Port Vale F.C.
Port Vale Football Club is a professional association football club based in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, England. The team compete in League One, the tier of the English football league system. Port Vale is one of the few English league clubs not to be named after a location, their name being a reference to the valley of ports on the Trent. They were founder members of the Second Division in 1892 and of the Fourth Division in 1958 and they have never played top-flight football, and hold the record for the most seasons in the English Football League without reaching the top tier. After playing at the Athletic Ground in Cobridge and The Old Recreation Ground in Hanley, outside the ground is a statue to Roy Sproson, who played 842 competitive games for the club. John Rudge was manager from 1983 to 1999, under his leadership the club lifted the Football League Trophy in 1993, since his reign the club have declined, slipping into the fourth tier whilst entering twice administration in 2003 and 2012. The decline was arrested when Norman Smurthwaite brought the club out of administration in 2012, the clubs traditional rivals are Stoke City, and games between the two are known as the Potteries derby. However, the story given on the club website is that Port Vale F. C. was formed in 1876, following a meeting at Port Vale House. They played their football at Limekiln Lane, Longport and from 1880 at Westport, the club moved to Burslem in 1884, changing its name to Burslem Port Vale in the process, they played at Moorland Road before moving into the Athletic Ground in 1885. In 1892 the club were members of the Football League Second Division. The club dropped Burslem from their name in 1907 – a dark time of financial difficulties where the club were forced to resign from the league, the club were relegated for the first time during the 1928–29 season, going from the Second Division to the Third Division North. They came up the season as champions. In the 1930–31 season they placed fifth in the tier of English football. After this peak, the club were again relegated in the 1935–36 season. In 1950, Vale Park was completed, the fifth ground. Steele quickly established himself at the club, masterminding the celebrated Iron Curtain defence, three years later, the club were once again relegated, and once again became founder members of a league – this time the Football League Fourth Division. In their first season in new division the club took the title with a club record 110 goals. During the 1960s, the Vale fans witnessed numerous good cup runs, in 1967, Stanley Matthews took over, his reign ended in tears in 1968 as Vale were expelled from the Football League over seemingly illegal payments made to players
William Amos Bratt MBE is the former chairman of Port Vale Football Club, who served the club in this post from 2003 to 2011. After decades working in the industry, Bratt turned his attention to his hometown club Port Vale. Leading the Valiant 2001 supporters trust, he gained control from the administrators and he then faced a constant battle to steady the clubs finances whilst also advancing through the leagues. He left the club after fan protests against his chairmanship, Bratts stepfather was a World War II veteran who was taken by the Japanese as a prisoner of war. After the war his father appeared to be scarred from his time in POW camps and regularly beat him. He died in the 1960s of cancer and he lived in numerous childrens homes in the Penkhull area, before becoming a miner at Chatterley Whitfield pit. The charity he received members of the church helped to instil Christian beliefs that he holds to this day. From an early age he was a Port Vale supporter, something which would have a significant impact upon his life in the future. Bratt worked in several coal-mines, but was forced to retire after a motorcycle accident severely damaged his left hand and he then tried several jobs, including selling encyclopaedias. However, Bratt built up his business acumen and earned an income as an insurance broker over a 30-year period. During this time he started a family - a son. The club went into administration under Bell in December 2002, Valiant 2001 eventually secured control of the club after a long and drawn-out process as the 2002–03 season neared its close. Their takeover bid beat that of a mystery bidder, Bratt had been a lifelong supporter of the club when he took the chairman position in 2003. The Valiant2001 Charter, drafted by Charles Machin, listed ten points, One, Robbie Williams bought £240,000 worth of the £250,000 worth of available shares in the club. Castle Comfort Stairlifts, the sponsors, at the same time bought the remainder for £10,000. Three months later Bratt also took up the role of Chief executive officer, under Bratts chairmanship, the club were relegated to the bottom tier of English league football after a dismal 2007–08 season. He also reiterated his prior statements by stating that he would be prepared to leave his position if the offer were to be made. As Chairman he was criticized for the perceived unprofessional practices of the board
Martin John Foyle is an English former professional footballer and manager, who is now Head of Recruitment at Northampton Town. In his 20-year playing career he played 533 League games, scoring 155 goals, as a manager he took charge of Port Vale and York City, Northwich Victoria, Hereford United and Southport. He started his career with Southampton as a trainee and after spending four years at the club, an £140,000 move to Oxford United followed in March 1987, and he became Port Vales record signing when they paid £375,000 for him in June 1991. He spent nine seasons at the club, where he scored 107 goals and he was twice voted the clubs Player of the Year and helped the Vale to win the Football League Trophy in 1993. After retiring as a player, he managed Port Vales youth team and in February 2004 took charge of first-team affairs, a spell as caretaker manager at Wrexham preceded his appointment as manager of York City in November 2008. Foyle took York to an FA Trophy Final and Conference Premier play-off Final and he was put in charge of Northwich Victoria for a three-month spell in February 2012 before being appointed manager at Hereford United in May 2012. He stayed with Hereford until departing in March 2014 and he was appointed as Southport manager in May 2014 but resigned five months later. Foyle was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, where he made his name in football, before Football League referee Tony Glasson recommended him to Lawrie McMenemy. He joined Southampton as a trainee in 1980, signing as a professional on 13 August of that year, shortly after his return to Southampton he made his first team debut on 15 January 1983 in a 1–1 draw at home to Coventry City. On 25 October 1983, he came on as a substitute for Ian Baird in a League Cup match at home to Carlisle United. His 86th-minute goal brought the tie level on aggregate and was followed by the winner in extra-time. He spent a few weeks on loan with Blackburn Rovers in March 1984, without making any first-team appearances and he made 98 appearances and scored 35 goals in the league for Aldershot, as the Shots posted mid-table finishes in the Fourth Division in 1984–85 under Ron Harris. Harris was replaced by Len Walker for the 1985–86 campaign, the club won promotion in 1986–87 after beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 3–0 in the play-off Final. However Foyle missed out on the celebrations, as he was transferred to Oxford United on 26 March 1987 for a fee of £140,000 and he featured for Oxford in the First Division during two seasons and scored 44 goals in 151 appearances for the club. The club avoided a relegation play-off in 1986–87 by two points, before a last place finish in 1987–88, after which manager Maurice Evans was replaced by Mark Lawrenson. Lawrenson resigned in October 1988, and was replaced by Brian Horton, Oxford then posted mid-table finishes in the Second Division in 1988–89, 1989–90 and he signed for Port Vale on 25 June 1991 for a club record fee of £375,000. His first game was against former club Oxford at Vale Park, although he finished as leading scorer in the 1991–92 campaign with 16 goals, the club finished bottom of the Second Division that season and were relegated. The 1993–94 season, with 18 goals, Foyle was again the leading scorer as the club finally achieved promotion in 1994
