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
Reading Football Club is a professional association football club based in Reading, Berkshire, England. The team play in the Championship, the tier of English football. The club played at Elm Park for 102 years between 1896 and 1998, in 1998 the club moved to the new Madejski Stadium, which is named after the clubs co-chairman Sir John Madejski. Reading then finished eighth in the 2006–07 Premier League, their first ever season as a top flight club, Reading were formed on 25 December 1871, following a public meeting at the Bridge Street Rooms organised by the future club secretary Joseph Edward Sydenham. The early matches were played at Reading Recreation Ground, and later the club held fixtures at Reading Cricket Ground, Coley Park and Caversham Cricket Ground. The switch to professionalism in 1895 resulted in the need for a ground and, to this end. In 1913, Reading had a tour of Italy, prompting the leading sports newspaper Corriere della Sera to write without doubt. Reading were elected to the Football League Third Division South of the Football League in 1920, Reading lost their place in Division Two in May 1931, and remained in Third Division South until the outbreak of World War II. When League football resumed after the war, Reading quickly came to prominence once again, the sides moment of cup glory came in 1988 when they won the Simod Cup, beating a number of top flight sides en route to their Wembley win over Luton Town. Reading were promoted to the Second Division as champions in 1986 under the management of Ian Branfoot, the appointment of Mark McGhee as player-manager, shortly after the takeover by John Madejski, in 1991 saw Reading move forward. They were crowned champions of the new Division Two in 1994, in 1995, Reading had eased past Tranmere Rovers in the play-off semi-finals and looked to have booked their place in the Premier League only to lose against Bolton Wanderers in the final. Quinn and Goodings contracts were not renewed two years later after Reading had slid into the half of Division One. Their successor, Terry Bullivant, lasted less than one season before being sacked in March 1998, the year 1998 also saw Reading move into the new 24,200 all-seater Madejski Stadium, named after Chairman John Madejski. Tommy Burns had taken over from Terry Bullivant but lasted just 18 months before being replaced by Alan Pardew, the club finished third in 2000–01 qualifying for the play-offs, losing 2–3 in the final against Walsall at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Reading returned to Division One for 2002–03 after finishing runners-up in Division Two, the following season, they finished fourth in Division One and qualified for the play-offs, where they lost in the semi-final to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Alan Pardew moved to West Ham United the following October and was replaced by Steve Coppell, Reading won the 2005–06 Championship with a league record 106 points, scoring 99 goals and losing only twice. Reading were promoted to English footballs top division for the first time in their history, the 2006–07 season saw Reading make their first appearance in the top flight of English football. Reading defied pre-season predictions of relegation to finish the season in place with 55 points
Their home ground since 2001 has been St Marys Stadium, before which they were based at The Dell. Southampton has a rivalry with Portsmouth due to its close proximity. Matches between the two sides are known as the South Coast derby, the club has won the FA Cup once, in 1976, and their highest-ever league finish was second in the First Division in 1983–84. Southampton were relegated from the Premier League on 15 May 2005 and they returned after a seven-year absence, and have played there ever since. Southampton were founded at St. Marys Church, on 21 November 1885 by members of the St. Marys Church of England Young Mens Association. More important matches, such as cup games, were played either at the County Cricket Ground in Northlands Road or the Antelope Cricket Ground in St Marys Road. During this time, they moved to a newly built £10,000 stadium called The Dell, the club reached the first of their four FA Cup Finals in 1900. On that day, they went down 4–0 to Bury and two later they would suffer a similar fate at the hands of Sheffield United as they were beaten 2–1 in a replay of the 1902 final. After World War I, Saints joined the newly formed Football League Third Division in 1920 which split into South and North sections a year later, the 1921–22 season ended in triumph with promotion and marked the beginning of a 31-year stay in the Second Division. The 1922–23 season was a unique Even Season –14 wins,14 draws and 14 defeats for a total of 42 points, goals for and against statistics were also equal and the team finished in mid-table. In 1925 and 1927, they reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, losing 2–0 and 2–1 to Sheffield United, in the 1948–49 and 1949–50 seasons, Charlie Wayman rattled in a total of 56 goals. Then relegation in 1953 sent Saints sliding back into Division 3 and it took until 1960 for Saints to regain Second Division status with Derek Reeves plundering 39 of the champions’106 league goals. On 27 April 1963 a crowd of 68,000 at Villa Park saw them lose 1–0 to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final. In 1966, when Ted Bates’ team were promoted to the First Division as runners-up, for the following campaign Ron Davies arrived to score 43 goals in his first season. Saints stayed among the elite for eight years, with the highest finishing position being seventh place in 1968–69 and again in 1970–71. These finishes were high enough for them to qualify for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969–70 and its successor, the UEFA Cup in 1971–72, in December 1973, Bates stood down to be replaced by his assistant Lawrie McMenemy. The Saints were one of the first victims of the new three-down relegation system in 1974, the following season, they played in Europe again in the Cup Winners Cup, reaching Round 3 where they lost 2–3 on aggregate to Anderlecht. In 1977–78, captained by Alan Ball, Saints finished runners-up in the Second Division and they finished comfortably in 14th place in their first season back in the top flight
West Ham United F.C.
West Ham United Football Club is a professional football club based in Stratford, East London, England. They compete in the Premier League, the top tier of English football, in 2016 the club re-located to the London Stadium. The club was founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks and reformed in 1900 as West Ham United and they moved to the Boleyn Ground in 1904, which remained their home ground for more than a century. The team initially competed in the Southern League and Western League before joining the Football League in 1919 and they were promoted to the top flight in 1923, when they also losing finalists in the first FA Cup Final held at Wembley. In 1940, the won the inaugural Football League War Cup. West Ham have been winners of the FA Cup three times, in 1964,1975, and 1980, and have also been runners-up twice, in 1923, and 2006. The club have reached two major European finals, winning the European Cup Winners Cup in 1965 and finishing runners up in the competition in 1976. West Ham also won the Intertoto Cup in 1999 and they are one of eight clubs never to have fallen below the second tier of English football, spending 59 of 91 league seasons in the top flight, up to and including the 2016–17 season. The clubs highest league position to date came in 1985–86 when they achieved third place in the then First Division, three West Ham players were members of the 1966 World Cup final-winning England team, captain Bobby Moore and goalscorers Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters. The club, Thames Ironworks were the first ever winners of the West Ham Charity Cup in 1895 contested by clubs in the West Ham locality and they turned professional in 1898 upon entering the Southern League Second Division, and were promoted to the First Division at the first attempt. The following year they came second from bottom, but had established themselves as a fully fledged competitive team and they comfortably fended off the challenge of local rivals Fulham in a relegation play-off, 5–1 in late April 1900 and retained their First Division status. In 1899, they acquired their now-traditional home kit combination of claret shirts and sky blue sleeves in a wager involving Aston Villa players, because of the original works team roots and links, they are still known as the Irons or the Hammers amongst fans and the media. West Ham Utd joined the Western League for the 1901 season while continuing to play in the Southern Division 1. In 1907, West Ham were crowned the Western League Division 1B Champions, the reborn club continued to play their games at the Memorial Grounds in Plaistow but moved to a pitch in the Upton Park area in the guise of the Boleyn Ground stadium in 1904. The Cup Final match itself ended 2–0 to Bolton, the team enjoyed mixed success in Division 1 but retained their status for ten years and reached the FA Cup semi-final in 1933. In 1932, the club was relegated to Division Two and long term custodian Syd King was sacked after serving the club in the role of manager for 32 years, following relegation, King had mental health problems. He appeared drunk at a meeting and soon after committed suicide. The club spent most of the next 30 years in division, first under Paynter
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
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
Npower (United Kingdom)
Npower Limited is a UK-based electricity generator and supplier of gas and electricity to homes and businesses, formerly known as Innogy plc. As Innogy plc it was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was a constituent of the FTSE100 Index, in 2002 it was acquired by RWE of Germany and was subsequently renamed RWE npower plc. RWE split-off its renewable energy, network and retail divisions as Innogy SE in 2016 and it is considered as one of the Big Six Energy Suppliers, which dominate the gas and electricity market in the United Kingdom. The company established the Innogy plc from the UK operations of National Power when the operations were demerged as International Power plc in 2000. Innogy plc then went on to purchase the electricity company Yorkshire Electricity in 2001. It later disposed of the side of Yorkshire Electricity to CE Electric UK in exchange for the supply business of Northern Electric. Innogy plc was taken over by the German energy company RWE in 2002, in 2009 Npower acquired Superior Plumbing, a business providing services to social housing and business customers across the UK. In 2010, Npower acquired SPI Group to add to its services business Npower Hometeam. SPI provides services to the housing market and its commercial arm serves public buildings. In 2013, however, Npower sold the two former Telecom Plus subsidiaries back to Utility Warehouse for £218 million. As a result, Utility Warehouse became one of the largest independent energy suppliers in the UK with over 500,000 customers and 770,000 gas and electricity supply points to their name. The deal also sparked commentary about the possibility of Npowers parent company RWE leaving the UK, or the emergence of a Big Seven in place of the existing Big Six Energy Suppliers. On 1 April 2016, RWE split-off its renewable energy, network, the coal, natural gas and oil-fired energy power stations, which npower operated, are no longer part of npower, but of RWE Generation UK plc. Npower supplies gas and electricity to residential and business customers in the UK and its energy services business provides servicing such as repairing boilers and central heating systems through its Hometeam brand. In 2008, Npower faced allegations over the conduct of its door-to-door salespeople, Npower was eventually fined £1.8 million by the UK energy regulator Ofgem. Npower have also criticised for their customer service, having been rated the lowest of all energy suppliers in the Which. In 2013, Labour Party MPs and campaign group 38 Degrees accused Npower of avoiding tax, Npower defended itself by stating that tax paid had been lower than expected due to higher than expected capital investment in the UK, leading to capital allowances. A Bloomberg report for Greenpeace confirmed that RWE Npower was the biggest investor in new infrastructure in the UK recently
