Stafford is the county town of Staffordshire, in the West Midlands of England. It lies approximately 16 miles north of Wolverhampton,18 miles south of Stoke-on-Trent and 24 miles north-west of Birmingham. The population in 2001 was 63,681 and that of the borough of Stafford 122,000. Stafford means ford by a staithe, the original settlement was on dry sand and gravel peninsula that provided a strategic crossing point in the marshy valley of the River Sow, a tributary of the River Trent. There is still an area of marshland northwest of the town. It is thought Stafford was founded in about 700 AD by a Mercian prince called Bertelin who, according to legend, the tree-trunk coffin may have been placed there as an object of commemoration or veneration of St Bertelin. This new burh was fortified and provided with an area for the centralised production of Roman-style pottery which was supplied to the chain of West Midlands burhs. Anglo-Saxon women could play powerful roles in society, Æthelflæds death effectively ended the independence of Mercia. Edward the Elder of Wessex took over her fortress at Tamworth and accepted the submission of all who were living in Mercia, in late 918 Aelfwynn, Æthelflæds daughter, was deprived of her authority over Mercia and taken to Wessex. The project for the unification of England took another step forward, the Lady of Mercia, Æthelflæd, ruled Mercia for five years after the death of her father and husband, dying in Tamworth in 918. At around this time the county of Staffordshire was formed, Stafford lay within the Pirehill hundred. In 1069, a rebellion by Eadric the Wild against the Norman conquest culminated in the Battle of Stafford, two years later another rebellion, this time led by Edwin, Earl of Mercia, culminated in Edwins assassination. This meant his lands were distributed amongst the followers of William the Conqueror, robert de Tonei was granted the manor of Bradley and one third of the kings rents in Stafford. Stafford Castle was built by the Normans on the hilltop to the west in about 1090. It was first made of wood, and later rebuilt of stone and it has been rebuilt twice since, and the ruins of the 19th century gothic revival castle on the earthworks incorporate much of the original stonework. A motte was constructed on the side of the peninsula, overlooking a ford. In 1206 King John granted a Royal Charter which created the borough of Stafford, in the Middle Ages Stafford was a market town, mainly dealing in cloth and wool. In spite of being the town, Stafford required successive surges of external investment from the time of Æthelflæd to that of Queen Elizabeth I
A midfielder is an association football position. Midfielders are generally positioned on the field between their teams defenders and forwards, some midfielders play a disciplined defensive role, breaking up attacks, and are otherwise known as defensive midfielders. Others blur the boundaries, being mobile and efficient in passing, they are commonly referred to as deep-lying midfielders, play-makers, box-to-box. The number of midfielders on a team and their assigned roles depends on the teams formation, most managers assign at least one midfielder to disrupt the opposing teams attacks, while others may be tasked with creating goals, or have equal responsibilities between attack and defence. Midfielders are the players who typically travel the greatest distance during a match, central or centre midfielders are players whose role is divided roughly equally between attack and defence. When the opposing team has the ball, a midfielder may drop back to protect the goal or move forward. The 4–3–3 and 4–5–1 formations each use three central midfielders, the 4−4−2 formation may use two central midfielders, and in the 4–2–3–1 formation one of the two deeper midfielders may be a central midfielder. The term box-to-box midfielder refers to central midfielders who have abilities and are skilled at both defending and attacking. These players can track back to their own box to make tackles and block shots. A good box-to-box midfielder needs good passing, vision, control, stamina, tackling and marking in defence, left and right midfielders have a role balanced between attack and defence, similar to that of central midfielders, but they are positioned closer to the touchlines of the pitch. They may be asked to cross the ball into the penalty area to make scoring chances for their teammates. Common modern formations that include left and right midfielders are the 4−4−2, the 4−4−1−1, the 4–2–3–1, a notable example of a right midfielder is David Beckham. Defensive midfielders are players who focus on protecting their teams goal. These players may defend a zone in front of their teams defence, defensive midfielders may also move to the full-back or centre-back positions if those players move forward to join in an attack. Sergio Busquets described his attitude, The coach knows that I am an obedient player who likes to help out and if I have to run to the wing to cover someones position, great. A good defensive midfielder needs good positional awareness, anticipation of play, marking, tackling, interceptions, passing and great stamina. A holding or deep-lying midfielder stays close to their teams defence, a player in this role will try to protect their goal by disrupting the opponents attacking moves and stopping long shots on the goal. The holding midfielder may also have responsibilities when their team has the ball and this player will make mostly short and simple passes to more attacking members of their team but may try some more difficult passes depending on the teams strategy
Stafford Rangers F.C.
