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
Manchester City F.C.
Manchester City Football Club is a football club in Manchester, England. Founded in 1880 as St. Marks, they became Ardwick Association Football Club in 1887, the club moved to the City of Manchester Stadium in 2003, having played at Maine Road since 1923. After losing the 1981 FA Cup Final, the club went through a period of decline, having regained their Premier League status in the early 2000s, the club was purchased in 2008 by Abu Dhabi United Group and has become one of the wealthiest in the world. Since 2011 the club have won five major honours, including the Premier League in 2012 and 2014, by 2014–15, Manchester City had the sixth-highest revenue in the footballing world with an annual revenue of €463.5 million. In 2016, Forbes magazine estimated they were the sixth most valuable football club. City gained their first honours by winning the Second Division in 1899, with it promotion to the highest level in English football. A fire at Hyde Road destroyed the main stand in 1920, in the 1930s, Manchester City reached two consecutive FA Cup finals, losing to Everton in 1933, before claiming the Cup by beating Portsmouth in 1934. The club won the First Division title for the first time in 1937, after relegation to the Second Division in 1963, the future looked bleak with a record low home attendance of 8,015 against Swindon Town in January 1965. In the summer of 1965, the management team of Joe Mercer, in the first season under Mercer, City won the Second Division title and made important signings in Mike Summerbee and Colin Bell. Further trophies followed, City won the FA Cup in 1969, before achieving European success by winning the European Cup Winners Cup in 1970, beating Górnik Zabrze 2–1 in Vienna. City also won the League Cup that season, becoming the second English team to win a European trophy, the club continued to challenge for honours throughout the 1970s, finishing one point behind the league champions on two occasions and reaching the final of the 1974 League Cup. Former United player Denis Law scored with a backheel to give City a 1–0 win at Old Trafford, the final trophy of the clubs most successful period was won in 1976, when Newcastle United were beaten 2–1 in the League Cup final. A long period of decline followed the success of the 1960s and 1970s, Malcolm Allison rejoined the club to become manager for the second time in 1979, but squandered large sums of money on unsuccessful signings, such as Steve Daley. A succession of managers then followed – seven in the 1980s alone, under John Bond, City reached the 1981 FA Cup final but lost in a replay to Tottenham Hotspur. The club were relegated from the top flight in the 1980s. However, this was only a respite, and following Reids departure Manchester Citys fortunes continued to fade. City were co-founders of the Premier League upon its creation in 1992, after two seasons in Division One, City fell to the lowest point in their history, becoming the second ever European trophy winners to be relegated to their countrys third league tier, after 1. After relegation, the club underwent off-the-field upheaval, with new chairman David Bernstein introducing greater fiscal discipline, under manager Joe Royle, City were promoted at the first attempt, achieved in dramatic fashion in a play-off against Gillingham
Blackburn Rovers F.C.
The club was established in 1875, becoming a founding member of The Football League in 1888. It is one of three clubs to have been both a founder member of the Football League and the Premier League. In 1890, Rovers moved to Ewood Park, Blackburn Rovers have been English champions three times, and have won six FA Cups and one Football League Cup. Blackburn are the only extant club to have won three consecutive FA Cups, the club has spent the majority of its existence in the top flight of English football. In 1992, Rovers gained promotion to the new Premier League a year after being taken over by local entrepreneur Jack Walker, in 1995, Rovers became Premier League champions. In the 1998–99 season, the club was relegated and it was promoted back to the Premier League two years later, in the 2000–01 season. It has qualified for the UEFA Cup four times, once as League Cup winners, twice as the Premier Leagues sixth-placed team, the 2011–12 season marked the clubs 72nd, non-consecutive, year in the top flight. Rovers are currently one of six clubs to have won the Premier League, along with Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City. The clubs motto is Arte et Labore, By Skill and Hard Work in Latin, the club was founded following a meeting, at the Leger Hotel, Blackburn, on 5 November 1875. The meeting was organised by two men, namely John Lewis and Arthur Constantine. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of forming a club to play under Association rules. The first match played by Blackburn Rovers took place in Church, on 28 September 1878, Blackburn Rovers became one of 23 clubs to form the Lancashire Football Association. On 1 November 1879 the club played in the F. A, Cup for the first time, beating the Tyne Association Football Club 5–1. Rovers were eventually put out of the competition in the round after suffering a heavy 6–0 defeat by Nottingham Forest. On 25 March 1882 the club won through to the final of the F. A, Blackburn Rovers was the first provincial team to reach the final, but the result was a 1–0 defeat by the Old Etonians. Cup on 29 March 1884 with a 2–1 victory over the Scottish team Queens Park, the same teams played the F. A. Cup final again the season, with Blackburn Rovers again emerging victorious. Rovers repeated this success yet again the season, winning the final replay 2–0 against West Bromwich Albion
Bolton Wanderers F.C.
Bolton Wanderers Football Club is a professional association football club based in Bolton, Greater Manchester. The club currently competes in League One, the tier of the English football league system. The club was formed as Christ Church Football Club in 1874, founder members of the Football League in 1888, Bolton have spent the highest number of seasons of any club in the top flight without winning the title. The closest they have come to the title is third in the First Division on three occasions, as of 2015, the club has spent more seasons in the top division than any other club outside the current Premier League. Bolton were a successful cup side in the 1920s, winning the FA Cup three times, the club won the cup a fourth time in 1958. A leaner spell followed, reaching a nadir in 1987 when the club spent a season in the Fourth Division, the club regained top-flight status in 1995 after a 15-year absence. In a period of success, the club qualified for the UEFA Cup twice, reaching the last 32 in 2005–06. The club played at Burnden Park for 102 years from 1895, on 9 March 1946, The Burnden Park disaster occurred, which was a human crush in which 33 Bolton fans lost their lives. In 1997 it moved out of town to the Reebok Stadium, the stadium was renamed the Macron Stadium in July 2014, to reflect the clubs new deal with Italian sportswear company Macron. The club was founded by the Reverend Joseph Farrall Wright, Perpetual curate of Christ Church Bolton and Thomas Ogden, the schoolmaster at the adjacent church school in 1874 as Christ Church F. C. It was initially run from the church of the name on Deane Road. The club left the following a dispute with the vicar. The name was chosen as the club initially had a lot of difficulty finding a permanent ground to play on, Bolton were one of the 12 founder members of the Football League, which formed in 1888. At the time Lancashire was one of the strongest footballing regions in the country, having remained in the Football League since its formation, Bolton have spent more time in the top flight than out of it. In 1894 Bolton reached the final of the FA Cup for the first time, a decade later they were runners-up a second time, losing 1–0 to local rivals Manchester City at Crystal Palace on 23 April 1904. In this period Bolton equalled their record finish of third twice, in 1920–21 and 1924–25, on 28 April 1923, Bolton won their first major trophy in their third final, beating West Ham United 2–0 in the first ever Wembley FA Cup final. The match, famously known as The White Horse Final was played in front of over 127,000 supporters, boltons centre-forward, David Jack scored the first ever goal at Wembley Stadium. Driven by long-term players Joe Smith in attack, Ted Vizard and Billy Butler on the wings, in 1928 the club faced financial difficulties and so was forced to sell David Jack to Arsenal to raise funds
Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club /ˌwʊlvərˈhæmptən/ is a professional association football club based in the city of Wolverhampton, West Midlands. The club was known as St. Lukes FC and was founded in 1877. They compete in the Championship, the second highest tier of English football, the following season saw two further managers dismissed as the club then suffered a second relegation, ending up in League One. However, in the season they gained promotion back to the Championship where they currently reside. The clubs current head coach is Paul Lambert, who took charge in November 2016, having become professional, the club were nominated to become one of the twelve founder members of the Football League in 1888, in which they played the first Football League match ever staged. They ended the season in third place, as well as reaching their first FA Cup Final, losing 0–3 to the first Double winners. At the conclusion of the campaign the club relocated for a time when they moved to Molineux. Wolves lifted the FA Cup for the first time in 1893 when they beat Everton 1–0, and added a second triumph in 1908, two years after having dropped into the Second Division. After struggling for years to regain their place in the top division, the club suffered a further relegation in 1923, entering the Third Division. Eight years later Wolves regained their status after winning the Second Division title under Major Frank Buckley. This game had been the last in a Wolves shirt for Stan Cullis, the 1950s were by far the most successful period in the clubs history. Captained by Billy Wright, Wolves finally claimed the championship for the first time in 1953–54. This became the final spur for Gabriel Hanot, the editor of LÉquipe, to propose the creation of the European Cup, although the decade opened with a fourth FA Cup victory and almost the first double of the 20th century, the 1960s saw Wolves begin to decline. Cullis was sacked in September 1964 in a season that ended with relegation and this exile would last only two seasons though, as they were promoted in 1967 as runners-up. During the close season in 1967, Wolves played a season in North America as part of the fledgling United Soccer Association league which imported clubs from Europe. Playing as the Los Angeles Wolves, they won the Western Division, the clubs return to the English top flight heralded another period of relative success under Bill McGarry, with a fourth place in 1971 qualifying them for the newly created UEFA Cup. They lifted silverware though two later, when they won the League Cup for the first time by beating Manchester City 2–1 in the final. The club was saved from liquidation at the last minute when it was purchased by a consortium fronted by former player Derek Dougan
Manchester United F.C.
