Stoke City F.C.
Stoke City Football Club is a professional football club based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. Founded as Stoke Ramblers in 1863 the club changed its name to Stoke in 1878 and they are the second oldest professional football club in the world, after Notts County, and are one of the founding members of the Football League. Their first, and to date only major trophy, the League Cup was won in 1972, the clubs highest league finish in the top division is 4th, which was achieved in the 1935–36 and 1946–47 seasons. Stoke played in the FA Cup Final in 2011, finishing runners-up to Manchester City and have reached three FA Cup semi-finals, in 1899 then consecutively in 1971 and 1972. Stoke have competed in European football on three occasions, firstly in 1972–73 then in 1974–75 and most recently in 2011–12, the club has won the Football League Trophy twice, in 1992 and in 2000. Stokes home ground is the bet365 Stadium, a 28,116 all-seater stadium, before the stadium was opened in 1997, the club was based at the Victoria Ground, which had been their home ground since 1878. The clubs nickname is The Potters, named after the industry in Stoke-on-Trent and their traditional home kit is a red and white vertically striped shirt, white shorts. Stokes traditional rivals are Midlands clubs West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers whilst their local rivals are Port Vale with whom they contest the Potteries derby, the clubs first documented match was in October 1868, against an EW May XV at the Victoria Cricket Club ground. Henry Almond, the founder, was also captain. During this period they played at the Victoria Cricket Ground, however, in 1878, the club merged with Stoke Victoria Cricket Club, and became Stoke Football Club. They moved from their previous ground, Sweetings Field, to the Athletic Club ground and it was around this time that the club adopted their traditional red-and-white striped kit. In August 1885, the club turned professional, Stoke were one of the twelve founding members of the Football League when it was introduced in 1888. The club struggled in their first two seasons, 1888–89 and 1889–90, finishing bottom on both occasions, in 1890 Stoke failed to be re-elected and joined the Football Alliance, which they won and thus were re-elected to the Football League. Stoke spent the next 15 seasons in the First Division and reached the FA Cup Semi-Final in the 1898–99 season before being relegated in 1907, Stoke went bankrupt and entered non-league football until 1914, when the First World War meant the Football League was suspended for four years. During the wartime period, Stoke entered the Lancashire Primary and Secondary leagues, when football recommenced in August 1919, Stoke re-joined the league. The club became owners of the Victoria Ground in 1919 and this was followed by the construction of the Butler Street stand, which increased the overall capacity of the ground to 50,000. In 1925, Stoke-on-Trent was granted city status and this led the club to change its name to Stoke City F. C, the 1930s saw the debut of clubs most celebrated player, Stanley Matthews. Matthews, who grew up in Hanley, was an apprentice at the club and made his first appearance in March 1932, against Bury, by end of the decade, Matthews had established himself as an England international and as one of the best footballers of his generation
Anthony Richard Tony Pulis is a Welsh football manager and former footballer who is the head coach of West Bromwich Albion. Pulis obtained his FA coaching badge at age 19, followed by his UEFA A licence aged 21 – making him one of the youngest professional players ever to have obtained the qualification and his son, Anthony, was a professional footballer and played at Stoke. Pulis had a 17-year career as a defender where he played for Bristol Rovers, Newport County, AFC Bournemouth and he also had a short spell in Hong Kong with Happy Valley. Pulis took his first steps into management at AFC Bournemouth, where he was a player/coach and he then took control when Redknapp left the club. He then went on to Gillingham before leaving in 1999 after a dispute with chairman Paul Scally, Pulis then had unsuccessful spells at Bristol City and Portsmouth before being appointed manager of Stoke City in 2002. He guided Stoke through a tough 2002–03 season avoiding relegation to the Second Division on the day of the season. He spent two seasons with Stoke before being sacked by Stokes Icelandic board for failing to exploit the foreign market. He spent the 2005–06 season at Plymouth Argyle before returning to Stoke along with Peter Coates, after narrowly missing out on a play-off spot in the 2006–07 season he guided Stoke to the Premier League in the 2007–08 season by finishing runners-up in the Championship. With Stoke amongst the favourites for relegation upon their return to the top flight after a 23-year absence, Stoke went on to comfortably survive, Pulis made history during the 2010–11 season as he guided Stoke to their first FA Cup Final after beating Bolton Wanderers 5–0 in the semi-final. The Potters, however, lost the final 1–0 to Manchester City, in the UEFA Europa League, Stoke were drawn against Croatian side Hajduk Split and after two legs ran out 2–0 winners. After beating Swiss club Thun, Stoke were handed a tough group containing Beşiktaş, Dynamo Kyiv and Maccabi Tel Aviv which Stoke managed to progress through, finishing in second position. Citys reward was a tie against Spanish giants Valencia, but despite putting up a spirited second-leg performance, the 2012–13 season saw Stoke make little progress and Pulis left the club by mutual consent on 21 May 2013. Pulis returned to management on 23 November 2013 joining Crystal Palace on a two-and-a-half-year contract and he guided Palace away from relegation, to their highest Premier League finish of 11th in 2013–14, which earned him the Premier League Manager of the Season award. He left the club, however, shortly before the start of the subsequent season and he joined West Brom in January 2015. Pulis began his career at Bristol Rovers where he joined their school of excellence in Eastville from Newport YMCA. Pulis cites his time at Eastville as an excellent grounding with his Rovers team mate, the basic principles were drilled into us, both on and off the pitch. Nothing was given to us and we had to very, very hard for everything we got. Pulis made 85 league appearances for the Pirates before leaving to join Hong Kong club Happy Valley AA in 1981 and he returned to Rovers the following year and made a further 45 league appearances before moving to his home town club Newport County in 1984
The bet365 Stadium is an all-seater football stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England and the home of Premier League club Stoke City. The stadium was called the Britannia Stadium but was renamed on 1 June 2016 when the club entered into a new stadium-naming rights agreement with its parent company. It has space for 27,902 spectators with expansions plans announced by the club, the stadium was built in 1997 at a cost of £14.7 million as a replacement for the Victoria Ground. The highest attendance recorded at the stadium was 28,218 for the fixture against Everton in their FA Cup 3rd Round tie in 2002. Former player Sir Stanley Matthews ashes were buried beneath the circle of the pitch following his death in February 2000. In European competitions it is known as the Stoke Stadium due to UEFA regulations on sponsorship, the all-seater stadium cost nearly £15 million to build and brought the club up to standards with the Taylor Report of January 1990 to end 119 years at the Victoria Ground. Relocation had been considered by 1994 and by early 1996 the decision to build a new stadium had been confirmed, by early 1997, the skeletal steel superstructure was in place and the stadium began to take shape. Another £3 million was given as a grant by the Football Trust, the stadium was officially opened made by club legend Sir Stanley Matthews, then aged 82. After he died in February 2000, his ashes were buried beneath the centre circle. The first season at the new ground was a bad one as Stoke were relegated from Division One, four seasons of third tier football followed with Gunnar Gíslason taking control of the club in November 1999. The name of the ground was changed to the bet365 Stadium in June 2016, in total, the stadium cost £14. 7million and took around ten months to construct on the former site of Stafford No.2 Colliery, which had been closed in 1969. Building work began in late autumn 1996 and was completed in August 1997, the all-seater stadium can hold 28,384 supporters in four cantilever stands. The main West stand consists of two tiers of seating which house 7,357 spectators, plus all of the stadiums corporate, the L-shaped Boothen and East stands hold 6,006 and 8,789 people respectively. The South Stand, which is used by home and away supporters can hold 4,996 people but is unlikely to reach capacity due to spectator segregation. The clubs dressing rooms, offices, boardroom, ticket office, in 2006, work took place on the A50 to allow direct access to the stadium from the eastbound direction, involving building a bridge across the road. It is close to the Sideway junction with the A500, at the start of the 2010–11 season, the stadium was accessible via a new underpass under Stanley Matthews Way, to reduce traffic problems with exiting the area back onto the A50. In the middle of 2009, surveyors were asked to investigate the feasibility of filling in one, filling in a corner of the ground would cost approximately £3 million, increasing capacity by around 3,000 seats and taking the total capacity to over 30,000. In November 2009, chairman Peter Coates said that a decision on expansion would be made at the end of the season and was dependent on the clubs Premier League survival
Ricardo Dwayne Fuller is a retired Jamaican professional footballer who played as a striker. He has also played for the Jamaica national team, Fuller started his football career with Jamaican side Tivoli Gardens, before he moved to England with Crystal Palace in February 2001. He returned to Jamaica and then went on loan to Hearts and he scored 27 goals in 58 League game at Preston, which prompted Portsmouth to pay £1million for his services. Fuller failed to make an impact at Portsmouth and joined rivals Southampton in 2005 before Stoke City signed him for £500,000 in August 2006. At Stoke, he became a member of the first team. He remained a key figure in the top-flight, despite a poor record, and helped Stoke reach the 2011 FA Cup Final. After he recovered from his injury he was give a bit-part role. He spent the 2013–14 season with Blackpool and 2014–15 with Millwall and he joined Oldham Athletic in October 2015. Fuller was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and began his career with Tivoli Gardens and he had a trial with Charlton Athletic, playing in three reserve team matches. He moved to English club Crystal Palace in February 2001 for a fee of £1 million. At the time of his transfer he was suspended by the Jamaican football authority for kicking a Wadadah player in the head and he suffered from knee problems, and played just eight games for the Eagles. He returned to Tivoli at the end of the campaign failing to settle in London. Fuller spent the next season 2001–02 on loan at Scottish Premier League club Hearts and he had an instant impact, scoring 8 goals in 27 appearances, and finishing as the clubs joint top-scorer with Kevin McKenna. However, the Edinburgh-based club could not afford to sign Fuller on a permanent basis, Preston North End stepped in to sign the striker, paying £500,000. Fuller scored on his Preston debut, a 2–1 defeat at home to old club Crystal Palace and he had an explosive scoring rate, but unfortunately he suffered knee ligament damage in early December, which ended his season prematurely. He had scored 11 goals in only 20 appearances for the club, a fit again Fuller began the 2003–04 season on fire, including a run of six goals in five games, but his form tailed off as his knee troubled him once more. Despite this, he still scored 19 goals that season to become the clubs top-scorer, Fuller handed in a transfer request in June 2004 to force through a move to a Premiership club. Both Leeds United and Portsmouth then displayed their interest, however, Fuller moved to Fratton Park in August 2004 for £1 million, after scoring 31 goals in only 63 appearances for Preston
Southend United F.C.
