Shrewsbury Town F.C.
Shrewsbury Town Football Club is a professional football club in Shrewsbury, England, which plays in League One, the third tier of English football. The club was formed in 1886 and was elected to the Football League in 1950; the club has since competed in each of the lower three tiers of the Football League, in addition to one season spent in the Conference Premier in 2003–04. It has competed in the Welsh Cup, winning it six times, a record for an English team. Between 1910 and 2007, the club was based at Gay Meadow on the banks of the River Severn. Shrewsbury Town were formed in 1886, following the demise of first Shropshire Wanderers and indirectly Castle Blues; the Blues were a rough team. The new team hoped to be as successful but without the notoriety. Press reports differ as to the date the new club was formed, The Eddowes Shropshire Journal of 26 May 1886 reported the birth of the club at The Lion Hotel, Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury; the Shrewsbury Chronicle reported the club's being formed at the Turf Hotel, Claremont Hill, Shrewsbury.
It may be both accounts, with a get-together at The Lion being finalised at the Turf. After friendlies and regional cup competitions for the first few seasons, Shrewsbury were founder members of the Shropshire & District League in 1890–91 admitted to the Birmingham & District League in 1895–96. Many of the teams Town faced in the early days have vanished, however Shrewsbury met many of today's Football League and Conference teams, including Crewe Alexandra, Coventry City, Stoke City, Kidderminster Harriers and Stafford Rangers. In 1910, Shrewsbury looked to move to a new ground, having spent early years at locations across the town, notably at Copthorne Barracks west of the town; the club moved to Gay Meadow on the edge of the town centre, within sight of Shrewsbury Abbey, stayed 97 years. Shrewsbury's Birmingham League days were mid-table, with a few seasons challenging near the top, the club being league champions in 1922–23. A move to the Midland Champions League in 1937–38 saw the club enjoy one of its most successful seasons, winning a league and cup treble.
Shrewsbury were league champions, scoring 111 goals. In addition, the Welsh Cup was won following a replay, the team enjoyed a run in the FA Cup, won the Shropshire Senior Cup. After a run of good seasons in post-war years, Shrewsbury were admitted, alongside Scunthorpe United to the old Division 3 of the Football League in 1950, after being Midland League champions in 1949–50, following the decision to expand from 88 to 92 clubs. Shrewsbury gained their first promotion, to the Third Division, in 1958–59, they remained in the third tier 15 years, slipping back to Division Four at the end of 1973–74. 1960–61 season saw Shrewsbury Town reach the Semi Final of the League Cup. After beating Everton in the quarter-finals, they narrowly lost over two legs 4–3 on aggregate to Rotherham United; this era was remembered for Arthur Rowley. He arrived from Leicester City in the club's first player/manager. During his playing and managerial career, he broke Dixie Dean's goal-scoring record, scoring his 380th league goal against Bradford City at Valley Parade on 29 April 1961.
Retiring from playing in 1965 he remained manager until July 1968. Shrewsbury were promoted to the Third Division in 1974–75 as runners-up, before another successful season in 1978–79, when they were league champions under Ritchie Barker and Graham Turner. Over 14,000 fans packed Gay Meadow on 17 May 1979 to see Shrewsbury seal promotion with a 4–1 win over Exeter City. In addition, the club had their first run to the FA Cup quarter-finals, before a replay defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Turner is the team's most successful manager, winning the Third Division Championship in 1978–79 – his first season in charge – to take the club into the Second Division for the first time, they remained for ten years, although Turner departed for Aston Villa in 1984. Shrewsbury repeated their 1979 feat of reaching the quarter-final in 1981–82, defeating UEFA Cup holders Ipswich Town in the fifth round before defeat away to Leicester City; the 1980s saw many big teams defeated by Shrewsbury, whose period in the old Second Division coincided with some of the current Premier League clubs.
During the 1980s, Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United and Chelsea lost to Shrewsbury Town. Middlesbrough were defeated at Gay Meadow at the end of 1985–86, Shrewsbury winning 2–1, relegating Middlesbrough, who went out of business and out of existence; the match was marred by violence from Middlesbrough fans, with many of them having to return to Shrewsbury for court appearances. In the early to mid-1980s the club enjoyed. Shrewsbury survived through the sale of players, with some to have played for Shrewsbury including Steve Ogrizovic, David Moyes, John McGinlay and Bernard McNally, they were relegated at the end of 1988–89 after ten years. In the Third Division, on 22 December 1990, Gary Shaw scored the quickest Town hat trick – 4 minutes and 32 seconds – against Bradford City at Valley Parade. At the end of 1991–92, three years after relegation to the Third Division, the club was relegated to the Fourth – the first time since 1975. However, two seasons Shrewsbury won the new Division Three championship under Fred Davies in 1993–94, remained in Division Two three seasons.