Vale Park is a football stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, England. It is the ground of Port Vale F. C. who have played at the ground since 1950. At 520 feet above sea level it is the eleventh highest ground in the country, the pitch is clay underneath the grass, rather than sand. These two factors make the pitch vulnerable to freezing temperatures, there is also a coal seam under the pitch, and numerous mine shafts dotted around the local area, including many under the park opposite the ground. The Vale Park pitch is one of the widest in the Football League, the head groundsman since September 1992 is Steve Speed. He was one of three nominated for the League Two Groundsmen of the Year award in 2009. Denis Dawson was head groundsman from 1966 to 1975, he succeeded Len Parton and was followed by Graham Mainwaring. Following the club being informed that they would be evicted from The Old Recreation Ground by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, plans for a new stadium in a new area began to be made. In 1944 Hamil Road – the site of a clay pit – was chosen, a site opposite Burslem Park. The development became known as The Wembley of the North due to the size of the stadium. The clubs leadership had not allowed the third tier status or their lack of money to curb their ambition. Life-time seats were sold for £100 but fewer than 100 fans bought them, also costing £100, the pitch was the most expensive ever laid in the country at the time. The ground opened in 1950 having eventually cost £50,000, the original ground consisted of just two stands with banks of terracing at the Bycars and Hamil ends of the ground. The first match was a 1–0 victory over Newport County on 24 August 1950 in front of 30,196 rain-soaked spectators, walter Aveyard took the honour of being the first to score at the ground. On the same day the name was revealed for the first time – Vale Park. Vale Park initially had problems with drainage, leaving many games of the 1950–51 to be postponed, the problem was finally resolved in summer 1960, when new drains were installed to help ease the winter mud spots. In summer 1951,578 seats were installed on the Railway Terrace, in 1954 the Railway Stand was built, as capacity gradually increased to 50,000 by the end of the decade. On 24 September 1958, Vale Park saw its first match under the new £17,000 floodlights, in summer 1973, the club erected a 2.5 feet high steel fence around the Bycars End to help combat hooliganism
Port Vale F.C. Player of the Year
The Port Vale Player of the Year award is voted for annually by Port Vales supporters in recognition of the best overall performance by an individual player throughout the football season. Towards the end of season, fans are invited to cast their votes for this award. The inaugural award was made to Roy Sproson in 1967, david Harris, Ray Walker, Mark Grew, Neil Aspin, and Martin Foyle have all won two awards during their time at Vale Park. Foyle also went on to manage the club, no player has won the award more than twice. Eamonn OKeefe and Anthony Griffith represented Ireland and Montserrat respectively at international level, tom Pope, winner in 2013, stated that To be voted for by the fans like this is a massive honour for me. It means such a lot, more than the other awards Ive been lucky enough to win, specific General Kent, Jeff, Port Vale Personalities, Witan Books, ISBN 0-9529152-0-0
Idoro Akpoeyere Ujoma Akpo Sodje is an English former footballer of Nigerian heritage. A journeyman striker, he is usually an instantly recognisable figure on the due to his original –. With Queens Park Rangers in 2001, he was loaned out to Stevenage Borough and he moved on to Heybridge Swifts via Gravesend & Northfleet the following year, before joining Erith & Belvedere in 2003. He rejoined the Football League with Huddersfield Town in 2004, before joining Darlington the next year and he spent the 2006–07 season with Port Vale, before becoming a Sheffield Wednesday player. He found success and popularity at clubs, before he joined Charlton Athletic in 2010, after two loan spells. He moved into Scottish football with Hibernian in 2011, before departing in January 2012, Two months later he emigrated to China to sign with Tianjin Teda to become the first English footballer in the Chinese Super League. He returned to the English game in August 2012, when he joined Preston North End for a brief spell and he joined Scunthorpe United on a short-term basis in January 2013, before signing with Tranmere Rovers in July 2013. He was loaned out to Macclesfield Town in February 2014, born in Greenwich, London, his family originate from Warri, in Delta State, Nigeria. Sodje has four brothers who play football, three of them professionally and one semi-professionally. Sam and Efe have represented Nigeria at international level, steve, has never played a Football League game. Another brother, Bright, used to play rugby league and rugby union and his cousin Onome Sodje, also played professionally in England. Akpo is the youngest of the ten Sodje children, I am very proud to come from the Sodje family, I want to thank our dad and mum for the sacrifices they made in bringing us up. We are all close, Bright, Sam, Efe. I am number 10 among the children, and they all treat me as their pet because I am the youngest member of the family, when I was playing in Warri, I started as a defender. The coach whom I played under said I was fast and tall, I started playing in England when I was just about seven years old, and as I was growing up, I started from the lower divisions. He was signed to First Division Queens Park Rangers, though never made an appearance and he scored on his first outing for the club, in a 2–1 win at Morecambe on 31 March, replacing Darran Hay on 36 minutes. He was still with Stevenage for the start of the 2001–02 season and he left Broadhall Way the next month for Margate, making 16 appearances before the seasons end, scoring goals against Yeovil Town, Woking and Hayes. He began 2002–03 with Margate, playing in their 2–0 defeat at Leigh Genesis on 31 August, the next month he joined Gravesend & Northfleet, scoring on his debut on the 7th, in a 4–1 home win over Nuneaton Borough
Leon Charles Constantine is an English former footballer striker. A journeyman of lower league English football, he had 21 separate spells at 19 different clubs within the space of just 12 years. A latecomer to the game, he found a Football League club at age 22. Beginning his career as a Millwall reserve following a spell at non-League Edgware Town. He was unimpressive however and moved on to Southend United the following year, in 2004 he enjoyed a short spell with Peterborough United before Torquay United broke their club record in signing him. Again he disappointed, and in 2005 moved on to Port Vale, with Vale he was once more prolific, scoring 32 goals in 72 league games. In 2007 Leeds United were persuaded to sign him, though he fared poorly before transferring to Northampton Town the following year and he spent the 2009–10 season at Hereford United, followed by a spell with York City. He left York in 2011 for brief spells at Braintree Town, Lewes, Tooting & Mitcham United, in addition to all of these clubs he has also had loan spells with Leyton Orient, Partick Thistle, Torquay United, Oldham Athletic, and Cheltenham Town over the years. Born in Hackney, London, Constantine played for Edgware Town before joining Millwall on 31 August 2000 and he made his debut for Millwall on 30 September, coming on as a late substitute for Paul Ifill in a 4–1 win away to Peterborough United. He had loan spells with Leyton Orient and Partick Thistle, before moving to Wally Downess Brentford on a transfer in August 2002. He struggled to establish himself at Griffin Park and in August 2003 joined Southend United, initially on non-contract terms and he finished as the clubs top-scorer in the 2003–04 season with 25 goals in 53 appearances. He helped Southend to reach the 2004 Football League Trophy Final at the Millennium Stadium, Constantine moved to Port Vale on loan on 4 November 2005, with the transfer becoming permanent for a fee of £20,000 in January 2006. In the 2006–07 season he broke a record, becoming the only Port Vale player to more than 17 goals before Christmas. This happened when he scored twice against Brighton & Hove Albion on 23 December 2006 and he was set to move to Championship club Barnsley in the January 2007 transfer window, Vale agreeing a fee of £200,000 plus Marc Richards. However, the deal fell through when neither club could agree terms, in January 2007 Brighton offered Vale £150,000 for the striker, but Constantine insisted he was happy at Vale Park. Leeds later completed the signing of Constantine on a contract on 7 August 2007. Constantine started his first game for Leeds in the 2–1 defeat to Bury in the Football League Trophy where he scored in the 8th minute and his career at Leeds was blighted by injury, however, leading to him only making a handful of appearances for the club. Constantine scored his first league goal for Leeds in their 3–1 home defeat at the hands of Oldham Athletic on 1 January 2008, however he was hit by injury again, breaking his arm in this same game after scoring, leading to a two-month lay-off
Nottingham Forest F.C.