The team wear black and white stripes with black shorts. Stafford Rangers rivals include Tamworth, Hednesford Town, Burton Albion, despite extensive research, no one has been able to prove conclusively when Stafford Rangers was actually formed, as early minute books were destroyed during the First World War. Rangers early matches were cup games and friendlies, with the reaching the FA Cup First Round in both 1884–85 and 1885–86. The club then had spells in the Shropshire League, Birmingham League and North Staffordshire League up to the turn of the century, and moved to their present Marston Road home in 1896. In 1900–01 Stafford rejoined the Birmingham League and in 1904–05 had an FA Cup run to the last Qualifying Round bowing out in a replay at Second Division Blackpool. They were demoted to the Birmingham Combination in 1912 but won the championship at the first attempt, Rangers won the Birmingham League title in 1926–27, twice finished runners-up and were twice third in five memorable seasons. During this period a total of 542 league goals were scored with striker Eddie Cameron regularly scoring goals, during April 1935 a successful appeal for £100 to pay creditors enabled the club to survive. When war broke out in 1939, Rangers participated in an emergency Birmingham League during the 1939–40 season, finishing as runners-up, after the Second World War the club reformed and played in the Birmingham Combination for six seasons, achieving a highest position of 6th in 1950–51. With a view to progress, Rangers joined the Cheshire County Football League in 1952, however, Rangers spell in the Cheshire Football League was generally one of struggle and during the early sixties financial difficulties again threatened the clubs existence. There were, however, some results, including the seven goals scored by Les Box in an 11–0 FA Cup victory over Dudley Town during September 1957. In 1965, the appointment of Colin Hutchinson as manager started an improvement, Rangers won the 1967–68 Cheshire League Cup and following season finished as Cheshire League runners-up to earn a place in the Northern Premier League. The seventies were the most successful era in the clubs history, however, they failed to gain election to the Football League, and have never since finished high enough to enter the Football League. The home Third Round tie with Rotherham attracted a record of 8,536 people to Marston Road. After Chapman had departed to manage League club Stockport County, Rangers were again at Wembley Stadium in 1975–76 for their second FA Trophy Final, roy Chapman returned as manager and success continued with a second FA Trophy Final win in 1979, this time against Kettering Town. After four seasons Rangers were relegated to the Northern Premier League and this form continued, but with the appointment of Ron Reid as manager during the 1983–84 season as manager the club soon began to rebuild its reputation and won the 1984–85 League title. Back in the Alliance, the Bob Lord Trophy, Jim Thompson Shield, during the late eighties and early nineties, Rangers struggled in the Conference, with six managers in seven seasons following Reids departure in May 1988. The sale of striker Stan Collymore to Crystal Palace in December 1990 for a substantial six-figure fee stands out in this period, under the management of Dennis Booth, Rangers enjoyed a tremendous 1992–93 campaign. In the league they finished 6th and reached the FA Cup Second Round, after Booth departed for Bristol Rovers, Rangers found success difficult to achieve and were relegated from the Conference to the Southern League Premier Division at the end of the 1994–95 season
Port Vale F.C.
Port Vale Football Club is a professional association football club based in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, England. The team compete in League One, the tier of the English football league system. Port Vale is one of the few English league clubs not to be named after a location, their name being a reference to the valley of ports on the Trent. They were founder members of the Second Division in 1892 and of the Fourth Division in 1958 and they have never played top-flight football, and hold the record for the most seasons in the English Football League without reaching the top tier. After playing at the Athletic Ground in Cobridge and The Old Recreation Ground in Hanley, outside the ground is a statue to Roy Sproson, who played 842 competitive games for the club. John Rudge was manager from 1983 to 1999, under his leadership the club lifted the Football League Trophy in 1993, since his reign the club have declined, slipping into the fourth tier whilst entering twice administration in 2003 and 2012. The decline was arrested when Norman Smurthwaite brought the club out of administration in 2012, the clubs traditional rivals are Stoke City, and games between the two are known as the Potteries derby. However, the story given on the club website is that Port Vale F. C. was formed in 1876, following a meeting at Port Vale House. They played their football at Limekiln Lane, Longport and from 1880 at Westport, the club moved to Burslem in 1884, changing its name to Burslem Port Vale in the process, they played at Moorland Road before moving into the Athletic Ground in 1885. In 1892 the club were members of the Football League Second Division. The club dropped Burslem from their name in 1907 – a dark time of financial difficulties where the club were forced to resign from the league, the club were relegated for the first time during the 1928–29 season, going from the Second Division to the Third Division North. They came up the season as champions. In the 1930–31 season they placed fifth in the tier of English football. After this peak, the club were again relegated in the 1935–36 season. In 1950, Vale Park was completed, the fifth ground. Steele quickly established himself at the club, masterminding the celebrated Iron Curtain defence, three years later, the club were once again relegated, and once again became founder members of a league – this time the Football League Fourth Division. In their first season in new division the club took the title with a club record 110 goals. During the 1960s, the Vale fans witnessed numerous good cup runs, in 1967, Stanley Matthews took over, his reign ended in tears in 1968 as Vale were expelled from the Football League over seemingly illegal payments made to players
Macclesfield Town F.C.
