Port Vale F.C.
Port Vale Football Club is a professional association football club based in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, England. The team compete in League One, the tier of the English football league system. Port Vale is one of the few English league clubs not to be named after a location, their name being a reference to the valley of ports on the Trent. They were founder members of the Second Division in 1892 and of the Fourth Division in 1958 and they have never played top-flight football, and hold the record for the most seasons in the English Football League without reaching the top tier. After playing at the Athletic Ground in Cobridge and The Old Recreation Ground in Hanley, outside the ground is a statue to Roy Sproson, who played 842 competitive games for the club. John Rudge was manager from 1983 to 1999, under his leadership the club lifted the Football League Trophy in 1993, since his reign the club have declined, slipping into the fourth tier whilst entering twice administration in 2003 and 2012. The decline was arrested when Norman Smurthwaite brought the club out of administration in 2012, the clubs traditional rivals are Stoke City, and games between the two are known as the Potteries derby. However, the story given on the club website is that Port Vale F. C. was formed in 1876, following a meeting at Port Vale House. They played their football at Limekiln Lane, Longport and from 1880 at Westport, the club moved to Burslem in 1884, changing its name to Burslem Port Vale in the process, they played at Moorland Road before moving into the Athletic Ground in 1885. In 1892 the club were members of the Football League Second Division. The club dropped Burslem from their name in 1907 – a dark time of financial difficulties where the club were forced to resign from the league, the club were relegated for the first time during the 1928–29 season, going from the Second Division to the Third Division North. They came up the season as champions. In the 1930–31 season they placed fifth in the tier of English football. After this peak, the club were again relegated in the 1935–36 season. In 1950, Vale Park was completed, the fifth ground. Steele quickly established himself at the club, masterminding the celebrated Iron Curtain defence, three years later, the club were once again relegated, and once again became founder members of a league – this time the Football League Fourth Division. In their first season in new division the club took the title with a club record 110 goals. During the 1960s, the Vale fans witnessed numerous good cup runs, in 1967, Stanley Matthews took over, his reign ended in tears in 1968 as Vale were expelled from the Football League over seemingly illegal payments made to players
William Amos Bratt MBE is the former chairman of Port Vale Football Club, who served the club in this post from 2003 to 2011. After decades working in the industry, Bratt turned his attention to his hometown club Port Vale. Leading the Valiant 2001 supporters trust, he gained control from the administrators and he then faced a constant battle to steady the clubs finances whilst also advancing through the leagues. He left the club after fan protests against his chairmanship, Bratts stepfather was a World War II veteran who was taken by the Japanese as a prisoner of war. After the war his father appeared to be scarred from his time in POW camps and regularly beat him. He died in the 1960s of cancer and he lived in numerous childrens homes in the Penkhull area, before becoming a miner at Chatterley Whitfield pit. The charity he received members of the church helped to instil Christian beliefs that he holds to this day. From an early age he was a Port Vale supporter, something which would have a significant impact upon his life in the future. Bratt worked in several coal-mines, but was forced to retire after a motorcycle accident severely damaged his left hand and he then tried several jobs, including selling encyclopaedias. However, Bratt built up his business acumen and earned an income as an insurance broker over a 30-year period. During this time he started a family - a son. The club went into administration under Bell in December 2002, Valiant 2001 eventually secured control of the club after a long and drawn-out process as the 2002–03 season neared its close. Their takeover bid beat that of a mystery bidder, Bratt had been a lifelong supporter of the club when he took the chairman position in 2003. The Valiant2001 Charter, drafted by Charles Machin, listed ten points, One, Robbie Williams bought £240,000 worth of the £250,000 worth of available shares in the club. Castle Comfort Stairlifts, the sponsors, at the same time bought the remainder for £10,000. Three months later Bratt also took up the role of Chief executive officer, under Bratts chairmanship, the club were relegated to the bottom tier of English league football after a dismal 2007–08 season. He also reiterated his prior statements by stating that he would be prepared to leave his position if the offer were to be made. As Chairman he was criticized for the perceived unprofessional practices of the board
Vale Park is a football stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, England. It is the ground of Port Vale F. C. who have played at the ground since 1950. At 520 feet above sea level it is the eleventh highest ground in the country, the pitch is clay underneath the grass, rather than sand. These two factors make the pitch vulnerable to freezing temperatures, there is also a coal seam under the pitch, and numerous mine shafts dotted around the local area, including many under the park opposite the ground. The Vale Park pitch is one of the widest in the Football League, the head groundsman since September 1992 is Steve Speed. He was one of three nominated for the League Two Groundsmen of the Year award in 2009. Denis Dawson was head groundsman from 1966 to 1975, he succeeded Len Parton and was followed by Graham Mainwaring. Following the club being informed that they would be evicted from The Old Recreation Ground by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, plans for a new stadium in a new area began to be made. In 1944 Hamil Road – the site of a clay pit – was chosen, a site opposite Burslem Park. The development became known as The Wembley of the North due to the size of the stadium. The clubs leadership had not allowed the third tier status or their lack of money to curb their ambition. Life-time seats were sold for £100 but fewer than 100 fans bought them, also costing £100, the pitch was the most expensive ever laid in the country at the time. The ground opened in 1950 having eventually cost £50,000, the original ground consisted of just two stands with banks of terracing at the Bycars and Hamil ends of the ground. The first match was a 1–0 victory over Newport County on 24 August 1950 in front of 30,196 rain-soaked spectators, walter Aveyard took the honour of being the first to score at the ground. On the same day the name was revealed for the first time – Vale Park. Vale Park initially had problems with drainage, leaving many games of the 1950–51 to be postponed, the problem was finally resolved in summer 1960, when new drains were installed to help ease the winter mud spots. In summer 1951,578 seats were installed on the Railway Terrace, in 1954 the Railway Stand was built, as capacity gradually increased to 50,000 by the end of the decade. On 24 September 1958, Vale Park saw its first match under the new £17,000 floodlights, in summer 1973, the club erected a 2.5 feet high steel fence around the Bycars End to help combat hooliganism
Port Vale F.C. Player of the Year
The Port Vale Player of the Year award is voted for annually by Port Vales supporters in recognition of the best overall performance by an individual player throughout the football season. Towards the end of season, fans are invited to cast their votes for this award. The inaugural award was made to Roy Sproson in 1967, david Harris, Ray Walker, Mark Grew, Neil Aspin, and Martin Foyle have all won two awards during their time at Vale Park. Foyle also went on to manage the club, no player has won the award more than twice. Eamonn OKeefe and Anthony Griffith represented Ireland and Montserrat respectively at international level, tom Pope, winner in 2013, stated that To be voted for by the fans like this is a massive honour for me. It means such a lot, more than the other awards Ive been lucky enough to win, specific General Kent, Jeff, Port Vale Personalities, Witan Books, ISBN 0-9529152-0-0
Marc John Richards is an English professional footballer who plays as striker for EFL League One side Northampton Town. A youth team player at Hednesford Town, he turned professional at Blackburn Rovers in 2000 and he spent the 2001–02 season on loan at Crewe Alexandra, Oldham Athletic, and Halifax Town. He then spent much of the 2002–03 season on loan at Swansea City and he scored eleven goals for the club in 2003–04, though was sent out on loan to Rochdale in the latter half of the 2004–05 campaign after he found himself struggling with injury. He joined Barnsley in August 2005, and went on to score goals in 2005–06. Released at the end of the 2006–07 season, he signed with Port Vale in June 2007. After five goals in 2007–08, he became the clubs top-scorer for four seasons running with 11 goals in 2008–09,22 goals in 2009–10,20 goals in 2010–11, and 17 goals in 2011–12. He signed with Chesterfield in May 2012, and played for the club in the 2014 final of the Football League Trophy, before helping them to win the League Two title in 2013–14. He returned to Northampton Town in May 2014, and finished as the clubs top-scorer for two seasons, helping Northampton to win the League Two title in 2015–16. Overall, he has scored more than 100 goals in over 350 professional appearances and he has also represented England at under-18 and under-20 levels. Richards started his career at Blackburn Rovers, but was on the books of Conference side Hednesford Town before moving to Ewood Park. He made his Rovers debut under manager Graeme Souness in a 2–0 defeat to West Ham United at Upton Park in the League Cup on 31 October 2000, he was replaced by David Dunn after 68 minutes. He was taken on a loan by Dario Gradi at First Division side Crewe Alexandra at the start of the 2001–02 season. He left Gresty Road with one goal in five games, and he played six games for Oldham, scoring once against Tranmere Rovers in the Football League Trophy, again with a header. He spent two months on loan at Alan Littles Halifax Town from February 2002, but remained goalless in his five games for the struggling Third Division club, in November 2002, he went out to Swansea City on loan for the rest of the season. Brian Flynns Swans avoided relegation out of the Football League by just a single point and he got his first league goal at Vetch Field on 30 November, again with a header, to wrap up a 2–0 victory over Shrewsbury Town. On 15 February, he scored twice against Cambridge United, and he received his first sending off a week later, after reacting badly to a foul by Hartlepool United captain Michael Barron. After discovering he was released from his contract at Blackburn in April 2003, Richards aimed to sign with Swansea permanently, though he scored twice at Sixfields in the FA Cup victory over non-league Weston-super-Mare, it took 27 games before he bagged his first league goal for the Cobblers. The goal finally came on 17 February 2004, in a 2–1 win at Darlington and he then had one of the best games of his career on 27 March, when he scored all four goals of the game against Macclesfield Town within the opening 39 minutes
Bradford City A.F.C.
