English Football League
The English Football League is a league competition featuring professional football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888 as the Football League, the league is the oldest such competition in world football and it was the top-level football league in England from its foundation in the 19th century until 1992, when the top 22 clubs split away to form the Premier League. The league has 72 clubs evenly divided into three divisions, which are known as the Championship, League One and League Two, with 24 clubs in each division, the Football League has been associated with a title sponsor between 1983 and 2016. As this sponsor changed over the years the league too has been known by various names, the English Football League is also the name of the governing body of the league competition, and this body also organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The operations centre of the Football League is in Preston, while its commercial office is in London, the commercial office was formerly based in Lytham St Annes, after its original spell in Preston. The Football League consists of 70 professional association football clubs in England and 2 in Wales and it runs the oldest professional football league competition in the world. It also organises two knockout cup competitions, the Football League Cup and Football League Trophy, the Football League was founded in 1888 by then Aston Villa director William McGregor, originally with 12 member clubs. Steady growth and the addition of more divisions meant that by 1950 the League had 92 clubs, the Football League therefore no longer includes the top 20 clubs who belong to this group, although promotion and relegation between the Football League and the Premier League continues. In total,136 teams have played in the Football League up to 2013, the Football Leagues 72 member clubs are grouped into three divisions, the Football League Championship, Football League One, and Football League Two. Each division has 24 clubs, and in any season a club plays each of the others in the same division twice, once at their home stadium. This makes for a total of 46 games played each season, clubs gain three points for a win, one for a draw, and none for a defeat. At the end of the season, clubs at the top of their division may win promotion to the higher division. At the top end of the competition, three Championship clubs win promotion from the Football League to the Premier League, with the bottom three Premier League clubs taking their places, reserve teams of Football League clubs usually play in the Central League or the Football Combination. Since the 2004–05 season, penalties have existed for clubs entering financial administration during the season and it is also required that a club exiting administration agree a Creditors Voluntary Agreement, and pay in full any other footballing creditors. Failure to do either of these result in a second. The other main situation in which is a club may lose points is by fielding an improperly registered or otherwise ineligible player. If a club is found to have done this, then any points earned from any match that player participated in will be deducted, the EFL organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The EFL Cup was established in 1960 and is open to all EFL and Premier League clubs, the EFL Trophy is for clubs belonging to EFL League One and EFL League Two
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
Brighton & Hove Albion F.C.
Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club /ˈbraɪtən ən ˈhoʊv/ is a professional football club based in the city of Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, England, often referred to simply as Brighton. The team is nicknamed the Seagulls or Albion, the team has historically played in blue and white stripes, though this changed to all white briefly in the 1970s and again to plain blue during the clubs most successful spell in the 1980s. Crystal Palace are considered the main rivals, although the grounds are 40 miles apart. Founded in 1901, Brighton played their early football in the Southern League before being elected to the Football League in 1920. The club enjoyed greatest prominence between 1979 and 1983 when they played in the First Division and reached the 1983 FA Cup Final and they were relegated from the top division in the same season. Mismanagement brought Brighton close to relegation from the Football League to the Conference which they narrowly avoided in 1997 and 1998. Brighton & Hove Albion F. C. were founded in 1901 and 19 years later, in 1920, Mike Bamber was the chairman of Brighton from October 1972 until 1983. He famously brought Brian Clough to the club in 1973 and later appointed former England player Alan Mullery as manager, the 1982/83 season saw a wildly inconsistent start for the club, with victories over Arsenal and Manchester United mixed in with heavy defeats. Manager Mike Bailey eventually lost his job at the start of December 1982, jimmy Melia took over as manager, but was unable to turn the situation around and Brighton were relegated in 1983, having finished in bottom place. Despite their relegation, that season Brighton reached their first FA Cup final, Brightons goals were scored by Gordon Smith and Gary Stevens. However, Smiths kick was saved by the Manchester United goalkeeper. In the replay, Manchester United won 4–0, a lifelong fan named Dick Knight took control of the club in 1997 having led the fan pressure to oust the previous board following their sale of the clubs Goldstone Ground to property developers. If Brighton won or drew, they would be safe, Brighton defender Kerry Mayo scored an own goal in the first half and it looked as though their 77-year league career was over. But a late goal from Robbie Reinelt saved the day, Brighton retained their status on goal difference. The sale of the Goldstone ground went through in 1997, leading to Brighton having to play some 70 miles away at Gillinghams Priestfield stadium for two seasons, micky Adams was appointed Brightons manager in 1999. For the start of the 1999–2000 season the Seagulls secured a lease to play games at Withdean Stadium. In February 2000 Brighton signed a little known forward on loan from Bristol Rovers called Bobby Zamora, Zamora made an instant impact, scoring in his debut, the 1–1 home draw with Plymouth. 2000–01 was Brightons first successful season for 13 years and they were crowned champions of Division Three and promoted to Division Two, where they made an excellent start and looked good bets for a second successive promotion
Huddersfield Town A.F.C.
F. C. Halifax Town is a semi-professional association football club based in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England. The club participates in the National League North, the tier of English football. They replaced Halifax Town A. F. C. which went into administration in the 2007–08 season, huge tax debts buried Halifax Town A. F. C. after almost 100 years as a football club. New figures put to a creditors meeting in May 2008 showed the cash-strapped Shaymen owed over £800,000 to Her Majestys Revenue. The Revenue refused any deal and that finished the club – already over £2 million in the red. It was originally thought the club owed the taxman around £500,000, but the news that it owed £814,000 meant that even if all the other creditors had accepted the 2. 5p-in-the-pound offer originally on the table it would not have been enough. Halifax appealed against the decision to them from the Football Conference. Though the appeal was rejected on 11 June, the hope was that Halifax could play in the NPL Premier Division. This did not materialise, and eventually Halifax Town were accepted to play in the Northern Premier League Division One North in the new season under the new name FC Halifax Town. The clubs first game under the new name FC Halifax Town was a friendly away against Tamworth on 19 July 2008, there was to be no fairytale ending however, and the game ended in a 2–0 defeat. The clubs first ever victory was against Alsager Town on 26 July 2008 by a 2–0 scoreline, colin Hunter scored the new clubs first ever goal after six minutes. Their first competitive Northern League Division One North match was at The Shay against Bamber Bridge on 16 August 2008, the club got off to a poor start, despite recording their first competitive victory in the next match. However, a 7–1 home win against Salford City in late September seemed to turn the tide for Town and they went on an 8-game unbeaten run,7 of those being victories, and shot to the top of the league table. The run eventually came to an end against Rossendale United, who ended up doing the double over Halifax. Despite the loss, Halifax remained top and more results, including 5–1 and 4–1 victories against Garforth Town and Wakefield respectively. After the Wakefield match however, Halifax won just 2 of their final 14 league games and this poor run led to the sacking of manager Jim Vince, and senior player Nigel Jemson stepped up to the managers position for the remainder of the season. They could only manage 2 draws and so a poor ending to the season cost them dearly, with new manager Neil Aspin taking the helm near the start of close season, Halifax Town got off to a much better start. Promising results in friendlies were consolidated after beating Colwyn Bay 3–0 on their own turf in the first league match of the season
Hartlepool United F.C.
Hartlepool United Football Club is a professional association football club based in Hartlepool, County Durham, England. The team plays in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. Hartlepool play their games at Victoria Park on Clarence Road. The club was founded in 1908 as Hartlepools United Football Athletic Company and their main rivals were Darlington, until that club entered into administration in 2012. Brian Clough began his career at the club in 1965. Under Cyril Knowles management the club won promotion to the Third Division in 1990, in 2005, Hartlepool narrowly missed promotion to the Football League Championship. The team mascot HAngus the Monkey was elected mayor at the 2002 Hartlepool Council election, the club receives vocal support from Jeff Stelling, the presenter of Sky Sports Soccer Saturday. In 1920, the Football League formed a third division and this was based almost entirely in the south, as the new division was created by absorbing virtually the entire top division of the Southern League, with Grimsby Town the only northern representative. This was rectified the following season when a Third Division North was created, brian Clough was invited to manage Hartlepool in 1965. His reaction was, I dont fancy the place, but he took the job, in 1968 the s and the United were dropped from the team name of Hartlepools United. This was in connection with West Hartlepool being absorbed along with the old town of Hartlepool. The appendage of United was restored in 1977, under Len Ashurst, the team slowly began to revive after years of largely indifferent form. Ashurst did precisely that, finishing in 11th in 1973–74, he left the club to manage Gillingham. Ken Hale took over and guided the team to 13th and 14th over the two seasons and also reached the League Cup Fourth round in 1974–75. However, 1976–77 saw a return to the doldrums, Hale was sacked after failing to win any of the first nine games at the start of October and his successor Billy Horner could not stop the rot either, and the team finished in 22nd place. Over the close season the name was changed to its current form of Hartlepool United. A tragedy struck the club a few weeks before the end of the season when 20-year-old player Dave Wiggett was killed in a car crash and it seemed to be only a matter of time before Hartlepool United followed the same way. Once again then, it was a relief for the supporters that Horner managed to make considerable improvements the following season
Leyton Orient F.C.