Manchester United Football Club is a professional football club based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, that competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. Nicknamed the Red Devils, the club was founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to its current stadium, Old Trafford, in 1910. Manchester United have won a record 20 League Titles, a joint-record 12 FA Cups,5 League Cups, the club has also won three European Cups, one UEFA Cup Winners Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup. In 1998–99, the became the first in the history of English football to achieve the treble of the Premier League, the FA Cup. The 1958 Munich air disaster claimed the lives of eight players, in 1968, under the management of Matt Busby, Manchester United became the first English football club to win the European Cup. Alex Ferguson won 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles,5 FA Cups and 2 UEFA Champions Leagues, José Mourinho is the clubs current manager, having been appointed on 27 May 2016. As of June 2015, it is the worlds most valuable football brand and it is one of the most widely supported football teams in the world. In August 2012, Manchester United made a public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. The club holds several rivalries, most notably with Liverpool, Manchester City and Leeds United, Manchester United was formed in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club by the Carriage and Wagon department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway depot at Newton Heath. By 1888, the club had become a member of The Combination. Following the leagues dissolution after only one season, Newton Heath joined the newly formed Football Alliance and this resulted in the club starting the 1892–93 season in the First Division, by which time it had become independent of the railway company and dropped the LYR from its name. After two seasons, the club was relegated to the Second Division, in January 1902, with debts of £2,670 – equivalent to £260,000 in 2017 – the club was served with a winding-up order. The following season began with victory in the first ever Charity Shield, Manchester United won the First Division for the second time in 1911, but at the end of the following season, Mangnall left the club to join Manchester City. In 1922, three years after the resumption of football following the First World War, the club was relegated to the Second Division, relegated again in 1931, Manchester United became a yo-yo club, achieving its all-time lowest position of 20th place in the Second Division in 1934. Gibson, who, in December 1931, invested £2,000, in the 1938–39 season, the last year of football before the Second World War, the club finished 14th in the First Division. Busby led the team to second-place league finishes in 1947,1948 and 1949, in 1952, the club won the First Division, its first league title for 41 years. With an average age of 22, the title winning side of 1956 were labelled the Busby Babes by the media. In 1957, Manchester United became the first English team to compete in the European Cup, despite objections from The Football League, who had denied Chelsea the same opportunity the previous season
Arsenal Football Club is a professional football club based in Highbury, London, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. The club has won 13 League titles,12 FA Cups, Arsenal was the first club from the South of England to join The Football League, in 1893. They entered the First Division in 1904, and have accumulated the second most points. Relegated only once, in 1913, they continue the longest streak in the top division, in the 1930s, Arsenal won five League Championships and two FA Cups, and another FA Cup and two Championships after the war. In 1970–71, they won their first League and FA Cup Double, between 1989 and 2005, they won five League titles and five FA Cups, including two more Doubles. They completed the 20th century with the highest average league position, Herbert Chapman won Arsenals first national trophies, but died prematurely. He helped introduce the WM formation, floodlights, and shirt numbers, Arsène Wenger has been the longest-serving manager and has won the most trophies. His teams set several English records, the longest win streak, the longest unbeaten run, in 1886, Woolwich munitions workers founded the club as Dial Square. In 1913, the crossed the city to Arsenal Stadium in Highbury. They became Tottenham Hotspurs nearest club, commencing the North London derby, in 2006, they moved down the road to the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal earned €435. 5m in 2014–15, with the Emirates Stadium generating the highest revenue in world football, based on social media activity from 2014–15, Arsenals fanbase is the fifth largest in the world. In 2016, Forbes estimated the club was the second most valuable in England, on 1 December 1886, munitions workers in Woolwich, now South East London, formed Arsenal as Dial Square, with David Danskin as their first captain. Named after the heart of the Royal Arsenal complex, they took the name of the complex a month later. Royal Arsenal F. C. s first home was Plumstead Common, though spent most of their time in South East London playing on the other side of Plumstead. Royal Arsenal won Arsenals first trophies in 1890 and 1891, Royal Arsenal renamed themselves for a second time upon becoming a limited liability company in 1893. They registered their new name, Woolwich Arsenal, with The Football League when the club ascended later that year, Woolwich Arsenal was the first southern member of The Football League, starting out in the Second Division and winning promotion to the First Division in 1904. Falling attendances, due to financial difficulties among the munitions workers, businessmen Henry Norris and William Hall took the club over, and sought to move them elsewhere. In 1913, soon after relegation back to the Second Division, Woolwich Arsenal moved to the new Arsenal Stadium in Highbury and this saw their third change of name, the following year, they reduced Woolwich Arsenal to simply The Arsenal
Chelsea Football Club is an English professional football club based in Fulham, London, that competes in the Premier League. Founded in 1905, the home ground since then has been Stamford Bridge. Chelsea had their first major success in 1955, when they won the league championship and they then won various cup competitions between 1965 and 1996. The clubs greatest period of success has come during the last two decades, winning 21 trophies since 1997. Chelsea are the only London club to win the UEFA Champions League, and one of four clubs, Chelseas regular kit colours are royal blue shirts and shorts with white socks. The clubs crest has changed several times in attempts to re-brand the club. The current crest, featuring a lion rampant regardant holding a staff, is a modification of the one introduced in the early 1950s. The club have the sixth-highest average all-time attendance in English football and their average home gate for the 2015–16 season was 41,500, the seventh highest in the Premier League. Since 2003, Chelsea have been owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, in 2016, they were ranked by Forbes magazine as the seventh most valuable football club in the world, at £1.15 billion. In 1904, Gus Mears acquired the Stamford Bridge athletics stadium with the aim of turning it into a football ground, an offer to lease it to nearby Fulham was turned down, so Mears opted to found his own club to use the stadium. Chelsea were founded on 10 March 1905 at The Rising Sun pub, opposite the main entrance to the ground on Fulham Road. The club won promotion to the First Division in their second season and they reached the 1915 FA Cup Final, where they lost to Sheffield United at Old Trafford, and finished third in the First Division in 1920, the clubs best league campaign to that point. Chelsea attracted large crowds and had a reputation for signing big-name players, former Arsenal and England centre-forward Ted Drake became manager in 1952 and proceeded to modernise the club. The following season saw UEFA create the European Champions Cup, but after objections from The Football League, Chelsea failed to build on this success, and spent the remainder of the 1950s in mid-table. Drake was dismissed in 1961 and replaced by player-coach Tommy Docherty, Docherty built a new team around the group of talented young players emerging from the clubs youth set-up and Chelsea challenged for honours throughout the 1960s, enduring several near-misses. They were on course for a treble of League, FA Cup and League Cup going into the stages of the 1964–65 season, winning the League Cup. In three seasons the side were beaten in three major semi-finals and were FA Cup runners-up, under Dochertys successor, Dave Sexton, Chelsea won the FA Cup in 1970, beating Leeds United 2–1 in a final replay. Chelsea took their first European honour, a UEFA Cup Winners Cup triumph, the year, with another replayed win
2012 UEFA Champions League Final
