bottom three Premier League clubs taking their places, reserve teams of Football League clubs usually play in the Central League or the Football Combination. Since the 2004–05 season, penalties have existed for clubs entering financial administration during the season and it is also required that a club exiting administration agree a Creditors Voluntary Agreement, and pay in full any other footballing creditors. Failure to do either of these result in a second. The other main situation in which is a club may lose points is by fielding an improperly registered or otherwise ineligible player. If a club is found to have done this, then any points earned from any match that player participated in will be deducted, the EFL organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The EFL Cup was established in 1960 and is open to all EFL and Premier League clubs, the EFL Trophy is for clubs belonging to EFL League One and EFL League Two
English football league system
There are more than 140 individual leagues, containing more than 480 divisions. As there are no definitions of any level below 11, any references to the structure at level 12. The pyramid for womens football in England runs separately to nine tiers, the Football League was created in 1888 by Aston Villa director William McGregor. It was dominated by clubs who had supported professionalism. The twelve founding members consisted of six from Lancashire and six from the Midlands, no sides from the South including London initially participated. The system consists of a pyramid of leagues, bound together by the principle of promotion and relegation. A certain number of the most successful clubs in each league can rise to a higher league, in addition to sporting performance, promotion is usually contingent on meeting criteria set by the higher league, especially concerning appropriate facilities and finances. In theory it is possible for a local amateur club to rise to the pinnacle of the English game and become champions of the Premier League. While this may be unlikely in practice, there certainly is significant movement within the pyramid, the top five levels contain one division each and are nationwide in scope. Below this, the levels have progressively more leagues, with each covering progressively smaller geographic areas. Many leagues have more than one division, at the lower levels the existence of leagues becomes intermittent, although in some of the more densely populated areas there are leagues more than twenty layers below the Premier League. Clubs from these leagues may, if they feel they meet the standard of play and have suitable facilities. The seven levels immediately below the Premier League and English Football League are known as the National League System, in May 2014 The Football Association announced provisional plans for a new division between the English Football League and the National League which would include B teams of higher level clubs. The English football league system does not include the version of the game often called Sunday league football. These leagues are independent entities with no promotion or relegation involving the football pyramid, however, some Sunday League clubs have been known to join pyramid leagues if they desire to progress higher. There are also some Saturday leagues such as the Lincolnshire League which are not officially part of the pyramid, at the top is the single division of the Premier League, containing 20 clubs, all of which, up to the 2010–11 season, were based in England. Below the Premier League is the English Football League, which is divided into three divisions of 24 clubs each, The Championship, League One and League Two, the 92 clubs in the Premier League and English Football League are all full-time professional clubs. They are often referred to as League clubs because, before the establishment of the Premier League in 1992, clubs outside this group are referred to as non-League clubs, although they too play most of their football in league-type competitions
The English Football League Championship is the highest division of the English Football League and second-highest overall in the English football league system, after the Premier League. Each year, the top finishing teams in the Championship are promoted to the Premier League, the Football League Championship, which was introduced for the 2004–05 season, was previously known as the Football League First Division, and before that was known as Division Two. The winners of the Championship receive the Football League Championship trophy, the Championship is the wealthiest non-top flight football division in the world and the seventh richest division in Europe. With an average attendance for the 2015-16 season of 17,578. Bundesliga as the secondary league in the world. In the 2015–16 season, Burnley were the champions, Middlesbrough were the runners up. At present, Ipswich Town hold the longest tenure in the Championship, the total figures were aided somewhat by the presence of 24 clubs, compared to 20 clubs in both Serie A and Ligue 1, and 18 in the Bundesliga. A major factor to the success comes from television revenue. On 30 September 2009, Coca-Cola announced they would end their deal with The Football League at the end of the 2009–10 season. On 18 July 2013, UK bookmaker Sky Bet announced that signed a 5-year agreement to sponsor the league. Three points are awarded for a win, one for a draw, the teams are ranked in the league table by points gained, then goal difference, then goals scored and then their head-to-head record for that season. At the end of the season, the top two teams and the winner of the Championship play-offs are promoted to the Premier League and the three teams are relegated to Football League One. The Football League Championship play-offs is a competition for the teams finishing the season in third to sixth place with the winner being promoted to the Premier League. In the play-offs, the team plays against the sixth-placed team. The winners of each semi-final then compete in a match with the prize being promotion to the Premier League. From 2009 to 2012, Sky Sports had the rights to broadcast 65 live matches, the BBC had the rights to show 10 first choice live games for the regular season as well as the rights to show a highlight show. The deal is on a contract and is worth £264m that will mostly be paid by Sky. The deal included 75 live league games, all the matches,15 League Cup ties
Anthony Richard Tony Pulis is a Welsh football manager and former footballer who is the head coach of West Bromwich Albion. Pulis obtained his FA coaching badge at age 19, followed by his UEFA A licence aged 21 – making him one of the youngest professional players ever to have obtained the qualification and his son, Anthony, was a professional footballer and played at Stoke. Pulis had a 17-year career as a defender where he played for Bristol Rovers, Newport County, AFC Bournemouth and he also had a short spell in Hong Kong with Happy Valley. Pulis took his first steps into management at AFC Bournemouth, where he was a player/coach and he then took control when Redknapp left the club. He then went on to Gillingham before leaving in 1999 after a dispute with chairman Paul Scally, Pulis then had unsuccessful spells at Bristol City and Portsmouth before being appointed manager of Stoke City in 2002. He guided Stoke through a tough 2002–03 season avoiding relegation to the Second Division on the day of the season. He spent two seasons with Stoke before being sacked by Stokes Icelandic board for failing to exploit the foreign market. He spent the 2005–06 season at Plymouth Argyle before returning to Stoke along with Peter Coates, after narrowly missing out on a play-off spot in the 2006–07 season he guided Stoke to the Premier League in the 2007–08 season by finishing runners-up in the Championship. With Stoke amongst the favourites for relegation upon their return to the top flight after a 23-year absence, Stoke went on to comfortably survive, Pulis made history during the 2010–11 season as he guided Stoke to their first FA Cup Final after beating Bolton Wanderers 5–0 in the semi-final. The Potters, however, lost the final 1–0 to Manchester City, in the UEFA Europa League, Stoke were drawn against Croatian side Hajduk Split and after two legs ran out 2–0 winners. After beating Swiss club Thun, Stoke were handed a tough group containing Beşiktaş, Dynamo Kyiv and Maccabi Tel Aviv which Stoke managed to progress through, finishing in second position. Citys reward was a tie against Spanish giants Valencia, but despite putting up a spirited second-leg performance, the 2012–13 season saw Stoke make little progress and Pulis left the club by mutual consent on 21 May 2013. Pulis returned to management on 23 November 2013 joining Crystal Palace on a two-and-a-half-year contract and he guided Palace away from relegation, to their highest Premier League finish of 11th in 2013–14, which earned him the Premier League Manager of the Season award. He left the club, however, shortly before the start of the subsequent season and he joined West Brom in January 2015. Pulis began his career at Bristol Rovers where he joined their school of excellence in Eastville from Newport YMCA. Pulis cites his time at Eastville as an excellent grounding with his Rovers team mate, the basic principles were drilled into us, both on and off the pitch. Nothing was given to us and we had to very, very hard for everything we got. Pulis made 85 league appearances for the Pirates before leaving to join Hong Kong club Happy Valley AA in 1981 and he returned to Rovers the following year and made a further 45 league appearances before moving to his home town club Newport County in 1984