Southend United Football Club is a professional association football club based in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England. The team compete in League One, the tier of English football. Southend are known as The Shrimpers, a reference to the maritime industry included as one of the quarterings on the club badge. Founded 19 May 1906 in the Blue Boar pub Southend has been a member of the Football League since 1920, the club has spent most of its League career in the English lower divisions, with seven seasons in the Leagues second tier. The club is based at Roots Hall Stadium in Prittlewell, with plans to move to a new stadium at Fossetts Farm. The club has played at five grounds, the original Roots Hall, the Kursaal, the Greyhound Park, Roots Hall was the first stadium that the club owned and was built on the site of their original home, albeit at a lower level. The site previous to Southend purchasing it in 1952 had been used as a quarry, by the council as a landfill site. It took 10 years to complete the building of Roots Hall. The first game was played on 20 August 1955, a 3–1 Division Three victory over Norwich City, the North Stand had a single-barrelled roof which ran only the breadth of the penalty area, whilst the West Bank was covered at its rear only by a similar structure. Drainage was a problem, and the wet winter turned the ground into a quagmire, the terracing was finally completed soon after, but the colossal task of completely terracing the South Bank, all of its 72 steps, was not completed until 1964. The North Bank roof was extended in the early 1960s, floodlights were also installed during this period. Until 1988 Roots Hall was still the newest ground in the Football League, United had hit bad times in the mid-1980s and new chairman Vic Jobson sold virtually all of the South Bank for development, leaving just a tiny block of 15 steps. In 1994, seats were installed onto the original terracing whilst a second tier was added, the West Bank had already become seated in 1992 upon Uniteds elevation to Division Two whilst the East Stand paddock also received a new seating deck, bolted and elevated from the terracing below. The application was submitted to Ruth Kelly, then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. However, the application was called in at the beginning of April 2007, the inquiry began in September 2007, followed in October 2007 by a final inquiry, when chairman Ron Martin called for supporters to show in numbers at Southends local government headquarters. On 6 March 2008, permission to develop Fossetts Farm was given by the government, the club has a fierce local rivalry with fellow Essex side Colchester United. The two clubs were promoted from League One at the end of the 2005–06 season after a battle for top spot was eventually won by Southend. The rivalry extends back many years, the two clubs met again in an Essex derby match in the same competition the following season, with Southend emerging as the victors once more after a penalty shootout
Plymouth Argyle F.C.
Plymouth Argyle Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Plymouth, Devon, England. They have played in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. They are one of two teams in Devon currently competing in the Football League, the other being Exeter City – Argyles local rivals, since becoming professional in 1903, the club has won five Football League titles, five Southern League titles and one Western League title. The 2009–10 season was the clubs 42nd in the tier of English football. The team set the record for most championships won in the tier, having finished first in the Third Division South twice, the Third Division once. The club takes its nickname, The Pilgrims, from an English religious group that left Plymouth for the New World in 1620, the club crest features the Mayflower, the ship that carried the pilgrims to Massachusetts. The club have played in dark green and white throughout their history, with a few exceptions in the late 1960s. The city of Plymouth is the largest in England never to have hosted top-flight football and they are the most southerly and westerly League club in England. Home Park is the 37th biggest stadium in England, the original ground of the professional club at Home Park was destroyed by German bombers during the Blitz on Plymouth in World War II. Having been rebuilt after the war, Home Park was largely demolished as part of a process of renovation. The new Devonport End was opened for the 2001 Boxing Day fixture with Torquay United, the other end, the Barn Park End, opened on the same day. The Lyndhurst stand reopened on 26 January 2002 for the game against Oxford United, plans are currently under discussion regarding the completion of the refurbishment of the ground with the replacement of the Mayflower stand. The ground is situated in Central Park, very near to the area of Peverell. Towards the end of the 2005–06 Championship season, the decided to buy the stadium for £2.7 million from Plymouth City Council. This purchase was concluded in December 2006, in December 2009 it was announced that the stadium was to be one of 12 chosen to host matches during the World Cup 2018, should Englands bid be successful. The then Argyle chairman Paul Stapleton stated that work on a new South Stand at Home Park would start in 2010, however, England failed to be chosen for the 2018 tournament, and Plymouth Argyle entered administration in March 2011. After selling the back to the council on 14 October 2011 for £1.6 million. The club was taken over by local business owner James Brent, who submitted fresh plans to build a new Mayflower Grandstand with a 5,000 seating capacity
Kit (association football)
In association football, kit is the standard equipment and attire worn by players. The sports Laws of the Game specify the minimum kit which a player must use, footballers generally wear identifying numbers on the backs of their shirts. Professional clubs also usually display players surnames or nicknames on their shirts, Football kit has evolved significantly since the early days of the sport when players typically wore thick cotton shirts, knickerbockers and heavy rigid leather boots. The Laws of the Game set out the equipment which must be worn by all players in Law 4. Five separate items are specified, shirt, shorts, socks, footwear, goalkeepers are allowed to wear tracksuit bottoms instead of shorts. While most players wear studded football boots, the Laws do not specify that these are required, shirts must have sleeves, and goalkeepers must wear shirts which are easily distinguishable from all other players and the match officials. Thermal undershorts may be worn, but must be the colour as the shorts themselves. Shin pads must be covered entirely by the stockings, be made of rubber, plastic or a similar material, and provide a reasonable degree of protection. The only other restriction on equipment defined in the Laws of the Game is the requirement that a player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player. In the event of a match between teams who would wear identical or similar colours the away team must change to a different colour. The England national team plays in red shirts even when it is not required. Many professional clubs also have a kit, ostensibly to be used if both their first-choice and away colours are deemed too similar to those of an opponent. Most professional clubs have retained the basic colour scheme for several decades. Teams representing countries in international competition generally wear national colours in common with other sporting teams of the same nation, shirts are normally made of a polyester mesh, which does not trap the sweat and body heat in the same way as a shirt made of a natural fibre. Depending on local rules, there may be restrictions on how large these logos may be or on what logos may be displayed, competitions such as the Premier League may also require players to wear patches on their sleeves depicting the logo of the competition. The captain of team is usually required to wear an elasticated armband around the left sleeve to identify him as the captain to the referee. Most current players wear specialist football boots, which can be either of leather or a synthetic material. Modern boots are cut slightly below the ankles, as opposed to the high-ankled boots used in former times, studs may be either moulded directly to the sole or be detachable, normally by means of a screw thread
English Football League
The English Football League is a league competition featuring professional football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888 as the Football League, the league is the oldest such competition in world football and it was the top-level football league in England from its foundation in the 19th century until 1992, when the top 22 clubs split away to form the Premier League. The league has 72 clubs evenly divided into three divisions, which are known as the Championship, League One and League Two, with 24 clubs in each division, the Football League has been associated with a title sponsor between 1983 and 2016. As this sponsor changed over the years the league too has been known by various names, the English Football League is also the name of the governing body of the league competition, and this body also organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The operations centre of the Football League is in Preston, while its commercial office is in London, the commercial office was formerly based in Lytham St Annes, after its original spell in Preston. The Football League consists of 70 professional association football clubs in England and 2 in Wales and it runs the oldest professional football league competition in the world. It also organises two knockout cup competitions, the Football League Cup and Football League Trophy, the Football League was founded in 1888 by then Aston Villa director William McGregor, originally with 12 member clubs. Steady growth and the addition of more divisions meant that by 1950 the League had 92 clubs, the Football League therefore no longer includes the top 20 clubs who belong to this group, although promotion and relegation between the Football League and the Premier League continues. In total,136 teams have played in the Football League up to 2013, the Football Leagues 72 member clubs are grouped into three divisions, the Football League Championship, Football League One, and Football League Two. Each division has 24 clubs, and in any season a club plays each of the others in the same division twice, once at their home stadium. This makes for a total of 46 games played each season, clubs gain three points for a win, one for a draw, and none for a defeat. At the end of the season, clubs at the top of their division may win promotion to the higher division. At the top end of the competition, three Championship clubs win promotion from the Football League to the Premier League, with the bottom three Premier League clubs taking their places, reserve teams of Football League clubs usually play in the Central League or the Football Combination. Since the 2004–05 season, penalties have existed for clubs entering financial administration during the season and it is also required that a club exiting administration agree a Creditors Voluntary Agreement, and pay in full any other footballing creditors. Failure to do either of these result in a second. The other main situation in which is a club may lose points is by fielding an improperly registered or otherwise ineligible player. If a club is found to have done this, then any points earned from any match that player participated in will be deducted, the EFL organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The EFL Cup was established in 1960 and is open to all EFL and Premier League clubs, the EFL Trophy is for clubs belonging to EFL League One and EFL League Two
English football league system