Bradford City Association Football Club is a professional association football club based in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. The team play in League One, the tier of English football. The club was founded in 1903 and immediately elected into the Football League Second Division, promotion to the top tier followed in 1908 and the club won the FA Cup in 1911, its only major honour. After relegation in 1922 from Division One, the club spent 77 years outside the top flight until promotion to the Premier League in 1999. Relegation followed in 2000–01 and since then a series of financial crises have pushed the club to the brink of closure, in the 2012–13 season, they became the first team from the fourth tier of English football to reach the League Cup Final, losing 5–0 to Swansea City. In the same season, they returned to Wembley for the playoff final, the clubs colours are claret and amber and they play home games at Valley Parade. The ground was the site of the Bradford City stadium fire on 11 May 1985 which took the lives of 56 supporters, stuart McCall, the current manager, was appointed in June 2016. C. The Football League saw the invitation as a chance to promote football in the rugby league-dominated county of the West Riding of Yorkshire. It duly elected the new club into Division Two of the league, four days later, at the 23rd annual meeting of Manningham FC, the committee decided to change code from rugby league to association football. Bradford City Association Football Club were formed without having played a game, taking over Manninghams colours of claret and amber, robert Campbell was appointed the clubs first manager and with the help of the new committee, he assembled a playing squad at the cost of £917 10s 0d. Citys first game was a 2–0 defeat at Grimsby Town on 1 September 1903, the club finished 10th in their first season. Peter ORourke took over as manager in November 1905, and he led City to the Division Two title in 1907–08, having narrowly avoided relegation in their first season in the top flight, City recorded their highest finish of 5th in 1910–11. The same season won the FA Cup, when a goal from captain Jimmy Speirs won the final replay against Newcastle United. Citys defence of the cup, which included the first Bradford derby against Bradford Park Avenue, was stopped by Barnsley after a run of 12 consecutive clean sheets. City remained in the top flight in the period up to the First World War, back in Division Two, attendances dropped and City struggled for form, with five consecutive finishes in the bottom half of the table. They suffered a relegation to Division Three in 1926–27. Two seasons later, ORourke, who had retired in 1921 following the death of his son. ORourke left for a time after one more season, and although City spent a total of eight seasons back in Division Two
Dagenham & Redbridge F.C.
The team plays in the National League, the fifth tier of the English football league system. The clubs traditional colours are red and blue, to represent the merged teams, Dagenham & Redbridge F. C. was formed in 1992 following a merger between two clubs – Dagenham and Redbridge Forest. Both clubs had fallen on hard times due to dwindling attendances, the club can trace back its ancestry to 1881 as Redbridge Forest was an amalgamation of three of the amateur games most famous clubs, Ilford, Leytonstone and Walthamstow Avenue. Between the clubs won the FA Trophy once, FA Amateur Cup seven times, Isthmian League 20 times, Athenian League six times, Essex Senior Cup 26 times. Dagenham & Redbridge spent its inaugural season in the Football Conference taking the place of Redbridge Forest, the clubs first fixture in its new guise was on 25 July 1992, an 8–0 thrashing of Great Wakering Rovers in a friendly. The first competitive result was a 2–0 win over Merthyr Tydfil in the Conference, Dagenham & Redbridge spent several seasons in the Football Conference but was relegated to the Isthmian League Premier Division in 1996. The club was beaten to the Conference title by Boston United in 2002 on goal difference. Boston United was subsequently found guilty of making illegal payments to its players in its title-winning season. Dagenham & Redbridge attempted unsuccessfully to have itself declared Conference Champions, a four-point deduction was put in place against Boston United for the following season but not for the season in which the irregularities had been committed. The Daggers then declined somewhat, finishing the 2003–04, 2004–05, on 27 February 2004 the club were hammered 9–0 at home by Hereford United, equalling the record highest winning margin in the Conference. The 2006–07 season saw Dagenham & Redbridge battle it out with Oxford United for the top of the league spot, despite Oxford quickly racing to the top, a collapse in Oxfords form combined with an excellent run for the Daggers saw them overtake Oxford in the league. Dagenham & Redbridge played its first match in The Football League on 11 August 2007, the club won its first Football League game at home to Lincoln City on 1 September 2007. The Daggers finished the season in 20th place, ensuring a second season of Football League competition, promotion to the Football League meant that Dagenham & Redbridge could compete in the League Cup for the first time. The club lost in the first round to Luton Town, the following season, the Daggers reached their highest ever position of eighth. They just failed to make the League Two play-offs after losing to Shropshire side Shrewsbury Town at home on the last day of the season, the 2009–10 season saw The Daggers promoted for the first time in their history from League Two to League One. They achieved this by beating Rotherham United in a dramatic 3–2 playoff final at Wembley on 30 May 2010, twice the Daggers took the lead, only to concede moments later. Jon Nurse regained the advantage for Dagenham & Redbridge, scoring a scrappy 70th-minute winner, the Daggers first game in League One of the 2010–2011 season was a 2–0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday on 7 August 2010. It was a season in League One as they finished 21st and were relegated on the last day of the 2010–2011 season back to League Two
Kit (association football)
In association football, kit is the standard equipment and attire worn by players. The sports Laws of the Game specify the minimum kit which a player must use, footballers generally wear identifying numbers on the backs of their shirts. Professional clubs also usually display players surnames or nicknames on their shirts, Football kit has evolved significantly since the early days of the sport when players typically wore thick cotton shirts, knickerbockers and heavy rigid leather boots. The Laws of the Game set out the equipment which must be worn by all players in Law 4. Five separate items are specified, shirt, shorts, socks, footwear, goalkeepers are allowed to wear tracksuit bottoms instead of shorts. While most players wear studded football boots, the Laws do not specify that these are required, shirts must have sleeves, and goalkeepers must wear shirts which are easily distinguishable from all other players and the match officials. Thermal undershorts may be worn, but must be the colour as the shorts themselves. Shin pads must be covered entirely by the stockings, be made of rubber, plastic or a similar material, and provide a reasonable degree of protection. The only other restriction on equipment defined in the Laws of the Game is the requirement that a player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player. In the event of a match between teams who would wear identical or similar colours the away team must change to a different colour. The England national team plays in red shirts even when it is not required. Many professional clubs also have a kit, ostensibly to be used if both their first-choice and away colours are deemed too similar to those of an opponent. Most professional clubs have retained the basic colour scheme for several decades. Teams representing countries in international competition generally wear national colours in common with other sporting teams of the same nation, shirts are normally made of a polyester mesh, which does not trap the sweat and body heat in the same way as a shirt made of a natural fibre. Depending on local rules, there may be restrictions on how large these logos may be or on what logos may be displayed, competitions such as the Premier League may also require players to wear patches on their sleeves depicting the logo of the competition. The captain of team is usually required to wear an elasticated armband around the left sleeve to identify him as the captain to the referee. Most current players wear specialist football boots, which can be either of leather or a synthetic material. Modern boots are cut slightly below the ankles, as opposed to the high-ankled boots used in former times, studs may be either moulded directly to the sole or be detachable, normally by means of a screw thread
English Football League
The English Football League is a league competition featuring professional football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888 as the Football League, the league is the oldest such competition in world football and it was the top-level football league in England from its foundation in the 19th century until 1992, when the top 22 clubs split away to form the Premier League. The league has 72 clubs evenly divided into three divisions, which are known as the Championship, League One and League Two, with 24 clubs in each division, the Football League has been associated with a title sponsor between 1983 and 2016. As this sponsor changed over the years the league too has been known by various names, the English Football League is also the name of the governing body of the league competition, and this body also organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The operations centre of the Football League is in Preston, while its commercial office is in London, the commercial office was formerly based in Lytham St Annes, after its original spell in Preston. The Football League consists of 70 professional association football clubs in England and 2 in Wales and it runs the oldest professional football league competition in the world. It also organises two knockout cup competitions, the Football League Cup and Football League Trophy, the Football League was founded in 1888 by then Aston Villa director William McGregor, originally with 12 member clubs. Steady growth and the addition of more divisions meant that by 1950 the League had 92 clubs, the Football League therefore no longer includes the top 20 clubs who belong to this group, although promotion and relegation between the Football League and the Premier League continues. In total,136 teams have played in the Football League up to 2013, the Football Leagues 72 member clubs are grouped into three divisions, the Football League Championship, Football League One, and Football League Two. Each division has 24 clubs, and in any season a club plays each of the others in the same division twice, once at their home stadium. This makes for a total of 46 games played each season, clubs gain three points for a win, one for a draw, and none for a defeat. At the end of the season, clubs at the top of their division may win promotion to the higher division. At the top end of the competition, three Championship clubs win promotion from the Football League to the Premier League, with the bottom three Premier League clubs taking their places, reserve teams of Football League clubs usually play in the Central League or the Football Combination. Since the 2004–05 season, penalties have existed for clubs entering financial administration during the season and it is also required that a club exiting administration agree a Creditors Voluntary Agreement, and pay in full any other footballing creditors. Failure to do either of these result in a second. The other main situation in which is a club may lose points is by fielding an improperly registered or otherwise ineligible player. If a club is found to have done this, then any points earned from any match that player participated in will be deducted, the EFL organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The EFL Cup was established in 1960 and is open to all EFL and Premier League clubs, the EFL Trophy is for clubs belonging to EFL League One and EFL League Two
