Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies making it the worlds most popular sport, the game is played on a rectangular field with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by getting the ball into the opposing goal, players are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms while it is in play, unless they are goalkeepers. Other players mainly use their feet to strike or pass the ball, the team that scores the most goals by the end of the match wins. If the score is level at the end of the game, the Laws of the Game were originally codified in England by The Football Association in 1863. Association football is governed internationally by the International Federation of Association Football, the first written reference to the inflated ball used in the game was in the mid-14th century, Þe heued fro þe body went, Als it were a foteballe. The Online Etymology Dictionary states that the word soccer was split off in 1863, according to Partha Mazumdar, the term soccer originated in England, first appearing in the 1880s as an Oxford -er abbreviation of the word association. Within the English-speaking world, association football is now usually called football in the United Kingdom and mainly soccer in Canada and the United States. People in Australia, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand use either or both terms, although national associations in Australia and New Zealand now primarily use football for the formal name. According to FIFA, the Chinese competitive game cuju is the earliest form of football for which there is scientific evidence, cuju players could use any part of the body apart from hands and the intent was kicking a ball through an opening into a net. It was remarkably similar to football, though similarities to rugby occurred. During the Han Dynasty, cuju games were standardised and rules were established, phaininda and episkyros were Greek ball games. An image of an episkyros player depicted in low relief on a vase at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens appears on the UEFA European Championship Cup, athenaeus, writing in 228 AD, referenced the Roman ball game harpastum. Phaininda, episkyros and harpastum were played involving hands and violence and they all appear to have resembled rugby football, wrestling and volleyball more than what is recognizable as modern football. As with pre-codified mob football, the antecedent of all football codes. Non-competitive games included kemari in Japan, chuk-guk in Korea and woggabaliri in Australia, Association football in itself does not have a classical history. Notwithstanding any similarities to other games played around the world FIFA have recognised that no historical connection exists with any game played in antiquity outside Europe. The modern rules of football are based on the mid-19th century efforts to standardise the widely varying forms of football played in the public schools of England
Thatcham Town F.C.
Thatcham Town Football Club is an English football club based in Thatcham, Berkshire. It is a member of the Hellenic League Premier Division and plays at Waterside Park, the club was known as Thatcham at this time and added Town to its name later in 1974. The club joined the Reading Temperance League in 1896 where it remained for the next fifty-seven years, during this period, Thatcham also won the Reading Town Senior Cup, the Berks & Bucks Junior Cup in 1935–36 and was runner-up in the Reading & District Premier League. In 1949, the club purchased eleven acres of land off Northfield Road and this became known as Lancaster Close. Early in 1970, seven acres were sold and the used to finance the construction of a new clubhouse. In 1953, Thatcham became a member of the Hellenic League and was promoted to the Premier Division on three occasions as Division one champions in 1958–59, 1964–65 and 1972–73. In 1974, the changed its name from Thatcham. However, Thatcham was awarded the Cup by default because of a dispute between Wanderers and the Berks & Bucks FA, in 1983, floodlights were erected and were first used when Thatcham entertained Fulham at Lancaster Close in January that year. After a short stay in the Athenian League, the club spent two seasons in the London Spartan League before joining the newly formed Wessex League in 1986. In the 1988–89 season, Thatcham achieved its best result in the FA Vase by reaching the quarter finals, losing to local rivals Hungerford Town. Under the management of Jim Greenwood, in 1994-95, the set a Wessex League and club record when they went 33 league games unbeaten. The following season, in 1995–96, Jim Greenwood led Thatcham to the League Title, the following season saw the clubs best ever FA Cup run, reaching the Fourth Qualifying Round after defeating Southern Premier Gloucester City and Southern Division Bashley. In 1997, the reached the Final of the Wessex League Cup for the sixth time in eight years. In 2002–03, Thatcham was awarded the FA Community Standard Charter, Two seasons later, under new manager Jason Braidwood, the club reached three local Cup Finals, winning two of them, and finished third in the League. In the 2008–09 season, his first full season in charge, in June 2010, Thatcham appointed Colin Millard as manager. Millard left the club in October 2010, and Ackling returned to manage the club, in April 2011, Thatcham Town beat Tadley Calleva 4–1 to win The Basingstoke Senior Cup Final. This was played at the ground at Andover New Street, Thatcham won the competition again at the end of the 2011–12 season, beating Basingstoke New Inn 3–0 in the final. Thatcham Town plays its games at Waterside Park in Crookham Hill, Thatcham, Berkshire
Wantage Town F.C.