There are more than 140 individual leagues, containing more than 480 divisions. As there are no definitions of any level below 11, any references to the structure at level 12. The pyramid for womens football in England runs separately to nine tiers, the Football League was created in 1888 by Aston Villa director William McGregor. It was dominated by clubs who had supported professionalism. The twelve founding members consisted of six from Lancashire and six from the Midlands, no sides from the South including London initially participated. The system consists of a pyramid of leagues, bound together by the principle of promotion and relegation. A certain number of the most successful clubs in each league can rise to a higher league, in addition to sporting performance, promotion is usually contingent on meeting criteria set by the higher league, especially concerning appropriate facilities and finances. In theory it is possible for a local amateur club to rise to the pinnacle of the English game and become champions of the Premier League. While this may be unlikely in practice, there certainly is significant movement within the pyramid, the top five levels contain one division each and are nationwide in scope. Below this, the levels have progressively more leagues, with each covering progressively smaller geographic areas. Many leagues have more than one division, at the lower levels the existence of leagues becomes intermittent, although in some of the more densely populated areas there are leagues more than twenty layers below the Premier League. Clubs from these leagues may, if they feel they meet the standard of play and have suitable facilities. The seven levels immediately below the Premier League and English Football League are known as the National League System, in May 2014 The Football Association announced provisional plans for a new division between the English Football League and the National League which would include B teams of higher level clubs. The English football league system does not include the version of the game often called Sunday league football. These leagues are independent entities with no promotion or relegation involving the football pyramid, however, some Sunday League clubs have been known to join pyramid leagues if they desire to progress higher. There are also some Saturday leagues such as the Lincolnshire League which are not officially part of the pyramid, at the top is the single division of the Premier League, containing 20 clubs, all of which, up to the 2010–11 season, were based in England. Below the Premier League is the English Football League, which is divided into three divisions of 24 clubs each, The Championship, League One and League Two, the 92 clubs in the Premier League and English Football League are all full-time professional clubs. They are often referred to as League clubs because, before the establishment of the Premier League in 1992, clubs outside this group are referred to as non-League clubs, although they too play most of their football in league-type competitions
The English Football League Championship is the highest division of the English Football League and second-highest overall in the English football league system, after the Premier League. Each year, the top finishing teams in the Championship are promoted to the Premier League, the Football League Championship, which was introduced for the 2004–05 season, was previously known as the Football League First Division, and before that was known as Division Two. The winners of the Championship receive the Football League Championship trophy, the Championship is the wealthiest non-top flight football division in the world and the seventh richest division in Europe. With an average attendance for the 2015-16 season of 17,578. Bundesliga as the secondary league in the world. In the 2015–16 season, Burnley were the champions, Middlesbrough were the runners up. At present, Ipswich Town hold the longest tenure in the Championship, the total figures were aided somewhat by the presence of 24 clubs, compared to 20 clubs in both Serie A and Ligue 1, and 18 in the Bundesliga. A major factor to the success comes from television revenue. On 30 September 2009, Coca-Cola announced they would end their deal with The Football League at the end of the 2009–10 season. On 18 July 2013, UK bookmaker Sky Bet announced that signed a 5-year agreement to sponsor the league. Three points are awarded for a win, one for a draw, the teams are ranked in the league table by points gained, then goal difference, then goals scored and then their head-to-head record for that season. At the end of the season, the top two teams and the winner of the Championship play-offs are promoted to the Premier League and the three teams are relegated to Football League One. The Football League Championship play-offs is a competition for the teams finishing the season in third to sixth place with the winner being promoted to the Premier League. In the play-offs, the team plays against the sixth-placed team. The winners of each semi-final then compete in a match with the prize being promotion to the Premier League. From 2009 to 2012, Sky Sports had the rights to broadcast 65 live matches, the BBC had the rights to show 10 first choice live games for the regular season as well as the rights to show a highlight show. The deal is on a contract and is worth £264m that will mostly be paid by Sky. The deal included 75 live league games, all the matches,15 League Cup ties
Daniel John Higginbotham is a former professional footballer who played as a defender. Born in Manchester, Higginbotham started his career at his local club Manchester United and he made seven appearances at Old Trafford, winning the Intercontinental Cup, as well as having a loan spell with Belgian side Royal Antwerp before joining Derby County in order to play more matches. He spent three years at Derby but handed in a transfer request when the club was relegated from the Premier League, Southampton signed Higginbotham for a £1.5 million fee in February 2003, and he helped them reach the 2003 FA Cup Final. When Southampton were relegated in 2005, Higginbotham rejected a new contract and was placed on the transfer list and he joined fellow Championship side Stoke City for a £225,000 fee in August 2006. He was made captain when Michael Duberry left in January 2007, with Stoke not being promoted Higginbotham again decided to hand in a transfer request to help force through a move to Sunderland. He spent one season at the Stadium of Light before returning to Stoke in 2008 and he became a vital member of Tony Pulis squad as Stoke established themselves in the Premier League. He scored the goal in the FA Cup quarter-final against West Ham United but missed out on both the semi-final and the final due to a knee injury. After eight months at Bramall Lane, he left to join Conference Premier side Chester before ending his career with a spell at Altrincham. Higginbotham made his debut for the Gibraltar national team in a friendly against Slovakia in November 2013 at the age of 34. In January 2014, Higginbotham retired from football after a 14-year career. Born in Manchester, Higginbotham grew up in nearby Altrincham, despite passing his eleven plus exam he was denied entry into Altrincham Grammar School for Boys. His elder brother, Paul, played football for Witton Albion. However, he recovered well from the injury and was given a professional contract in 1998. He made his Premier League debut on 10 May 1998, coming on for Michael Clegg 60 minutes into a 2–0 win over Barnsley at Oakwell and he was sent to Belgian Second Division side Royal Antwerp on a loan spell. Following this start the club then won 15 matches in a row, however, the season ended with defeat in a play-off game, and after the final whistle there was an alleged attack on referee Amand Ancion by teammate Ronnie Wallwork. Higginbotham was subsequently banned from football for a year for his involvement, in September 1999, a Belgian court reduced Higginbothams ban to four months. Ancion maintained that Wallwork had grabbed him by the throat and that Higginbotham had headbutted him, Higginbotham always maintained his innocence, stating that he had tried to intervene peacefully after Wallwork had confronted Ancion in an aggressive manner. Alex Ferguson believed the players innocence and handed both players four-year contracts as the club appealed their suspensions, Higginbotham played six games for United during the 1999–2000 season, including appearances in the UEFA Champions League and at the Maracanã Stadium in the FIFA Club World Championship
Liam Lawrence is a professional footballer who plays as a winger or Central Midfielder. Lawrence started his career at his local club Mansfield Town, after impressing at the Field Mill he signed for Sunderland in June 2005 and he joined Stoke City, on loan in 2006, and made his move permanent in January 2007. He became a key player for Stoke, and helped the club to promotion to the Premier League in 2008, in September 2010, he signed for Portsmouth on loan, and signed permanently in the January transfer window. With Portsmouth in financial difficulties he spent time out on loan at Cardiff City, although born in England, Lawrence made his international debut for the Republic of Ireland in 2009, and earned 15 caps in a two-year spell. Lawrence was born in Retford and joined Mansfield Towns youth team in 1996 and he progressed the through to the first team making his professional debut against Blackpool in the Football League Trophy in the 1999–2000 season. He played 18 matches in 2000–01 scoring four goals as Mansfield finished in 13th position, in 2001–02 he made 37 appearances as the Stags gained promotion to the third tier however relegation was suffered in the following 2002–03 season with Lawrence playing in 46 matches scoring 12 goals. In 2003–04 Lawrence played in 52 games and scored 21 goals for the club helping then to reach the play-offs, after over coming Northampton Town on penalties Mansfield faced Huddersfield Town in the final. After a 0–0 draw they faced another penalty shootout but Mansfield lost 4–1 with Lawrence missing his penalty, Lawrence joined Sunderland in June 2004 for a fee of £175,000. Lawrence had a promising first season at Sunderland, scoring 6 goals in 32 appearances and he also helped create one of the most important goals in Sunderlands season, scored by Marcus Stewart, against Wigan Athletic at the JJB Stadium. Sunderland won the Championship in 2004–05 and gained promotion to the Premier League, following Sunderlands promotion to the top flight Lawrence found himself in and out of the first team squad for the first few months of the 2005–06 season. Despite this, Lawrence still made 23 starts and 10 substitute appearances for the club, scoring against Fulham, Chelsea, Lawrence and Whitehead both signed new contracts in August 2006. Lawrence joined Stoke City initially on loan in November 2006 after falling out of favour with Roy Keane with the deal becoming permanent in January 2007 and he made a fine start to his Stoke career scoring against Cardiff City and Ipswich Town. In 2006–07 Stoke narrowly missed out on the finishing in 8th position. In 2007–08 Lawrence played in 44 matches scoring 15 goals as Stoke gained promotion to the Premier League in 2nd position, Lawrence struck a great partnership with Ricardo Fuller and the pair scored a combined total of 30 goals with Lawrence winning the player of the year award. Lawrence scored Stokes first home goal in the Premier League in 2008 when he scored a penalty against Aston Villa, however Lawrence injured himself when he tripped over his pet Labrador damaging his ankle. He had to undergo surgery to repair a tear in the ligament. He returned from injury towards the end of the season and scored winning goals in games against Blackburn Rovers and Hull City, Lawrence signed a new contract at Stoke in July 2009 keeping him at the Britannia Stadium until 2013. Lawrence found himself in and out of the side in 2009–10 making 25 league appearances of which 11 were as a substitute, after the season ended Lawrence stated that he expected to leave Stoke during the summer of 2010
Rory John Delap is a former footballer who played as a midfielder. Born in England, he made 11 appearances for the Republic of Ireland national team, Delap started his career at Carlisle United and impressed enough to earn a move to Premiership side Derby County in 1998. In 2001, Delap joined Southampton for a record of £4 million. After spending five years on the south coast, he moved to Sunderland, following a brief spell on Wearside, Delap was loaned to Stoke City in October 2006. In just his second match for Stoke, against his parent club Sunderland, despite this, Delap signed a permanent contract for Stoke in January 2007. He went on to become a member of the squad and his long throw-ins helped Stoke gain promotion to the Premier League. After spending six seasons at Stoke, Delap had short spells with Barnsley, a midfielder by trade, he was renowned for his long throw-in ability. Between the touchlines, he was famed for his fitness and work rate, Delap was a talented javelin thrower in his youth, and was touted to represent Ireland in the Olympics after his throw-ins shot to prominence following Stokes promotion to the Premier League. After finishing his career, Delap returned to his former club Derby County where he began his coaching career. After coaching the clubs team, he replaced Darren Wassall as the under-21 head coach in February 2016. He was one of several promising players who came through the ranks at Brunton Park during the mid-1990s, alongside Matt Jansen, Scott Dobie and Lee Peacock. In 1997 he was part of the side gained promotion to Division Two. Delap was signed by Derby County manager Jim Smith for £200,000 in February 1998, despite failing to score a league goal during the 1998–99 season, he did manage to find the net in a second round League Cup tie with Manchester City. During the 1999–00 season he was Derbys top scorer with eight goals and his first goal of the campaign came during a 2–1 defeat to Arsenal. After scoring his goal of the season in a 2–0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday. Later that season, Delap scored and assisted a goal in a 3–0 win over Leicester City - a game in which Stan Collymore broke his leg. His eighth and final goal of the campaign came after just 22 seconds of a 4–4 draw with Bradford City, during the 2000–01 season, Delap once again scored against both Leicester and Bradford. He scored his goal for Derby in a 1–0 victory over Ipswich Town on 2 December 2000
