Kit (association football)
In association football, kit is the standard equipment and attire worn by players. The sports Laws of the Game specify the minimum kit which a player must use, footballers generally wear identifying numbers on the backs of their shirts. Professional clubs also usually display players surnames or nicknames on their shirts, Football kit has evolved significantly since the early days of the sport when players typically wore thick cotton shirts, knickerbockers and heavy rigid leather boots. The Laws of the Game set out the equipment which must be worn by all players in Law 4. Five separate items are specified, shirt, shorts, socks, footwear, goalkeepers are allowed to wear tracksuit bottoms instead of shorts. While most players wear studded football boots, the Laws do not specify that these are required, shirts must have sleeves, and goalkeepers must wear shirts which are easily distinguishable from all other players and the match officials. Thermal undershorts may be worn, but must be the colour as the shorts themselves. Shin pads must be covered entirely by the stockings, be made of rubber, plastic or a similar material, and provide a reasonable degree of protection. The only other restriction on equipment defined in the Laws of the Game is the requirement that a player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player. In the event of a match between teams who would wear identical or similar colours the away team must change to a different colour. The England national team plays in red shirts even when it is not required. Many professional clubs also have a kit, ostensibly to be used if both their first-choice and away colours are deemed too similar to those of an opponent. Most professional clubs have retained the basic colour scheme for several decades. Teams representing countries in international competition generally wear national colours in common with other sporting teams of the same nation, shirts are normally made of a polyester mesh, which does not trap the sweat and body heat in the same way as a shirt made of a natural fibre. Depending on local rules, there may be restrictions on how large these logos may be or on what logos may be displayed, competitions such as the Premier League may also require players to wear patches on their sleeves depicting the logo of the competition. The captain of team is usually required to wear an elasticated armband around the left sleeve to identify him as the captain to the referee. Most current players wear specialist football boots, which can be either of leather or a synthetic material. Modern boots are cut slightly below the ankles, as opposed to the high-ankled boots used in former times, studs may be either moulded directly to the sole or be detachable, normally by means of a screw thread
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
Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, the capital city of England. The larger South Hampshire metropolitan area has a population of 1,547,000, Hampshire is notable for housing the birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force. It is bordered by Dorset to the west, Wiltshire to the north-west, Berkshire to the north, Surrey to the north-east, the southern boundary is the coastline of the English Channel and the Solent, facing the Isle of Wight. At its greatest size in 1890, Hampshire was the fifth largest county in England and it now has an overall area of 3,700 square kilometres, and measures about 86 kilometres east–west and 76 kilometres north–south. Hampshires tourist attractions include many seaside resorts and two parks, the New Forest and the South Downs. Hampshire has a maritime history and two of Europes largest ports, Portsmouth and Southampton, lie on its coast. The county is famed as home of writers Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, Hampshire takes its name from the settlement that is now the city of Southampton. Southampton was known in Old English as Hamtun, roughly meaning village-town, the old name was recorded in the Domesday book as Hantescire, and it is from this spelling that the modern abbreviation Hants derives. From 1889 until 1959, the county was named the County of Southampton and has also been known as Southamptonshire. The region is believed to have continuously occupied since the end of the last Ice Age about 12,000 BCE. At this time Britain was still attached to the European continent and was covered with deciduous woodland. The first inhabitants came overland from Europe, these were anatomically and behaviourally modern humans, notable sites from this period include Bouldnor Cliff. Agriculture had arrived in southern Britain by 4000 BCE, and with it a neolithic culture, some deforestation took place at that time, although it was during the Bronze Age, beginning in 2200 BCE, that this became more widespread and systematic. Hampshire has few monuments to show from early periods, although nearby Stonehenge was built in several phases at some time between 3100 BCE and 2200 BCE. It is maintained that by this period the people of Britain predominantly spoke a Celtic language, hillforts largely declined in importance in the second half of the second century BCE, with many being abandoned. Julius Caesar invaded southeastern England briefly in 55 and again in 54 BCE, notable sites from this period include Hengistbury Head, which was a major port. There is a Museum of the Iron Age in Andover, the Romans invaded Britain again in 43 CE, and Hampshire was incorporated into the Roman province of Britannia very quickly