The 2012 UEFA Champions League Final was a football match which took place on Saturday,19 May 2012 between Bayern Munich of Germany and Chelsea of England at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany. The match was to decide the winner of the 2011–12 season of the UEFA Champions League, Bayern were making their ninth appearance in the competitions final, having won four and lost four, most recently losing in 2010. Chelsea were appearing in their final, having lost their first in 2008. It was the first Champions League final to be held at the Allianz Arena, as tenants of the Arena, this meant Bayern were the first finalists to have home advantage since 1984. Both teams progressed to the stages by finishing top of their group. Bayern then beat Basel, Marseille and Real Madrid to reach the final, while Chelsea knocked out Napoli, Benfica, the teams stayed level at 1–1 and the match went to a penalty shoot-out, which Chelsea won 4–3 to clinch their first Champions League title. In doing so, they became the first London club to win the tournament, as winners, Chelsea took part in the 2012 UEFA Super Cup, losing 4–1 to Atlético Madrid, the winners of the 2011–12 UEFA Europa League. Chelsea also represented UEFA at the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup, entering at the stage, however. The stadium, which opened in 2005, is the stadium of both Bayern Munich and 1860 Munich, and was used for six matches at the 2006 FIFA World Cup including the opening match. The stadium was hosting its first major European final, the Olympiastadion in Munich, the previous home of Bayern Munich and 1860 Munich, hosted three European Cup finals, in 1979,1993 and 1997. On each previous occasion, a European Cup final held in Munich had produced a winner of the competition. During the match, the stadium was illuminated in green and turquoise to represent the official UEFA emblem of the Munich final, as the outer shell of the Allianz Arena can change colour. To reach the final, in the knockout phase Bayern defeated Basel, Marseille, and Real Madrid, while Chelsea overcame Napoli, Benfica, and the defending champions Barcelona. Both teams reached the final having already lost out in their domestic leagues, Chelsea won the FA Cup by defeating Liverpool 2–1, while Bayern lost the Final of the DFB-Pokal 2–5 to Borussia Dortmund. Both clubs lost their most recent Champions League final, Bayern in 2010 to Internazionale 0–2, while that was Chelseas only Champions League final, Bayern have played in eight Champions League/European Cup finals, winning four and losing four. They have only met each other once in Europe before, with Chelsea winning 6–5 on aggregate in the quarter-finals of the 2004–05 UEFA Champions League, for this reason, fans of Bayern Munich called the match Finale dahoam. This was the first time since 2007 that neither of the participants were champions of their domestic league. This was the time that an English side and a German side had met in a European Cup/Champions League final
Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
Tottenham Hotspur Football Club /ˈtɒtnəm, -tənəm/, commonly referred to as Spurs, is an English football club located in Tottenham, Haringey, London, that competes in the Premier League. The clubs home stadium is White Hart Lane and their newly developed training ground is in Bulls Cross on the northern borders of the London Borough of Enfield. Founded in 1882, Tottenham won the FA Cup for the first time in 1901, Tottenham were the first club in the 20th century to achieve the League and FA Cup Double, winning both competitions in the 1960–61 season. After successfully defending the FA Cup in 1962, in 1963 they became the first British club to win a UEFA club competition – the European Cup Winners Cup, in 1967, Spurs won the FA Cup for a third time in the 1960s. In the 1970s Tottenham won the League Cup on two occasions and were the winner of the UEFA Cup in 1972, becoming the first British club to win two different major European trophies. In the 1980s Spurs won several trophies, the FA Cup twice, FA Community Shield, in the 1990s the club won the FA Cup and the League Cup. When they won the League Cup once more in 2008, it meant that they had won a trophy in each of the last six decades – an achievement only matched by Manchester United. The clubs Latin motto is Audere est Facere, and its emblem is a cockerel standing upon a football, the club has a long-standing rivalry with nearby neighbours Arsenal, with head-to-head fixtures known as the North London derby. The club was formed in 1882, as Hotspur F. C. and played in the Southern League from 1896 until 1908, when they were elected into the Football League Second Division. Before this promotion Tottenham had won the FA Cup in 1901, since then, Tottenham have won the FA Cup a further seven times, the Football League twice, the Football League Cup four times, the UEFA Cup twice and also the UEFA Cup Winners Cup. The Cup Winners Cup victory in 1963 made Tottenham the first English team to win a UEFA competition, in 1960–61 they became the first team to complete The Double in the 20th century. Tottenham played their first matches at Tottenham Marshes on the public pitches. It was at this ground that Spurs first played archrivals Arsenal, there were occasions on which fights would break out on the marshes in dispute of the teams that were allowed to use the best pitches. Crowd sizes were regularly increasing and a new site was becoming needed to accommodate these supporters, in 1898 the club moved from the marshes to Northumberland Park and charged an admission fee of 3d. They only remained at this ground for a year as in April 1899,14,000 fans turned up to watch Spurs play Woolwich Arsenal. The ground was no able to cope with the larger crowds and Spurs were forced to move to a new larger site 100 yards down the road. The White Hart Lane ground was originally a disused nursery owned by the brewery Charringtons, the landlord spotted the increased income he could enjoy if Tottenham played their matches behind his pub and in 1899 the club moved in. They brought with them the stand they used at Northumberland Park which gave shelter to 2,500 fans, notts County were the first visitors to the Lane in a friendly watched by 5,000 people and provided in £115 in receipts, Spurs won 4–1
Newcastle United F.C.
Newcastle United Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Following the clubs most recent relegation from the top-flight during the 2015–16 season, Newcastle returned to the Football Leagues 2nd tier, the Championship, for the 2016–17 campaign. Newcastle United was founded in 1892 by the merger of Newcastle East End and Newcastle West End, the ground was developed into an all-seater stadium in the mid-1990s and now has a capacity of 52,354. They have won four League Championship titles, six FA Cups and a Charity Shield, as well as the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, Newcastle United has the ninth highest total of trophies won by an English club. The clubs most successful period was between 1904 and 1910, when they won an FA Cup and three of their First Division titles. The club were successful in the Premier League in the 1990s and early 2000s, but have been mostly struggling since the 2006–07 season. Newcastle has a local rivalry with Sunderland, and the two clubs have engaged in the Tyne–Wear derby since 1898. The clubs traditional kit colours are black and white striped shirts, black shorts and their traditional crest takes elements of the city coat of arms, which features two grey seahorses. The club has been owned by Mike Ashley since 2007, succeeding long term chairman, the club is the seventeenth highest revenue producing club in the world in terms of annual revenue, generating €169. 3m in 2015. Historically, Newcastles highest placing was in 1999 when they were the fifth highest revenue producing club in the world. The first record of football being played on Tyneside dates from 3 March 1877 at Elswick Rugby Club, later that year, Newcastles first football club, Tyne Association, was formed. The origins of Newcastle United Football Club itself can be traced back to the formation of a club by the Stanley Cricket Club of Byker in November 1881. This team was renamed Newcastle East End F. C. in October 1882, to avoid confusion with the club in Stanley. Rosewood F. C. of Byker merged with Newcastle East End a short time later, in 1886, Newcastle East End moved from Byker to Heaton. In August 1882, Newcastle West End F. C. formed from West End Cricket Club, and in May 1886, the two clubs became rivals in the Northern League. In 1889, Newcastle East End became a team, before becoming a limited company the following March. However, on the hand, Newcastle West End were in serious financial trouble. With only one club in the city for fans to support
Liverpool Football Club is a professional association football club based in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. They compete in the Premier League, the top tier of English football, the club has won 5 European Cups,3 UEFA Cups,3 UEFA Super Cups,18 League titles,7 FA Cups, a record 8 League Cups, and 15 FA Community Shields. The club was founded in 1892 and joined the Football League the following year, the club has played at Anfield since its formation. The club holds many long-standing rivalries, most notably the North West Derby against Manchester United, the clubs supporters have been involved in two major tragedies. The second was the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, where 96 Liverpool supporters died in a crush against perimeter fencing, the team changed from red shirts and white shorts to an all-red home strip in 1964 which has been used ever since. The clubs anthem is Youll Never Walk Alone, Liverpool F. C. was founded following a dispute between the Everton committee and John Houlding, club president and owner of the land at Anfield. After eight years at the stadium, Everton relocated to Goodison Park in 1892, the team won the Lancashire League in its début season, and joined the Football League Second Division at the start of the 1893–94 season. After finishing in first place the club was promoted to the First Division, Liverpool reached its first FA Cup Final in 1914, losing 1–0 to Burnley. Liverpool suffered its second Cup Final defeat in 1950, playing against Arsenal, the club was relegated to the Second Division in the 1953–54 season. Soon after Liverpool lost 2–1 to non-league Worcester City in the 1958–59 FA Cup, the club was promoted back into the First Division in 1962 and won it in 1964, for the first time in 17 years. In 1965, the club won its first FA Cup, in 1966, the club won the First Division but lost to Borussia Dortmund in the European Cup Winners Cup final. Liverpool won both the League and the UEFA Cup during the 1972–73 season, and the FA Cup again a year later, Shankly retired soon afterwards and was replaced by his assistant, Bob Paisley. In 1976, Paisleys second season as manager, the club won another League, the following season, the club retained the League title and won the European Cup for the first time, but it lost in the 1977 FA Cup Final. Liverpool retained the European Cup in 1978 and regained the First Division title in 1979, Paisley retired in 1983 and was replaced by his assistant, Joe Fagan. Liverpool won the League, League Cup and European Cup in Fagans first season, Liverpool reached the European Cup final again in 1985, against Juventus at the Heysel Stadium. Before kick-off, Liverpool fans breached a fence separated the two groups of supporters, and charged the Juventus fans. The resulting weight of people caused a wall to collapse, killing 39 fans. The incident became known as the Heysel Stadium disaster, the match was played in spite of protests by both managers, and Liverpool lost 1–0 to Juventus
Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie is a Dutch professional footballer who plays as a forward for Turkish Süper Lig club Fenerbahçe and the Netherlands national team. He made his debut during the 2001–02 season, which culminated with victory in the 2002 UEFA Cup Final. After five years with Feyenoord, he fell out with manager Bert van Marwijk, and he joined English club Arsenal in 2004 for £2.75 million as a long-term replacement for compatriot Dennis Bergkamp. With victories in only the 2004 FA Community Shield and the 2004–05 FA Cup to his name, in his first season, he won the 2012–13 Premier League and finished as the leagues top scorer with 26 goals, winning his second consecutive Premier League Golden Boot award. After two injury-hit seasons followed, van Persie fell out of favour at Manchester United and he was allowed to leave for Fenerbahçe in July 2015. After representing the Netherlands at under-17, under-19 and under-21 level, a month later, he scored his first senior international goal in a 4–0 win over Finland. Van Persie has over 100 caps and has scored 50 goals for the Netherlands and he has represented his country at the 2006,2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, and the 2008 and 2012 UEFA European Championships. An injury crisis at Feyenoord meant he was promoted into the first team, and made his debut for the club at 17. After starting for Feyenoord in the final of the UEFA Cup, the following season, van Persie signed a three-and-a-half-year professional contract with Feyenoord, and scored five goals in a 6–1 KNVB Cup thrashing of AGOVV Apeldoorn on 6 February 2003. During a match featuring the Feyenoord and Ajax reserves, he was one of several Feyenoord players assaulted by hooligans who had invaded the pitch. Van Persie finished his tumultuous first full season with the first team having scored eight goals in a total of 28 appearances and he again played 28 matches, but finished with two fewer goals than the previous season. Feyenoord shopped him at the end of the campaign but found few takers due to Van Persies past disciplinary issues, on 17 May 2004, van Persie signed a four-year deal with Arsenal for £2.75 million, just over half of Feyenoords original asking price of £5 million. Arsenal had further padded their stable of strikers in January by signing Spanish forward José Antonio Reyes, leaving the two to battle for playing time. Van Persie made his debut and won a trophy in the process and he then later lambasted his charge in the press. I do not support van Persie today, but he did not look out of control at half-time, when the referee has sent off a home player, he is under pressure, so, if any player had to behave, it was him. Meanwhile, Telegraph sportswriter Clive White described van Persie in his report as 21 going on nine. The rest of Van Persies season was cut short by injury, two days after signing the contract, however, van Persie was again hit by injury when an opponent stepped on his foot and broke his toe during an FA Cup match against Cardiff. Van Persie played the three matches with a hole cut into his shoe to alleviate the pain until he was finally rested for Arsenals Premier League match against West Ham United on 1 February
Charles Joseph John Joe Hart is an English professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Serie A club Torino, on loan from Premier League club Manchester City, and the England national team. With over 100 Premier League clean sheets, Hart holds the record for the most Premier League Golden Glove awards and has amassed over 60 international caps since his debut in 2008 and he began his career at his hometown club Shrewsbury Town in the Conference and League Two. In 2006, he moved to top-flight Manchester City, having attracted the attention of several Premier League teams and he spent time on loan at Tranmere Rovers and Blackpool in his first season, before spending the 2009–10 season at Birmingham City. Hart was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year and was voted as the Premier League goalkeeper of the 2009–10 season in recognition of his performances at Birmingham. He returned to Manchester City for the 2010–11 season and won the Golden Glove for keeping the most clean sheets throughout the Premier League season, Hart replicated this feat in the 2011–12 season and was a key player during Citys title-winning campaign. He won the Golden Glove for the year in a row in the following season. In 2015, Hart once again won the Golden Glove award for the time in five years. In 2015, Hart was praised by Gianluigi Buffon who described him as the best goalkeeper in the world, a former regular for England at Under-21 level, Hart made his senior international debut in June 2008, and has been recognised as Englands first-choice goalkeeper since 2010. He has gained over 60 caps and was selected in Englands squads for two FIFA World Cups and as many UEFA European Championships. Hart was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, to Charles and Linda Hart, and attended Oxon Primary School, followed by Meole Brace School in Shrewsbury, where he was Head Boy in his final year. While still a 15-year-old schoolboy, Hart travelled with the squad of his hometown club, Shrewsbury Town. He was a substitute on that occasion and fulfilled that role again versus Rochdale at Gay Meadow on 1 March 2003. This match yielded Shrewsburys final victory in a season that culminated in relegation to the Football Conference, during the one season that Shrewsbury spent in the Conference, Hart made his senior debut on 20 April 2004, a day after his 17th birthday. He played the full 90 minutes in the match against Gravesend & Northfleet, four days later, he conceded three at Morecambe. Hart did not play again until April of the following year, with Shrewsbury back in the Football League and struggling, Hart played six matches, conceding four goals. From the start of the 2005–06 season, Hart made the step up into the first team and he played a full 46-match league season, conceding 55 goals. Despite conceding more than one goal per game, Hart won plaudits for his performances, winning his first England under-19 cap in October 2005. Hart also found admirers in the Premier League, with several top-flight scouts attending matches, on 30 November 2005, the Shropshire Star newspaper reported that Everton goalkeeping coach Chris Woods had been present at Towns previous league match, a 4–3 loss at Rochdale
Fulham Football Club is a professional association football club based in Fulham, Greater London, England. Founded in 1879, they play in the Championship, the tier of English football. They are the football team from London to have played in the Premier League. The club has spent 25 seasons in English footballs top division, the latter spell was associated with former chairman Mohamed Al-Fayed, after the club had climbed up from the fourth tier in the 1990s. The club has produced many English greats, including Johnny Haynes, George Cohen, Bobby Robson, Rodney Marsh and they play at Craven Cottage, a ground on the banks of the River Thames in Fulham which has been their home since 1896. Fulhams training ground is located near Motspur Park, where the clubs Academy is also situated, Fulham were formed in 1879 as Fulham St Andrews Church Sunday School F. C. founded by worshipers at the Church of England on Star Road, West Kensington. Fulhams mother church still today with a plaque commemorating the teams foundation. They won the West London Amateur Cup in 1887 and, having shortened the name from Fulham Excelsior to its present form in 1888, one of the clubs first ever kits was half red, half white shirts with white shorts worn in the 1886–87 season. Fulham started playing at their current ground at Craven Cottage in 1896, the club gained professional status on 12 December 1898, the same year that they were admitted into the Southern Leagues Second Division. They were the club from London to turn professional, following Arsenal. They adopted a red and white kit during the 1900–01 season, in 1902–03, the club won promotion from this division, entering the Southern League First Division. The club won the Southern League twice, in 1905–06 and 1906–07, Fulham joined The Football League after the second of their Southern League triumphs. The clubs first league game, playing in the Second Divisions 1907–08 season, the first win came a few days later at Derby Countys Baseball Ground by a score line of 1–0. Fulham finished the three points short of promotion in fourth place. The club progressed all the way to the semi-final of that seasons FA Cup, in the semi-final, however, they were heavily beaten, 6–0, by Newcastle United. This is still a loss for an FA Cup semi-final game. Two years later, the won the London Challenge Cup in the 1909–10 season. Fulhams first season in Division Two turned out to be the highest that the club would finish for 21 years, until in 1927–28 when the club were relegated to the 3rd Division South, created in 1920
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
Wigan Athletic F.C.
