Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies making it the worlds most popular sport, the game is played on a rectangular field with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by getting the ball into the opposing goal, players are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms while it is in play, unless they are goalkeepers. Other players mainly use their feet to strike or pass the ball, the team that scores the most goals by the end of the match wins. If the score is level at the end of the game, the Laws of the Game were originally codified in England by The Football Association in 1863. Association football is governed internationally by the International Federation of Association Football, the first written reference to the inflated ball used in the game was in the mid-14th century, Þe heued fro þe body went, Als it were a foteballe. The Online Etymology Dictionary states that the word soccer was split off in 1863, according to Partha Mazumdar, the term soccer originated in England, first appearing in the 1880s as an Oxford -er abbreviation of the word association. Within the English-speaking world, association football is now usually called football in the United Kingdom and mainly soccer in Canada and the United States. People in Australia, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand use either or both terms, although national associations in Australia and New Zealand now primarily use football for the formal name. According to FIFA, the Chinese competitive game cuju is the earliest form of football for which there is scientific evidence, cuju players could use any part of the body apart from hands and the intent was kicking a ball through an opening into a net. It was remarkably similar to football, though similarities to rugby occurred. During the Han Dynasty, cuju games were standardised and rules were established, phaininda and episkyros were Greek ball games. An image of an episkyros player depicted in low relief on a vase at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens appears on the UEFA European Championship Cup, athenaeus, writing in 228 AD, referenced the Roman ball game harpastum. Phaininda, episkyros and harpastum were played involving hands and violence and they all appear to have resembled rugby football, wrestling and volleyball more than what is recognizable as modern football. As with pre-codified mob football, the antecedent of all football codes. Non-competitive games included kemari in Japan, chuk-guk in Korea and woggabaliri in Australia, Association football in itself does not have a classical history. Notwithstanding any similarities to other games played around the world FIFA have recognised that no historical connection exists with any game played in antiquity outside Europe. The modern rules of football are based on the mid-19th century efforts to standardise the widely varying forms of football played in the public schools of England
Wantage Town F.C.
Wantage Town Football Club is a football club based in Wantage, Oxfordshire, that currently play in the Southern Football League Division One South & West. The club is affiliated to the Berks & Bucks Football Association The club was formed in 1892. The club started playing in the Swindon & District League, winning the Swindon Advertiser Cup in the 1903–04 and 1907–08 seasons, in 1909 they became one of the founder members of the North Berks Football League. After the First World War in the 1919–20 season, the club became joint winners of the North Berkshire league, with Abingdon Town, two seasons later the club would go on to win the league again, but this time without having to share the honour. After the Second World War the club continued to compete in the Swindon & District League, after their second league win the club joined the premier division of the Hellenic Football League. They remained in the Premier division until the end of the 1963–64 competition, the club regained promotion back to the Premier Division, when they finished as runners up in Division One at the end of the 1969–70 campaign. In the 1974–75 season the club made their debut in the FA Vase reaching the round before being knocked out by Clanfield. The club was relegated at the end of the 1975–76 campaign, and it took the club until the 1980–81 season to regain their Premiership status. From the 1981–82 to 1993–94 season they remained in the Premier Division except for the 1987–88, despite finishing fourth at the end of the 1993–94 campaign, the club was demoted to Division one as a result of their ground failing to have floodlights. The club two seasons later finished as runners-up in Division one and subsequently erected floodlights to allow them to be promoted back to the premier Division, the club then remained in the premiership until the end of the 2002–03 season when upon finishing bottom were relegated to Division one east. The 2002–03 season also saw the club enter the FA Cup for the first time, when they met Gosport Borough in the preliminary round, the following season the club bounced back up as Champions. The 2010–11 season saw the club become Hellenic league Premier Division champions, following a rocky start to life in the Southern League, in October 2014 long-standing Chairman Tony Woodward stood down for personal reasons. Club stalwarts Glyn Austin and John Culley were put in charge of the running of the club. Gary Ackling, Andy Lyne and their team followed Woodward out of the club. Reserve team Manager Daniel Barry and his Assistant Ian Lovegrove were promoted to undertake the job at the top. Wantage Town play their games at Alfredian Park, Manor Road. Oxford United Club website Club history