The English Football League Championship is the highest division of the English Football League and second-highest overall in the English football league system, after the Premier League. Each year, the top finishing teams in the Championship are promoted to the Premier League, the Football League Championship, which was introduced for the 2004–05 season, was previously known as the Football League First Division, and before that was known as Division Two. The winners of the Championship receive the Football League Championship trophy, the Championship is the wealthiest non-top flight football division in the world and the seventh richest division in Europe. With an average attendance for the 2015-16 season of 17,578. Bundesliga as the secondary league in the world. In the 2015–16 season, Burnley were the champions, Middlesbrough were the runners up. At present, Ipswich Town hold the longest tenure in the Championship, the total figures were aided somewhat by the presence of 24 clubs, compared to 20 clubs in both Serie A and Ligue 1, and 18 in the Bundesliga. A major factor to the success comes from television revenue. On 30 September 2009, Coca-Cola announced they would end their deal with The Football League at the end of the 2009–10 season. On 18 July 2013, UK bookmaker Sky Bet announced that signed a 5-year agreement to sponsor the league. Three points are awarded for a win, one for a draw, the teams are ranked in the league table by points gained, then goal difference, then goals scored and then their head-to-head record for that season. At the end of the season, the top two teams and the winner of the Championship play-offs are promoted to the Premier League and the three teams are relegated to Football League One. The Football League Championship play-offs is a competition for the teams finishing the season in third to sixth place with the winner being promoted to the Premier League. In the play-offs, the team plays against the sixth-placed team. The winners of each semi-final then compete in a match with the prize being promotion to the Premier League. From 2009 to 2012, Sky Sports had the rights to broadcast 65 live matches, the BBC had the rights to show 10 first choice live games for the regular season as well as the rights to show a highlight show. The deal is on a contract and is worth £264m that will mostly be paid by Sky. The deal included 75 live league games, all the matches,15 League Cup ties
The Premier League is an English professional league for mens association football clubs. At the top of the English football league system, it is the primary football competition. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the English Football League, Welsh clubs that compete in the English football league system can also qualify. The Premier League is a corporation in which the 20 member clubs act as shareholders, seasons run from August to May. Teams play 38 matches each, totalling 380 matches in the season, most games are played on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, others during weekday evenings. It is colloquially known as the Premiership and outside the UK it is referred to as the English Premier League. The deal was worth £1 billion a year domestically as of 2013–14, with BSkyB, the league generates €2.2 billion per year in domestic and international television rights. In 2014/15, teams were apportioned revenues of £1.6 billion, the Premier League is the most-watched sports league in the world, broadcast in 212 territories to 643 million homes and a potential TV audience of 4.7 billion people. In the 2014–15 season, the average Premier League match attendance exceeded 36,000, most stadium occupancies are near capacity. The Premier League ranks third in the UEFA coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the past five seasons. While 47 clubs have competed since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, only six have won the title, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, the current champions are Leicester City, who won the title in 2015–16. Despite significant European success in the 1970s and early 1980s, the late 80s marked a low point for English football, the 1988 negotiations were the first signs of a breakaway league, ten clubs threatened to leave and form a super league, but were eventually persuaded to stay. As stadiums improved and match attendance and revenues rose, the top teams again considered leaving the Football League in order to capitalise on the influx of money into the sport. At the close of the 1991 season, a proposal was tabled for the establishment of a new league that would bring money into the game overall. The Founder Members Agreement, signed on 17 July 1991 by the games top-flight clubs, the argument given at the time was that the extra income would allow English clubs to compete with teams across Europe. The managing director of London Weekend Television, Greg Dyke, met with the representatives of the big five clubs in England in 1990. The meeting was to pave the way for an away from The Football League. The FA did not enjoy a relationship with the Football League at the time
Birmingham City F.C.
Birmingham City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Birmingham, England. Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, they became Small Heath in 1888, then Birmingham in 1905, the team compete in the EFL Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. As Small Heath, they played in the Football Alliance before becoming founder members, the most successful period in their history was in the 1950s and early 1960s. They won the competition for the second time in 2011. St Andrews has been their ground since 1906. They have a long-standing and fierce rivalry with Aston Villa, their nearest neighbours, the clubs nickname is Blues, due to the colour of their kit, and their fans are known as Bluenoses. Birmingham City were founded as Small Heath Alliance in 1875, the club turned professional in 1885, and three years later became the first football club to become a limited company with a board of directors, under the name of Small Heath F. C. Ltd. From the 1889–90 season they played in the Football Alliance, which ran alongside the Football League, in 1892, Small Heath, along with the other Alliance teams, were invited to join the newly formed Football League Second Division. The club adopted the name Birmingham Football Club in 1905, and moved into their new home, St Andrews Ground, matters on the field failed to live up to their surroundings. Birmingham were relegated in 1908, obliged to apply for two years later, and remained in the Second Division until after the First World War. Frank Womacks captaincy and the creativity of Scottish international playmaker Johnny Crosbie contributed much to Birmingham winning their second Division Two title in 1920–21, Womack went on to make 515 appearances, a club record for an outfielder, over a twenty-year career. 1920 also saw the debut of the 19-year-old Joe Bradford, who went on to score a club record 267 goals in 445 games, and won 12 caps for England. In 1931, manager Leslie Knighton led the club to their first FA Cup Final and they were finally relegated in 1939, the last full season before the Football League was abandoned for the duration of the Second World War. The name Birmingham City F. C. was adopted in 1943, under Harry Storer, appointed manager in 1945, the club won the Football League South wartime league and reached the semifinal of the first post-war FA Cup. Two years later won their third Second Division title, conceding only 24 goals in the 42-game season. Storers successor Bob Brocklebank, though unable to stave off relegation in 1950, when Arthur Turner took over as manager in November 1954, he made them play closer to their potential, and a 5–1 win on the last day of the 1954–55 season confirmed them as champions. In their first season back in the First Division, Birmingham achieved their highest league finish of sixth place. They also reached the FA Cup final, losing 3–1 to Manchester City in the game notable for Citys goalkeeper Bert Trautmann playing the last 20 minutes with a bone in his neck
Blackpool Football Club is a professional association football club based in the seaside town of Blackpool, Lancashire, England. For the 2016–17 season, they are competing in League Two, founded in 1887, Blackpools home ground has been Bloomfield Road since 1901. Their main nickname is the Seasiders, but they are called the Pool and the Tangerines, the latter in reference to the colour of their home kit. Blackpools least successful period was in the 1980s, particularly when, in the 1982–83 season, they finished 21st in English League footballs lowest tier, the clubs motto is Progress, as featured on the club crest. Blackpool have a rivalry with Preston North End, and matches between the two clubs are known as the West Lancashire derby. They have not met in a match since February 2010. Football had developed in Blackpool by 1877 when Victoria F. C. were founded as a club with a ground in Caunce Street. This team disbanded a few years later but some of its members are understood to have merged with old boys from St Johns School to form a new club called Blackpool St Johns. The new club managed to win two pieces of silverware in its first season in existence, 1887–88, the Fylde Cup, at the conclusion of the following 1888–89 season, Blackpool became founder members of the Lancashire League. In their first season in the competition, the club finished out of the 13 member clubs. They finished as runners-up over the three seasons, before winning the championship themselves on their fourth attempt. Blackpools home at that point in time was Raikes Hall, which was part of an entertainment complex that included a theatre. This meant that the average attendances were around the 2000 mark. Their application was successful, and for the debut season, 1896–97. Blackpools first-ever Football League game took place on 5 September 1896, at Lincoln City, for the 1897–98 campaign, the club played their home games at the Athletic Grounds. They remained there for the first seven games of 1898–99. After finishing third-bottom, the club were not re-elected at the end of the 1898–99 season and they finished third, and after the Football Leagues annual meeting, on 25 May 1900, were permitted back into Division Two. It was during this season out of the League that Blackpool amalgamated with local rivals South Shore, during the 10 seasons that followed, Blackpool could finish no higher than 12th place
Queens Park Rangers F.C.
