Lincoln City F.C.
Lincoln City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Lincoln, England. The team compete in the fourth tier of the English football league system. Nicknamed the "Imps" after the legend of the Lincoln Imp, they have played at the 10,120-capacity Sincil Bank since their move from John O'Gaunts in 1895. Traditionally they play in red and white striped shirts with red and white socks, they hold rivalries with other Lincolnshire clubs Football League sides Scunthorpe United and Grimsby Town. Founded in 1884, Lincoln won the Midland League in 1889–90, their first full season playing league football, they moved on from the Football Alliance to become founder members of the Football League Second Division in 1892, remaining there until they failed re-election in 1908. They won immediate re-election after winning the next year's Midland League, would repeat this feat after failing re-election again in 1911 and 1920. Founder members of the Football League Third Division North in 1921, they won promotion as champions in 1931–32, but were relegated two seasons later.
Crowned Third Division North champions again in 1947–48, they were relegated the next year, but would remain in the second tier for nine seasons after again winning the Third Division North title in 1951–52. Two successive relegations left them in the Fourth Division by 1962, where they would remain until Graham Taylor's title winning campaign of 1975–76. Relegated in 1978–79, they secured promotion again two years but suffered a double relegation to find themselves in the Conference by 1987. Lincoln made an immediate recovery however, regaining their Football League status with the Conference title in 1987–88, they were relegated the next season. They reached the play-offs in five consecutive seasons, from 2002 to 2007, losing in the final twice and the semi-finals three times, a competition record; however they exited the division at the other end when they were returned to the Conference after relegation at the end of the 2010–11 campaign. A six season stay in non-league was ended when Cowley brothers Nicky and Danny led the club to the National League title in 2016–17, as well as a run to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup – this made them the first non-league side to reach that stage in 103 years.
Though they lost in the League Two play-offs the next year, they did win the 2018 EFL Trophy Final. Football in the city of Lincoln had been prominent since the 1860s although not connected to the modern day club. After the disbanding of Lincoln Rovers in 1884, Lincoln City FC was formed as an amateur association, turning professional in the 1891–92 season, they played at the John O'Gaunts ground before moving in 1895 to their current ground, Sincil Bank. Current Lincoln City managers Danny Cowley and Nicky Cowley have brought a new sense of pride within the city for their main football club; the first game Lincoln played as an amateur team was an emphatic 9–1 victory over local rivals Sleaford, on 4 October 1884. George Hallam set two records for the club that day: he scored the first goal for the club, the first hat-trick, their first competitive game at home ended in an emphatic manner, beating Boston Excelsior 11–0, with Edwin Teesdale scoring four goals. At this time, before the club gained entry into the Football League and professional status, the County Cup was their main priority.
C. after the initial match had finished 2–2. Lincoln soon helped to form what was the Second Division in 1892–93 season, as an increasing number of clubs wished to join the Football League, their first game in the Football League was a 4–2 away defeat to Sheffield United on 3 September 1892. Their first home game was against Sheffield United, this time, Lincoln won 1–0; the first game at Sincil Bank in 1895, after moving from the John O'Gaunts Ground due to Dawber's death, was a 0–0 friendly draw with local rivals, Gainsborough Trinity. The first competitive fixture at the ground was against Arsenal, the game ended 1–1. In January 1907 The Imps knocked Chelsea out of the FA Cup after a replay. Managed by David Calderhead, two late goals salvaged a home draw in the first leg. In the replay in London, an injury time goal by Norrie Fairgray took Lincoln through. Chelsea returned at the end of the season to poach Calderhead to become their manager. Up until the 1920s Lincoln spent most of their time swinging between the Second Division and the more localised leagues, the Midland and the Central league.