The FA Cup, known officially as The Football Association Challenge Cup, is an annual knockout association football competition in mens domestic English football. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest association football competition in the world and it is organised by and named after The Football Association. For sponsorship reasons, from 2015 through to 2018 it is known as The Emirates FA Cup. A concurrent womens tournament is held, the FA Womens Cup. A record 763 clubs competed in 2011–12, the tournament consists of 12 randomly drawn rounds followed by the semi-finals and the final. The last entrants are the Premier League and Championship clubs, into the draw for the Third Round Proper, in the modern era, only one non-league team has ever reached the quarter finals, and teams below Level 2 have never reached the final. As a result, as well as who wins, significant focus is given to those minnows who progress furthest, especially if they achieve an unlikely giant-killing victory. Winners receive the FA Cup trophy, of which there have two designs and five actual cups, the latest is a 2014 replica of the second design. Winners also qualify for European football and a place in the FA Community Shield match, in 1863, the newly founded Football Association published the Laws of the Game of Association Football, unifying the various different rules in use before then. On 20 July 1871, in the offices of The Sportsman newspaper, the inaugural FA Cup tournament kicked off in November 1871. After thirteen games in all, Wanderers were crowned the winners in the final, Wanderers retained the trophy the following year. The modern cup was beginning to be established by the 1888–89 season, following the 1914–15 edition, the competition was suspended due to the First World War, and did not resume until 1919–20. The 1922–23 competition saw the first final to be played in the newly opened Wembley Stadium, due to the outbreak of World War II, the competition was not played between the 1938–39 and 1945–46 editions. Having previously featured replays, the modern day practice of ensuring the semi-final and final matches finish on the day, was introduced from 2000 onwards. Redevelopment of Wembley saw the final played outside of England for the first time, the final returned to Wembley in 2007, followed by the semi-finals from 2008. The competition is open to any club down to Level 10 of the English football league system which meets the eligibility criteria, all clubs in the top four levels are automatically eligible. Clubs in the six levels are also eligible provided they have played in either the FA Cup. Newly formed clubs, such as F. C. United of Manchester in 2005–06 and also 2006–07, all clubs entering the competition must also have a suitable stadium
Their home ground since 2001 has been St Marys Stadium, before which they were based at The Dell. Southampton has a rivalry with Portsmouth due to its close proximity. Matches between the two sides are known as the South Coast derby, the club has won the FA Cup once, in 1976, and their highest-ever league finish was second in the First Division in 1983–84. Southampton were relegated from the Premier League on 15 May 2005 and they returned after a seven-year absence, and have played there ever since. Southampton were founded at St. Marys Church, on 21 November 1885 by members of the St. Marys Church of England Young Mens Association. More important matches, such as cup games, were played either at the County Cricket Ground in Northlands Road or the Antelope Cricket Ground in St Marys Road. During this time, they moved to a newly built £10,000 stadium called The Dell, the club reached the first of their four FA Cup Finals in 1900. On that day, they went down 4–0 to Bury and two later they would suffer a similar fate at the hands of Sheffield United as they were beaten 2–1 in a replay of the 1902 final. After World War I, Saints joined the newly formed Football League Third Division in 1920 which split into South and North sections a year later, the 1921–22 season ended in triumph with promotion and marked the beginning of a 31-year stay in the Second Division. The 1922–23 season was a unique Even Season –14 wins,14 draws and 14 defeats for a total of 42 points, goals for and against statistics were also equal and the team finished in mid-table. In 1925 and 1927, they reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, losing 2–0 and 2–1 to Sheffield United, in the 1948–49 and 1949–50 seasons, Charlie Wayman rattled in a total of 56 goals. Then relegation in 1953 sent Saints sliding back into Division 3 and it took until 1960 for Saints to regain Second Division status with Derek Reeves plundering 39 of the champions’106 league goals. On 27 April 1963 a crowd of 68,000 at Villa Park saw them lose 1–0 to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final. In 1966, when Ted Bates’ team were promoted to the First Division as runners-up, for the following campaign Ron Davies arrived to score 43 goals in his first season. Saints stayed among the elite for eight years, with the highest finishing position being seventh place in 1968–69 and again in 1970–71. These finishes were high enough for them to qualify for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969–70 and its successor, the UEFA Cup in 1971–72, in December 1973, Bates stood down to be replaced by his assistant Lawrie McMenemy. The Saints were one of the first victims of the new three-down relegation system in 1974, the following season, they played in Europe again in the Cup Winners Cup, reaching Round 3 where they lost 2–3 on aggregate to Anderlecht. In 1977–78, captained by Alan Ball, Saints finished runners-up in the Second Division and they finished comfortably in 14th place in their first season back in the top flight
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