Salif Alassane Diao is a former Senegalese footballer who played as a defensive midfielder. Diao moved from Senegal to France when he was seventeen and started his career at AS Monaco with whom he helped with the French Super Cup and he failed to hold down a regular place at Monaco and moved to Sedan in 2000. Diao then had an impressive 2002 World cup with Senegal which attracted the attention of several Premier League sides and it was Liverpool who won the race and signed Diao for £5 million in 2002. His time at Liverpool was unsuccessful and was sent out on loan to Birmingham City, Portsmouth and he joined the latter Stoke permanently on a free transfer in 2007 and helped the club to promotion to the Premier League in 2008. Diao was born in Kédougou, Tambacounda Region and he began his career in his native country before moving to France at the age of seventeen. He returned to Monaco for the 1997–98 season where he 12 times in his season at the club. He was also part of the AS Monaco side that won the French League in the 1999–2000 season and he also won a runner-up medal in the 2002 African Cup of Nations, where Senegal lost in extra time to Cameroon. In 2001 he signed for Sedan Ardennes and he played 32 games in all competitions in his first season at Sedan Ardennes in the 2001–02 season including 3 matches in the UEFA Cup. He made his first start of the on 28 July 2001 in their 1–1 draw away at Bastia and he made 22 appearances for Sedan in his second season at the club with an extra 2 games in the UEFA Cup. His last game for Sedan came in their 1–1 draw with FC Lorient on 6 April 2002 before joining English club Liverpool. He was signed by former Liverpool manager Gérard Houllier from French club CS Sedan Ardennes for £5 million just before the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan. He helped Senegal reach the finals, most notably in scoring a memorable goal against Denmark in the first round. His first Liverpool goal came against Spartak Moscow in the Champions League and he scored a total of three goals, only one coming in the league, in a 1–0 win at Leeds United in October 2002. Diao was played in his position by Rafa Benítez but several poor displays saw him displaced by Xabi Alonso notably after a 4–2 win at Fulham. Liverpool were 2–0 down when Diao was substituted, he had been at fault for one of the goals Fulham scored whilst attempting a bizarre back heel, despite not having featured for months Diao was present in Istanbul when Liverpool won the Champions League in 2005. He appeared only once in the campaign, coming on as a substitute away at Olympiacos in the group stage. It was during the 2004–05 season that Diao scored his last Liverpool goal against Millwall in the League Cup, and he played his last game for Liverpool at Norwich City in January 2005. In January 2005 Birmingham City took Diao, who had struggled to make Liverpools first team, on loan for the rest of the season, the arrival of Rafael Benítez and defensive midfielder Mohamed Sissoko, signalled the end of his Liverpool career
Andrew Andy Griffin is an English former footballer. Griffin began his career at Stoke City, where he established a reputation as a solid wing-back defender and his impressive performances for the Potters led to him being signed by Newcastle United for a fee of £1. 5million in January 1998. He spent six years on Tyneside before moving south to Portsmouth in 2004 and he was unable to establish himself as first choice right back at Pompey and re-joined his old club Stoke on loan for the 2006–07 season. He helped Stoke to claim promotion and was captain of the side for the 2008–09 season. Griffin lost his place in the side after an on the altercation with Ricardo Fuller at West Ham United in December 2008. He joined Reading in 2010 helping them gain promotion at the attempt after failing in the play-offs. He was released by Reading in May 2012 and joined Doncaster Rovers in October 2012 and he spent two years at Doncaster before ending his career with a short spell at Chester Griffin was born in Wigan, Greater Manchester and began his career with Stoke City. He impressed in the youth ranks and he was handed a professional contract in July 1996. 5million in January 1998. Griffin settled quickly in Newcastle and earned call-ups to the England U21 team, however he picked up an injury in August 1999 ruling him out for the 1999–2000 season but made a comeback the following season but he again suffered a hernia injury missing another season. Injuries and a failure to get a place in the side saw him not offered a new contract by Newcastle at the end of the 2003–04 season. Griffin joined Portsmouth in May 2004 on a free transfer, after agreeing to join the Fratton Park club Griffin revealed that he took the advice of former Newcastle team mate Lomana LuaLua. His Pompey career got off to a bad start as he conceded an own goal on his debut in a 2–0 home defeat against Tottenham Hotspur and he played 27 games in 2004–05 and 21 games in 2005–06. By the summer of 2006 he dropped out of Harry Redknapps plans and he became first choice right back under Tony Pulis as was a number of loan signings for Stoke in the 2006–07 season which helped turn around the clubs fortunes. He scored two goals for Stoke, firstly against Leeds United in a 4–0 victory, and then a sensational 30-yard strike against Coventry City, after the match Pulis spoke of his delight at Grffins goal and performance. It was a fantastic goal. He came through the ranks at Stoke as a kid and that mean a lot to him. It will have been lovely for him to score because hes got family here, were delighted that Portsmouth have allowed us to have him on loan. He played 34 matches for Stoke in 2006–07 as Stoke narrowly missed out on a play-off place, on 31 July 2007 Griffin signed for Premier League side Derby County on a three-year deal
Patrik Berger is a retired Czech footballer. He started his career in his own country with Slavia Prague and he moved to England in 1996, where he spent seven years with Liverpool, winning six trophies in his time there. This was followed by spells at Portsmouth, Aston Villa and Stoke City and he spent the last two years of his career back in his native Czech Republic playing for Sparta Prague. Internationally, Berger played in two tournaments for the Czech Republic. He played an important part in his nations Euro 1996 campaign and he took a 17-month break from the national team between 1997 and 1998 after a dispute with manager Dušan Uhrin, returning to the setup following Uhrins departure from the post. His second and final tournament was Euro 2000, but due to suspension and his countrys early exit. He retired from the team in 2002 at the age of 28 with a total of 44 senior international caps and 18 goals. Capable of occupying midfield and forward positions, Berger became noted for his powerful strikes, surging runs, Berger was beset with injuries throughout his career and received specialist treatment in the United States. He retired on 6 January 2010 due to knee injuries, Berger was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. His uncle is the Czech footballer Jan Berger and he married wife Jaroslava, and has two children, son Patrik and daughter Valentýnka. He gained a British passport in 2001 after having spent five years playing football in England. This enabled him to play without needing a permit, which he had previously required due to the Premier Leagues rules on non-EU players. He began his career as a youth player at Sparta Prague in 1989. Establishing himself as a regular, Berger competed in Europe and earned selection for Czechoslovakia and, following its establishment. After 90 league games and 24 goals, Berger was purchased by Ottmar Hitzfelds Borussia Dortmund in 1995 for a reported £500,000, in August 1995 he played in the DFL-Supercup, as Dortmund beat Borussia Mönchengladbach to win the title. While Dortmund went on to win the Bundesliga title in the 1995–96 season, Berger was frequently used as a substitute, hitzfeld preferred to employ Berger as a defensive midfielder as he considered him to be most suited to the role. Liverpools interest in Berger was stimulated by the performances of the Czech Republic during Euro 1996, organised in England, the club approached both Berger and Karel Poborský, who elected to transfer to Manchester United after the competitions conclusion. Berger did accept Liverpools contract offer and completed his transfer in August 1996 for £3.25 million, Berger and his family settled in Southport, Merseyside, where they resided near retired players Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen
Leeds United F.C.
Leeds United Football Club is a professional association football club in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. The club was formed in 1919 following the disbanding of Leeds City F. C. by the Football League and they play in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. Leeds United have won three First Division league titles, one FA Cup and one League Cup, the club has also won two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups. The majority of the honours were won under the management of Don Revie in the 1960s and 1970s, Leeds lost the 1975 European Cup Final against Bayern Munich and reached the semi-finals of the tournaments successor, the Champions League, in 2001. Leeds play in all-white kits, leading to their nickname being the whites, the clubs badge features the White Rose of York together with the monogram LUFC. The clubs anthem is Marching On Together, Leeds Uniteds predecessor team, Leeds City, was formed in 1904, and were elected League members in 1905. At first they found it hard to draw big crowds to Elland Road, in 1919, Leeds United was formed and they received an invitation to enter the Midland League, being voted into it on 31 October, taking the place vacated by Leeds City Reserves. Following Leeds Citys disbanding, Yorkshire Amateurs bought their stadium Elland Road, Yorkshire Amateurs offered to make way for the new team under the management of former player Dick Ray. The chairman of Huddersfield Town, Hilton Crowther loaned Leeds United £35,000 and he brought in Barnsleys manager Arthur Fairclough and on 26 February 1920, Dick Ray stepped down to become Faircloughs assistant. On 31 May 1920, Leeds United were elected to the Football League, over the following few years, they consolidated their position in the Second Division and in 1924 won the title and with it promotion to the First Division. They failed to establish themselves and were relegated in 1926–27, after their relegation, Fairclough resigned, which paved the way for Ray to return as manager. In the years up until the start of World War II Leeds were twice relegated, on 5 March 1935, Ray resigned and was replaced by Billy Hampson, who remained in charge for 12 years. In the 1946–47 season after the war, Leeds were relegated again, after this season, Hampson resigned and was replaced in April 1947 by Willis Edwards. In 1948, Sam Bolton replaced Ernest Pullan as the chairman of Leeds United, Edwards was moved to assistant manager in April 1948 after just one year as manager. He was replaced by Major Frank Buckley, Leeds remained in the Second Division until 1955–56, when they once again won promotion to the First Division, inspired by John Charles. Charles was hungry for success at the highest level, and manager Raich Carter was unable to convince him that Leeds could satisfy his ambitions, Charles was sold to Juventus for a then world record of £65,000. The loss of Charles resulted in Leeds being relegated to the Second Division in the 1959–60 season, in March 1961, the club appointed former player Don Revie as manager, following the resignation of Jack Taylor. His stewardship began in adverse circumstances, the club was in financial difficulty, Revie implemented a youth policy and a change of kit colour to an all-white strip in the style of Real Madrid, and Leeds soon won promotion to the First Division in 1963–64
Leicester City F.C.