Queens Park Rangers Football Club is a professional association football club based in White City, London, that plays in the Championship, the second tier of English football. Their honours include winning the League Cup in 1967, as well as finishing top of the tier in 1983 and 2011. QPR were also runners-up of the Football League First Division in 1975–76, Queens Park Rangers were founded in 1886 after the merger of Christchurch Rangers and St. Judes Institute. Owing to their proximity to other west London clubs, QPR maintain long-standing rivalries with other clubs in the area. The most notable of these are Chelsea, Fulham and Brentford, outside London, QPR also traditionally share rivalries with Watford, Luton and Cardiff, although in recent years these fixtures have become less prominent. For the current season see 2015–16 Queens Park Rangers F. C. season The club was formed in 1886, the resulting team was called Queens Park Rangers, because most of the players came from the Queens Park area of north-west London. QPR were promoted as champions of Division 3 South in the 1947–48 season, Dave Mangnall was the manager as the club participated in four seasons of the Second Division, being relegated in 1951–52. Tony Ingham was signed from Leeds United and went on to make the most ever league appearances for QPR, arguably the clubs greatest ever manager, Alec Stock, arrived prior to the start of the 1959–60 season. The 1960–61 season saw QPR achieve their biggest win to date, in time, Stock, together with Jim Gregory who arrived as chairman in the mid-1960s, helped to achieve a total transformation of the club and its surroundings. It is still the major trophy that QPR have won. It was also the first League Cup final to be held at Wembley Stadium, after winning promotion in 1968 to the top flight for the first time in their history, Rangers were relegated after just one season and spent the next four years in Division Two. Terry Venables joined from Spurs at the beginning of the 1969–70 season, during this time, new QPR heroes emerged including Phil Parkes, Don Givens, Dave Thomas and Stan Bowles. These new signings were in addition to home-grown talent such as Dave Clement, Ian Gillard, Mick Leach, after completing their 42-game season, QPR sat at the top of the league, one point ahead of Liverpool who went on to defeat Wolverhampton Wanderers to clinch the title. Wolves were relegated to the Second Division that same season, following Sextons departure in 1977 the club eventually slipped into the Second Division in 1979. In 1980 Terry Venables took over as manager and the club installed a plastic pitch, in 1982 QPR, still playing in the Second Division, reached the FA Cup Final for the only time in the clubs history, facing holders Tottenham Hotspur. Tottenham won 1–0 in a replay, the following season QPR went on to win the Second Division championship and returned to English footballs top division. After a respectable fifth-place finish, and UEFA Cup qualification, the following year, in 1988 the club had a new chairman, Richard Thompson. Who at 24 was the Premier Leagues youngest ever chairman, over the next seven years, various managers came and went from Loftus Road and the club spent many seasons finishing mid table but avoided relegation
Norwich City F.C.
Norwich City Football Club is an English professional football club based in Norwich, Norfolk. The club currently plays in the Championship, the tier of English football. They were first promoted to the top flight in 1972, Norwich have won the League Cup twice, in 1962 and 1985. The club has never won the top flight, but finished third in 1993, the club was founded in 1902. The fans song On the Ball, City is regarded as being the oldest football song in the world which is still in use, the club plays in characteristic yellow and green kits and are nicknamed The Canaries after the history of breeding the birds in the area. They joined the Norfolk & Suffolk League for the 1902–03 season, but following a FA Commission, the club was ousted from the amateur game in 1905, deemed a professional organisation. Later that year Norwich were elected to play in the Southern League and with increasing crowds, they were forced to leave Newmarket Road in 1908, moving to The Nest, a disused chalk pit. During the First World War, with football suspended and facing spiralling debts, the club was officially reformed on 15 February 1919 – a key figure in the events was Charles Frederick Watling, future Lord Mayor of Norwich and the father of future club chairman, Geoffrey Watling. When, in May 1920, the Football League formed a third Division and their first league fixture, against Plymouth Argyle, on 28 August 1920, ended in a 1–1 draw. The club went on to endure a mediocre decade, finishing no higher than eighth, the inaugural match, held on 31 August 1935, against West Ham United, ended in a 4–3 victory to the home team and set a new record attendance of 29,779. The biggest highlight of the four seasons was the visit of King George VI to Carrow Road on 29 October 1938. However, the club was relegated to the Third Division at the end of the season, the league was suspended the following season as a result of the outbreak of the Second World War and did not resume until the 1946–47 season. City finished this and the season in 21st place, the poor results forcing the club to apply for re-election to the league. The 1958–59 season saw Norwich reach the semi-final of the FA Cup as a Third Division side, in the 1959–60 season, Norwich were promoted to the Second Division after finishing second to Southampton, and achieved a fourth-place finish in the 1960–61 season. In 1962 Ron Ashman guided Norwich to their first trophy, defeating Rochdale 4–0 on aggregate in a final to win the League Cup. They made their first appearance at Wembley Stadium in 1973, losing the League Cup final 1–0 to Tottenham Hotspur. Relegation to the Second Division in 1974 came after Saunders had departed and been succeeded by John Bond, a highly successful first season saw promotion back to the First Division and another visit to Wembley, again in the League Cup final, this time losing 1–0 to Aston Villa. Bond departed to Manchester City in the autumn of 1980 and the club were relegated six months later, Norwich had also been the beneficiaries of one of English footballs first million-pound transfers when they sold striker Justin Fashanu to Nottingham Forest in August 1981
Swansea City A.F.C.
Swansea City Association Football Club is a Welsh professional football club based in Swansea, Wales, that plays in the Premier League, the top tier of English football. Swansea City represent England when playing in European competitions, although they have represented Wales in the past, the club was founded in 1912 as Swansea Town and joined the Football League in 1921. The club changed their name in 1969, when adopted the name Swansea City to reflect Swanseas new status as a city. Swansea have played their matches at the Liberty Stadium since 2005. In 1981, the club was promoted to the original Football League First Division and it was during the following season they came close to winning the league title, but a decline then set near the seasons end before finishing sixth, although a club record. The clubs subsequent climb from the division of English football to the top division is chronicled in the 2014 film. In 2011, Swansea were promoted to the Premier League, following the lead of many other South Wales sides, joined the second division of the Southern League for the following season. J. W. Thorpe was the clubs first chairman, a site owned by Swansea Gaslight Co. called Vetch Field due to the vegetables that grew there, was rented to be the clubs ground. The clubs first professional match was a 1–1 draw at the Vetch Field against Cardiff City on 7 September 1912. During that first season the Welsh Cup was won for the first time, before the game Bradshaw had scored with thirty-six consecutive spot kicks. Remarkably, the Swans played most of the half with ten men. The Swans drew at another First Division side, Newcastle United, in the next round, following the First World War the Southern League dropped its second division, and with many clubs dropping out due to financial difficulties, the Swans were placed in the first division. After just four seasons in the Southern League, Swansea Town became founder members of the new Third Division of The Football League in 1920, the side had remained unbeaten at home in the league all season – something the next promotion team would emulate over twenty years later. Sadly for the Swans, an experienced Bolton side won the game 3–0, Swans record their highest average attendance during the season of 16,118 for pre-war league games. During the 1926–27 season they beat Real Madrid 3–0 on tour, during the 1931–32 season they finished 1st and went out in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. However they won the Welsh Cup after beating Wrexham 2–0 away after a replay and it was not until the 1933–34 season that Wilfred Milne scored his first goal for Swansea at Lincoln City after 501 appearances without a goal. After just one back from wartime football, the Swans finished 21st in the Second Division. The following season was one of consolidation, however in 1948–1949 the Swans stormed their way to winning the division for the second time
Preston North End F.C.
Preston North End Football Club is a professional association football club located in the Deepdale area of Preston, Lancashire. They play in the Championship, the tier of the English football league system. Prestons unbeaten League and Cup season earned them the nickname The Invincibles, Prestons most recent major trophy success was their FA Cup victory over Huddersfield Town in 1938. Many notable players have played for the club, including Tom Finney, Bill Shankly, Tommy Docherty, Alan Kelly, Sr. and Graham Alexander. On 21 January 1875, the club leased a field opposite Moor Park on the site of the current Deepdale stadium, Preston North End were famously successful during the early years of professional football in England. In 1887, Preston beat Hyde 26–0 in the First Round of the FA Cup, Preston forward Jimmy Ross scored eight goals in the match, going on to score 19 goals in the competition that season, also still a record. The clubs last major win was their FA Cup triumph in 1938. Prestons most famous player, Sir Tom Finney, played for the club between 1946 and 1960, Finney is considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time, and was also a local lad, dubbed the Preston Plumber due to his professional training as a plumber. Finney remains the top goalscorer, with 187 goals from 433 appearances. Following Finneys retirement, Preston were relegated to the Second Division in 1961 and have not played in the top division since, the club did reach the FA Cup final in 1964, but lost to West Ham United. Preston were relegated to the Third Division in the 1969–70 season, Alan Ball, Sr. John McGrath oversaw Prestons promotion back to the Third Division a year later, where they remained when John Beck took over in October 1992. The 38-year-old Beck had only recently been sacked by Cambridge United, the club almost made it two promotions in a row to reach the Premier League, but lost to Bolton Wanderers in the 2001 play-off final. Simon Grayson was appointed by the club on 18 February 2013, of Simon Graysons next 10 games, Preston won 3, drew 4 and lost 3. In Simon Graysons first summer in charge, he permanently signed 4 players, Tom Clarke, a centreback, Chris Humphrey, a winger, Kevin Davies, a Centre forward and Alex Nicholson. He also signed Declan Rudd on a long loan from Norwich City. He allowed 3 players to leave during the summer, those being Luke Foster, Chris Robertson, the 2013–14 season started off well, unbeaten in their first 9 league games. They also beat local rivals Blackpool in the League Cup, before being beaten by Lancashire rivals Burnley in the second round. The 9 league game unbeaten run came to an end on 5 October, against Peterborough United, Preston then went on another 9 game unbeaten league run, winning 5 and drawing 4, including a win against Leyton Orient, only their second league defeat of the season
Sheffield United F.C.