The FA Cup, known officially as The Football Association Challenge Cup, is an annual knockout association football competition in mens domestic English football. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest association football competition in the world and it is organised by and named after The Football Association. For sponsorship reasons, from 2015 through to 2018 it is known as The Emirates FA Cup. A concurrent womens tournament is held, the FA Womens Cup. A record 763 clubs competed in 2011–12, the tournament consists of 12 randomly drawn rounds followed by the semi-finals and the final. The last entrants are the Premier League and Championship clubs, into the draw for the Third Round Proper, in the modern era, only one non-league team has ever reached the quarter finals, and teams below Level 2 have never reached the final. As a result, as well as who wins, significant focus is given to those minnows who progress furthest, especially if they achieve an unlikely giant-killing victory. Winners receive the FA Cup trophy, of which there have two designs and five actual cups, the latest is a 2014 replica of the second design. Winners also qualify for European football and a place in the FA Community Shield match, in 1863, the newly founded Football Association published the Laws of the Game of Association Football, unifying the various different rules in use before then. On 20 July 1871, in the offices of The Sportsman newspaper, the inaugural FA Cup tournament kicked off in November 1871. After thirteen games in all, Wanderers were crowned the winners in the final, Wanderers retained the trophy the following year. The modern cup was beginning to be established by the 1888–89 season, following the 1914–15 edition, the competition was suspended due to the First World War, and did not resume until 1919–20. The 1922–23 competition saw the first final to be played in the newly opened Wembley Stadium, due to the outbreak of World War II, the competition was not played between the 1938–39 and 1945–46 editions. Having previously featured replays, the modern day practice of ensuring the semi-final and final matches finish on the day, was introduced from 2000 onwards. Redevelopment of Wembley saw the final played outside of England for the first time, the final returned to Wembley in 2007, followed by the semi-finals from 2008. The competition is open to any club down to Level 10 of the English football league system which meets the eligibility criteria, all clubs in the top four levels are automatically eligible. Clubs in the six levels are also eligible provided they have played in either the FA Cup. Newly formed clubs, such as F. C. United of Manchester in 2005–06 and also 2006–07, all clubs entering the competition must also have a suitable stadium
The EFL Cup, or simply the League Cup, is an annual knockout football competition in mens domestic English football. First held in 1960–61 as the Football League Cup, it is one of the three top domestic competitions in England, alongside the Premier League and FA Cup. It concludes in February, long before the two, which end in May. It was introduced by the league as a response to the popularity of European football. It also took advantage of the roll-out of floodlights, allowing the fixtures to be played as midweek evening games, with the renaming of the Football League as the English Football League in 2016, the tournament was rebranded as the EFL Cup from the 2016–17 season onwards. The tournament is played over seven rounds, with single leg ties throughout, the final is held at Wembley Stadium, it is the only tie in the competition played at a neutral venue and on a weekend. Entrants are seeded in the rounds, and a system of byes based on league level ensures higher ranked teams enter in later rounds. Winners receive the EFL Cup, of which there have been three designs, the current one also being the original, the current holders are Manchester United, who beat Southampton 3–2 in the 2017 final to win their fifth League Cup. Some clubs have fielded a weaker side in the competition. Many of the top English sides, Arsenal and Manchester United in particular, have used the competition to give young players valuable big-game experience. However, in 2010, in response to Arsène Wengers claim that a League Cup win would not end his trophy drought, Alex Ferguson described the trophy as a pot worth winning. The original idea for a League Cup came from Stanley Rous who saw the competition as a consolation for clubs who had already knocked out of the FA Cup. However it was not Rous who came to implement it, the re-organisation of the league was not immediately forthcoming, however, the cup competition was introduced regardless. The trophy was paid for personally by Football League President Joe Richards, Richards was proud of the competition, Richards described the competitions formation as an interim step on the way to the leagues re-organisation. I hope the Press will not immediately assume that the League is going to fall out with the F. A. or anybody else, the time has come for our voice to be heard in every problem which affects the professional game. The League Cup competition was established at a time when match day attendances were dwindling, the league had lost 1 million spectators compared to the previous season. It was established at a time when tensions between the Football League and the Football Association were high, the biggest disagreement was how revenue was shared between the clubs. During the late 1950s, the majority of senior English clubs equipped their grounds with floodlights and this opened up the opportunity to exploit weekday evenings throughout the winter
It began in the 1983–84 season as the Associate Members Cup, but in 1992, after the lower-division clubs became full members of the Football League, it was renamed the Football League Trophy. The competition replaced the short-lived Football League Group Cup and it was renamed again in 2016, as the EFL Trophy. The competition has been associated with a sponsor since its second edition, currently. The first draws are made in August, then the runs as 16 regional groups. The top two from each group qualify for the stages before the two winners meet in late March or early April in the final at Englands national stadium. The current champions are Coventry City, who beat Oxford United 2-1 in the final to win the competition for the first time, the competition was inaugurated as the Associate Members Cup in the 1983–84 season and followed on from the short-lived Football League Group Cup. The competition was renamed the Football League Trophy in 1992, the competition was renamed again in 2016, becoming the EFL Trophy, coinciding with the Football League rebranding to the English Football League. 64 teams enter from Round One, including all 48 teams from League One and League Two, the competition will now feature 16 regional groups of four teams, with the top two from each group progressing to the knockout stages. In the first year of the tournament, the 48 eligible Third, the first round had 12 knockout ties in each section, and the second had six. In each section the two second-round losers with the narrowest defeats were reprieved, and joined the six clubs in the regional quarter-finals. A major change was introduced for the 1985–86 tournament, with 8 three-team groups being set up in each of the two sections, teams played one home and one away game and the group winners proceeded to the regional knockout stages. This format was tweaked the following season, with two teams qualifying from each group, resulting in a round of 16 knockout stage in each section. For a number of seasons in the early to mid-1990s, the competition ran with only seven three-team groups and this was owing to League reorganisation and the demise of Aldershot and Maidstone United, which resulted in there being fewer than 48 teams in the 3rd and 4th levels. The group phase was abolished for the 1996–97 tournament, instead,8 teams in each received a bye to the second round. The number of Conference entrants was increased to 12 starting in 2002–03, resulting in 14 first-round ties, Conference teams no longer participated from the 2006–07 tournament onward, and the format reverted to 8 first-round teams in each section, with 8 sides gaining byes to the second round. The competition has always been contested by all teams at Levels Three, during the 2016–17 season,16 category 1 Premier League academy/under-21 sides have taken part in the competition. The first final in 1984 was to have played at the then Wembley Stadium. From 2001 to 2007, during the rebuilding of the former Wembley, source, napit. co. uk The record attendance for the final is 80,841, for the 1988 Final match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burnley at Wembley