The competition was instigated in 1969 to cater for those non-league clubs that paid their players and were therefore not eligible to enter the FA Amateur Cup. This covers the National League, the Southern League, Isthmian League, the final of the competition was held at the original Wembley Stadium from the tournaments instigation until the stadium closed in 2000. The final has been played at the new Wembley Stadium since its opening in 2007, the record for the most FA Trophy wins is shared by Woking and two defunct clubs, Scarborough and Telford United, with three victories each. The Trophy is currently held by FC Halifax Town who beat Grimsby Town F. C. in the 2016 final, the competition was created by the Football Association in 1969 to afford semi-professional teams an opportunity to compete for the chance to play at Wembley Stadium. The first winners of the competition were Macclesfield Town of the Northern Premier League, Northern Premier League clubs dominated the first decade of the competition, with Telford United the only Southern League team to break the northern clubs hold on the competition. In the early years of its existence the competition struggled to achieve the level of prestige as the long-established Amateur Cup. In 1974 the FA abolished the distinction between official professional and amateur status and discontinued the Amateur Cup, and the Trophy soon had 300 entrants and this figure was gradually reduced until by 1991 only around 120 clubs took part. Telford Uniteds win in 1989 made them the team to win the Trophy three times. Between 1990 and 2000 three more teams claimed multiple wins, as of 2001 the competition was sponsored by Umbro, in the 2007-08 season it was sponsored by Carlsberg. The competition is a tournament with pairings drawn at random. If a match is drawn, there is a replay, usually at the ground of the team played away from home for the first game. Drawn replays are now settled with extra time and penalty shootouts, originally the competition included as many qualifying rounds as were required to reduce the number of teams to 32. In 1999 the format was amended to match that of the FA Cup, with six rounds prior to the semi-final stage, albeit without qualifying rounds. Teams from the Football Conference received byes through the early rounds, as of 2008–09 the competition featured four qualifying rounds and four rounds proper before the semi-finals. The FA pays prize money to all teams win at least one match in the Trophy competition. In the 2014-15 season the prize for the 64 preliminary round winners was £2,500, the final was traditionally held at the original Wembley Stadium, but was moved to Villa Park during Wembleys redevelopment, and a final was also played at West Ham Uniteds Boleyn Ground. In 2007 the final moved to the new Wembley Stadium, Scarborough, Telford United, and Woking share the record for the most victories in the final. In 1985 Wealdstone became the first team to win the Non-League Double of FA Trophy, since then Colchester United in 1992 and Wycombe Wanderers in 1993 have equalled Wealdstones achievement
Away colours are a choice of coloured clothing used in team sports. They are required to be worn by one team during a game between teams that would wear the same colours as each other, or similar colours. This change prevents confusion for officials, players, and spectators, in most sports it is the visiting team that must change – second-choice kits are commonly known as away kits or change kits in British English, and road uniforms in American English. Some sports leagues mandate that teams must always wear an alternative kit. In some sports, conventionally the home team has changed its kit, in most cases, a team wears its away kit only when its primary kit would clash with the colours of the home team. However, sometimes teams wear away colours by choice, occasionally even in a home game, at some clubs, the away kit has become more popular than the home version. Replica home and away kits are available for fans to buy. Some teams also have produced third-choice kits, or even old-fashioned throwback uniforms, in American sports, road teams usually wear a change uniform regardless of a potential colour clash. Further, almost all road uniforms are white in American football, in the National Basketball Association, home uniforms are white or yellow, and visiting teams wear a darker colour. In the United States, color vs. color games are a rarity, most teams choose to wear their color jerseys at home, with the road team changing to white in most cases. White road uniforms gained prominence with the rise of television in the 1950s, a white vs. color game was easier to follow in black-and-white. According to Phil Hecken, until the mid 1950′s, not only was color versus color common in the NFL, even long after the advent of color television, the use of white jerseys has remained in almost every game. The NFLs current rules require that a home jerseys must be either white or official team color throughout the season. If a team insists on wearing its home uniforms on the road, the road team might instead wear a third jersey, such as the Seattle Seahawks Wolf Grey alternate. According to the Gridiron Uniform Database, the Cleveland Browns wore white for home game of the 1955 season. The only times they wore brown was for games at Philadelphia and the New York Giants, in 1964 the Baltimore Colts, Browns, Vikings and Rams wore white regularly for their home games according to Tim Brulias research. The St. Louis Cardinals wore white for several of their home games, until 1964 Dallas had worn blue at home, but it was not an official rule that teams should wear their colored jerseys at home. The use of white jerseys was instigated by general manager Tex Schramm, the Cowboys still wear white at home today
Gosport Borough F.C.
