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
UEFA Europa League
The UEFA Europa League, previously called the UEFA Cup, is an annual football club competition organized by UEFA since 1971 for eligible European football clubs. Clubs qualify for the competition based on their performance in their national leagues, previously called the UEFA Cup, the competition has been known as the UEFA Europa League since the 2009–10 season, following a change in format. For UEFA footballing records purposes, the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League are considered the same competition, in 1999, the UEFA Cup Winners Cup was abolished and merged with the UEFA Cup. For the 2004–05 competition a group stage was added prior to the knockout phase, the 2009 re-branding included a merge with the UEFA Intertoto Cup, producing an enlarged competition format, with an expanded group stage and changed qualifying criteria. The winner enters at least at the round, and will enter the group stage if the berth reserved for the Champions League title holders is not used. The title has been won by 27 different clubs,12 of which have won the more than once. The UEFA Cup was preceded by the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, which was a European football competition played between 1955 and 1971, the competition grew from 11 teams during the first cup to 64 teams by the last cup which was played in 1970–71. It had become so important on the European football scene that in the end it was taken over by UEFA, the UEFA Cup was first played in the 1971–72 season, with an all-English final of Wolverhampton Wanderers versus Tottenham Hotspur, with Spurs taking the first honours. The title was retained by another English club, Liverpool in 1973, Borussia would win the competition in 1975 and 1979, and reach the final again in 1980. Liverpool won the competition for the time in 1976, beating Club Brugge in the final. During the 1980s, IFK Göteborg and Real Madrid won the competition twice each,1989 saw the commencement of the Italian clubs domination, when Maradonas Napoli beat Stuttgart. The 1990s started with two finals, and in 1992, Torino lost the final to Ajax on the away goals rule. Juventus won the competition for a time in 1993 and Internazionale kept the cup in Italy the following year. 1995 saw a third final, with Parma proving their consistency. The only final with no Italians during that decade was in 1996, Parma won the cup in 1999, which ended the Italian club era. Liverpool won the competition for the time in 2001 and Porto triumphed in the 2003 and 2011 tournaments. In 2004, the cup returned to Spain with Valencia being victorious, either side of Sevillas success, two Russian teams, CSKA Moscow in 2005 and Zenit Saint Petersburg in 2008, had their glory and yet another former Soviet club, Ukraines Shakhtar Donetsk, won in 2009. Atlético Madrid would themselves win twice in three seasons, in 2010 and 2012, the latter in another all-Spanish final, in 2013, Chelsea would become the first Champions League holders to win the UEFA Cup/Europa League the following year
Manchester City F.C.
Manchester City Football Club is a football club in Manchester, England. Founded in 1880 as St. Marks, they became Ardwick Association Football Club in 1887, the club moved to the City of Manchester Stadium in 2003, having played at Maine Road since 1923. After losing the 1981 FA Cup Final, the club went through a period of decline, having regained their Premier League status in the early 2000s, the club was purchased in 2008 by Abu Dhabi United Group and has become one of the wealthiest in the world. Since 2011 the club have won five major honours, including the Premier League in 2012 and 2014, by 2014–15, Manchester City had the sixth-highest revenue in the footballing world with an annual revenue of €463.5 million. In 2016, Forbes magazine estimated they were the sixth most valuable football club. City gained their first honours by winning the Second Division in 1899, with it promotion to the highest level in English football. A fire at Hyde Road destroyed the main stand in 1920, in the 1930s, Manchester City reached two consecutive FA Cup finals, losing to Everton in 1933, before claiming the Cup by beating Portsmouth in 1934. The club won the First Division title for the first time in 1937, after relegation to the Second Division in 1963, the future looked bleak with a record low home attendance of 8,015 against Swindon Town in January 1965. In the summer of 1965, the management team of Joe Mercer, in the first season under Mercer, City won the Second Division title and made important signings in Mike Summerbee and Colin Bell. Further trophies followed, City won the FA Cup in 1969, before achieving European success by winning the European Cup Winners Cup in 1970, beating Górnik Zabrze 2–1 in Vienna. City also won the League Cup that season, becoming the second English team to win a European trophy, the club continued to challenge for honours throughout the 1970s, finishing one point behind the league champions on two occasions and reaching the final of the 1974 League Cup. Former United player Denis Law scored with a backheel to give City a 1–0 win at Old Trafford, the final trophy of the clubs most successful period was won in 1976, when Newcastle United were beaten 2–1 in the League Cup final. A long period of decline followed the success of the 1960s and 1970s, Malcolm Allison rejoined the club to become manager for the second time in 1979, but squandered large sums of money on unsuccessful signings, such as Steve Daley. A succession of managers then followed – seven in the 1980s alone, under John Bond, City reached the 1981 FA Cup final but lost in a replay to Tottenham Hotspur. The club were relegated from the top flight in the 1980s. However, this was only a respite, and following Reids departure Manchester Citys fortunes continued to fade. City were co-founders of the Premier League upon its creation in 1992, after two seasons in Division One, City fell to the lowest point in their history, becoming the second ever European trophy winners to be relegated to their countrys third league tier, after 1. After relegation, the club underwent off-the-field upheaval, with new chairman David Bernstein introducing greater fiscal discipline, under manager Joe Royle, City were promoted at the first attempt, achieved in dramatic fashion in a play-off against Gillingham
Liverpool Football Club is a professional association football club based in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. They compete in the Premier League, the top tier of English football, the club has won 5 European Cups,3 UEFA Cups,3 UEFA Super Cups,18 League titles,7 FA Cups, a record 8 League Cups, and 15 FA Community Shields. The club was founded in 1892 and joined the Football League the following year, the club has played at Anfield since its formation. The club holds many long-standing rivalries, most notably the North West Derby against Manchester United, the clubs supporters have been involved in two major tragedies. The second was the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, where 96 Liverpool supporters died in a crush against perimeter fencing, the team changed from red shirts and white shorts to an all-red home strip in 1964 which has been used ever since. The clubs anthem is Youll Never Walk Alone, Liverpool F. C. was founded following a dispute between the Everton committee and John Houlding, club president and owner of the land at Anfield. After eight years at the stadium, Everton relocated to Goodison Park in 1892, the team won the Lancashire League in its début season, and joined the Football League Second Division at the start of the 1893–94 season. After finishing in first place the club was promoted to the First Division, Liverpool