Leicester City Football Club, also known as the Foxes, is an English professional football club based at the King Power Stadium in Leicester. They compete in the Premier League, Englands top tier of football, having been promoted as champions of the Football League Championship in 2013–14, this signalled a return to the top flight of English football after a decade away. The club was founded in 1884 as Leicester Fosse F. C. playing on a field near Fosse Road and they moved to Filbert Street in 1891, were elected to the Football League in 1894 and adopted the name Leicester City in 1919. They moved to the nearby Walkers Stadium in 2002, which was renamed the King Power Stadium after a change of ownership in 2011, Leicester City won the 2015–16 Premier League, their first top-level football championship. They are one of six clubs to have won the Premier League since its inception in 1992. A number of newspapers described their title win as the greatest sporting upset ever, multiple bookmakers had never paid out at such long odds for any sport. Due to the magnitude of the title win, it went down in English football history as one of the games finest ever achievements. The clubs previous highest ever finish was second place in the top flight, throughout Leicesters history, they have spent all but one season within the top two leagues of English football. They hold a joint-highest seven second-tier titles, the club have been FA Cup finalists four times, in 1948–49, 1960–61, 1962–63 and 1968–69. This is a tournament record for the most defeats in the final without having won the competition, City have several promotions to their name, two play-off final wins, and one League One title. In 1971, they won the FA Community Shield, and in 2016 and they have also won the League Cup three times in 1964,1997 and 2000, as well as being runners up in 1964–65 and 1999. Formed in 1884 by a group of old boys of Wyggeston School as Leicester Fosse, before moving to Filbert Street in 1891, the club played at five different grounds, including Victoria Park south-east of the city centre and the Belgrave Road Cycle and Cricket Ground. The club also joined the Midland League in 1891, and were elected to Division Two of the Football League in 1894 after finishing second. Leicesters first ever Football League game was a 4–3 defeat at Grimsby Town, with a first League win the following week, the same season also saw the clubs largest win to date, a 13–0 victory over Notts Olympic in an FA Cup qualifying game. In 1907–08 the club finished as Second Division runners-up, gaining promotion to the First Division, however, the club were relegated after a single season which included the clubs record defeat, a 12–0 loss against Nottingham Forest. In 1919, when League football resumed after World War I, the club was reformed as Leicester City Football Club, particularly appropriate as the borough of Leicester had recently been given city status. However the 1930s saw a downturn in fortunes, with the relegated in 1934–35 and, after promotion in 1936–37. City reached the FA Cup final for the first time in their history in 1949, the club, however, was celebrating a week later when a draw on the last day of the season ensured survival in Division Two
West Bromwich Albion F.C.
The club was formed in 1878 and has played at its home ground, The Hawthorns, since 1900. Albion were one of the members of the Football League in 1888 and have spent the majority of their existence in the top tier of English football. They have been champions of England once, in 1919–20 and have been runners-up twice but they have had success in the FA Cup. The first came in 1888, the year the league was founded, and they also won the Football League Cup at the first attempt in 1966. The clubs longest consecutive period in the top division spanned twenty-four years between 1949 and 1973, and from 1986 to 2002 they spent their longest ever spell out of the top division and they currently play in the Premier League. The team has played in blue and white stripes for most of the clubs history. The club was founded as West Bromwich Strollers in 1878 by workers from George Salters Spring Works in West Bromwich, the club joined the Birmingham & District Football Association in 1881 and became eligible for their first competition, the Birmingham Cup. They reached the quarter-finals, beating several longer-established clubs on the way, in 1883, Albion won their first trophy, the Staffordshire Cup. Albion joined the Football Association in the year, this enabled them to enter the FA Cup for the first time in the 1883–84 season. In 1885 the club turned professional, and in 1886 they reached the FA Cup final for the first time and they reached the final again in 1887, but lost 2–0 to Aston Villa. In 1888 the team won the trophy for the first time, as FA Cup winners, they qualified to play in a Football World Championship game against Scottish Cup winners Renton, which ended in a 4–1 defeat. Thus when the Football League started later that year, Albion became one of the founder members. Albions second FA Cup success came in 1892, beating Aston Villa 3–0 and they met Villa again in the 1895 final, but lost 1–0. The team suffered relegation to Division Two in 1900–01, their first season at The Hawthorns and they were promoted as champions the following season but relegated again in 1903–04. The club won the Division Two championship once more in 1910–11, and the season reached another FA Cup Final. Albion won the Football League title in 1919–20 for the time in their history following the end of World War I. The team finished as Division One runners-up in 1924–25, narrowly losing out to Huddersfield Town, in 1930–31, they won promotion as well as the FA Cup, beating Birmingham 2–1 in the final. The Double of winning the FA Cup and promotion has not been achieved before or since, Albion reached the final again in 1935, losing to Sheffield Wednesday, but were relegated three years later
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
Hull City A.F.C.
Hull City Association Football Club is a professional association football club based in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England. The club participates in the Premier League, the top tier of English football – and their greatest achievement in cup competitions came in 2014, when the team reached the final of the FA Cup. In 2007–08 they achieved promotion to the top flight of English football for the first time in their history by winning the Championship play-off Final at Wembley Stadium and their highest league finish was for the 2013–14 season, in which they finished 16th in the Premier League table. Hull City play their games at the KCOM Stadium. They moved there in 2002 after playing their previous 56 seasons at Boothferry Park, Boothferry Park has since been demolished and been replaced by a housing development. Hull traditionally play in black and amber, often with a shirt design. The clubs mascots are Roary the Tiger and his sister Amber. C. and these early matches were played at the Boulevard, the home of Hull F. C. The clubs first competitive match was in the FA Cup preliminary round, drawing 3–3 with Stockton on 17 September. After disputes with landlords at the Boulevard, Hull City moved to Anlaby Road Cricket Ground, after having played 44 friendly fixtures the previous season, Hull City were finally admitted into the Football League Second Division for the 1905–06 season. Other teams competing in the league season included the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, as well as Yorkshire rivals Barnsley, Bradford City. Hull defeated Barnsley 4–1 at home in their first game and finished the season in fifth place, the following season a new ground was built for Hull City across the road from the cricket ground. Still under the managership of Ambrose Langley, Hull continued to finish consistently in the top half of the table and they came close to promotion in the 1909–10 season, recording what would be their highest finish until they matched it in 2008. Hull finished third, level on points with second placed Oldham Athletic, Hulls greatest achievement in cup competitions until 2014 was in 1930, when they reached the FA Cup semi-finals. The cup run saw Hull knock out the champions of the Second and Third Divisions, Blackpool. They then knocked out Manchester City, to meet Newcastle United in the quarter-finals, the first game at St James Park finished as a 1–1 draw, but in the replay Hull beat Newcastle 1–0. The semi-final match against Arsenal took place at Elland Road in Leeds, the game ended 2–2, Arsenal knocked Hull out at Villa Park, the game ending 1–0. After the Second World War, the moved to another new ground. In the 1948–49 season, managed by former England international Raich Carter, Hull also became the first team in the world to go out of a cup competition on penalties, beaten by Manchester United in the semi-final of the Watney Cup on 1 August 1970
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
The Premier League is an English professional league for mens association football clubs. At the top of the English football league system, it is the primary football competition. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the English Football League, Welsh clubs that compete in the English football league system can also qualify. The Premier League is a corporation in which the 20 member clubs act as shareholders, seasons run from August to May. Teams play 38 matches each, totalling 380 matches in the season, most games are played on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, others during weekday evenings. It is colloquially known as the Premiership and outside the UK it is referred to as the English Premier League. The deal was worth £1 billion a year domestically as of 2013–14, with BSkyB, the league generates €2.2 billion per year in domestic and international television rights. In 2014/15, teams were apportioned revenues of £1.6 billion, the Premier League is the most-watched sports league in the world, broadcast in 212 territories to 643 million homes and a potential TV audience of 4.7 billion people. In the 2014–15 season, the average Premier League match attendance exceeded 36,000, most stadium occupancies are near capacity. The Premier League ranks third in the UEFA coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the past five seasons. While 47 clubs have competed since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, only six have won the title, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, the current champions are Leicester City, who won the title in 2015–16. Despite significant European success in the 1970s and early 1980s, the late 80s marked a low point for English football, the 1988 negotiations were the first signs of a breakaway league, ten clubs threatened to leave and form a super league, but were eventually persuaded to stay. As stadiums improved and match attendance and revenues rose, the top teams again considered leaving the Football League in order to capitalise on the influx of money into the sport. At the close of the 1991 season, a proposal was tabled for the establishment of a new league that would bring money into the game overall. The Founder Members Agreement, signed on 17 July 1991 by the games top-flight clubs, the argument given at the time was that the extra income would allow English clubs to compete with teams across Europe. The managing director of London Weekend Television, Greg Dyke, met with the representatives of the big five clubs in England in 1990. The meeting was to pave the way for an away from The Football League. The FA did not enjoy a relationship with the Football League at the time
Their home ground since 2001 has been St Marys Stadium, before which they were based at The Dell. Southampton has a rivalry with Portsmouth due to its close proximity. Matches between the two sides are known as the South Coast derby, the club has won the FA Cup once, in 1976, and their highest-ever league finish was second in the First Division in 1983–84. Southampton were relegated from the Premier League on 15 May 2005 and they returned after a seven-year absence, and have played there ever since. Southampton were founded at St. Marys Church, on 21 November 1885 by members of the St. Marys Church of England Young Mens Association. More important matches, such as cup games, were played either at the County Cricket Ground in Northlands Road or the Antelope Cricket Ground in St Marys Road. During this time, they moved to a newly built £10,000 stadium called The Dell, the club reached the first of their four FA Cup Finals in 1900. On that day, they went down 4–0 to Bury and two later they would suffer a similar fate at the hands of Sheffield United as they were beaten 2–1 in a replay of the 1902 final. After World War I, Saints joined the newly formed Football League Third Division in 1920 which split into South and North sections a year later, the 1921–22 season ended in triumph with promotion and marked the beginning of a 31-year stay in the Second Division. The 1922–23 season was a unique Even Season –14 wins,14 draws and 14 defeats for a total of 42 points, goals for and against statistics were also equal and the team finished in mid-table. In 1925 and 1927, they reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, losing 2–0 and 2–1 to Sheffield United, in the 1948–49 and 1949–50 seasons, Charlie Wayman rattled in a total of 56 goals. Then relegation in 1953 sent Saints sliding back into Division 3 and it took until 1960 for Saints to regain Second Division status with Derek Reeves plundering 39 of the champions’106 league goals. On 27 April 1963 a crowd of 68,000 at Villa Park saw them lose 1–0 to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final. In 1966, when Ted Bates’ team were promoted to the First Division as runners-up, for the following campaign Ron Davies arrived to score 43 goals in his first season. Saints stayed among the elite for eight years, with the highest finishing position being seventh place in 1968–69 and again in 1970–71. These finishes were high enough for them to qualify for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969–70 and its successor, the UEFA Cup in 1971–72, in December 1973, Bates stood down to be replaced by his assistant Lawrie McMenemy. The Saints were one of the first victims of the new three-down relegation system in 1974, the following season, they played in Europe again in the Cup Winners Cup, reaching Round 3 where they lost 2–3 on aggregate to Anderlecht. In 1977–78, captained by Alan Ball, Saints finished runners-up in the Second Division and they finished comfortably in 14th place in their first season back in the top flight
Derby County F.C.