Leyton Orient Football Club /ˌleɪtən ˈɔəriənt/ is a professional football club in Leyton, London, England. They play in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. The clubs home colours are all red, Leyton Orient have spent one season in the top flight of English football, in 1962–63. In 1978, they reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the time in their history. Between October 1993 and September 1995, Orient did not win an away game in the league. Leyton Orients home ground Brisbane Road is officially known as the Matchroom Stadium after former club chairman Barry Hearns sports promotion company, in 2014, Hearn sold the club to Italian businessman Francesco Becchetti. Leyton Orient finished seventh, one away from the playoff positions. In the 2013–14 season, Orient lost the League One Play-Off final at Wembley to Rotherham United, the team has had several name changes since, first as Eagle Cricket Club in 1886 then as Orient Football Club in 1888. Indeed, the nickname the Savage Cuts came from a particularly gruesome incident during training in the 19th Century when the goalkeeper suffered a laceration to the arm. A cry was heard across the pitch, the goalkeeper is cut, its a deep and savage cut. The other players believing this to be a lampoon, mockingly repeated, we have savage cuts, the Os are the second-oldest league club in London behind Fulham and are the 24th oldest club currently playing in the Football League. Following Fulhams promotion to the Premier League they became the oldest London club playing in the Football League and they played in the Second Division of the Southern Federations League in 1904, joined the Football League in 1905. By this time such as part-time outside right, Herbert Kingaby could earn £2 4s per week – payment being somewhat sporadic. The twelve History books written on the club by its historian Neilson N. C, the name Leyton Orient was adopted following the conclusion of the Second World War. The club had moved to Leyton in 1937, though there was another team called Leyton F. C. A further rename back to simply Orient took place in 1966 after the Borough of Leyton was absorbed into the London Borough of Waltham Forest, the 1914–15 season was the last football season before the League was suspended due to the outbreak of the First World War. Forty one members of the Clapton Orient team and staff joined up into the 17th Battalion Middlesex Regiment, the highest of any team in the country. At the final game of the season – Clapton Orient vs Leicester Fosse,20,000 people came out to support the team, a farewell parade was also hosted, but not before the Os had won 2–0
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
Wembley Stadium is a football stadium in Wembley, London, England, which opened in 2007, on the site of the original Wembley Stadium, which was demolished from 2002–2003. The stadium hosts football matches including home matches of the England national football team. The stadium will be the home of Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur while White Hart Lane is being demolished. Wembley Stadium is owned by the body of English football. The FA headquarters are based in the stadium, with 90,000 seats, it is the largest football stadium in England, the largest stadium in the UK and the second-largest stadium in Europe. Designed by Populous and Foster and Partners, it includes a retractable roof. The stadium was built by Australian firm Multiplex at a cost of £798 million, a UEFA category four stadium, Wembley hosted the 2011 and 2013 UEFA Champions League Finals, and will host both the semi-finals and final of UEFA Euro 2020. The stadium hosted the Gold medal matches at the 2012 Olympic Games football tournament, the stadium also hosts rugby leagues Challenge Cup final, the NFL International Series and music concerts. The design of the services was carried out by Mott MacDonald. It is one of the most expensive ever built at a cost of £798 million. The all-seater stadium is a design with a capacity of 90,000. It can also be adapted as a stadium by erecting a temporary platform over the lowest tier of seating. The stadiums signature feature is a circular section lattice arch of 7 m internal diameter with a 315 m span, erected some 22° off true and it supports all the weight of the north roof and 60% of the weight of the retractable roof on the southern side. The archway is the worlds longest unsupported roof structure, a platform system has been designed to convert the stadium for athletics use, but its use would decrease the stadiums capacity to approximately 60,000. No athletics events have taken place at the stadium, and none are scheduled, the conversion for athletics use was a condition of part of the lottery funding the stadium received, but to convert it would take weeks of work and cost millions of pounds. Demolition officially began on 30 September 2002, with the Twin Towers being dismantled in December 2002, delays to the construction project started as far back as 2003. In December 2003, the constructors of the arch, subcontractors Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company of Darlington, Cleveland Bridge withdrew from the project and replaced by Dutch firm Hollandia with all the attendant problems of starting over. In October 2005, Sports Minister Richard Caborn announced, They say the Cup Final will be there, by November 2005, WNSL were still hopeful of a handover date of 31 March, in time for the cup final on 13 May
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
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
Aston Villa F.C.
Aston Villa Football Club is a professional association football club based in Aston, Birmingham, that plays in the Championship, the second level of English football. Founded in 1874, they have played at their current home ground, Villa Park, Aston Villa were one of the founder members of the Football League in 1888. They were also one of the members of the Premier League in 1992. Aston Villa are one of only five English clubs to be crowned champions of Europe and they have also won the First Division Championship seven times, the FA Cup seven times, the Football League Cup five times, and the UEFA Super Cup once. They have a local rivalry with Birmingham City and the Second City derby between the sides has been played since 1879. The clubs traditional kit colours are claret shirts with sky blue sleeves, white shorts and their traditional badge is of a rampant lion, which was introduced by the clubs Scottish chairman William McGregor in honour of the Royal Standard of Scotland. The club is owned by Recon Group Limited, a company chaired by Chinese businessman Tony Xia. Aston Villa Football Club were formed in March 1874, by members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel in Handsworth which is now part of Birmingham, the four founders of Aston Villa were Jack Hughes, Frederick Matthews, Walter Price and William Scattergood. Aston Villas first match was against the local Aston Brook St Marys Rugby team, as a condition of the match, the Villa side had to agree to play the first half under Rugby rules and the second half under Association rules. The club won their first FA Cup in 1887 with captain Archie Hunter becoming one of the games first household names. Aston Villa were one of the teams that competed in the inaugural Football League in 1888 with one of the clubs directors. Aston Villa emerged as the most successful English club of the Victorian era, winning no fewer than five League titles, in 1897, the year Villa won The Double, they moved into their present home, the Aston Lower Grounds. Supporters coined the name Villa Park, no official declaration listed the ground as Villa Park. This was largely the result of a defensive record, they conceded 110 goals in 42 games,7 of them coming from Arsenals Ted Drake in an infamous 1–7 defeat at Villa Park. Like all English clubs, Villa lost seven seasons to the Second World War, the team was rebuilt under the guidance of former player Alex Massie for the remainder of the 1940s. The team struggled in the league though and were relegated two seasons later, due in part to complacency. However, under the stewardship of manager Joe Mercer Villa returned to the top-flight in 1960 as Second Division Champions, the following season Aston Villa became the first team to win the Football League Cup. Mercers forced retirement from the club in 1964 signalled a period of deep turmoil, the most successful club in England was struggling to keep pace with changes in the modern game, with Villa being relegated for the third time, under manager Dick Taylor in 1967
Burnley Football Club is a professional association football club based in Burnley, Lancashire. Nicknamed The Clarets, due to the dominant colour of their home shirts, Burnley have been Football League Champions twice, in 1920–21 and 1959–60, have won the FA Cup once, in 1914, and have won the Community Shield twice, in 1960 and 1973. The Clarets also reached the 1961 quarter-finals of the European Cup and they are one of only three teams to have won all top four professional divisions of English football, along with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Preston North End. The club colours of claret and blue were adopted in 1910 in tribute to the dominant club of English football at the time and their home ground since 1883 has been Turf Moor and their current manager is Sean Dyche. During May 1882, Burnley Rovers Football Club decided to shift their allegiance from rugby union to football, in 1883 the club moved to Turf Moor and remain there, only their Lancashire rivals Preston North End having occupied the same ground continuously for longer. Burnley first appeared in the FA Cup in 1885–86 but were ignominiously beaten 11–0 when eligibility restrictions meant that their side had to be fielded against Darwen. On 13 October 1886, Turf Moor became the first ground to be visited by a member of a Royal Family, when it was decided to found the Football League for the 1888–89 season, Burnley were among the 12 founders of that competition. William Tait of Burnley scored the first ever hat-trick in League football and that season did, however, present Burnley with their first honours, winning the Lancashire Cup with a 2–0 final victory over Blackburn Rovers. Before Burnley won a trophy again, they were relegated to the Second Division in 1896–97 and they responded to this by winning promotion the next season, losing only 2 of their 30 matches along the way before gaining promotion through a play-off series then known as Test Matches. Burnley and Stoke City both entered the last match, to be played between the two teams, needing a draw for promotion. A 0–0 draw ensued, reportedly The Match without a shot at goal, Burnley needed a win against Forest in the last match of the season to escape relegation. This is the earliest recorded case of match fixing in football, Burnley changed their colours from green to the claret and sky blue of Aston Villa, the most successful club in England at the time, for the 1910–11 season. The 1912–13 season saw them win promotion to the First Division once more, as well as reaching the FA Cup semi-final, only to lose to Sunderland. The next season was one of consolidation in the top flight, but more importantly their first major honour and this cup final was historic in that King George V became the first reigning monarch to present the cup to the winning captain. The winning Burnley team also got special medals with English Cup Winners written on it instead of the usual FA Cup Winners inscription. World War I impacted the 1914–15 season, in which Burnley finished 4th in the First Division, before English football reorganised itself, Burnley struggled in English footballs second tier, narrowly avoiding a further relegation in 1931–32 by only two points. The years through to the outbreak of the Second World War were characterised by uninspiring league finishes, broken only by an FA Cup semi-final appearance in 1934–35 and the arrival of Tommy Lawton. Burnley participated in the football leagues that continued throughout the war
Middlesbrough Football Club is a professional association football club based in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, England. Formed in 1876, they have played at the Riverside Stadium since 1995 and they played at the Linthorpe Road ground from 1882 to 1903 and at Ayresome Park for 92 years, from 1903 to 1995. They were one of the members of the Premier League in 1992. The clubs main rivals are Sunderland and Newcastle United, there is also a rivalry with fellow Yorkshire club Leeds United. The clubs highest league finish to date was third in the 1913–14 season, the club came close to folding in 1986 after experiencing severe financial difficulties before it was saved by a consortium led by then board member and later chairman Steve Gibson. Middlesbrough were deducted three points for failing to fulfil a fixture against Blackburn Rovers in the 1996–97 Premier League season and they were promoted the following season and spent 11 seasons in the top division before being relegated again in 2009. Middlesbrough won the League Cup in 2004, the clubs first and they reached the 2006 UEFA Cup Final, but were beaten by Spanish side Sevilla. After seven years in the Championship, Middlesbrough secured promotion to the Premier League in 2016 after finishing in second place, the clubs traditional kit is red with white detailing. The various crests throughout the history, the most recent of which was adopted in 2007. They won the FA Amateur Cup in 1895 and again in 1898, the club turned professional in 1889, but reverted to amateur status in 1892. They turned professional permanently in 1899, after three seasons, they won promotion to the First Division, where they would remain for the next 22 years. In 1903, the moved to Ayresome Park, their home for the next 92 years. In 1905, the club sanctioned the transfer of Alf Common for £1,000, over the next few years, their form fluctuated greatly, rising to sixth in 1907–08 before dropping to 17th two seasons later. The club rose to their highest league finish to date, third, World War I soon intervened and football was suspended. Before league football resumed, Middlesbrough won the Northern Victory League and they remained in the First Division for the next few seasons, but were relegated in 1923–24 after finishing bottom, ten points adrift of their nearest rivals. Three seasons later, they won the Division Two title, during that season, debutant George Camsell, who had signed from Third Division North side Durham City the previous season, finished with a record 59 league goals, which included nine hat-tricks. He would continue as top scorer for each of the ten seasons. Their tenure back in the top flight lasted one season
Hull City A.F.C.