reached its first FA Cup Final in 1914, losing 1–0 to Burnley. Liverpool suffered its second Cup Final defeat in 1950, playing against Arsenal, the club was relegated to the Second Division in the 1953–54 season. Soon after Liverpool lost 2–1 to non-league Worcester City in the 1958–59 FA Cup, the club was promoted back into the First Division in 1962 and won it in 1964, for the first time in 17 years. In 1965, the club won its first FA Cup, in 1966, the club won the First Division but lost to Borussia Dortmund in the European Cup Winners Cup final. Liverpool won both the League and the UEFA Cup during the 1972–73 season, and the FA Cup again a year later, Shankly retired soon afterwards and was replaced by his assistant, Bob Paisley. In 1976, Paisleys second season as manager, the club won another League, the following season, the club retained the League title and won the European Cup for the first time, but it lost in the 1977 FA Cup Final. Liverpool retained the European Cup in 1978 and regained the First Division title in 1979, Paisley retired in 1983 and was replaced by his assistant, Joe Fagan. Liverpool won the League, League Cup and European Cup in Fagans first season, Liverpool reached the European Cup final again in 1985, against Juventus at the Heysel Stadium. Before kick-off, Liverpool fans breached a fence separated the two groups of supporters, and charged the Juventus fans. The resulting weight of people caused a wall to collapse, killing 39 fans. The incident became known as the Heysel Stadium disaster, the match was played in spite of protests by both managers, and Liverpool lost 1–0 to Juventus
Sky Sports is a group of sports television channels operated by the satellite pay-TV company Sky plc. Sky Sports is the dominant subscription television sports brand in the United Kingdom, Sky Sports 1,2,3,4 and 5 are available as a premium package on top of the basic Sky package. These channels are available as premium on nearly every satellite, cable and IPTV broadcasting system in the UK. Sky Sports News HQ and Sky Sports Mix are both provided as part of basic packages, the Sky Sports network is managed by Barney Francis. At launch on 5 February 1989, Sky Television operated Eurosport as a 50/50 joint venture with the European Broadcasting Union, however, the service had encountered a legal challenge from rival sports channel Screensport, a joint venture between WH Smith Television and Americas ESPN network. Subtitled as The European Sports Network, the channel was available on the Astra satellite. Screensports contention was that the involvement of the EBU with Skys Eurosport channel had the effect of restricting and distorting competition in the sports market, the European Commission agreed, and the Eurosport joint venture ceased broadcasting in early 1991. The Sports Channel was part of the BSB channel line-up, the Sports Channel survived BSBs merger with Sky Television to become one of the five channels operated by the consolidated British Sky Broadcasting. In the BSB years, it shared the frequency with its underpromoted sister channel, The Computer Channel. The channel is seen as a presuccessor of Sky Sports, with Sky owning any archive recordings made by the channel, an example of this was a 1996 retro screening of Liverpool and Evertons 1991 FA Cup 4-4 draw between the sides. The commentary was taken from the original BSB Sports Channel alongside on-screen captions, the channel was sold as one of the major draws of the Sky system and initially aired sports such as rugby and golf in 1991, before acquiring rights to German and Italian league football in 1996. The channel was initially encrypted but broadcast free-to-view, requiring an analogue VideoCrypt decoder, since VideoCrypt decoders were only officially available within the UK, this measure was intended to prevent viewing of the service outside the UK and Ireland. However, it was following the formation of the Premier League for the 1992/93 football season, believed to have been assisted by the promise of higher TV payments, that Sky Sports became well known. By bidding £304m, BSkyB beat the BBC and ITV to acquire the live and exclusive Premier League football broadcasting rights for the United Kingdom, in doing so, they had taken live top-flight English league football from terrestrial and free-to-air television for the first time in its history. At this point, Sky Sports became a channel, available with a monthly subscription on a standalone basis. Sky Sports 1 mainly broadcasts football, Sky launched its second sport-dedicated channel, Sky Sports 2 on 19 August 1994, three years after the original channel launched on the Marcopolo satellite on BSB. As a result, Sky Sports was renamed as Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports 2 mainly broadcasts Cricket and Rugby Union. Sky Sports Gold, a dedicated to classic sport, in a similar vein to ESPN Classic
Channel 5 (UK)
Channel 5 is a British commercial television network. It was launched in 1997, and was the national terrestrial analogue network in the United Kingdom after BBC One, BBC Two, ITV. It is generally the network in the country in audience share. The station was branded as Five between 2002 and 2011, when it was owned by the RTL Group, on 1 May 2014 the channel was acquired by Viacom for £450 million. Well Take It Away. and Gibraltar, Britain in the Sun, the station has been very successful with imports from the United States in particular, including the CSI franchise, the NCIS franchise, the first 3 series in the Law & Order franchise. Power Rangers, The Mentalist, Body of Proof, Once Upon a Time, Dallas, in July 2014, Channel 5 announced plans to open up its production arm and allow it to create shows for other channels, aping the BBC and ITV Studios. Channel 5 Broadcasting Limited was licensed by the UK Government in 1995 after a process that started in 1993. The difficulty with the lay in use of television broadcast frequencies that had been allocated to RF outputs from domestic videocassette recorders. To achieve national coverage, large numbers of domestic video recorders had to be retuned or fitted with a filter, the project was revived in mid-1994 when the ITC re-advertised the franchise. Lord Hollick, then chief executive of Meridian Broadcasting took up the project as lead investor as UK law prohibited Time Warner from owning more than 25%, pearson Television, who by now owned original licence bidders Thames Television, also came on board. When McGrath left to become President of Paramount, Time Warner dropped out of the project and was replaced by CLT, the channel would be both modern and mainstream. After re-tuning around 65% of the populations televisions could view the channel on launch night, the channels launch on Easter Sunday 1997 at 6pm featured the Spice Girls singing a re-written version of Manfred Manns hit 5-4-3-2-1 as 1-2-3-4-5. Presenters Tim Vine and Julia Bradbury introduced the nation to the UKs fifth terrestrial channel with half an hour of previews, on 16 September 2002, Channel 5 re-branded to Five, in a multimillion-pound project directed by Trevor Beattie. The channels director of marketing at the time, David Pullen, said, On 27 February 2004, it was reported that Five, Channel 4 and Five announced in November of that year that merger plans were being called off. Early in 2009, rumours started re-surfacing about Five, Channel 4, pearson Television and CLT later merged, becoming RTL Group who became part of Bertelsmann and, control the network, after buying UBMs 35. 4% stake for £247.6 million on 20 July 2005. The acquisition was approved on 26 August 2005, after Holleck became involved, he and McGrath brought on board Greg Dyke as interim CEO during the application and launch phase of the project. On 18 November 2005, it was announced that Five had bought a stake in DTTs pay-TV operator and it was said that the investment may lead to the development of new free and pay services on DTT, and other platforms. The channel previously aired pre-school shows under the Milkshake and it was renamed Fiver in 2008, 5* in 2011 and eventually its current name in 2016