Derby County Football Club is a professional association football club based in Derby, Derbyshire, England. Their home matches are played at Pride Park Stadium, where the club moved in 1997. Derby County F. C. was founded in 1884, by William Morley, as an offshoot of Derbyshire County Cricket Club, it has spent all, additionally, the club was a strong force in the interwar years and won the 1945–46 FA Cup. Derby County F. C. was formed in 1884 as an offshoot of Derbyshire County Cricket Club in an attempt to give players and supporters a winter interest as well as secure the cricket club extra revenue. The original intention was to name the club Derbyshire County F. C. The opening day of the first ever season was 8 September 1888. They absorbed another Derby club, Derby Midland F. C. who had members of the Midland League, in 1891. Steve Bloomer, generally considered to be Derby Countys best-ever player, in 1895 the club moved to a new stadium, the Baseball Ground, which became their home for the next 102 years and adopted their traditional colours of black and white. Although Derby were inconsistent in the league, they did finish runners-up to Aston Villa in 1896 as well as achieving a number of third-place finishes. They were a force in the FA Cup, appearing in three finals in six years around the turn of the 20th century, though lost all three, in 1898,1899 and 1903. In 1914 they were relegated again, but instantly won the Second Division to get promoted, after two seasons, they were relegated yet again in 1921. Derby were one of clubs to close down after the outbreak of World War II but restarted in the early 1940s, in part due to the persistence of Jack Nicholas. In 1967, Brian Clough and Peter Taylor took over and led them to their greatest glory, though Derby did not retain their title the following season, they did reach the semi-finals of the European Cup, where they lost to Juventus. Cloughs frequent outspoken comments against footballs establishment eventually led to him falling out with the board of directors at the club, and Clough and Taylor left in October 1973. Such was their impact on the club that,37 years later, though they challenged well in their first season, Derby were soon hit hard by rising debts, falling attendances and dismal performances. However, Derby did manage to avoid going out of business, after relegation to the Third Division in May 1984, the club appointed Arthur Cox as manager. A lack of any investment from Maxwell quickly led to a decline. At this time, local newspaper businessman Lionel Pickering became the majority shareholder of the club, in 1992, Derby County paid £2
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
Aston Villa F.C.
Aston Villa Football Club is a professional association football club based in Aston, Birmingham, that plays in the Championship, the second level of English football. Founded in 1874, they have played at their current home ground, Villa Park, Aston Villa were one of the founder members of the Football League in 1888. They were also one of the members of the Premier League in 1992. Aston Villa are one of only five English clubs to be crowned champions of Europe and they have also won the First Division Championship seven times, the FA Cup seven times, the Football League Cup five times, and the UEFA Super Cup once. They have a local rivalry with Birmingham City and the Second City derby between the sides has been played since 1879. The clubs traditional kit colours are claret shirts with sky blue sleeves, white shorts and their traditional badge is of a rampant lion, which was introduced by the clubs Scottish chairman William McGregor in honour of the Royal Standard of Scotland. The club is owned by Recon Group Limited, a company chaired by Chinese businessman Tony Xia. Aston Villa Football Club were formed in March 1874, by members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel in Handsworth which is now part of Birmingham, the four founders of Aston Villa were Jack Hughes, Frederick Matthews, Walter Price and William Scattergood. Aston Villas first match was against the local Aston Brook St Marys Rugby team, as a condition of the match, the Villa side had to agree to play the first half under Rugby rules and the second half under Association rules. The club won their first FA Cup in 1887 with captain Archie Hunter becoming one of the games first household names. Aston Villa were one of the teams that competed in the inaugural Football League in 1888 with one of the clubs directors. Aston Villa emerged as the most successful English club of the Victorian era, winning no fewer than five League titles, in 1897, the year Villa won The Double, they moved into their present home, the Aston Lower Grounds. Supporters coined the name Villa Park, no official declaration listed the ground as Villa Park. This was largely the result of a defensive record, they conceded 110 goals in 42 games,7 of them coming from Arsenals Ted Drake in an infamous 1–7 defeat at Villa Park. Like all English clubs, Villa lost seven seasons to the Second World War, the team was rebuilt under the guidance of former player Alex Massie for the remainder of the 1940s. The team struggled in the league though and were relegated two seasons later, due in part to complacency. However, under the stewardship of manager Joe Mercer Villa returned to the top-flight in 1960 as Second Division Champions, the following season Aston Villa became the first team to win the Football League Cup. Mercers forced retirement from the club in 1964 signalled a period of deep turmoil, the most successful club in England was struggling to keep pace with changes in the modern game, with Villa being relegated for the third time, under manager Dick Taylor in 1967
Liverpool Football Club is a professional association football club based in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. They compete in the Premier League, the top tier of English football, the club has won 5 European Cups,3 UEFA Cups,3 UEFA Super Cups,18 League titles,7 FA Cups, a record 8 League Cups, and 15 FA Community Shields. The club was founded in 1892 and joined the Football League the following year, the club has played at Anfield since its formation. The club holds many long-standing rivalries, most notably the North West Derby against Manchester United, the clubs supporters have been involved in two major tragedies. The second was the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, where 96 Liverpool supporters died in a crush against perimeter fencing, the team changed from red shirts and white shorts to an all-red home strip in 1964 which has been used ever since. The clubs anthem is Youll Never Walk Alone, Liverpool F. C. was founded following a dispute between the Everton committee and John Houlding, club president and owner of the land at Anfield. After eight years at the stadium, Everton relocated to Goodison Park in 1892, the team won the Lancashire League in its début season, and joined the Football League Second Division at the start of the 1893–94 season. After finishing in first place the club was promoted to the First Division, Liverpool reached its first FA Cup Final in 1914, losing 1–0 to Burnley. Liverpool suffered its second Cup Final defeat in 1950, playing against Arsenal, the club was relegated to the Second Division in the 1953–54 season. Soon after Liverpool lost 2–1 to non-league Worcester City in the 1958–59 FA Cup, the club was promoted back into the First Division in 1962 and won it in 1964, for the first time in 17 years. In 1965, the club won its first FA Cup, in 1966, the club won the First Division but lost to Borussia Dortmund in the European Cup Winners Cup final. Liverpool won both the League and the UEFA Cup during the 1972–73 season, and the FA Cup again a year later, Shankly retired soon afterwards and was replaced by his assistant, Bob Paisley. In 1976, Paisleys second season as manager, the club won another League, the following season, the club retained the League title and won the European Cup for the first time, but it lost in the 1977 FA Cup Final. Liverpool retained the European Cup in 1978 and regained the First Division title in 1979, Paisley retired in 1983 and was replaced by his assistant, Joe Fagan. Liverpool won the League, League Cup and European Cup in Fagans first season, Liverpool reached the European Cup final again in 1985, against Juventus at the Heysel Stadium. Before kick-off, Liverpool fans breached a fence separated the two groups of supporters, and charged the Juventus fans. The resulting weight of people caused a wall to collapse, killing 39 fans. The incident became known as the Heysel Stadium disaster, the match was played in spite of protests by both managers, and Liverpool lost 1–0 to Juventus
Sunderland Association Football Club is a professional football club based in the North East city of Sunderland in the larger metropolitan area of Tyne and Wear. The club is playing in the Premier League, the top league of English football. Since its formation in 1879, the club has won six top-flight First Division titles, a total bettered by five other clubs. The club has won the FA Cup twice and been runners-up twice, as well as winning the FA Community Shield in 1936. Sunderland have also been Football League Cup finalists in 1985 and 2014, Sunderland won their first FA Cup in 1937 with a 3–1 victory over Preston North End, and remained in the top league for 68 successive seasons until they were relegated for the first time in 1958. Sunderlands most notable trophy after the Second World War was their second FA Cup in 1973, the team has won the second tier title five times in that period and the third tier title once. Sunderland play their games at the 49, 000-capacity all-seater Stadium of Light having moved from Roker Park in 1997. The original ground capacity was 42,000 which was increased to 49,000 following expansion in 2000, Sunderland have a long-standing rivalry with their neighbouring club Newcastle United, with whom they have contested the Tyne–Wear derby since 1898. Founded 17 October 1879 as Sunderland and District Teachers A. F. C. by schoolmaster James Allan and they replaced Stoke, who had failed to be re-elected, becoming the first new club to join the league since its inauguration in 1888. During the late 19th century, they were declared the Team of All Talents by William McGregor, Sunderland won the league championship in the 1891–92 season, one season after joining The Football League. The clubs 42 points were five clear of nearest rivals Preston North End, Sunderland successfully defended the title the following season, aided by centre forward Johnny Campbell, who broke the 30-goal mark for the second time in consecutive seasons. In the process, they became the first team to score 100 goals in a season, a feat not matched until 1919–20, Sunderland came close to winning a third successive league championship in the 1893–94 season, finishing second behind Aston Villa. However, they regained the title in the 1894–95 season, ending the five points ahead of Everton. After winning the English League Championship, Sunderland played against Heart of Midlothian, Sunderland won the game 5–3 and were announced Champions of the world. Sunderland came close to winning another title in the 1897–98 season. That season was their last at Newcastle Road, as moved to Roker Park the following season. After coming second in 1900–01, the club won their league title in the 1901–02 season. In 1904, Sunderlands management was embroiled in a payment scandal involving player Andrew McCombie, the club was said to have given the player £100 to help him start his own business, on the understanding that he would repay the money after his benefit game
Norwich City F.C.