After however, in the 1921–22 season, along with several other clubs from the Central and Midland leagues, founded the Third Division. The newly founded league and the Second Division would take turns in becoming Lincoln's home up until the early 1960s where they would drop a further division to the Fourth Division in the 1962–63 season, their championship honours include three Division 3 championships in 1931–32, 1947–48 and 1951–52, a Division 4 championship in 1975–76. It was the 1975–76 season where the club broke the record for most points for a whole season when 2 instead of 3 points were awarded for a win with 74 points in total. City become the first club in nearly a decade to score over 100 league goals, they won 21 out of 23
The EFL Cup known as the Carabao Cup for sponsorship reasons, is an annual knockout football competition in men's domestic English football. Organised by the English Football League, it is open to any club within the top four levels of the English football league system – 92 clubs in total – comprising the top level Premier League, the three divisions of the English Football League's own league competition. First held in 1960–61 as the Football League Cup, it is one of the three top-tier domestic football competitions in England, alongside the Premier League and FA Cup, it concludes in February, long before the other two. It was introduced by the league as a response to the increasing popularity of European football, to exert power over the FA, it took advantage of the roll-out of floodlights, allowing the fixtures to be played as midweek evening games. With the renaming of the Football League as the English Football League in 2016, the tournament was rebranded as the EFL Cup for the 2016–17 season.
The tournament is played with single leg ties throughout, except the semi-finals. The final is held at Wembley Stadium. Entrants are seeded in the early rounds, a system of byes based on league level ensures higher ranked teams enter in rounds, to defer the entry of teams still involved in Europe. Winners receive the EFL Cup, of which there have been three designs, the current one being the original. Winners qualify for European football, receiving a place in the UEFA Europa League; the current holders are Manchester City, who beat Chelsea 4–3 on penalties in the 2019 final to win their sixth League Cup. Although the League Cup is one of the four domestic trophies attainable by English league teams, it is perceived as being of lower prestige than the league championship or the FA Cup. League Cup winners receive £100,000 prize money with the runners-up receiving £50,000, considered insignificant to top-flight teams, compared to the £2 million prize money of the FA Cup, in turn eclipsed by the Premier League's television money and consequent participation in the Champions League.
Some clubs have fielded a weaker side in the competition, making the opportunity for giant-killing of the larger clubs more likely. Many teams in the Premier League and Manchester United in particular, have used the competition to give young players valuable big-game experience. However, in 2010, in response to Arsène Wenger's claim that a League Cup win would not end his trophy drought, Alex Ferguson described the trophy as "a pot worth winning"; the original idea for a League Cup came from Stanley Rous who saw the competition as a consolation for clubs, knocked out of the FA Cup. However it was not Rous. Hardaker proposed the competition as a way for the clubs to make up on lost revenue, due to a reduction in matches played, for when the league was to be re-organised; the re-organisation of the league was not forthcoming. The trophy was paid for by Football League President Joe Richards, proud of the competition and he had his own name engraved on it. Richards described the competition's formation as an'interim step' on the way to the league's re-organisation.
Richards' priority was the re-organisation of the leagues. Hardaker felt that the Football League needed to adapt to the times, as the English game was losing prestige, he felt that the Football League should take the lead in revitalising football in the nation: "It must be obvious to all of you that the time has come to do something, it is up to the Football League to give the lead. I hope the Press will not assume that the League is going to fall out with the F. A. or anybody else... the time has come for our voice to be heard in every problem which affects the professional game."The League Cup competition was established at a time when match day attendances were dwindling. The league had lost one million spectators compared to the previous season, it was established at a time when tensions between the Football League and the Football Association were high. The biggest disagreement was about. During the late 1950s, the majority of senior English clubs equipped their grounds with floodlights.
This opened up the opportunity to exploit weekday evenings throughout the winter. The League Cup was introduced in the 1960–61 season as a mid-week floodlit tournament, to replace the Southern Professional Floodlit Cup; the League Cup was criticised by the better-endowed clubs. The Times' correspondent at the time felt; the Times published on 30 May 1960: "Where a drastic reduction is required in an attempt to raise quality, no doubt quantity and a further spread of mediocrity
Portsmouth Football Club is an English professional association football club in Portsmouth, which plays in EFL League One, the third tier of English football. The club was founded on 5 April 1898 and home matches are played at Fratton Park in Milton, Portsmouth. Portsmouth have been the top tier Football League Champions of England twice consecutively in 1949 and 1950. Portsmouth have won the FA Cup twice in 1939 and 2008, the FA Charity Shield once in 1949 and the EFL Trophy once in 2019. Portsmouth have won the second tier division title once in 2002–03, the third tier division title three times in 1923–24, 1961–62, 1982–83 and the fourth tier division title once in 2016–17. In the early twentieth century, Portsmouth were champions of the Southern Football League in 1901–02 and 1919–20. Portsmouth were champions of the Western Football League in 1900–01, 1901–02 and 1902–03. These, their more recent wins, make Portsmouth southern England’s most successful club outside of London. Portsmouth have played in European competition for only one season in their history, the 2008–09 UEFA Cup, a result of winning the 2008 FA Cup Final.