Shrewsbury were not to rise any further, remaining mid-table before slipping down again at the end of 1996–97. The 1990s saw Shrewsbury make their first appearance at Wembley as finalists in the 1996 Football League Trophy final. Shre
Bristol Rovers F.C.
Bristol Rovers Football Club is a professional football club in Bristol, which plays in League One, the third tier of English football. The team play home matches at Memorial Stadium in Horfield; the club was founded in 1883 as Black Arabs F. C. and were known as Eastville Rovers and Bristol Eastville Rovers before changing its name to Bristol Rovers in 1899. The club's official nickname is The Pirates; the local nickname of the club is The Gas, from the gasworks next to their former home, Eastville Stadium, which started as a derogatory term used by fans of their main rivals, Bristol City, but was affectionately adopted by the team. Cardiff City and Swindon Town are considered third biggest rivals. Rovers were admitted to the Football League in 1920 and have played there since, apart from spending the 2014–15 season in the Conference Premier, their highest finishing positions were in 1956 and 1959, on both occasions ending the season in 6th place in Division Two the second tier of English football.
The club's honours include winning the third tier title twice, the fourth tier play-off final once. Rovers were Football League Trophy finalists in 1990 and 2007; the club was formed following a meeting at the Eastville Restaurant in Bristol in September 1883. It was called Black Arabs F. C. after the Arabs rugby the predominantly black kits in which they played. This name only lasted for the 1883–84 season, in a bid to draw more fans from the local area the club was renamed Eastville Rovers in 1884; the club played only friendly games until the 1887–88 season, when it took part in the Gloucestershire Cup for the first time. In 1892 the club became a founder member of the Bristol and District League, which three years was renamed the Western League. In 1897 Eastville Rovers joined the Birmingham and District League, for two seasons played in both this league and the Western League. At the beginning of the 1897–98 season, the club turned professional and changed its name to Bristol Eastville Rovers, on 17 February 1899 the name was changed to Bristol Rovers.
In 1899 Bristol Rovers joined the newly formed Southern League, where they remained until 1920, winning the league title along the way in 1905. For the 1920–21 season, the Southern League teams were moved into the new Division Three of the Football League, which became Division Three the following season, they remained in this division for over 30 years, before winning the league, promotion in the 1952–53 season. The team has won promotion on five other occasions: in 1973–74 from the Third Division to the Second Division, again in 1989–90 as Division Three champions, in 2006–07 to the Football League One, in 2014–15 to League Two from the Conference Premier, in 2015–16 to League One; the club has been relegated six times—in 1961–62, 1980–81, 1992–93, 2000–01, 2010–11 and most at the end of the 2013–14 season. The highest position in the football ladder achieved by Rovers at the end of season is sixth place in the second tier, which they did twice; the closest they came to the top flight was in 1955–56, when they ended the season just four points below the promotion positions.
The lowest league position achieved by the club is twenty-third out of twenty-four teams in the fourth tier, which has occurred twice. In the 2001–02 season, relegation from the Football League was narrowly avoided on two counts; this position was matched at the end of the 2013–14 season, which this time saw Rovers relegated to the Conference for the first time. They returned to the league at the end of their first Conference season, with a penalty shootout victory over Grimsby Town in the play-off final. In February 2016 it was announced that a 92% stake in the club had been bought by the Jordanian al-Qadi family and that Wael al-Qadi, a member of the Jordan Football Association, would become the president; the club is now owned by Dwane Sports Ltd with 92.6% of the shares with Bristol Rovers Supporters Club owning the remaining 7.4%. The only major cup competition won by Bristol Rovers is the 1972 Watney Cup, when they beat Sheffield United in the final; the club won the Division Three Cup in 1934–35, as well as winning or sharing the Gloucestershire Cup on 32 occasions.