Louis Bartholomew Dodds is an English footballer who plays for EFL League One side Shrewsbury Town. He can play either as a midfielder or as a striker, after many years at the Leicester City Academy, he turned professional at the club in 2006. He spent the 2006–07 season on loan at Conference side Northwich Victoria and he then spent the entirety of the 2007–08 campaign on loan at Lincoln City. He turned down a new deal with Leicester to sign for Port Vale in July 2008 and he helped the club to secure promotion out of League Two in 2012–13 with seven goals in 36 matches. He ended his eight year spell at Port Vale when he joined league rivals Shrewsbury Town in May 2016. Louids Dodds was born Sheffield, though moved with his family to Leicester when he just five years old and he joined Leicester after being spotted by a talent scout while playing for Ratby & Groby, and whilst there earned himself a call-up to the England under-18 squad. Dodds was described by the Leicester management as the most natural finisher at the club and this loan deal was extended in November, before he was recalled by the Foxes at the end of the month due to an injury crisis. In February 2007 he joined Rochdale on loan, and scored a winner on his first start. He scored two goals in games for the Dale. In July 2007 he agreed to a long loan deal at Lincoln City. He scored nine goals during his spell with Lincoln City and was voted as scorer of the goal of the season for his long-range strike against Wycombe Wanderers. He showed an interest in joining the club permanently and was offered a new contract at parent club Leicester and he further enhanced his popularity with the Vale faithful with a long range strike against Shrewsbury Town. He especially enjoyed great popularity with the clubs support, as he took away the clubs 2009 Mr Shirt of the Back Award. He scored a total of ten goals in 48 games in 2008–09, manager Micky Adams arrived for the 2009–10 season, and transfer listed Dodds in late September, along with the entire Port Vale squad, after Vale slipped to a third consecutive defeat. Dodds maintained his first team however, scoring seven goals in 48 appearances. He was offered a new contract by the club at the end of the season. Vale enjoyed a positive start to the 2010–11 season, however in January 2011, Dodds found he was not a first team regular under new manager Jim Gannon, despite calls from supporters for Gannon to include Dodds in the first eleven. Yet he managed to force back into contention with an impressive strike to seal a 2–1 win over Macclesfield Town on 5 March
Samuel Joshua Stockley is an English former footballer. A veteran of the English third and fourth tiers, he made 457 appearances in a career in the Football League. A youth player at Southampton, he made his name at Barnet in the late 1990s, a short time at Oxford United was followed with a four-year spell with Colchester United between 2002 and 2006. After helping Colchester to win out of League One in 2005–06. He announced his retirement as a player in November 2009. However he returned to the game in 2010 with Hungarian side Ferencvárosi TC and he spent 2011 at American club F. C. New York, before joining Carolina RailHawks a year later, Stockley began his career as a trainee at Southampton but was unable to break into the first team. He moved to Third Division outfit Barnet during the 1996–97 season and he played a further 20 league games that season, before making a total of 49 appearances in league and cup in 1997–98. He played 52 games for new boss Tony Cottee in 2000–01, having played 209 games for the Bees, he was sold on to Oxford United for a fee of £150,000 in July 2001 after becoming dissatisfied with his wages at Barnet. He played 44 games for Oxford under Mark Wright and Ian Atkins in 2001–02 as the Yellows struggled to retain their Football League status. He was loaned out to Second Division Colchester United at the start of the 2002–03 season, then managed by Steve Whitton, before moving permanently on a free transfer in October 2002. He scored his third goal on 29 October, in a 1–1 draw with Barnsley at Layer Road. He signed a new contract for Phil Parkinsons side after he missed just two of Uniteds 60 matches in the 2003–04 season. He played 44 games in 2004–05, scoring on the day of the season with a stunning strike from 25 yards in a 3–0 win over Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough in League One. He played 34 games for the Us in the season of 2005–06. He joined Blackpool on loan in March 2006, featuring seven times for Simon Graysons Seasiders, after his release from Colchester following 171 appearances for the club, Stockley moved to Paul Lamberts Wycombe Wanderers of League Two in July 2006. He spent the 2006–07 season as the clubs regular right-back, but also filled in as centre-back and he played a total of 42 times, scoring his sixth and final league goal at London Road in a 3–3 draw with Peterborough United on 31 March. He lost his place at right-back to Russell Martin in the 2007–08 season, in February 2008, he had a trial with American club FC Dallas
John Paul McCombe is an English professional footballer who plays as a defender for National League club Macclesfield Town. A centre-back, he graduated through the Huddersfield Town Academy to make his debut in May 2003. Unused in 2003–04, he rarely featured in 2004–05, 2005–06. During this time he a brief periods on loan at Torquay United and he spent the 2007–08 campaign with Hereford United, helping the club to win promotion into League One. He joined Port Vale in May 2008, and after establishing himself in the first team in 2008–09 and 2009–10 and he helped the club to secure promotion out of League Two in 2012–13. After leaving Port Vale in May 2013, he signed for Mansfield Town on a free transfer and he left Mansfield for York City in January 2014, and stayed with York for two years. He joined Macclesfield Town in February 2016, born in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, McCombe joined Huddersfield Town as a trainee, and was converted from playing as a centre-forward to become a centre-back. He made his debut on 3 May 2003, coming onto the pitch as a late substitute for Jon Stead in a 1–1 draw with Oldham Athletic at the Alfred McAlpine Stadium. Unused in the 2003–04 season, he had to wait until September 2004 for his next first team appearance and he made seven appearances in 2004–05. In between these appearances he spent February on loan at Torquay United, but did not appear for John Cornforths struggling team, on 15 March 2007, he, along with Hartlepool Uniteds Michael Proctor, agreed to join Boston United on loan. However, due to Bostons financial state, Boston chairman Jim Rodwell was unable to sanction the deals and he was released by Huddersfield in May 2007, and two months later he signed for Hereford United, ending his eleven-year association with the club. He began 2007–08 as third choice centre-back, but an injury to Dean Beckwith gave McCombe his chance, McCombe made 27 league appearances as Hereford gained promotion from League Two, but was dropped for the run-in, in favour of Karl Broadhurst. This coincided with McCombes mistake in a key fixture against Chester City when he conceded a penalty kick in the last minute for handball and he was to make only one more appearance for the club, as a second-half substitute on the final day of the season. In May 2008, manager and chairman Graham Turner confirmed that out-of-contract McCombe would not be offered a new deal, on 29 May 2008, McCombe agreed a two-year contract to join Port Vale. He claimed one of the reasons he put pen to paper was that having met manager Lee Sinnott 13 years previously, he knew that Sinnott could help improve his game. However he established himself as a first choice centre-back under new boss Dean Glover, nevertheless, his performances 2008–09 earned him the chairmans Player of the Year award, as well as the nickname Boom Boom McCombe from fans. However, by the end of October 2009 he had played in the opening 18 games of the season, picking up a goal on the way, and was confident of earning a new contract by the seasons end. On 12 December 2009, he received the first sending off of his career and he was offered a new two-year contract by the club at the end of the season, which he quickly signed
Bury Football Club is a professional association football club based in Bury, Greater Manchester, England. The team compete in League One, the tier of the English football league system. Bury have been members of the Football League since 1894 and have won the FA Cup twice, Gigg Lane has been their home ground since 1885. The club was formed in 1885 by Aiden Arrowsmith following a meeting at the White Horse Hotel, Gigg Lanes first ever game took place on 12 September 1885 when Bury played a friendly match against Wigan and won 4–3. In 1887 the first shed was built at Gigg Lane at a cost of £50, also in the same year Bury recorded their record defeat, Burys first ever floodlit game took place on 5 November 1889, when Bury were defeated 4–5 by Heywood Central. In 1892 Bury were Lancashire Challenge Cup Winners, before joining the Football League Second Division in 1894, Burys membership of the Football League from 1894 is now the 3rd longest ongoing run. Bury won the FA Cup on 21 April 1900 they beat Southampton 4–0 in the FA Cup final at Crystal Palace, in 1906 the South Stand was built at Gigg Lane. By 1922, the ground was finally handed over to the club from the Earl of Derby as a gift, in 1924 the Main Stand was built, during this period Burys ground was one of the best in the Football League. In 1923 Bury were promoted again, and in 1926 they achieved their highest League position ever, Two years later they were relegated and have never played top-flight football again. Steady decline following this relegation and by 1971, they had reached the Fourth Division, the clubs greatest benefactor was Hugh Eaves, a local benefactor under the stewardship of whom Bury were promoted to the second tier of English football following back to back promotions. In 1998–99, Bury were relegated from the second tier on goals scored, in 2001–02, the club was relegated to League Two following a spell in administration for financial irregularities. In May 2005, Bury became the first football club to score a thousand goals in each of the top four tiers of the English football league, in 2006, Bury became the first team to ever be thrown out of the FA Cup after fielding an ineligible player. After the FA Cup debacle, Bury failed to win in 16 games and they survived the relegation battle of the 2006–07 season, where a 0–0 draw with Stockport County ensured they would stay up to play another season in League Two. It was announced on 14 January 2008 that co-managers Chris Casper and Keith Alexander had been sacked, a club statement said the pair had lost the confidence of a large majority of the fans. Chris Brass, formerly the manager of the clubs Centre of Excellence, was given the vacant managers post on a caretaker basis and his first match in charge resulted in a cup upset, the Shakers knocking Norwich City out of the FA Cup in the third round. Despite this early success, results remained inconsistent, and a more full-time solution was sought by the board after Brass led Bury to a humiliating 5–1 home defeat to MK Dons, on 4 February 2008, Bury appointed Alan Knill as manager. In the play-off semi-final they were beaten on penalties by Shrewsbury Town, Bury finished the following season 9th, and partway through 2011–12 Knill and Assistant Manager Chris Brass left the club to take over at Scunthorpe United. Youth Team Manager Richie Barker took over as manager and lead the Shakers to promotion
Lee Collins (footballer, born 1988)