Norwich City Football Club is an English professional football club based in Norwich, Norfolk. The club currently plays in the Championship, the tier of English football. They were first promoted to the top flight in 1972, Norwich have won the League Cup twice, in 1962 and 1985. The club has never won the top flight, but finished third in 1993, the club was founded in 1902. The fans song On the Ball, City is regarded as being the oldest football song in the world which is still in use, the club plays in characteristic yellow and green kits and are nicknamed The Canaries after the history of breeding the birds in the area. They joined the Norfolk & Suffolk League for the 1902–03 season, but following a FA Commission, the club was ousted from the amateur game in 1905, deemed a professional organisation. Later that year Norwich were elected to play in the Southern League and with increasing crowds, they were forced to leave Newmarket Road in 1908, moving to The Nest, a disused chalk pit. During the First World War, with football suspended and facing spiralling debts, the club was officially reformed on 15 February 1919 – a key figure in the events was Charles Frederick Watling, future Lord Mayor of Norwich and the father of future club chairman, Geoffrey Watling. When, in May 1920, the Football League formed a third Division and their first league fixture, against Plymouth Argyle, on 28 August 1920, ended in a 1–1 draw. The club went on to endure a mediocre decade, finishing no higher than eighth, the inaugural match, held on 31 August 1935, against West Ham United, ended in a 4–3 victory to the home team and set a new record attendance of 29,779. The biggest highlight of the four seasons was the visit of King George VI to Carrow Road on 29 October 1938. However, the club was relegated to the Third Division at the end of the season, the league was suspended the following season as a result of the outbreak of the Second World War and did not resume until the 1946–47 season. City finished this and the season in 21st place, the poor results forcing the club to apply for re-election to the league. The 1958–59 season saw Norwich reach the semi-final of the FA Cup as a Third Division side, in the 1959–60 season, Norwich were promoted to the Second Division after finishing second to Southampton, and achieved a fourth-place finish in the 1960–61 season. In 1962 Ron Ashman guided Norwich to their first trophy, defeating Rochdale 4–0 on aggregate in a final to win the League Cup. They made their first appearance at Wembley Stadium in 1973, losing the League Cup final 1–0 to Tottenham Hotspur. Relegation to the Second Division in 1974 came after Saunders had departed and been succeeded by John Bond, a highly successful first season saw promotion back to the First Division and another visit to Wembley, again in the League Cup final, this time losing 1–0 to Aston Villa. Bond departed to Manchester City in the autumn of 1980 and the club were relegated six months later, Norwich had also been the beneficiaries of one of English footballs first million-pound transfers when they sold striker Justin Fashanu to Nottingham Forest in August 1981
Colchester United F.C.
Colchester United Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Colchester, Essex, England. The team competes in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. Founded in 1937, the club spent its early years playing in the Southern Football League until they were elected to the Football League in 1950. Colchester United were relegated to the Football Conference in 1990 following a decline in the late 1980s and they achieved promotion to the Second Division in 1998 following a 1–0 win against Torquay United in the play-off final. The club were promoted in 2006, achieving second place in League One. The club returned to League One in 2008 following relegation from the Championship, Colchester United play their home games at Colchester Community Stadium in Colchester. They relocated to the stadium in 2008 when they moved away from Layer Road, until 1937, Colchester Town were Colchesters main club and were the original tenants of Layer Road. Colchester Town joined the Eastern Counties League in 1935, but their performances in the league convinced supporters that the club should turn professional. With club officials against the idea of turning professional, a new club was formed in March 1937, Colchester United. United joined the Southern Football League as crowds for Town matches dwindled, in December 1937, Colchester United formed a reserve team, signing many of Towns players. As a result of this and Town struggling with £300 debts, the club won the Southern League Cup in their first season of existence, and were Southern League champions during in 1939 prior to the Second World War. They finally fell to Blackpool in the fifth round and this set them in good stead for potential election to the Football League. Colchester United were elected to the Football League in 1950 on the back of their second Southern League Cup win and ending the 1949–50 season second to Merthyr Tydfil on goal average alone. With the draw having been made prior to the replay against Rochdale, the Us knew they would face a home tie with First Division Leeds United, and duly trounced Dale 5–0. In the match with Leeds, the Us raced to an unprecedented 3–0 lead in front of a 16,000 Layer Road crowd, Leeds did grab two goals back but Colchester held on for a famous 3–2 victory. The club faced Everton in the quarter-finals but succumbed to a 5–0 defeat in front of 53,028 at Goodison Park. Financial difficulties and a number of changes at board level in the mid-1980s caused a slide towards the end of the Fourth Division table. Despite a brief turn around in form under former Rangers manager Jock Wallace, despite their relegation, the Us remained a full-time club while playing in the Football Conference, as they sold their Layer Road ground to the Colchester Borough Council to clear the clubs debts
Gabriel Abdala Zakuani is a Congolese professional footballer, who plays for Northampton Town as a defender. Zakuani began his career with Leyton Orient, and was a member of the side which gained promotion in 2005–06. He signed for Peterborough United in 2008–09, initially on loan, with the Posh Zakuani gained promotion in 2008–09 but were then relegated in 2009–10. They gained an instant return by beating Huddersfield Town 3–0 in the 2011 League One play-off final, after spending two seasons in the Championship, Peterborough suffered relegation at the end of the 2012–13 season. In January 2014, Zakuani decided to join Superleague Greece side Kalloni and he returned, however, to Peterborough in June 2014. Born in Kinshasa, Zakuani moved to London as a young child, Leyton Orient spotted him playing in one of his school matches as a 14-year old and signed him. After two seasons in Orients youth team, Zakuani was given his debut against Bournemouth in March 2003. In the 2004–05 and 2005–06 seasons, he became a regular in Martin Lings plans, making the defence position his own. In January 2006, Zakuani was part of the Leyton Orient side that defeated Premier League, Fulham 2–1 in the FA Cup third round. His performance attracted the attention of the West London side, who signed him in July that year for a fee of £1m, rising to £1. 5m depending on appearances, the fee represented a club record for Leyton Orient. Zakuani only played twice for Fulham in his spell with the club, in the League Cup against Wycombe Wanderers. Zakuani signed for Stoke City on loan for the remainder of the 2006–07 season, despite being a centre back, Zakuani also deputised as a right-back during his loan spell. He made his debut for Stoke in a 2–0 win away at Derby County in February 2007 and he went on to make another eight appearances for Stoke during the 2006–07 season as City narrowly missed out on a play-off place. On 31 August 2007, Zakuani re-signed for Stoke on loan for the rest of the 2007–08 season and this time he made 19 appearances as Stoke were promoted to the Premier League. Zakuani later admitted he would like to make a permanent move to Stoke, The gaffer said hed like me here so Ill wait, obviously Stoke would be my first choice but you always think where you will be wanted the most. Despite this, a move never happened, Gabriel Zakuani was then sent to Peterborough United on a three-month loan. On 25 November 2008, it was confirmed that he would make his move permanent when the transfer window re-opened on 1 January 2009. On 8 July 2012, Gabriel Zakuani was given captaincy of Peterborough United, on 12 November 2012, Zakuani was transfer listed and fined following a breach of club discipline following a night out in Peterborough
Michael Wayne Duberry is an English former professional footballer who played as a centre-back. He started his career with Premier League side Chelsea, and also played in the top flight for Leeds United and Reading and he has also previously played in the Football League for Bournemouth, Stoke City, Wycombe Wanderers and Oxford United. Duberry attended Enfield Grammar School in London and started his career at Chelsea where he was a trainee and made his début during the 1993–94 season, before a brief loan period with Bournemouth. Duberry made a total of 115 appearances for Chelsea and scored 3 goals and his two other Chelsea goals came in their 1995–96 FA Cup campaign, with goals against Grimsby Town and Wimbledon. Duberry picked up an Achilles injury in January 1997 meaning he missed the rest of that season, seeking regular football, Duberry eventually requested a transfer and moved to Leeds United in June 1999 for £4.5 million. However, he failed to break into the first team, as the likes of Jonathan Woodgate, Dominic Matteo, Lucas Radebe. He did play the full 90 minutes of their memorable 1–0 win over AC Milan at Elland Road during that campaign, however and he was involved in a court case with Leeds team-mates Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer. Unfortunately, however, Duberry failed to impress in a defence often made up of loan signings, all 80 of his appearances for the club were as a starter, not once did he feature on the bench. He scored once for Stoke, in a 2–0 win over Crewe Alexandra and he made his league début for Reading on 24 February 2007 in their 2–1 defeat away to Middlesbrough. Duberry was released from his contract at Wycombe on 1 February 2010 having seen his contract terminated by mutual consent, four days later, Duberry signed for Scottish side St Johnstone. He made his Saints début in a 1–0 Scottish Cup defeat to Dundee United and he scored his first goal for St Johnstone in a 2–2 draw with St Mirren on 17 April 2010. Duberry re-signed a further deal with St Johnstone on 27 May 2010. Duberry joined Oxford United on 1 June 2011, on a two-year deal and he scored his first goal for the club, and the 8th of his career, in a 2–1 victory over Port Vale on 29 October 2011. On 21 January 2012, Duberry scored a hat-trick which included two own goals followed by an equaliser as Oxford drew 2–2 with Hereford United. Duberry scored once with his foot, once with his right. In August 2012, 36-year-old Duberry underwent neck surgery in an attempt to prolong his career and he stated his hopes of a return to fitness within four months. He made two appearances in December 2012 and returned to the first-team starting line-up in a league fixture on 1 January 2013. During his second season at the club he became the oldest outfield player to appear in the Oxford first team and he was released by Oxford at the end of the 2012–13 season having made 50 appearances for the club in two seasons