Southern Football League
Together with the Isthmian League and the Northern Premier League it forms levels seven and eight of the English football league system. The structure of the Southern League has changed several times since its formation in 1894, the Premier Division is at step 3 of the National League System, and is a feeder division, mainly to the National League South but also to the National League North. Feeding the Premier Division are two divisions, Division One South & West and Division One Central, which are at step 4 of the NLS. These divisions are in turn fed by various regional leagues, professional football developed more slowly in Southern England than in Northern England. Additionally, a league, the Southern Alliance was founded in 1892, with seven clubs from the region. Nonetheless, another attempt was made to form the Southern League, a competition for both professional and amateur clubs was founded in 1894 under the initiative of Millwall Athletic. Initially only one division was envisaged, but such was the enthusiasm, the sixteen founder members were, 2nd Scots Guards withdrew before the first season started and were replaced by Southampton St Marys. Woolwich Arsenal attempted to add their reserve side to the second division, the Southern League soon became the dominant competition below The Football League in Southern and Central England. By the turn of the century a few of the Southern League sides began to rival the Football League in the FA Cup, Two Southern League clubs, Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur reached the final of the FA Cup around the turn of the century. Tottenham Hotspur are the club from below the 2nd level of English football to have won the FA Cup. The champions of the two leagues during this period met in the annual Charity Shield, in 1907, it accepted Bradford Park Avenue, a northern club, as a member, reflecting its senior position at the time. In 1920, virtually the top division of the Southern League was absorbed by the Football League to become that leagues new Third Division. A year later the Third Division was expanded and regionalised, the Third Division clubs from the previous season became the Third Division South, with the addition of the Third Division North. Of the original members, six – Gillingham, Luton Town, Millwall, Reading. For the next six decades, the Football League and Southern League would exchange a number of clubs as a result of the older leagues re-election process. From 1920 onward, the Southern Leagues status as a league was firmly established. In turn, the APL would eventually succeed in becoming a feeder to the Football League, the league lost more of its top clubs in 2004 when the Conference added two regional divisions below the existing National League, the Conference South and Conference North. The first sponsor of the Southern League was Beazer Homes who sponsored the league from 1987–96, the sponsors after Beazer Homes to the present day are, Dr Martens, British Gas, Zamaretto, Evo-Stik, Calor Gas, and Evo-Stik
Abingdon United F.C.
Abingdon United Football Club is a football club based in Abingdon-on-Thames, England. The club are members of the Hellenic League Division One West. The club was founded in 1946 by ex-servicemen as a rival to the already existing Abingdon Town at the Anchor pub on the bank of the River Thames. The new club joined Division One of the North Berks League, despite finishing ninth out of twelve clubs in Division One in 1947–48, they were relegated to Division Two. They went on to win Division Two in 1952–53, and were promoted back to Division One. In 1958 they moved up to the Hellenic League, where for the next 19 seasons the club remained in the division of the Hellenic League. After finishing third in 1976–77 they were promoted to the Premier Division and they stayed in the premier division until the 1980–81 season, in which they finished bottom and were relegated back to Division One. However, after a season in Division One, they made an immediate return. The club then remained in the Hellenic premier Division for another 24 seasons, the 1996–97 season saw the club win three trophies, the Hellenic Leagues Floodlit Cup, the Hellenic – Hungerford Cup and the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy. They retained the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy the following season, in 2005–06 the club finished third in the Premier Division, and were promoted to Division One South & West of the Southern League. The club remained in the Southern League Division One South & West until the end of the 2012–13 season, at the end of the 2015–16 season they were relegated to Division One East. Abingdon United play their games at the Northcourt Stadium in Northcourt Road. It has a capacity of 2,000, of which 158 is seated and 258 covered. C
Reading Town F.C.