The team has never played in European competition. In the FA Cup, Rovers have reached the quarter-final stage on three occasions; the first time was in 1950–51 when they faced Newcastle United at St James' Park in front of a crowd of 62,787, the record for the highest attendance at any Bristol Rovers match. The second time they reached the quarter final was in 1957–58, when they lost to Fulham, the most recent appearance at this stage of the competition was during the 2007–08 season, when they faced West Bromwich Albion, they were the first Division Three team to win an FA Cup tie away to a Premier League side, when in 2002 they beat Derby County 3–1 at Pride Park Stadium. They have twice reached the final of the Football League Trophy, in 1989–90 and 2006–07, but finished runners-up on both occasions. On the second occasion they did not allow a single goal against them in the competition en route to the final, but conceded the lead less than a minute after the final kicked off. Bristol Rovers main rivals are
Kevin Daniel Kilbane is a former professional footballer who played as both a left back and a left winger. Born and raised in England but of Irish parentage, Kilbane won 110 caps for the Republic of Ireland national team, third behind only Robbie Keane and Shay Given as the most capped Irish player of all time. Kilbane played for several English clubs, including Everton, West Bromwich Albion, Wigan Athletic, Huddersfield Town and Derby County and Coventry City. Towards the end of his career Kilbane concentrated on forging a media career, he has worked as a pundit for RTÉ Sport and is now a columnist for the Irish Daily Mail and appears on TV3 Ireland now known as Virgin Media Television, BBC Radio 5 Live, Football Focus, Final Score, Ireland's Newstalk Radio Off The Ball Football Show and Match of the Day. Born in Preston, Kilbane made his professional debut at his hometown club, Preston North End, after making his way through the youth system at Deepdale, it was not long before his performances began to attract attention from other clubs, he was sold to West Bromwich Albion for a fee of £1 million in 1997.
Kilbane was Albion's first £1 million player, breaking a club transfer record which had stood since 1979. In December 1999, Peter Reid's Sunderland paid £2.5 million for the left winger, making him the third most expensive club signing at the time. His impact was immediate. However, this was to be Sunderland's last win until March 2000, a loss in form which came to be known as "The Curse of Kilbane". In spite of his best efforts on the pitch, he soon became a target for the Black Cats fans to vent their frustrations, as the team's drop in form under Peter Reid continued and the team were relegated from the Premiership. In the summer of 2002, he gave the travelling Sunderland fans a two-fingered salute on a pre-season tour of France, his days at the Stadium of Light seemed numbered. On the last day of the transfer window at the start of the 2003–04 season, Kilbane moved to Everton for just under £1 million, where he was reunited with David Moyes; the Goodison Park fans would appreciate his commitment and re-invigorate Kilbane as a player.
In return, he displayed great versatility which resulted in him being deployed right across the midfield, at left back or as a support striker, as well has his preferred left-wing position. On 26 August 2006, during his last game for Everton against Tottenham Hotspur, he was sent off by referee Mark Halsey for two bookable offences. On 31 August 2006, Kilbane signed a three-year deal with Wigan Athletic for an estimated fee of £2 million. On 15 April 2007, he scored his first goal for Wigan Athletic with a powerful header in the 3–3 draw against Tottenham Hotspur; this was his first goal at club level since October 2004. He scored his second goal for Wigan with a looping header over Robert Green's head from Ryan Taylor's cross as Wigan went on to beat West Ham 1–0. Kilbane played most of his second season in the unfamiliar left back role, but still managed to win Wiganer.net's Player of The Season Award. With limited first team opportunities at Wigan due to the emergence of Maynor Figueroa and with his contract set to expire in the summer, Kilbane transferred to Hull City on 15 January 2009 for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of £500,000, signing a two-and-a-half-year deal with the Yorkshire club.
He scored his first goal for the club against Burnley on 10 April 2010. On 1 January 2011, as the transfer window reopened, Kilbane joined Football League One side Huddersfield Town on loan until the end of the season as a replacement for the injured Damien Johnson, he made his debut the same day in the 2–2 draw against Carlisle United at Brunton Park. He scored his first goal for the club in the 4–2 win over Walsall at the Bescot Stadium on 15 January 2011. After signing for Huddersfield, he helped the team to a club record 26 league games unbeaten, before their eventual 3–0 defeat in the playoff final to Peterborough. On 2 August 2011, Kilbane joined Derby County on a six-month loan deal from Hull. Kilbane played 10 times for Derby, scoring one goal in a 3–0 win against Doncaster Rovers on 20 August 2011, however Kilbane's loan was cut short on 29 November 2011 due to a back injury. On 2 July 2012 Kilbane joined Coventry City on an initial one-year deal. On his debut against Dagenham & Redbridge in the League Cup on 14 August 2012.