Hull City Association Football Club is a professional association football club based in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England. The club participates in the Premier League, the top tier of English football – and their greatest achievement in cup competitions came in 2014, when the team reached the final of the FA Cup. In 2007–08 they achieved promotion to the top flight of English football for the first time in their history by winning the Championship play-off Final at Wembley Stadium and their highest league finish was for the 2013–14 season, in which they finished 16th in the Premier League table. Hull City play their games at the KCOM Stadium. They moved there in 2002 after playing their previous 56 seasons at Boothferry Park, Boothferry Park has since been demolished and been replaced by a housing development. Hull traditionally play in black and amber, often with a shirt design. The clubs mascots are Roary the Tiger and his sister Amber. C. and these early matches were played at the Boulevard, the home of Hull F. C. The clubs first competitive match was in the FA Cup preliminary round, drawing 3–3 with Stockton on 17 September. After disputes with landlords at the Boulevard, Hull City moved to Anlaby Road Cricket Ground, after having played 44 friendly fixtures the previous season, Hull City were finally admitted into the Football League Second Division for the 1905–06 season. Other teams competing in the league season included the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, as well as Yorkshire rivals Barnsley, Bradford City. Hull defeated Barnsley 4–1 at home in their first game and finished the season in fifth place, the following season a new ground was built for Hull City across the road from the cricket ground. Still under the managership of Ambrose Langley, Hull continued to finish consistently in the top half of the table and they came close to promotion in the 1909–10 season, recording what would be their highest finish until they matched it in 2008. Hull finished third, level on points with second placed Oldham Athletic, Hulls greatest achievement in cup competitions until 2014 was in 1930, when they reached the FA Cup semi-finals. The cup run saw Hull knock out the champions of the Second and Third Divisions, Blackpool. They then knocked out Manchester City, to meet Newcastle United in the quarter-finals, the first game at St James Park finished as a 1–1 draw, but in the replay Hull beat Newcastle 1–0. The semi-final match against Arsenal took place at Elland Road in Leeds, the game ended 2–2, Arsenal knocked Hull out at Villa Park, the game ending 1–0. After the Second World War, the moved to another new ground. In the 1948–49 season, managed by former England international Raich Carter, Hull also became the first team in the world to go out of a cup competition on penalties, beaten by Manchester United in the semi-final of the Watney Cup on 1 August 1970
Charlton Athletic F.C.
Charlton Athletic Football Club is an English professional association football club based in Charlton, south-east London. They play in League One, the tier of English football. The club was founded on 9 June 1905 when a number of clubs in south-east London, including East Street Mission and Blundell Mission. The clubs traditional kit consists of red shirts, white shorts and red socks, Charlton turned professional in 1920 and first entered the Football League in 1921. Since then they have had four periods in the top flight of English football, 1936–1957, 1986–1990, 1998–1999. Historically, Charltons most successful period was the 1930s, when the clubs highest league finishes were recorded, after World War II, the club reached the FA Cup Final twice, losing in 1946 and winning in 1947. Charlton Athletic F. C. were formed on 9 June 1905 by a group of 15- to 17-year-olds in East Street, Charlton which is now known as Eastmoor Street, Charlton spent most of the years before the First World War playing in youth leagues. They became a side in 1913 the same year that nearby Woolwich Arsenal relocated to North London. After the war, they joined the Kent League for one season before becoming professional and they were accepted by the Southern League and played just a single season before being voted into the Football League. Charltons first Football League match was against Exeter City in August 1921, later that year it was proposed that Charlton merge with Catford Southend to create a larger team with bigger support. In the 1923–24 season Charlton played in Catford at The Mount stadium and wore the colours of The Enders, light, however, the move fell through and the Addicks returned to the Charlton area in 1924, returning to the traditional red and white colours in the process. Charlton finished second bottom in the Football League in 1926 and were forced to apply for re-election which was successful, Three years later the Addicks won the Division Three championship in 1929 and they remained at the Division Two level for four years. Seed, an ex-miner who had made a career as a footballer despite suffering the effects of gas in the First World War. He is commemorated in the name of a stand at the Valley, Seed was an innovative thinker about the game at a time when tactical formations were still relatively unsophisticated. In 1937, Charlton finished runners up in the First Division and they were the most consistent team in the top flight of English football over the three seasons immediately before the Second World War. This continued during the war years and they won the war cup, Charlton reached the 1946 FA Cup Final, but lost 4–1 to Derby County at Wembley. This time they were successful, beating Burnley 1–0, with Chris Duffy scoring the goal of the day. In this period of renewed football attendances, Charlton became one of only thirteen English football teams to average over 40,000 as their attendance during a full season, the Valley was the largest football ground in the League, drawing crowds in excess of 70,000
Milton Keynes Dons F.C.
Milton Keynes Dons Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. As of the 2016–17 season its first team plays in League One, initially based at the National Hockey Stadium, the club competed as Milton Keynes Dons from the start of the 2004–05 season. After two years in League One it was relegated to the fourth-tier League Two, Milton Keynes Dons also won the Football League Trophy that year. The team remained in League One until the 2014–15 season when it won promotion to the Championship under the management of Karl Robinson, Milton Keynes, about 45 miles north-west of London in Buckinghamshire, was established as a new town in 1967. There was no precedent in English league football for such a move between conurbations and the authorities and most fans expressed strong opposition to the idea. Another team linked with the new town was Wimbledon Football Club, Wimbledon, established in south London in 1889 and nicknamed the Dons, were elected to the Football League in 1977. They thereafter went through a fairytale rise from obscurity and by the end of the 1980s were established in the top division of English football, despite Wimbledons new prominence, the clubs modest home stadium at Plough Lane remained largely unchanged from its non-league days. The clubs then-owner Ron Noades identified this as a problem as early as 1979, however he then decided that the club would not get higher crowds in Milton Keynes and abandoned the idea. Sam Hammam, who now owned Wimbledon, said the club could not afford to redevelop Plough Lane, a new stadium for Wimbledon proved hard to arrange. Hammam sold the club to two Norwegian businessmen, Kjell Inge Røkke and Bjørn Rune Gjelsten, in 1997, and a year later sold Plough Lane to Safeway supermarkets, Wimbledon were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 1999–2000 season. Starting in 2000, a consortium led by music promoter Pete Winkelman and supported by Asda, the consortium proposed that an established league club move to use this site, it approached Luton, Wimbledon, Crystal Palace, Barnet and Queens Park Rangers. In 2001 Røkke and Gjelsten appointed a new chairman, Charles Koppel, to the fury of most Wimbledon fans, Koppel announced on 2 August 2001 that the club intended to relocate to Milton Keynes. The league and FA stated opposition but the commissioners ruled in favour, AFC Wimbledon entered a groundshare agreement with Kingstonian in the borough of Kingston upon Thames, adjacent to Merton. The original Wimbledon intended to move to Milton Keynes immediately but were unable to do so until a home in the town meeting Football League criteria could be found. The club remained at Selhurst Park in the meantime and in June 2003 went into administration, with the move threatened and the club facing liquidation, Winkelman decided to buy it himself. He secured funding for the administrators to keep the team operating with the goal of getting it to Milton Keynes as soon as possible, the club arranged the temporary use of the National Hockey Stadium in Milton Keynes and played its first match there in September 2003. Nine months later Winkelmans Inter MK Group bought the club out of administration and announced changes to its name, badge and colours—the team was renamed Milton Keynes Dons Football Club. The first season for the club as Milton Keynes Dons was 2004–05, in Football League One, under Stuart Murdoch, the teams first game was on 7 August 2004, a 1–1 home draw against Barnsley, with Izale McLeod equalising with their first competitive goal
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
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
Burton Albion F.C.