Wantage Town Football Club is a football club based in Wantage, Oxfordshire, that currently play in the Southern Football League Division One South & West. The club is affiliated to the Berks & Bucks Football Association The club was formed in 1892. The club started playing in the Swindon & District League, winning the Swindon Advertiser Cup in the 1903–04 and 1907–08 seasons, in 1909 they became one of the founder members of the North Berks Football League. After the First World War in the 1919–20 season, the club became joint winners of the North Berkshire league, with Abingdon Town, two seasons later the club would go on to win the league again, but this time without having to share the honour. After the Second World War the club continued to compete in the Swindon & District League, after their second league win the club joined the premier division of the Hellenic Football League. They remained in the Premier division until the end of the 1963–64 competition, the club regained promotion back to the Premier Division, when they finished as runners up in Division One at the end of the 1969–70 campaign. In the 1974–75 season the club made their debut in the FA Vase reaching the round before being knocked out by Clanfield. The club was relegated at the end of the 1975–76 campaign, and it took the club until the 1980–81 season to regain their Premiership status. From the 1981–82 to 1993–94 season they remained in the Premier Division except for the 1987–88, despite finishing fourth at the end of the 1993–94 campaign, the club was demoted to Division one as a result of their ground failing to have floodlights. The club two seasons later finished as runners-up in Division one and subsequently erected floodlights to allow them to be promoted back to the premier Division, the club then remained in the premiership until the end of the 2002–03 season when upon finishing bottom were relegated to Division one east. The 2002–03 season also saw the club enter the FA Cup for the first time, when they met Gosport Borough in the preliminary round, the following season the club bounced back up as Champions. The 2010–11 season saw the club become Hellenic league Premier Division champions, following a rocky start to life in the Southern League, in October 2014 long-standing Chairman Tony Woodward stood down for personal reasons. Club stalwarts Glyn Austin and John Culley were put in charge of the running of the club. Gary Ackling, Andy Lyne and their team followed Woodward out of the club. Reserve team Manager Daniel Barry and his Assistant Ian Lovegrove were promoted to undertake the job at the top. Wantage Town play their games at Alfredian Park, Manor Road. Oxford United Club website Club history
Burnham F. C. is a non-League football club from Burnham in Buckinghamshire, near Slough. They currently compete in the Hellenic League Premier Division, the team play in blue and white shirts and white shorts. The clubs chairman is Gary Reeves, home matches are played at The Gore. The Gore has been redeveloped, with a new stand. The club was founded in 1878, and so Burnham FC is the second oldest club in Buckinghamshire, the club spent its first years in various local leagues, and then joined the Great Western Combination league in 1948. 16 years later moved to the Wycombe Combination in 1964. In 1975–76 they were Premier Division champions, in 1977 they switched to the Athenian League, where they achieved two runners-up finishes, and also reached the semi-finals of the FA Vase. In 1984 Burnham switched leagues to the London Spartan League, where they were champions at the first attempt, the following year the club merged with Hillingdon Borough to form Burnham & Hillingdon F. C. taking over Hillingdons place in the Southern League. In 1987 the clubs name reverted simply to Burnham F. C. but performances on the pitch declined, Burnham have had modest success in cup competitions. Their best run in the FA Vase came in the 1982–83 season where they lost to Halesowen Town in a two legged semi-final, in 1999–2000 they reached the 4th round of the FA Trophy where they drew Scarborough, then residing in the Conference. Burnham managed a 1–1 draw at home before losing 6–0 in the replay, in the 2005–06 season Dave Mudges Burnham side achieved their best run in the FA Cup, losing 3–1 at home to Aldershot Town in the 1st round proper. The game was watched by one of the biggest crowds at Burnham in recent years, Burnham completed one of their best seasons in recent memory when they finished 3rd in the Southern League Division One South & West in 2006–07. Due to this position they entered the promotion playoffs but lost at home in the semi-final 1–2 to eventual playoff winners