Lee Harvey Collins is an English professional footballer who plays for EFL League Two club Mansfield Town. He is more comfortable as a centre-back but can play as a full-back. He graduated through the Wolverhampton Wanderers Academy to turn professional in February 2007 and he spent much of the 2007–08 season on loan at Hereford United, helping the club to win promotion into League One. He joined Port Vale on loan at the start of the 2008–09 season and he played 53 games for the club in 2009–10, and continued to be a key member of the defence in 2010–11. He joined Barnsley on loan in March 2012, with a view to a permanent deal in the summer, from Barnsley, he was loaned out to Shrewsbury Town in September 2012. He moved on to Northampton Town in February 2013, and spent over two years with the club before moving on to Mansfield Town. Born in Telford, Shropshire, Collins was promoted to Wolverhampton Wanderers first team squad for the first time in January 2007, though regularly on the bench, he never made a first team appearance. However he played regularly for the club at reserve level and with the under-18s and he joined Hereford United on 14 November 2007 on an initial months loan, and made his league debut on 17 November 2007 in a 3–2 win at Stockport County. After impressing, his loan was extended to the end of the season, Collins went on loan to League Two side Port Vale at the start of the 2008–09 season, and became a first team regular. Vale then signed him on a year deal on 16 January 2009 after Wolves agreed to release him from the rest of his deal at Molineux. He gained his first senior goal in a 1–1 home draw with Wycombe Wanderers on 25 April 2009, with 42 appearances to his name in his first season with the club, he was described as the most consistent performer of the season. He remained in the first team for the start of the 2009–10 campaign and he was transfer listed in late September, along with the entire Port Vale squad, after manager Micky Adams saw his team slip to a third consecutive defeat. Despite this he remained a key member of the defence, alongside Gareth Owen, playing regular football helped Collins realize that he needed to bulk out to become a more physically dominant player. His solid performances attracted attention, as well as March 2010 rumours of a £200,000 move to Watford, rumours that Collins rubbished as paper talk. Collins was keen to extend his contract beyond its conclusion in the summer of 2011 and he got the perfect start to the 2010–11 season by blasting in the only goal of the opening game of the season at Bury. Anticipating interest from clubs, in September Adams began negotiations to extend his contract by a further season. His consistency over his 48 appearances helped Vale to boast one of the strongest defensive records in the division that season and he missed a few weeks at the start of the 2011–12 season after undergoing a small operation to repair a hernia-related problem. He was then sidelined for a five weeks after he had to undergo surgery on an unrelated groin injury
Anthony James Griffith is an English-born Montserrat international footballer who plays for Northern Premier League Division One North side Trafford. He is noted as a tough tackling midfielder, though at times this has led to him to having a poor disciplinary record. Impressing at non-league Halifax Town, he turned professional with Doncaster Rovers in 2005, used sparingly in 2005–06, he was loaned out to Oxford United in March 2006, though did not make it onto the pitch. In 2006–07 he was loaned out to Darlington and Stafford Rangers, in April 2008 he signed with Port Vale, and became a first team regular in 2008–09. He remained a key first team figure in 2009–10 and 2010–11 and he continued to impress for the Valiants, and earned a move up a division to Leyton Orient in May 2012. He returned to Port Vale on loan in March 2013, and helped the club to promotion out of League Two in 2012–13. He signed with Shrewsbury Town in August 2014, before moving on to Carlisle United in January 2015, six months later he signed for Altrincham before retiring in September 2015 due to a hip injury. He came out of retirement to sign for Glossop North End in September 2016 and he joined Trafford in March 2017. As a youth, Griffith played for Stile Common, alongside Cameron Jerome, Fraizer Campbell, and Reuben Noble-Lazarus, Griffith and Jerome also played for Yorkshire Counties. Griffith started his career at Halifax Town as a sixteen-year-old. Impressing at the side, he was snapped up by Doncaster Rovers in 2005. However he never made it as a regular first team player at Donny and was loaned out to four lower league clubs over two years. On 21 March 2006, he joined Oxford United on a month-long loan, however he never made it onto the pitch for the League Two side. On 23 November 2007 he joined Darlington, again of League Two and he made four appearances for the club. He then spent three months with Conference club Stafford Rangers from 26 January 2007, making a total of twenty appearances, despite only featuring in the first two rounds of the competition, he received a Football League Trophy winners medal after Doncaster won the 2007 final. He then spent the entire 2007–08 season on loan at former club Halifax Town and he made close to forty appearances before returning to Doncaster, where he was subsequently released. Griffith was signed by Port Vale manager Lee Sinnott in April 2008 and he spent much of the 2008–09 season at right-back under new manager Dean Glover. For the 2009–10 season, new manager Micky Adams elected to return Griffith to the role of midfield enforcer and he was transfer listed in late September, along with the entire Port Vale squad, after Adams saw his team slip to a third consecutive defeat
Hereford United F.C.
Hereford United Football Club was an English association football club based in the city of Hereford that last played in the Southern League Premier Division, the seventh tier of English football. Founded in 1924, the club was elected to the Football League in 1972, the club reached the old Second Division in 1976, its best league performance, but was relegated after only one season at that level. Hereford achieved national prominence in 1972 when, as a Southern League club, Hereford played at Edgar Street for their entire history. They were nicknamed The Whites or The Lilywhites, after their predominantly white kit, the clubs motto was Our greatest glory lies not in never having fallen, but in rising when we fall. The club was affiliated to the Herefordshire County FA, on 19 December 2014, the club was wound up in the High Court after a petition had been brought against it by HM Revenue and Customs. Following the demise of United, a new club was being set up. The new club incorporates the words Forever United into its crest design, for league and cup performance, see List of Hereford United F. C. seasons. Hereford United Football Club was founded in 1924 with the merger of two local clubs St Martins and RAOC, with the intention of sustaining a higher class of football in the city of Hereford, Hereford joined the Birmingham Combination and lost its first match 2–3 to Atherstone United. The clubs second match was an FA Cup Preliminary Round tie against future rivals Kidderminster Harriers which they lost 2–7. Hereford progressed to the Birmingham & District League in 1928 where the club spent 11 seasons, at the same time the club became a limited company. When football resumed after the war, Hereford finished 1st in their first full season in the only to be demoted to 2nd behind Chelmsford City. In 27 seasons in the Southern League, Hereford finished as runners-up three times, and also lifted the Southern League Cup three times, when the league was regionalised for one season in 1958–59, Hereford also won their regional division to add to their third League Cup win. In 1966 Hereford signed John Charles, the former Leeds United, Juventus and Welsh international and he became manager a year later and set about building a team to challenge at the top of the Southern League and gain election to the Football League. With the club becoming one of the best-supported non-league clubs in the country Charles used his standing within the game to canvass votes from member clubs for election to the Football League. The 1971–1972 season saw the club second in the Southern League. Charles had departed the club in October 1971 and his successor Colin Addison inherited a side that defeated top-flight Newcastle United in the FA Cup. The star player was Dudley Tyler, Ronnie Radford and Ricky Georges goals earned the club a Fourth Round tie against West Ham United where they were defeated in a replay at Upton Park. The Cup run played a part in the successful election to the Fourth Division
Middlesbrough Football Club is a professional association football club based in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, England. Formed in 1876, they have played at the Riverside Stadium since 1995 and they played at the Linthorpe Road ground from 1882 to 1903 and at Ayresome Park for 92 years, from 1903 to 1995. They were one of the members of the Premier League in 1992. The clubs main rivals are Sunderland and Newcastle United, there is also a rivalry with fellow Yorkshire club Leeds United. The clubs highest league finish to date was third in the 1913–14 season, the club came close to folding in 1986 after experiencing severe financial difficulties before it was saved by a consortium led by then board member and later chairman Steve Gibson. Middlesbrough were deducted three points for failing to fulfil a fixture against Blackburn Rovers in the 1996–97 Premier League season and they were promoted the following season and spent 11 seasons in the top division before being relegated again in 2009. Middlesbrough won the League Cup in 2004, the clubs first and they reached the 2006 UEFA Cup Final, but were beaten by Spanish side Sevilla. After seven years in the Championship, Middlesbrough secured promotion to the Premier League in 2016 after finishing in second place, the clubs traditional kit is red with white detailing. The various crests throughout the history, the most recent of which was adopted in 2007. They won the FA Amateur Cup in 1895 and again in 1898, the club turned professional in 1889, but reverted to amateur status in 1892. They turned professional permanently in 1899, after three seasons, they won promotion to the First Division, where they would remain for the next 22 years. In 1903, the moved to Ayresome Park, their home for the next 92 years. In 1905, the club sanctioned the transfer of Alf Common for £1,000, over the next few years, their form fluctuated greatly, rising to sixth in 1907–08 before dropping to 17th two seasons later. The club rose to their highest league finish to date, third, World War I soon intervened and football was suspended. Before league football resumed, Middlesbrough won the Northern Victory League and they remained in the First Division for the next few seasons, but were relegated in 1923–24 after finishing bottom, ten points adrift of their nearest rivals. Three seasons later, they won the Division Two title, during that season, debutant George Camsell, who had signed from Third Division North side Durham City the previous season, finished with a record 59 league goals, which included nine hat-tricks. He would continue as top scorer for each of the ten seasons. Their tenure back in the top flight lasted one season
Wycombe Wanderers F.C.