Burton Albion Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, England. The team play in the Championship, the tier of English football. Burton Albion competed in the non-League of English football from their formation in 1950 until 2009, when they were promoted to the Football League. The clubs home ground is the Pirelli Stadium, having moved from Eton Park in 2005, Burton Albion were formed in 1950, and joined the Birmingham & District League. They finished the 1953–54 season as runners-up, and in 1958–59 joined the Southern League North Western zone, in 1965–66 Burton missed out on the runners-up place on goal difference, but were still promoted to the Southern League Premier Division. They avoided relegation in 1968, thanks to Stevenage Town folding, Burton missed out on promotion on goal average in 1970–71, but finished as runners-up the following season and were promoted back to the Premier Division. The next two seasons saw them relegated, and then promoted back to the Premier Division again and they stayed in the same division until being relegated once more at the end of 1976–77. In October 1998, Nigel Clough was appointed as player-manager and he led the club to two successive runners-up spots, in 1999–2000 and 2000–01. Burton were again moved to the Northern Premier League Premier Division in 2001–02, the club were promoted to the Football Conference for the first time. The club was brought to attention when they were drawn at home against 11-times winners Manchester United in the third round of the 2005–06 FA Cup. The Brewers held the Premier League team to a 0–0 draw at home, at the end of the season Roy McFarland left the club and was replaced by Paul Peschisolido, with Gary Rowett acting as his assistant. Burtons first win in the Football League was 5–2 against Morecambe at the Pirelli Stadium, in their second season Burton claimed a notable scalp in the FA Cup third round when they knocked out Championship team Middlesbrough 2–1 at the Pirelli Stadium. In the league, Burton experienced a 17-game winless run and fell from fifth place on Boxing Day to 17th place at the end of the 2011–12 season, Gary Rowett was appointed as the new manager of Burton in May 2012. In his first full season in charge, he led Burton to a fourth-place finish, Burton lost their play-off semi-final 4–5 on aggregate to Bradford City despite winning the first leg 3–2 at Valley Parade. In the 2013–14 season, Burton finished sixth, reaching the final in which they lost 1–0 against Fleetwood Town. During the 2014–15 season, Rowett left to join Birmingham City, under Hasselbaink the Brewers won League Two and were promoted to League One for the first time in their history. Hasselbaink left by mutual consent in December 2015 to join Queens Park Rangers as manager, Clough returned to Burton to replace him for his second spell as manager and led the club to a second-place finish in the league, earning promotion to the Championship, another first for Burton. Albion began life at the Lloyds Foundry ground on Wellington Street, Eton Park was built off Derby Road and officially opened on 20 September 1958, coinciding with the clubs promotion to the Southern League
Barnsley Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England. The team play in the Championship, the tier of the English football league system. Nicknamed the Tykes, they were founded in 1887 by Reverend Tiverton Preedy under the name Barnsley St. Peters, the club colours are red and white, and their home ground since 1888 has been Oakwell. Taylor broke into the Barnsley team just after the sale of wing-half Danny Blanchflower to Aston Villa. Blanchflower would go on to sign for Tottenham Hotspur and be voted FWA Player of the Year twice as well as captaining the North London club to the first league and cup double of the 20th century. Barnsley FC was established in 1887 by a clergyman, Tiverton Preedy and they joined the Football League in 1898, and struggled in the Second Division for the first decade, due in part to ongoing financial difficulties. In 1910 the club reached the FA Cup final, where they lost out to Newcastle United in a replay match. However, they would reach the 1912 FA Cup Final where they would defeat West Bromwich Albion 1–0 in a replay to win the trophy for the first. When the league restarted after World War I, the 1919–20 season brought significant changes to the league. The principal difference was that the First Division would be increased from 20 teams to 22, the bottom team from the previous season was Tottenham Hotspur and they were duly relegated. The first extra place in the First Division went to Chelsea, derby County and Preston North End were rightly promoted from the Second Division which left one place to be filled. Henry Norris, the then Arsenal chairman, had recently moved Woolwich Arsenal north of the River Thames to Highbury and he was later to admit some underhand dealings, allegedly including the bribing of some member clubs to vote for Arsenals inclusion. They duly won the vote and Barnsley were consigned to the tier of English football for another 8 decades. The club did come close to reaching the top division in the early years. In 1922, they missed out on promotion by a single goal, during the years preceding and following World War II, the club found themselves sliding between the Second and Third Division. Around the time of Blanchflowers departure, a young centre-forward called Tommy Taylor broke into the Barnsley team, scoring 26 goals in 44 games for Barnsley. In April 1953, he one of the most expensive players in English football at the time when Matt Busby signed him for Manchester United for a fee of £29,999. In 1965, Barnsley were relegated to the Football League Fourth Division for the first time and they went down to the Fourth Division again in 1972, and this time stayed down for seven seasons, finally returning to the Third Division in 1979
Doncaster Rovers F.C.
Doncaster Rovers Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England. The team competes in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. The club was founded in 1879 and turned professional in 1885, the clubs colours have traditionally been red and white. Their home strip is red and white hoops, which has been the design of the clubs home shirt since 2001. The associated Doncaster Rovers Belles L. F. C. are one of the most successful clubs in English football. The club was formed in 1879 by Albert Jenkins, a fitter at Doncasters Great Northern Railway works and he gathered together some friends to play a match against the Yorkshire Institute for the Deaf and Dumb in September 1879. On walking back from the game, the took a rest at the Hall Cross. The first match under the name was on 3 October 1879, gradually, they became the main team in the town, and appear to have had their first professional players in 1887–88. Rovers first entered the FA Cup in 1888–89, losing 9–1 to Rotherham Town at home, season 1890–91 was to be a significant move forward. The club were a member of the Midland Alliance League. The following season, saw them enter the Sheffield and Hallamshire FA Challenge Cup and that same season, they also moved up to the Midland League, becoming Champions in 1896–97 and 1898–99. They were first elected to the Football League in 1901, as a replacement for New Brighton Tower and their first season in the League was in fact the one when Doncaster achieved their highest position ever. They only lasted two seasons in the league before being voted out in favour of local rivals Bradford City and they spent the following season in the Midland League, only managing 11th place out of 18 but were elected back to Division 2. This time, in 1904–05, Doncaster finished bottom with W3 D2 L29, adrift by 12 points and they were voted out once again. The following several seasons saw them finish lower midtable of the Midland League, the last few years before the war mediocrity returned, and in August 1914 debts run up over the years led to voluntary liquidation. However, a new club was formed in time for the 1914–15 season and was accepted into the Midland League to continue where the old club had left off. The outbreak of the First World War meant the club closed down, the Club reformed as a limited company after the war in 1919, rejoining the Midland League a year later playing at their new temporary Bennetthorpe Ground. The first two seasons Rovers finished lower-mid table, the third season they moved to Belle Vue, finished runners up and were accepted into the Football League Division 3 North for 1923–24 to replace Stalybridge Celtic
Blackpool Football Club is a professional association football club based in the seaside town of Blackpool, Lancashire, England. For the 2016–17 season, they are competing in League Two, founded in 1887, Blackpools home ground has been Bloomfield Road since 1901. Their main nickname is the Seasiders, but they are called the Pool and the Tangerines, the latter in reference to the colour of their home kit. Blackpools least successful period was in the 1980s, particularly when, in the 1982–83 season, they finished 21st in English League footballs lowest tier, the clubs motto is Progress, as featured on the club crest. Blackpool have a rivalry with Preston North End, and matches between the two clubs are known as the West Lancashire derby. They have not met in a match since February 2010. Football had developed in Blackpool by 1877 when Victoria F. C. were founded as a club with a ground in Caunce Street. This team disbanded a few years later but some of its members are understood to have merged with old boys from St Johns School to form a new club called Blackpool St Johns. The new club managed to win two pieces of silverware in its first season in existence, 1887–88, the Fylde Cup, at the conclusion of the following 1888–89 season, Blackpool became founder members of the Lancashire League. In their first season in the competition, the club finished out of the 13 member clubs. They finished as runners-up over the three seasons, before winning the championship themselves on their fourth attempt. Blackpools home at that point in time was Raikes Hall, which was part of an entertainment complex that included a theatre. This meant that the average attendances were around the 2000 mark. Their application was successful, and for the debut season, 1896–97. Blackpools first-ever Football League game took place on 5 September 1896, at Lincoln City, for the 1897–98 campaign, the club played their home games at the Athletic Grounds. They remained there for the first seven games of 1898–99. After finishing third-bottom, the club were not re-elected at the end of the 1898–99 season and they finished third, and after the Football Leagues annual meeting, on 25 May 1900, were permitted back into Division Two. It was during this season out of the League that Blackpool amalgamated with local rivals South Shore, during the 10 seasons that followed, Blackpool could finish no higher than 12th place
Colchester United F.C.