The Netherlands, also informally known as Holland is the main constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is a densely populated country located in Western Europe with three territories in the Caribbean. The European part of the Netherlands borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, sharing borders with Belgium, the United Kingdom. The three largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, Amsterdam is the countrys capital, while The Hague holds the Dutch seat of parliament and government. The port of Rotterdam is the worlds largest port outside East-Asia, the name Holland is used informally to refer to the whole of the country of the Netherlands. Netherlands literally means lower countries, influenced by its low land and flat geography, most of the areas below sea level are artificial. Since the late 16th century, large areas have been reclaimed from the sea and lakes, with a population density of 412 people per km2 –507 if water is excluded – the Netherlands is classified as a very densely populated country. Only Bangladesh, South Korea, and Taiwan have both a population and higher population density. Nevertheless, the Netherlands is the worlds second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products and this is partly due to the fertility of the soil and the mild climate. In 2001, it became the worlds first country to legalise same-sex marriage, the Netherlands is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G-10, NATO, OECD and WTO, as well as being a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union. The first four are situated in The Hague, as is the EUs criminal intelligence agency Europol and this has led to the city being dubbed the worlds legal capital. The country also ranks second highest in the worlds 2016 Press Freedom Index, the Netherlands has a market-based mixed economy, ranking 17th of 177 countries according to the Index of Economic Freedom. It had the thirteenth-highest per capita income in the world in 2013 according to the International Monetary Fund, in 2013, the United Nations World Happiness Report ranked the Netherlands as the seventh-happiest country in the world, reflecting its high quality of life. The Netherlands also ranks joint second highest in the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, the region called Low Countries and the country of the Netherlands have the same toponymy. Place names with Neder, Nieder, Nether and Nedre and Bas or Inferior are in use in all over Europe. They are sometimes used in a relation to a higher ground that consecutively is indicated as Upper, Boven, Oben. In the case of the Low Countries / the Netherlands the geographical location of the region has been more or less downstream. The geographical location of the region, however, changed over time tremendously
Belgian First Division A
The Belgian First Division A is the top league competition for association football clubs in Belgium. Following the 2015–16 season it was renamed from the Belgian Pro League, contested by 16 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Belgian First Division B. Seasons run from late July to early May, with teams playing 30 matches each in the regular season, play-offs 1 are contested by the top 6 clubs in the regular season, with each club playing each other twice. Play-offs 2 are contested by teams ranked 7 to 15 in the regular season, the team finishing in 16th place is relegated. As of 2014 the league was sponsored by AB InBev, brewers of Jupiler beer, and officially known as Jupiler Pro League, the competition was created in 1895 by the Royal Belgian Football Association and was first won by FC Liégeois. Of the 74 clubs to have competed in the first division since its creation,15 have been crowned champions of Belgium, RSC Anderlecht is the most successful league club with 33 titles, followed by Club Brugge KV, Union Saint-Gilloise and Standard Liège. It is currently ranked 10th in the UEFA rankings of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the last five-years. The competition was ranked 3rd when the UEFA first published their ranking in 1979 and also the year in 1980. FC Liégeois became the first champion of Belgium, the first 8 titles in Belgian football were all won by FC Liégeois or RC de Bruxelles. There was no promotion and relegation system at the time but the last two clubs of the league withdrew and a new club entered the competition, during the 1896–97 season, SC de Bruxelles withdrew so the 1897–98 season was played among 5 clubs only. In the seasons 1898–99 and 1899–1900, the association introduced a new format with two leagues at the top level and then a final game in two legs. The format though changed back to one league with 9 clubs in 1900–01, in 1904–05 the championship was organised with one league of 11 teams. In 1906–07, Union Saint-Gilloise won their 4th consecutive title as RC de Bruxelles had from 1899–1900 to 1902–03, both clubs claimed the next 3 titles before CS Brugeois won their first title, finishing one point ahead their rival of FC Brugeois. As World War I approached, Daring Club de Bruxelles confirmed its status of challenger, even winning the title in 1911–12, only Union Saint-Gilloise could face them in that period, winning the 1912–13 championship with a better goal difference. Since 1911–12, two clubs are relegated each year to the Promotion and two clubs from the Promotion are promoted, during World War I, the football championship was suspended. It resumed in 1919–20 with FC Brugeois claiming their first title after 5-second places, among which were 2 lost final games, the challengers at the time were CS Brugeois, Union Saint-Gilloise, Daring Club de Bruxelles and Standard Club Liégeois. Starting 25 December 1932, Union Saint-Gilloise had a record 60 games unbeaten run in the championship, winning the 1932–33, 1933–34, the rival of Union during this period was Daring Club de Bruxelles. They claimed the two championships
Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht, usually known as Anderlecht or RSCA, is a Belgian professional football club based in Anderlecht, Brussels Capital-Region. They have also won nine Belgian Cups and hold the record for most consecutive Belgian championship titles, founded in 1908, the club first reached the highest level in Belgian football in 1921–22 and have been playing in the first division continuously since 1935–36. They won their first major trophy after World War II with a win in 1946–47. Since then, they have never finished outside the top six of the Belgian first division and they are ranked 12th amongst all-time UEFA club competition winners, tenth in the IFFHS continental Clubs of the 20th Century European ranking and were 41st in the 2012 UEFA team rankings. In 1986, they achieved their best UEFA ranking with a joint first place with Juventus Anderlecht have been playing their matches in the Astrid Park in the municipality of Anderlecht since 1917. Their current stadium, Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, was first opened in 1983 and they play in purple and white outfits. They have long-standing rivalries with Club Brugge and Standard Liège and previously with FC Brussels, founded as Sporting Club Anderlechtois on 27 May 1908 by a dozen football lovers at the Concordia café, the club beat Institut Saint-Georges in their first match by 11–8. They joined the competition in 1909–10, starting at the lowest level in the Belgian football league system. In 1912–13, they gained promotion to the level of football. After only one season at level, the championships were suspended due to World War I. With the popularity of the increasing, Anderlecht had moved to a new stadium in the Astrid Park in 1917. They baptized the stadium Stade Emile Versé in honor of the clubs first major patron, at the end of the 1920–21 season, Anderlecht were promoted to the first division for the first time in their history. In 1933,25 years after their formation, the changed their name to Royal Sporting Club Anderlechtois. Since their promotion in 1935, Anderlecht has remained at the top level of football, with Jef Mermans, a striker signed from K Tubantia FC in 1942 for a record fee of 125,000 Belgian francs, Anderlecht won their first league title in 1947. Their success increased in the years as they won six more titles between 1949–50 and 1955–56 and two more in 1958–59 and 1961–62. In the 1960s, under the coaching of Pierre Sinibaldi and then of Andreas Beres, the club won five titles in a row. The star of this team was Paul Van Himst, Anderlecht played in the first European Champion Clubs Cup in 1955–56, and lost both legs of their tie against Vörös Lobogo. They had to wait until the 1962–63 season to win their first European tie, with a 1–0 victory over Real Madrid, for the first time, they advanced to the second round, where they beat CSKA Sofia before losing to Dundee in the quarter-finals
