Birmingham is a major city and metropolitan borough of West Midlands, England lying on the River Rea, a small river that runs through Birmingham. It is the largest and most populous British city outside London, the city is in the West Midlands Built-up Area, the third most populous urban area in the United Kingdom, with a population of 2,440,986 at the 2011 census. Birminghams metropolitan area is the second most populous in the UK with a population of 3.8 million and this also makes Birmingham the 8th most populous metropolitan area in Europe. By 1791 it was being hailed as the first manufacturing town in the world, perhaps the most important invention in British history, the industrial steam engine, was invented in Birmingham. From the summer of 1940 to the spring of 1943, Birmingham was bombed heavily by the German Luftwaffe in what is known as the Birmingham Blitz. The damage done to the infrastructure, in addition to a deliberate policy of demolition and new building by planners, led to extensive demolition. Today Birminghams economy is dominated by the service sector and its metropolitan economy is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a GDP of $121. 1bn, and its six universities make it the largest centre of higher education in the country outside London. Birmingham is the fourth-most visited city in the UK by foreign visitors, Birminghams sporting heritage can be felt worldwide, with the concept of the Football League and lawn tennis both originating from the city. Its most successful football club Aston Villa has won seven league titles, people from Birmingham are called Brummies, a term derived from the citys nickname of Brum. This originates from the citys name, Brummagem, which may in turn have been derived from one of the citys earlier names. There is a distinctive Brummie accent and dialect, Birminghams early history is that of a remote and marginal area. The main centres of population, power and wealth in the pre-industrial English Midlands lay in the fertile and accessible river valleys of the Trent, the Severn and the Avon. The area of modern Birmingham lay in between, on the upland Birmingham Plateau and within the wooded and sparsely populated Forest of Arden. Birmingham as a settlement dates from the Anglo-Saxon era, within a century of the charter Birmingham had grown into a prosperous urban centre of merchants and craftsmen. By 1327 it was the third-largest town in Warwickshire, a position it would retain for the next 200 years, by 1700 Birminghams population had increased fifteenfold and the town was the fifth-largest in England and Wales. The importance of the manufacture of goods to Birminghams economy was recognised as early as 1538. Equally significant was the emerging role as a centre for the iron merchants who organised finance, supplied raw materials. The 18th century saw this tradition of free-thinking and collaboration blossom into the phenomenon now known as the Midlands Enlightenment
Southport is a large seaside town in Merseyside, England. At the 2001 census, it had a population of 90,336, Southport lies on the Irish Sea coast and is fringed to the north by the Ribble estuary. The town is 16.7 miles north of Liverpool and 14.8 miles southwest of Preston. Historically part of Lancashire, the town was founded in 1792 when William Sutton, at that time, the area, known as South Hawes, was sparsely populated and dominated by sand dunes. At the turn of the 19th century, the area popular with tourists due to the easy access from the nearby Leeds. The rapid growth of Southport largely coincided with the Industrial Revolution, extensive sand dunes stretch for several miles between Birkdale and Woodvale to the south of the town. The Ainsdale sand dunes have been designated as a nature reserve. Local fauna include the Natterjack toad and the Sand lizard, the town contains examples of Victorian architecture and town planning, on Lord Street and elsewhere. A particular feature of the town is the tree planting. This was one of the conditions required by the Hesketh family when they made available for development in the 19th century. Hesketh Park at the end of the town is named after them. Southport today is one of the most popular seaside resorts in the UK. It hosts various events, including an air show on and over the beach. The town is at the centre of Englands Golf Coast and has hosted the Open Championship at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club, there have been settlements in the area now comprising Southport since the Domesday Book, and some parts of the town have names of Viking origin. Roman coins have found at Halsall Moss and Crossens, although the Romans never settled southwest Lancashire. The first real evidence of a settlement here is in the Domesday Book. The name is derived from Oddrgrimir meaning the son of Grimm and is linked to the Old Norse word melr meaning sandbank, the Domesday Book states that there were 50 huts in Otergimele, housing a population of 200. The alluvium provided fertile land and the river itself stocks of fish
Forward (association football)