Macclesfield Town Football Club is a professional association football club based in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England. The club currently plays in the National League, the tier of English football. The club was formed in 1874 and play games at the 6,355 capacity Moss Rose stadium. They were members of the Football League from 1997 until 2012, a football club was first formed in Macclesfield in the mid-19th century, but played rugby union rules. In 1874, the club adopted the rules of the Football Association, between 1874 and 1940 the club was known by a succession of names, including Macclesfield Football and Athletic Club, Hallifield F. C. and Macclesfield F. C. When competitive football resumed after World War II, Macclesfield Town Football Club Ltd. was formed, the club joined the Cheshire County League in 1946–47, playing their first game after reformation on 31 August,1946, a 2–0 defeat to Buxton. The clubs form in the remainder of the 1940s was largely indifferent, Macclesfield Town progressed through four qualifying rounds to make their first appearance in the FA Cup first round in 1960 under manager Frank Bowyer, but lost 7–2 to Southport. The club reached the FA Cup third round for the first time in 1968, the club were founder members of the Northern Premier League, one of three leagues at the fifth tier of English football, upon its creation in 1968. Macclesfield Town were champions in each of the first two seasons of the competition, finishing twelve points clear in 1968–69, and by goal average in 1969–70. The 1969–70 season also resulted in a trip to Wembley for the final of the FA Trophy. Macclesfield Town defeated Telford United 2–0 in front of more than 28,000 spectators to win the competition, the club finished as Northern Premier League runners-up in the 1984–85 season, and two years later Macclesfield Towns third Northern Premier League title resulted in promotion to the Conference. Macclesfield Town finished in mid-table in their first Conference season, the club reached the FA Trophy final for the second time in 1989, facing Telford United, the same opponents as Macclesfield Towns first final nineteen years earlier. However, the team did not match the achievement of their predecessors, mcIlroy took charge at the start of the 1993–94 season, and guided the club to the Football Conference championship in his second season as manager. Upon gaining League status, the club turned fully professional, Macclesfield Towns first League match was a 2–1 win at home to Torquay United. It was a year for the club, who were unbeaten at home for the entire season. However, the higher level proved a step too far for the club, mcIlroy soon left to become the Northern Ireland national coach and was replaced by former Manchester United colleague Peter Davenport. A dismal start to the season cost Davenport his job though. David Moss in turn succeeded Prescott as manager and delivered two decent mid-table finishes, but a bad start to the 2003–04 season resulted in his sacking, Club stalwart John Askey succeeded Moss initially on a temporary basis, and earned the job permanently with some promising early results
Oxford United F.C.