He scored a late winner from the penalty spot. On 16 August 2012, Kilbane was named captain for the 2012–13 Coventry City's season, he made his final professional appearance as a substitute in a 2–1 defeat at Brentford on 24 October 2012 before announcing his immediate retirement on 8 December 2012. While still a youth player at Preston, Kilbane was called up to the England u-18 squad but declined as he had always wished to represent Ireland. Kilbane qualified for the Republic of Ireland team as both his parents are Irish, he made his international debut against Iceland on 6 September 1997, he was chosen as part of Mick McCarthy's squad for the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea. The team did well at the tournament, progressing to the knockout stage, they lost to Spain in a penalty shootout when Iker Casillas saved Kilbane and David Connolly's penalties. Kilbane scored his first international goal in nearly four years with a magnificent strike against the Czech Republic on 11 October 2006, he scored his 8th international goal on 7 September 2010 against Andorra, the first competitive goal for the Republic of Ireland at the new Aviva Stadium.
Kilbane won his 100th cap against Montenegro on 14 November 2009. As of 4 June 2011, Kilbane played his 66th consecutiv
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, it was the top-level football league in England from its foundation until 1992, when the top 22 clubs split away to form the Premier League. The three leagues below the Premier League are known as the Championship, League One and League Two, with 24 clubs in each division. Promotion and relegation between these divisions is a central feature of the League and is further extended to allow the top Championship clubs to exchange places with the lowest-placed clubs in the Premier League, the bottom clubs of League Two to switch with the top clubs of the National League, thus integrating the League into the English football league system. Although a competition for English clubs, clubs from Wales – Swansea City and Newport County – take part, while in the past Cardiff City, Merthyr Town and Aberdare Athletic have been members.
The Football League was 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. Starting with the 2016–17 season, the league has moved away from having a title sponsor, rebranding itself as the English Football League, in much the same way the Premier League is known as the "EPL" internationally; the English Football League is the name of the governing body of the league competition, this body 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 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, it runs the oldest professional football league competition in the world. It organises two knockout cup competitions, the EFL Cup and EFL Trophy; the Football League was founded in 1888 by Aston Villa director William McGregor with 12 member clubs.
Steady growth and the addition of more divisions meant. Financial considerations led to a major shake-up in 1992 when, in a step to maximise their revenue, the leading members of the Football League broke away to form their own competition, the FA Premier League, renamed in 2007 as the Premier League; 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 EFL's 72 member clubs are grouped into three divisions: the EFL Championship, EFL League One, EFL League Two. Each division has 24 clubs, in any given season a club plays each of the others in the same division twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents; this makes for a total of 46 games played each season. Clubs gain three points for a win, one for a draw, none for a defeat. At the end of the season, clubs at the top of their division may win promotion to the next higher division, while those at the bottom may be relegated to the next lower one.
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. At the lower end, two League Two clubs lose their Football League status with relegation to the National division of the National League, while two teams from that division join League Two of The Football League in their stead. Promotion and relegation are determined by final league positions, but to sustain interest for more clubs over the length of the season one promotion place from each division is decided according to a playoff between four clubs, which takes place at the end of the season, it is therefore possible for a team finishing sixth in the Championship or League One, or seventh in League Two, to be promoted rather than the clubs finishing above them in the standings. Since the 2004–05 season, penalties have existed for clubs entering financial administration during the season. If a club enters administration before 31 March of any given season, they will be deducted 12 points.
It is required that a club exiting administration agree a Creditor's Voluntary Agreement, pay in full any other footballing creditors. Failure to do either of these will result in a second unlimited points deduction; the other main situation in, a club may lose points is by fielding an improperly registered or otherwise ineligible player. If a club is found to have done this any points earned from any match that player participated in will be deducted; the EFL organises two knock-out cup competitions: the EFL Trophy. The EFL Cup was established in 1960 and is open to all EFL and Premier League
Cambridge United F.C.