Where more than two competitors can play in each match, such as in a shootout poker tournament, players are removed when they can no longer play until one player remains from the group. This player moves on to the next round, some competitions are held with a pure single-elimination tournament system. Others have many phases, with the last being a final stage called playoffs. The round before the quarterfinals is sometimes called the round of sixteen, Last Sixteen, or pre-quarterfinals, earlier rounds are typically numbered counting forwards from the first round, or by the number of remaining competitors. If some competitors get a bye, the round at which they enter may be named the first round, with the matches called a preliminary round. Many Olympic single-elimination tournaments feature the bronze medal if they do not award bronze medals to both losing semifinalists. The FIFA World Cup has long featured the third place match, the number of distinct ways of arranging a single-elimination tournament is given by the Wedderburn–Etherington numbers. Brackets are set up so that the top two seeds could not possibly meet until the round, none of the top four can meet prior to the semifinals. If no seeding is used, the tournament is called a random knockout tournament. One version of seeding is where brackets are set up so that the quarterfinal pairings would be the 1 seed vs. the 8 seed,2 vs.7,3 vs.6 and 4 vs. This may be done after each round, or only at selected intervals, in American team sports, for example, the MLS, NFL and WNBA employ this tactic, but the NBA does not. MLB does not have teams in its playoff tournament where re-seeding would make a large difference in the matchups. In international fencing competitions, it is common to have a group stage, participants are divided in groups of 6–7 fencers who play a round-robin tournament, and a ranking is calculated from the consolidated group results. Single elimination is seeded from this ranking, the single-elimination format enables a relatively large number of competitors to participate. There are no dead matches, and no matches where one competitor has more to play for than the other, the format is less suited to games where draws are frequent. In chess, each fixture in a single-elimination tournament must be played multiple matches, because draws are common. In association football, games ending in a draw may be settled in extra time, another perceived disadvantage is that most competitors are eliminated after relatively few games. Variations such as the tournament allow competitors a single loss while remaining eligible for overall victory
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
Football in England
Today Englands top domestic league, the Premier League, is one of the most popular and richest sports leagues in the world, with six of the ten richest football clubs in the world. The England national football team is one of only 8 teams to win the World Cup, a total of five English club teams have won the UEFA Champions League. Football was played in England as far back as medieval times, kicking ball games are described in England from 1280. An account of an exclusively kicking game from Nottinghamshire in the fifteenth century bears similarity to association football. By the 16th centuries references to organised teams and goals had appeared, there is evidence for refereed, team football games being played in English schools since at least 1581. The eighteenth-century Gymnastic Society of London is, arguably, the worlds first football club, the Cambridge rules, first drawn up at Cambridge University in 1848, were particularly influential in the development of subsequent codes, including association football. The Cambridge Rules were written at Trinity College, Cambridge, at a meeting attended by representatives from Eton, Harrow, Rugby, Winchester, during the 1850s, many clubs unconnected to schools or universities were formed throughout the English-speaking world, to play various forms of football. In 1862, John Charles Thring of Uppingham School also devised a set of rules. These ongoing efforts contributed to the formation of The Football Association in 1863, the Sheffield FA played by its own rules until the 1870s with the FA absorbing some of its rules until there was little difference between the games. A match between Sheffield and Hallam F. C. on 29 December 1862 was one of the first matches to be recorded in a newspaper, on 8 March 1873, the England national teams 4–2 win over Scotland at the Oval was the first ever victory in international football. The late nineteenth century was dominated by the split between the amateur and professional teams, which was roughly aligned along a North-South divide. Northern clubs were keen to adopt professionalism as workers could not afford to play on an amateur basis, preston North End were inaugural winners in 1888–89, and were also the first club to complete the double of both winning the league and the FA Cup. Aston Villa repeated the feat in 1896–97 and it remained at 40 until the league was suspended after the 1914–15 season with the outbreak of World War I. Other clubs to win titles in this period include Sheffield United, Manchester United. During the war, competitive football was suspended, however, an unofficial Wartime Football league was played from 1915–16 to 1918–19, although the FA Cup was suspended until after the war. The next season the league was expanded with the Third Division divided into North and South sections. In the 1923–24 season the Third Division North was expanded to 22 clubs, Bolton Wanderers defeated West Ham United to win this landmark game. Bolton Wanderers would win the FA Cup on three occasions during the 1920s, by the turn of the 1930s, the national side regularly played against other national teams from outside the British Isles
A football team is the collective name given to a group of players selected together in the various team sports known as football. There are several varieties of football, notably Association football, Gridiron football, Australian rules football, Gaelic football, rugby league, the number of players selected for each team within these varieties and their associated codes can vary substantially. Sometimes, the team is limited to those who play on the field in a match. Football squad may be used to be inclusive of these support, the oldest football clubs date back to the early 19th century. The words team and club are sometimes used interchangeably by supporters, although they typically refer to the team within the club playing in the highest division or competition
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
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
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
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
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