Oxford United Football Club is a professional football club based in the city of Oxford, Oxfordshire, England. The team play in League One, the tier of English football. The chairman is Darryl Eales, the coach is Michael Appleton. Founded in 1893 as Headington United, Oxford United adopted its current name in 1960 and it joined the Football League in 1962 after winning the Southern Football League, reaching the Second Division in 1968. After relegation in 1976, between 1984 and 1986 the club earned successive promotions into the First Division, and won the League Cup in 1986, however, Oxford was unable thereby to enter the 1987 UEFA Cup because of the UEFA ban on English clubs in European competitions. Relegation from the top flight in 1988 began an 18-year decline which saw the club relegated to the Conference in 2006 and this was the first time in the history of English football when a team that had won a major trophy was relegated from the Football League. After four seasons, Oxford was promoted to League Two in 2010 via the playoffs, in total, nineteen players have made international appearances while playing for the club. Uniteds home ground is the Kassam Stadium in Oxford and has a capacity of 12,500, United moved to the stadium in 2001 after leaving the Manor Ground, their home for 76 years. Swindon Town is the main rival. Oxford United were formed as Headington in 1893, adding the suffix United in 1911 after merging with Headington Quarry, the club was founded by Rev. John Scott-Tucker, the vicar at Saint Andrews Church in Headington, and a local doctor named Robert Hitchings. A football team was a way for the cricketers of Headington Cricket Club to maintain their fitness during the winter break, the first football match played was against Cowley Barracks. Headington had no home until 1913, when they were able to purchase Woottens Field on London Road. A permanent home was found in 1925, when they purchased the Manor Ground site on London Road, the facility was used as a cricket pitch in the summer, and a football pitch in the winter. In 1921 the club was admitted into the Oxon Senior League, the first season included a 9–0 victory, with eight of those goals coming from P. Drewitt. This remains a record for the highest number of goals scored by an Oxford player in a first-team match, at this time a small rivalry existed with Cowley F. C. who were based a few miles south of Headington. During a league game on May Day, the referee gave two penalties to Cowley, supporters broke past security and players, resulting in the referee being freely baited. The first FA Cup tie played was in 1931, against Hounslow F. C. in the Preliminary Round, United spent two seasons in the Spartan League in 1947 and 1948, finishing fifth and fourth respectively. It was around this time that the team left the Manor
A.F.C. Telford United
Telford United is a football club based in Telford, Shropshire, England. The club were formed after Telford United folded due to financial problems, currently members of the National League North, the sixth tier of English football, they play home matches at the New Bucks Head in Wellington, part of the new town of Telford. Their colours are white with blue and red trim. The club went into administration, and although supporters raised around £50,000 in two months, the clubs debts totalled over £4 million, resulting in liquidation on 27 May 2004. On the same day, Telford United Supporters Limited announced that a new club would be formed, Telford United, a new club motto, numquam obliviscere was also adopted. In June the new club were placed in Division One of the Northern Premier League by the Football Association, bernard McNally was appointed as manager and a new squad assembled. The clubs first season saw them finish third in Division One, after beating Eastwood Town 1–0 in the semi-final, they defeated Kendal Town 2–1 in the final to earn promotion to the Premier Division. The attendance of 4,215 for the final was a club record, the following season saw the club finish tenth. During the season, McNally was replaced as manager by Rob Smith, however, they qualified for the promotion play-offs, and a 2–0 win over Marine in the semi-final, they defeated Witton Albion 3–1 to earn promotion to the Conference North. The 2007–08 season saw Telford finish second in the Conference North, again qualifying for the playoffs, the 2008–09 season resulted in a fourth-place finish and another play-off campaign. After beating Alfreton Town 5–4 on aggregate in the semi finals, the season also saw them reach the first round of the FA Cup for the first time, where they were drawn at home to Football League club Southend United. Following a 2–2 draw, the club lost 2–0 in the replay, in the FA Trophy they reached the semi-finals, losing 4–2 on aggregate to York City. However, they were victorious in the Conference League Cup, beating Forest Green Rovers 3–0 on penalties after a 0–0 draw, in 2009–10 the club finished eleventh in the league, resulting in the sacking of Smith and his replacement with Andy Sinton. Sintons first season saw them finish as runners-up again and they also reached the first round of the FA Cup again, losing 3–1 at home to Lincoln City. The 2011–12 season saw them finish twentieth, one place above the relegation zone, another appearance in the first round of the FA Cup resulted in a 4–0 defeat at Chelmsford City. Sinton left the club mid-way through the season, and was replaced by Mark Cooper. He was replaced by Graham Hyde, who lasted just two games, resigning after a defeat to Macclesfield Town, john Psaras took over for the remainder of the season, which saw them finish bottom of the division and be relegated to the Conference North. Liam Watson was appointed as manager in May 2013, in 2013–14 the club won the Conference North, earning an immediate return to the Conference Premier