Carl Hoefkens is a Belgian footballer who plays as a defender for Gibraltar Premier Division side Manchester 62, and formerly the Belgium national football team. Born in Lier, Belgium, Hoefkens started his career at K. Lierse S. K. and he made his breakthrough with Lierse in first class and won the Belgian Cup in 1999, beating Standard Liège in the final with 3–1. Afterwards, he made a move to Lommel but his move turned into a nightmare, in the summer of 2003, he came to Germinal Beerschot, the first class team of the Belgian city of Antwerp. There, he one of the pillars of the team. In his second season at Germinal Beerschot, he won the cup in the final against FC Bruges, Hoefkens is still appreciated by Beerschot fans, a group of fans from the club have travelled to England on numerous occasions to watch him play. In the summer of 2005 Stoke City manager, Johan Boskamp snapped him up for an undisclosed fee and he made his debut for the club in a 0–0 draw against Sheffield Wednesday on 6 August 2005. Hoefkens became an ever-present in the Stoke line-up and wore the number 2 shirt, Hoefkens received acclaim for his performances in his first season in English football. He became a favourite at Stoke and was crowned Fans Player of the year. He then won his 9th cap for his country against Kazakhstan, during the January 2007 transfer window he was linked with a return to Belgium, with Club Brugge reportedly interested in him. He was also penalty taker for Stoke before the arrival of Danny Higginbotham, Hoefkens impressed both manager and fans alike with his technical ability during the 2006–07 season. He was also praised for his versatility, as he operated as a winger or a midfielder on occasions in the latter stages of the season. It was feared that Hoefkens had broken a bone in his foot in a Euro 2008 qualifier against Portugal however a scan revealed that there was no damage, Stoke accepted a bid for Hoefkens from West Bromwich Albion on 4 August 2007. He joined Albion on 7 August 2007 in a £750,000 deal and was offered a two-year contract plus a further one-year as an option, Hoefkens made his Albion debut in a 2–1 defeat away at Burnley on the opening day of the 2007–08 season. One week later, Hoefkens was named in the Championship Team of the Week and he is known by his West Brom team mates as Wolverine, due to his resemblance to the comic book hero from the X-Men. Hoefkens was released in the summer of 2009, on 25 August 2009 Club Brugge signed the former West Bromwich Albions Belgian right-back on a two-year deal. He became captain in the season 2010–11, after the season ended, he signed for an extra year with the club. After 4 years and 127 appearances for the club, Hoefkens moved to Lierse in 2013 and he signed undisclosed semi-professional terms for the side and will aid in the development of David Ochellos young side, making his debut on September 26 in a 1-0 victory over Glacis United. Hoefkens has played for his country twenty two times and has scored one goal and he also represented Belgium in the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship
Luke Harry Chadwick is an English former professional footballer who last played for Soham Town Rangers as a midfielder. He now works as a coach in the Cambridge United academy, Chadwick began his career at Manchester United where he made 25 Premier League appearances in four seasons. While at Old Trafford he spent time out on loan at Reading and he spent a season with the Hammers before joining Stoke City on loan in August 2005 before making the move permanent in January 2006. He remained at Stoke until November 2006 making 55 appearances before joining Norwich City, injuries restricted his time at Carrow Road and he moved to Milton Keynes Dons in October 2008. In March 2014, Chadwick joined Cambridge United, the club he supported as a child and he was released at the end of the 2014/15 season. He scored two goals for Manchester United, one against Bradford in January 2001 and the other against Leeds in March 2001. Chadwick joined West Ham United on a transfer at the beginning of the 2004–05 season. In his season at West Ham he scored once in the league, Chadwick joined Stoke City on loan at the start of the 2005–06 season. He made his Stoke City debut against Sheffield Wednesday on 6 August 2005, chadwicks impressive performances lead to a permanent deal in January 2006 with Stoke paying £100,000 for his services. Chadwicks subsequent performances earned him many fans at Stoke City, chadwicks goal in the F. A Cup Fourth Round against Walsall was voted goal of the round in 2006. The following season did not start off well for Chadwick as in the opening match of the season against Southend United. It was later revealed that he was only dehydrated, on 27 June 2006, Norwich City manager Nigel Worthington confirmed that he was interested in signing Chadwick from Stoke, but Stoke City rejected Norwichs approach for the player. On 13 November 2006, Worthingtons replacement, Peter Grant, signed Chadwick, initially on loan, the proposed fee was £220,000, with an additional £100,000 if Chadwick helps the Canaries gain promotion. Chadwick immediately made an impact at Carrow Road by scoring on his debut against arch rivals Ipswich Town and he was injured in the latter stages of that game, and the injury kept him out for most of the remainder of the season. On 3 January 2007 Chadwick signed a 2 and a deal for Norwich City. His injury problems, however, continued into the season as he struggled for fitness. On 4 October 2008, Chadwick made his Milton Keynes Dons debut in their 4–0 defeat of Millwall after joining the League One club on an initial loan from Norwich City on 1 October 2008. On 18 October 2008, Chadwick scored his first goal for the club and he then scored a brace for the Dons in the 2–1 away victory over Leyton Orient
Sheffield Wednesday F.C.
Sheffield Wednesday Football Club is a professional association football club based in Sheffield, England. The team competes in the Championship, the tier of the English football league system. Formed as an offshoot of The Wednesday Cricket Club in 1867, in 1868 they won the Cromwell Cup, only the second tournament of its kind, and in 1877 they won the inaugural Sheffield Challenge Cup, the oldest county cup in England. They were founding members and inaugural champions of the Football Alliance in 1889, in 1992 they became founder members of the Premier League. The club has spent most of its history in English footballs top flight. The Owls, as they are nicknamed, have won four league titles, Wednesday have also competed in UEFA cup competitions on four occasions, reaching the quarter-finals of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1963. Since 1899 the club has played its matches at Hillsborough stadium. Although no contemporary evidence has found to support the claim. Nevertheless, an 1842 article in Bells Life magazine states the club was founded as far back as 1816, the club was so named because it was on Wednesdays that the founding members had their day off work. They were initially based at the New Ground in Darnall, and often went by the name of Darnall Wednesday, in 1855 they were one of six clubs that helped build Bramall Lane, and held a wicket there for many years. The proposal proved very popular, with over 60 members signing up for the new team on the first night and they played their first match against The Mechanics on 19 October the same year, winning by three goals and four rouges to nil. On 1 February 1868, Wednesday played their first competitive match as they entered the Cromwell Cup. A week after their semi-final, they went on to win the cup, beating the Garrick club in the final after extra time, a key figure during the formative years of the football club was Charles Clegg, who joined the Wednesday in 1867. His relationship with the club lasted for the rest of his life and he also became president and chairman of the Football Association, and was known as the Napoleon of Football. In 1876 Wednesday acquired Scot James Lang, although he was not employed by the club, he was given a job by a member of the Sheffield Wednesday board that had no formal duties. He is now acknowledged as the first professional player in England. With Lang in their team the club became one of the strongest in the region. In 1880 the club entered the FA Cup for the first time, but although they had had Lang on their books a decade earlier, the club officially remained staunchly amateur, and this stance almost cost the club its very existence
Gerald Gerry Taggart is a former professional footballer. He played for Barnsley, Bolton Wanderers, Leicester City, Manchester City, a former defender, Taggart began his career as an trainee with Manchester City in 1989 but joined Barnsley in 1990 after being unable to break into the first team at Maine Road. He soon became a player with the Tykes supporters due to his passionate. After spending five years with Barnsley making 249 appearances he joined Bolton Wanderers where he helped them to win the Division One title in 1996–97 and he signed for Leicester City in 1998 and played in back to back League Cup Finals with Leicester winning the cup in 2000. He remained with Leicester until 2003 when he joined Stoke City and he spent three seasons at the Britannia Stadium and after a short spell with Tamworth he retired from playing. After his retirement in 2007, he began his career for Leicester. On 10 June 2010, he was announced as the new assistant manager at Oldham Athletic and he was placed on garden leave by the club on 31 December 2012 following a run of poor results. Taggart started his career as a trainee with Manchester City in 1989, Taggart spent one season with the club making 13 appearances, and scoring one goal. Taggart spent most of his time at Barnsley under former Northern Ireland player Danny Wilson and he signed for Bolton Wanderers for a club record £1.5 million on 1 August 1995, as they prepared for the Premier League after winning promotion from Division One. However, he was unable to prevent them from being relegated after just one season among the elite, the following season Taggart was relegated back to the First Division. Taggart again played in Premiership football when he signed for Leicester City on 16 June 1998, Taggart was often partnered with Steve Walsh and Matt Elliott in Leicesters defence. In 2000 he won a League Cup winners medal with Leicester and he scored his last European goal in a 1–1 UEFA Cup draw against Red Star Belgrade on 15 September 2000, at Filbert Street. In the 2001–02 season Leicester were relegated from the Premier League and Taggart opted to remain with the Foxes and he was over looked for the first team squad in the Premier League and joined Stoke City on loan then on a permanent basis. He joined Stoke City on loan on 9 December 2003 and he instantly impressed Stoke manager Tony Pulis with his leadership qualities. His loan deal was extended for another month on 6 January 2004, but he was recalled by Leicester. He joined Stoke on a permanent basis on 26 February 2004 until the end of the 2003–04 and he then signed an extension at Stoke turning down an approach from Derby County. He formed a decent defensive partnership with Michael Duberry in the 2004–05 season Pulis was sacked at the end of it though and was replaced by Johan Boskamp. Boskamp used Taggart as a coach during his one season spell, Taggart had spent the 2006–07 season back with his former club Leicester City to take his coaching badges
Leicester City F.C.