Colchester United Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Colchester, Essex, England. The team competes in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. Founded in 1937, the club spent its early years playing in the Southern Football League until they were elected to the Football League in 1950. Colchester United were relegated to the Football Conference in 1990 following a decline in the late 1980s and they achieved promotion to the Second Division in 1998 following a 1–0 win against Torquay United in the play-off final. The club were promoted in 2006, achieving second place in League One. The club returned to League One in 2008 following relegation from the Championship, Colchester United play their home games at Colchester Community Stadium in Colchester. They relocated to the stadium in 2008 when they moved away from Layer Road, until 1937, Colchester Town were Colchesters main club and were the original tenants of Layer Road. Colchester Town joined the Eastern Counties League in 1935, but their performances in the league convinced supporters that the club should turn professional. With club officials against the idea of turning professional, a new club was formed in March 1937, Colchester United. United joined the Southern Football League as crowds for Town matches dwindled, in December 1937, Colchester United formed a reserve team, signing many of Towns players. As a result of this and Town struggling with £300 debts, the club won the Southern League Cup in their first season of existence, and were Southern League champions during in 1939 prior to the Second World War. They finally fell to Blackpool in the fifth round and this set them in good stead for potential election to the Football League. Colchester United were elected to the Football League in 1950 on the back of their second Southern League Cup win and ending the 1949–50 season second to Merthyr Tydfil on goal average alone. With the draw having been made prior to the replay against Rochdale, the Us knew they would face a home tie with First Division Leeds United, and duly trounced Dale 5–0. In the match with Leeds, the Us raced to an unprecedented 3–0 lead in front of a 16,000 Layer Road crowd, Leeds did grab two goals back but Colchester held on for a famous 3–2 victory. The club faced Everton in the quarter-finals but succumbed to a 5–0 defeat in front of 53,028 at Goodison Park. Financial difficulties and a number of changes at board level in the mid-1980s caused a slide towards the end of the Fourth Division table. Despite a brief turn around in form under former Rangers manager Jock Wallace, despite their relegation, the Us remained a full-time club while playing in the Football Conference, as they sold their Layer Road ground to the Colchester Borough Council to clear the clubs debts
Crewe Alexandra F.C.
Crewe Alexandra Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Crewe, Cheshire, England. Nicknamed The Railwaymen because of the links with the rail industry. The team compete in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. The club was formed in 1877 and named after Princess Alexandra and it was a founding member of the Football League Second Division in 1892, but only lasted four years in the League. Since re-entering the competition in 1921, they have remained in the lower divisions. Crewes only major honour is the Football League Trophy which they won in 2013 and they have also won several minor trophies, including the Cheshire Premier Cup and the Cheshire Senior Cup. Gradi is known for focusing on development and promoting attractive. Notable players brought through the Crewe youth system include former internationals Rob Jones, Neil Lennon, Danny Murphy, Seth Johnson, other notable players to have made their name at Crewe in that time include Geoff Thomas, David Platt and Robbie Savage. Crewe Alexandra were formed in 1877 as Crewe Football Club, separate from the successful Crewe Cricket Club and they were based at the Alexandra Recreation Ground and played their first match against North Staffs that same year, a match that ended 1–1. In 1883, Crewe Alexandras first match in the FA Cup was against Scottish club Queens Park of Glasgow, in 1888, the club reached the FA Cup semi-finals, defeating Derby County and Middlesbrough en route, before going out to Preston North End. Crewe were founding members of the Football League Second Division in 1892, having previously been members of the Football Alliance, in 1906 the current Gresty Road ground was rebuilt to the west of the original site. Crewe rejoined the Football League in 1921, during which season a crowd of 15,102 packed into Gresty Road to watch Crewe entertain local rivals Stoke City. Crewe earned their first honours by winning the Welsh Cup in 1936 and 1937, in 1936, Bert Swindells scored his 100th League goal for Crewe Alexandra. He went on to score 126 goals for the club, a record still stands today. 1955 saw Crewe embark on a sequence where they did not win away from home for 56 matches, the dismal run ended with a 1–0 win at Southport. One of Crewes most famous took place against Spurs in the FA Cup in 1960. A new record attendance of 20,000 saw lowly Crewe hold Spurs to a 2–2 draw on 30 January, on 3 February, Tottenham convincingly won the replay 13–2, which remains a record defeat for the club. Llewellyn and Nev Coleman scored for Crewe,1961 saw Crewes most notable win in their history, Jimmy McGuigans side defeated Chelsea 2–1 in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge
Northampton Town F.C.
Northampton Town Football Club /nɔːrˈθæmptən ˈtaʊn/ is a professional association football club based in the town of Northampton, Northamptonshire, England. The team play in League One, the tier of English football. They hold the record for the shortest time taken to be promoted from the tier to the top tier. Northampton were formed in 1897, after meetings between the town’s schoolteachers and local solicitor A. J. They play their games at the 7,724 capacity all-seater Sixfields Stadium, having moved in 1994 from the County Ground which they shared with the owners. The club’s main rivals are Peterborough United, a rivalry which has endured since the 1960s, other recent rivals include Rushden & Diamonds and Oxford United. The clubs colours have traditionally been claret and white, the club nickname is The Cobblers, a reference to the towns historical shoe-making industry. In 1919–20, the first season after the war, Town conceded a club record 103 goals, nonetheless, the club was allowed to join the Football League for the following season, in Division Three. 1922–23 saw the club become a company and 8,000 shares were released at £1. The season produced a record crowd of 18,123 against Plymouth on Boxing day, 1923–24 started with the club raising £5,000 to build a stand with a players tunnel underneath and also improved terracing in the Hotel End. The following season saw the formation of the supporters club, in 1925 the clubs first foreign transfer took place as William Shaw was signed from Barcelona. A new ground record was set for the F. A, Cup third-round replay with Sunderland,21,148 turned up to see the Cobblers lose 3–0. However, disaster occurred at the County Ground during December 1929, only one stand was saved although this was charred. The source of the fire was thought to be in the dressing room. By August 1930, the stands were rebuilt, in 1932–33, the club created history when brothers Fred and Albert Dawes both scored in an 8–0 win over Newport County. The latter finished the season scoring 32 league goals and even scored all four in a 4–0 win over the Netherlands national football team while the club was on tour. Cup fifth round was reached for the first time courtesy of a round win away to Huddersfield Town who. The Cobblers lost to Preston North End 4–0 at Deepdale, setting a new record of 40,180
Oxford United F.C.
Oxford United Football Club is a professional football club based in the city of Oxford, Oxfordshire, England. The team play in League One, the tier of English football. The chairman is Darryl Eales, the coach is Michael Appleton. Founded in 1893 as Headington United, Oxford United adopted its current name in 1960 and it joined the Football League in 1962 after winning the Southern Football League, reaching the Second Division in 1968. After relegation in 1976, between 1984 and 1986 the club earned successive promotions into the First Division, and won the League Cup in 1986, however, Oxford was unable thereby to enter the 1987 UEFA Cup because of the UEFA ban on English clubs in European competitions. Relegation from the top flight in 1988 began an 18-year decline which saw the club relegated to the Conference in 2006 and this was the first time in the history of English football when a team that had won a major trophy was relegated from the Football League. After four seasons, Oxford was promoted to League Two in 2010 via the playoffs, in total, nineteen players have made international appearances while playing for the club. Uniteds home ground is the Kassam Stadium in Oxford and has a capacity of 12,500, United moved to the stadium in 2001 after leaving the Manor Ground, their home for 76 years. Swindon Town is the main rival. Oxford United were formed as Headington in 1893, adding the suffix United in 1911 after merging with Headington Quarry, the club was founded by Rev. John Scott-Tucker, the vicar at Saint Andrews Church in Headington, and a local doctor named Robert Hitchings. A football team was a way for the cricketers of Headington Cricket Club to maintain their fitness during the winter break, the first football match played was against Cowley Barracks. Headington had no home until 1913, when they were able to purchase Woottens Field on London Road. A permanent home was found in 1925, when they purchased the Manor Ground site on London Road, the facility was used as a cricket pitch in the summer, and a football pitch in the winter. In 1921 the club was admitted into the Oxon Senior League, the first season included a 9–0 victory, with eight of those goals coming from P. Drewitt. This remains a record for the highest number of goals scored by an Oxford player in a first-team match, at this time a small rivalry existed with Cowley F. C. who were based a few miles south of Headington. During a league game on May Day, the referee gave two penalties to Cowley, supporters broke past security and players, resulting in the referee being freely baited. The first FA Cup tie played was in 1931, against Hounslow F. C. in the Preliminary Round, United spent two seasons in the Spartan League in 1947 and 1948, finishing fifth and fourth respectively. It was around this time that the team left the Manor
Bristol Rovers F.C.