Cambridge United Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Cambridge, England. The team compete in the fourth tier of the English football league system; the club is based at the Abbey Stadium on Newmarket Road 1.86 miles east of Cambridge city centre. The stadium has a capacity of 8,127, made up of seated areas; the club was founded in 1912 as Abbey United, took the name Cambridge United in 1951. They played in local amateur leagues before joining the Southern League after finishing as runners-up of the Eastern Counties League in 1957–58. Under Bill Leivers's stewardship they were crowned Southern League Premier Division champions in 1968–69 and 1969–70, which helped to secure their election into the Football League in 1970, they won promotion out of the Fourth Division in 1972–73, but suffered relegation. They won the Fourth Division title in 1976–77, secured promotion out of the Third Division the following season, they remained in the Second Division for six seasons.
Manager John Beck led United to promotion out of the Fourth Division via play-offs in 1990 and the Third Division title in 1990–91, with the club reaching the Second Division play-offs the following season. Two relegations in three years left Cambridge back in the fourth tier, before promotion was secured at the end of the 1998–99 campaign, they entered the Conference in 2005 after two relegations in four seasons, where they remained for nine seasons. They finished as runners-up of the Conference three times, but were beaten in the play-off finals in 2008 and 2009, before securing promotion after winning the 2014 play-off final. Although the club has traditionally worn amber and black at home, it has experimented with a number of designs of shirts including plain amber with black trim and black squares, stripes and, amber with a black sash; the club had close links with Cambridge Regional College, a team that operated as a de facto reserve team between 2006 and 2014. The Cambridge United Community Trust perform a lot of charity work in the local community.
The club was founded in 1912 as Abbey United, named after the Abbey district of Cambridge. A club called Cambridge United existed in Cambridge from 1909, but it was not linked to the club that exists today; the club played in local amateur leagues for many of its early years, moving from ground to ground around Cambridge before settling at the Abbey Stadium. In 1949 the club turned professional, changed its name to Cambridge United in 1951, they played in the Eastern Counties League until finishing as runners-up in 1957–58, which saw them promoted to the Southern League. Three years Cambridge United reached the Premier Division of the Southern League. After election to the Football League in 1970, to replace Bradford, the club was promoted from the Fourth Division after three seasons, but went straight back down. Following the appointment of Ron Atkinson as manager, Cambridge won successive promotions which took them into the Second Division in 1978 – a mere eight years after joining the Football League.
Atkinson had gone to West Bromwich Albion, a First Division club, in January 1978, was succeeded by John Docherty, who oversaw the second promotion. Cambridge peaked at eighth place in the Second Division in 1980. However, a terrible season in 1983–84 was followed by a further relegation in 1984–85; these successive relegations, which had a negative affect on the club's attendances as well as its finances, placed Cambridge back in the Fourth Division, the lowest professional league in English football at the time. They had to apply for re-election in their first season back in the Fourth Division, promotion would not be achieved for another four years; the early 1990s was the U's most successful period. Soon after the appointment of new manager John Beck, the club won the first appearance as a professional club at Wembley Stadium, the Fourth Division playoff final in May 1990, which secured promotion to the Third Division – the club's first promotion for 12 years. Dion Dublin scored the only goal in a game against Chesterfield.
Under Beck, United gained promotion from the Fourth Division and had reached the FA Cup quarter finals in 1990, reached them again a year and winning the Third Division in 1991. United reached the play-offs in 1992, after finishing 5th in the Second Division, but failed in their bid to become founder members of the Premier League; this was the club's highest final league placing to date. The following season the club were relegated from the new First Division. Further relegation followed two seasons later. United returned to Division Two but were relegated in 2002 despite a successful run in the Football League Trophy which saw them reach the final which they lost 1–4 to Blackpool at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. In 2005, after 35 years in the Football League, Cambridge United were relegated into the Football Conference; this brought with it the club filed for administration on 29 April. On 22 July 2005 the club came out of administration with a deal being struck with HM Revenue and Customs at the eleventh hour after the intervention of sports minister Richard Caborn.
Cambridge had sold their Abbey Stadium home earlier in the season for £1.9 million to keep the club afloat. On the eve of the 2006–07 season, it was announced that former Norwich City striker Lee Power would be the club's new chairman taking over from Brian Attmore's
Sheffield United F.C.