Wycombe Wanderers Football Club /ˈwɪkəm/ is a professional association football club based in the town of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. The team play in League Two, the tier of English football. The club plays at Adams Park, which is situated on the outskirts of High Wycombe. The clubs nicknames are the Chairboys and the Blues, Ainsworth retired from playing at the end of the 2012–13 season. He is assisted by Richard Dobson and Barry Richardson, the club was awarded the Family Club of the Year award twice in a row in 2006–07 and 2007–08. This is the time that the award has been given to the same club in consecutive seasons. The club received a Football League Family Excellence Award after the 2009–10, 2011–12, the exact details of the formation of Wycombe Wanderers F. C. have largely been lost to history. A group of young furniture trade workers started a team to play matches in 1884 and this team was called North Town Wanderers. In 1887, a meeting held at the Steam Engine public house in Station Road and it is highly likely the club was named Wanderers after the famous Wanderers, winners of the first F. A. The club played friendly matches between 1887 and 1896, Amateur Cup in 1894 and the F. A. In 1895 the club moved to Loakes Park, which would become its home for the next 95 years, in 1896 the club joined the Southern League and competed in the Second Division until 1908. In the summer of 1908 the club declined the invitation to retain their membership of the Southern League, the club decided to pursue amateur instead of professional football and joined the Great Western Suburban League and remained there until the outbreak of the First World War. After the hostilities had ended the club joined the Spartan League in 1919 and were Champions in successive years, in March 1921 the clubs application to join the Isthmian League was accepted. The club remained a member of the Isthmian League until 1985, for over sixty years the Wanderers sought to be the greatest amateur club in the country. One of the clubs greatest achievements came in April 1931 when the F. A, Amateur Cup was won for the only time. The Wanderers beat Hayes 1–0 in the final at Highbury, home of Arsenal, the club also reached the first round proper of the F. A. Cup for the first time in November 1932, losing to Gillingham in a replay at Loakes Park, the club remained active during the Second World War, competing in the Great Western Combination, which was won in 1945. It provided the basis for a period of unprecedented success in 1950s, the club appointed Sid Cann as coach in 1952 and he led the Wanderers to their first Isthmian League title in 1956
Doncaster Rovers F.C.
Doncaster Rovers Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England. The team competes in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. The club was founded in 1879 and turned professional in 1885, the clubs colours have traditionally been red and white. Their home strip is red and white hoops, which has been the design of the clubs home shirt since 2001. The associated Doncaster Rovers Belles L. F. C. are one of the most successful clubs in English football. The club was formed in 1879 by Albert Jenkins, a fitter at Doncasters Great Northern Railway works and he gathered together some friends to play a match against the Yorkshire Institute for the Deaf and Dumb in September 1879. On walking back from the game, the took a rest at the Hall Cross. The first match under the name was on 3 October 1879, gradually, they became the main team in the town, and appear to have had their first professional players in 1887–88. Rovers first entered the FA Cup in 1888–89, losing 9–1 to Rotherham Town at home, season 1890–91 was to be a significant move forward. The club were a member of the Midland Alliance League. The following season, saw them enter the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA Challenge Cup and that same season, they also moved up to the Midland League, becoming Champions in 1896–97 and 1898–99. They were first elected to the Football League in 1901, as a replacement for New Brighton Tower and their first season in the League was in fact the one when Doncaster achieved their highest position ever. They only lasted two seasons in the league before being voted out in favour of local rivals Bradford City and they spent the following season in the Midland League, only managing 11th place out of 18 but were elected back to Division 2. This time, in 1904–05, Doncaster finished bottom with W3 D2 L29, adrift by 12 points and they were voted out once again. The following several seasons saw them finish lower midtable of the Midland League, the last few years before the war mediocrity returned, and in August 1914 debts run up over the years led to voluntary liquidation. However, a new club was formed in time for the 1914–15 season and was accepted into the Midland League to continue where the old club had left off. The outbreak of the First World War meant the club closed down, the Club reformed as a limited company after the war in 1919, rejoining the Midland League a year later playing at their new temporary Bennetthorpe Ground. The first two seasons Rovers finished lower-mid table, the third season they moved to Belle Vue, finished runners up and were accepted into the Football League Division 3 North for 1923–24 to replace Stalybridge Celtic
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
Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club /ˌwʊlvərˈhæmptən/ is a professional association football club based in the city of Wolverhampton, West Midlands. The club was known as St. Lukes FC and was founded in 1877. They compete in the Championship, the second highest tier of English football, the following season saw two further managers dismissed as the club then suffered a second relegation, ending up in League One. However, in the season they gained promotion back to the Championship where they currently reside. The clubs current head coach is Paul Lambert, who took charge in November 2016, having become professional, the club were nominated to become one of the twelve founder members of the Football League in 1888, in which they played the first Football League match ever staged. They ended the season in third place, as well as reaching their first FA Cup Final, losing 0–3 to the first Double winners. At the conclusion of the campaign the club relocated for a time when they moved to Molineux. Wolves lifted the FA Cup for the first time in 1893 when they beat Everton 1–0, and added a second triumph in 1908, two years after having dropped into the Second Division. After struggling for years to regain their place in the top division, the club suffered a further relegation in 1923, entering the Third Division. Eight years later Wolves regained their status after winning the Second Division title under Major Frank Buckley. This game had been the last in a Wolves shirt for Stan Cullis, the 1950s were by far the most successful period in the clubs history. Captained by Billy Wright, Wolves finally claimed the championship for the first time in 1953–54. This became the final spur for Gabriel Hanot, the editor of LÉquipe, to propose the creation of the European Cup, although the decade opened with a fourth FA Cup victory and almost the first double of the 20th century, the 1960s saw Wolves begin to decline. Cullis was sacked in September 1964 in a season that ended with relegation and this exile would last only two seasons though, as they were promoted in 1967 as runners-up. During the close season in 1967, Wolves played a season in North America as part of the fledgling United Soccer Association league which imported clubs from Europe. Playing as the Los Angeles Wolves, they won the Western Division, the clubs return to the English top flight heralded another period of relative success under Bill McGarry, with a fourth place in 1971 qualifying them for the newly created UEFA Cup. They lifted silverware though two later, when they won the League Cup for the first time by beating Manchester City 2–1 in the final. The club was saved from liquidation at the last minute when it was purchased by a consortium fronted by former player Derek Dougan
Thomas James William Taiwo is an English footballer who plays as a midfielder for Scottish Championship side Falkirk. An England under-17 international, he graduated out of the Chelsea academy to turn professional in 2008, having switched from the Leeds United Academy two years earlier. He never appeared for the first team, and instead enjoyed a loan spell at Port Vale. He played in two consecutive Football League Trophy finals for the club, as Carlisle were defeated in 2010 and he joined Scottish club Hibernian in September 2012, and stayed with the club for two seasons. He signed with Falkirk in July 2014, and played on the side in the 2015 Scottish Cup Final. Tom was a student at St. Marys Catholic High School and he joined Chelsea from Leeds United along with Michael Woods in a controversial move after Ken Bates accused Chelsea of tapping up the youngsters. Leeds received £5 million in compensation for the pair after threatening to take Chelsea to court and he broke his leg two days before he was due to make his youth team debut for the Blues. His parents were accused of taking backhanders to influence his decision, Taiwo joined League Two club Port Vale on a months loan in August 2008. He made his debut, coming on as a substitute in the 61st minute, at home to Bournemouth, Vale sent him back to Chelsea in September after they decided not to extend his loan. Taiwo went on a trial with the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer in March 2009, in July 2009, Carlisle United announced they had signed Taiwo on loan until the end of December. He impressed supporters with his aggressive, tackle-heavy performances at the heart of the midfield, Taiwo scored his first goal for Carlisle in a 3–2 league victory over rivals Hartlepool United on 1 December. On 6 January 2010, Carlisle signed Taiwo from Chelsea permanently on a two-and-a-half-year contract and he played a total of 35 League One games in 2009–10. He played five games of Carlisles march to the Football League Trophy final in 2010–11, he started the final against Brentford. In total he made 55 appearances in league and cup for Greg Abbotts side and he scored three times in 41 games in 2011–12, as Carlisle finished eighth, missing out on the play-offs by a four-point margin. On 11 June 2012, Taiwo revealed he would not be signing a new contract with Carlisle, however Carlisle retained his registration and initially demanded a £200,000 transfer fee from other clubs – a prospect that ended a potential move to Yorkshire club Bradford City. In September 2012, Taiwo signed a contract with Scottish Premier League club Hibernian. Hibs manager Pat Fenlon said that he felt Taiwo was a quality signing, speaking about his move, Taiwo stated his belief that the club could challenge for the league title. Carlisle manager Greg Abbott criticised Taiwos move to Scotland, claiming it was a poor decision, Taiwo made his Hibs debut on 6 October, in a 3–0 win over Dundee at Easter Road
Chelsea Football Club is an English professional football club based in Fulham, London, that competes in the Premier League. Founded in 1905, the home ground since then has been Stamford Bridge. Chelsea had their first major success in 1955, when they won the league championship and they then won various cup competitions between 1965 and 1996. The clubs greatest period of success has come during the last two decades, winning 21 trophies since 1997. Chelsea are the only London club to win the UEFA Champions League, and one of four clubs, Chelseas regular kit colours are royal blue shirts and shorts with white socks. The clubs crest has changed several times in attempts to re-brand the club. The current crest, featuring a lion rampant regardant holding a staff, is a modification of the one introduced in the early 1950s. The club have the sixth-highest average all-time attendance in English football and their average home gate for the 2015–16 season was 41,500, the seventh highest in the Premier League. Since 2003, Chelsea have been owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, in 2016, they were ranked by Forbes magazine as the seventh most valuable football club in the world, at £1.15 billion. In 1904, Gus Mears acquired the Stamford Bridge athletics stadium with the aim of turning it into a football ground, an offer to lease it to nearby Fulham was turned down, so Mears opted to found his own club to use the stadium. Chelsea were founded on 10 March 1905 at The Rising Sun pub, opposite the main entrance to the ground on Fulham Road. The club won promotion to the First Division in their second season and they reached the 1915 FA Cup Final, where they lost to Sheffield United at Old Trafford, and finished third in the First Division in 1920, the clubs best league campaign to that point. Chelsea attracted large crowds and had a reputation for signing big-name players, former Arsenal and England centre-forward Ted Drake became manager in 1952 and proceeded to modernise the club. The following season saw UEFA create the European Champions Cup, but after objections from The Football League, Chelsea failed to build on this success, and spent the remainder of the 1950s in mid-table. Drake was dismissed in 1961 and replaced by player-coach Tommy Docherty, Docherty built a new team around the group of talented young players emerging from the clubs youth set-up and Chelsea challenged for honours throughout the 1960s, enduring several near-misses. They were on course for a treble of League, FA Cup and League Cup going into the stages of the 1964–65 season, winning the League Cup. In three seasons the side were beaten in three major semi-finals and were FA Cup runners-up, under Dochertys successor, Dave Sexton, Chelsea won the FA Cup in 1970, beating Leeds United 2–1 in a final replay. Chelsea took their first European honour, a UEFA Cup Winners Cup triumph, the year, with another replayed win
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
Macclesfield Town F.C.