Bristol Rovers Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Bristol, England. They compete in League One, the tier of English football. The team play their matches at Memorial Stadium, in Horfield, a suburb of Bristol. The club was founded in 1883 as Black Arabs F. C. and were known as Eastville Rovers. The clubs official nickname is The Pirates, reflecting the history of Bristol. According to a survey conducted in December 2003, Cardiff City and Swindon Town are considered their second, Rovers were admitted to the Football League in 1920 and have played there ever since, apart from spending the 2014–15 season in the Conference Premier. Their highest finishing positions were in 1956 and 1959, on both occasions ending the season in 6th place in Division Two, then the tier of English football. Rovers were Football League Trophy finalists in 1990 and 2007, the club was formed following a meeting at the Eastville Restaurant in Bristol in September 1883. It was initially called Black Arabs F. C. after the Arabs rugby team and this name only lasted for the 1883–84 season, and in a bid to draw more fans from the local area the club was renamed Eastville Rovers in 1884. The club played friendly games until the 1887–88 season, when it took part in the Gloucestershire Cup for the first time. In 1892 the club became a member of the Bristol and District League. In 1897 Eastville Rovers joined the Birmingham and District League, at the beginning of the 1897–98 season, the club turned professional and changed its name to Bristol Eastville Rovers, and on 17 February 1899 the name was officially changed to Bristol Rovers. In 1899 Bristol Rovers joined the newly formed Southern League, where remained until 1920. For the 1920–21 season, the Southern League teams were moved into the new Division Three of the Football League and they remained in this division for over 30 years, before winning the league, and promotion in the 1952–53 season. The club has been relegated six times—in 1961–62, 1980–81, 1992–93, 2000–01, 2010–11 and most recently at the end of the 2013–14 season. The highest position in the football ladder achieved by Rovers at the end of season is sixth place in the tier, which they did twice, once in 1955–56. The closest they came to the top flight was in 1955–56, the lowest league position achieved by the club is twenty-third out of twenty-four teams in the fourth tier, which has occurred twice. This position was matched at the end of the 2013–14 season and they returned to the league at the end of their first Conference season, with a penalty shootout victory over Grimsby Town in the play-off final
AFC Wimbledon is a professional association football club based in Kingston upon Thames, Greater London, England. After the 2016 League Two play-offs, the club was promoted to League One of the English Football League and they play at Kingsmeadow, in Kingston upon Thames, a ground which is shared with Isthmian League club, Kingstonian. Wimbledon F. C. physically moved in 2003 and then changed the name of the club to Milton Keynes Dons in 2004. In its short history, the club has been successful, being promoted six times in 13 seasons. They also hold the distinction of being the first club formed in the 21st century to make it into the Football League, on 13 June 2002, a new manager, kit, crest and stadium were unveiled to fans and the media at the packed out Wimbledon Community Centre. The event attracted 230 hopeful players, from whom the clubs squad for their season was eventually chosen. The first ever game, a friendly against Sutton United on 10 July 2002. In 2003–04, AFC Wimbledon won their first 21 league games before a 2–2 draw against Sandhurst Town on 10 January 2004, assistant manager Nick English took charge with immediate effect. In spite of everything, the team went on to finish as champions of the Combined Counties League with a record for the season of 42 wins. AFC Wimbledon also won the leagues Premier Challenge Cup after beating North Greenford United 4–1 in the Final on 30 April 2004, Dave Anderson was appointed as new manager on 11 May 2004. The Dons secured another double by defeating Walton & Hersham 2–1 in the Final of the Surrey Senior Cup on 3 May 2005. Over the course of the season, AFC Wimbledon set a new record for the longest run of league games at any level of senior football in the United Kingdom. The team remained unbeaten for 78 league matches between 22 February 2003 and 4 December 2004, the 2005–06 season proved far more competitive than previous seasons – as after winning their first few games, AFC Wimbledon found themselves struggling to remain in the play-off places. After fluctuating form they eventually reached the play-offs after a 1–0 win against Andersons former club, however, a 2–1 defeat at Fisher Athletic on 2 May 2006 prevented the club from achieving three back-to-back promotions. The Dons once again reached the final of the Surrey Senior Cup, however, however, this punishment was eventually reduced to a three-point deduction and a £400 fine on appeal after the FA finally acknowledged that the club had made a simple administrative error. The Darlington affair also resulted in expulsion from the Surrey Senior Cup, although AFC Wimbledon did enough to qualify for the play-offs, they once again missed out on promotion, this time as a result of losing 1–0 to Bromley in the play-off semi-final on 1 May 2007. Manager Dave Anderson subsequently left the club by mutual consent on 2 May 2007, Terry Brown was appointed as the new AFC Wimbledon manager on 15 May 2007. The Dons made steady progress throughout the season, qualifying for the play-offs after finishing third in the League, AFC Wimbledon beat AFC Hornchurch 3–1 in the play-off semi-final on 29 April 2008 and went on to triumph 2–1 over Staines Town in the play-off final on 3 May 2008
Dagenham & Redbridge F.C.
The team plays in the National League, the fifth tier of the English football league system. The clubs traditional colours are red and blue, to represent the merged teams, Dagenham & Redbridge F. C. was formed in 1992 following a merger between two clubs – Dagenham and Redbridge Forest. Both clubs had fallen on hard times due to dwindling attendances, the club can trace back its ancestry to 1881 as Redbridge Forest was an amalgamation of three of the amateur games most famous clubs, Ilford, Leytonstone and Walthamstow Avenue. Between the clubs won the FA Trophy once, FA Amateur Cup seven times, Isthmian League 20 times, Athenian League six times, Essex Senior Cup 26 times. Dagenham & Redbridge spent its inaugural season in the Football Conference taking the place of Redbridge Forest, the clubs first fixture in its new guise was on 25 July 1992, an 8–0 thrashing of Great Wakering Rovers in a friendly. The first competitive result was a 2–0 win over Merthyr Tydfil in the Conference, Dagenham & Redbridge spent several seasons in the Football Conference but was relegated to the Isthmian League Premier Division in 1996. The club was beaten to the Conference title by Boston United in 2002 on goal difference. Boston United was subsequently found guilty of making illegal payments to its players in its title-winning season. Dagenham & Redbridge attempted unsuccessfully to have itself declared Conference Champions, a four-point deduction was put in place against Boston United for the following season but not for the season in which the irregularities had been committed. The Daggers then declined somewhat, finishing the 2003–04, 2004–05, on 27 February 2004 the club were hammered 9–0 at home by Hereford United, equalling the record highest winning margin in the Conference. The 2006–07 season saw Dagenham & Redbridge battle it out with Oxford United for the top of the league spot, despite Oxford quickly racing to the top, a collapse in Oxfords form combined with an excellent run for the Daggers saw them overtake Oxford in the league. Dagenham & Redbridge played its first match in The Football League on 11 August 2007, the club won its first Football League game at home to Lincoln City on 1 September 2007. The Daggers finished the season in 20th place, ensuring a second season of Football League competition, promotion to the Football League meant that Dagenham & Redbridge could compete in the League Cup for the first time. The club lost in the first round to Luton Town, the following season, the Daggers reached their highest ever position of eighth. They just failed to make the League Two play-offs after losing to Shropshire side Shrewsbury Town at home on the last day of the season, the 2009–10 season saw The Daggers promoted for the first time in their history from League Two to League One. They achieved this by beating Rotherham United in a dramatic 3–2 playoff final at Wembley on 30 May 2010, twice the Daggers took the lead, only to concede moments later. Jon Nurse regained the advantage for Dagenham & Redbridge, scoring a scrappy 70th-minute winner, the Daggers first game in League One of the 2010–2011 season was a 2–0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday on 7 August 2010. It was a season in League One as they finished 21st and were relegated on the last day of the 2010–2011 season back to League Two
York City F.C.
York City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of York, North Yorkshire, England. The team compete in the National League, the tier of league football in England. First founded in 1908, the club played seven seasons in non-League football before folding in 1917, a new club was formed in 1922, and played in the Midland League for seven years before joining the Football League. They played in the third tier until 1959, when they were promoted for the first time, York achieved their best run in the FA Cup in 1954–55, when they met Newcastle United in the semi-final. They fluctuated between the Third and Fourth Divisions, before spending two seasons in the Second Division in the 1970s, York first played at Wembley Stadium in 1993, when they won the Third Division play-off final. At the end of 2003–04, they lost their Football League status after being relegated from the Third Division, the 2011–12 FA Trophy was the first national knockout competition won by York, and they returned into the Football League that season. York are nicknamed the Minstermen, after York Minster, and the team play in red kits. They played at Fulfordgate from 1922 to 1932, when moved to their current ground. The ground has been subject to numerous improvements over the years, York bought it back five years later, but the terms of the loan used to do so necessitated they move to a new ground. They are due to move into the York Community Stadium in 2018, York have had rivalries with numerous clubs, but their traditional rivals are Hull City and Scarborough. The clubs record holder is Barry Jackson, who made 539 appearances, while their leading scorer is Norman Wilkinson. York City Football Club was founded in 1908 as an amateur club and they left the Northern League after two seasons when joining the Yorkshire Combination to reduce travelling. The club turned professional in 1912 and purchased a new ground at Field View, York joined the Midland League, where they played for three seasons, rising as high as 10th-place in 1912–13. They played their season in 1914–15, after which the competition was suspended due to the First World War. The club into liquidation through the court in August 1917 after a creditor pressed for payment for the grounds stand. York ranked in 19th-place in 1922–23 and 1923–24, and entered the FA Cup for the first time in the latter, York played in the Midland League for seven seasons, achieving a highest finish of sixth, in 1924–25 and 1926–27. They surpassed the qualifying rounds of the FA Cup for the first time in 1926–27, the club made its first serious attempt for election into the Football League in May 1937, but this was unsuccessful as Barrow and Accrington Stanley were re-elected. However, the club was two years later, being elected into the Football League in June 1929 to replace Ashington in the Third Division North
Cheltenham Town F.C.