In this period, the club had international footballers including England players Glen Johnson, Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, David James and Sol Campbell. Between 2003 and 2010 the club spent seven consecutive seasons in the Premier League; the club's fortunes declined in 2010–13 when the club entered administration twice and were relegated three times, reaching the fourth tier and their lowest point since the 1979–80 season. The club were saved from liquidation after being bought out by the fan-owned Pompey Supporters Trust; this made Portsmouth the largest fan-owned football club in England until 3 August 2017, when the PST sold it to The Tornante Company, an investment company owned by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner. During the last few months of the PST's ownership, Portsmouth were promoted to EFL League One after winning the fourth tier EFL League Two divisional championship title on 6 May 2017 in the final league game of the 2016–17 season. Portsmouth became only the fifth English football club to win all four tiers of current English professional football.
In addition, Portsmouth are one of only two English football clubs to have been champions of five professional divisions including the former regional Football League Third Division South championship in the 1923–24 season. Wolverhampton Wanderers share this distinction, having won all four divisions, plus a Football League Third Division North title win, coincidentally in the same 1923–24 season as Portsmouth won the respective South division. 1883–1896 – Portsmouth A. F. C. – Amateur club formed by Portsmouth architect Arthur Cogswell. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle played as goalkeeper under the under the pseudonym, "A. C. Smith".?-1891-?? – Portsmouth Town F. C. – An amateur team who became Portsmouth's first professional club, but whose efforts failed and led to their disbandment. 1894–1899 – Royal Artillery F. C. – A popular amateur army team based at the United Services Recreation Ground complex at Burnaby Road, Portsmouth. Their supporters were the originators of the "Town Hall Chimes" and the team were nicknamed "Pompey" before the professional Portsmouth F.
C. were formed in 1898. A "professionalism" scandal in 1899 led to their "retirement" and a rise in interest of the new Portsmouth F. C.. Royal Artillery F. C. reformed for one more season in 1900–1901. The club was first founded on 5 April 1898 at 12 High Street, Old Portsmouth as "The Portsmouth Football and Athletic Company", with John Brickwood as chairman, The company directors were: John Brickwood Alfred H. Bone George Lewin Oliver John Peters Alderman John Edward Pink. William Wiggington A Blue Plaque on the wall of 12 High Street Portsmouth commemorates the founding on 5 April 1898. In 1899, work began on developing a plot of former agricultural land near Goldsmith Avenue, Portsmouth into a new football ground, bought in 1898 from the local Goldsmith farming family; the new football ground was to be named Fratton Park after the nearby and convenient Fratton railway station. Frank Brettell was announced as Portsmouth Football Club's first manager-secretary in February 1899, he had been secretary-player with the St Domingo Club in Liverpool and helped ‘create the organisation which became Everton’.
Brettell joined Portsmouth F. C. in May 1899 and his first Portsmouth signings were Irish goalkeeper Matt Reilly and Harry Turner both from the "retired" Royal Artillery F. C. Joining Portsmouth as a new director was Regimental Sergeant-Major Frederick Windrum, the treasurer-trainer from Royal Artillery. Brettell, with his valuable northern contacts signed Scottish footballer Tom Wilkie, the former Heart Of Midlothian and Liverpool player. Bob Blyth and Alex "Sandy" Brown were both signed from Preston North End. Edward Turner, Harold Clarke and Harold Stringfellow all came from Everton. Dan Cunliffe, Thomas "Tommy" Cleghorn and Robert "Bobby" Marshall were all signed from Liver
Coventry City F.C.