Leicester City Football Club, also known as the Foxes, is an English professional football club based at the King Power Stadium in Leicester. They compete in the Premier League, Englands top tier of football, having been promoted as champions of the Football League Championship in 2013–14, this signalled a return to the top flight of English football after a decade away. The club was founded in 1884 as Leicester Fosse F. C. playing on a field near Fosse Road and they moved to Filbert Street in 1891, were elected to the Football League in 1894 and adopted the name Leicester City in 1919. They moved to the nearby Walkers Stadium in 2002, which was renamed the King Power Stadium after a change of ownership in 2011, Leicester City won the 2015–16 Premier League, their first top-level football championship. They are one of six clubs to have won the Premier League since its inception in 1992. A number of newspapers described their title win as the greatest sporting upset ever, multiple bookmakers had never paid out at such long odds for any sport. Due to the magnitude of the title win, it went down in English football history as one of the games finest ever achievements. The clubs previous highest ever finish was second place in the top flight, throughout Leicesters history, they have spent all but one season within the top two leagues of English football. They hold a joint-highest seven second-tier titles, the club have been FA Cup finalists four times, in 1948–49, 1960–61, 1962–63 and 1968–69. This is a tournament record for the most defeats in the final without having won the competition, City have several promotions to their name, two play-off final wins, and one League One title. In 1971, they won the FA Community Shield, and in 2016 and they have also won the League Cup three times in 1964,1997 and 2000, as well as being runners up in 1964–65 and 1999. Formed in 1884 by a group of old boys of Wyggeston School as Leicester Fosse, before moving to Filbert Street in 1891, the club played at five different grounds, including Victoria Park south-east of the city centre and the Belgrave Road Cycle and Cricket Ground. The club also joined the Midland League in 1891, and were elected to Division Two of the Football League in 1894 after finishing second. Leicesters first ever Football League game was a 4–3 defeat at Grimsby Town, with a first League win the following week, the same season also saw the clubs largest win to date, a 13–0 victory over Notts Olympic in an FA Cup qualifying game. In 1907–08 the club finished as Second Division runners-up, gaining promotion to the First Division, however, the club were relegated after a single season which included the clubs record defeat, a 12–0 loss against Nottingham Forest. In 1919, when League football resumed after World War I, the club was reformed as Leicester City Football Club, particularly appropriate as the borough of Leicester had recently been given city status. However the 1930s saw a downturn in fortunes, with the relegated in 1934–35 and, after promotion in 1936–37. City reached the FA Cup final for the first time in their history in 1949, the club, however, was celebrating a week later when a draw on the last day of the season ensured survival in Division Two
Watford Football Club is a professional football club based in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, that plays in the Premier League, the highest level in the English football league system. Founded in 1881 as Watford Rovers, the club entered the FA Cup for the first time in 1886, after finishing the 1914–15 season as Southern League champions under the management of Harry Kent, Watford joined the Football League in 1920. The club played at grounds in its early history, before moving to a permanent location at Vicarage Road in 1922. Watford spent most of the half century in the lower divisions of The Football League, changing colours. England manager Graham Taylors tenure at the club saw Watford scale new heights, between Taylors appointment in 1977 and departure in 1987, Watford rose from the Fourth Division to the First Division. The team finished second in the First Division in the 1982–83 season, competed in the UEFA Cup in 1983–84, the club experienced a further one season stint in the top division of English football during the 2006–07 season, under Aidy Boothroyds management. After eight years, Watford are again competing in the Premier League 2015–16 season, Watford is currently owned by the Pozzo family, which also owns Udinese Calcio in Italy and previously Granada CF in Spain. Watford Rovers was formed in 1881 by Henry Groverand, who went on to play for the club as a full-back, Rovers, originally composed entirely of amateur players, held home games at several locations in the town of Watford. The team first competed in the FA Cup in the 1886–87 season, the team became the football section of West Hertfordshire Sports Club in 1890, and consequently moved to a ground on Cassio Road. Renamed as West Hertfordshire in 1893, Rovers joined the Southern Football League in 1896, West Hertfordshire merged with local rivals Watford St. Marys in 1898, the merged team was named Watford Football Club. Following relegation to the Southern League Second Division in 1903, Watford appointed its first manager – former England international and he led Watford to promotion, and kept the team in the division until his departure in 1910. Despite financial constraints, Watford won the Southern League title in the 1914–15 season under his successor, there was a re-election system in place which meant the bottom two teams in each of the two divisions had to apply for re-election to the league. Watford finished outside the top six positions in every season between 1922 and 1934. The Football League was suspended in 1939 due to the Second World War, Football resumed in 1946, with Watford still in the Third Division South. Ron Burgess replaced McBain during that season, and in the following campaign Burgess presided over Watfords first Football League promotion and this team included Fourth Division top scorer Cliff Holton, who scored a club record 42 league goals in the season. Holton was sold to Northampton the following year after another 34 goals, eighteen-year-old Northern Irish goalkeeper Pat Jennings also featured under McGarry, and made his international debut despite being a Third Division player. Furphys rebuilding came to fruition in 1969 with the signing of Barry Endean, Watford secured the Third Division title in April, at home to Plymouth Argyle. A year later Watford reached the FA Cup semi-final for the first time, defeating First Division teams Stoke City, hampered by a lack of funds, however, Furphy eventually joined Blackburn Rovers, to be succeeded by George Kirby
Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club /ˌwʊlvərˈhæmptən/ is a professional association football club based in the city of Wolverhampton, West Midlands. The club was known as St. Lukes FC and was founded in 1877. They compete in the Championship, the second highest tier of English football, the following season saw two further managers dismissed as the club then suffered a second relegation, ending up in League One. However, in the season they gained promotion back to the Championship where they currently reside. The clubs current head coach is Paul Lambert, who took charge in November 2016, having become professional, the club were nominated to become one of the twelve founder members of the Football League in 1888, in which they played the first Football League match ever staged. They ended the season in third place, as well as reaching their first FA Cup Final, losing 0–3 to the first Double winners. At the conclusion of the campaign the club relocated for a time when they moved to Molineux. Wolves lifted the FA Cup for the first time in 1893 when they beat Everton 1–0, and added a second triumph in 1908, two years after having dropped into the Second Division. After struggling for years to regain their place in the top division, the club suffered a further relegation in 1923, entering the Third Division. Eight years later Wolves regained their status after winning the Second Division title under Major Frank Buckley. This game had been the last in a Wolves shirt for Stan Cullis, the 1950s were by far the most successful period in the clubs history. Captained by Billy Wright, Wolves finally claimed the championship for the first time in 1953–54. This became the final spur for Gabriel Hanot, the editor of LÉquipe, to propose the creation of the European Cup, although the decade opened with a fourth FA Cup victory and almost the first double of the 20th century, the 1960s saw Wolves begin to decline. Cullis was sacked in September 1964 in a season that ended with relegation and this exile would last only two seasons though, as they were promoted in 1967 as runners-up. During the close season in 1967, Wolves played a season in North America as part of the fledgling United Soccer Association league which imported clubs from Europe. Playing as the Los Angeles Wolves, they won the Western Division, the clubs return to the English top flight heralded another period of relative success under Bill McGarry, with a fourth place in 1971 qualifying them for the newly created UEFA Cup. They lifted silverware though two later, when they won the League Cup for the first time by beating Manchester City 2–1 in the final. The club was saved from liquidation at the last minute when it was purchased by a consortium fronted by former player Derek Dougan
Cardiff City F.C.