Nottingham Forest Football Club is a professional association football club based in Nottinghamshire, England. The team play in the Championship, the tier of English football. The club, often referred to as Forest, have played matches at the City Ground since 1898. Founded in 1865, Forest were founder members of the Football Alliance in 1889, since then, they have mostly competed in the top two League tiers, bar five seasons in the third tier. Forest won the FA Cup in 1898 and 1959, Forest were founded in 1865 as Nottingham Forest Football and Bandy Club by a group of shinty players shortly after their neighbours Notts County, in 1862. They joined the Football Alliance in 1889, and won the competition in 1892, in their early years Forest were a multi-sports club, as well as their roots in bandy and shinty, the baseball club Forest deployed were British champions in 1899. Forests charitable approach to the sport helped teams like Liverpool, Arsenal, in 1886, Forest donated a set of football kits to help Arsenal establish themselves – the North London team still wear red. Forest also donated shirts to Everton and helped secure a site to play on for Brighton, Forest claimed their first major honour when they won the 1898 FA Cup, beating Derby County 3–1 at Crystal Palace. However, for much of the first half of the 20th century the club spent life in the Second Division and had to seek re-election in 1914 after finishing bottom. In 1949 the club were relegated to the Third Division, but were promoted back two years later as champions having scored a record 110 goals in the 1950–51 season. They therefore became the first team to defeat the Wembley hoodoo, by this time Forest had replaced Notts County as the biggest club in Nottingham and went on to become runners-up in the First Division and FA Cup semi-finalists in 1967. However, after a successful period for the club, Forest were relegated from the First Division in 1972. Clough became the most successful manager in the history of Nottingham Forest, cloughs first game in charge was the third round FA Cup replay against Tottenham Hotspur, a 1–0 victory thanks to a goal by Scottish centre-forward Neil Martin. Nottingham Forest became one of the few teams to win the First Division Championship a year after winning promotion from the Second Division and they also won the European Super Cup and two League Cups. The club reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup in 1983–84 but were knocked out by Anderlecht in controversial but uncertain circumstances. The case was dismissed and Anderlecht was acquitted from all charges Nottingham Forests next major trophies came in 1989 when they won the Football League Cup. Cloughs side retained the League Cup in 1990 when they beat Oldham Athletic 1–0, in Forests team that day was young Irish midfielder Roy Keane, who had joined the club the previous summer. In the summer of 1991, Brian Clough broke Forests transfer record fee by signing the top scorer, Millwall striker Teddy Sheringham
Gillingham Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Gillingham, Kent, England. The only Kent-based club in the Football League, the Gills play their matches at the Priestfield Stadium. The team compete in League One, the tier of the English football league system. The club was founded in 1893 and joined the Football League in 1920 and they were voted out of the league in favour of Ipswich Town at the end of the 1937–38 season, but returned to it 12 years later after it was expanded from 88 to 92 clubs. Twice in the late 1980s they came close to winning promotion to the tier of English football. The local success of a football side, Chatham Excelsior F. C. encouraged a group of businessmen to meet with a view to creating a football club which could compete in larger competitions. New Brompton F. C. was formed at the meeting, the founders also purchased the plot of land which later became Priestfield Stadium. The new club played its first match on 2 September 1893, New Brompton were among the founder members of the Southern League upon its creation in 1894, and were placed in Division Two. They were named Champions in the first season going on to defeat Swindon Town in a test match to win promotion, in the seasons that followed, the club struggled in Division One, finishing bottom in the 1907–08 season, avoiding relegation only due to expansion of the league. In 1938 the team finished bottom of the Third Division and were required to apply for re-election for the time since joining the league. This bid for re-election failed, with Gillingham returning to the Southern League, Gillingham quickly established themselves as one of the stronger sides in the league, winning a local double of the Kent League and Kent Senior Cup in the 1945–46 season. In the 1946–47 season the team won both the Southern League Cup and the Southern League championship, during which they recorded a club record 12–1 victory over Gloucester City, the Gills also won the league title in 1948–49. The team spent eight seasons in Division Three before the restructuring of the system for the 1958–59 season saw them placed in the newly created Fourth Division. They remained in this division until 1964, when manager Freddie Cox led them to promotion, the team finished the season level on 60 points with Carlisle United, but with a fractionally better goal average, which was the tightest league title finish in Football League history. After relegation back to the Fourth Division in 1970–71, the Gills were soon promoted back to the Third Division in the 1973–74 season. During this period the club produced future stars Steve Bruce and Tony Cascarino, in 1987, the Gills hit the headlines when, on consecutive Saturdays, they beat Southend United 8–1 and Chesterfield 10–0, the latter a club record for a Football League match. Just a few later, however, manager Keith Peacock was controversially sacked. The ensuing spell in the division brought little success
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
The FA Cup, known officially as The Football Association Challenge Cup, is an annual knockout association football competition in mens domestic English football. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest association football competition in the world and it is organised by and named after The Football Association. For sponsorship reasons, from 2015 through to 2018 it is known as The Emirates FA Cup. A concurrent womens tournament is held, the FA Womens Cup. A record 763 clubs competed in 2011–12, the tournament consists of 12 randomly drawn rounds followed by the semi-finals and the final. The last entrants are the Premier League and Championship clubs, into the draw for the Third Round Proper, in the modern era, only one non-league team has ever reached the quarter finals, and teams below Level 2 have never reached the final. As a result, as well as who wins, significant focus is given to those minnows who progress furthest, especially if they achieve an unlikely giant-killing victory. Winners receive the FA Cup trophy, of which there have two designs and five actual cups, the latest is a 2014 replica of the second design. Winners also qualify for European football and a place in the FA Community Shield match, in 1863, the newly founded Football Association published the Laws of the Game of Association Football, unifying the various different rules in use before then. On 20 July 1871, in the offices of The Sportsman newspaper, the inaugural FA Cup tournament kicked off in November 1871. After thirteen games in all, Wanderers were crowned the winners in the final, Wanderers retained the trophy the following year. The modern cup was beginning to be established by the 1888–89 season, following the 1914–15 edition, the competition was suspended due to the First World War, and did not resume until 1919–20. The 1922–23 competition saw the first final to be played in the newly opened Wembley Stadium, due to the outbreak of World War II, the competition was not played between the 1938–39 and 1945–46 editions. Having previously featured replays, the modern day practice of ensuring the semi-final and final matches finish on the day, was introduced from 2000 onwards. Redevelopment of Wembley saw the final played outside of England for the first time, the final returned to Wembley in 2007, followed by the semi-finals from 2008. The competition is open to any club down to Level 10 of the English football league system which meets the eligibility criteria, all clubs in the top four levels are automatically eligible. Clubs in the six levels are also eligible provided they have played in either the FA Cup. Newly formed clubs, such as F. C. United of Manchester in 2005–06 and also 2006–07, all clubs entering the competition must also have a suitable stadium
It began in the 1983–84 season as the Associate Members Cup, but in 1992, after the lower-division clubs became full members of the Football League, it was renamed the Football League Trophy. The competition replaced the short-lived Football League Group Cup and it was renamed again in 2016, as the EFL Trophy. The competition has been associated with a sponsor since its second edition, currently. The first draws are made in August, then the runs as 16 regional groups. The top two from each group qualify for the stages before the two winners meet in late March or early April in the final at Englands national stadium. The current champions are Coventry City, who beat Oxford United 2-1 in the final to win the competition for the first time, the competition was inaugurated as the Associate Members Cup in the 1983–84 season and followed on from the short-lived Football League Group Cup. The competition was renamed the Football League Trophy in 1992, the competition was renamed again in 2016, becoming the EFL Trophy, coinciding with the Football League rebranding to the English Football League. 64 teams enter from Round One, including all 48 teams from League One and League Two, the competition will now feature 16 regional groups of four teams, with the top two from each group progressing to the knockout stages. In the first year of the tournament, the 48 eligible Third, the first round had 12 knockout ties in each section, and the second had six. In each section the two second-round losers with the narrowest defeats were reprieved, and joined the six clubs in the regional quarter-finals. A major change was introduced for the 1985–86 tournament, with 8 three-team groups being set up in each of the two sections, teams played one home and one away game and the group winners proceeded to the regional knockout stages. This format was tweaked the following season, with two teams qualifying from each group, resulting in a round of 16 knockout stage in each section. For a number of seasons in the early to mid-1990s, the competition ran with only seven three-team groups and this was owing to League reorganisation and the demise of Aldershot and Maidstone United, which resulted in there being fewer than 48 teams in the 3rd and 4th levels. The group phase was abolished for the 1996–97 tournament, instead,8 teams in each received a bye to the second round. The number of Conference entrants was increased to 12 starting in 2002–03, resulting in 14 first-round ties, Conference teams no longer participated from the 2006–07 tournament onward, and the format reverted to 8 first-round teams in each section, with 8 sides gaining byes to the second round. The competition has always been contested by all teams at Levels Three, during the 2016–17 season,16 category 1 Premier League academy/under-21 sides have taken part in the competition. The first final in 1984 was to have played at the then Wembley Stadium. From 2001 to 2007, during the rebuilding of the former Wembley, source, napit. co. uk The record attendance for the final is 80,841, for the 1988 Final match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burnley at Wembley