Swindon Supermarine. This outcome was mirrored three seasons later, when, under the guidance of Jamie Jarvis, the Blues again lost out in the semi-final of the play-offs. Martin Stone was appointed manager in December 2011 and under his stewardship the club enjoyed its most successful period. After winning the Wycombe Senior Cup in 2011-12 the 2012–13 season saw the club promotion to the Southern League Premier Division when they finished as champions of the Division One Central. This was to be the first time Burnham had ever played at level of football, but they had to reckon without top scorer Ryan Bird. Martin Stone resigned in January 2014 with the club 8th in the Southern League Premier Division, byron Walton, who most recently served as SYCOB manager before leaving in 2012, joined as General Manager
Brackley Town F.C.
Brackley Town Football Club is a football club based in Brackley, Northamptonshire, England. They are currently members of the National League North and play at St. James Park, established in 1890, the club spent much of the pre-World War I era in the Oxfordshire Senior League. After the war they switched to the North Bucks & District League, however, they rejoined the North Bucks League in 1974. In 1977 the club joined Division One of the Hellenic League and they won the leagues Knock-Out Cup in 1982–83, after which they switched to Division One of the United Counties League in 1983. They went on to win the division at the first attempt, although Brackley finished third-from-bottom of the Premier Division in their first season, the 1995–96 season saw them end the season as runners-up. The following season the club were champions, earning promotion to Division One Midlands of the Southern League. After one season they were transferred to Division One South, but were relegated back to the Hellenic League at the end of the 1998–99 season, which saw them finish bottom of the division. In 2003–04 Brackley won the Hellenic League for a time, as well as the Supplementary Cup, and were promoted back to the Southern League. A third-place finish in 2005–06 saw them qualify for the promotion play-offs, however, after beating Marlow 2–1 in the semi-finals, they lost 3–2 to Hemel Hempstead Town in the final. The club were transferred to Division One Midlands for the following season, in 2008–09 they reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time, losing 2–1 at Eastwood Town. After finishing fifth in 2009–10 the club qualified for the promotion play-offs again, the 2011–12 season saw Brackley win the Premier Division, earning promotion to the Conference North. They finished third in their first season in the division, in the subsequent promotion play-offs, they beat Altrincham 4–2 on aggregate in the semi-finals before losing 1–0 to FC Halifax Town in the final. The following season the club reached the first round of the FA Cup again, in the second round the club lost 3–2 at Macclesfield Town. Brackley reached the first round again in 2015–16, losing 4–1 to Newport County in a replay after a 2–2 draw in the first match, the 2016–17 FA Cup saw the club reach the second round after again beating Gillingham in a first-round replay. The clubs reserve team play under the name Brackley Town Saints and they joined Division One East of the league in 2014 under the name Brackley Town Development. After finishing as runners-up in their first season, they were promoted to the Premier Division, the club played at Manor Road from their establishment until 1968, when they moved to Buckingham Road, where player changed in the nearby Plough pub. In 1974 they moved to St. James Park on Churchill Way, floodlights were installed during the 1988–89 season. During their first spell in the Southern League a 300-seat stand was built on one touchline, the ground currently has a capacity of 3,500, of which 300 is seated and 1,500 covered
Windsor Football Club is an English football club formed in 2011 after Windsor & Eton folded. The club are current members of the Combined Counties League Premier Division, the club is affiliated to the Berks & Bucks Football Association. The new club was founded in 2011 and placed into the Combined Counties Football League Premier Division. In their first season Windsor FC finished as runners up, only one point behind champions Guildford City, the following season chairman Kevin Stott made the decision to remove the playing budget for the foreseeable future, stating the club had already lost its way. The decision was made after Stott attended the 2012 London Olympic Games and was humbled by the determination and passion of the Olympians. Stott decided that the focus had to be shifted from paying players to win games