Forwards are the players on an association football team who play nearest to the opposing teams goal, and are therefore most responsible for scoring goals. Their advanced position and limited defensive responsibilities mean forwards normally score more goals on behalf of their team than other players, modern team formations generally include one to three forwards, for example, the common 4–2–3–1 formation includes one forward. Unconventional formations may include more than three forwards, or none, the centre-forward is often a tall player, typically known as a target man, whose main function is to score the majority of goals on behalf of the team. Most modern centre-forwards operate in front of the strikers or central attacking midfielders. The present role of centre-forward is sometimes interchangeable with that of an attacking midfielder, a centre-forward usually must be strong, to win key headers and outmuscle defenders. The term centre-forward is taken from the football playing formation in which there were five forward players. The number would become synonymous with the centre-forward position. Strikers are known for their ability to peel off defenders and to run into space via the side of the defender and to receive the ball in a good goalscoring position. They are typically fast players with ball control and dribbling abilities. More agile strikers like Michael Owen have an advantage over taller defenders due to their short burst speed, a good striker should be able to shoot confidently with either foot, possess great power and accuracy, and have the ability to pass the ball under pressure in breakaway situations. Deep-lying forwards have a history in the game, but the terminology to describe their playing activity has varied over the years. Originally such players were termed inside forwards, creative or deep-lying centre-forwards, in fact, a coined term, the nine-and-a-half, has been an attempt to become a standard in defining the position. In Italy, this role is known as a rifinitore or seconda punta, whereas in Brazil, it is known as segundo atacante. An outside forward plays as the forward on the right or left wing – as an outside right or outside left. As football tactics have largely developed, and wingers have dropped back to become midfielders, many commentators and football analysts still refer to the wing positions as outside right and outside left. However, in the British game they are counted as part of the midfield. It is a duty to beat opposing full-backs, deliver cut-backs or crosses from wide positions and, to a lesser extent, to beat defenders. They are usually some of the quickest players in the team, in their Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese usage, the defensive duties of the winger have been usually confined to pressing the opposition fullbacks when they have the ball
Birmingham City F.C.
Birmingham City Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Birmingham, England. Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, they became Small Heath in 1888, then Birmingham in 1905, the team compete in the EFL Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. As Small Heath, they played in the Football Alliance before becoming founder members, the most successful period in their history was in the 1950s and early 1960s. They won the competition for the second time in 2011. St Andrews has been their ground since 1906. They have a long-standing and fierce rivalry with Aston Villa, their nearest neighbours, the clubs nickname is Blues, due to the colour of their kit, and their fans are known as Bluenoses. Birmingham City were founded as Small Heath Alliance in 1875, the club turned professional in 1885, and three years later became the first football club to become a limited company with a board of directors, under the name of Small Heath F. C. Ltd. From the 1889–90 season they played in the Football Alliance, which ran alongside the Football League, in 1892, Small Heath, along with the other Alliance teams, were invited to join the newly formed Football League Second Division. The club adopted the name Birmingham Football Club in 1905, and moved into their new home, St Andrews Ground, matters on the field failed to live up to their surroundings. Birmingham were relegated in 1908, obliged to apply for two years later, and remained in the Second Division until after the First World War. Frank Womacks captaincy and the creativity of Scottish international playmaker Johnny Crosbie contributed much to Birmingham winning their second Division Two title in 1920–21, Womack went on to make 515 appearances, a club record for an outfielder, over a twenty-year career. 1920 also saw the debut of the 19-year-old Joe Bradford, who went on to score a club record 267 goals in 445 games, and won 12 caps for England. In 1931, manager Leslie Knighton led the club to their first FA Cup Final and they were finally relegated in 1939, the last full season before the Football League was abandoned for the duration of the Second World War. The name Birmingham City F. C. was adopted in 1943, under Harry Storer, appointed manager in 1945, the club won the Football League South wartime league and reached the semifinal of the first post-war FA Cup. Two years later won their third Second Division title, conceding only 24 goals in the 42-game season. Storers successor Bob Brocklebank, though unable to stave off relegation in 1950, when Arthur Turner took over as manager in November 1954, he made them play closer to their potential, and a 5–1 win on the last day of the 1954–55 season confirmed them as champions. In their first season back in the First Division, Birmingham achieved their highest league finish of sixth place. They also reached the FA Cup final, losing 3–1 to Manchester City in the game notable for Citys goalkeeper Bert Trautmann playing the last 20 minutes with a bone in his neck
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
Crewe Alexandra F.C.