Arsenal Football Club is a professional football club based in Highbury, London, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. The club has won 13 League titles,12 FA Cups, Arsenal was the first club from the South of England to join The Football League, in 1893. They entered the First Division in 1904, and have accumulated the second most points. Relegated only once, in 1913, they continue the longest streak in the top division, in the 1930s, Arsenal won five League Championships and two FA Cups, and another FA Cup and two Championships after the war. In 1970–71, they won their first League and FA Cup Double, between 1989 and 2005, they won five League titles and five FA Cups, including two more Doubles. They completed the 20th century with the highest average league position, Herbert Chapman won Arsenals first national trophies, but died prematurely. He helped introduce the WM formation, floodlights, and shirt numbers, Arsène Wenger has been the longest-serving manager and has won the most trophies. His teams set several English records, the longest win streak, the longest unbeaten run, in 1886, Woolwich munitions workers founded the club as Dial Square. In 1913, the crossed the city to Arsenal Stadium in Highbury. They became Tottenham Hotspurs nearest club, commencing the North London derby, in 2006, they moved down the road to the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal earned €435. 5m in 2014–15, with the Emirates Stadium generating the highest revenue in world football, based on social media activity from 2014–15, Arsenals fanbase is the fifth largest in the world. In 2016, Forbes estimated the club was the second most valuable in England, on 1 December 1886, munitions workers in Woolwich, now South East London, formed Arsenal as Dial Square, with David Danskin as their first captain. Named after the heart of the Royal Arsenal complex, they took the name of the complex a month later. Royal Arsenal F. C. s first home was Plumstead Common, though spent most of their time in South East London playing on the other side of Plumstead. Royal Arsenal won Arsenals first trophies in 1890 and 1891, Royal Arsenal renamed themselves for a second time upon becoming a limited liability company in 1893. They registered their new name, Woolwich Arsenal, with The Football League when the club ascended later that year, Woolwich Arsenal was the first southern member of The Football League, starting out in the Second Division and winning promotion to the First Division in 1904. Falling attendances, due to financial difficulties among the munitions workers, businessmen Henry Norris and William Hall took the club over, and sought to move them elsewhere. In 1913, soon after relegation back to the Second Division, Woolwich Arsenal moved to the new Arsenal Stadium in Highbury and this saw their third change of name, the following year, they reduced Woolwich Arsenal to simply The Arsenal
Manchester United F.C.
Manchester United Football Club is a professional football club based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, that competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. Nicknamed the Red Devils, the club was founded as Newton Heath LYR Football Club in 1878, changed its name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to its current stadium, Old Trafford, in 1910. Manchester United have won a record 20 League Titles, a joint-record 12 FA Cups,5 League Cups, the club has also won three European Cups, one UEFA Cup Winners Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup. In 1998–99, the became the first in the history of English football to achieve the treble of the Premier League, the FA Cup. The 1958 Munich air disaster claimed the lives of eight players, in 1968, under the management of Matt Busby, Manchester United became the first English football club to win the European Cup. Alex Ferguson won 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles,5 FA Cups and 2 UEFA Champions Leagues, José Mourinho is the clubs current manager, having been appointed on 27 May 2016. As of June 2015, it is the worlds most valuable football brand and it is one of the most widely supported football teams in the world. In August 2012, Manchester United made a public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. The club holds several rivalries, most notably with Liverpool, Manchester City and Leeds United, Manchester United was formed in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club by the Carriage and Wagon department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway depot at Newton Heath. By 1888, the club had become a member of The Combination. Following the leagues dissolution after only one season, Newton Heath joined the newly formed Football Alliance and this resulted in the club starting the 1892–93 season in the First Division, by which time it had become independent of the railway company and dropped the LYR from its name. After two seasons, the club was relegated to the Second Division, in January 1902, with debts of £2,670 – equivalent to £260,000 in 2017 – the club was served with a winding-up order. The following season began with victory in the first ever Charity Shield, Manchester United won the First Division for the second time in 1911, but at the end of the following season, Mangnall left the club to join Manchester City. In 1922, three years after the resumption of football following the First World War, the club was relegated to the Second Division, relegated again in 1931, Manchester United became a yo-yo club, achieving its all-time lowest position of 20th place in the Second Division in 1934. Gibson, who, in December 1931, invested £2,000, in the 1938–39 season, the last year of football before the Second World War, the club finished 14th in the First Division. Busby led the team to second-place league finishes in 1947,1948 and 1949, in 1952, the club won the First Division, its first league title for 41 years. With an average age of 22, the title winning side of 1956 were labelled the Busby Babes by the media. In 1957, Manchester United became the first English team to compete in the European Cup, despite objections from The Football League, who had denied Chelsea the same opportunity the previous season
Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson, CBE is a former Scottish football manager and player who managed Manchester United from 1986 to 2013. He is regarded by players, managers and analysts to be the greatest and most successful manager of all time. Ferguson played as a forward for several Scottish clubs, including Dunfermline Athletic, while playing for Dunfermline, he was the top goalscorer in the Scottish league in the 1965–66 season. Towards the end of his career he also worked as a coach, then started his managerial career with East Stirlingshire. Ferguson then enjoyed a successful period as manager of Aberdeen. He briefly managed Scotland following the death of Jock Stein, taking the team to the 1986 World Cup. Ferguson was appointed manager of Manchester United in November 1986. During his 26 years with Manchester United he won 38 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and he was knighted in the 1999 Queens Birthday Honours list, for his services to the game. Ferguson is the longest serving manager of Manchester United, having overtaken Sir Matt Busbys record on 19 December 2010 and he retired from management at the end of the 2012–13 season, having won the Premier League in his final season. He attended Broomloan Road Primary School and later Govan High School, Fergusons playing career began as an amateur with Queens Park, where he made his debut as a striker aged 16. He described his first match as a nightmare, but scored Queens Parks goal in a 2–1 defeat against Stranraer. Perhaps his most notable game for Queens Park was the 7–1 defeat away to Queen of the South on Boxing Day 1959 when ex-England international Ivor Broadis scored four of the Queen of the South goals, Ferguson was the solitary Queens Park goalscorer. Despite scoring 20 goals in his 31 games for Queens Park, he could not command a regular place in the side, although he continued to score regularly at St Johnstone, he was still unable to command a regular place and regularly requested transfers. Dunfermline signed him the summer, and Ferguson became a full-time professional footballer. Dunfermline lost the final 3–2 to Celtic, then failed to win the League by one point, the 1965–66 season saw Ferguson notch up 45 goals in 51 games for Dunfermline. Along with Joe McBride of Celtic, he was the top goalscorer in the Scottish League with 31 goals and he then joined Rangers for £65,000, then a record fee for a transfer between two Scottish clubs. According to his brother, Ferguson was so upset by the experience that he threw his losers medal away, the following October, Nottingham Forest wanted to sign Ferguson, but his wife was not keen on moving to England at that time so he went to Falkirk instead. Fergusons time at Falkirk was soured by this and he responded by requesting a transfer and moved to Ayr United, in June 1974, Ferguson was appointed manager of East Stirlingshire, at the comparatively young age of 32. It was a job that paid £40 per week