Reading Town Football Club were a semi-professional English football club in the Hellenic League Division One East, based in Reading, Berkshire. The club was formed in 1966 as Lower Burghfield and started life in the Reading Combination League, in the early 1980s they were the Premier Division Champions on four occasions, with the 1983–84 season seeing them not just win the league, but three league cup competitions too. The next season saw them move to the Reading & District League where they finished as runners-up in the Premier Division and went on to win the Reading Senior Cup. The 1985–86 season saw them again finish as runners-up in the Premier Division. During their time in the Reading leagues the club changed its name several times, being known as XL United, Vincents United, in 1989–90 they joined the Premier Division of the Chiltonian League, and changed their name from Reading Garage to I T S Reading. In 1993–94 they changed their name to Reading Town and relocated to their present home of Scours Lane, the 1994–95 season saw the team win the Premier Division Championship, and gain promotion to the Combined Counties Football League. Their first season in the Combined counties league the club finished midtable but went on to win the Berks & Bucks FA Senior Trophy, beating Lambourn Sports in the final. Floodlights were installed the following season and the reached the final of the Berks & Bucks FA Senior Trophy again. That season also saw the club enter the FA Vase for the first time, the 1997–98 campaign saw the club finish as runners-up in the league, losing out to Ashford Town. That season also saw them enter the FA Cup for the first time in their history, entering at the qualification round. At the start of 2001–02 season Town appointed former Manchester United, however Webb was unable to transfer his success as a player to the management role and after a poor start to the season he resigned in November. Twenty-three-year-old Colin Millard was made the manager for the 2002–03 campaign Town, the club then appointed Neil Goff and Glenn Goudie as joint managers of the club for the 2007–08 season. In September 2007 Millard resigned as Assistant Manager at Bracknell Town and was re-appointed as Manager, with Goudie, in June 2008 Reading Town moved across leagues to join the Premier Division of the Hellenic Football League. The first season in the new league saw the club finish eighth, and win the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy again, at the end of season Colin Millard resigned and was replaced by former Henley Town boss Roddy Slater. Roddys stint in charge lasted only one season and he resigned at the end of 2010–11 to be succeeded by Mark Bartley, under Mark Bartley the club went on to win the Hellenic League Supplementary cup, beating Highmoor Ibis 4–3 in the final. At the end of the season Bartley resigned due to not wanting to work on a budget for the following season. Michael Butcher was appointed as Bartleys replacement but only lasted till January 2013 when he quit as manager and former manager Colin Millard took over, in June 2013 Millards appointment was made permanent. In February 2016, Reading Town were closed down by owners Battersea, Reading Town played their home games at Scours Lane Stadium, in the Tilehurst area of the town
Hellenic Football League
There is also one team each from Hampshire and Northamptonshire The league was established in 1953. In the 2000–01 season the Hellenic League absorbed the Chiltonian League and now has a Premier Division, Division One East, Division One West and three divisions for reserve teams. In the 2006–07 season the Hellenic League absorbed the Banbury District, starting with the 2004–05 re-organisation the Hellenic League became a step 5 and 6 league in the National League System. Premier Division clubs play at Step 5 level, which offers progression to the Southern Football League Division One for Premier Division winners who have the required ground status. Acceptance to HL Division One is also offered to teams playing in the various Step 7 County Leagues of the related Hellenic League area,50 teams play in the Hellenic Premier and Division Ones. 18 teams play at Veterans level The league started with only a Premier Division, for the 1971–72 season, Division One was split into Division One A and Division One B. The following season, Division One A and B were merged, after the 1999–2000 season, Division One was regionalised into East and West. The Hellenic League football cups are the Floodlit Cup, the Supplementary Cup and the Challenge Cup
Western Football League
The Western Football League is a football league in South West England, covering Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, western Dorset, parts of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. The leagues current main sponsor is Toolstation, so it is known as the Toolstation League. The champion club may apply for promotion to a Step 4 league, below the Western League are four local leagues covering smaller areas, the Gloucestershire County League, the Somerset County League, the Dorset Premier League and the Wiltshire League. The South West Peninsula League Premier Division is also a feeder to the Western League but due to having Step 6 status, Premier Division, Division One, The league was formed in 1892 as the Bristol & District League, and became the Western League in 1895. In the years before World War II, many teams played in both the Southern and Western Leagues, the Western League was considered as secondary to the Southern League. On four occasions, member clubs have lifted the FA Vase, Tiverton Town twice, Taunton Town once and most recently Truro City, totton in 2007 at the first final to be held at the new Wembley Stadium before a competition record crowd of 27,754. Truro City were the one of the three to win the FA Vase while in Division One, while none are current members of the Western League. Bedminster | Clevedon | Clifton Association | Eastville Rovers | Mangotsfield | St. George | Trowbridge Town | Warmley | Wells Official Site Western League -Fixtures, Results and Tables
Flackwell Heath F.C.