Coventry City Football Club is a professional football club based in Coventry, West Midlands, England. The club competes in League One, the third tier of the English football league system, following promotion via the playoffs from League Two in the 2017–18 season. Coventry City formed as Singers F. C. in 1883 before adopting their current name in 1898. They joined the Football League in 1919, they won their only major trophy in 1987. They are one of only five clubs to have won both the FA Youth Cup in the same season, they have reached two Football League Cup semi-finals, in 1981 and 1990. They returned to Wembley in April 2017, defeating Oxford United 2–1 to win the Football League Trophy and again in May 2018, beating Exeter City 3–1 to gain promotion to EFL League One via the play-offs; the club, nicknamed The Sky Blues because of the colour of their strip, was an inaugural member of the Premier League in 1992 and had spent 34 consecutive seasons in the English top flight prior to its relegation in 2001.
Following eleven seasons in the second-tier Football League Championship, Coventry were relegated to League One in 2012, the first time they had been in the third tier since 1964. In 2017, there was a further relegation, with the club dropping to the fourth tier of the competition for the first time since 1959. Coventry has qualified for European competitions twice. In the 1970–71 season, the team competed in the European Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, reaching the second round. Despite beating Bayern Munich 2–1 in the home leg, they had lost 1–6 in the first leg in Germany, thus were eliminated; the team was unable to compete in the 1987–88 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, due to the ban on English clubs at that time, following the Heysel disaster. From 1899 to 2005, Coventry City played at Highfield Road, which in 1981 became the first all-seater stadium in English football. In the late 1990s, the club's directors decided that a larger stadium was necessary, so chose a site in the Rowley's Green area of the city.
The 32,609-capacity Ricoh Arena was opened in August 2005. The club has played home games there since, apart from the 2013–14 season when it played at Northampton Town's Sixfields Stadium, some 35 miles away, due to a rent dispute. 1883 – The club is founded by employees of Singer, the cycle firm, with William Stanley one of the leading lights. 1898 – The club's name is changed from Singers F. C. to Coventry City. 1899 – The club move to Highfield Road following stints at Dowells Field and Stoke Road. 1901 – The club suffer their worst defeat with an 11–2 loss against Worcester-based Berwick Rangers in the qualifying round of the FA Cup. 1919 – The club are voted into the Football League, where they have remained since. 1928 – In February, with Coventry struggling near the foot of Division Three South, the club's worst attendance is recorded. Only 2,059 turn up for the match against Crystal Palace. 1932 – Centre-forward Clarrie Bourton heads the Football League scoring lists with 49 goals. The following season he scored 40 goals.
1934 – City record their biggest victory a 9–0 league drubbing of Bristol City. 1936 – Coventry City win the Third Division South championship after a nail-biting final day 2–1 victory over Torquay United and return to Division Two after eleven years in the lower division. 1958 – Goalkeeper Alf Wood becomes the oldest player to start a game for the club, which this year was a founding member of Division Four. He played against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup aged 207 days. 1961 – Former Fulham player and PFA chairman Jimmy Hill is appointed manager following an embarrassing FA Cup defeat at home to non-league King's Lynn. 1964 – Jimmy Hill guides Coventry to promotion from Division Three as champions after a final day 1–0 victory over Colchester United. 1967 – Coventry City promoted as Second Division champions to the top flight for the first time in their history. This made BBC Sport presenter Jimmy Hill a legend at the club. Coventry's record attendance was set in this year – recorded as 51,455, against Wolverhampton Wanderers, the team that finished a close second to Coventry at the top of the table.
1970 – Under Noel Cantwell, Coventry finish 6th in the First Division, their highest League placing. Coventry qualify for the European Fairs Cup but lost 7–3 on aggregate in the second round to Bayern Munich, despite winning the second leg 2–1 at Highfield Road. 1977 – Coventry City escaped relegation after drawing with Bristol City who escaped relegation. The result of this game relegated Sunderland, which caused allegations of match fixing over the outcome of the match due to the result of the Sunderland game being relayed to Coventry City and Bristol City players on the stadium screen before their game had finished. 1978 – The strike partnership of Ian Wallace and Mick Ferguson helped the Sky Blues finish in seventh position in the First Division, their second-highest final league placing, but fractionally missing out on a UEFA Cup place. 1981 – The club reaches the League Cup semi-final but are denied their first Wembley appearance by West Ham United, despite being 3–2 ahead after the first leg.