The EFL Cup, or simply the League Cup, is an annual knockout football competition in mens domestic English football. First held in 1960–61 as the Football League Cup, it is one of the three top domestic competitions in England, alongside the Premier League and FA Cup. It concludes in February, long before the two, which end in May. It was introduced by the league as a response to the popularity of European football. It also took advantage of the roll-out of floodlights, allowing the fixtures to be played as midweek evening games, with the renaming of the Football League as the English Football League in 2016, the tournament was rebranded as the EFL Cup from the 2016–17 season onwards. The tournament is played over seven rounds, with single leg ties throughout, the final is held at Wembley Stadium, it is the only tie in the competition played at a neutral venue and on a weekend. Entrants are seeded in the rounds, and a system of byes based on league level ensures higher ranked teams enter in later rounds. Winners receive the EFL Cup, of which there have been three designs, the current one also being the original, the current holders are Manchester United, who beat Southampton 3–2 in the 2017 final to win their fifth League Cup. Some clubs have fielded a weaker side in the competition. Many of the top English sides, Arsenal and Manchester United in particular, have used the competition to give young players valuable big-game experience. However, in 2010, in response to Arsène Wengers claim that a League Cup win would not end his trophy drought, Alex Ferguson described the trophy as a pot worth winning. The original idea for a League Cup came from Stanley Rous who saw the competition as a consolation for clubs who had already knocked out of the FA Cup. However it was not Rous who came to implement it, the re-organisation of the league was not immediately forthcoming, however, the cup competition was introduced regardless. The trophy was paid for personally by Football League President Joe Richards, Richards was proud of the competition, Richards described the competitions formation as an interim step on the way to the leagues re-organisation. I hope the Press will not immediately assume that the League is going to fall out with the F. A. or anybody else, the time has come for our voice to be heard in every problem which affects the professional game. The League Cup competition was established at a time when match day attendances were dwindling, the league had lost 1 million spectators compared to the previous season. It was established at a time when tensions between the Football League and the Football Association were high, the biggest disagreement was how revenue was shared between the clubs. During the late 1950s, the majority of senior English clubs equipped their grounds with floodlights and this opened up the opportunity to exploit weekday evenings throughout the winter
Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
Tottenham Hotspur Football Club /ˈtɒtnəm, -tənəm/, commonly referred to as Spurs, is an English football club located in Tottenham, Haringey, London, that competes in the Premier League. The clubs home stadium is White Hart Lane and their newly developed training ground is in Bulls Cross on the northern borders of the London Borough of Enfield. Founded in 1882, Tottenham won the FA Cup for the first time in 1901, Tottenham were the first club in the 20th century to achieve the League and FA Cup Double, winning both competitions in the 1960–61 season. After successfully defending the FA Cup in 1962, in 1963 they became the first British club to win a UEFA club competition – the European Cup Winners Cup, in 1967, Spurs won the FA Cup for a third time in the 1960s. In the 1970s Tottenham won the League Cup on two occasions and were the winner of the UEFA Cup in 1972, becoming the first British club to win two different major European trophies. In the 1980s Spurs won several trophies, the FA Cup twice, FA Community Shield, in the 1990s the club won the FA Cup and the League Cup. When they won the League Cup once more in 2008, it meant that they had won a trophy in each of the last six decades – an achievement only matched by Manchester United. The clubs Latin motto is Audere est Facere, and its emblem is a cockerel standing upon a football, the club has a long-standing rivalry with nearby neighbours Arsenal, with head-to-head fixtures known as the North London derby. The club was formed in 1882, as Hotspur F. C. and played in the Southern League from 1896 until 1908, when they were elected into the Football League Second Division. Before this promotion Tottenham had won the FA Cup in 1901, since then, Tottenham have won the FA Cup a further seven times, the Football League twice, the Football League Cup four times, the UEFA Cup twice and also the UEFA Cup Winners Cup. The Cup Winners Cup victory in 1963 made Tottenham the first English team to win a UEFA competition, in 1960–61 they became the first team to complete The Double in the 20th century. Tottenham played their first matches at Tottenham Marshes on the public pitches. It was at this ground that Spurs first played archrivals Arsenal, there were occasions on which fights would break out on the marshes in dispute of the teams that were allowed to use the best pitches. Crowd sizes were regularly increasing and a new site was becoming needed to accommodate these supporters, in 1898 the club moved from the marshes to Northumberland Park and charged an admission fee of 3d. They only remained at this ground for a year as in April 1899,14,000 fans turned up to watch Spurs play Woolwich Arsenal. The ground was no able to cope with the larger crowds and Spurs were forced to move to a new larger site 100 yards down the road. The White Hart Lane ground was originally a disused nursery owned by the brewery Charringtons, the landlord spotted the increased income he could enjoy if Tottenham played their matches behind his pub and in 1899 the club moved in. They brought with them the stand they used at Northumberland Park which gave shelter to 2,500 fans, notts County were the first visitors to the Lane in a friendly watched by 5,000 people and provided in £115 in receipts, Spurs won 4–1
Peterborough United F.C.
Peterborough United Football Club is a professional football club based in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England. The team compete in League One, the tier in the English football league system. Peterborough United formed in 1934 and played in the old Midland League and their home ground is London Road Stadium, currently known as the ABAX Stadium for sponsorship reasons, and the club nickname is The Posh. After being relegated from the Championship on the day of the 2012–13 season. Their highest finishing position in the Football League ladder was 10th in the Championship, Peterborough were the holders of the 2013–14 Football League Trophy, beating Chesterfield 3–1 in the final at Wembley Stadium in March 2014. Peterborough United was formed in 1934 at Peterboroughs Angel Hotel to provide a replacement for Peterborough & Fletton United, the Posh played in the old Midland League. They won this league on six occasions, including five seasons in a row from 1956 to 1960, the Posh were elected to The Football League for the beginning of the 1960–61 season, winning Division Four. Following the Fourth Division Championship success in 1960–61, The Posh spent seven seasons in the 3rd Division and they reached the quarter-finals of the F. A. Cup in 1964–65, beating Arsenal and Swansea Town along the way before going out to Chelsea and they were relegated back to the 4th Division for financial irregularities in the summer of 1968. The club took six seasons to return to Division 3, winning the 4th Division championship, the Wrexham defeat cast a long shadow over the club and it fell into a long decline. Relegation followed in 1979 and Posh subsequently spent 12 years back in the 4th division, the 1980s was a long story of mismanagement and false dawns, punctuated by the odd cup run. Six players were signed on transfer deadline day, which at the time was a record for the number of players signed by one club on a single day, on the final day of the season, Posh travelled to Chesterfield needing a win to seal promotion. Despite going two goals down in the first ten minutes, the team rallied and drew level with goals from David Robinson, however, Poshs closest rivals, Blackpool lost at Walsall and promotion was achieved. The following season arguably remains the most successful in the clubs history, after an inconsistent start the team hit form during the Autumn when they knocked Wimbledon and Newcastle United out of the League Cup. The reward was a tie with a Liverpool team containing Bruce Grobbelaar, Jan Mølby, Steve McManaman, Dean Saunders. Garry Kimble scored the goal after 19 minutes prompting wild celebrations. In the league, the team went from strength to strength, progress continued in the league and a play-off place was clinched on the last day of the season despite a 1–0 defeat to champions Brentford. The following week, Huddersfield Town came to London Road for the first leg of the Semi-final, captain Mick Halsalls last minute equaliser levelled the score at 2–2
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
Paul Harsley is an English former footballer who played as a midfielder from 1996 until 2012. His professional footballing career began at Grimsby Town in 1996, though he switched to Scunthorpe United a year later and he spent four seasons with the club, racking up 128 league appearances, before moving to Halifax Town. In 2002 he transferred to Northampton Town, and after a couple of years he moved on again to Macclesfield Town. In 2006 he signed with Port Vale, yet again he stayed just two years, though did pick up a Player of the award before signing with Chesterfield. In 2010 he left Chesterfield, having been unsuccessful, and spending much of his time on loan at Darlington. He finished his career in football with a two-year spell at North Ferriby United. In total he made 500 league and 83 cup appearances, scoring 52 goals, born in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, Harsley started his career at the Grimsby Town youth system as a trainee and signed a professional contract on 16 July 1996. He moved to his hometown club Scunthorpe United 7 July 1997 and he broke into Scunthorpes first team on 20 September 1997, aged 18, in a 1–0 defeat at Barnet, replacing Alejandro Calvo García as a late substitute. His first season was successful, as he made fifteen appearances in all. His second season with the club was to far more prolific however. He made 42 appearances as his club won promotion via the Third Division play-off Final in 1999, the final itself took place at Wembley Stadium on his 21st birthday, where they defeated Leyton Orient 1–0. Harsley was an ever-present for Scunthorpes Second Division season, though he was unable to help the club relegation in 23rd place. He maintained his first team spot in 2000–01, but was released by the club at the end of the season, throughout the campaign he was linked with big money moves to First Division clubs, but nothing came of the speculation. Unwilling to play in the Football Conference, in June 2002 Harsley moved on to Northampton Town and he was highly productive throughout the 2002–03 season, making 51 appearances in all competitions and picking up the clubs Player of the Year award. However he suffered his third relegation in four years, as Northampton dropped out of the Second Division in last place,11 points from safety, although he started the 2003–04 season at Northampton, on 13 February 2004 he moved to Third Division rivals Macclesfield Town. He helped them to relegation, before a signing a two-year contract in May 2004. A successful season followed in 2004–05, when his club made the play-offs, despite ever-present Harsley scoring in the play-off semi-final, Macclesfield were knocked out by Lincoln City. At the end of the campaign he was handed the clubs Player of the Year award, the following season proved to be a disappointing one, with Macclesfield again fighting relegation
Macclesfield Town F.C.