Gosport Borough Football Club is a semi-professional football club based in Gosport, Hampshire, England. The club is affiliated to the Hampshire Football Association, and is a FA Charter Standard Community Club and they currently compete in the National League South, the sixth tier of English football. Gosport Borough Athletic Club were founded in 1944 in an initiative to bring back organised football, athletics, in their first season, the football section of the Club won the Portsmouth and District League Division One under the guidance of former Southampton player, Stan Cribb. The line-up at that time included Jimmy Scoular and Peter Harris, for their second season, the Club were accepted into the Hampshire League and won the Division One title at their first attempt. This feat was not repeated for thirty-one seasons, despite the club being a force in Hampshire football during that period. In the teams first four seasons they never finished outside the top four, two years later Gosport lost their Premier Division status and were relegated to the Southern Division. However, the season saw the team bounce straight back after an incredible run of sixteen wins in their final nineteen matches. Boro still needed to win the match to be certain of promotion and, in front of a home crowd in excess of 1,500. In the 1987–88 season the team were again threatened with relegation. However, a run in the Hampshire Senior Cup that took the all the way to the final – played at The Dell, home of then-Premier League club Southampton. Victory over favourites Farnborough in the final was followed by a run of results in the league – lifting the team out of trouble to remain in the Premier Division. The club enjoyed their highest ever finish in the 1988–89 season, unfortunately, a mass exodus of players and a change in the management saw the team relegated to the Southern Division the following season, before a further relegation to the Wessex League in 1992. Following relegation the Chairman at the time, Ian Hay, appointed Roger Sherwood as manager, although Boro had three good seasons under Sherwood, the Wessex League Cup in 1992–93 was, in his first season in charge, his only major success. In 1997, Boro approached Gomer Football Club, a youth club. Nevertheless, Boros position in the Wessex League continued to deteriorate, dave Pitt and Barry Cook resigned in October 1999 after a particularly difficult start to the 1999–2000 season. John Hawes became Chairman of the club, but resigned from position after one year to return to his coaching role. During this period, Ian Hay restructured the clubs finances and implemented a new and relatively unique Trustee Scheme, dave Taviner, another former player, took over as caretaker manager until former reserve team manager Mick Marsh was appointed as the new first team manager in December 1999. At the start of the 2000–01 season, Vice-Chairman John Stimpson was elected to the Chairmanship of the club and he immediately agreed with Marsh that the club should continue to develop young local players and also look to include a mix of more experienced players in the first team
Sholing Football Club is a semi-professional English football club based in Sholing, Southampton, Hampshire. Formerly known as Vosper Thorneycroft FC and later VTFC the club changed its name in 2010 to Sholing FC, in 2013–14 they won both the FA Vase and the Wessex League Premier Division having twice been runners up, in 2007 and 2009. They are currently members of the Wessex League Premier Division, the club has twice won the Hampshire League, in 2001 and 2004. Sholing are also 7 times Southampton Senior Cup Winners, Vosper Thorneycroft were formed in 1960 as a successor to Thornycrofts, which had folded eight years earlier, although teams from the Woolston Works had competed as early as 1878 under various names. During one remarkable season in 1920, they held Burnley to a 0–0 draw in the FA Cup, in its post 1960 incarnation they initially played in the Southampton Junior League. After a number of years, they were promoted to the Hampshire League Third Division in 1991, rising to the Second Division the following season. A year later they were relegated when the league was re-organised, in 2003 Vospers were renamed as VT FC, after their parent company, and in their first season under their new name they were Hampshire League champions and won promotion to the Wessex League. After winning the Wessex League Cup in 2005, VTFC were league