Wigan Athletic Football Club is a professional association football club based in Wigan, Greater Manchester, England. The team compete in the Championship, the tier of English football. Founded in 1932, the club have played at the DW Stadium since 1999 and their colours are blue and white, recently most often striped, although all-blue shirts have been common throughout history. The team were elected to The Football League in 1978, the club also made their European debut during the 2013–14 UEFA Europa League. Wigan Athletic was formed in 1932, following the winding up of Wigan Borough the previous year, Wigan Athletic was the fifth attempt to create a stable football club in the town following the demise of Wigan County, Wigan United, Wigan Town and Wigan Borough. Springfield Park, the home of Wigan Borough, was purchased by the club for £2,850. Despite their initial application being turned down, Wigan Athletic were elected into the Cheshire County League following the resignation of Manchester Central, the club had also made the first of many attempts to be admitted into the Football League, but failed to receive a single vote. On 27 August 1932, Wigan Athletic played their first ever game against Port Vale Reserves. The team played in red and white shirts with black shorts, Wigan Athletic won their first honours in the 1933–34 season, finishing as champions of the Cheshire League. In the 1935–36 season, the club won their third consecutive Cheshire League title, after the Second World War, Wigan Athletic adopted their more familiar blue and white strip. The club struggled to assemble a side, and finished bottom of the league in 1946–47 season. Despite their pre-war success, the failed to gain re-election and were replaced by Winsford United. The club joined the Lancashire Combination, winning the league in their first season, in 1950, Wigan Athletic came close to election to The Football League, narrowly losing out to Scunthorpe United and Shrewsbury Town. In the next round of the cup, Wigan Athletic were drawn against First Division side Newcastle United, Wigan Athletic held their top flight opponents to a 2–2 draw at St James Park, but went on to lose the replay 3–2. In 1961, the club moved back to the Cheshire League, in the 1964–65 season, Wigan Athletic won their first Cheshire League title since returning to the league, with top goalscorer Harry Lyon scoring 66 times. He remains the clubs greatest goalscorer of all time, Wigan Athletic won four cup titles in the 1966–67 season and were also Cheshire County League runners-up. In 1968, Wigan Athletic were founder members of the Northern Premier League, winning the league title in 1970–71, leading goalscorer with 42 goals, including 7 hat-tricks, was Geoff Davies who scored 28 goals in the following 1971–72 season. As a non-league club, the played at Wembley Stadium for the first time in the 1973 FA Trophy Final
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
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
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
Premier League 20 Seasons Awards
The awards celebrated the first two decades of the Premier League, which was formed in 1992 when the 22 clubs of the old First Division resigned en-masse from The Football League. Voting ended on 30 April 2012, Awards included best manager, best player and best goal. Football is the most watched sport in England, and the Premier League along with the FA Cup are the two most prestigious English club football competitions, having been established on 20 February 1992, the new League began its inaugural season on 15 August 1992. From that inaugural 1992–93 season, the end of the 2011–12 season marked the 20 seasons anniversary of the Premier League, in that time, only five teams ever won the League title, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers. Manchester United were also the most successful overall, never finishing outside of the top-three positions. The awards were divided into 11 categories, fans could vote for Best Goal, Best Match, Best Save, Best Celebration and Fantasy XI of the 20 Seasons on the Premier League website. A panel selected winners for Best Player, Best Manager, Best Team, Best Season, Best Quote, in addition, a four fact-based awards were also given for Most Appearances, Top Goalscorer, Most Clean Sheets and Premier League 500 Club players. Barclays, the Premier League title sponsor also gave awards, for Best Photographer, Manchester Uniteds Sir Alex Ferguson won the title of Best Manager. Giggs has played and scored in every Premier League season since its inception and won championship medals. However an equaliser by Edin Džeko in the 91st minute gave City hope, the final whistle went at Sunderland with United winning, meaning City still needed a goal to win the match and the Premier League title. The goal came just fifteen seconds after the United match concluded, the season was notable for the three promoted clubs, all of which survived relegation for the first time since the 2001–02 season. There were also memorable, high-scoring matches between the top clubs, Manchester City beat Tottenham Hotspur 5–1 at White Hart Lane hours before Manchester United beat Arsenal 8–2 at home. City then beat United 6–1 at Old Trafford and Arsenal beat Chelsea 5–3 at Stamford Bridge, the final UEFA Champions League spot was yet to be determined, even after the league season concluded, as sixth-placed Chelsea had still to compete in the Champions League Final. Six other campaigns were short-listed for the panel of judges vote for Best Season, declared live on television by Newcastle United manager Kevin Keegan on 29 April 1996, was chosen as Most Memorable Quote by a panel of judges. Keegan was speaking about Newcastles Premier League title rivals Manchester United, Manchester United were now top with 76 points with two games to play, with Newcastle three points behind, but with a game in hand. This was interpreted as an attempt by Ferguson to get the Leeds team to play better against Newcastle, in the game, Leeds did appear to up their game, but Newcastle still won 1–0. Ive kept really quiet but Ill tell you something, he went down in my estimations when he said that and we have not resorted to that. You can tell him now, were fighting for this title and hes got to go to Middlesbrough
Old Trafford is a football stadium in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, and the home of Manchester United. It is about 0.5 miles from Old Trafford Cricket Ground, future expansion is likely to involve the addition of a second tier to the South Stand, which would raise the capacity to around 95,000. The stadiums record attendance was recorded in 1939, when 76,962 spectators watched the FA Cup semi-final between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Grimsby Town and it also hosted football matches at the 2012 Summer Olympics, including womens international football for the first time in its history. Before 1902, Manchester United were known as Newton Heath, during time they first played their football matches at North Road. However, both grounds were blighted by wretched conditions, the pitches ranging from gravel to marsh, while Bank Street suffered from clouds of fumes from its neighbouring factories. Including the purchase of the land, the construction of the stadium was originally to have cost £60,000 all told. The subsidy would have come to the sum of £10,000, however, despite guarantees for the loan coming from the club itself and two local breweries, both chaired by club chairman John Henry Davies, the Cheshire Lines Committee turned the proposal down. The CLC had planned to build a new station adjacent to the new stadium, the station – Trafford Park – was eventually built, but further down the line than originally planned. The CLC later constructed a modest station with one timber-built platform immediately adjacent to the stadium and it was initially named United Football Ground, but was renamed Old Trafford Football Ground in early 1936. It was served on match days only by a service of steam trains from Manchester Central railway station. It is currently known as Manchester United Football Ground, construction was carried out by Messrs Brameld and Smith of Manchester and development was completed in late 1909. The stadium hosted its game on 19 February 1910, with United playing host to Liverpool. However, the side were unable to provide their fans with a win to mark the occasion. A journalist at the game reported the stadium as the most handsomest, the most spacious, as a football ground it is unrivalled in the world, it is an honour to Manchester and the home of a team who can do wonders when they are so disposed. Before the construction of Wembley Stadium in 1923, the FA Cup Final was hosted by a number of different grounds around England including Old Trafford. The first of these was the 1911 FA Cup Final replay between Bradford City and Newcastle United, after the tie at Crystal Palace finished as a no-score draw after extra time. Bradford won 1–0, the goal scored by Jimmy Speirs, in a match watched by 58,000 people, the grounds second FA Cup Final was the 1915 final between Sheffield United and Chelsea. Sheffield United won the match 3–0 in front of nearly 50,000 spectators, most of whom were in the military, leading to the final being nicknamed the Khaki Cup Final
City of Manchester Stadium
It was agreed in 1997 that Manchester City F. C. would lease the stadium from Manchester City Council and move from their aging Maine Road ground - a move which took place in the summer of 2003. In August 2015, a 7,000 seat third tier on the South Stand was completed, the expansion was designed to be in keeping with the existing roof design. A North Stand third tier has planning approval and work on it is expected to begin by 2017, plans to build a new stadium in Manchester were formulated before 1989 as part of the citys bid to host the 1996 Summer Olympics. Manchester City Council submitted a bid that included a design for an 80, the bid failed and Atlanta hosted the Games. For the February 1993 bid the city council submitted another 80, 000-capacity stadium design produced by design consultants Arup Associates, in 1996, this same planned stadium competed with Wembley Stadium to gain funding to become the new national stadium, but the money was used to redevelop Wembley. However, Manchester City Council did not have the money to facilitate movable seating, the stadiums foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister Tony Blair in December 1999, and construction began in January 2000. The first public event at the stadium was the ceremony of the 2002 Commonwealth Games on 25 July 2002. Among the dignitaries present was Queen Elizabeth II who made a speech, delivered to her in an electronic baton, during the following ten days of competition, the stadium hosted the track and field events and all the rugby sevens matches. Sixteen new Commonwealth Games track and field records were set in the stadium, in terms of number of participating nations, it is still the largest Commonwealth Games in history, featuring 72 nations competing in 281 events across seventeen sports. The three temporary stands with a capacity of 16,000 were dismantled, and replaced with a permanent structure of similar design to the existing one at the southern end. This work took nearly a year to complete and added 23,000 permanent seats, Manchester City F. C. moved to the ground in time for the start of the 2003–04 season. 5m. The stadium is owned by Manchester City Council and leased by the football club, the 2008 takeover made the football club one of the wealthiest in the world, prompting suggestions that it could consider buying the stadium outright. Manchester City signed an agreement with Manchester City Council in March 2010 to allow a £1 billion redevelopment led by architect Rafael Viñoly. This new agreement occurred as part of a standard 5-year review of the original lease, during 2011-14 the club sold all 36,000 of its allocated season tickets each season and experienced an average match attendance that is very close to its maximum seating capacity. Consequently, during the 2014-15 season an expansion of the stadium was undertaken, the South Stand was extended with the addition of a third tier which, in conjunction with an additional three rows of pitch side seating, increased stadium capacity to approximately 55,000. Construction commenced on the South Stand in April 2014 and was completed for the start of the 2015-16 season. A final phase of expansion, that planning approval at the same time as the others but which remains unscheduled. Once this last phase is completed it will bring the total seating capacity up to approximately 61,000