Cheltenham Town Football Club /ˈtʃɛltnəm ˈtaʊn/ is a professional association football club based in the town of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. The team compete in League Two, the tier of English football. Their nickname is The Robins, and the club is affiliated to the Gloucestershire County FA. Promoted to The Football League as Conference Premier champions in 1999, Cheltenham have played as high as League One and their best FA Cup run saw them reach the last 16 in 2002. The last piece of silverware won by the club was the National League title in 2015–2016 and its league status was lost with relegation in 2015, only for the team to return, as champions, a year later. Cheltenham has a history of prior to The Robins. In 1849, the first use of three referees in a match, two in field and one in tribune, was recorded in the town. However, the club was founded in 1887 by Albert Close White. The club spent its first three decades in local football, notable players from those days include cricketers Gilbert Jessop and brothers Charles Barnett and Edgar Barnett. In the early 1930s the club turned professional and joined the Birmingham Combination before joining the Southern League in 1935 and they won promotion to the Alliance Premier League in 1985, but were relegated seven years later. They were promoted back to the Conference in 1997 and two years later gained promotion to the Football League, after two mid-table finishes in Division Three they won via the playoffs and were promoted to Division Two. The appointment of Steve Cotterill as manager during the 1996–97 was the start of a period of success at the club resulted in Cotterill being their most successful manager. In 1997–98, Cheltenham finished runners-up in the Conference and were close to champions Halifax Town until the end of April 1998 and they secured a place at Wembley in the FA Trophy final, beating Southport 1–0 in front of a crowd of 27,000. In 1998–99 Cheltenham secured the Conference title and entry to the Football League, after two mid-table finishes in Division Three, Cheltenham finally won promotion to Division Two at the end of the 2001–02 season. Shortly after winning promotion, Cotterill left Cheltenham to join Stoke City as their manager, Cheltenham replaced Cotterill with first-team coach Graham Allner who had won the Conference championship with Kidderminster Harriers in 1994. Allner and assistant manager Mike Davis, who was assistant to Cotterill, were sacked in January 2003, after six months in the job. Cheltenham turned to Bobby Gould, one of the most experienced managers in English football whose exploits include an FA Cup victory with Wimbledon in 1988. Cheltenham continued to struggle, and defeat in their game of the season condemned the club to relegation back to Division Three after just one season
Grimsby Town F.C.
Grimsby Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in the seaside town of Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, England. The team compete in League Two, the tier of league football in England. They were formed in 1878 as Grimsby Pelham and later became Grimsby Town, the club is located at Blundell Park where it has been since 1898. They are the most successful of the three professional clubs in historic Lincolnshire, being the only one to play top-flight football. It is also the club of the three to reach an FA Cup semi-final It has also spent more time in the English games first. In 2008 Buckley took Grimsby to the again, but lost out to MK Dons in the final of the Football League Trophy. Grimsby managed to reach the Conference play-off final in both 2015 and 2016, after losing to Bristol Rovers they defeated Forest Green Rovers to earn promotion back to the Football League. Initial relegation back in 2010 made them the club to compete in all top five divisions of English football. Grimsbys claims to fame are that their 1939 FA Cup semi-final with Wolverhampton Wanderers attendance of 76,962 is still a record at Manchester Uniteds Old Trafford stadium and they were also the first English club to appoint a foreign manager doing so in 1954 with Hungarian manager Elemér Berkessy. The clubs record holder is John McDermott, who made 754 appearances between 1987 and 2007, while their leading scorer is Pat Glover, with 180 goals. Grimsby Town F. C. was formed in 1878 after a meeting held at the Wellington Arms public house in Freeman Street, Grimsby. Several attendees included members of the local Worsley Cricket Club who wanted to form a club to occupy the empty winter evenings after the cricket season had finished. The club was originally called Grimsby Pelham, this being the name of the Earl of Yarborough. In 1880 the club purchased land at Clee Park which was to become their ground until 1889 when they relocated to Abbey Park, before moving again in 1899 to their present home, Blundell Park. The original colours were blue and white hoops, which were changed to chocolate, in 1888 the club first played league football, joining the newly formed Combination. The league soon collapsed and the year the club applied to join the Football League. Instead the club joined the Football Alliance, in 1890 the club became a limited company and in 1892 finally entered the Football League, when it was expanded to two divisions. The first game was a 2–1 victory over Northwich Victoria, however they finished as champions at the first attempt and at the subsequent re-election vote, replaced local rivals Lincoln City in the Football League
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
Sheffield Wednesday F.C.
Sheffield Wednesday Football Club is a professional association football club based in Sheffield, England. The team competes in the Championship, the tier of the English football league system. Formed as an offshoot of The Wednesday Cricket Club in 1867, in 1868 they won the Cromwell Cup, only the second tournament of its kind, and in 1877 they won the inaugural Sheffield Challenge Cup, the oldest county cup in England. They were founding members and inaugural champions of the Football Alliance in 1889, in 1992 they became founder members of the Premier League. The club has spent most of its history in English footballs top flight. The Owls, as they are nicknamed, have won four league titles, Wednesday have also competed in UEFA cup competitions on four occasions, reaching the quarter-finals of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1963. Since 1899 the club has played its matches at Hillsborough stadium. Although no contemporary evidence has found to support the claim. Nevertheless, an 1842 article in Bells Life magazine states the club was founded as far back as 1816, the club was so named because it was on Wednesdays that the founding members had their day off work. They were initially based at the New Ground in Darnall, and often went by the name of Darnall Wednesday, in 1855 they were one of six clubs that helped build Bramall Lane, and held a wicket there for many years. The proposal proved very popular, with over 60 members signing up for the new team on the first night and they played their first match against The Mechanics on 19 October the same year, winning by three goals and four rouges to nil. On 1 February 1868, Wednesday played their first competitive match as they entered the Cromwell Cup. A week after their semi-final, they went on to win the cup, beating the Garrick club in the final after extra time, a key figure during the formative years of the football club was Charles Clegg, who joined the Wednesday in 1867. His relationship with the club lasted for the rest of his life and he also became president and chairman of the Football Association, and was known as the Napoleon of Football. In 1876 Wednesday acquired Scot James Lang, although he was not employed by the club, he was given a job by a member of the Sheffield Wednesday board that had no formal duties. He is now acknowledged as the first professional player in England. With Lang in their team the club became one of the strongest in the region. In 1880 the club entered the FA Cup for the first time, but although they had had Lang on their books a decade earlier, the club officially remained staunchly amateur, and this stance almost cost the club its very existence
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
Leeds United F.C.
Leeds United Football Club is a professional association football club in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. The club was formed in 1919 following the disbanding of Leeds City F. C. by the Football League and they play in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. Leeds United have won three First Division league titles, one FA Cup and one League Cup, the club has also won two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups. The majority of the honours were won under the management of Don Revie in the 1960s and 1970s, Leeds lost the 1975 European Cup Final against Bayern Munich and reached the semi-finals of the tournaments successor, the Champions League, in 2001. Leeds play in all-white kits, leading to their nickname being the whites, the clubs badge features the White Rose of York together with the monogram LUFC. The clubs anthem is Marching On Together, Leeds Uniteds predecessor team, Leeds City, was formed in 1904, and were elected League members in 1905. At first they found it hard to draw big crowds to Elland Road, in 1919, Leeds United was formed and they received an invitation to enter the Midland League, being voted into it on 31 October, taking the place vacated by Leeds City Reserves. Following Leeds Citys disbanding, Yorkshire Amateurs bought their stadium Elland Road, Yorkshire Amateurs offered to make way for the new team under the management of former player Dick Ray. The chairman of Huddersfield Town, Hilton Crowther loaned Leeds United £35,000 and he brought in Barnsleys manager Arthur Fairclough and on 26 February 1920, Dick Ray stepped down to become Faircloughs assistant. On 31 May 1920, Leeds United were elected to the Football League, over the following few years, they consolidated their position in the Second Division and in 1924 won the title and with it promotion to the First Division. They failed to establish themselves and were relegated in 1926–27, after their relegation, Fairclough resigned, which paved the way for Ray to return as manager. In the years up until the start of World War II Leeds were twice relegated, on 5 March 1935, Ray resigned and was replaced by Billy Hampson, who remained in charge for 12 years. In the 1946–47 season after the war, Leeds were relegated again, after this season, Hampson resigned and was replaced in April 1947 by Willis Edwards. In 1948, Sam Bolton replaced Ernest Pullan as the chairman of Leeds United, Edwards was moved to assistant manager in April 1948 after just one year as manager. He was replaced by Major Frank Buckley, Leeds remained in the Second Division until 1955–56, when they once again won promotion to the First Division, inspired by John Charles. Charles was hungry for success at the highest level, and manager Raich Carter was unable to convince him that Leeds could satisfy his ambitions, Charles was sold to Juventus for a then world record of £65,000. The loss of Charles resulted in Leeds being relegated to the Second Division in the 1959–60 season, in March 1961, the club appointed former player Don Revie as manager, following the resignation of Jack Taylor. His stewardship began in adverse circumstances, the club was in financial difficulty, Revie implemented a youth policy and a change of kit colour to an all-white strip in the style of Real Madrid, and Leeds soon won promotion to the First Division in 1963–64
Derby County F.C.