Reading Football Club is a professional association football club based in Reading, Berkshire, England. The team play in the Championship, the tier of English football. The club played at Elm Park for 102 years between 1896 and 1998, in 1998 the club moved to the new Madejski Stadium, which is named after the clubs co-chairman Sir John Madejski. Reading then finished eighth in the 2006–07 Premier League, their first ever season as a top flight club, Reading were formed on 25 December 1871, following a public meeting at the Bridge Street Rooms organised by the future club secretary Joseph Edward Sydenham. The early matches were played at Reading Recreation Ground, and later the club held fixtures at Reading Cricket Ground, Coley Park and Caversham Cricket Ground. The switch to professionalism in 1895 resulted in the need for a ground and, to this end. In 1913, Reading had a tour of Italy, prompting the leading sports newspaper Corriere della Sera to write without doubt. Reading were elected to the Football League Third Division South of the Football League in 1920, Reading lost their place in Division Two in May 1931, and remained in Third Division South until the outbreak of World War II. When League football resumed after the war, Reading quickly came to prominence once again, the sides moment of cup glory came in 1988 when they won the Simod Cup, beating a number of top flight sides en route to their Wembley win over Luton Town. Reading were promoted to the Second Division as champions in 1986 under the management of Ian Branfoot, the appointment of Mark McGhee as player-manager, shortly after the takeover by John Madejski, in 1991 saw Reading move forward. They were crowned champions of the new Division Two in 1994, in 1995, Reading had eased past Tranmere Rovers in the play-off semi-finals and looked to have booked their place in the Premier League only to lose against Bolton Wanderers in the final. Quinn and Goodings contracts were not renewed two years later after Reading had slid into the half of Division One. Their successor, Terry Bullivant, lasted less than one season before being sacked in March 1998, the year 1998 also saw Reading move into the new 24,200 all-seater Madejski Stadium, named after Chairman John Madejski. Tommy Burns had taken over from Terry Bullivant but lasted just 18 months before being replaced by Alan Pardew, the club finished third in 2000–01 qualifying for the play-offs, losing 2–3 in the final against Walsall at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Reading returned to Division One for 2002–03 after finishing runners-up in Division Two, the following season, they finished fourth in Division One and qualified for the play-offs, where they lost in the semi-final to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Alan Pardew moved to West Ham United the following October and was replaced by Steve Coppell, Reading won the 2005–06 Championship with a league record 106 points, scoring 99 goals and losing only twice. Reading were promoted to English footballs top division for the first time in their history, the 2006–07 season saw Reading make their first appearance in the top flight of English football. Reading defied pre-season predictions of relegation to finish the season in place with 55 points
Crystal Palace F.C.
Crystal Palace Football Club is a professional football club based in South Norwood, London, that plays in the Premier League, the top tier of English football. The club was founded in 1905 at the famous Crystal Palace Exhibition building by the owners of the FA Cup Final stadium which was situated inside the historic Palace grounds. The club played their games at the Cup Final venue until 1915, but then the First World War forced them to move out and play at Herne Hill Velodrome. In 1924, the moved to their current home at Selhurst Park. Palace have been FA Cup finalists twice, in 1990 and 2016, the club were denied a place in Europe at the end of that season due to the partial UEFA ban on English clubs caused by the Heysel Stadium disaster. Palace were one of the founding members of the Premier League. The club were winners of the Full Members Cup in 1991 when they beat Everton in the Wembley final, Palace have been second tier champions twice and hold the record for the most play-off wins for promotion to the top flight, winning the final four times. In 1973, the changed its original nickname from The Glaziers to The Eagles. The club had played in claret and blue colours. Palace have rivalries with Brighton & Hove Albion, with whom they contest the M23 derby, in 1895, the Football Association had found a new permanent home for the FA Cup Final at the site of the famous Crystal Palace Exhibition building. There had been an amateur Crystal Palace team as early as 1861, the owners of the venue wanted a professional club to play there and tap into the vast crowd potential of the area. Crystal Palace Football Club, originally nicknamed The Glaziers, was formed on 10 September 1905 under the guidance of Aston Villa assistant secretary Edmund Goodman, the club applied to enter the Football League alongside Chelsea and Southampton, but was the only unsuccessful team of the three. The club instead found itself in the Southern League Second Division for the 1905–06 season, the club was successful in its inaugural season and was promoted to the First Division, crowned as champions. Palace remained in the Southern League up until 1914, their one highlight the 1907 shock First Round victory over Newcastle United in the FA Cup. The outbreak of the First World War led to the Admiralty requisitioning the Crystal Palace, Three years later the club moved again to the Nest due to the folding of Croydon Common F. C. The club joined the Football League Third Division in the 1920–21 season, finishing as champions, during this period, Palace also won the London Challenge Cup three times in 1913,1914, and 1921. Palace moved to the purpose-built stadium Selhurst Park in 1924, the ground the club plays at today, the opening fixture at Selhurst Park was against Sheffield Wednesday, Palace losing 0–1 in front of a crowd of 25,000. Finishing in twenty-first position, the club was relegated to the Third Division South, before the Second World War Palace made good efforts at promotion, never finishing outside the top half of the table and finishing second on three occasions
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
Millwall Football Club is a professional football club in Bermondsey, South East London, England. The team play in League One, the tier of English football. Founded as Millwall Rovers in 1885, the club has retained its name despite having last played in the Millwall area of the Isle of Dogs in 1910. From then until 1993 the club played at what is now called The Old Den in New Cross, before moving to its current home stadium nearby, the traditional club crest is a lion rampant, referred to in the teams nickname The Lions. Millwalls traditional kit consists of blue shirts, white shorts and blue socks, Millwall have a long-standing rivalry with West Ham United. The local derby between the two sides has been contested almost a hundred times since 1899, in the media, Millwalls supporters have often been associated with hooliganism, with numerous films having been made fictionalising their notoriety. The fans are renowned for their chant No one likes us, in 2004, the team reached the FA Cup final and qualified for the UEFA Cup, playing in Europe for the first time in their history. The club also reached FA Cup semi-finals in 1900,1903,1937 and 2013, Millwall have spent the majority of their existence in the second or third tier of the Football League. The team spent two seasons in the top flight between 1988–90, in which the club achieved its highest ever finish of tenth place in the First Division. Based on all results during the clubs 89 seasons in the Football League from 1920–21 to 2015–16, Millwall Rovers were formed by the workers of J. T. Mortons canning and preserve factory in the Millwall area of the Isle of Dogs in Londons East End in 1885. The club secretary was 17-year-old Jasper Sexton, the son of the landlord of The Islander pub in Tooke Street where Millwall held their club meetings. Millwall Rovers first fixture was held on a piece of ground on Glengall Road, on 3 October 1885 against Fillebrook. The newly formed team were beaten 5–0, Rovers found a better playing surface for the 1886–87 season, at the rear of the Lord Nelson pub and it became known as the Lord Nelson Ground. In November 1886, the East End Football Association was formed, Millwall made it to the final against London Caledonians, which was played at Leyton Cricket Ground. The match finished 2–2 and the teams shared the cup for six months each, Millwall won the East London Senior Cup at the first attempt. The club also won it the two years, and the trophy became their property. They were founding members of the Southern Football League which they won for the first two years of its existence, and were runners-up in its third. They were forced to move to a new ground North Greenwich in 1901, Millwall Athletic reached the FA Cup semi-finals in 1900 and 1903, and were also champions of the Western Football League in 1908 and 1909
Fulham Football Club is a professional association football club based in Fulham, Greater London, England. Founded in 1879, they play in the Championship, the tier of English football. They are the football team from London to have played in the Premier League. The club has spent 25 seasons in English footballs top division, the latter spell was associated with former chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed, after the club had climbed up from the fourth tier in the 1990s. The club has produced many English greats, including Johnny Haynes, George Cohen, Bobby Robson, Rodney Marsh and they play at Craven Cottage, a ground on the banks of the River Thames in Fulham which has been their home since 1896. Fulhams training ground is located near Motspur Park, where the clubs Academy is also situated, Fulham were formed in 1879 as Fulham St Andrews Church Sunday School F. C. founded by worshipers at the Church of England on Star Road, West Kensington. Fulhams mother church still today with a plaque commemorating the teams foundation. They won the West London Amateur Cup in 1887 and, having shortened the name from Fulham Excelsior to its present form in 1888, one of the clubs first ever kits was half red, half white shirts with white shorts worn in the 1886–87 season. Fulham started playing at their current ground at Craven Cottage in 1896, the club gained professional status on 12 December 1898, the same year that they were admitted into the Southern Leagues Second Division. They were the club from London to turn professional, following Arsenal. They adopted a red and white kit during the 1900–01 season, in 1902–03, the club won promotion from this division, entering the Southern League First Division. The club won the Southern League twice, in 1905–06 and 1906–07, Fulham joined The Football League after the second of their Southern League triumphs. The clubs first league game, playing in the Second Divisions 1907–08 season, the first win came a few days later at Derby Countys Baseball Ground by a score line of 1–0. Fulham finished the three points short of promotion in fourth place. The club progressed all the way to the semi-final of that seasons FA Cup, in the semi-final, however, they were heavily beaten, 6–0, by Newcastle United. This is still a loss for an FA Cup semi-final game. Two years later, the won the London Challenge Cup in the 1909–10 season. Fulhams first season in Division Two turned out to be the highest that the club would finish for 21 years, until in 1927–28 when the club were relegated to the 3rd Division South, created in 1920