Wayne Mark Rooney is an English professional footballer who plays for and captains both Manchester United and the England national team. He has played much of his career as a forward, and he is the record goalscorer for the England national team and for Manchester United. Aged nine, Rooney joined the team of Everton, for whom he made his professional debut in 2002 at the age of 16. He spent two seasons at the Merseyside club, before moving to Manchester United for £25.6 million in the 2004 summer transfer window, in September 2013, Rooney scored his 200th goal for Manchester United. He is currently on 250 goals in all competitions which makes him the top goalscorer of all time. His 195 Premier League goals make him the second top scorer of all time. Rooney holds the record for most goals for one club in the Premier League, Rooney made his senior international debut in February 2003 aged 17, becoming the youngest player to represent England and he is Englands youngest ever goalscorer. He played at UEFA Euro 2004 and scored four goals, briefly becoming the youngest goalscorer in the history of the European Championship, Rooney has since featured at the 2006,2010 and 2014 World Cups and is widely regarded as his countrys best player. He has won the England Player of the Year award four times, with 53 goals in 118 international caps, Rooney is Englands all-time record goalscorer and second most-capped player, behind Peter Shilton. Along with David Beckham, Rooney is the most red carded player for England, in 2009–10, Rooney was awarded the PFA Players Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year. He has won the Premier League Player of the Month award five times and he came fifth in the vote for the 2011 FIFA Ballon dOr and was named in the FIFPro World 11 for 2011. Rooney was born in Croxteth, Liverpool, to Jeanette Marie and he is of Irish descent and was brought up as a Roman Catholic with younger brothers Graham and John, all three attended Our Lady and St Swithins primary school and De La Salle School. Rooney began playing for Liverpool Schoolboys and scored 72 goals in one season, at age nine, Rooney played for Copplehouse boys club in the local Walton and Kirkdale junior league and scored 99 goals in his final season before being spotted by Everton scout Bob Pendleton. Rooney joined Everton at age nine, and was the Everton mascot for the Merseyside derby against Liverpool as an 11-year-old. In the 1995–96 season, he scored 114 goals in 29 games for Evertons under-10s and 11s and he scored eight goals in eight games during Evertons run to the FA Youth Cup final in 2002. This included one goal in the defeat against Aston Villa and, upon scoring, he revealed a T-shirt that read, Once a Blue. Rooney was included in Evertons first team squad for their camp in Austria in the summer of 2002. Rooney was a substitute in Evertons 1–0 away win over Southampton on 20 April 2002
Sunderland Association Football Club is a professional football club based in the North East city of Sunderland in the larger metropolitan area of Tyne and Wear. The club is playing in the Premier League, the top league of English football. Since its formation in 1879, the club has won six top-flight First Division titles, a total bettered by five other clubs. The club has won the FA Cup twice and been runners-up twice, as well as winning the FA Community Shield in 1936. Sunderland have also been Football League Cup finalists in 1985 and 2014, Sunderland won their first FA Cup in 1937 with a 3–1 victory over Preston North End, and remained in the top league for 68 successive seasons until they were relegated for the first time in 1958. Sunderlands most notable trophy after the Second World War was their second FA Cup in 1973, the team has won the second tier title five times in that period and the third tier title once. Sunderland play their games at the 49, 000-capacity all-seater Stadium of Light having moved from Roker Park in 1997. The original ground capacity was 42,000 which was increased to 49,000 following expansion in 2000, Sunderland have a long-standing rivalry with their neighbouring club Newcastle United, with whom they have contested the Tyne–Wear derby since 1898. Founded 17 October 1879 as Sunderland and District Teachers A. F. C. by schoolmaster James Allan and they replaced Stoke, who had failed to be re-elected, becoming the first new club to join the league since its inauguration in 1888. During the late 19th century, they were declared the Team of All Talents by William McGregor, Sunderland won the league championship in the 1891–92 season, one season after joining The Football League. The clubs 42 points were five clear of nearest rivals Preston North End, Sunderland successfully defended the title the following season, aided by centre forward Johnny Campbell, who broke the 30-goal mark for the second time in consecutive seasons. In the process, they became the first team to score 100 goals in a season, a feat not matched until 1919–20, Sunderland came close to winning a third successive league championship in the 1893–94 season, finishing second behind Aston Villa. However, they regained the title in the 1894–95 season, ending the five points ahead of Everton. After winning the English League Championship, Sunderland played against Heart of Midlothian, Sunderland won the game 5–3 and were announced Champions of the world. Sunderland came close to winning another title in the 1897–98 season. That season was their last at Newcastle Road, as moved to Roker Park the following season. After coming second in 1900–01, the club won their league title in the 1901–02 season. In 1904, Sunderlands management was embroiled in a payment scandal involving player Andrew McCombie, the club was said to have given the player £100 to help him start his own business, on the understanding that he would repay the money after his benefit game
Pablo Javier Zabaleta Girod is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a right back for Manchester City and the Argentina national team. Zabaleta can operate on both sides of the pitch as a full-back and is known for his tenacious style of play, with Manchester City, Zabaleta has won all of English footballs major honours, the FA Cup, the Premier League, and the Football League Cup. Before joining Manchester City, Zabaleta played for La Liga club RCD Espanyol, a full international since 2005, Zabaleta represented Argentina at the 2011 and 2015 Copa América, and was part of their team which finished as runners-up in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He was also in their team won gold at the 2008 Olympics. Born in Buenos Aires, Zabaleta was raised in Arrecifes and he began his career at Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro in 2002 after progressing through their youth ranks, having been signed at the age of 12 from local club Obras Sanitarias. He started playing as a midfielder but eventually moved to the right side of midfield. Zabaleta was transferred to Espanyol in 2005 for €3 million after being Argentina under-20s captain in the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, which Argentina won. During the 2005–06 season, Zabaleta helped Espanyol to win the Copa del Rey, in January 2007, Zabaleta suffered a shoulder injury that kept him off the pitch for almost three months, already having established himself as an undisputed first team choice. Later in the season, he featured in the 2006–07 UEFA Cup final, in the summer of 2008, Zabaleta transferred to Premier League club Manchester City after rejecting an offer from Juventus. He stated upon joining that the offer of Manchester City is impossible to reject.45 million, Zabaleta joined a day before Manchester City was bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group, led by Sheikh Mansour, which enabled a wealth of investment in the club. On 13 September 2008, Zabaleta made his debut for Manchester City in a 1–3 defeat to Chelsea at the City of Manchester Stadium. On 5 October, he received his first red card in English football when he was sent off in a 2–3 loss to Liverpool in his fourth Premier League appearance. He scored his first goal for City on 17 January 2009, on 21 November 2010, Zabaleta scored his second Premier League goal in Manchester Citys 4–1 win against Fulham. In the same match, he assisted a Carlos Tevez goal, on 1 January 2011, Zabaleta played his 100th game for Manchester City in all competitions, coming off the bench against Blackpool in a 1–0 win at Eastlands. Two weeks later, on 15 January, Zabaleta made his second assist of the season in a 4–3 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers and this win meant that City went top of the league above local rivals Manchester United. However, Citys title challenge faded with a loss of form in February, on 1 May 2011, Zabaleta scored his second goal of the season in a Premier League match against West Ham United. This secured a 2–1 win for the Citizens and put them seven points ahead of Liverpool, on 14 May 2011, Zabaleta appeared as an 88th-minute substitute for Carlos Tevez in the 2011 FA Cup Final as Manchester City beat Stoke City 1–0. On 23 October, he was a substitute in the convincing 1–6 win over rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford
Joseph Anthony Joey Barton is an English professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Premier League club Burnley. He has made 240 appearances in the Premier League, including 130 for Manchester City, Barton was born and raised in Huyton, Merseyside. He began his career with Manchester City in 2002 after working his way through their youth system. His appearances in the senior side gradually increased over the five years. He earned his first cap for the England national team in February 2007 and he then joined Newcastle United for a fee of £5.8 million in July 2007. After four years with the club, he joined Queens Park Rangers in August 2011 and he returned from his loan spell the following season, and helped QPR to promotion to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs. However, QPR were relegated again, and Barton was released at the end of the season and he signed a one-year deal to play for Burnley in 2015, helping them win promotion to the Premier League, but left to join Rangers in May 2016. Bartons career and life have been marked by numerous incidents and disciplinary problems. On 20 May 2008, he was sentenced to six months imprisonment for common assault, Barton served 77 days of this prison term, being released on 28 July 2008. This incident effectively ended his Manchester City career, born in Huyton, Merseyside, Barton is the oldest of four brothers. His parents separated when he was 14 years old and consequently he lived with his father at his grandmothers house on a different estate. He has said that his grandmothers influence helped him to getting caught up in a recreational drug culture. His father, also named Joseph, worked as a roofer, Barton enjoyed physical education at his school, St Thomas Becket, which he represented in various sports and was a talented Rugby League prospect. He left school with ten GCSEs, Barton pursued his dreams of becoming a professional footballer by joining Evertons youth system, but played for Liverpool when he was 14. He underwent trials at Nottingham Forest, but was rejected when it was decided he was too small to become a footballer, Barton said his rejection by clubs only made him more determined to succeed as a footballer and prove his detractors wrong. He made his first appearance for the clubs team in 1999. His first reserve team appearance came at the end of the 2000–01 season, uncertain about Bartons future prospects, the club planned to release him, but reconsidered and gave him his first professional contract in the close season. Over the next two years, he made the transition from the under-19s to regular reserve football
Carlos Alberto Martínez Tevez is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward for Shanghai Shenhua and the Argentina national team. His energy, skill, and goal scoring rate have made him a player for his club sides throughout his career, in the eyes of fellow players. Tevez began his career with Boca Juniors, winning the Copa Libertadores, in 2006 he moved to West Ham United, helping the team remain in the Premier League in his only season. Tevez transferred to Manchester United in 2007 and in his two years won several trophies including two league titles and the Champions League, in 2009, he joined Manchester City for £47 million, becoming the first player to move between the two rival clubs since Terry Cooke in 1999. Despite missing four months of the 2011–12 season following a dispute, in 2013, he joined Juventus for £12 million, finishing as the teams top goalscorer and winning the Scudetto in his first season. Since his debut for Argentina in 2005, Tevez has over 75 caps, a gold medal winner at the 2004 Olympics, he also played at two World Cups, a Confederations Cup, and four Copa América tournaments. Tevez was born Carlos Alberto Martínez by his mothers surname in Ciudadela, Buenos Aires Province and it was from there that he got the nickname of El Apache. His biological parents were Juan Alberto Cabral and Fabiana Trina Martínez and he was adopted by his mothers sister Adriana Noemí Martínez and her husband Segundo Raimundo Tévez. His adopted parents changed his surname to his adopted fathers during a conflict between his junior club All Boys and Boca Juniors, Tevez has a distinctive burn scar that runs down his neck from his right ear to his chest. He was accidentally scalded with boiling water as a child, which caused third-degree burns and kept him hospitalised in intensive care for nearly two months. After joining Boca Juniors, Tevez refused an offer from the club to have them cosmetically improved, saying that the scars were a part of who he was in the past and who he is today. Aged 16, Tevez made his debut for Boca Juniors against Talleres de Córdoba in the during the Torneo Apertura of the 2001–02 Argentine Primera División and he went on to score 1 goal in 11 league appearances in the 2001–02 season. Boca had finished in 1st place of their 2002 Copa Libertadores group and had reached the quarter-final stage, where they faced Paraguays Club Olimpia. Tevez scored after 18 minutes in the first-leg to give Boca Juniors a 1–0 lead, until Olimpia levelled the scores in the 67th minute when Boca defender Cristian Traverso scored an own goal, Boca lost the second-leg 1–0 in Asunción on 16 May. Boca finished three points behind Independiente to finish in second position during the Torneo Apertura, Boca Juniors eventually finished four points behind River Plate to claim second position in the Torneo Clausura. Tevez scored 10 goals in 32 appearances for Boca during the 2002–03 season, during the 2002 Copa Sudamericana, Boca were eliminated 3–1 on aggregate by Gimnasia de La Plata in the first-round. Boca Juniors participated at the 2003 Copa Libertadores and reached the final of the competition, Boca won 5–1 on aggregate, with Tevez scoring in Bocas 3–1 away win in the second-leg. Tevez was also voted as the tournaments best player, Tevez scored 12 goals in 23 appearances during the 2003–04 season
Vincent Jean Mpoy Kompany is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a central defender and captains both English club Manchester City and the Belgium national team. In the 2011–12 season he was awarded the captaincy of Manchester City, leading his club to win the Premier League that season and he is also chairman of Belgium D3B Division club BX Brussels. Kompany began his career at Anderlecht, spending three years at the Belgian club before moving to German Bundesliga club Hamburg in 2006. In the summer of 2008, at the age of 22, he completed a transfer to his current club, regarded as one of the best defenders in the world, he was listed 23rd in The 100 Best Footballers in the World by The Guardian. Born in Uccle, Brussels, Kompany started his career at Anderlecht at the age of 17, winning awards including the Belgian Golden Shoe. Another player, Aruna Dindane, decided to wear the number 27 on his shirt upon his arrival at Lens Summer 2005, although several top European sides immediately showed interest, the player and his entourage decided to first develop a few more years at Anderlecht. Dont you worry, I will stay here, he told Berend Scholten at UEFA. com, at the moment the zeros in my contract are not so important. If I wanted to leave, I would have gone already. On 9 June 2006, however, it was announced that Kompany had been acquired by Hamburger SV for a fee of €10 million, as a replacement for fellow Belgian Daniel Van Buyten. In his debut season for Hamburg, he managed only six Bundesliga starts for the club suffering a achilles injury in November that ruled him out for the rest of the season. Despite his lack of involvement in the season, he was selected in a 30-man provisional squad for the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship. On 22 August 2008, Premier League club Manchester City confirmed the transfer of Kompany from Hamburg on a deal for an undisclosed fee thought to be in the region of £6 million. He was handed the number 33 shirt for the 2008–09 season by manager Mark Hughes, two days later, Kompany made his Manchester City debut against West Ham United. On 28 September, Kompany scored his first goal in Citys 2–1 away defeat to Wigan Athletic, on 28 December 2008, he started the game with Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park as a holding midfielder and also completed the full 90 minutes in a 2–2 draw. On 19 October 2009, Kompany signed a new deal with City that would keep him at the club until 2014. He scored his league goal for the club in a 2–0 home win against Portsmouth. Kompany was handed the number 4 jersey for the 2010–11 season after previous number 4 Nedum Onuoha moved on loan to Sunderland, Kompany put in a Man of the Match performance in the 1–0 home win against Chelsea at the City of Manchester Stadium on 25 September. On 10 November, Kompany started the Manchester derby league game with Manchester United at the City of Manchester Stadium and played the full 90 minutes in a goalless draw
Mario Balotelli Barwuah is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Ligue 1 club Nice and the Italy national team. He started his football career at Lumezzane and played for the first team twice before having an unsuccessful trial at Barcelona. Inter manager Roberto Mancini brought Balotelli into the first team, but when Mancini left and he had a strained relationship with new manager José Mourinho and was suspended from Inters first team in January 2009 after a number of disciplinary problems. With doubts over his career at Inter, former coach Roberto Mancini had since moved to Manchester City and he joined Manchester City in August 2010, where his performances and off-field activities continued to be enigmatic and unpredictable. Balotelli eventually fell out of favour with Mancini after a training ground bust up between the two in January 2013 and his departure from City and return to Italy with A. C. Milan followed several weeks later. After 18 months at Milan, he returned to the Premier League with Liverpool, an unsuccessful season with the Merseyside club led to his return to Milan on loan and subsequent departure on a free transfer to Nice. Balotelli earned his first cap for Italy in a match against the Ivory Coast on 10 August 2010. Along with Antonio Cassano, he is Italys top-scorer in the UEFA European Championships and he is also Italys top scorer in the FIFA Confederations Cup, alongside Giuseppe Rossi and Daniele De Rossi, with two goals. Mario Balotelli was born in Palermo, Sicily as the son of Ghanaian immigrants, the family moved to Bagnolo Mella in the province of Brescia, Lombardy, when he was two. In 1993, when he was three, Balotelli was placed in care to the Balotelli family when his own family was unable to pay for his health care needs. His foster parents are Silvia, the Jewish daughter of Holocaust survivors and they lived in the town of Concesio, Brescia, in northern Italy. At first, he stayed at the Balotellis during the weekdays and he later was permanently fostered by the Balotellis full-time, and adopted their surname. In June 2012, he dedicated his goals that put Italy in the final of the Euro 2012 football championships to his foster mother Silvia, Balotelli had to wait until his 18th birthday to request Italian citizenship, as his foster family had not adopted him. He officially gained citizenship in Concesio on 13 August 2008, after the ceremony he released the following statement, I am Italian, I feel Italian, I will forever play with the Italian national team. Mario Balotelli Mario has three siblings, Abigail, Enoch, and Angel Barwuah. Enoch Barwuah, two younger than Balotelli, is also a professional footballer. Balotelli began his career at Lumezzane, at the age of 15 he was promoted to the first team, making his first team debut in a Serie C1 league match against Padova on 2 April 2006. Having had a trial with Barcelona at the age of 15