Flackwell Heath Football Club is a football club based in Flackwell Heath, near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, England. Affiliated to the Berks & Bucks Football Association, they are members of the Hellenic League Premier Division. The club was established in 1907 and joined the High Wycombe and they went on to win the league twelve times, as well as winning the High Wycombe Senior Challenge Cup twelve times. In 1950 the club moved up to Division Two of the Great Western Combination and this was renamed the Premier Division in 1954, and the club were runners-up in 1956–57 before winning the league in 1957–58. They were champions again in 1962–63, however, the league folded at the end of the 1963–64 season, resulting in the club returning to the High Wycombe and District League. In 1974–75 Flackwell Heath won both the Reading Senior Cup and the Berks & Bucks Intermediate Cup, in 1976 they moved up to Division One of the Hellenic League and were runners-up in their first season in the division, earning promotion to the Premier Division. In 1982 they switched to the Athenian League, but it folded at the end of the 1983–84 season, at the end of the 1984–85 season they were transferred to Division Two South, where they remained until league restructuring saw them placed in Division Three in 1991. The 2006–07 season saw Flackwell Heath finish bottom of Division One North and they won the league in 2014–15 and were set to be promoted to Division One Central of the Southern League. However, after Clevedon Town were demoted, they were placed in Division One South & West. In 2015–16 the club won the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy, prior to World War II the club played at the Recreation Ground, but moved to Wilks Park after the war. A seated brick stand was built on one side of the pitch in 1984 when the club joined the Isthmian League, the extended roof changing rooms provides cover on the other side of the pitch, with covered standing areas behind both goals. Floodlights were installed during the clubs first spell in the Hellenic League Premier Division in the late 1970s and it currently has a capacity of 2,000, of which 150 is seated. C. Players Flackwell Heath F. C. managers Official website
Kidlington Football Club is a football club based in Kidlington, near Oxford, England. They were established in 1909 and joined the Hellenic Football League in 1954, in the 1976–77 season, they reached the 5th round of the FA Vase. For the 2016–17 season, they are members of the Southern League Division One Central, Kidlington Football Club was formed in 1909 and joined the Oxfordshire District League in that year. In 1929 Kidlington won their first cup, the Lord Jersey Cup, in 1945, The club joined the Oxford City Junior League and six seasons later, in 1951, they entered the Oxfordshire Senior League. They then entered the Hellenic League in 1954 after winning the Oxfordshire Senior League the season before and have stayed in that league ever since. In 1970 the team won the Oxfordshire Intermediate cup, and in 1976–77 they achieved their record in the FA Vase by reaching the last 16. The club then had to wait until the 2007–08 season to win any more silverware, four seasons later in 2010–11 the team added the Hellenic Supplementary Cup to the clubs honours under manager Gordon Geary. The club also reached the final of the Oxfordshire Senior Cup for the first time in 2010–11, in 2015–16 Kidlington won the Hellenic Premier League and were therefore promoted for 2016–17 to the Southern League Division One Central. 2015–16 also saw Kidlington reach the last 8 of the FA Vase, Kidlington play their home games at Yarnton Road Stadium, Kidlington, OX5 1AT. A Cup best performance, First qualifying round 2009–10 F. A. Vase best performance, Fifth round 1976–771, players that have played/managed in the football league or any foreign equivalent to this level. Players that hold a record or have captained the club. Jimmy Giles Jermaine McSporran Club website A brief history
Cheltenham Saracens F.C.
Cheltenham Saracens Football Club is a football club based in Cheltenham, England. Affiliated to the Gloucestershire County FA, they are members of the Hellenic League Division One West. Cheltenham Saracens was established in 1964 as a club, with the football team joining Division Five of the Cheltenham League. Following several promotions, the club joined Division One of the Hellenic League in 1986, after winning Division One in 1999–2000, the club were promoted to the Premier Division. However, they finished bottom of the Premier Division in 2001–02 and were relegated to Division One West, the 2010–11 season saw Cheltenham finish third in Division One West, earning promotion to the Premier Division. However, they were relegated back to Division One West at the end of the 2014–15 season after finishing bottom of the Premier Division
Ardley United F.C.
Ardley United Football Club is a football club based in Ardley, near Bicester in Oxfordshire, England. They are members of the Hellenic League Premier Division and play at the Playing Fields, in 1988 they moved up to the Oxfordshire Senior League and won Division One at the first attempt, gaining promotion to the Premier Division. The 1990–91 season saw the win the Premier Division and the Archie Goddard Cup. In 1993 they were promoted to Division One of the Hellenic League, in 1994–95 they won the Division One Cup, retaining it the following season. In the 1996–97 season they won both Division One and the Division One Cup, a feat repeated the following season. In 2000, league reorganisation saw the club placed in Division One West, following improvements to their ground to allow promotion to the Premier Division, a fifth-place finish in 2003–04 led to their moving up to the Premier Division, where they have remained since. In 2006–07 they won the Supplementary Cup, and in the 2009–10 season they won the League Cup, in 2013–14 they won the Oxfordshire Senior Cup for the first time, beating Kidlington 4–0 in the final. Ardley United play their games at the Playing Fields on Oxford Road. The ground has a capacity of 1,000, of which 100 is seated and 200 covered. C, players Ardley United F. C. managers Official website Ardley United F. C. on Twitter
Ascot United F.C.
Ascot United Football Club is a football club based in Ascot, Berkshire, England. They are currently members of the Hellenic League Premier Division and play at Ascot Racecourse, in 2001 they joined the Senior Division of the Reading League, going on to win the league in 2006–07. The club made its debut in the FA Vase in the 2010–11 season and their first match was against Wembley, which was the first-ever FA Cup match streamed live on Facebook. The game also led to Ascots record attendance of 1,149, in 2013–14 the club won the Hellenic League Challenge Cup, defeating Ardley United 2–1 in the final. The club originally played matches at Sunninghill, but were given permission by the Ascot Racecourse trustees to build a ground on land to the north of a coach park at the racecourse. A clubhouse was built, which was replaced in 1990, two years later floodlights were also installed. The ground now has a capacity of 1,150. C, players Official website Ascot United F. C. on Twitter