Sir Stanley Ford Rous, CBE was the 6th President of FIFA, serving from 1961 to 1974. He also served as secretary of the Football Association from 1934 to 1962 and was an international referee, Rous was born in Mutford near Lowestoft in East Suffolk and attended Sir John Leman School in Beccles. After the war Rous attended St Lukes College in Exeter and then became a teacher at Watford Boys Grammar School. Rous played football at amateur level as a goalkeeper and developed an interest in refereeing whilst watching Norwich City and he later qualified as a referee while studying at St Luke’s and became a football league referee in 1927. He officiated in his first international match, a 2–0 friendly win for Belgium against the Netherlands, in the Bosuilstadion, Antwerp and he eventually officiated in a total of 34 international matches. He rose to the top tier of the game when he was appointed to referee the 1934 FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, the following day, after travelling to Belgium to control an international match, Stanley Rous retired from refereeing. Rous made a contribution to the game by rewriting the Laws of the Game in 1938. He was also the first to employ the system of control for referees as a standard practice. He then moved into the sphere of football administration and he served as secretary of the Football Association from 1934 to 1962, and president of FIFA from 1961 to 1974. During his time as FIFA President, Rous witnessed the crowning of England as Champions of the World in 1966 and he was also known for his avid support for the apartheid-era South African Football Association. South Africa had been admitted to FIFA in 1954, but expelled from the CAF in 1958 and they were suspended from FIFA in 1961 after failing to fulfill an ultimatum regarding anti-discrimination rules. It turned out to be short-lived, at FIFA’s next annual congress, held in Tokyo just after the Olympic Games, a greater turnout of African and Asian representatives led to South Africa being suspended again. They were finally expelled from FIFA twelve years later, Rous, however, continued to press for them to be readmitted, to the point that he was prepared to establish a Southern African confederation so that South Africa and Rhodesia could compete. Rous was forced to back down after CAF members made it clear that they would all withdraw from FIFA at the 1966 FIFA congress in London, upon his retirement as president, on 11 June 1974, he was nominated Honorary President of FIFA. The short-lived Rous Cup was named after him, as was the Rous Stand at Watford F. C. s Vicarage Road ground and he wrote A History of the Laws of Association Football which was published in 1974. Rous appears as a character in the Half Man Half Biscuit song Albert Hammond Bootleg, Stanley Rous was married to Adrienne Gacon in 1924. He was appointed CBE in 1943 and knighted in 1949 and he was a lifelong friend of football and one of the founding members of FIFA, Dr. Ivo Schricker. Rous died in Paddington, London, of leukaemia in 1986, a service in his memory was held at Westminster Abbey in the September of the same year
The Football Association
The Football Association, also known simply as the FA, is the governing body of association football in England, and the Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man. Formed in 1863, it is the oldest football association in the world and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the amateur, the FA sanctions all competitive football matches within its remit at national level, and indirectly at local level through the County Football Associations. It runs numerous competitions, the most famous of which is the FA Cup, the FA is a member of both UEFA and FIFA and holds a permanent seat on the International Football Association Board which is responsible for the laws of the game. As the first football association, it not use the national name English in its title. The FA is based at Wembley Stadium, London, the FA is a member of the British Olympic Association, meaning that the FA has control over the mens and womens Great Britain Olympic football team. All of Englands professional football teams are members of the Football Association, although it does not run the day-to-day operations of the Premier League, it has veto power over the appointment of the League Chairman and Chief Executive and over any changes to league rules. The English Football League, made up of the three professional divisions below the Premier League, is self-governing, subject to the FAs sanctions. Another set of rules, the Sheffield Rules, was used by a number of clubs in the North of England from the 1850s, eleven London football clubs and schools representatives met on 26 October 1863 to agree on common rules. The founding clubs present at the first meeting were Barnes, Civil Service, Crusaders, Forest of Leytonstone, many of these clubs are now defunct or play rugby union. Civil Service FC, who now plays in the Southern Amateur League, is the one of the original eleven football clubs still in existence. There are only three institutions which have been members of the F. A. since 1863, those being Civil Service, Forest School and Kings College. Central to the creation of the Football Association and modern football was Ebenezer Cobb Morley and he was a founding member of the Football Association in 1863. In 1862, as captain of Barnes, he wrote to Bells Life newspaper proposing a governing body for the sport led to the first meeting at The Freemasons Tavern that created the FA. He was the FAs first secretary and its president and drafted the Laws of the Game generally called the London Rules at his home in Barnes. As a player, he played in the first ever match in 1863, the first version of the rules for the modern game was drawn up over a series of six meetings held in The Freemasons Tavern from October till December. Of the clubs at the first meeting, Crusaders, Surbiton and Charterhouse did not attend the subsequent meetings, replaced instead by the Royal Navy School, Wimbledon School, at the final meeting, F. M. Other English rugby clubs followed this lead and did not join the FA, the term soccer dates back to this split to refer to football played under the association rules. The Richmond side were obviously unimpressed by the new rules in practice because they helped form the Rugby Football Union in 1871