Cardiff City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Cardiff, Wales that competes in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. The club was founded in 1899 as Riverside A. F. C. before changing its name to Cardiff City in 1908 and they play their home games at the Cardiff City Stadium, after moving from Ninian Park in 2009. The club reverted to their traditional blue in January 2015 and they have long-standing rivalries with nearby clubs Swansea City, known as the South Wales derby, and Bristol City, known as the Severnside derby. The club was founded in 1899 as Riverside A. F. C and their first season saw them playing friendlies against local sides at their Sophia Gardens ground, but in 1900 they joined the Cardiff & District League for their first competitive season. To combat this they arranged to join the South Wales Amateur League in 1907, with the club growing in stature, they were forced to turn down the opportunity to join the newly formed Southern League Second Division due to the lack of facilities at their Sophia Gardens ground. The club eventually secured land to build their own stadium, moving into Ninian Park, the club made its first signing the following year with the acquisition of Jack Evans from fellow Welsh club Cwmparc. With the new ground in place, Cardiff joined the Southern League Second Division, and appointed their first manager in Davy McDougall, who became player-manager. They went on to finish in place in their first year in the league but the board decided to replace McDougall with Fred Stewart. In 1920, the club submitted an application to join the Football League and were placed into the Second Division for the 1920–21 season. Stewart brought in players with Football League experience, breaking the clubs transfer record on two occasions to sign Jimmy Gill and later Jimmy Blair from The Wednesday. In the 74th minute, after collecting a throw George MacLachlan, dan Lewis, the Arsenal goalkeeper, appeared to collect the ball but, under pressure from the advancing Len Davies, clumsily allowed the ball to roll through his grasp. In a further attempt to retrieve the ball Lewis only succeeded in knocking the ball with his elbow into his own net, captain Fred Keenor received the FA Cup trophy from King George V only seven years after Cardiff City had entered the Football League. However, he was unable to turn the fortunes around by the end of the season. McCandless left the club soon after and was replaced by Cyril Spiers who led the club to promotion the in 1951–52 season, however, despite spending five seasons in the First Division, the club continually struggled in the bottom half of the table and were eventually relegated in 1957. They returned to the First Division for two seasons between 1960 and 1962 before again suffering relegation, during the 1960s, Cardiff began qualifying for European competition for the first time as a result of winning the Welsh Cup. They went on to reach the quarter-finals before being knocked out by Real Zaragoza, despite their exploits in Europe, the club were still struggling in league competition under the stewardship of Jimmy Scoular, finishing in 20th position in the Second Division. After a 1–1 draw in the first leg, just over 43,000 fans turned out at Ninian Park to watch Hamburg win 3–2, during the 1970–71 season, Cardiff reached the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners Cup where they faced Spanish side Real Madrid. The first leg of the tie was held at Ninian Park where 47,000 fans watched one of the most famous victories in the history when Brian Clark headed in to give Cardiff a 1–0 win
Coventry City F.C.
Coventry City Football Club is a professional football club in Coventry, West Midlands, England, which plays in League One, the third tier of English football. Coventry City formed as Singers F. C. in 1883 and they won their only major trophy in 1987 when they beat Tottenham Hotspur 3–2 to win the FA Cup. They are one of five clubs to have ever won the FA Cup and FA Youth Cup in the same season. They returned to Wembley in April 2017, beating Oxford United 2-1 to win the English Football League Trophy. Following eleven seasons in the second-tier Football League Championship, Coventry were relegated to Football League One in 2012, Coventry have qualified for European competitions twice. In the 1970–71 season, they competed in the European Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, despite beating Bayern Munich 2–1 in their home leg, they had lost 1–6 in the first leg in Munich to go out of the competition. They were unable to compete in the 1987–88 UEFA Cup Winners Cup due to the ban on English clubs at that time, from 1899 to 2005, Coventry City played at Highfield Road. A return to the Ricoh Arena was announced on 21 August 2014 by the club after a one-year absence,1883 – The club is founded by employees of Singer, the cycle firm, with William Stanley one of the leading lights. 1898 – The clubs name is changed from Singers F. C. to Coventry City,1899 – The club move to Highfield Road following stints at Dowells Field and Stoke Road. 1901 – The club suffer their worst ever defeat with an 11–2 loss against Worcester-based Berwick Rangers in the round of the FA Cup. 1919 – The club are voted into the Football League, where they have remained ever since,1928 – In February, and with Coventry struggling near the foot of Division Three South, the clubs worst ever attendance is recorded. Only 2,059 turn up for the match against Crystal Palace,1932 – Centre-forward Clarrie Bourton heads the Football League scoring lists with 49 goals. The following season he scored 40 goals,1934 – City record their biggest ever victory a 9–0 league drubbing of Bristol City. 1936 – Coventry City win the Third Division South championship after a final day 2–1 victory over Torquay United. 1958 – Goalkeeper Alf Wood becomes the oldest player to start a game for the club and he played against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup aged 43 years and 207 days. 1961 – Former Fulham player and PFA chairman Jimmy Hill is appointed following an embarrassing FA Cup defeat at home to non-league Kings Lynn. 1964 – Jimmy Hill guides Coventry to promotion from Division Three as champions after a final day 1–0 victory over Colchester United,1967 – Coventry City promoted as Second Division champions to the top flight for the first time in their history. This made manager and BBC Sport presenter Jimmy Hill a legend at the club, Coventrys record attendance was also set in this year – officially recorded as 51,455, against Wolverhampton Wanderers, the team that finished a close second to Coventry at the top of the table
John Robert Rudge is an English former football player and football manager. His playing career began at Huddersfield Town in November 1961, in January 1969 he joined Torquay United, and twice finished as the clubs top scorer, before he moved on to Bristol Rovers in February 1972. He helped the club to win promotion of the Third Division in 1973–74 and his time on the coast was disrupted by injury, and he retired in 1977. He scored a total of 79 goals in 230 league and cup appearances in a career in the Football League. He managed Port Vale for a period between 1983 and 1999, easily the longest spell in the clubs history. However he was sacked in January 1999, and subsequently was appointed director of football at their rivals – Stoke City, born and raised in Wolverhampton, Rudge became a lifelong fan of Wolverhampton Wanderers. However he turned professional at Second Division club Huddersfield Town in November 1961 and he made his debut under manager Eddie Boot in the 1962–63 campaign, and was given the residence of the recently departed Denis Law. He did not feature in 1963–64, appeared just twice in 1964–65 and he played two games at the start of the 1966–67 season, before manager Tom Johnston allowed him a move to Second Division rivals Carlisle United in December 1967. Rudge made an impact at Brunton Park, scoring seven goals in 14 appearances, as Tim Wards Cumbrians finished third in 1966–67. Over the course of the 1967–68 campaign he scored nine goals in 29 league and cup games and he made just five goalless appearances in 1968–69, and in January 1969 manager Bob Stokoe handed him a free transfer to Torquay United of the Third Division. He found the net just twice in 14 appearances before the end of the campaign for Allan Browns Gulls and he then found his form in 1969–70, finishing as the clubs top scorer with 16 goals in 35 league and cup matches. He continued to find the net in 1970–71, hitting 21 goals in 43 appearances. However he scored just twice in 12 games in 1971–72, as the club suffered relegation under Jack Edwards, Rudge escaped this fate as he left Plainmoor in February 1972, signing a contract with Bill Dodgins Bristol Rovers. After three goals in eight games towards the end of the campaign, Rudge hit 12 goals in 29 appearances in 1972–73, the Pirates achieved their goal in 1973–74, as they finished runners-up of the Third Division, however Rudge played only 15 games, scoring five goals. He featured just three times in 1974–75, and moved on to John Bensons Bournemouth in March 1975, Rudge played seven games for the Cherries, and could not prevent them from being relegated into the Fourth Division at the end of the campaign. He missed most of the 1975–76 season with a ruptured Achilles tendon and his career was ended at age 32, owing to his Achilles tendon injury. He had scored a total of 79 goals in 230 appearances in all competitions, following his retirement as a player, Rudge was made a coach at old club Torquay United. In January 1980 he was appointed as a coach at Port Vale, Rudge was promoted to the position of assistant manager in December 1980
Brighton & Hove Albion F.C.
Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club /ˈbraɪtən ən ˈhoʊv/ is a professional football club based in the city of Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, England, often referred to simply as Brighton. The team is nicknamed the Seagulls or Albion, the team has historically played in blue and white stripes, though this changed to all white briefly in the 1970s and again to plain blue during the clubs most successful spell in the 1980s. Crystal Palace are considered the main rivals, although the grounds are 40 miles apart. Founded in 1901, Brighton played their early football in the Southern League before being elected to the Football League in 1920. The club enjoyed greatest prominence between 1979 and 1983 when they played in the First Division and reached the 1983 FA Cup Final and they were relegated from the top division in the same season. Mismanagement brought Brighton close to relegation from the Football League to the Conference which they narrowly avoided in 1997 and 1998. Brighton & Hove Albion F. C. were founded in 1901 and 19 years later, in 1920, Mike Bamber was the chairman of Brighton from October 1972 until 1983. He famously brought Brian Clough to the club in 1973 and later appointed former England player Alan Mullery as manager, the 1982/83 season saw a wildly inconsistent start for the club, with victories over Arsenal and Manchester United mixed in with heavy defeats. Manager Mike Bailey eventually lost his job at the start of December 1982, jimmy Melia took over as manager, but was unable to turn the situation around and Brighton were relegated in 1983, having finished in bottom place. Despite their relegation, that season Brighton reached their first FA Cup final, Brightons goals were scored by Gordon Smith and Gary Stevens. However, Smiths kick was saved by the Manchester United goalkeeper. In the replay, Manchester United won 4–0, a lifelong fan named Dick Knight took control of the club in 1997 having led the fan pressure to oust the previous board following their sale of the clubs Goldstone Ground to property developers. If Brighton won or drew, they would be safe, Brighton defender Kerry Mayo scored an own goal in the first half and it looked as though their 77-year league career was over. But a late goal from Robbie Reinelt saved the day, Brighton retained their status on goal difference. The sale of the Goldstone ground went through in 1997, leading to Brighton having to play some 70 miles away at Gillinghams Priestfield stadium for two seasons, micky Adams was appointed Brightons manager in 1999. For the start of the 1999–2000 season the Seagulls secured a lease to play games at Withdean Stadium. In February 2000 Brighton signed a little known forward on loan from Bristol Rovers called Bobby Zamora, Zamora made an instant impact, scoring in his debut, the 1–1 home draw with Plymouth. 2000–01 was Brightons first successful season for 13 years and they were crowned champions of Division Three and promoted to Division Two, where they made an excellent start and looked good bets for a second successive promotion
Adam Christopher Rooney is an Irish footballer who plays as a striker for Aberdeen. He played for Oldham Athletic prior to joining Aberdeen in January 2014, Rooney signed for Stoke City in the summer of 2005. In his first season at Stoke, Rooney made his debut at academy and reserves levels, Rooney scored his first goal for Stoke against Reading on 17 April 2006. On 16 March 2007, it was announced that Rooney had joined Yeovil Town on loan for a month, the loan was later extended until the end of the season. However he returned to Stoke on 9 May 2007, after making one start, in August 2007, he joined League Two side Chesterfield on a four-month loan. Rooney scored his first goal for Inverness CT in a 2–1 defeat at home to St Mirren, in the 2009–10 season he was awarded the Irn Bru Phenomenal First Division Player of the Year award. He was top scorer in the First Division with 24 goals,27 in all competitions, after the game the team were presented with the championship trophy. After his contract with Inverness CT expired at the end of the 2010–11 season and his first competitive goal for the club came from the penalty spot to open the scoring away at Middlesbrough on 21 August, Middlesbrough came back to win 3–1. He also scored the following week against Watford, on the last day of the August 2012 transfer window, Rooney joined League One club Swindon Town on loan for the season with a view to a permanent transfer. Swindon defender Paul Caddis moved in the direction, also on loan for the season. On 1 August, he signed a contract with Oldham. He scored his first goals for the club against Port Vale, on 23 January 2014, Rooney signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen. Rooney scored his goal in six appearances on 25 February. On 8 March 2014, Rooney scored his goal in eight appearances in a 1–0 Scottish Cup quarter-final win over Dumbarton. Rooney started for Aberdeen against his former club Inverness CT in the 2014 Scottish League Cup Final, Rooney was voted SPFL Player of the Month for February 2014. Rooney started the 2014–2015 season strongly by scoring two goals in a 5–0 home victory against FK Daugava Riga in the first qualifying round of the Europa League and he continued his strong start with a first-half hat-trick in a 3–0 away win in the second leg. This put his European goals total with Aberdeen to six in four games, Rooney then provided the only goal in a game against Hamilton Academical in the same competition to see the Dons through to the semi-finals. On 23 November, Rooney continued his form and scored his 14th goal of the season by converting a penalty in a 1–0 victory away against Partick Thistle
The Premier League is an English professional league for mens association football clubs. At the top of the English football league system, it is the primary football competition. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the English Football League, Welsh clubs that compete in the English football league system can also qualify. The Premier League is a corporation in which the 20 member clubs act as shareholders, seasons run from August to May. Teams play 38 matches each, totalling 380 matches in the season, most games are played on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, others during weekday evenings. It is colloquially known as the Premiership and outside the UK it is referred to as the English Premier League. The deal was worth £1 billion a year domestically as of 2013–14, with BSkyB, the league generates €2.2 billion per year in domestic and international television rights. In 2014/15, teams were apportioned revenues of £1.6 billion, the Premier League is the most-watched sports league in the world, broadcast in 212 territories to 643 million homes and a potential TV audience of 4.7 billion people. In the 2014–15 season, the average Premier League match attendance exceeded 36,000, most stadium occupancies are near capacity. The Premier League ranks third in the UEFA coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the past five seasons. While 47 clubs have competed since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, only six have won the title, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, the current champions are Leicester City, who won the title in 2015–16. Despite significant European success in the 1970s and early 1980s, the late 80s marked a low point for English football, the 1988 negotiations were the first signs of a breakaway league, ten clubs threatened to leave and form a super league, but were eventually persuaded to stay. As stadiums improved and match attendance and revenues rose, the top teams again considered leaving the Football League in order to capitalise on the influx of money into the sport. At the close of the 1991 season, a proposal was tabled for the establishment of a new league that would bring money into the game overall. The Founder Members Agreement, signed on 17 July 1991 by the games top-flight clubs, the argument given at the time was that the extra income would allow English clubs to compete with teams across Europe. The managing director of London Weekend Television, Greg Dyke, met with the representatives of the big five clubs in England in 1990. The meeting was to pave the way for an away from The Football League. The FA did not enjoy a relationship with the Football League at the time
Plymouth Argyle F.C.
Plymouth Argyle Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Plymouth, Devon, England. They have played in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. They are one of two teams in Devon currently competing in the Football League, the other being Exeter City – Argyles local rivals, since becoming professional in 1903, the club has won five Football League titles, five Southern League titles and one Western League title. The 2009–10 season was the clubs 42nd in the tier of English football. The team set the record for most championships won in the tier, having finished first in the Third Division South twice, the Third Division once. The club takes its nickname, The Pilgrims, from an English religious group that left Plymouth for the New World in 1620, the club crest features the Mayflower, the ship that carried the pilgrims to Massachusetts. The club have played in dark green and white throughout their history, with a few exceptions in the late 1960s. The city of Plymouth is the largest in England never to have hosted top-flight football and they are the most southerly and westerly League club in England. Home Park is the 37th biggest stadium in England, the original ground of the professional club at Home Park was destroyed by German bombers during the Blitz on Plymouth in World War II. Having been rebuilt after the war, Home Park was largely demolished as part of a process of renovation. The new Devonport End was opened for the 2001 Boxing Day fixture with Torquay United, the other end, the Barn Park End, opened on the same day. The Lyndhurst stand reopened on 26 January 2002 for the game against Oxford United, plans are currently under discussion regarding the completion of the refurbishment of the ground with the replacement of the Mayflower stand. The ground is situated in Central Park, very near to the area of Peverell. Towards the end of the 2005–06 Championship season, the decided to buy the stadium for £2.7 million from Plymouth City Council. This purchase was concluded in December 2006, in December 2009 it was announced that the stadium was to be one of 12 chosen to host matches during the World Cup 2018, should Englands bid be successful. The then Argyle chairman Paul Stapleton stated that work on a new South Stand at Home Park would start in 2010, however, England failed to be chosen for the 2018 tournament, and Plymouth Argyle entered administration in March 2011. After selling the back to the council on 14 October 2011 for £1.6 million. The club was taken over by local business owner James Brent, who submitted fresh plans to build a new Mayflower Grandstand with a 5,000 seating capacity