Macclesfield Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England. The club currently plays in the National League, the tier of English football. The club was formed in 1874 and play games at the 6,355 capacity Moss Rose stadium. They were members of the Football League from 1997 until 2012, a football club was first formed in Macclesfield in the mid-19th century, but played rugby union rules. In 1874, the club adopted the rules of the Football Association, between 1874 and 1940 the club was known by a succession of names, including Macclesfield Football and Athletic Club, Hallifield F. C. and Macclesfield F. C. When competitive football resumed after World War II, Macclesfield Town Football Club Ltd. was formed, the club joined the Cheshire County League in 1946–47, playing their first game after reformation on 31 August,1946, a 2–0 defeat to Buxton. The clubs form in the remainder of the 1940s was largely indifferent, Macclesfield Town progressed through four qualifying rounds to make their first appearance in the FA Cup first round in 1960 under manager Frank Bowyer, but lost 7–2 to Southport. The club reached the FA Cup third round for the first time in 1968, the club were founder members of the Northern Premier League, one of three leagues at the fifth tier of English football, upon its creation in 1968. Macclesfield Town were champions in each of the first two seasons of the competition, finishing twelve points clear in 1968–69, and by goal average in 1969–70. The 1969–70 season also resulted in a trip to Wembley for the final of the FA Trophy. Macclesfield Town defeated Telford United 2–0 in front of more than 28,000 spectators to win the competition, the club finished as Northern Premier League runners-up in the 1984–85 season, and two years later Macclesfield Towns third Northern Premier League title resulted in promotion to the Conference. Macclesfield Town finished in mid-table in their first Conference season, the club reached the FA Trophy final for the second time in 1989, facing Telford United, the same opponents as Macclesfield Towns first final nineteen years earlier. However, the team did not match the achievement of their predecessors, mcIlroy took charge at the start of the 1993–94 season, and guided the club to the Football Conference championship in his second season as manager. Upon gaining League status, the club turned fully professional, Macclesfield Towns first League match was a 2–1 win at home to Torquay United. It was a year for the club, who were unbeaten at home for the entire season. However, the higher level proved a step too far for the club, mcIlroy soon left to become the Northern Ireland national coach and was replaced by former Manchester United colleague Peter Davenport. A dismal start to the season cost Davenport his job though. David Moss in turn succeeded Prescott as manager and delivered two decent mid-table finishes, but a bad start to the 2003–04 season resulted in his sacking, Club stalwart John Askey succeeded Moss initially on a temporary basis, and earned the job permanently with some promising early results
Crewe Alexandra F.C.
Crewe Alexandra Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Crewe, Cheshire, England. Nicknamed The Railwaymen because of the links with the rail industry. The team compete in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. The club was formed in 1877 and named after Princess Alexandra and it was a founding member of the Football League Second Division in 1892, but only lasted four years in the League. Since re-entering the competition in 1921, they have remained in the lower divisions. Crewes only major honour is the Football League Trophy which they won in 2013 and they have also won several minor trophies, including the Cheshire Premier Cup and the Cheshire Senior Cup. Gradi is known for focusing on development and promoting attractive. Notable players brought through the Crewe youth system include former internationals Rob Jones, Neil Lennon, Danny Murphy, Seth Johnson, other notable players to have made their name at Crewe in that time include Geoff Thomas, David Platt and Robbie Savage. Crewe Alexandra were formed in 1877 as Crewe Football Club, separate from the successful Crewe Cricket Club and they were based at the Alexandra Recreation Ground and played their first match against North Staffs that same year, a match that ended 1–1. In 1883, Crewe Alexandras first match in the FA Cup was against Scottish club Queens Park of Glasgow, in 1888, the club reached the FA Cup semi-finals, defeating Derby County and Middlesbrough en route, before going out to Preston North End. Crewe were founding members of the Football League Second Division in 1892, having previously been members of the Football Alliance, in 1906 the current Gresty Road ground was rebuilt to the west of the original site. Crewe rejoined the Football League in 1921, during which season a crowd of 15,102 packed into Gresty Road to watch Crewe entertain local rivals Stoke City. Crewe earned their first honours by winning the Welsh Cup in 1936 and 1937, in 1936, Bert Swindells scored his 100th League goal for Crewe Alexandra. He went on to score 126 goals for the club, a record still stands today. 1955 saw Crewe embark on a sequence where they did not win away from home for 56 matches, the dismal run ended with a 1–0 win at Southport. One of Crewes most famous took place against Spurs in the FA Cup in 1960. A new record attendance of 20,000 saw lowly Crewe hold Spurs to a 2–2 draw on 30 January, on 3 February, Tottenham convincingly won the replay 13–2, which remains a record defeat for the club. Llewellyn and Nev Coleman scored for Crewe,1961 saw Crewes most notable win in their history, Jimmy McGuigans side defeated Chelsea 2–1 in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge
Daniel Phillip Whitaker is an English football midfielder for National League club Macclesfield Town. A former Manchester United Academy player, he turned professional with Macclesfield Town in 2001 and he spent five years with the club, and made over 200 appearances in all competitions, before he switched to Port Vale in June 2006. He played over 100 games for the Vale in two seasons, before he signed for Oldham Athletic in June 2008, again a first team regular, he left after two seasons to join Chesterfield in May 2010. He helped the club to the League Two title in 2010–11 and he also helped the club to the Football League Trophy title in 2012. He returned to Macclesfield Town in August 2013, Whitaker was a Manchester United junior, though he switched Moss Lane for Moss Rose, signing with Macclesfield Town. He scored on his Football League debut, during a 2–1 home defeat to Exeter City on 2 February 2002 and he went on to make another 15 Third Division appearances that season, earning a fresh contract upon the seasons end. A regular in the 2002–03 season, he scored a hat-trick in the League Cup 4–1 triumph over Barnsley on 11 September, in most unusual fashion all three goals came in the second period of extra time. With ten goals before the break he was linked to both Oldham Athletic and Preston North End. However manager David Moss was highly dismissive of such speculation, saying, Quite frankly, I am sick and tired of reading about players who have just signed two-year contracts, Danny Whitaker will be going nowhere except Macclesfield reserves if he doesnt improve. The club insisted that Whitaker was too valuable a player to let go and this transfer talk came despite him having recently signed a contract to keep him with the Silkmen until June 2005. Rated as a player before the start of the 2003–04 season, he had a rather quiet season with just six goals. He scored just four goals in the 2004–05 season, though manager Brian Horton was still keen to hold on to him, six goals in 45 appearances followed in 2005–06. However, despite having established in the heart of the Macclesfield midfield for the past four years and winning the clubs player of the year award. Now a free agent, Whitaker moved up to League One with Port Vale in June 2006 and he played 51 games in his first season at Vale Park. At the end of the 2007–08 season, where Whitaker again played 40+ games, but in May he rejected the contract and was told he could look for another club. However, Lee Sinnott told Whitaker that he would get back to him with an offer if chairman Bill Bratt could raise some more money. In June he was offered an improved deal, whilst mulling over the offer he was given a deadline. On 20 June 2008, he turned down the chance to stay at Vale, Whitaker scored eight goals in 42 appearances for the Latics during the 2008–09 season
Yeovil Town F.C.