Derby County Football Club is a professional association football club based in Derby, Derbyshire, England. Their home matches are played at Pride Park Stadium, where the club moved in 1997. Derby County F. C. was founded in 1884, by William Morley, as an offshoot of Derbyshire County Cricket Club, it has spent all, additionally, the club was a strong force in the interwar years and won the 1945–46 FA Cup. Derby County F. C. was formed in 1884 as an offshoot of Derbyshire County Cricket Club in an attempt to give players and supporters a winter interest as well as secure the cricket club extra revenue. The original intention was to name the club Derbyshire County F. C. The opening day of the first ever season was 8 September 1888. They absorbed another Derby club, Derby Midland F. C. who had members of the Midland League, in 1891. Steve Bloomer, generally considered to be Derby Countys best-ever player, in 1895 the club moved to a new stadium, the Baseball Ground, which became their home for the next 102 years and adopted their traditional colours of black and white. Although Derby were inconsistent in the league, they did finish runners-up to Aston Villa in 1896 as well as achieving a number of third-place finishes. They were a force in the FA Cup, appearing in three finals in six years around the turn of the 20th century, though lost all three, in 1898,1899 and 1903. In 1914 they were relegated again, but instantly won the Second Division to get promoted, after two seasons, they were relegated yet again in 1921. Derby were one of clubs to close down after the outbreak of World War II but restarted in the early 1940s, in part due to the persistence of Jack Nicholas. In 1967, Brian Clough and Peter Taylor took over and led them to their greatest glory, though Derby did not retain their title the following season, they did reach the semi-finals of the European Cup, where they lost to Juventus. Cloughs frequent outspoken comments against footballs establishment eventually led to him falling out with the board of directors at the club, and Clough and Taylor left in October 1973. Such was their impact on the club that,37 years later, though they challenged well in their first season, Derby were soon hit hard by rising debts, falling attendances and dismal performances. However, Derby did manage to avoid going out of business, after relegation to the Third Division in May 1984, the club appointed Arthur Cox as manager. A lack of any investment from Maxwell quickly led to a decline. At this time, local newspaper businessman Lionel Pickering became the majority shareholder of the club, in 1992, Derby County paid £2
Brentford Football Club is a professional association football club based in Brentford, Greater London, England. The team play in the Championship, the tier of English football. It was founded on 10 October 1889 and plays its games at Griffin Park, its home stadium since 1904. Brentfords most successful spell came during the 1930s, when it achieved consecutive top six finishes in the First Division, Brentford have been FA Cup quarter-finalists on four occasions, and have been runners-up of the Football League Trophy on three occasions. As a result of a vote, by eight votes to five, taken six days later, the very first fixture, between Brentford FC and Kew FC, was on 23 November 1889. Due to ownership of the land changing hands, Brentford FC was on the lookout for a new ground after only 30 months, in October 1892, Benns Field – land behind The Plough PH Little Ealing Lane – in Little Ealing, was the clubs new home. The football club decided to move nearer to Brentford and in December 1894 it moved to Shotters Field – what is now Gunnersbury School, The Ride – and stayed there until April 1898. As the club grew, therefore entertaining larger crowds, a move to a ground with the chance of improving better spectator facilities, with under cover enclosures and changing rooms, was looked for. Boston Park Cricket Ground, in York Road, Brentford – what is now land along the east side of Ealing Road, finally, in January 1904, the club agreed a 21-year lease on an orchard, once owned by Chiswick brewers Fuller, Smith and Turner. The clearance of the orchard, over 200 trees, and the levelling of the land took several months, in August 1904 trial matches were played on the pitch. Then the first competitive match was played, a team game in the Western League v Plymouth Argyle. On 7 September 1904, Brentford and West Ham United played out a 0–0 draw, in the Southern League First Division, in 1920 it was a founder member of the Football League Third Division. In 1921–22, the Football League Third Division was regionalised and Brentford FC was placed in the Southern section, during the late 1920s and 1930s, the club began to make real progress. In the 1929–30 season, the side won all 21 of its matches in the Third Division South. It is the last of six teams in English football to amass a perfect record. After several more near-misses, promotion to the Second Division was finally achieved in 1932–33, Two years later, Brentford reached the First Division and finished 5th in its debut season – which is still the clubs highest ever league position – to complete a remarkable rise for the club. Under manager Harry Curtis and captain Arthur Bateman, Brentford achieved more impressive placings in the league for the rest of the decade before the Second World War interrupted. During the war, Brentford competed in the London War Cup, the club was relegated in the first season after the war, and a downward spiral set in, which culminated in relegation to the Third Division in 1953–54 and the Fourth Division in 1961–62
Preston North End F.C.
Preston North End Football Club is a professional association football club located in the Deepdale area of Preston, Lancashire. They play in the Championship, the tier of the English football league system. Prestons unbeaten League and Cup season earned them the nickname The Invincibles, Prestons most recent major trophy success was their FA Cup victory over Huddersfield Town in 1938. Many notable players have played for the club, including Tom Finney, Bill Shankly, Tommy Docherty, Alan Kelly, Sr. and Graham Alexander. On 21 January 1875, the club leased a field opposite Moor Park on the site of the current Deepdale stadium, Preston North End were famously successful during the early years of professional football in England. In 1887, Preston beat Hyde 26–0 in the First Round of the FA Cup, Preston forward Jimmy Ross scored eight goals in the match, going on to score 19 goals in the competition that season, also still a record. The clubs last major win was their FA Cup triumph in 1938. Prestons most famous player, Sir Tom Finney, played for the club between 1946 and 1960, Finney is considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time, and was also a local lad, dubbed the Preston Plumber due to his professional training as a plumber. Finney remains the top goalscorer, with 187 goals from 433 appearances. Following Finneys retirement, Preston were relegated to the Second Division in 1961 and have not played in the top division since, the club did reach the FA Cup final in 1964, but lost to West Ham United. Preston were relegated to the Third Division in the 1969–70 season, Alan Ball, Sr. John McGrath oversaw Prestons promotion back to the Third Division a year later, where they remained when John Beck took over in October 1992. The 38-year-old Beck had only recently been sacked by Cambridge United, the club almost made it two promotions in a row to reach the Premier League, but lost to Bolton Wanderers in the 2001 play-off final. Simon Grayson was appointed by the club on 18 February 2013, of Simon Graysons next 10 games, Preston won 3, drew 4 and lost 3. In Simon Graysons first summer in charge, he permanently signed 4 players, Tom Clarke, a centreback, Chris Humphrey, a winger, Kevin Davies, a Centre forward and Alex Nicholson. He also signed Declan Rudd on a long loan from Norwich City. He allowed 3 players to leave during the summer, those being Luke Foster, Chris Robertson, the 2013–14 season started off well, unbeaten in their first 9 league games. They also beat local rivals Blackpool in the League Cup, before being beaten by Lancashire rivals Burnley in the second round. The 9 league game unbeaten run came to an end on 5 October, against Peterborough United, Preston then went on another 9 game unbeaten league run, winning 5 and drawing 4, including a win against Leyton Orient, only their second league defeat of the season
Cardiff City F.C.
Cardiff City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Cardiff, Wales that competes in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. The club was founded in 1899 as Riverside A. F. C. before changing its name to Cardiff City in 1908 and they play their home games at the Cardiff City Stadium, after moving from Ninian Park in 2009. The club reverted to their traditional blue in January 2015 and they have long-standing rivalries with nearby clubs Swansea City, known as the South Wales derby, and Bristol City, known as the Severnside derby. The club was founded in 1899 as Riverside A. F. C and their first season saw them playing friendlies against local sides at their Sophia Gardens ground, but in 1900 they joined the Cardiff & District League for their first competitive season. To combat this they arranged to join the South Wales Amateur League in 1907, with the club growing in stature, they were forced to turn down the opportunity to join the newly formed Southern League Second Division due to the lack of facilities at their Sophia Gardens ground. The club eventually secured land to build their own stadium, moving into Ninian Park, the club made its first signing the following year with the acquisition of Jack Evans from fellow Welsh club Cwmparc. With the new ground in place, Cardiff joined the Southern League Second Division, and appointed their first manager in Davy McDougall, who became player-manager. They went on to finish in place in their first year in the league but the board decided to replace McDougall with Fred Stewart. In 1920, the club submitted an application to join the Football League and were placed into the Second Division for the 1920–21 season. Stewart brought in players with Football League experience, breaking the clubs transfer record on two occasions to sign Jimmy Gill and later Jimmy Blair from The Wednesday. In the 74th minute, after collecting a throw George MacLachlan, dan Lewis, the Arsenal goalkeeper, appeared to collect the ball but, under pressure from the advancing Len Davies, clumsily allowed the ball to roll through his grasp. In a further attempt to retrieve the ball Lewis only succeeded in knocking the ball with his elbow into his own net, captain Fred Keenor received the FA Cup trophy from King George V only seven years after Cardiff City had entered the Football League. However, he was unable to turn the fortunes around by the end of the season. McCandless left the club soon after and was replaced by Cyril Spiers who led the club to promotion the in 1951–52 season, however, despite spending five seasons in the First Division, the club continually struggled in the bottom half of the table and were eventually relegated in 1957. They returned to the First Division for two seasons between 1960 and 1962 before again suffering relegation, during the 1960s, Cardiff began qualifying for European competition for the first time as a result of winning the Welsh Cup. They went on to reach the quarter-finals before being knocked out by Real Zaragoza, despite their exploits in Europe, the club were still struggling in league competition under the stewardship of Jimmy Scoular, finishing in 20th position in the Second Division. After a 1–1 draw in the first leg, just over 43,000 fans turned out at Ninian Park to watch Hamburg win 3–2, during the 1970–71 season, Cardiff reached the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners Cup where they faced Spanish side Real Madrid. The first leg of the tie was held at Ninian Park where 47,000 fans watched one of the most famous victories in the history when Brian Clark headed in to give Cardiff a 1–0 win
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