at grass-roots level to inspiring youth to be determined to win through passion and loyalty. With the budget removed the manager Keith Scott, his assistant Jim Melvin, mick Woodham stepped into the management void and began to build a squad. After steadying the ship Woodhams young squad finished 8th in the table, the following season Woodhams boys finished in the top six and won Windsor F. C. s first ever trophy, beating Reading Town 3–0 at Chesham United to lift the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy. Season 2015–16 is seen as a season with many of Woodhams original team moving to Step 4 clubs. Windsors home ground is Stag Meadow, St Leonards Road, Windsor, Berkshire, the football ground was placed there in 1911 following an order from the Monarchy that an area of The Great Park should have an area for football. The ground was leased to Windsor & Eton until their demise on 2 February 2011, Stag Meadow is a traditional non-League football ground with terraces all around the pitch and a small stand on one side. There is capacity for 4,500 inside the ground with 450 of these seated and 650 covered, there is also an officials bar and a supporters bar as well as a tea hut and club shop. The pitch is tended to by head groundsman Ian Gould whose company is in charge of the maintenance, bullivant had spent three seasons with Windsor and Eton FC and previously represented the British Universities. Note, Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules, players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality. In 2012 he finished out of 47 runners at the Mascot Grand National at Kempton Park Racecourse. Scotty has also completed the Windsor Half Marathon, walked 26 miles from Windsor Castle to White City and has also climbed Mount Snowden – all in aid of Thames Hospicecare and it is estimated Scotty has raised well in excess of £10k for charities. Season 2015–16 has seen Scotty laid low with a back injury. Windsor FC became the first football club in history to make their kit available on a car in 2014
Abingdon United F.C.
Abingdon United Football Club is a football club based in Abingdon-on-Thames, England. The club are members of the Hellenic League Division One West. The club was founded in 1946 by ex-servicemen as a rival to the already existing Abingdon Town at the Anchor pub on the bank of the River Thames. The new club joined Division One of the North Berks League, despite finishing ninth out of twelve clubs in Division One in 1947–48, they were relegated to Division Two. They went on to win Division Two in 1952–53, and were promoted back to Division One. In 1958 they moved up to the Hellenic League, where for the next 19 seasons the club remained in the division of the Hellenic League. After finishing third in 1976–77 they were promoted to the Premier Division and they stayed in the premier division until the 1980–81 season, in which they finished bottom and were relegated back to Division One. However, after a season in Division One, they made an immediate return. The club then remained in the Hellenic premier Division for another 24 seasons, the 1996–97 season saw the club win three trophies, the Hellenic Leagues Floodlit Cup, the Hellenic – Hungerford Cup and the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy. They retained the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy the following season, in 2005–06 the club finished third in the Premier Division, and were promoted to Division One South & West of the Southern League. The club remained in the Southern League Division One South & West until the end of the 2012–13 season, at the end of the 2015–16 season they were relegated to Division One East. Abingdon United play their games at the Northcourt Stadium in Northcourt Road. It has a capacity of 2,000, of which 158 is seated and 258 covered. C
Hellenic Football League
There is also one team each from Hampshire and Northamptonshire The league was established in 1953. In the 2000–01 season the Hellenic League absorbed the Chiltonian League and now has a Premier Division, Division One East, Division One West and three divisions for reserve teams. In the 2006–07 season the Hellenic League absorbed the Banbury District, starting with the 2004–05 re-organisation the Hellenic League became a step 5 and 6 league in the National League System. Premier Division clubs play at Step 5 level, which offers progression to the Southern Football League Division One for Premier Division winners who have the required ground status. Acceptance to HL Division One is also offered to teams playing in the various Step 7 County Leagues of the related Hellenic League area,50 teams play in the Hellenic Premier and Division Ones. 18 teams play at Veterans level The league started with only a Premier Division, for the 1971–72 season, Division One was split into Division One A and Division One B. The following season, Division One A and B were merged, after the 1999–2000 season, Division One was regionalised into East and West. The Hellenic League football cups are the Floodlit Cup, the Supplementary Cup and the Challenge Cup