Sheffield United Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. The team competes in the second tier of English football; the football club was formed in 1889 as an offshoot of Sheffield United Cricket Club, are nicknamed The Blades due to Sheffield's history of steel production. The club have played their home games at Bramall Lane since their formation in 1889. Bramall Lane is an all-seater ground with a capacity of 32,702. Sheffield United won the original Football League in 1898 and the FA Cup in 1899, 1902, 1915 and 1925, they were beaten finalists in the FA Cup in 1901 and 1936, reached the semi-finals in 1961, 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2014. They reached the semi-finals of the League Cup in 2003 and 2015. For most of the club's history they have played in white striped shirts with black shorts, their closest rivals are Sheffield Wednesday. Sheffield United formed on 22 March 1889 at the Adelphi Hotel, Sheffield by the President of the Cricket Club Sir Charles Clegg.
The Wednesday had moved from Bramall Lane to their own ground at Olive Grove after a dispute over gate receipts and the tenants of Bramall Lane needed to create a new team to generate income. Sir Charles Clegg was incidentally the president of The Wednesday. Undoubtedly United's heyday was the 30-year period from 1895–1925, when they were champions of England in 1897–98 and runners up in 1896–97 and 1899–00, FA Cup winners in 1899, 1902, 1915 and 1925, finishing runners up in 1901, eleven years after their cup final win in 1936. United have not won a trophy since 1925, bar those associated with promotion from lower-leagues, their best performances in the cup competitions being several semi-final appearances in the FA Cup and Football League Cup, their darkest days came between 1975 and 1981. After finishing sixth in the First Division at the end of the 1974–75 season, they were relegated to the Second Division the following season and three years after that setback they fell into the Third Division.
They reached an absolute low in 1981 when they were relegated to the Fourth Division, but were champions in their first season in the league's basement division and two years afterwards they won promotion to the Second Division. They did fall back into the Third Division in 1988, but new manager Dave Bassett masterminded a quick revival which launched the Blades towards one of the most successful eras in their history. Successive promotions in the aftermath of the 1988 relegation saw them return to the First Division in 1990 after a 14-year exile, they survived at this level for four seasons and reached an FA Cup semi-final in the 1992–93 season before being relegated in 1994. They would remain outside the top flight for the next 12 years, although they did qualify for the play-offs under Bassett's successor Howard Kendall in 1997 and caretaker manager Steve Thompson in 1998, they were struggling at the wrong end of Division One when Neil Warnock was appointed manager in December 1999, a financial crisis was preventing the club from being able to boost their squad, but in 2002–03 they enjoyed their most successful season for a decade, reaching the semi-finals of both domestic cups and reaching the Division One play-off final, where they were beaten 3–0 by Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Three years however, Warnock delivered a Premier League return as the Blades finished runners-up in the rebranded Championship. They lasted just one season back amongst the elite, before being relegated from the Premier League amidst the controversy surrounding Carlos Tevez, the player, controversially signed by West Ham United and whose performances played a big part in their remarkable escape from relegation. Neil Warnock resigned as manager; the club struggled to come to terms with life back in the Championship, with a spiralling wage bill not being matched by the quality of the players brought in, a succession of managers within a short period of time. The Blades did reach the Championship playoff final in 2009 under Kevin Blackwell, but a period of decline set in; the 2010–11 season proved disastrous, with the club employing three different managers in the space of a season, which ended in relegation to League One under Micky Adams, meaning they would play in the third tier of English football for the first time since 1989, only five years after gaining promotion to the Premiership.
In the 2011–12 season, the club finished third in League One, narrowly missing out on automatic promotion to rivals Sheffield Wednesday, entered the playoffs. With victory over Stevenage in the semi-final, United missed out on an immediate return to the Championship after suffering a penalty shootout defeat to Huddersfield Town; the Blades again made it to the League One playoffs in 2012–13 after a fifth-place finish, but were knocked out by eventual promotion winners Yeovil Town on an 85th-minute goal in the second leg of the semi-finals. On 3 September 2013 it was confirmed that Saudi Prince Abdullah bin Musa'ed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the royal House of Saud had bought a 50% stake in United's parent company'Blades Leisure Ltd' for the fee of £1 with the promise of providing "substantial new capital" with the aim of returning the Blades to the Premier League as "quickly as possible". In 2014 the Blades began to be described by areas of the media as "giant-killers", having reached the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley, losing 5–3 to Hull City.
In 2014–15 the team reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and semi-finals of the Football League Cup, desp
Kidderminster Harriers F.C.