Birmingham is a major city and metropolitan borough of West Midlands, England lying on the River Rea, a small river that runs through Birmingham. It is the largest and most populous British city outside London, the city is in the West Midlands Built-up Area, the third most populous urban area in the United Kingdom, with a population of 2,440,986 at the 2011 census. Birminghams metropolitan area is the second most populous in the UK with a population of 3.8 million and this also makes Birmingham the 8th most populous metropolitan area in Europe. By 1791 it was being hailed as the first manufacturing town in the world, perhaps the most important invention in British history, the industrial steam engine, was invented in Birmingham. From the summer of 1940 to the spring of 1943, Birmingham was bombed heavily by the German Luftwaffe in what is known as the Birmingham Blitz. The damage done to the infrastructure, in addition to a deliberate policy of demolition and new building by planners, led to extensive demolition. Today Birminghams economy is dominated by the service sector and its metropolitan economy is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a GDP of $121. 1bn, and its six universities make it the largest centre of higher education in the country outside London. Birmingham is the fourth-most visited city in the UK by foreign visitors, Birminghams sporting heritage can be felt worldwide, with the concept of the Football League and lawn tennis both originating from the city. Its most successful football club Aston Villa has won seven league titles, people from Birmingham are called Brummies, a term derived from the citys nickname of Brum. This originates from the citys name, Brummagem, which may in turn have been derived from one of the citys earlier names. There is a distinctive Brummie accent and dialect, Birminghams early history is that of a remote and marginal area. The main centres of population, power and wealth in the pre-industrial English Midlands lay in the fertile and accessible river valleys of the Trent, the Severn and the Avon. The area of modern Birmingham lay in between, on the upland Birmingham Plateau and within the wooded and sparsely populated Forest of Arden. Birmingham as a settlement dates from the Anglo-Saxon era, within a century of the charter Birmingham had grown into a prosperous urban centre of merchants and craftsmen. By 1327 it was the third-largest town in Warwickshire, a position it would retain for the next 200 years, by 1700 Birminghams population had increased fifteenfold and the town was the fifth-largest in England and Wales. The importance of the manufacture of goods to Birminghams economy was recognised as early as 1538. Equally significant was the emerging role as a centre for the iron merchants who organised finance, supplied raw materials. The 18th century saw this tradition of free-thinking and collaboration blossom into the phenomenon now known as the Midlands Enlightenment
Tamworth Football Club is an English football club based in Tamworth, Staffordshire. The club participates in the National League North, the tier of English football. The club were formed in 1933 after the previous Tamworth club, Tamworth Castle and they originally played at The Jolly Sailor Ground but after a year moved into The Lamb Ground. Local rivals include Burton Albion and Nuneaton Town, and to a lesser degree Atherstone Town, Bedworth United, the team are currently managed by Andy Morrell, and the current club captain is Paul Green. The town of Tamworth had been represented at football by Tamworth Castle F. C. until the club folded in 1933. This void was filled thanks to a campaign started by a letter from a businessman in the local newspaper setting in motion the formation of Tamworth F. C. Originally playing next to the Jolly Sailor pub, the moved to their present ground, The Lamb Ground. Tamworth began life competing in the Birmingham Combination, before joining the West Midlands League,1972 saw Tamworth promoted to the Southern League, but a period of falling attendances and financial difficulties followed. The club returned to the West Midlands League, and it was taken over by a consortium of businessmen in 1984. In 1987–88 Tamworth won the League and were promoted back to the Southern League, Tamworth, managed by Graham Smith, won the FA Vase in 1989, beating Sudbury Town. The final was played at Wembley Stadium, but the game finished 1–1, the replay was played at London Road, the home of Peterborough United, and Tamworth won 3–0 to lift the FA Vase for the first time. Tamworth won promotion to the Football Conference in 2002–03 after winning the Southern League in 2001–02 and that year, Tamworth earned a 3–3 draw on the final day at Folkestone Invicta while Kettering Town won, passing Tamworth for first place and winning promotion to the Football Conference. Tamworth also reached the final of the FA Trophy in 2002–03 season where they played Burscough but were denied a double, losing 2–1. The club completed perhaps their highest profile signing of all time on 23 February 2006, with the capture of former Arsenal, Aston Villa, Walsall and English national midfielder Paul Merson. However, the arrangement meant that until the end of the season, the arrangement however only lasted two games, although Merson only played once in the 2–1 home loss to Halifax Town. Merson was dropped to the bench for the game, which was a 5–0 defeat away to Grays Athletic. Merson later announced his retirement from football as a player on 9 March 2006. Although the club finished the 2005–06 season in 21st position, in the Conference National, the Lambs did, however, reach the 3rd round of the FA Cup for the first time that season
Walsall Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Walsall, West Midlands, England. The team play in League One, the tier in the English football league system. The club was founded in 1888 as Walsall Town Swifts, an amalgamation of Walsall Town F. C. and their first match at Wembley Stadium was the 2015 Football League Trophy Final, which they lost to Bristol City. Walsall moved into their Bescot Stadium in 1990, having played at nearby Fellows Park for almost a century. The ground is known as Bankss Stadium for sponsorship purposes, the team play in a red and white kit and their club crest features a swift. The clubs nickname, The Saddlers, reflects Walsalls status as a centre for saddle manufacture. Walsall were formed as Walsall Town Swifts in 1888 when Walsall Town F. C. Walsall Town had been founded in 1877 and Walsall Swifts in 1879. Both clubs had played at the Chuckery, and the new club remained at the same ground, Walsall Town Swifts first match was a draw against Aston Villa. Two players from this early era received international caps, in 1882, Alf Jones won the first two of his three caps while with Walsall Swifts, and in 1889 Albert Aldridge received the second of his two caps while playing for Walsall Town Swifts. The club were first admitted to the Football League in 1892 and they moved to the West Bromwich Road ground in 1893. After finishing 14th out of 16 teams in 1894–95 the club failed to be re-elected to the Football League, at the start of the 1895 season the club moved to Hilary Street, later renamed Fellows Park. In 1896 they changed their name to Walsall F. C. a year later, they returned to the Second Division, three teams having failed re-election in 1896. The team finished in place in 1898–99, but once again failed re-election two years later, dropping back into the Midland League. A move to the Birmingham League followed in 1903, and in 1910, with the expansion of the Football League after World War I, Walsall became a founding member of the Third Division North in 1921. Walsalls highest home attendance was set in 1930, when played in of front of 74,600 fans against Aston Villa in the FA Cup Fourth Round. Although a home match for Walsall, the tie was played at their opponents Villa Park ground, in 1933, Walsall won 2–0 in the FA Cup against Arsenal at Fellows Park. Arsenal went on to win the First Division that season, in 1958, following a reorganisation of the Football League, Walsall became founder members of the Fourth Division. Players such as Bill Chopper Guttridge, Tony Richards and Colin Taylor were intrinsically important to the success of the side
Birmingham City F.C.
Birmingham City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Birmingham, England. Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, they became Small Heath in 1888, then Birmingham in 1905, the team compete in the EFL Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. As Small Heath, they played in the Football Alliance before becoming founder members, the most successful period in their history was in the 1950s and early 1960s. They won the competition for the second time in 2011. St Andrews has been their ground since 1906. They have a long-standing and fierce rivalry with Aston Villa, their nearest neighbours, the clubs nickname is Blues, due to the colour of their kit, and their fans are known as Bluenoses. Birmingham City were founded as Small Heath Alliance in 1875, the club turned professional in 1885, and three years later became the first football club to become a limited company with a board of directors, under the name of Small Heath F. C. Ltd. From the 1889–90 season they played in the Football Alliance, which ran alongside the Football League, in 1892, Small Heath, along with the other Alliance teams, were invited to join the newly formed Football League Second Division. The club adopted the name Birmingham Football Club in 1905, and moved into their new home, St Andrews Ground, matters on the field failed to live up to their surroundings. Birmingham were relegated in 1908, obliged to apply for two years later, and remained in the Second Division until after the First World War. Frank Womacks captaincy and the creativity of Scottish international playmaker Johnny Crosbie contributed much to Birmingham winning their second Division Two title in 1920–21, Womack went on to make 515 appearances, a club record for an outfielder, over a twenty-year career. 1920 also saw the debut of the 19-year-old Joe Bradford, who went on to score a club record 267 goals in 445 games, and won 12 caps for England. In 1931, manager Leslie Knighton led the club to their first FA Cup Final and they were finally relegated in 1939, the last full season before the Football League was abandoned for the duration of the Second World War. The name Birmingham City F. C. was adopted in 1943, under Harry Storer, appointed manager in 1945, the club won the Football League South wartime league and reached the semifinal of the first post-war FA Cup. Two years later won their third Second Division title, conceding only 24 goals in the 42-game season. Storers successor Bob Brocklebank, though unable to stave off relegation in 1950, when Arthur Turner took over as manager in November 1954, he made them play closer to their potential, and a 5–1 win on the last day of the 1954–55 season confirmed them as champions. In their first season back in the First Division, Birmingham achieved their highest league finish of sixth place. They also reached the FA Cup final, losing 3–1 to Manchester City in the game notable for Citys goalkeeper Bert Trautmann playing the last 20 minutes with a bone in his neck
Mansfield Town F.C.