Sheffield United Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. The team competes in League One, the tier of English football. The football club was formed in 1889 as an offshoot of Sheffield United Cricket Club, the club have played their home games at Bramall Lane since their formation in 1889. Bramall Lane is currently an all-seater ground with a capacity of 32,609, Sheffield United won the original First Division in 1898 and the FA Cup in 1899,1902,1915 and 1925. They were beaten finalists in the FA Cup in 1901 and 1936 and they reached the semi-finals of the League Cup in 2003 and 2015. For most of the history they have played in red. Their closest rivals are Sheffield Wednesday, with whom they contest the Steel City Derby, Sheffield United formed on 22 March 1889 at the Adelphi Hotel, Sheffield by the President of the Cricket Club Sir Charles Clegg. The Wednesday had moved from Bramall Lane to their own ground at Olive Grove, Sir Charles Clegg was incidentally also the president of The Wednesday. Their darkest days came between 1975 and 1981 and they did fall back into the Third Division in 1988, but new manager Dave Bassett masterminded a quick revival which launched the Blades towards one of the most successful eras in their history. Successive promotions in the aftermath of the 1988 relegation saw them return to the First Division in 1990 after a 14-year exile and they survived at this level for four seasons and reached an FA Cup semi-final in the 1992–93 season before being relegated in 1994. Three years later, however, Warnock delivered a Premier League return as the Blades finished runners-up in the rebranded Football League Championship, Neil Warnock resigned as manager after the Blades went down. The Blades did reach the Championship playoff final in 2009 under Kevin Blackwell, in the 2011–12 season, the club finished third in League One, narrowly missing out on automatic promotion to rivals Sheffield Wednesday, and entered the playoffs. With victory over Stevenage in the semi-final, United missed out on a return to the Championship after suffering a penalty shootout defeat to Huddersfield Town. In 2014, the Blades gained the nickname of giant-killers, having reached the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley, losing 5–3 to Hull City. In 2014–15, they reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and semi-finals of the Football League Cup, the club was formed by members of the Sheffield United Cricket Club, itself formed in 1854 and the first English sports club to use United in its name. Sheffield Uniteds predominant nickname is The Blades, a reference to Sheffields status as the producer of cutlery in the United Kingdom. Because of this, the nickname would also be used in reference to rivals Sheffield Wednesday, another nickname used was The Cutlers. In 1907, Wednesday came to be referred to as The Owls, in reference to their new ground in Owlerton, within Sheffield fans of the club are also sometimes referred to as Unitedites
Scunthorpe United F.C.
Scunthorpe United Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, England. The team play in League One, the tier of the English football league system. The team is nicknamed The Iron, and has played in a strip of claret. It plays its games at Glanford Park, having moved from the Old Show Ground in 1988. Grimsby Town, Hull City, Doncaster Rovers, Lincoln City and York City are its main rivals, the club was formed in 1899, turned professional in 1912 and joined the Football League in 1950. It achieved promotion to Division Two in 1958, where it stayed until 1964, the club has had more success recently, however, it was promoted from Football League Two in 2005, and then spent three out of four seasons from 2007 in the Football League Championship. The Iron were relegated to Football League One in 2011, having finished bottom of the Championship, in recent years, the club has developed a reputation for developing promising young strikers, having sold Billy Sharp, Martin Paterson and Gary Hooper on for seven-figure sums. The club was considered one of the most financially prudent in English football. Scunthorpe United was formed in 1899, in 1910 they merged with local rivals North Lindsey United to become Scunthorpe & Lindsey United, and joined the Midland Football League in 1912. After an unsuccessful application to join the Football League in 1921, Scunthorpe & Lindsey won the Midland League in 1926–27, after the end of the war, in 1945, Scunthorpe & Lindsey United would re-apply to join the Football League at every opportunity. The club finished as runners-up in the Midland League in 1947–48, the clubs first game in Football League Division Three North was against fellow new entrants Shrewsbury Town. After an unremarkable few years in the Football League, which included the clubs first ever third and fourth round FA Cup ties, in 1958 Scunthorpe United won promotion to Football League Division Two as champions of the old Division Three under the guidance of manager Ron Suart. This was despite the sale of its leading marksman Barrie Thomas to Newcastle United for a reported £40,000, after relegation from Division Two, the Iron spent the next four years bouncing around in the Third Division. Freddie Goodwin left the club during the 1967–68 season, however his replacement Ron Ashman was unable to save the club from relegation to Division Four at the end of the season. The Iron were unable to cement a place in the Third Division, at the same time Ron Ashman departed to manage local rivals Grimsby Town, only to return during 1976. The period between his two tenures saw several management changes and a league campaign which saw the Iron finish rock bottom of the Football League in 1975. The next five years saw United stagnate in the bottom-half of Division Four, in 1988 Scunthorpe United became the first English football club in the modern era to move to a new, purpose-built stadium, Glanford Park. The ground was sold to the supermarket chain Safeway and the search was started for a new location
Brighton & Hove Albion F.C.
Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club /ˈbraɪtən ən ˈhoʊv/ is a professional football club based in the city of Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, England, often referred to simply as Brighton. The team is nicknamed the Seagulls or Albion, the team has historically played in blue and white stripes, though this changed to all white briefly in the 1970s and again to plain blue during the clubs most successful spell in the 1980s. Crystal Palace are considered the main rivals, although the grounds are 40 miles apart. Founded in 1901, Brighton played their early football in the Southern League before being elected to the Football League in 1920. The club enjoyed greatest prominence between 1979 and 1983 when they played in the First Division and reached the 1983 FA Cup Final and they were relegated from the top division in the same season. Mismanagement brought Brighton close to relegation from the Football League to the Conference which they narrowly avoided in 1997 and 1998. Brighton & Hove Albion F. C. were founded in 1901 and 19 years later, in 1920, Mike Bamber was the chairman of Brighton from October 1972 until 1983. He famously brought Brian Clough to the club in 1973 and later appointed former England player Alan Mullery as manager, the 1982/83 season saw a wildly inconsistent start for the club, with victories over Arsenal and Manchester United mixed in with heavy defeats. Manager Mike Bailey eventually lost his job at the start of December 1982, jimmy Melia took over as manager, but was unable to turn the situation around and Brighton were relegated in 1983, having finished in bottom place. Despite their relegation, that season Brighton reached their first FA Cup final, Brightons goals were scored by Gordon Smith and Gary Stevens. However, Smiths kick was saved by the Manchester United goalkeeper. In the replay, Manchester United won 4–0, a lifelong fan named Dick Knight took control of the club in 1997 having led the fan pressure to oust the previous board following their sale of the clubs Goldstone Ground to property developers. If Brighton won or drew, they would be safe, Brighton defender Kerry Mayo scored an own goal in the first half and it looked as though their 77-year league career was over. But a late goal from Robbie Reinelt saved the day, Brighton retained their status on goal difference. The sale of the Goldstone ground went through in 1997, leading to Brighton having to play some 70 miles away at Gillinghams Priestfield stadium for two seasons, micky Adams was appointed Brightons manager in 1999. For the start of the 1999–2000 season the Seagulls secured a lease to play games at Withdean Stadium. In February 2000 Brighton signed a little known forward on loan from Bristol Rovers called Bobby Zamora, Zamora made an instant impact, scoring in his debut, the 1–1 home draw with Plymouth. 2000–01 was Brightons first successful season for 13 years and they were crowned champions of Division Three and promoted to Division Two, where they made an excellent start and looked good bets for a second successive promotion
Peterborough United F.C.
Peterborough United Football Club is a professional football club based in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England. The team compete in League One, the tier in the English football league system. Peterborough United formed in 1934 and played in the old Midland League and their home ground is London Road Stadium, currently known as the ABAX Stadium for sponsorship reasons, and the club nickname is The Posh. After being relegated from the Championship on the day of the 2012–13 season. Their highest finishing position in the Football League ladder was 10th in the Championship, Peterborough were the holders of the 2013–14 Football League Trophy, beating Chesterfield 3–1 in the final at Wembley Stadium in March 2014. Peterborough United was formed in 1934 at Peterboroughs Angel Hotel to provide a replacement for Peterborough & Fletton United, the Posh played in the old Midland League. They won this league on six occasions, including five seasons in a row from 1956 to 1960, the Posh were elected to The Football League for the beginning of the 1960–61 season, winning Division Four. Following the Fourth Division Championship success in 1960–61, The Posh spent seven seasons in the 3rd Division and they reached the quarter-finals of the F. A. Cup in 1964–65, beating Arsenal and Swansea Town along the way before going out to Chelsea and they were relegated back to the 4th Division for financial irregularities in the summer of 1968. The club took six seasons to return to Division 3, winning the 4th Division championship, the Wrexham defeat cast a long shadow over the club and it fell into a long decline. Relegation followed in 1979 and Posh subsequently spent 12 years back in the 4th division, the 1980s was a long story of mismanagement and false dawns, punctuated by the odd cup run. Six players were signed on transfer deadline day, which at the time was a record for the number of players signed by one club on a single day, on the final day of the season, Posh travelled to Chesterfield needing a win to seal promotion. Despite going two goals down in the first ten minutes, the team rallied and drew level with goals from David Robinson, however, Poshs closest rivals, Blackpool lost at Walsall and promotion was achieved. The following season arguably remains the most successful in the clubs history, after an inconsistent start the team hit form during the Autumn when they knocked Wimbledon and Newcastle United out of the League Cup. The reward was a tie with a Liverpool team containing Bruce Grobbelaar, Jan Mølby, Steve McManaman, Dean Saunders. Garry Kimble scored the goal after 19 minutes prompting wild celebrations. In the league, the team went from strength to strength, progress continued in the league and a play-off place was clinched on the last day of the season despite a 1–0 defeat to champions Brentford. The following week, Huddersfield Town came to London Road for the first leg of the Semi-final, captain Mick Halsalls last minute equaliser levelled the score at 2–2
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
Bristol Rovers F.C.