James Charles Jamie Mackie is a professional footballer who plays as a striker for Queens Park Rangers. Born in Dorking, England, Mackie has played for Scotland and he began his career at Wimbledon, progressing through the clubs youth system making his first team debut in December 2003. A squad member when the club was renamed and moved to Milton Keynes and he appeared regularly for the club over the next two years and finished as the clubs top goalscorer in the 2009–10 season. He joined Queens Park Rangers in May 2010, signing a contract for an undisclosed fee. In 2013 he joined Nottingham Forest before signing, on loan for Reading in 2014, Mackie began his career at non-league Leatherhead, joining Wimbledon as a trainee in 2003, before moving to Exeter City in August 2005. He would go on to score a second in that game and he was featured 13 more times that season, mainly as a substitute, scoring his third goal for the club against Preston North End on 19 April 2008. Mackie established himself as a player during the 2008–09 season, making 45 appearances in all competitions. Having started life with the Pilgrims primarily as an impact substitute and he played 44 times during the 2009–10 season, scoring a total of 8 goals, although this was not enough to keep Plymouth in the second tier of English football. In May 2010, Mackie signed a contract with Queens Park Rangers for an undisclosed fee. Signed by Neil Warnock in what would be a Championship winning season, Mackie got off to a good start at QPR, scoring on his debut in a 4–0 win over Barnsley. By mid September Mackie had put himself top of the Championship goalscorers list with 8 goals coming in his first 7 league games, scoring doubles against Ipswich Town and Leicester City. He failed to score for 13 matches until scoring the first in a 4–0 win over Swansea City on Boxing Day 2010, on 8 January, during an FA Cup tie against Blackburn Rovers, Mackie sustained a double tibia/fibula break during a collision with Rovers player Gael Givet. The injury kept the player out for 7 months until he returned to training in September 2011, Mackie returned to QPRs first team with a substitute appearance in the October 2011 match at Fulham and then started his first Premier League match at home to Blackburn Rovers two weeks later. Mackie scored his first Premier League goal in a 2–3 home defeat to Sunderland and his return to the side saw him feature regularly under Neil Warnock until he was replaced in January 2012 by Mark Hughes. Under Hughes, Mackie continued to occupy a wide-midfield berth and featured in the victory against Wigan Athletic and he scored twice to bring the score back to 3–2 and nearly grabbed an equaliser to push for a regular place in the side. Mackie came off the bench for Joey Barton in the game against Liverpool to inspire a comeback from 2–0 down. He also scored Rangers second goal in the match of the 2011–12 Premier League season in a 3–2 loss to Manchester City. On 16 May 2012, Mackie penned a contract extension
Everton F. C. /ˈɛvərtən/ is a football club in Liverpool, England, that currently competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. The club have competed in the top division for a record 114 seasons and won the League Championship nine times, formed in 1878, Everton were founding members of The Football League in 1888 and won their first League Championship two seasons later. The mid-1980s represented their most recent period of sustained success, with two League Championships, an FA Cup, and the 1985 European Cup Winners Cup, the clubs most recent major trophy was the 1995 FA Cup. The clubs supporters are known as Evertonians, Everton have a rivalry with neighbours Liverpool, and the two sides contest the Merseyside derby. The club have been based at Goodison Park in Walton, Liverpool, since 1892, the clubs home colours are royal blue shirts with white shorts and socks. Everton were founded as St Domingos in 1878 so that people from the parish of St Domingos Methodist Church Everton could play year round — cricket was played in summer. The clubs first game was a 1–0 victory over Everton Church Club, the club was renamed Everton in November 1879 after the local area, as people outside the parish wished to participate. The club was a member of the Football League in 1888–89. Everton won the FA Cup for the first time in 1906, the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 interrupted the football programme while Everton were champions, which was something that would again occur in 1939. It was not until 1927 that Evertons first sustained period of success began, in 1925 the club signed Dixie Dean from Tranmere Rovers. In 1927–28, Dean set the record for league goals in a single season with 60 goals in 39 league games. He helped Everton win their third League Championship that season, however, Everton were relegated to the Second Division two years later during internal turmoil at the club. The club quickly rebounded and was promoted at the first attempt, on return to the top flight in 1931–32, Everton wasted no time in reaffirming their status and won a fourth League Championship at the first opportunity. Everton also won their second FA Cup in 1933 with a 3–0 win against Manchester City in the final, the era ended in 1938–39 with a fifth League Championship. Everton were relegated for the time in 1950–51 and did not earn promotion until 1953–54. The club have been a top-flight presence ever since, Evertons second successful era started when Harry Catterick was made manager in 1961. In 1962–63, his season in charge, Everton won the League Championship. In 1966 the club won the FA Cup with a 3–2 win over Sheffield Wednesday, Everton again reached the final in 1968, but this time were unable to overcome West Bromwich Albion at Wembley
Stoke City F.C.
Stoke City Football Club is a professional football club based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. Founded as Stoke Ramblers in 1863 the club changed its name to Stoke in 1878 and they are the second oldest professional football club in the world, after Notts County, and are one of the founding members of the Football League. Their first, and to date only major trophy, the League Cup was won in 1972, the clubs highest league finish in the top division is 4th, which was achieved in the 1935–36 and 1946–47 seasons. Stoke played in the FA Cup Final in 2011, finishing runners-up to Manchester City and have reached three FA Cup semi-finals, in 1899 then consecutively in 1971 and 1972. Stoke have competed in European football on three occasions, firstly in 1972–73 then in 1974–75 and most recently in 2011–12, the club has won the Football League Trophy twice, in 1992 and in 2000. Stokes home ground is the bet365 Stadium, a 28,116 all-seater stadium, before the stadium was opened in 1997, the club was based at the Victoria Ground, which had been their home ground since 1878. The clubs nickname is The Potters, named after the industry in Stoke-on-Trent and their traditional home kit is a red and white vertically striped shirt, white shorts. Stokes traditional rivals are Midlands clubs West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers whilst their local rivals are Port Vale with whom they contest the Potteries derby, the clubs first documented match was in October 1868, against an EW May XV at the Victoria Cricket Club ground. Henry Almond, the founder, was also captain. During this period they played at the Victoria Cricket Ground, however, in 1878, the club merged with Stoke Victoria Cricket Club, and became Stoke Football Club. They moved from their previous ground, Sweetings Field, to the Athletic Club ground and it was around this time that the club adopted their traditional red-and-white striped kit. In August 1885, the club turned professional, Stoke were one of the twelve founding members of the Football League when it was introduced in 1888. The club struggled in their first two seasons, 1888–89 and 1889–90, finishing bottom on both occasions, in 1890 Stoke failed to be re-elected and joined the Football Alliance, which they won and thus were re-elected to the Football League. Stoke spent the next 15 seasons in the First Division and reached the FA Cup Semi-Final in the 1898–99 season before being relegated in 1907, Stoke went bankrupt and entered non-league football until 1914, when the First World War meant the Football League was suspended for four years. During the wartime period, Stoke entered the Lancashire Primary and Secondary leagues, when football recommenced in August 1919, Stoke re-joined the league. The club became owners of the Victoria Ground in 1919 and this was followed by the construction of the Butler Street stand, which increased the overall capacity of the ground to 50,000. In 1925, Stoke-on-Trent was granted city status and this led the club to change its name to Stoke City F. C, the 1930s saw the debut of clubs most celebrated player, Stanley Matthews. Matthews, who grew up in Hanley, was an apprentice at the club and made his first appearance in March 1932, against Bury, by end of the decade, Matthews had established himself as an England international and as one of the best footballers of his generation
Patrice Latyr Evra is a French international footballer who plays for Ligue 1 club Marseille. Originally an attacker, he plays as a left-back. Evra, whom Sir Alex Ferguson praised for his leadership, also describing him as one of the best left-backs in Europe, has served as captain for both Manchester United and France. The son of a diplomat, Evra was born in Senegal and he was raised in France and began his football career playing for various clubs in the Île-de-France region such as hometown club CO Les Ulis and CSF Brétigny. In 1997, he had a stint at professional club Paris Saint-Germain, a year later, Evra seized his first footballing opportunity in neighbouring Italy when he signed his first professional contract with Marsala in Sicily. He made his debut with the club and, in the ensuing season. After a year playing with Monza, Evra returned to France to play for Nice, originally a midfielder, while playing at Nice, he was converted into a full-back. In 2002, Evra moved to AS Monaco and contributed to the team won the Coupe de la Ligue in 2003. He also featured in European competition for the first time in his career and, in that same season domestically, Evra was named the National Union of Professional Footballers Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year. He was also named to the organisations Ligue 1 Team of the Year, Evras performances with Monaco culminated into a move to English club Manchester United in January 2006. While playing for Manchester United, Evra won a slew of trophies, Evra has been named to the Professional Footballers Association Team of the Year on three occasions. For his performances during the 2008–09 season, he was named to both the FIFPro World XI and the UEFA Team of the Year, Evra is also a France international. Prior to playing at level, he played at under-21 level. He made his international debut in August 2004 in a friendly match against Bosnia. At the tournament, he appeared in two group matches, although France endured a disastrous campaign which saw the players go on strike after a first round elimination. The incident resulted in Evra, for his role as captain, however, he returned to the squad and enjoyed a successful 2014 World Cup in Brazil under Didier Deschamps, as France reached the quarter-finals. Evra began his career playing for hometown club CO Les Ulis. After playing in the streets for years, he was brought to the club by friend Tshymen Buhanga who informed the club coach I bring you the new Romário