Highfield Road becomes England's first all-seater stadium. 1987 – The Sky Blues won the FA Cup, beating Tottenham Hotspur in the final. It is their only major trophy to date, they were runners-up to Everton in August in the Charity Shield. Coventry won the FA Youth Cup in this year. 1989 – Coventry were defeated by non-league Sutton United in the FA Cup Third Round, only 19 months after lifting the trophy. However, their impressive league for
Gillingham Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Gillingham, England. The only Kent-based club in the Football League, the "Gills" play their home matches at the Priestfield Stadium; the team competes in the third tier of the English football league system. The club was founded in 1893 and joined the Football League in 1920, they were voted out of the league in favour of Ipswich Town at the end of the 1937–38 season, but returned to it 12 years after it was expanded from 88 to 92 clubs. Twice in the late 1980s they came close to winning promotion to the second tier of English football, but a decline set in and in 1993 they narrowly avoided relegation to the Football Conference. Between 2000 and 2005, Gillingham were in the second tier of the English football league system for the only time in their history, achieving a club record highest league finish of eleventh place in 2002–03; the local success of a junior football side, Chatham Excelsior F. C. encouraged a group of businessmen to meet with a view to creating a football club which could compete in larger competitions.
New Brompton F. C. was formed at the meeting, held on 18 May 1893. The founders purchased the plot of land which became Priestfield Stadium; the new club played its first match on 2 September 1893, losing 1–5 to Woolwich Arsenal's reserve side in front of a crowd of 2,000. New Brompton were among the founder members of the Southern League upon its creation in 1894, were placed in Division Two, they were named Champions in the first season going on to defeat Swindon Town in a test match to win promotion. In the seasons that followed, the club struggled in Division One, finishing bottom in the 1907–08 season, avoiding relegation only due to expansion of the league. Whilst the club's league performance was disappointing, the side did manage a famous cup victory over Football League First Division Sunderland and held Manchester City to a draw before losing in the replay. In 1912 the directors passed a resolution to change the club's name to Gillingham F. C. and the team played under this name throughout the 1912–13 season, although the change was not ratified by the shareholders until the following year.
The team finished bottom of Division One in the 1919–20 season but for a third time avoided relegation, due to the subsequent elevation of all Southern League Division One clubs to form the new Football League Division Three. In the first season of the newly created Football League Division Three, the 1920–21 season, Gillingham again finished bottom, in the years to follow there was little improvement on this, the club continually finishing in the lower reaches of the bottom division. In 1938 the team finished bottom of the Third Division and were required to apply for re-election for the fifth time since joining the league; this bid for re-election failed, with Gillingham returning to the Southern League and Ipswich Town being promoted in their place. Gillingham established themselves as one of the stronger sides in the league, winning a local double of the Kent League and Kent Senior Cup in the 1945–46 season. In the 1946–47 season the team won both the Southern League Cup and the Southern League championship, during which they recorded a club record 12–1 victory over Gloucester City.
The Gills won the league title in 1948–49. In 1950, plans were announced to expand the Football League Division Three from 22 to 24 teams and, taking into account their local success in the interim, Gillingham were re-elected to the Football League with a landslide vote; the team spent eight seasons in Division Three before the restructuring of the league system for the 1958–59 season saw them placed in the newly created Fourth Division. They remained in this division until 1964, when manager Freddie Cox led them to promotion, winning the first championship in the club's history; the team finished the season level on 60 points with Carlisle United, but with a fractionally better goal average, the tightest league title finish in Football League history. After relegation back to the Fourth Division in 1970–71, the Gills were soon promoted back to the Third Division in the 1973–74 season. After this the club seemed to find its level in Division Three mounting a challenge for promotion which fell short each time, never more so than in 1986–87 when they reached the play-offs only to lose in the final to Swindon Town.
During this period the club produced future stars Steve Bruce and Tony Cascarino, famously bought from non-league Crockenhill in exchange for a set of tracksuits. In 1987, the Gills hit the headlines when, on consecutive Saturdays, they beat Southend United 8–1 and Chesterfield 10–0, the latter a club record for a Football League match. Just a few months however, manager Keith Peacock was controversially sacked, within 18 months the club had fallen into Division Four; the ensuing spell in the lower division brought little success, in the 1992–93 Division Three campaign the Gills narrowly avoided relegation to the Football Conference. Beset with financial problems, the club went into administration in January 1995, by the end of the 1994–95 season faced the threat of being expelled from the Football League and closed down. In June 1995, however, a London-based businessman, Paul Scally, bought the club, he brought in new manager Tony Pulis, who led Gillingham to promotion in his first season, finishing second in the old Division Three.