Bristol Rovers Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Bristol, England. They compete in League One, the tier of English football. The team play their matches at Memorial Stadium, in Horfield, a suburb of Bristol. The club was founded in 1883 as Black Arabs F. C. and were known as Eastville Rovers. The clubs official nickname is The Pirates, reflecting the history of Bristol. According to a survey conducted in December 2003, Cardiff City and Swindon Town are considered their second, Rovers were admitted to the Football League in 1920 and have played there ever since, apart from spending the 2014–15 season in the Conference Premier. Their highest finishing positions were in 1956 and 1959, on both occasions ending the season in 6th place in Division Two, then the tier of English football. Rovers were Football League Trophy finalists in 1990 and 2007, the club was formed following a meeting at the Eastville Restaurant in Bristol in September 1883. It was initially called Black Arabs F. C. after the Arabs rugby team and this name only lasted for the 1883–84 season, and in a bid to draw more fans from the local area the club was renamed Eastville Rovers in 1884. The club played friendly games until the 1887–88 season, when it took part in the Gloucestershire Cup for the first time. In 1892 the club became a member of the Bristol and District League. In 1897 Eastville Rovers joined the Birmingham and District League, at the beginning of the 1897–98 season, the club turned professional and changed its name to Bristol Eastville Rovers, and on 17 February 1899 the name was officially changed to Bristol Rovers. In 1899 Bristol Rovers joined the newly formed Southern League, where remained until 1920. For the 1920–21 season, the Southern League teams were moved into the new Division Three of the Football League and they remained in this division for over 30 years, before winning the league, and promotion in the 1952–53 season. The club has been relegated six times—in 1961–62, 1980–81, 1992–93, 2000–01, 2010–11 and most recently at the end of the 2013–14 season. The highest position in the football ladder achieved by Rovers at the end of season is sixth place in the tier, which they did twice, once in 1955–56. The closest they came to the top flight was in 1955–56, the lowest league position achieved by the club is twenty-third out of twenty-four teams in the fourth tier, which has occurred twice. This position was matched at the end of the 2013–14 season and they returned to the league at the end of their first Conference season, with a penalty shootout victory over Grimsby Town in the play-off final
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
Swindon Town F.C.
Swindon Town Football Club is a professional football club in Swindon, Wiltshire, England. Founded as Swindon AFC in 1879, they became Spartans in 1880, the team compete in League One, the third tier of the English football league system. The clubs home ground, where it has played since 1896, is the 15,728 capacity County Ground, the club went professional in 1894 and entered the Football League in 1920. Swindon Town won promotion to the Premier League in the 1992–93 season, Swindon Town Football Club was founded by Reverend William Pitt of Liddington in 1879. The team turned professional in 1894 and joined the Southern League which was founded in the same year, during this period Septimus Atterbury played for the club. Swindon reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time in the 1909–10 season, Barnsley and Swindon were invited to compete for the Dubonnet Cup in 1910 at the Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris. The result was a 2–1 victory for Swindon with Harold Fleming scoring both of the clubs goals, the following season, 1910–11, Swindon Town won the Southern League championship, earning them a Charity Shield match with the Football League champions Manchester United. This, the highest-scoring Charity Shield game to date, was played on 25 September 1911 at Stamford Bridge with Manchester United winning 8–4, some of the proceeds of this game were later donated to the survivors of the Titanic. In 1912 Swindon Town reached the finals of the FA Cup for a second time in 3 years. Swindons exploits at this time owed a lot to the skilful forward H. J. Fleming who was capped by England 11 times between 1909 and 1914 despite playing outside the Football League. Fleming remained with Swindon throughout a career spanning 1907 and 1924. Swindon entered the Football League in 1920 as a member of Division Three. This result stands as a record for the club in League matches, the club was relegated back into Division Three in 1965 but it was about to create a sensation. In 1969, Swindon beat Arsenal 3–1 to win the League Cup for the time in the clubs history. As winners of the League Cup, Swindon were assured of a place in their first European competition, however, the Football Association had previously agreed to inclusion criteria with the organizers which mandated that only League Cup winners from Division One would be able to take part. As the team were not eligible, the short lived Anglo-Italian competitions were created to give teams from lower divisions experience in Europe, the first of these, the 1969 Anglo-Italian League Cup, was contested over two legs against Coppa Italia winners A. S. Swindon won 5–2, with the scorer of two goals in the League Cup final – Don Rogers – scoring once and new acquisition Arthur Horsfield acquiring his first hat-trick for the club. The team then went on to win the 1970 Anglo-Italian Cup competition in a tournament beset by hooliganism, napoli was abandoned after 79 minutes following pitch invasions and a missile barrage, with teargas being employed to allow the teams to return to the dressing room
Chesterfield Football Club /ˈtʃɛstərfiːld/ is a professional association football club based in the town of Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England. The team compete in League One, the tier of the English football league system. The club was a member of the Football League Third Division North in 1921–22 and has remained in the Football League since that time. While they have never played in the top flight, they rose to the second twice in the 1930s. Chesterfield play their games at the 10,504 capacity Proact Stadium. Chesterfields most notable recent successes came in the 1990s, when they won the Division Three playoff final at Wembley in 1995, in May 2011, Chesterfield secured the League Two title but were relegated from League One the following season. In 2011, Dave Allen was given ownership of the club. The 2011/12 season saw Chesterfield secure the Football League Trophy with a 2–0 victory over Swindon Town, a return to Wembley for the final of the Football League trophy was secured in 2014, with Chesterfield finishing runners-up after losing 3–1 to Peterborough United. In 2014, Chesterfield were crowned champions of League Two for a fourth time. Potentially five or more teams have been called Chesterfield Football club at different times, a second Chesterfield F. C. was formally created as an offshoot of Chesterfield Cricket Club in October 1867. The cricket and football clubs moved to the Recreation Ground at Saltergate in 1871, however, a souring of the relationship between the two led to the closure of the football club in 1881, when it found itself homeless. Three years later, in 1884, an entity called Chesterfield Football Club was formed. It drew in players from the club and both Chesterfield Livingstone and Chesterfield Spital, though records show Spital continued as a separate club. After changing its name to Chesterfield Town, the club turned professional in 1891, for the 1892–93 season, the club wore an extraordinary playing strip of all dark blue with the Union Jack emblazoned across the front of the shirt. Chesterfield joined the Midland League in 1896, and successfully applied for a place in the Second Division of the Football League at the start of the 1899–1900 season, finishing seventh. After finishing bottom of the League three years in a row, the failed to gain re-election to the League in 1909. It lasted only two years before its management and players were suspended by the FA for illegal payments and the shut down. The current Chesterfield F. C was formed on 24 April 1919 by Chesterfield Borough Council, in 1921–22, Chesterfield F. C. became a founder member of the new Football League Third Division North
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
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
Stevenage Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England. The team play in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. They play their games at The Lamex Stadium on Broadhall Way in Stevenage. Following three promotions in four seasons in the early 1990s, the club were promoted to the Conference National in 1994, despite winning the league in the 1995–96 season, the club were denied promotion to the Football League due to insufficient ground facilities. Stevenage were finally promoted to the Football League after winning the Conference National in the 2009–10 season, on securing Football League status, the club dropped the word Borough from its title. Stevenage earned back-to-back promotions when they beat Torquay United 1–0 at Old Trafford in the 2010–11 play-off final, the club won the competition again in 2009, beating York City 2–0 in the final. Stevenage Borough were formed in 1976 following the bankruptcy of Stevenage Athletic, chairman Keith Berners, and a number of like-minded volunteers were tasked with arranging a team to play Hitchin Town Youth at Broadhall Way in November 1976, as a curtain-raiser for the new club. Stevenage Borough Council granted consent for the club to incorporate the name Borough in their title, in 1980, the council reacquired the lease for Broadhall Way and allowed the football club to become its tenant. With the council as their landlords and a stadium, Stevenage Borough took on senior status. The clubs first competitive match was a 3–1 victory over ON Chenecks on 16 August 1980. In their first season as a club, the side won the United Counties League Division One championship. The club also secured the United Counties League Cup the same season, however, two years later the club were relegated back to the Division Two North, having finished second bottom of the division. The following season, the won the Division One championship, remaining unbeaten at home again. The clubs long unbeaten record was finally ended by Dulwich Hamlet, with the streak lasting 44 matches. During the 1993–94 season, Stevenage won the Premier Division, and were promoted to the Football Conference. During the same season, the Hertfordshire club reached the First Round of the FA Cup for the first time, the 1996–97 season witnessed the club progress to the Third Round of the FA Cup for the first time after a 2–1 win over Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road. The side were drawn against Birmingham City at Broadhall Way, but ground issues saw the tie switched to St Andrews, the following season, the club went one better, reaching the Fourth Round, where they drew Premier League club Newcastle United. A temporary stand was erected behind the end to house the Newcastle supporters
Lincoln City F.C.