Kidderminster Harriers Football Club is a professional association football club based in Kidderminster, England. The club participates in the sixth tier of English football. Formed in 1886, Kidderminster have played at Aggborough Stadium, they are the only club from Worcestershire to have played in the Football League, competing from 2000 to 2005. Kidderminster Harriers were formed in 1886 from a successful athletics and rugby union club that had existed since 1877. In July 1880 the Athletics club amalgamated with the local Clarence rugby club to become'Kidderminster Harriers and Football Club'. Matches were played at White Wickets on the Franche Road in Kidderminster. 1885-6 was the last season played as a rugby club and the Harriers switched to Association rules for the next season. Playing games at Chester Road Harriers' first game was 18 September 1886, away to Wilden, winning 2–1; the town saw a rival team start up as Kidderminster Olympic in 1887 becoming one of the best sides in the area.
In 1887–88 the club started playing its matches at Aggborough. Both Olympic and Harriers were founder members of the Birmingham and District League in 1889, Olympic won the league in 1890, with Harriers runners-up. Both sides attracted crowds of 2–4,000, with the local derbies seeing over 7,000 attending. Owing to their success soon after both Olympic and Harriers were subject to allegations of'professionalism' and illegal payments to players, although the League Committee let off both clubs with a warning about future conduct. In 1890 the two clubs amalgamated as Kidderminster F. C. on a full professional basis, the new club being admitted to the Midland League, formed in 1889. The club became the first from the town to enter the FA Cup and after winning 4 qualifying round games, reached the First Round Proper, they protested the result because of the poor state of the pitch. Their protest was upheld and the tie was replayed a week again at Darwen, where Darwen won 13–0; however the club found things difficult financially as a professional club, resigned from the league and were wound up in March 1891.
The club reverted to amateur status in the Birmingham and District League the following season as Kidderminster Harriers. The club again reached the 1st Round of the F. A Cup in 1906–07, losing to Oldham Athletic away 5–0. In 1910 the current England international full-back Jesse Pennington signed for Harriers after a dispute with his club West Bromwich Albion, he played one game before the dispute was resolved and he returned to Albion. The twenties were hard going for the club as poor form on the pitch and financial problems off it took their toll. Harriers did manage a League runners-up place in 1924–25. In this season Harriers made national headlines by signing Stanley Fazackerley, the first £5,000 transfer in English football and scorer of the FA Cup Final winning goal for Sheffield United in 1915. After a pay dispute, he had been given 14 days notice by his club Wolverhampton Wanderers and had returned to the public house he managed in the city, where a Harriers fan drinking there overheard the news and contacted the Harriers Secretary.
The Wolves captain George Getgood in contractual dispute at the time signed for Harriers in a double swoop. The 1927–28 season saw another accusation of bribery, this time against secretary Pat Davis by Cradley Heath. During an investigation Davis admitted he had offered Burton Town players a ten shillings bonus if they managed to beat Worcester City in the last match of the season; the match was drawn. The case made Pat Davis was temporarily suspended from all duties. Harriers proved a rich source of young quality players picked up by professional football clubs at this time, those moving to bigger clubs including full back Billy Blake, winger Fred Leedham, Dennis Jennings and forward Norman Brookes. In 1935–36 a new scoring record for the club was set, with Billy Boswell scoring 64 goals in a single season. Harriers did not win the West Midlands League until 1938, they moved to the Southern League the following year, but played just two games because of the onset of World War II. They rejoined the Southern League in 1948.
Their first game was a 1–1 draw with Chingford Town in front of 3,889. Future Football Association General Secretary Ted Croker was a Harriers player during the early 1950s, as was future England international striker Gerry Hitchens. Harriers became the first team to host a floodlit FA Cup match, when on 14 September 1955 they played Brierley Hill Alliance in a preliminary round replay, which Harriers won 4–2. By 1956–57 the club was again in financial difficulties and after several seasons of struggle in 1960 the club voluntarily dropped back down to the Birmingham League. During the 1964–72 era Harriers won the West Midland League four times, the various County Senior Cups eight times. Brendan Wassall debuted on 17 October 1962 against Banbury Spencer, he went on to make 686 appearances up until 1975, scored 269 goals. His son, played for Nottingham Forest, Birmingham City and Derby County. In 1963 Peter Wassall joined the Harriers on the advice of his brother Brendan after spells with Wolves, Aston Villa and Atherstone Utd.
After a season in midfield he switched to play up front and went on to score a total of 448 goals in 621 games for the Harriers. He joined Hereford Utd in 1971 but returned to Ag