Yeovil Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Yeovil, Somerset, England. They play in League Two, the tier of English football. The club won the League Two championship in 2004–05, and promotion to the Championship through the play-offs in 2013, founded in 1895, Yeovil took 108 years to enter the Football League when they were promoted from the Football Conference as champions in 2003. This success was repeated in 2005 when they reached the round and were drawn away against Charlton Athletic, then in the Premier League. Yeovils home ground is Huish Park, built in 1990 on the site of an old camp and named after their former home, Huish, itself known for its pitch. The clubs nickname The Glovers is a reference to the history of glove-making in the town of Yeovil, Yeovil Football Club was founded in 1890, and shared its ground with the local rugby club for many years. Five years later the club was renamed Yeovil Casuals and started playing games at the Pen Mill Athletic Ground. In 1907 the name Yeovil Town was adopted, which on amalgamation with Petters United became Yeovil, the name reverted to Yeovil Town before the 1946–47 season. The club came to attention as giant-killers during the 1948–49 FA Cup, in which they defeated Sunderland 2–1 in the fourth round. They were defeated 8–0 in the round by Manchester United. Between 1955 and 1973 they were champions of the Southern Football League three times, and runners-up twice, during this period, Yeovil Town applied for election to the Football League on a number of occasions, coming within a few votes of being elected in 1976. In 1979 the Glovers were founder members of the new national non-league division, in 1985, they were relegated to the Isthmian League. Yeovil won that championship in 1988 and returned to the Conference, there was success in the Bob Lord Challenge Trophy in 1990 and three years later Yeovil finished fourth in the Conference, their best finish ever. In January 1995, former Weymouth and Spurs player Graham Roberts was appointed manager, Yeovil secured promotion back into the Conference in 1997 after winning the Isthmian League with a record number of points –101. Colin Lippiatt became manager for the 1998–99 season and brought Terry Skiverton to the club as a player and their team included many top players, some of whom went on to play Premier League football. Notable players include Gavin Williams who moved to West Ham United, Lee Johnson, Chris Weale, Darren Way, Yeovils first game in the Football League was a 3–1 away win over Rochdale. The Glovers finished their first season in position, and reached the third round of the FA Cup before losing 2–0 at home to Liverpool. The following season Yeovil finished as champions of League Two with 83 points, partway through the season the club was sold by Jon Goddard-Watts to David Webb, who took over the role of chief executive from chairman John Fry
Darlington 1883 is an English football club that plays at Blackwell Meadows, Darlington. This policy had previously applied to other collapsing clubs, such as Chester City FC. Darlington applied to join the Northern League as a new club, a deadline imposed by the FA meant the board was unable to wait for the results of a poll of supporters, so the name Darlington 1883 was chosen. The company Darlington 1883 Limited was incorporated on 18 Jan 2012 by owners of Darlington Football Club and this company then went on to purchase the assets of Darlington F. C. on 3 May 2012 when a CVA could not be agreed with creditors. Darlington Football Club itself was founded in 1883, and became a football club in 1908. The club became a member of the Football League in 1920, in which it competed until 1989, in the 1989–90 season and from 2010 to 2012, Darlington played in the Football Conference. The club was taken over by Darlington1883, a group of local fans. Darlington1883 failed to arrange a CVA, and as such on 21 June 2012 Darlington F. C. ceased to exist, an appeal against the FA decision was inevitably rejected, confirming that the new club would not be able to play as Darlington F. C. On 25 June 2012 the new registration of a new club. In March 2013 it was confirmed that the Darlington Football Club Community Interest Company and this made the club 100% fan and community owned, with 26% owned by the Darlington 1883 Supporters Club and 22% by 22 individual fans. Following a successful first season in the Northern League Division One, Darlington 1883 were crowned champions with a haul of 122 points. As a result, Darlington 1883 were promoted to the Northern Premier League Division One North, even though Darlington 1883 are a new club, they are committed to paying the former clubs debt including a recent payment of £53,000 to HMRC. Darlington played in the Northern Premier League Division One North for the 2013–14 season, in the 2013–14 season, Darlington finished 2nd and qualified for the playoffs, where they were beaten in the semifinal by Ramsbottom United. Ramsbottom went on to win the final and achieve promotion, in the 2014–15 season, Darlington again finished 2nd and on 2 May 2015 they won the playoff final 2–0 against Bamber Bridge to win promotion to the Northern Premier League Premier Division. In the 2015–16 season, Darlington clinched the Northern Premier League Premier Division title on 21 April 2016 after beating Whitby Town 7–1 to seal promotion to the National League North. Norman Stephens and some of the staff were retained by Darlington who took Hordens place in the Wearside League. They played their first game under the new name on 6 October in a 1–0 away defeat to Boldon C. A, plans had originally been laid down to move to Shildon Football Club, but Heritage Park was eventually chosen as Darlingtons first official home. Heritage Park is south-west of Bishop Auckland, the attendance was exactly 3,000 at Blackwell Meadows
Queens Park Rangers F.C.
Queens Park Rangers Football Club is a professional association football club based in White City, London, that plays in the Championship, the second tier of English football. Their honours include winning the League Cup in 1967, as well as finishing top of the tier in 1983 and 2011. QPR were also runners-up of the Football League First Division in 1975–76, Queens Park Rangers were founded in 1886 after the merger of Christchurch Rangers and St. Judes Institute. Owing to their proximity to other west London clubs, QPR maintain long-standing rivalries with other clubs in the area. The most notable of these are Chelsea, Fulham and Brentford, outside London, QPR also traditionally share rivalries with Watford, Luton and Cardiff, although in recent years these fixtures have become less prominent. For the current season see 2015–16 Queens Park Rangers F. C. season The club was formed in 1886, the resulting team was called Queens Park Rangers, because most of the players came from the Queens Park area of north-west London. QPR were promoted as champions of Division 3 South in the 1947–48 season, Dave Mangnall was the manager as the club participated in four seasons of the Second Division, being relegated in 1951–52. Tony Ingham was signed from Leeds United and went on to make the most ever league appearances for QPR, arguably the clubs greatest ever manager, Alec Stock, arrived prior to the start of the 1959–60 season. The 1960–61 season saw QPR achieve their biggest win to date, in time, Stock, together with Jim Gregory who arrived as chairman in the mid-1960s, helped to achieve a total transformation of the club and its surroundings. It is still the major trophy that QPR have won. It was also the first League Cup final to be held at Wembley Stadium, after winning promotion in 1968 to the top flight for the first time in their history, Rangers were relegated after just one season and spent the next four years in Division Two. Terry Venables joined from Spurs at the beginning of the 1969–70 season, during this time, new QPR heroes emerged including Phil Parkes, Don Givens, Dave Thomas and Stan Bowles. These new signings were in addition to home-grown talent such as Dave Clement, Ian Gillard, Mick Leach, after completing their 42-game season, QPR sat at the top of the league, one point ahead of Liverpool who went on to defeat Wolverhampton Wanderers to clinch the title. Wolves were relegated to the Second Division that same season, following Sextons departure in 1977 the club eventually slipped into the Second Division in 1979. In 1980 Terry Venables took over as manager and the club installed a plastic pitch, in 1982 QPR, still playing in the Second Division, reached the FA Cup Final for the only time in the clubs history, facing holders Tottenham Hotspur. Tottenham won 1–0 in a replay, the following season QPR went on to win the Second Division championship and returned to English footballs top division. After a respectable fifth-place finish, and UEFA Cup qualification, the following year, in 1988 the club had a new chairman, Richard Thompson. Who at 24 was the Premier Leagues youngest ever chairman, over the next seven years, various managers came and went from Loftus Road and the club spent many seasons finishing mid table but avoided relegation
Ritchie John Humphreys is an English professional footballer who plays for League One club Chesterfield, where he also serves as a coach. He is chairman of the Professional Footballers Association and holds a UEFA A Licence coaching qualification, Humphreys started his career with Premier League side Sheffield Wednesday in 1996. Whilst with the club, he was loaned out to Scunthorpe United and he also won five caps for England at under-20 and under-21 levels. He left the club in 2001 and joined Cambridge United for a short period and he joined Port Vale on loan in 2006. He left Hartlepool in July 2013, and moved on to Chesterfield, whilst at Chesterfield in 2014 he appeared at Wembley in the final of the Football League Trophy and helped the club to the League Two title in 2013–14. He was also recognised at regional and national levels, being named on the PFA Team of the Year twice and he helped the club win promotion out of the fourth tier in 2002–03, and again in 2006–07. However he suffered play-off heartbreak with the club on three separate occasions, Humphreys was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He was introduced to football from an age, his grandfather, Ernest Humphreys, played for Millwall, Motherwell. His dad, John Humphreys, also had trials with Sheffield United, Humphreys grew up as a Sheffield United fan and joined their academy, which he described as a dream come true. However, they released him when we he was 13, Humphreys then played for the Sheffield Boys and was one of their few players who did not play for a professional club. However, that changed when Humphreys was scouted by a Sheffield Wednesday scout. He completed a dream by scoring at Bramall Lane in a 3–2 win for Hartlepool in December 2012. In 1995, after leaving Newfield Secondary School, Humphreys became part of Sheffield Wednesday’s youth squad, for the youth squad Humphreys played as a left winger and was offered a professional contract. Due to the injuries of strikers David Hirst and Mark Bright, Humphreys played the first game and scored twice. He then played in the game against FC Utrecht and scored again. Johan Cruyff was the guest of honour for that game and he praised Humphreys and it was during this pre season tour that he was taken under the wing and guidance of Wednesday legend Chris Waddle. After scoring 4 goals in his first 5 Premier League games lifting Wednesday to the top of the league, Humphreys did not score another league goal all season. Humphreys pre-season form earned him a league debut in Wednesdays opening match against Aston Villa
Hartlepool United F.C.