Floodlights are broad-beamed, high-intensity artificial lights. They are often used to outdoor playing fields while an outdoor sports event is being held during low-light conditions. More focused kinds are used as a stage lighting instrument in live performances such as concerts. In the top tiers of professional sports, it is a requirement for stadiums to have floodlights to allow games to be scheduled outside daylight hours. Evening or night matches may suit spectators who have work or other commitment earlier in the day, one motivation for this is television marketing, especially in sports such as gridiron football which rely on TV rights money to finance the sport. Some sports grounds which do not have permanent floodlights installed may make use of portable temporary ones instead, many larger floodlights will have gantries for bulb changing and maintenance. These will usually be able to one or two maintenance workers. The most common type of floodlight is the lamp, which emits a bright white light. Sodium-vapor lamps are commonly used for sporting events, as they have a very high lumen-to-watt ratio. In the recent years there have been new developments, and LED technology has come a long way, now LED flood lights are bright enough to be used for illumination purposes on large sport fields. The main reason for the use of LEDs is the power consumption. The first LED lit sports field in the United Kingdom was switched on at Taunton Vale Sports Club on 6 September 2014, the first sport to play under floodlights was polo, on 18 July 1878. Ranelagh Club hosted a match in Fulham, London, England against the Hurlingham Club, Cricket was first played under floodlights on Monday,11 August 1952 in England which was watched by several million people on their television sets. Since then most test playing countries have installed floodlights in some or all of their stadiums, traditional Cricket floodlights have a long pole on which lights are fixed. This is done several times, the ball travels too high when a batsman hits it. However, many cricket stadiums have different types of floodlights like the ANZ Stadium in Australia, the DSC Cricket Stadium in Dubai recently installed Ring of Fire system of floodlights which is latest and smartest system of floodlight in the world. Bramall Lane was reportedly the first floodlit stadium, floodlighting in association football dates as far back as 1878, when there were floodlit experimental matches at Bramall Lane, Sheffield during the dark winter afternoons. With no national grid, lights were powered by batteries and dynamoes, lights were later be used by clubs such as Thames Ironworks, but they stopped the practice after joining the Southern League in 1888
The Times is a British daily national newspaper based in London, England. It began in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register, the Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers, since 1981 a subsidiary of News UK, itself wholly owned by News Corp. The Times and The Sunday Times do not share editorial staff, were founded independently and have only had common ownership since 1967 and its news and its editorial comment have in general been carefully coordinated, and have at most times been handled with an earnest sense of responsibility. While the paper has admitted some trivia to its columns, its emphasis has been on important public affairs treated with an eye to the best interests of Britain. To guide this treatment, the editors have for long periods been in touch with 10 Downing Street. In these countries, the newspaper is often referred to as The London Times or The Times of London, although the newspaper is of national scope, in November 2006 The Times began printing headlines in a new font, Times Modern. The Times was printed in broadsheet format for 219 years, the Sunday Times remains a broadsheet. The Times had a daily circulation of 446,164 in December 2016, in the same period. An American edition of The Times has been published since 6 June 2006 and it has been heavily used by scholars and researchers because of its widespread availability in libraries and its detailed index. A complete historical file of the paper, up to 2010, is online from Gale Cengage Learning. The Times was founded by publisher John Walter on 1 January 1785 as The Daily Universal Register, Walter had lost his job by the end of 1784 after the insurance company where he was working went bankrupt because of the complaints of a Jamaican hurricane. Being unemployed, Walter decided to set a new business up and it was in that time when Henry Johnson invented the logography, a new typography that was faster and more precise. Walter bought the patent and to use it, he decided to open a printing house. The first publication of the newspaper The Daily Universal Register in Great Britain was 1 January 1785, unhappy because people always omitted the word Universal, Ellias changed the title after 940 editions on 1 January 1788 to The Times. In 1803, Walter handed ownership and editorship to his son of the same name, the Times used contributions from significant figures in the fields of politics, science, literature, and the arts to build its reputation. For much of its life, the profits of The Times were very large. Beginning in 1814, the paper was printed on the new steam-driven cylinder press developed by Friedrich Koenig, in 1815, The Times had a circulation of 5,000. Thomas Barnes was appointed editor in 1817
UEFA Champions League
The UEFA Champions League is an annual continental club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations and contested by top-division European clubs. It is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world, the UEFA Champions League final is the most watched annual sporting event worldwide. The final of the 2012–13 tournament had the highest TV ratings to date, the pre-1992 competition was initially a straight knockout tournament open only to the champion club of each country. During the 1990s, the format was expanded, incorporating a round-robin group stage to include clubs that finished runner-up of some nations top-level league. Clubs that finish next-in-line in each top level league, having not qualified for the UEFA Champions League competition. In its present format, the UEFA Champions League begins in mid-July with three qualifying rounds and a play-off round. The 10 surviving teams enter the stage, joining 22 other teams qualified in advance. The 32 teams are drawn into eight groups of four teams, the eight group winners and eight runners-up proceed to the knockout phase that culminates with the final match in May. The winner of the UEFA Champions League qualifies for the UEFA Super Cup, Real Madrid is the most successful club in the competitions history, having won the tournament 11 times, including its first five seasons. Spanish clubs have accumulated the highest number of victories, followed by England, the competition has been won by 22 different clubs,12 of which have won it more than once. Since the tournament changed name and structure in 1992, no club has managed consecutive wins, Milan were the last holders to defend their title. The reigning champions are Real Madrid, who secured their title in the competition after defeating Atlético Madrid on penalties following a 1–1 draw in the 2016 final. The first pan-European tournament was the Challenge Cup, a competition between clubs in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Mitropa Cup, a competition modelled after the Challenge Cup, was created in 1927, an idea of Austrian Hugo Meisl, and played between Central European clubs. In 1930, the Coupe des Nations, the first attempt to create a cup for national clubs of Europe, was played and organised by Swiss club Servette. Held in Geneva, it brought together ten champions from across the continent, the tournament was won by Újpest of Hungary. Latin European nations came together to form the Latin Cup in 1949 and it was conceived in Paris in 1955 as the European Champion Clubs Cup. The first edition of the European Cup took place during the 1955–56 season, the first European Cup match took place on 4 September 1955, and ended in a 3–3 draw between Sporting CP and Partizan. The first goal in European Cup history was scored by João Baptista Martins of Sporting CP, the inaugural final took place at the Parc des Princes between Stade de Reims and Real Madrid
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
Rotherham United F.C.