Lincoln City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Lincoln, Lincolnshire. The club participates in the National League, the tier of English football. The club plays at the 10, 312-capacity Sincil Bank, and are nicknamed the Imps after the legend of the Lincoln Imp and they have also been known as the Red Imps. Traditionally they play in red and white striped shirts with shorts and red. Their most recent championship win was the Football Conference, in the 1987–88 season. This season saw the set a all-time record attendance for a Conference match, attracting 9,432 spectators in a 2–0 win against Wycombe Wanderers, on 2 May 1988. The game also decided the championship, as beforehand Lincoln had not occupied the top spot at any point in the season, the clubs highest-ever position is fifth in the Second Division in 1901–02. They have not been higher than the third tier since 1960–61 and their best performance in the League Cup came in 1967–68, when they reached the fourth round before losing 0–3 at home to Derby County in a replay. Lincoln have reached the play-offs of the Third Division/League Two in five seasons, from 2002–03 to 2006–07, losing in the final twice. This failure to succeed in five consecutive play-off competitions is also a record, having formed officially as an amateur association in 1884 after the disbanding of Lincoln Rovers, football in the city of Lincoln had been prominent since the 1860s. George Hallam set two records for the club that day and he scored the first ever goal for the club, and also the first ever hat-trick. Their first competitive game at home ended in an emphatic manner, beating Boston Excelsior 11–0. It was at time, before the club gained entry into the Football League and professional status. They won it for the first time in the 1886–87 season with a 2–0 replay victory over neighbours Grimsby Town F. C. after the match had finished 2–2. Lincoln soon helped to form what was then the Second Division in 1892–93 season and their first game in the Football League was a 4–2 away defeat to Sheffield United on 3 September 1892. Their first home game was also against Sheffield United, this time, however, the first game at Sincil Bank in 1895, after moving from the John OGaunts Ground due to Dawbers death, was a 0–0 friendly draw with local rivals, Gainsborough Trinity. The first competitive fixture at the ground was against Arsenal, the game ended 1–1, in January 1907 The Imps knocked Chelsea out of the FA Cup after a replay. Managed by David Calderhead, two goals salvaged a home draw in the first leg
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
Crawley Town F.C.
Crawley Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Crawley, West Sussex, England. The team play in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. The clubs home ground is at Broadfield Stadium, first promoted to the Football Conference in 2004, the club survived a financial crisis to win promotion to the Football League in the 2010–11 season. In the same year reached the fifth round of the FA Cup. Formed in 1896, Crawley Town became founding members of the West Sussex Football League that year, Crawley retained their amateur status and went on to win the Metropolitan League Challenge Cup in 1959. Crawley turned semi-professional in 1962 and the year they joined Division One of the Southern League. The Sussex Floodlight Cup was won in three years from 1991 to 1993 and also again in 1998–99. The title was wrapped up with four remaining, as a 3–0 victory at Welling United sparked emotional celebrations from a large travelling contingent. Crawley would now be playing in the Football Conference, the highest level of non-League football, a final position of 12th in their first season in the National Division was an amazing achievement for the club who finished as the highest ranked part-time team in the country. Crawley also retained the Sussex Senior Cup by defeating Ringmer, in 2005 the SA Group bought the club and made the decision to go full-time for the first time in the clubs history. The 2005–06 season didnt start well for Crawley as the club found themselves third from bottom, francis Vines was subsequently sacked and replaced by former Chelsea FC manager and player John Hollins and his assistant Alan Lewer. Things got worse for Crawley and as attendances dropped so too did the clubs income, several key players left the club, including captain Ian Simpemba, Simon Wormull and record signing Daryl Clare, it looked certain that relegation was on the cards. However five straight wins through March and April saw the climb the table to 17th place. In August 2006 it was announced that the club would fold because of its debts, however, a last-minute rescue package saved the club and allowed it to carry on playing, albeit with a 10-point deduction for entering administration. Crawley started the 2006–07 season by winning their three games and all but wiped out their 10-point deduction. The following month, however, the clubs form dipped and this led to John Hollins and Alan Lewer losing their jobs. The news did not go well with the fans as the pair had stuck with Crawley when others decided to leave. They were replaced by players Ben Judge and David Woozley with the help of John Yems, life started well for the trio who picked up 10 points from a possible 12
AFC Wimbledon is a professional association football club based in Kingston upon Thames, Greater London, England. After the 2016 League Two play-offs, the club was promoted to League One of the English Football League and they play at Kingsmeadow, in Kingston upon Thames, a ground which is shared with Isthmian League club, Kingstonian. Wimbledon F. C. physically moved in 2003 and then changed the name of the club to Milton Keynes Dons in 2004. In its short history, the club has been successful, being promoted six times in 13 seasons. They also hold the distinction of being the first club formed in the 21st century to make it into the Football League, on 13 June 2002, a new manager, kit, crest and stadium were unveiled to fans and the media at the packed out Wimbledon Community Centre. The event attracted 230 hopeful players, from whom the clubs squad for their season was eventually chosen. The first ever game, a friendly against Sutton United on 10 July 2002. In 2003–04, AFC Wimbledon won their first 21 league games before a 2–2 draw against Sandhurst Town on 10 January 2004, assistant manager Nick English took charge with immediate effect. In spite of everything, the team went on to finish as champions of the Combined Counties League with a record for the season of 42 wins. AFC Wimbledon also won the leagues Premier Challenge Cup after beating North Greenford United 4–1 in the Final on 30 April 2004, Dave Anderson was appointed as new manager on 11 May 2004. The Dons secured another double by defeating Walton & Hersham 2–1 in the Final of the Surrey Senior Cup on 3 May 2005. Over the course of the season, AFC Wimbledon set a new record for the longest run of league games at any level of senior football in the United Kingdom. The team remained unbeaten for 78 league matches between 22 February 2003 and 4 December 2004, the 2005–06 season proved far more competitive than previous seasons – as after winning their first few games, AFC Wimbledon found themselves struggling to remain in the play-off places. After fluctuating form they eventually reached the play-offs after a 1–0 win against Andersons former club, however, a 2–1 defeat at Fisher Athletic on 2 May 2006 prevented the club from achieving three back-to-back promotions. The Dons once again reached the final of the Surrey Senior Cup, however, however, this punishment was eventually reduced to a three-point deduction and a £400 fine on appeal after the FA finally acknowledged that the club had made a simple administrative error. The Darlington affair also resulted in expulsion from the Surrey Senior Cup, although AFC Wimbledon did enough to qualify for the play-offs, they once again missed out on promotion, this time as a result of losing 1–0 to Bromley in the play-off semi-final on 1 May 2007. Manager Dave Anderson subsequently left the club by mutual consent on 2 May 2007, Terry Brown was appointed as the new AFC Wimbledon manager on 15 May 2007. The Dons made steady progress throughout the season, qualifying for the play-offs after finishing third in the League, AFC Wimbledon beat AFC Hornchurch 3–1 in the play-off semi-final on 29 April 2008 and went on to triumph 2–1 over Staines Town in the play-off final on 3 May 2008
Cardiff City F.C.
Cardiff City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Cardiff, Wales that competes in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. The club was founded in 1899 as Riverside A. F. C. before changing its name to Cardiff City in 1908 and they play their home games at the Cardiff City Stadium, after moving from Ninian Park in 2009. The club reverted to their traditional blue in January 2015 and they have long-standing rivalries with nearby clubs Swansea City, known as the South Wales derby, and Bristol City, known as the Severnside derby. The club was founded in 1899 as Riverside A. F. C and their first season saw them playing friendlies against local sides at their Sophia Gardens ground, but in 1900 they joined the Cardiff & District League for their first competitive season. To combat this they arranged to join the South Wales Amateur League in 1907, with the club growing in stature, they were forced to turn down the opportunity to join the newly formed Southern League Second Division due to the lack of facilities at their Sophia Gardens ground. The club eventually secured land to build their own stadium, moving into Ninian Park, the club made its first signing the following year with the acquisition of Jack Evans from fellow Welsh club Cwmparc. With the new ground in place, Cardiff joined the Southern League Second Division, and appointed their first manager in Davy McDougall, who became player-manager. They went on to finish in place in their first year in the league but the board decided to replace McDougall with Fred Stewart. In 1920, the club submitted an application to join the Football League and were placed into the Second Division for the 1920–21 season. Stewart brought in players with Football League experience, breaking the clubs transfer record on two occasions to sign Jimmy Gill and later Jimmy Blair from The Wednesday. In the 74th minute, after collecting a throw George MacLachlan, dan Lewis, the Arsenal goalkeeper, appeared to collect the ball but, under pressure from the advancing Len Davies, clumsily allowed the ball to roll through his grasp. In a further attempt to retrieve the ball Lewis only succeeded in knocking the ball with his elbow into his own net, captain Fred Keenor received the FA Cup trophy from King George V only seven years after Cardiff City had entered the Football League. However, he was unable to turn the fortunes around by the end of the season. McCandless left the club soon after and was replaced by Cyril Spiers who led the club to promotion the in 1951–52 season, however, despite spending five seasons in the First Division, the club continually struggled in the bottom half of the table and were eventually relegated in 1957. They returned to the First Division for two seasons between 1960 and 1962 before again suffering relegation, during the 1960s, Cardiff began qualifying for European competition for the first time as a result of winning the Welsh Cup. They went on to reach the quarter-finals before being knocked out by Real Zaragoza, despite their exploits in Europe, the club were still struggling in league competition under the stewardship of Jimmy Scoular, finishing in 20th position in the Second Division. After a 1–1 draw in the first leg, just over 43,000 fans turned out at Ninian Park to watch Hamburg win 3–2, during the 1970–71 season, Cardiff reached the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners Cup where they faced Spanish side Real Madrid. The first leg of the tie was held at Ninian Park where 47,000 fans watched one of the most famous victories in the history when Brian Clark headed in to give Cardiff a 1–0 win
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
Hull City A.F.C.