runners-up in 2008 and 2009, VTFC arrived in the Southern League Division One South and West for the 2009–10 season when they finished 4th. They lost in the subsequent play-offs to Bridgwater Town and were also runners-up in the Southern League Cup, in June 2010 the club changed its name to Sholing F. C. as the parent company VT Group no longer existed. The change also reflected the district in which the club is based and they also finished as champions of the Wessex League Premier Division and secured promotion back to the Southern League for 2014–15. Three players retired after the Wembley final and three moved to other clubs in higher leagues, so 2014–15 was going to be a transition season. The club finished 17th and reached the final of the Hampshire Senior Cup, at the end of the season it was revealed that the clubs ground did not meet the new FA Step 4 grading criteria and once again Sholing were placed in the Wessex League for 2015–16. Sholing finished as runners-up to Salisbury in the Wessex League Premier Division 2015–16, the Boatmen won 10 of their last 11 games to pip Blackfield & Andover to second place. Dan Mason finished as top scorer with 39 goals, placing him second in the League golden boot competition. As promotion was not applied for, the club remain in the Wessex Premier League for 2016–17. Sholing play their games at the Universal Stadium, Portsmouth Road, Southampton, Hampshire. The ground has covered seating for 150 supporters and a terrace for another 100. There is hard standing around the length of the pitch, work will take place in 2016 to increase the number of covered standing areas
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
St Mary's Stadium
St. Marys Stadium in Southampton, England, has been the home stadium of Premier League club, Southampton F. C. since 2001. The stadium has a capacity of 32,505 and is currently the largest football stadium in the south of England, outside of London. Construction started in December 1999 and was completed at the end of July 2001, with work on the stadium itself, the first match was played on 1 August 2001 against RCD Espanyol, with the Spanish side winning 4–3. The first competitive hat trick at the stadium was scored by Stafford Browne for Aldershot Town in a 3–1 victory over Havant & Waterlooville in the Hampshire Senior Cup final on 1 May 2002, the stadium is a complete bowl, with all stands of equal height. There are two screens at either end that can be seen from any seat. The stadium has four stands, which are named after the areas of Southampton they face, the main stand is the Itchen Stand, and faces the River Itchen. The opposite stand is called the Kingsland Stand, behind the south goal is the Chapel Stand, and to the north is the Northam Stand. At the rear of the Chapel, Kingsland and Northam Stands, there is a continuous, a large section of the roof at the Chapel Stand, at the southern end of the stadium is also translucent, for the same reason. At the rear of the Itchen Stand, there are 42 executive boxes, the stand also houses the clubs offices, changing rooms, press facilities and corporate hospitality suites. Visitors can be given up to 4,250 seats for cup games, the official ground name at opening was The Friends Provident St Marys Stadium. Initially the club wanted the ground to be named purely after the sponsors, in 2006 the new sponsor Flybe. com did not choose to purchase the naming rights to the stadium, meaning it reverted to the name St Marys Stadium. The ground has a capacity of 32,505, including the press. Because of the segregation between home and away fans in the Northam Stand, it is unlikely the full capacity will ever be reached for a competitive match. The current record attendance was for the Football League Championship match between Southampton and Coventry City on 28 April 2012, when 32,363 spectators attended, the lowest league record was Southampton versus Sheffield United, when just 13,257 attended. When the club had lower league position this had a impact on attendances, although the visit of Exeter City on Boxing Day,2009 in a League One fixture. The overall average attendance for the season was 20,982. During the 2010–11 League One campaign the lowest attendance was 18,623 against Yeovil, all stands, apart from the Itchen stand, can be built upon and expanded. Overall this would give a capacity of around 50,000, and would cost a similar amount to how much it cost to build the stadium in the first place