Macclesfield Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England. The club currently plays in the National League, the tier of English football. The club was formed in 1874 and play games at the 6,355 capacity Moss Rose stadium. They were members of the Football League from 1997 until 2012, a football club was first formed in Macclesfield in the mid-19th century, but played rugby union rules. In 1874, the club adopted the rules of the Football Association, between 1874 and 1940 the club was known by a succession of names, including Macclesfield Football and Athletic Club, Hallifield F. C. and Macclesfield F. C. When competitive football resumed after World War II, Macclesfield Town Football Club Ltd. was formed, the club joined the Cheshire County League in 1946–47, playing their first game after reformation on 31 August,1946, a 2–0 defeat to Buxton. The clubs form in the remainder of the 1940s was largely indifferent, Macclesfield Town progressed through four qualifying rounds to make their first appearance in the FA Cup first round in 1960 under manager Frank Bowyer, but lost 7–2 to Southport. The club reached the FA Cup third round for the first time in 1968, the club were founder members of the Northern Premier League, one of three leagues at the fifth tier of English football, upon its creation in 1968. Macclesfield Town were champions in each of the first two seasons of the competition, finishing twelve points clear in 1968–69, and by goal average in 1969–70. The 1969–70 season also resulted in a trip to Wembley for the final of the FA Trophy. Macclesfield Town defeated Telford United 2–0 in front of more than 28,000 spectators to win the competition, the club finished as Northern Premier League runners-up in the 1984–85 season, and two years later Macclesfield Towns third Northern Premier League title resulted in promotion to the Conference. Macclesfield Town finished in mid-table in their first Conference season, the club reached the FA Trophy final for the second time in 1989, facing Telford United, the same opponents as Macclesfield Towns first final nineteen years earlier. However, the team did not match the achievement of their predecessors, mcIlroy took charge at the start of the 1993–94 season, and guided the club to the Football Conference championship in his second season as manager. Upon gaining League status, the club turned fully professional, Macclesfield Towns first League match was a 2–1 win at home to Torquay United. It was a year for the club, who were unbeaten at home for the entire season. However, the higher level proved a step too far for the club, mcIlroy soon left to become the Northern Ireland national coach and was replaced by former Manchester United colleague Peter Davenport. A dismal start to the season cost Davenport his job though. David Moss in turn succeeded Prescott as manager and delivered two decent mid-table finishes, but a bad start to the 2003–04 season resulted in his sacking, Club stalwart John Askey succeeded Moss initially on a temporary basis, and earned the job permanently with some promising early results
However, a caretaker may also be appointed if the regular manager is suspended, ill or unable to attend to their usual duties. Caretaker managers are appointed at short notice from within the club, usually the assistant manager. In other sports, the interim manager is more commonly used. Tony Barton was appointed manager of Aston Villa after the departure of Ron Saunders, if a caretaker proves to be particularly successful during their spell in charge, they are sometimes given the managers job full-time. Glenn Roeder was appointed manager of Newcastle United after having taken over as caretaker following Graeme Souness dismissal in 2006. This also occurred when Ricky Sbragia got the Sunderland job permanently after Roy Keanes resignation in November 2008 but he resigned himself at the end of the season 2008–09. This also happened in the 2010–11 Premier League, on 8 January 2011, Roy Hodgson was sacked by Liverpool after a run of poor results, kenny Dalglish was appointed the caretaker manager of Liverpool for the remainder of the season. After an impressive run of results, which saw Liverpool rise to 6th on the table, Dalglish was appointed the manager of Liverpool. In Norway, a notable example occurred in 2006 when Rosenborg BK manager Per-Mathias Høgmo announced he was taking a leave of absence in mid-season, at the time, Rosenborg were ten points behind leaders SK Brann. His assistant Knut Tørum was appointed on a basis, and proceeded to lead Rosenborg to a furious comeback. Høgmo announced his resignation two days after Rosenborg clinched, and Tørum was named permanent manager after the season. On the other hand, Tony Parkes was named manager of Blackburn Rovers on six separate occasions between 1986 and 2004, without ever being given the role in a full-time capacity. He is still yet to be given a full-time managerial role, in November 2007, Sandy Stewart led St Johnstone to victory in the final of the Scottish Challenge Cup in his only game in charge as caretaker manager. In the 2007–08 season, Cevat Güler won Süper Lig as Galatasarays caretaker manager and he was in charge for the last five matches of the season due to Karl Heinz Feldkamps resignation. In the 2007 Hazfi Cup final, Sepahans head coach, Luka Bonačić had travelled to his country, mansour Ebrahimzadeh who was assistant to Bonačić served as caretaker manager for that match. Sepahan won the match and the title, roberto Di Matteo won the Champions League and FA Cup as caretaker manager of Chelsea in 2012, leading to him being appointed permanent manager on a two-year contract. Benítez was not offered a contract as permanent manager, instead being replaced by José Mourinho who went back to Chelsea for a second term
Shrewsbury Town F.C.
Shrewsbury Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England. The team compete in League One, the tier of the English football league system. The club was formed in 1886 and was elected to the Football League in 1950 and it has also competed in the Welsh Cup, winning it six times, a record for an English team. From 1910 onwards, the club was based at Gay Meadow on the banks of the River Severn, since 2007, they have played at the New Meadow, Shrewsbury Town were formed at a meeting on 20 May 1886 at the Turf Hotel in Claremont Hill, Shrewsbury. This was following the demise of first Shropshire Wanderers and later indirectly after Castle Blues, the Blues were a rough team, leading to their demise after several games were marred by violence. The new team hoped to be as successful but without the notoriety, press reports differ as to the date the new club was formed, The Eddowes Shropshire Journal of 26 May 1886 reported the birth of the club at The Lion Hotel, Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury. The Shrewsbury Chronicle reported the clubs being formed at the Turf Hotel, Claremont Hill and it may be both accounts are true, with a get-together at The Lion being finalised at the Turf. In 1910, Shrewsbury looked to move to a new ground, having spent early years at locations across the town, the club moved to Gay Meadow on the edge of the town centre, within sight of Shrewsbury Abbey, and stayed 97 years. Shrewsburys Birmingham League days were mostly mid-table, with a few seasons challenging near the top, a move to the Midland Champions League in 1937–38 saw the club enjoy one of its most successful seasons, winning a league and cup treble. Shrewsbury were league champions, scoring 111 goals, in addition, the Welsh Cup was won following a replay, the team enjoyed a run in the FA Cup, and won the Shropshire Senior Cup. After a run of seasons in post-war years, Shrewsbury were admitted to the old Division 3 of the Football League in 1950. Shrewsbury Town were elected to the Football League Division 3 North for 1950–51 following the decision to expand from 88 to 92 clubs, Shrewsbury were then promoted to the Third Division in 1958–59. They remained in the third tier 15 years, slipping back to Division Four at the end of 1973–74, 1960–61 season saw Shrewsbury Town reach the Semi Final of the League Cup. After beating Everton in the quarter-finals, they narrowly lost over two legs 4–3 on aggregate to Rotherham United and this era was also remembered for Arthur Rowley. He arrived from Leicester City in 1958, the clubs first player/manager, during his playing and managerial career, he broke Dixie Deans goal-scoring record, scoring his 380th league goal against Bradford City at Valley Parade on 29 April 1961. Retiring from playing in 1965 he remained manager until July 1968, Shrewsbury were promoted to the Third Division in 1974–75 as runners-up, before another successful season in 1978–79, when they were league champions under Ritchie Barker and later Graham Turner. Over 14,000 fans packed Gay Meadow on 17 May 1979 to see Shrewsbury seal promotion with a 4–1 win over Exeter City, in addition, the club had their first run to the FA Cup quarter-finals, before a replay defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Turner is the teams most successful manager, winning the Third Division Championship in 1978–79 – his first season in charge – to take the club into the Second Division for the first time and they remained for ten years, although Turner departed for Aston Villa in 1984
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
Scott Brown (footballer, born May 1985)
Scott Brown is an English professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for League Two club Accrington Stanley. Starting his career with Everton in their system, before moving on to Bristol City. After three years with City, he transferred to Cheltenham Town in 2007, Two years later he spent a brief spell with Port Vale, before signing for Morecambe in 2010. After a brief spell with Fleetwood Town, he signed with York City in January 2012 and he played for York in the victorious 2012 Conference Premier play-off Final at Wembley Stadium, which saw the club promoted to League Two. He had a spell at Macclesfield Town in August 2012. He helped Chester to win both the Conference North title and the Cheshire Senior Cup in the 2012–13 season and he signed with Southport in July 2013, and stayed with the club for one season before joining National League club Grimsby Town for an 18-month stay in June 2014. He signed with Accrington Stanley in January 2016, born in Runcorn, Cheshire, Brown progressed through the Everton youth system, having joined the club at under-nines level. After not making an appearance for the club he was released in 2004. He then joined Port Vale on trial in July 2004, under manager Martin Foyle, in August 2004, he signed for Bristol City when Brian Tinnion offered him a three-month contract and later went on to sign a two-year deal with City. In October 2005, Brown and City teammates David Partridge and Bradley Orr were arrested on suspicion of violent disorder after an incident in a nightclub and they were later charged with affray, as was teammate Steve Brooker. Brown denied the offence but admitted the charge of a section 4 public-order offence. His three teammates were sent to prison, but Brown escaped this punishment and instead was given 120 hours community service for his part in the drunken brawl. He was voted the Professional Footballers Association Fans Player of the Month for September 2006, Brown joined fellow League One club Cheltenham Town in January 2007. He broke his leg in a collision with teammate Damian Spencer in a match against his team and was ruled out for the rest of the 2006–07 season. In November 2008, Brown went to Port Vale on loan after failing to get a game under manager Martin Allen and he scored on his debut on 22 November, in a 4–2 defeat to Wycombe Wanderers at Vale Park. In January 2009, Vale signed Brown on a transfer after his Cheltenham contract expired. With 19 appearances for Vale in 2008–09, he was released upon the seasons conclusion. He rejoined Cheltenham on 25 March 2010 on non-contract terms, but was released by the club along with seven players in May
Cheltenham Town F.C.