Hull City Association Football Club is a professional association football club based in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England. The club participates in the Premier League, the top tier of English football – and their greatest achievement in cup competitions came in 2014, when the team reached the final of the FA Cup. In 2007–08 they achieved promotion to the top flight of English football for the first time in their history by winning the Championship play-off Final at Wembley Stadium and their highest league finish was for the 2013–14 season, in which they finished 16th in the Premier League table. Hull City play their games at the KCOM Stadium. They moved there in 2002 after playing their previous 56 seasons at Boothferry Park, Boothferry Park has since been demolished and been replaced by a housing development. Hull traditionally play in black and amber, often with a shirt design. The clubs mascots are Roary the Tiger and his sister Amber. C. and these early matches were played at the Boulevard, the home of Hull F. C. The clubs first competitive match was in the FA Cup preliminary round, drawing 3–3 with Stockton on 17 September. After disputes with landlords at the Boulevard, Hull City moved to Anlaby Road Cricket Ground, after having played 44 friendly fixtures the previous season, Hull City were finally admitted into the Football League Second Division for the 1905–06 season. Other teams competing in the league season included the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, as well as Yorkshire rivals Barnsley, Bradford City. Hull defeated Barnsley 4–1 at home in their first game and finished the season in fifth place, the following season a new ground was built for Hull City across the road from the cricket ground. Still under the managership of Ambrose Langley, Hull continued to finish consistently in the top half of the table and they came close to promotion in the 1909–10 season, recording what would be their highest finish until they matched it in 2008. Hull finished third, level on points with second placed Oldham Athletic, Hulls greatest achievement in cup competitions until 2014 was in 1930, when they reached the FA Cup semi-finals. The cup run saw Hull knock out the champions of the Second and Third Divisions, Blackpool. They then knocked out Manchester City, to meet Newcastle United in the quarter-finals, the first game at St James Park finished as a 1–1 draw, but in the replay Hull beat Newcastle 1–0. The semi-final match against Arsenal took place at Elland Road in Leeds, the game ended 2–2, Arsenal knocked Hull out at Villa Park, the game ending 1–0. After the Second World War, the moved to another new ground. In the 1948–49 season, managed by former England international Raich Carter, Hull also became the first team in the world to go out of a cup competition on penalties, beaten by Manchester United in the semi-final of the Watney Cup on 1 August 1970
Leicester City F.C.
Leicester City Football Club, also known as the Foxes, is an English professional football club based at the King Power Stadium in Leicester. They compete in the Premier League, Englands top tier of football, having been promoted as champions of the Football League Championship in 2013–14, this signalled a return to the top flight of English football after a decade away. The club was founded in 1884 as Leicester Fosse F. C. playing on a field near Fosse Road and they moved to Filbert Street in 1891, were elected to the Football League in 1894 and adopted the name Leicester City in 1919. They moved to the nearby Walkers Stadium in 2002, which was renamed the King Power Stadium after a change of ownership in 2011, Leicester City won the 2015–16 Premier League, their first top-level football championship. They are one of six clubs to have won the Premier League since its inception in 1992. A number of newspapers described their title win as the greatest sporting upset ever, multiple bookmakers had never paid out at such long odds for any sport. Due to the magnitude of the title win, it went down in English football history as one of the games finest ever achievements. The clubs previous highest ever finish was second place in the top flight, throughout Leicesters history, they have spent all but one season within the top two leagues of English football. They hold a joint-highest seven second-tier titles, the club have been FA Cup finalists four times, in 1948–49, 1960–61, 1962–63 and 1968–69. This is a tournament record for the most defeats in the final without having won the competition, City have several promotions to their name, two play-off final wins, and one League One title. In 1971, they won the FA Community Shield, and in 2016 and they have also won the League Cup three times in 1964,1997 and 2000, as well as being runners up in 1964–65 and 1999. Formed in 1884 by a group of old boys of Wyggeston School as Leicester Fosse, before moving to Filbert Street in 1891, the club played at five different grounds, including Victoria Park south-east of the city centre and the Belgrave Road Cycle and Cricket Ground. The club also joined the Midland League in 1891, and were elected to Division Two of the Football League in 1894 after finishing second. Leicesters first ever Football League game was a 4–3 defeat at Grimsby Town, with a first League win the following week, the same season also saw the clubs largest win to date, a 13–0 victory over Notts Olympic in an FA Cup qualifying game. In 1907–08 the club finished as Second Division runners-up, gaining promotion to the First Division, however, the club were relegated after a single season which included the clubs record defeat, a 12–0 loss against Nottingham Forest. In 1919, when League football resumed after World War I, the club was reformed as Leicester City Football Club, particularly appropriate as the borough of Leicester had recently been given city status. However the 1930s saw a downturn in fortunes, with the relegated in 1934–35 and, after promotion in 1936–37. City reached the FA Cup final for the first time in their history in 1949, the club, however, was celebrating a week later when a draw on the last day of the season ensured survival in Division Two
Watford Football Club is a professional football club based in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, that plays in the Premier League, the highest level in the English football league system. Founded in 1881 as Watford Rovers, the club entered the FA Cup for the first time in 1886, after finishing the 1914–15 season as Southern League champions under the management of Harry Kent, Watford joined the Football League in 1920. The club played at grounds in its early history, before moving to a permanent location at Vicarage Road in 1922. Watford spent most of the half century in the lower divisions of The Football League, changing colours. England manager Graham Taylors tenure at the club saw Watford scale new heights, between Taylors appointment in 1977 and departure in 1987, Watford rose from the Fourth Division to the First Division. The team finished second in the First Division in the 1982–83 season, competed in the UEFA Cup in 1983–84, the club experienced a further one season stint in the top division of English football during the 2006–07 season, under Aidy Boothroyds management. After eight years, Watford are again competing in the Premier League 2015–16 season, Watford is currently owned by the Pozzo family, which also owns Udinese Calcio in Italy and previously Granada CF in Spain. Watford Rovers was formed in 1881 by Henry Groverand, who went on to play for the club as a full-back, Rovers, originally composed entirely of amateur players, held home games at several locations in the town of Watford. The team first competed in the FA Cup in the 1886–87 season, the team became the football section of West Hertfordshire Sports Club in 1890, and consequently moved to a ground on Cassio Road. Renamed as West Hertfordshire in 1893, Rovers joined the Southern Football League in 1896, West Hertfordshire merged with local rivals Watford St. Marys in 1898, the merged team was named Watford Football Club. Following relegation to the Southern League Second Division in 1903, Watford appointed its first manager – former England international and he led Watford to promotion, and kept the team in the division until his departure in 1910. Despite financial constraints, Watford won the Southern League title in the 1914–15 season under his successor, there was a re-election system in place which meant the bottom two teams in each of the two divisions had to apply for re-election to the league. Watford finished outside the top six positions in every season between 1922 and 1934. The Football League was suspended in 1939 due to the Second World War, Football resumed in 1946, with Watford still in the Third Division South. Ron Burgess replaced McBain during that season, and in the following campaign Burgess presided over Watfords first Football League promotion and this team included Fourth Division top scorer Cliff Holton, who scored a club record 42 league goals in the season. Holton was sold to Northampton the following year after another 34 goals, eighteen-year-old Northern Irish goalkeeper Pat Jennings also featured under McGarry, and made his international debut despite being a Third Division player. Furphys rebuilding came to fruition in 1969 with the signing of Barry Endean, Watford secured the Third Division title in April, at home to Plymouth Argyle. A year later Watford reached the FA Cup semi-final for the first time, defeating First Division teams Stoke City, hampered by a lack of funds, however, Furphy eventually joined Blackburn Rovers, to be succeeded by George Kirby
Derby County F.C.