Hartlepool United Football Club is a professional association football club based in Hartlepool, County Durham, England. The team plays in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. Hartlepool play their games at Victoria Park on Clarence Road. The club was founded in 1908 as Hartlepools United Football Athletic Company and their main rivals were Darlington, until that club entered into administration in 2012. Brian Clough began his career at the club in 1965. Under Cyril Knowles management the club won promotion to the Third Division in 1990, in 2005, Hartlepool narrowly missed promotion to the Football League Championship. The team mascot HAngus the Monkey was elected mayor at the 2002 Hartlepool Council election, the club receives vocal support from Jeff Stelling, the presenter of Sky Sports Soccer Saturday. In 1920, the Football League formed a third division and this was based almost entirely in the south, as the new division was created by absorbing virtually the entire top division of the Southern League, with Grimsby Town the only northern representative. This was rectified the following season when a Third Division North was created, brian Clough was invited to manage Hartlepool in 1965. His reaction was, I dont fancy the place, but he took the job, in 1968 the s and the United were dropped from the team name of Hartlepools United. This was in connection with West Hartlepool being absorbed along with the old town of Hartlepool. The appendage of United was restored in 1977, under Len Ashurst, the team slowly began to revive after years of largely indifferent form. Ashurst did precisely that, finishing in 11th in 1973–74, he left the club to manage Gillingham. Ken Hale took over and guided the team to 13th and 14th over the two seasons and also reached the League Cup Fourth round in 1974–75. However, 1976–77 saw a return to the doldrums, Hale was sacked after failing to win any of the first nine games at the start of October and his successor Billy Horner could not stop the rot either, and the team finished in 22nd place. Over the close season the name was changed to its current form of Hartlepool United. A tragedy struck the club a few weeks before the end of the season when 20-year-old player Dave Wiggett was killed in a car crash and it seemed to be only a matter of time before Hartlepool United followed the same way. Once again then, it was a relief for the supporters that Horner managed to make considerable improvements the following season
Clayton Alexander Fortune is an English football defender for Southern League Division One South & West club Hereford. He spent the first six years of his career at Bristol City and he then began a two-year spell with Leyton Orient, before signing with Darlington in summer 2008. Between 2005 and 2007 he also enjoyed two lengthy loan spells with Port Vale and he spent the 2009–10 season with Weston-super-Mare, before returning to the Football League with Aldershot Town for the 2010–11 season. He returned to Weston-super-Mare as player-coach in June 2014, before joining Hereford in November 2016, Fortune started his career with Tottenham Hotspur, but left for Bristol City, having never appeared for the former. Signing his first professional contract in March 2001, he made his debut on 4 December 2001 and he became a first regular for the first time in the 2004–05 season, as City finished one point outside the play-offs. He had a loan spell with Port Vale from November 2005 to the end of the season. During this spell he made a number of appearances and scored his first professional goals, netting against Blackpool. Vale manager Martin Foyle planned to buy Fortune in April 2006, a five-figure fee was agreed with City, however the deal fell through as he rejected personal terms with the club. He then had trials at both Derby County and Queens Park Rangers, instead he transferred to Leyton Orient in August 2006, unwanted at City. By November 2006, he found back at Vale Park. The 2007–08 season was spent with Orient, however he missed much of it due to dislocated shoulder and was released upon its conclusion and he spent November 2008 at Conference side Rushden & Diamonds, making just he once appearances before returning to Darlington. Fortune signed for Conference South side Weston-super-Mare in July 2009 and he made a total of 31 appearances, scoring five goals for the club, who narrowly escaped relegation. In July 2010, Fortune signed a contract with Aldershot Town after impressing on trial. He made just three starts, and was not offered a new contract at the end of the season. He then spent a spell with Southern League club Clevedon Town. He signed with Southern League side Mangotsfield United in June 2012, Fortune made his debut for Mangotsfield in a 1–0 home defeat to Cirencester Town on 18 August. On 3 October, he moved up a division to join Chippenham Town, however he left the club just four weeks later after playing just two games, manager Nathan Rudge said that he never really got going with us. He returned to Clevedon Town in November 2012, the Seasiders finished 15h in 2012–13 and 17th in 2013–14
Leyton Orient F.C.
Leyton Orient Football Club /ˌleɪtən ˈɔəriənt/ is a professional football club in Leyton, London, England. They play in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. The clubs home colours are all red, Leyton Orient have spent one season in the top flight of English football, in 1962–63. In 1978, they reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the time in their history. Between October 1993 and September 1995, Orient did not win an away game in the league. Leyton Orients home ground Brisbane Road is officially known as the Matchroom Stadium after former club chairman Barry Hearns sports promotion company, in 2014, Hearn sold the club to Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti. Leyton Orient finished seventh, one away from the playoff positions. In the 2013–14 season, Orient lost the League One Play-Off final at Wembley to Rotherham United, the team has had several name changes since, first as Eagle Cricket Club in 1886 then as Orient Football Club in 1888. Indeed, the nickname the Savage Cuts came from a particularly gruesome incident during training in the 19th Century when the goalkeeper suffered a laceration to the arm. A cry was heard across the pitch, the goalkeeper is cut, its a deep and savage cut. The other players believing this to be a lampoon, mockingly repeated, we have savage cuts, the Os are the second-oldest league club in London behind Fulham and are the 24th oldest club currently playing in the Football League. Following Fulhams promotion to the Premier League they became the oldest London club playing in the Football League and they played in the Second Division of the Southern Federations League in 1904, joined the Football League in 1905. By this time such as part-time outside right, Herbert Kingaby could earn £2 4s per week – payment being somewhat sporadic. The twelve History books written on the club by its historian Neilson N. C, the name Leyton Orient was adopted following the conclusion of the Second World War. The club had moved to Leyton in 1937, though there was another team called Leyton F. C. A further rename back to simply Orient took place in 1966 after the Borough of Leyton was absorbed into the London Borough of Waltham Forest, the 1914–15 season was the last football season before the League was suspended due to the outbreak of the First World War. Forty one members of the Clapton Orient team and staff joined up into the 17th Battalion Middlesex Regiment, the highest of any team in the country. At the final game of the season – Clapton Orient vs Leicester Fosse,20,000 people came out to support the team, a farewell parade was also hosted, but not before the Os had won 2–0
Luke John Rodgers is an English professional footballer who plays as a striker for National League club Solihull Moors. He played in Englands Football League, starting at Shrewsbury Town in 1999, Rodgers spent six years with the Shropshire side and made over 200 appearances as they were relegated and then promoted back to the Football League. In the summer of 2005 he moved to Crewe Alexandra, where he stayed until a January 2007 switch to Port Vale, Two years later he moved on to Yeovil Town following a short loan spell. His permanent spell at Yeovil was brief, he transferred to Notts County in summer 2009. He completed a move to Major League Soccer with the New York Red Bulls in January 2011, in March 2012, he was released by the Red Bulls after his work visa renewal was denied, and transferred to Norwegian club Lillestrøm. He returned to the English league with Portsmouth in August 2012 and he signed with Swedish club Hammarby IF in July 2013, and stayed until the end of the calendar year. He signed with Forest Green Rovers in February 2014, and joined Sutton Coldfield Town the following year and he joined Solihull Moors in December 2016. Rodgers initially played for Shrewsbury Town, rising through the ranks to break into the first team as a youth player and he first established himself as a goal-scorer during the 2000–01 season, as he bagged seven goals in 27 games. Three of his goals came against Rochdale in a 7–1 romp at Spotland on 24 February, the 2001–02 season showed Rodgers potential, as he hit 22 goals in 41 games, this time never being used as a substitute. In 2002–03 he hit twenty goals in 47 games, hull City also had a £200,000 bid of their own rejected, as Quinn persuaded Rodgers to remain in Shropshire. Earlier in the season there was also unconfirmed speculation that Southampton had offered as much as £600,000 for the player, despite being limited to 26 league starts in 2003–04, he still bagged fifteen goals in his 41 games. He also scored both goals past Barnet in the play-off semi-final aggregate victory that took Shrewsbury into the play-off Final with Aldershot Town at the Britannia Stadium. The final itself went to a penalty shoot-out, and though Rodgers missed his penalty, in 2004–05, his final season with the Shrews, he managed just eight goals in forty games. However he had become a fan favourite at Gay Meadow as he scored 67 goals in 204 appearances for the Shropshire side in all competitions. Rodgers turned down Shrewsburys offer of a contract, and was initially linked with a move to SPL high-flyers Hibernian. Instead he moved to Championship club Crewe Alexandra on a contract for a tribunal-decided fee in July 2005. Shrewsbury received £100,000 from the tribunal with two add-ons of £20,000 based on appearances, however, due to his spell at Crewe. Crewe went on to suffer relegation in 2005–06, and though Rodgers was limited to six goals in his 26 games, he was forced to come off the bench in half of these games