In 1999 the Gills lost in the Division Two play-off final to Manchester City. The Gills were 2–0 up with less than two minutes left only to see City score twice, the equaliser in injury time, go on to w
The Premier League is the top level of the English football league system. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the English Football League; the Premier League is a corporation. Seasons run from August to May with each team playing 38 matches. Most games are played on Sunday afternoons; the Premier League has featured 47 English and two Welsh clubs since its inception, making it a cross-border league. The competition was formed as the FA Premier League on 20 February 1992 following the decision of clubs in the Football League First Division to break away from the Football League, founded in 1888, take advantage of a lucrative television rights deal; the deal was worth £1 billion a year domestically as of 2013–14, with BSkyB and BT Group securing the domestic rights to broadcast 116 and 38 games respectively. The league generates € 2.2 billion per year in international television rights. Clubs were apportioned revenues of £2.4 billion in 2016–17. 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, second highest of any professional football league behind the Bundesliga's 43,500. Most stadium occupancies are near capacity; the Premier League ranks second in the UEFA coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the past five seasons, as of 2018. Forty-nine clubs have competed since the inception of the Premier League in 1992. Six of them have won the title since then: Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, Leicester City; the record of most points in a Premier League season is 100, set by Manchester City in 2017–18. Despite significant European success in the 1970s and early 1980s, the late 1980s marked a low point for English football. Stadiums were crumbling, supporters endured poor facilities, hooliganism was rife, English clubs were banned from European competition for five years following the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985; the Football League First Division, the top level of English football since 1888, was behind leagues such as Italy's Serie A and Spain's La Liga in attendances and revenues, several top English players had moved abroad.
By the turn of the 1990s the downward trend was starting to reverse: at the 1990 FIFA World Cup, England reached the semi-finals. In the 1980s, major English clubs had begun to transform into business ventures, applying commercial principles to club administration to maximise revenue. Martin Edwards of Manchester United, Irving Scholar of Tottenham Hotspur, David Dein of Arsenal were among the leaders in this transformation, it gave the top clubs more power. By threatening to break away, clubs in Division One managed to increase their voting power, they took a 50% share of all television and sponsorship income in 1986. Revenue from television became more important: the Football League received £6.3 million for a two-year agreement in 1986, but by 1988, in a deal agreed with ITV, the price rose to £44 million over four years with the leading clubs taking 75% of the cash. According to Scholar, involved in the negotiations of television deals, each of the First Division clubs received only around £25,000 per year from television rights before 1986, this increased to around £50,000 in the 1986 negotiation to £600,000 in 1988.
The 1988 negotiations were conducted under the threat of ten clubs leaving to form a "super league", but they were persuaded to stay with the top clubs taking the lion share of the deal. As stadiums improved and match attendance and revenues rose, the country's top teams again considered leaving the Football League in order to capitalise on the influx of money into the sport. In 1990, the managing director of London Weekend Television, Greg Dyke, met with the representatives of the "big five" football clubs in England over a dinner; the meeting was to pave the way for a break away from The Football League. Dyke believed that it would be more lucrative for LWT if only the larger clubs in the country were featured on national television and wanted to establish whether the clubs would be interested in a larger share of television rights money; the five clubs decided to press ahead with it. The FA did not enjoy an amicable relationship with the Football League at the time and considered it as a way to weaken the Football League's position.
At the close of the 1991 season, a proposal was tabled for the establishment of a new league that would bring more money into the game overall. The Founder Members Agreement, signed on 17 July 1991 by the game's top-flight clubs, established the basic principles for setting up the FA Premier League; the newly formed top division would have commercial independence from The Football Association and the Football League, giving the FA Premier League licence to negotiate
Blackpool F. C. is a professional association football club in the seaside town of Blackpool, England, which competes in League One, the third tier of English football. Founded in 1887, Blackpool's home ground since 1901 has been Bloomfield Road. Blackpool won the 1953 FA Cup Final, the so-called "Matthews Final", in which they beat Bolton Wanderers 4–3, overturning a 1–3 deficit in the closing stages of the game. Blackpool made three FA Cup Final appearances in six years between 1948 and 1953 and in the 1950s had four top-six finishes in the Football League First Division, their best position being runners-up to Manchester United in 1955–56. In 1953, four Blackpool players were in the England team. Blackpool won promotion to the Premier League in 2009–10, becoming the first club in English football to have won promotion from every division of the Football League via the play-off system, they have a local rivalry with Preston North End, matches between the two clubs are known as the West Lancashire derby.