English football league system
There are more than 140 individual leagues, containing more than 480 divisions. As there are no definitions of any level below 11, any references to the structure at level 12. The pyramid for womens football in England runs separately to nine tiers, the Football League was created in 1888 by Aston Villa director William McGregor. It was dominated by clubs who had supported professionalism. The twelve founding members consisted of six from Lancashire and six from the Midlands, no sides from the South including London initially participated. The system consists of a pyramid of leagues, bound together by the principle of promotion and relegation. A certain number of the most successful clubs in each league can rise to a higher league, in addition to sporting performance, promotion is usually contingent on meeting criteria set by the higher league, especially concerning appropriate facilities and finances. In theory it is possible for a local amateur club to rise to the pinnacle of the English game and become champions of the Premier League. While this may be unlikely in practice, there certainly is significant movement within the pyramid, the top five levels contain one division each and are nationwide in scope. Below this, the levels have progressively more leagues, with each covering progressively smaller geographic areas. Many leagues have more than one division, at the lower levels the existence of leagues becomes intermittent, although in some of the more densely populated areas there are leagues more than twenty layers below the Premier League. Clubs from these leagues may, if they feel they meet the standard of play and have suitable facilities. The seven levels immediately below the Premier League and English Football League are known as the National League System, in May 2014 The Football Association announced provisional plans for a new division between the English Football League and the National League which would include B teams of higher level clubs. The English football league system does not include the version of the game often called Sunday league football. These leagues are independent entities with no promotion or relegation involving the football pyramid, however, some Sunday League clubs have been known to join pyramid leagues if they desire to progress higher. There are also some Saturday leagues such as the Lincolnshire League which are not officially part of the pyramid, at the top is the single division of the Premier League, containing 20 clubs, all of which, up to the 2010–11 season, were based in England. Below the Premier League is the English Football League, which is divided into three divisions of 24 clubs each, The Championship, League One and League Two, the 92 clubs in the Premier League and English Football League are all full-time professional clubs. They are often referred to as League clubs because, before the establishment of the Premier League in 1992, clubs outside this group are referred to as non-League clubs, although they too play most of their football in league-type competitions
Highworth Town F.C.
Highworth Town FC is a football club based in Highworth, Wiltshire, England established in 1893. Is a member of the Hellenic League Premier Division, Highworth Town Football Club was formed in 1893. The 1950s saw Highworth make a dramatic rise through the football ranks. They won the Swindon & District League Third Division title again in 1954-55, One more season was needed to clinch the Division One title and also the Wilts Junior Cup. They reached the final of the Wilts Senior Cup for the first time in 1962-63, there was a switch to the Wilts Combination League, where they finished as Runners-Up in Division Two in 1970-71. 1972-73 saw another Wilts Senior Cup victory and all this success prompted them to join the Hellenic League and they achieved their first honours in 1988-89, winning the First Division Challenge Cup and reached the final of the Wilts Senior Cup yet again. They finally achieved Premier Division status in 1993-94 gaining promotion finishing third in Division One. However, their greatest achievement to date was in reaching the Semi-Final of the FA Vase in 2015, where they were knocked out by eventual winners, North Shields in a closely fought two-legged tie