Paul Stephen Musselwhite is an English former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper and is the goalkeeping coach at League One club Scunthorpe United. He has made 692 appearances in the league and 815 appearances in all competitions and he began his career with Portsmouth, before joining Scunthorpe United in March 1988. He played 132 league matches for the club, as Scunthorpe suffered numerous play-off defeats and he spent the next eight years with Vale, and played 312 league matches in what one of the most successful periods in the clubs history. He kept goal in the 1993 Football League Trophy Final victory, in August 2000, he joined Sheffield Wednesday, before moving on to Hull City the next month. He helped the club win promotion out of the Third Division in 2003–04 and he helped Scunthorpe to win promotion out of League Two in 2004–05, before he dropped into the Conference South in May 2006 to sign with Eastleigh. He then took up coaching with Lincoln City between 2009 and 2011, before switching to York City in June 2011 and he was on the bench for York as they won the 2012 Conference Premier play-off Final. Born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, Musselwhite started his career at his club, Portsmouth. However, he did not make any appearances for the club in the first team, in the 1987–88 season, Scunthorpe finished one point short of Bolton Wanderers in third place, and were then defeated by Torquay United in the play-off semi-final. Scunthorpe also moved from the Old Showground to Glanford Park, becoming the first Football League club to move to a new stadium in 33 years. They suffered the fate in 1988–89, one point off third place Crewe Alexandra, again with superior goal difference. The club fell away in 1989–90, finishing in 11th place and they pushed for promotion in 1990–91, in an unusual season an eighth-place finish was enough to see them into the play-offs. However, for the time in four years they lost in the semi-final stage. In 1991–92, Scunthorpe beat Crewe in the play-off semi-final, but lost on the final to Blackpool on penalties, following a 1–1 draw. On 30 July 1992, he did what his club failed to do and made it into the new Second Division, signed to replace the veteran Mark Grew, who had left for Cardiff City, Musselwhite started 1992–93 as second choice behind Trevor Wood. However, on 5 September 1992, Wood conceded a penalty at Vetch Field in an off the incident with a Swansea City player and was subsequently dropped in favour of Musselwhite. Vale finished the one point behind Bolton in third place. Vale did have success at Wembley Stadium in the 1993 Football League Trophy Final, with Musselwhite in goal, Vale won promotion to the First Division in 1993–94, finishing in second place behind champions Reading. Both club and goalkeeper adapted well to the tier, finishing 10 points above the relegation zone in 1994–95
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
Malvin Ginah Kamara is an English-born former Sierra Leonean international football midfielder. He played in midfield or at full-back, starting his professional career with Wimbledon in 2003, he remained as the club became the Milton Keynes Dons, before he transferred to Cardiff City in 2006. The following year he moved on to Huddersfield Town via Port Vale and he spent a brief time on loan at Grimsby Town in 2008, before he entered non-league football with Barrow in 2009. Kamara came through Wimbledons youth setup, joining on a basis in January 2003. His debut came on 21 April 2003 at Selhurst Park, in a 2–0 win over Preston North End and he was a 72nd minute substitute for Patrick Agyemang. He managed to establish himself as a semi-regular in the 2003–04 season and his first goal came in a 2–1 home defeat to Sunderland on 6 April. His second game eleven days later, in a 3–2 win at the Valley Parade and he stuck with the club through their transformation into the Milton Keynes Dons, in the summer of 2004. He made 29 appearances in the MK Dons first ever season, scoring once in the League Cup in a 3–0 at Peterborough United and he was to play 30 games the following season, as the club suffered relegation from League One. In July 2006, after finding out he would not be offered a new contract at the club and he made sixteen appearances for Championship side Cardiff, though made just four starts. In January 2007, he transferred to Martin Foyles Port Vale for a nominal fee and his stay at Vale Park proved to be a short one. In June 2007 he signed with Huddersfield Town, regular first team football followed in the 2007–08 season as he played fifty games over all competitions for the Yorkshire based club. He scored five goals, including two against Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup First Round tie at the Crown Ground. These goals proved vital in what was a 3–2 win, helping the club to reach the Fifth Round. He joined League Two side Grimsby Town on loan in September 2008 and he returned to the Galpharm Stadium on 25 October, after playing just two matches at Grimsby. He was released by Huddersfield in May 2009, his three appearances for the club during the 2008–09 season a stark contrast to his virtual ever-presence the season previous, in August 2009, he joined old-club Port Vale on trial, hoping to impress mew manager Micky Adams. The trial ended quickly however, Adams instead opting to look at other options, on 25 September 2009, it was announced that Kamara had signed for Conference National side Barrow. He made his debut the day in Barrows 3–0 away defeat at Salisbury City. Kamara scored on his debut three days later in a 3–1 win over Mansfield Town
Barnsley Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England. The team play in the Championship, the tier of the English football league system. Nicknamed the Tykes, they were founded in 1887 by Reverend Tiverton Preedy under the name Barnsley St. Peters, the club colours are red and white, and their home ground since 1888 has been Oakwell. Taylor broke into the Barnsley team just after the sale of wing-half Danny Blanchflower to Aston Villa. Blanchflower would go on to sign for Tottenham Hotspur and be voted FWA Player of the Year twice as well as captaining the North London club to the first league and cup double of the 20th century. Barnsley FC was established in 1887 by a clergyman, Tiverton Preedy and they joined the Football League in 1898, and struggled in the Second Division for the first decade, due in part to ongoing financial difficulties. In 1910 the club reached the FA Cup final, where they lost out to Newcastle United in a replay match. However, they would reach the 1912 FA Cup Final where they would defeat West Bromwich Albion 1–0 in a replay to win the trophy for the first. When the league restarted after World War I, the 1919–20 season brought significant changes to the league. The principal difference was that the First Division would be increased from 20 teams to 22, the bottom team from the previous season was Tottenham Hotspur and they were duly relegated. The first extra place in the First Division went to Chelsea, derby County and Preston North End were rightly promoted from the Second Division which left one place to be filled. Henry Norris, the then Arsenal chairman, had recently moved Woolwich Arsenal north of the River Thames to Highbury and he was later to admit some underhand dealings, allegedly including the bribing of some member clubs to vote for Arsenals inclusion. They duly won the vote and Barnsley were consigned to the tier of English football for another 8 decades. The club did come close to reaching the top division in the early years. In 1922, they missed out on promotion by a single goal, during the years preceding and following World War II, the club found themselves sliding between the Second and Third Division. Around the time of Blanchflowers departure, a young centre-forward called Tommy Taylor broke into the Barnsley team, scoring 26 goals in 44 games for Barnsley. In April 1953, he one of the most expensive players in English football at the time when Matt Busby signed him for Manchester United for a fee of £29,999. In 1965, Barnsley were relegated to the Football League Fourth Division for the first time and they went down to the Fourth Division again in 1972, and this time stayed down for seven seasons, finally returning to the Third Division in 1979
Marc John Richards is an English professional footballer who plays as striker for EFL League One side Northampton Town. A youth team player at Hednesford Town, he turned professional at Blackburn Rovers in 2000 and he spent the 2001–02 season on loan at Crewe Alexandra, Oldham Athletic, and Halifax Town. He then spent much of the 2002–03 season on loan at Swansea City and he scored eleven goals for the club in 2003–04, though was sent out on loan to Rochdale in the latter half of the 2004–05 campaign after he found himself struggling with injury. He joined Barnsley in August 2005, and went on to score goals in 2005–06. Released at the end of the 2006–07 season, he signed with Port Vale in June 2007. After five goals in 2007–08, he became the clubs top-scorer for four seasons running with 11 goals in 2008–09,22 goals in 2009–10,20 goals in 2010–11, and 17 goals in 2011–12. He signed with Chesterfield in May 2012, and played for the club in the 2014 final of the Football League Trophy, before helping them to win the League Two title in 2013–14. He returned to Northampton Town in May 2014, and finished as the clubs top-scorer for two seasons, helping Northampton to win the League Two title in 2015–16. Overall, he has scored more than 100 goals in over 350 professional appearances and he has also represented England at under-18 and under-20 levels. Richards started his career at Blackburn Rovers, but was on the books of Conference side Hednesford Town before moving to Ewood Park. He made his Rovers debut under manager Graeme Souness in a 2–0 defeat to West Ham United at Upton Park in the League Cup on 31 October 2000, he was replaced by David Dunn after 68 minutes. He was taken on a loan by Dario Gradi at First Division side Crewe Alexandra at the start of the 2001–02 season. He left Gresty Road with one goal in five games, and he played six games for Oldham, scoring once against Tranmere Rovers in the Football League Trophy, again with a header. He spent two months on loan at Alan Littles Halifax Town from February 2002, but remained goalless in his five games for the struggling Third Division club, in November 2002, he went out to Swansea City on loan for the rest of the season. Brian Flynns Swans avoided relegation out of the Football League by just a single point and he got his first league goal at Vetch Field on 30 November, again with a header, to wrap up a 2–0 victory over Shrewsbury Town. On 15 February, he scored twice against Cambridge United, and he received his first sending off a week later, after reacting badly to a foul by Hartlepool United captain Michael Barron. After discovering he was released from his contract at Blackburn in April 2003, Richards aimed to sign with Swansea permanently, though he scored twice at Sixfields in the FA Cup victory over non-league Weston-super-Mare, it took 27 games before he bagged his first league goal for the Cobblers. The goal finally came on 17 February 2004, in a 2–1 win at Darlington and he then had one of the best games of his career on 27 March, when he scored all four goals of the game against Macclesfield Town within the opening 39 minutes