Rotherham United Football Club, nicknamed The Millers, is a professional association football club based in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England. They compete in the Championship, the tier in the English football league system. Founded in 1925 as a merger between Rotherham Town and Rotherham County, the colours were initially yellow and black, but later evolved into the more traditional red. Rotherham United play their games at New York Stadium, a 12,000 capacity all-seater stadium. The Millers featured in the inaugural League Cup final in 1961 and they also achieved two separate back to back promotions in 1999–2001 under Ronnie Moore and 2012–2014 under Steve Evans. The clubs roots go back to 1870, when the club was formed as Thornhill Football Club, george Cook was the trainer around this time. For many years the team in the area was Rotherham Town. By the turn of the century, however, Town had resigned from the Football League and gone out of business, a new club of the same name later joined the Midland League. Meanwhile, Thornhills fortunes were on the rise to the extent that in 1905 they laid claim to being the pre-eminent club in the town, for a period both clubs competed in the Midland League, finishing first and second in 1911–12. Over time it became clear that to have two clubs in the town was not sustainable. Talks had begun in February 1925 and in early May the two merged to form Rotherham United. Days later the club was formally re-elected under its new name. The red and white was adopted around 1928 after playing in amber and black, immediately after the Second World War things looked up. The Millers won the only edition of the Football League Third Division North Cup in 1946 beating Chester 5–4 on aggregate. They then finished as runners-up three time in succession between 1947 and 1949 and then were champions of Division Three in 1951, during that season they had notable results including a 6–1 win over Liverpool. In 1961 the Millers beat Aston Villa 2–0 at Millmoor in the inaugural League Cup final first leg, the second leg was played the season after due to Villa having a Congested Fixture List. The club held on to its place in Division Two until 1968, in 1975 they were promoted back to the Third Division finishing in the 3rd promotion spot in the Fourth Division. The Millers won the Division Three title in 1981, Rotherham had a dismal first half of the 1981–82 season but a surge after the turn of 1982 saw them emerge as promotion contenders for the first time in nearly 30 years
Queens Park Rangers F.C.
Queens Park Rangers Football Club is a professional association football club based in White City, London, that plays in the Championship, the second tier of English football. Their honours include winning the League Cup in 1967, as well as finishing top of the tier in 1983 and 2011. QPR were also runners-up of the Football League First Division in 1975–76, Queens Park Rangers were founded in 1886 after the merger of Christchurch Rangers and St. Judes Institute. Owing to their proximity to other west London clubs, QPR maintain long-standing rivalries with other clubs in the area. The most notable of these are Chelsea, Fulham and Brentford, outside London, QPR also traditionally share rivalries with Watford, Luton and Cardiff, although in recent years these fixtures have become less prominent. For the current season see 2015–16 Queens Park Rangers F. C. season The club was formed in 1886, the resulting team was called Queens Park Rangers, because most of the players came from the Queens Park area of north-west London. QPR were promoted as champions of Division 3 South in the 1947–48 season, Dave Mangnall was the manager as the club participated in four seasons of the Second Division, being relegated in 1951–52. Tony Ingham was signed from Leeds United and went on to make the most ever league appearances for QPR, arguably the clubs greatest ever manager, Alec Stock, arrived prior to the start of the 1959–60 season. The 1960–61 season saw QPR achieve their biggest win to date, in time, Stock, together with Jim Gregory who arrived as chairman in the mid-1960s, helped to achieve a total transformation of the club and its surroundings. It is still the major trophy that QPR have won. It was also the first League Cup final to be held at Wembley Stadium, after winning promotion in 1968 to the top flight for the first time in their history, Rangers were relegated after just one season and spent the next four years in Division Two. Terry Venables joined from Spurs at the beginning of the 1969–70 season, during this time, new QPR heroes emerged including Phil Parkes, Don Givens, Dave Thomas and Stan Bowles. These new signings were in addition to home-grown talent such as Dave Clement, Ian Gillard, Mick Leach, after completing their 42-game season, QPR sat at the top of the league, one point ahead of Liverpool who went on to defeat Wolverhampton Wanderers to clinch the title. Wolves were relegated to the Second Division that same season, following Sextons departure in 1977 the club eventually slipped into the Second Division in 1979. In 1980 Terry Venables took over as manager and the club installed a plastic pitch, in 1982 QPR, still playing in the Second Division, reached the FA Cup Final for the only time in the clubs history, facing holders Tottenham Hotspur. Tottenham won 1–0 in a replay, the following season QPR went on to win the Second Division championship and returned to English footballs top division. After a respectable fifth-place finish, and UEFA Cup qualification, the following year, in 1988 the club had a new chairman, Richard Thompson. Who at 24 was the Premier Leagues youngest ever chairman, over the next seven years, various managers came and went from Loftus Road and the club spent many seasons finishing mid table but avoided relegation
West Bromwich Albion F.C.