Mansfield Town Football Club is a professional football club based in the town of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England. The club was formed in 1897 as Mansfield Wesleyans, changing its name to Mansfield Wesley in 1906 before settling on Mansfield Town in 1910 and they are nicknamed The Stags and traditionally play in amber and royal blue. The club currently competes in League Two, the tier of English football. The Stags also finished as runners-up in the 2010–11 FA Trophy, since 1919 Mansfield have played at Field Mill which is now an all-seater stadium with a capacity of 10,000. Their main rivals are Chesterfield and Notts County, Mansfield Town was formed under the name of Mansfield Wesleyans in 1897, the name of the club coming from the local Wesleyan church. The club played friendlies up until the 1902–03 season, when it joined the Mansfield, when the league dropped its amateur tag in 1906, the church abandoned the club, which changed its name to Mansfield Wesley and moved into the Notts and District League. In the summer of 1910, despite having lost the season to Mansfield Mechanics in the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. In the following years, Mansfield Town swapped between the Notts and District League, Central Alliance League and Notts and Derbyshire League, before World War I brought a halt to proceedings. After the war, Mansfield became occupants of the Field Mill ground, in 1921, the club was admitted into the Midland Counties League, and celebrated by reaching the 6th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup twice in a row. The club won the league in 1923–24 and was the runner-up the following season, however, York City beat the Stags in elections for a League place. In 1931, Mansfield were finally elected to the Southern Section of the Third Division, however, the club struggled to adapt to League surroundings and were frequently in the lower reaches of the table. One of very few highlights in the years before the Second World War was Ted Harston, after the war, Mansfield started to see some progress. Lucky to escape the need for re-election when it was decided that no club would be relegated after the 1946–47 season, in 1959–60 the club was relegated to the recently created Fourth Division, before gaining promotion back to the Third Division in 1962–63. Two seasons later, the club narrowly missed out on promotion to the Second Division. The season after avoiding relegation due to a deduction for Peterborough United. Mansfield beat First Division West Ham United 3–0 in the Fifth Round of the 1968–69 FA Cup, in 1971–72 Mansfield were relegated, again, to the Fourth Division. By 1976–77, the club was back in the Third Division, the club went straight back down, and only a good run of form at the end of the 1978–79 season saved Mansfield from a double relegation. Mansfield won the Football League Trophy in front of 58,000 fans in May 1987, however, the years that followed were inconsistent, with Mansfield becoming a yo-yo team between the Third and Fourth Divisions
Reading Football Club is a professional association football club based in Reading, Berkshire, England. The team play in the Championship, the tier of English football. The club played at Elm Park for 102 years between 1896 and 1998, in 1998 the club moved to the new Madejski Stadium, which is named after the clubs co-chairman Sir John Madejski. Reading then finished eighth in the 2006–07 Premier League, their first ever season as a top flight club, Reading were formed on 25 December 1871, following a public meeting at the Bridge Street Rooms organised by the future club secretary Joseph Edward Sydenham. The early matches were played at Reading Recreation Ground, and later the club held fixtures at Reading Cricket Ground, Coley Park and Caversham Cricket Ground. The switch to professionalism in 1895 resulted in the need for a ground and, to this end. In 1913, Reading had a tour of Italy, prompting the leading sports newspaper Corriere della Sera to write without doubt. Reading were elected to the Football League Third Division South of the Football League in 1920, Reading lost their place in Division Two in May 1931, and remained in Third Division South until the outbreak of World War II. When League football resumed after the war, Reading quickly came to prominence once again, the sides moment of cup glory came in 1988 when they won the Simod Cup, beating a number of top flight sides en route to their Wembley win over Luton Town. Reading were promoted to the Second Division as champions in 1986 under the management of Ian Branfoot, the appointment of Mark McGhee as player-manager, shortly after the takeover by John Madejski, in 1991 saw Reading move forward. They were crowned champions of the new Division Two in 1994, in 1995, Reading had eased past Tranmere Rovers in the play-off semi-finals and looked to have booked their place in the Premier League only to lose against Bolton Wanderers in the final. Quinn and Goodings contracts were not renewed two years later after Reading had slid into the half of Division One. Their successor, Terry Bullivant, lasted less than one season before being sacked in March 1998, the year 1998 also saw Reading move into the new 24,200 all-seater Madejski Stadium, named after Chairman John Madejski. Tommy Burns had taken over from Terry Bullivant but lasted just 18 months before being replaced by Alan Pardew, the club finished third in 2000–01 qualifying for the play-offs, losing 2–3 in the final against Walsall at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Reading returned to Division One for 2002–03 after finishing runners-up in Division Two, the following season, they finished fourth in Division One and qualified for the play-offs, where they lost in the semi-final to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Alan Pardew moved to West Ham United the following October and was replaced by Steve Coppell, Reading won the 2005–06 Championship with a league record 106 points, scoring 99 goals and losing only twice. Reading were promoted to English footballs top division for the first time in their history, the 2006–07 season saw Reading make their first appearance in the top flight of English football. Reading defied pre-season predictions of relegation to finish the season in place with 55 points
Sheffield United F.C.
Sheffield United Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. The team competes in League One, the tier of English football. The football club was formed in 1889 as an offshoot of Sheffield United Cricket Club, the club have played their home games at Bramall Lane since their formation in 1889. Bramall Lane is currently an all-seater ground with a capacity of 32,609, Sheffield United won the original First Division in 1898 and the FA Cup in 1899,1902,1915 and 1925. They were beaten finalists in the FA Cup in 1901 and 1936 and they reached the semi-finals of the League Cup in 2003 and 2015. For most of the history they have played in red. Their closest rivals are Sheffield Wednesday, with whom they contest the Steel City Derby, Sheffield United formed on 22 March 1889 at the Adelphi Hotel, Sheffield by the President of the Cricket Club Sir Charles Clegg. The Wednesday had moved from Bramall Lane to their own ground at Olive Grove, Sir Charles Clegg was incidentally also the president of The Wednesday. Their darkest days came between 1975 and 1981 and they did fall back into the Third Division in 1988, but new manager Dave Bassett masterminded a quick revival which launched the Blades towards one of the most successful eras in their history. Successive promotions in the aftermath of the 1988 relegation saw them return to the First Division in 1990 after a 14-year exile and they survived at this level for four seasons and reached an FA Cup semi-final in the 1992–93 season before being relegated in 1994. Three years later, however, Warnock delivered a Premier League return as the Blades finished runners-up in the rebranded Football League Championship, Neil Warnock resigned as manager after the Blades went down. The Blades did reach the Championship playoff final in 2009 under Kevin Blackwell, in the 2011–12 season, the club finished third in League One, narrowly missing out on automatic promotion to rivals Sheffield Wednesday, and entered the playoffs. With victory over Stevenage in the semi-final, United missed out on a return to the Championship after suffering a penalty shootout defeat to Huddersfield Town. In 2014, the Blades gained the nickname of giant-killers, having reached the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley, losing 5–3 to Hull City. In 2014–15, they reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and semi-finals of the Football League Cup, the club was formed by members of the Sheffield United Cricket Club, itself formed in 1854 and the first English sports club to use United in its name. Sheffield Uniteds predominant nickname is The Blades, a reference to Sheffields status as the producer of cutlery in the United Kingdom. Because of this, the nickname would also be used in reference to rivals Sheffield Wednesday, another nickname used was The Cutlers. In 1907, Wednesday came to be referred to as The Owls, in reference to their new ground in Owlerton, within Sheffield fans of the club are also sometimes referred to as Unitedites