Cheltenham Town Football Club /ˈtʃɛltnəm ˈtaʊn/ is a professional association football club based in the town of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. The team compete in League Two, the tier of English football. Their nickname is The Robins, and the club is affiliated to the Gloucestershire County FA. Promoted to The Football League as Conference Premier champions in 1999, Cheltenham have played as high as League One and their best FA Cup run saw them reach the last 16 in 2002. The last piece of silverware won by the club was the National League title in 2015–2016 and its league status was lost with relegation in 2015, only for the team to return, as champions, a year later. Cheltenham has a history of prior to The Robins. In 1849, the first use of three referees in a match, two in field and one in tribune, was recorded in the town. However, the club was founded in 1887 by Albert Close White. The club spent its first three decades in local football, notable players from those days include cricketers Gilbert Jessop and brothers Charles Barnett and Edgar Barnett. In the early 1930s the club turned professional and joined the Birmingham Combination before joining the Southern League in 1935 and they won promotion to the Alliance Premier League in 1985, but were relegated seven years later. They were promoted back to the Conference in 1997 and two years later gained promotion to the Football League, after two mid-table finishes in Division Three they won via the playoffs and were promoted to Division Two. The appointment of Steve Cotterill as manager during the 1996–97 was the start of a period of success at the club resulted in Cotterill being their most successful manager. In 1997–98, Cheltenham finished runners-up in the Conference and were close to champions Halifax Town until the end of April 1998 and they secured a place at Wembley in the FA Trophy final, beating Southport 1–0 in front of a crowd of 27,000. In 1998–99 Cheltenham secured the Conference title and entry to the Football League, after two mid-table finishes in Division Three, Cheltenham finally won promotion to Division Two at the end of the 2001–02 season. Shortly after winning promotion, Cotterill left Cheltenham to join Stoke City as their manager, Cheltenham replaced Cotterill with first-team coach Graham Allner who had won the Conference championship with Kidderminster Harriers in 1994. Allner and assistant manager Mike Davis, who was assistant to Cotterill, were sacked in January 2003, after six months in the job. Cheltenham turned to Bobby Gould, one of the most experienced managers in English football whose exploits include an FA Cup victory with Wimbledon in 1988. Cheltenham continued to struggle, and defeat in their game of the season condemned the club to relegation back to Division Three after just one season
Gareth Owen (footballer, born 1982)
Gareth David Owen is an English-born Welsh former footballer, now working as under-12 coach at the Stoke City Academy. A defender, he represented Wales at under-19 level and he began his career at Stoke City, signing as a professional in August 2001. He made his first team debut in the 2003–04 season, also spending time on loan at Oldham Athletic and he spent part of 2004–05 on loan at Torquay United, before returning on loan at Oldham. His loan deal was made permanent in the summer for a £50,000 fee and he spent the 2006–07 season on loan at Stockport County, and was voted the clubs Player of the Season, after which he joined Stockport permanently, and was installed as club captain. Following a successful 2007–08 season, he joined Yeovil Town on loan in October 2008 and he then joined Port Vale on a loan deal that was made permanent in January 2009. He was a key member of the first team in 2009–10 and 2010–11 and he retired from playing in January 2013, and began coaching at the Stoke City Academy. Born and raised in Cheadle, Staffordshire, Owen attended Painsley High School in his youth and he was in the same school year as future Port Vale teammate Adam Yates. Owen began his career as a trainee with his club, Stoke City. However, in March 2002 he broke his leg in a team match against Leeds United. Four days later he made a further cameo against Ipswich Town, to gain first team experience he spent the second half of the 2003–04 season on loan at Second Division side Oldham Athletic. He scored his first senior goal at Boundary Park, in a 4–1 win over Plymouth Argyle on 17 April. Upon his return to the Potteries he won his debut at the Britannia Stadium. At the start of the 2004–05 season he was loaned out to League One club Torquay United, after returning from Plainmoor he played two further games for Stoke, making substitute appearances in 1–0 wins over Coventry City and Millwall. He returned to Oldham on loan in March 2005, playing nine times until the end of the season when he was transferred from Stoke to Oldham Athletic for a fee of £50,000, however he made only 21 appearances in 2005–06. Never fitting in at the club, in May 2006 he put in a transfer request and he later claimed he had fallen out of love with football at Boundary Park. On 3 July 2006, Owen joined Stockport County on a loan deal. He enjoyed a successful 2006–07 season, playing 42 games, including a FA Cup Third Round tie at Premier League Watford and he was voted the clubs player of the season and joined Stockport permanently for an undisclosed fee in June 2007. In the 2007–08 season, Owen went on to captain Stockport back to League One, in the final he actually played with a face-mask due to an injury
Stockport County F.C.
Stockport County Football Club is a semi-professional football club in Stockport, Greater Manchester, England. Formed in 1883 as Heaton Norris Rovers, the team adopted their name in 1890 after the County Borough of Stockport and they have played at Edgeley Park since 1902, traditionally in blue and white, and are nicknamed The Hatters after the towns former hat-making industry. Stockport County joined the Football League in 1900 and competed in it continuously from 1905 to 2011, however, instability on and off the pitch eventually led to Stockport falling back to the lower divisions. The club started the 2011–12 season in the Conference National, having been relegated from Football League Two for the first time in their history at the end of 2010–11, at the end of 2012–13, Stockport were relegated to the Conference North. Stockport County was formed in 1883 as Heaton Norris Rovers by members of the Wycliffe Congregational Church, the club adopted The Hatters as their nickname, owing to Stockports history as the centre of the Victorian hat-making industry, a nickname that is shared with Luton Town. Stockport played in the Lancashire League until 1900, when they gained admission to the Football League Second Division, Stockports first Football League match was against Leicester Fosse which ended in a 2–2 draw. Stockport left their Green Lane home in 1902 and moved to Edgeley Park where they currently reside, the club finished in the bottom three for their first four seasons, and at the end of 1903–04 they failed to gain re-election. They spent one year in the Lancashire Combination and the Midland League, at the end of the season, they were re-admitted to the Football League after being re-elected through the Midland League. In their first season back in the Football League, Stockport reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time, however, Stockport finished the league in 10th position that season. Stockport remained in Division 2 of the Football League for seven years until 1912–13 when they again had to seek re-election, Stockport gained 22 votes and was therefore re-elected. Albert Williams was presented with the seven days later before the home game with Lincoln City. This title win began a remarkable coincidence which has occurred in each of Stockports title winning seasons where Lincoln City have been the last opponents in each of those seasons. Joe OKane, who joined Stockport the previous season, was a factor in the clubs promotion although he left the club at the end of the season. Once Stockport returned to Division 2, they struggled and survived an automatic relegation by one point, the 1923–24 season saw Stockport County finish 13th, one place above Manchester United. This is the time in history Stockport has achieved better than Manchester United. During this campaign Stockport goalkeeper Harry Hardy was called up to play for the England national team and he is the only player to be capped at full level by England while on Stockports books. Two seasons later Stockport returned to the division after finishing bottom of the league. Stockport closed out the 1920s in Division Three North with a 3rd-placed finish in 1927–28, Joe Smith was Stockports and the divisions leading goalscorer in this particular season contributing to 38 of Stockports 89 goals