The club was formed in 1878 and has played at its home ground, The Hawthorns, since 1900. Albion were one of the members of the Football League in 1888 and have spent the majority of their existence in the top tier of English football. They have been champions of England once, in 1919–20 and have been runners-up twice but they have had success in the FA Cup. The first came in 1888, the year the league was founded, and they also won the Football League Cup at the first attempt in 1966. The clubs longest consecutive period in the top division spanned twenty-four years between 1949 and 1973, and from 1986 to 2002 they spent their longest ever spell out of the top division and they currently play in the Premier League. The team has played in blue and white stripes for most of the clubs history. The club was founded as West Bromwich Strollers in 1878 by workers from George Salters Spring Works in West Bromwich, the club joined the Birmingham & District Football Association in 1881 and became eligible for their first competition, the Birmingham Cup. They reached the quarter-finals, beating several longer-established clubs on the way, in 1883, Albion won their first trophy, the Staffordshire Cup. Albion joined the Football Association in the year, this enabled them to enter the FA Cup for the first time in the 1883–84 season. In 1885 the club turned professional, and in 1886 they reached the FA Cup final for the first time and they reached the final again in 1887, but lost 2–0 to Aston Villa. In 1888 the team won the trophy for the first time, as FA Cup winners, they qualified to play in a Football World Championship game against Scottish Cup winners Renton, which ended in a 4–1 defeat. Thus when the Football League started later that year, Albion became one of the founder members. Albions second FA Cup success came in 1892, beating Aston Villa 3–0 and they met Villa again in the 1895 final, but lost 1–0. The team suffered relegation to Division Two in 1900–01, their first season at The Hawthorns and they were promoted as champions the following season but relegated again in 1903–04. The club won the Division Two championship once more in 1910–11, and the season reached another FA Cup Final. Albion won the Football League title in 1919–20 for the time in their history following the end of World War I. The team finished as Division One runners-up in 1924–25, narrowly losing out to Huddersfield Town, in 1930–31, they won promotion as well as the FA Cup, beating Birmingham 2–1 in the final. The Double of winning the FA Cup and promotion has not been achieved before or since, Albion reached the final again in 1935, losing to Sheffield Wednesday, but were relegated three years later
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
Rochdale Association Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England. The team compete in League One, the tier in the English football league system. The clubs colours are black and blue and they play their games at Spotland Stadium. Formed in 1907 and nicknamed the Dale, they were accepted into the Football League in 1921, since then, the club has remained in the bottom two professional divisions of English Football. The team has achieved promotion three times – in 1969,2010 and 2014. Rochdale attract a small, but loyal fanbase, with a hardcore following of around 3000 home fans on average per match. Local fixtures however attract a higher turnout. The club reached the League Cup Final in 1962 and this was the first time a club from the bottom league division had reached the final of a major competition – where they lost to Norwich City. During its history, the club has had three promotions and three relegations, with coming in 1969 and 2010 and 2014 and relegation in 1959,1974 and 2012. The 1959 relegation followed the 1958 restructuring which saw the combination of the two Third Division sections into the Third Division and Fourth Division. In the restructuring, Rochdale managed to secure a spot in the Third Division, Rochdale A. F. C. was formed in 1907. After World War I the Football League was expanded and the club applied to join. In 1921 Rochdale was recommended to be included in the new Third Division North, however, this first season ended with the club at the bottom of the League, having to reapply for membership. In the early stages of the 1969–70 season, Rochdale topped the Division Three table, the teams form significantly declined around Christmas 1969, however, and a failure to halt the teams decline led to the dismissal of Richley. He was succeeded by Dick Conner, who stabilised the clubs form, the following three seasons saw the club finish in the lower reaches of the Division Three table, narrowly avoiding relegation each time. The board viewed merely surviving in Division Three as unacceptable and replaced Conner with Walter Joyce for the 1973–74 season and this move failed to pay off, and Rochdale was relegated after a campaign in which they won only 2 of 46 league games. The club finished bottom of the league in 1977–78, but was successful in their bid for re-election, southport, which had finished one place above Rochdale, was demoted instead and replaced by Wigan Athletic. Rochdale finished bottom for a time in 1979–80, but was again re-elected – by one vote over Altrincham
Swindon Town F.C.
Swindon Town Football Club is a professional football club in Swindon, Wiltshire, England. Founded as Swindon AFC in 1879, they became Spartans in 1880, the team compete in League One, the third tier of the English football league system. The clubs home ground, where it has played since 1896, is the 15,728 capacity County Ground, the club went professional in 1894 and entered the Football League in 1920. Swindon Town won promotion to the Premier League in the 1992–93 season, Swindon Town Football Club was founded by Reverend William Pitt of Liddington in 1879. The team turned professional in 1894 and joined the Southern League which was founded in the same year, during this period Septimus Atterbury played for the club. Swindon reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time in the 1909–10 season, Barnsley and Swindon were invited to compete for the Dubonnet Cup in 1910 at the Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris. The result was a 2–1 victory for Swindon with Harold Fleming scoring both of the clubs goals, the following season, 1910–11, Swindon Town won the Southern League championship, earning them a Charity Shield match with the Football League champions Manchester United. This, the highest-scoring Charity Shield game to date, was played on 25 September 1911 at Stamford Bridge with Manchester United winning 8–4, some of the proceeds of this game were later donated to the survivors of the Titanic. In 1912 Swindon Town reached the finals of the FA Cup for a second time in 3 years. Swindons exploits at this time owed a lot to the skilful forward H. J. Fleming who was capped by England 11 times between 1909 and 1914 despite playing outside the Football League. Fleming remained with Swindon throughout a career spanning 1907 and 1924. Swindon entered the Football League in 1920 as a member of Division Three. This result stands as a record for the club in League matches, the club was relegated back into Division Three in 1965 but it was about to create a sensation. In 1969, Swindon beat Arsenal 3–1 to win the League Cup for the time in the clubs history. As winners of the League Cup, Swindon were assured of a place in their first European competition, however, the Football Association had previously agreed to inclusion criteria with the organizers which mandated that only League Cup winners from Division One would be able to take part. As the team were not eligible, the short lived Anglo-Italian competitions were created to give teams from lower divisions experience in Europe, the first of these, the 1969 Anglo-Italian League Cup, was contested over two legs against Coppa Italia winners A. S. Swindon won 5–2, with the scorer of two goals in the League Cup final – Don Rogers – scoring once and new acquisition Arthur Horsfield acquiring his first hat-trick for the club. The team then went on to win the 1970 Anglo-Italian Cup competition in a tournament beset by hooliganism, napoli was abandoned after 79 minutes following pitch invasions and a missile barrage, with teargas being employed to allow the teams to return to the dressing room