Crewe Alexandra Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Crewe, Cheshire, England. Nicknamed The Railwaymen because of the links with the rail industry. The team compete in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. The club was formed in 1877 and named after Princess Alexandra and it was a founding member of the Football League Second Division in 1892, but only lasted four years in the League. Since re-entering the competition in 1921, they have remained in the lower divisions. Crewes only major honour is the Football League Trophy which they won in 2013 and they have also won several minor trophies, including the Cheshire Premier Cup and the Cheshire Senior Cup. Gradi is known for focusing on development and promoting attractive. Notable players brought through the Crewe youth system include former internationals Rob Jones, Neil Lennon, Danny Murphy, Seth Johnson, other notable players to have made their name at Crewe in that time include Geoff Thomas, David Platt and Robbie Savage. Crewe Alexandra were formed in 1877 as Crewe Football Club, separate from the successful Crewe Cricket Club and they were based at the Alexandra Recreation Ground and played their first match against North Staffs that same year, a match that ended 1–1. In 1883, Crewe Alexandras first match in the FA Cup was against Scottish club Queens Park of Glasgow, in 1888, the club reached the FA Cup semi-finals, defeating Derby County and Middlesbrough en route, before going out to Preston North End. Crewe were founding members of the Football League Second Division in 1892, having previously been members of the Football Alliance, in 1906 the current Gresty Road ground was rebuilt to the west of the original site. Crewe rejoined the Football League in 1921, during which season a crowd of 15,102 packed into Gresty Road to watch Crewe entertain local rivals Stoke City. Crewe earned their first honours by winning the Welsh Cup in 1936 and 1937, in 1936, Bert Swindells scored his 100th League goal for Crewe Alexandra. He went on to score 126 goals for the club, a record still stands today. 1955 saw Crewe embark on a sequence where they did not win away from home for 56 matches, the dismal run ended with a 1–0 win at Southport. One of Crewes most famous took place against Spurs in the FA Cup in 1960. A new record attendance of 20,000 saw lowly Crewe hold Spurs to a 2–2 draw on 30 January, on 3 February, Tottenham convincingly won the replay 13–2, which remains a record defeat for the club. Llewellyn and Nev Coleman scored for Crewe,1961 saw Crewes most notable win in their history, Jimmy McGuigans side defeated Chelsea 2–1 in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge
Stalybridge Celtic F.C.
Stalybridge Celtic Football Club is an English football club based in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester. The club participates in the National League North, the tier of English football. The team traditionally plays in a blue and white strip, the team plays its home matches at Bower Fold. In 1921 Stalybridge Celtic became a member of the Football Leagues Third Division North. After only two seasons in the new league, they became the first club to leave the new division, the clubs formation is usually given as 1909. However, it may have been as early as 1906 when a club with the same name was formed. They followed it up with a place and runners up spot in the Central League. In an attempt to progress the club joined the Southern League, the club rejoined the Central League for the 1919–20 season and in 1921 became one of the founder members of the Football Leagues Third Division North. The full Celtic story in the League is detailed in Manchester A Football History where Celtic are given the level of analysis. They joined the Cheshire County League remaining members for 60 years, in 1992 the club won the league title and was promoted to the Football Conference, playing at that level for six seasons to 1998 before being relegated to the NPL again, after finishing bottom. When the conference added a level for the 2004–5 season. Until the end of 2006–07 season the manager was John Reed, on 30 May 2007 Steve Burr was appointed as a manager. After reaching the final, Stalybridge were denied after a 1–0 defeat to Barrow, in the 2012/13 season, after languishing near the relegation zone for most of the year, they finished 11th following a 9-game unbeaten run. Stalybridge also reached the final of the Cheshire Senior Cup, losing 2–1 to Chester F. C, the 2013/14 season wasnt a good one either, as Stalybridge finished 19th, narrowly avoiding relegation by 2 points. Jim Harvey was sacked in October 2013, being replaced by former player Keith Briggs and they secured Conference North football for another season with a 1–1 draw against Bradford Park Avenue in the penultimate game of the season. The 2014/15 season was arguably the worst for a long time, Stalybridge struggled to keep their heads above water, which led to the resignation of Keith Briggs in March 2015. He was replaced by 3 time Conference North winning manager, Liam Watson and this brought a turn around in results, with Watson only losing 1 of his 7 games in charge, winning 4. Survival came down to the game against Gainsborough, with Stalybridge needing to better Colwyn Bays and Brackleys results