Derby County Football Club is a professional association football club based in Derby, Derbyshire, England. Their home matches are played at Pride Park Stadium, where the club moved in 1997. Derby County F. C. was founded in 1884, by William Morley, as an offshoot of Derbyshire County Cricket Club, it has spent all, additionally, the club was a strong force in the interwar years and won the 1945–46 FA Cup. Derby County F. C. was formed in 1884 as an offshoot of Derbyshire County Cricket Club in an attempt to give players and supporters a winter interest as well as secure the cricket club extra revenue. The original intention was to name the club Derbyshire County F. C. The opening day of the first ever season was 8 September 1888. They absorbed another Derby club, Derby Midland F. C. who had members of the Midland League, in 1891. Steve Bloomer, generally considered to be Derby Countys best-ever player, in 1895 the club moved to a new stadium, the Baseball Ground, which became their home for the next 102 years and adopted their traditional colours of black and white. Although Derby were inconsistent in the league, they did finish runners-up to Aston Villa in 1896 as well as achieving a number of third-place finishes. They were a force in the FA Cup, appearing in three finals in six years around the turn of the 20th century, though lost all three, in 1898,1899 and 1903. In 1914 they were relegated again, but instantly won the Second Division to get promoted, after two seasons, they were relegated yet again in 1921. Derby were one of clubs to close down after the outbreak of World War II but restarted in the early 1940s, in part due to the persistence of Jack Nicholas. In 1967, Brian Clough and Peter Taylor took over and led them to their greatest glory, though Derby did not retain their title the following season, they did reach the semi-finals of the European Cup, where they lost to Juventus. Cloughs frequent outspoken comments against footballs establishment eventually led to him falling out with the board of directors at the club, and Clough and Taylor left in October 1973. Such was their impact on the club that,37 years later, though they challenged well in their first season, Derby were soon hit hard by rising debts, falling attendances and dismal performances. However, Derby did manage to avoid going out of business, after relegation to the Third Division in May 1984, the club appointed Arthur Cox as manager. A lack of any investment from Maxwell quickly led to a decline. At this time, local newspaper businessman Lionel Pickering became the majority shareholder of the club, in 1992, Derby County paid £2
Burnley Football Club is a professional association football club based in Burnley, Lancashire. Nicknamed The Clarets, due to the dominant colour of their home shirts, Burnley have been Football League Champions twice, in 1920–21 and 1959–60, have won the FA Cup once, in 1914, and have won the Community Shield twice, in 1960 and 1973. The Clarets also reached the 1961 quarter-finals of the European Cup and they are one of only three teams to have won all top four professional divisions of English football, along with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Preston North End. The club colours of claret and blue were adopted in 1910 in tribute to the dominant club of English football at the time and their home ground since 1883 has been Turf Moor and their current manager is Sean Dyche. During May 1882, Burnley Rovers Football Club decided to shift their allegiance from rugby union to football, in 1883 the club moved to Turf Moor and remain there, only their Lancashire rivals Preston North End having occupied the same ground continuously for longer. Burnley first appeared in the FA Cup in 1885–86 but were ignominiously beaten 11–0 when eligibility restrictions meant that their side had to be fielded against Darwen. On 13 October 1886, Turf Moor became the first ground to be visited by a member of a Royal Family, when it was decided to found the Football League for the 1888–89 season, Burnley were among the 12 founders of that competition. William Tait of Burnley scored the first ever hat-trick in League football and that season did, however, present Burnley with their first honours, winning the Lancashire Cup with a 2–0 final victory over Blackburn Rovers. Before Burnley won a trophy again, they were relegated to the Second Division in 1896–97 and they responded to this by winning promotion the next season, losing only 2 of their 30 matches along the way before gaining promotion through a play-off series then known as Test Matches. Burnley and Stoke City both entered the last match, to be played between the two teams, needing a draw for promotion. A 0–0 draw ensued, reportedly The Match without a shot at goal, Burnley needed a win against Forest in the last match of the season to escape relegation. This is the earliest recorded case of match fixing in football, Burnley changed their colours from green to the claret and sky blue of Aston Villa, the most successful club in England at the time, for the 1910–11 season. The 1912–13 season saw them win promotion to the First Division once more, as well as reaching the FA Cup semi-final, only to lose to Sunderland. The next season was one of consolidation in the top flight, but more importantly their first major honour and this cup final was historic in that King George V became the first reigning monarch to present the cup to the winning captain. The winning Burnley team also got special medals with English Cup Winners written on it instead of the usual FA Cup Winners inscription. World War I impacted the 1914–15 season, in which Burnley finished 4th in the First Division, before English football reorganised itself, Burnley struggled in English footballs second tier, narrowly avoiding a further relegation in 1931–32 by only two points. The years through to the outbreak of the Second World War were characterised by uninspiring league finishes, broken only by an FA Cup semi-final appearance in 1934–35 and the arrival of Tommy Lawton. Burnley participated in the football leagues that continued throughout the war
Leeds United F.C.
Leeds United Football Club is a professional association football club in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. The club was formed in 1919 following the disbanding of Leeds City F. C. by the Football League and they play in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. Leeds United have won three First Division league titles, one FA Cup and one League Cup, the club has also won two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups. The majority of the honours were won under the management of Don Revie in the 1960s and 1970s, Leeds lost the 1975 European Cup Final against Bayern Munich and reached the semi-finals of the tournaments successor, the Champions League, in 2001. Leeds play in all-white kits, leading to their nickname being the whites, the clubs badge features the White Rose of York together with the monogram LUFC. The clubs anthem is Marching On Together, Leeds Uniteds predecessor team, Leeds City, was formed in 1904, and were elected League members in 1905. At first they found it hard to draw big crowds to Elland Road, in 1919, Leeds United was formed and they received an invitation to enter the Midland League, being voted into it on 31 October, taking the place vacated by Leeds City Reserves. Following Leeds Citys disbanding, Yorkshire Amateurs bought their stadium Elland Road, Yorkshire Amateurs offered to make way for the new team under the management of former player Dick Ray. The chairman of Huddersfield Town, Hilton Crowther loaned Leeds United £35,000 and he brought in Barnsleys manager Arthur Fairclough and on 26 February 1920, Dick Ray stepped down to become Faircloughs assistant. On 31 May 1920, Leeds United were elected to the Football League, over the following few years, they consolidated their position in the Second Division and in 1924 won the title and with it promotion to the First Division. They failed to establish themselves and were relegated in 1926–27, after their relegation, Fairclough resigned, which paved the way for Ray to return as manager. In the years up until the start of World War II Leeds were twice relegated, on 5 March 1935, Ray resigned and was replaced by Billy Hampson, who remained in charge for 12 years. In the 1946–47 season after the war, Leeds were relegated again, after this season, Hampson resigned and was replaced in April 1947 by Willis Edwards. In 1948, Sam Bolton replaced Ernest Pullan as the chairman of Leeds United, Edwards was moved to assistant manager in April 1948 after just one year as manager. He was replaced by Major Frank Buckley, Leeds remained in the Second Division until 1955–56, when they once again won promotion to the First Division, inspired by John Charles. Charles was hungry for success at the highest level, and manager Raich Carter was unable to convince him that Leeds could satisfy his ambitions, Charles was sold to Juventus for a then world record of £65,000. The loss of Charles resulted in Leeds being relegated to the Second Division in the 1959–60 season, in March 1961, the club appointed former player Don Revie as manager, following the resignation of Jack Taylor. His stewardship began in adverse circumstances, the club was in financial difficulty, Revie implemented a youth policy and a change of kit colour to an all-white strip in the style of Real Madrid, and Leeds soon won promotion to the First Division in 1963–64
Ipswich Town F.C.
Ipswich Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. They play in the Championship, the tier of the English football league system. The club was founded in 1878 but did not turn professional until 1936 and they play their home games at Portman Road in Ipswich. The clubs traditional colours are blue shirts and white shorts. Ipswich have won the English league title once, in their first season in the top flight in 1961–62 and they won the FA Cup in 1977–78, and the UEFA Cup in 1980–81. They have competed in the top two tiers of English football uninterrupted since 1957–58. They have competed in all three European club competitions, and have never lost at home in European competition, defeating Real Madrid, AC Milan, Internazionale, Lazio and Barcelona F. C. among others. The club was founded as a side in 1878 and were known as Ipswich A. F. C. until 1888 when they merged with Ipswich Rugby Club to form Ipswich Town Football Club. The team won a number of cup competitions, including the Suffolk Challenge Cup. The club won the league a further three times, in 1929–30, 1932–33 and 1933–34, before becoming members of the Eastern Counties Football League at the end of the 1934–35 season. A year later, the club turned professional and joined the Southern League, Ipswich were elected to The Football League on 30 May 1938, and played in Division Three until the end of the 1953–54 season, when they won the title and promotion to Division Two. The club won the Division Three title again in 1956–57, and this time, Ipswich established themselves in Division Two, and as the division champions, won promotion to the top level of English football, Division One, in 1960–61. In the top flight for the first time, Ipswich became Champions of the Football League at the first attempt in 1961–62, as English league champions, they qualified for the 1962–63 European Cup, defeating Maltese side Floriana 14–1 on aggregate before losing to Milan. Ramsey quit the club in April 1963 to take charge of the England national team, after the team won the 1966 World Cup, Ramsey was replaced by Jackie Milburn, under whose leadership fortunes on the pitch plummeted. Milburn quit after just one season and was replaced by Bill McGarry in 1964. McGarry left to manage Wolves and was replaced by Bobby Robson in January 1969, Robson led Ipswich to two major trophies and several seasons in top flight European football. The successful period began in 1973 when the won the Texaco Cup and finished fourth in the league. Ipswich regularly featured in the top five of the league and in the UEFA Cup, at their peak in the 1979–80 season, they beat Manchester United 6–0 in a league game at Portman Road, a game where United goalkeeper Gary Bailey also saved three penalties
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