Football had developed in Blackpool by 1877 when Victoria F. C. were founded as a church club with a ground in Caunce Street. This team disbanded a few years but some of its members are understood to have merged with old boys from St John's School to form a new club called Blackpool St John's, but the two factions remained disunited and, on 26 July 1887, at a meeting in the Stanley Arms public house, the members resolved to wind up St John's and form a new club to represent the whole town called Blackpool Football Club. The new club managed to win two pieces of silverware in its first season in existence, 1887–88: the Fylde Cup and the Lancashire Junior Cup. At the conclusion of the following 1888–89 season, Blackpool became founder members of the Lancashire League. In their first season in the competition, the club finished fifth out of the 13 member clubs, they finished as runners-up over the following three seasons, before winning the championship themselves on their fourth attempt. Blackpool's home at that point in time was Raikes Hall, part of a large entertainment complex that included a theatre and a boating lake, amongst other attractions.
This meant that the club's average attendances were around the 2000 mark, making the club's formative years a financial success. After struggling to repeat the success of the 1893–94 season, the Blackpool board decided it was time to leave local football behind, so on 13 May 1896 the club became a limited company and applied for entry to the Football League, their application was successful, for the club's debut season, 1896–97, they joined the 16-team Second Division. Blackpool's first-ever Football League game took place on 5 September 1896, at Lincoln City, which they lost 3–1 in front of around 1,500 spectators. For the 1897–98 campaign, the club played their home games at the Athletic Grounds, they remained there for the first seven home games of 1898–99, before returning to Raikes Hall for the remaining 10. After finishing third-bottom, the club were not re-elected at the end of the 1898–99 season, spent the 1899–1900 term back in the Lancashire League, they finished third, after the Football League's annual meeting, on 25 May 1900, were permitted back into Division Two.
It was during this season out of the League that Blackpool amalgamated with local rivals South Shore and moved to Bloomfield Road. During the 10 seasons that followed, Blackpool could finish no higher than 12th place; the club's top goalscorers in the league included Geordie Anderson and Bob Whittingham. At the end of 1910–11, the club found themselves in seventh place, thanks to Joe Clennell's haul of 18 goals, it was a case of as-you-were, for the four seasons leading up to the First World War, with finishing positions of 14th, 20th, 16th and 10th. For the last of those seasons, Joe Lane netted 28 goals; the outbreak of war forced the cancellation of League football for four years, during which time regional competitions were introduced. When normality resumed, in 1919–20, Blackpool had appointed their first full-time manager in the form of Bill Norman. Norman guided the club to fourth-placed finishes in his first two league seasons in charge, with Lane again netting close to 30 goals in the former.
The club's form nosedived in the 1921–22 season, with a finishing position of 19th, before bouncing back to a fifth-placed finish the following campaign. Harry Bedford, who had joined the club from Nottingham Forest, was the country's top league scorer, with 32 goals to his name. Bedford repeated the feat the following season, this time under the watchful eye of new manager Frank Buckley, who replaced Bill Norman after his four years of service. Blackpool finished fourth in Buckley's first season in charge; the 1924–25 season was not as successful. A single-goal defeat at fellow Lancastrians Blackburn Rovers ended the Seasiders' run. Buckley guided Blackpool to top-10 finishes in his final two seasons as manager – with Billy Tremelling's thirty goals in the latter helping – before he left to take the helm at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Buckley's replacement was Sydney Beaumont, who took charge for the 1927–28 season, but he lasted only until the spring after the club finished in 19th position. Harry Evans was installed as the new Blackpool manager, in an honorary capacity, for the 1928–29 campaign.
Due in no small part to Jimmy Hampson's 40 goals, the club finished eighth. In his second season, Evans guided Bla