Chasetown Football Club is an English football club based in the Chasetown area of Burntwood, Staffordshire. They went on to finish the 2005–06 season as Midland Alliance champions, in the 2007–08 F. A Cup they made the third round for the first time in their history after holding Port Vale to a 1–1 draw and winning the replay 1–0. They lost the third round match 3–1 to eventual finalists Cardiff City, in doing so, they became the lowest ever ranked club to reach as far as the third round proper of the FA Cup. The club was formed in 1954 as Chase Terrace Old Scholars Youth Club, at the start of the 1958–59 season the club joined the Lichfield and District League, where the club spent three seasons, finishing as runners-up in the league and Challenge Cup. For the 1961–62 season the club stepped up to the Staffordshire County League before moving to the West Midlands League Division One, in 1983 the club moved to a new ground, The Scholars Ground, and gained entry to the Premier Division. Chasetown beat Blakenall at the Bescot Stadium and retained the trophy in 1992–93, in the early 1990s, Chasetown won the West Midlands League Cup twice and finishing as runners-up in the twice. The Scholars were among the members of the newly formed Midland Football Alliance in 1994. In 2000–01 the club in a period after the departure of long-serving manager Mervyn Rowe. Present manager Charlie Blakemore returned to the club in partnership with Michael Rowe, son of previous manager Mervyn, and the clubs fortunes began to turn around, with two top-half finishes. In Blakemores first full season in complete control of the first team, 2004–05, Chasetown won the Walsall Senior Cup for the third time and finished second to Rushall Olympic in the Midland Alliance. Chasetown were placed the national spotlight in November 2005 when the reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history. After defeating Blyth Spartans the team took on Oldham Athletic in a match broadcast live on television, a peak audience of 3.2 million people watched the game live. In front of 1,997 supporters, Chasetown took the lead through Nicky Harrison, only for veteran David Eyres to level the scores, Chasetown took 2,436 supporters to the replay but succumbed to a 0–4 defeat. As a result of cup run the club was able to secure a shirt sponsorship deal with Richard Bransons Virgin Holidays for the 2006–07 season. In 2007–08, Chasetown beat Team Bath 2–0 to reach the second round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in their history. While Chasetown lost the third match to Cardiff City 3–1, they went ahead because of a Kevin McNaughton own goal. In November 2008, Chasetown submitted plans for a new 500 seater stand to Lichfield District Council, on 14 December 2010 Chasetown beat Kettering Town 2–1 in an FA Trophy replay, another cup upset as two divisions separated the sides and Kettering were at home. On 15 January 2011 Chasetown produced another upset by defeating Conference National side Grimsby Town to reach the last sixteen of the competition, in the last sixteen they defeated Eastleigh of Conference South to gain a place in the quarter finals
Gainsborough Trinity F.C.
Gainsborough Trinity Football Club is a football club based in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, England. They are currently members of the National League North and play at the Northolme, the club was established in 1873 as Trinity Recreationists by Reverend George Langton Hodgkinson, the vicar at the Holy Trinity Church. In 1889 the club were members of the Midland League. The club finished as runners-up the following season and again in 1895–96, in the vote they finished third, ahead of existing members Port Vale and Crewe Alexandra, and were elected into the Second Division. The clubs first season in Division Two of the League saw them finish seventh, in 1901–02 Trinity finished bottom of the division, but were re-elected. In 1904–05 the club finished sixth in Division Two, their best performance during their Football League membership. In 1911–12 Gainsborough finished bottom of the Second Division for a second time, the club returned to the Midland League, finishing third in 1912–13 and second in 1913–14, after which they unsuccessfully applied for readmission to the Football League. When the Football League created a new Third Division North in 1921, Trinity applied for membership, in 1931–32 they beat Crewe again in the first round, before losing 5–2 at home to Watford. In 1937–38 Trinity beat Port Vale in the first round, before losing to fellow non-League club Yeovil & Petters United, another Football League team was beaten the following season, when Trinity knocked out Gateshead in the first round, before losing to Doncaster Rovers. In 1948–49 they reached the round after defeating Witton Albion in the first round. They went on to win a third Midland League title that season and they reached the first round again the following season, before losing 4–1 at home to Chesterfield. The club failed to repeat the feat until 1959–60, when they lost to Doncaster Rovers in a replay, at the end of the 1959–60 season, the Midland League was disbanded. Gainsborough spent a season playing in both the Central Alliance and Division Two of the Yorkshire League, before returning to a reformed Midland League in 1961. Trinity won their fourth Midland League title in 1966–67, also reaching the first round of the FA Cup, the club applied to join the Football League again in 1975 and 1976, but received only a single vote on each occasion. The 1983–84 season saw them reach the first round of the FA Cup for over a decade, when the Northern Premier League added a second division in 1987, Gainsborough were placed in the Premier Division. In 1997–98 FA Cup saw them drawn against local rivals Lincoln City, another first round appearance in 2003–04 ended with a 7–1 defeat at Brentford. At the end of the season a tenth-place finish saw the club become members of the Conference North. FA Cup first round appearances followed in 2006–07 (a 3–1 defeat by Barnet, in 2011–12 the club finished fourth, qualifying for the promotion play-offs
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies making it the worlds most popular sport, the game is played on a rectangular field with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by getting the ball into the opposing goal, players are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms while it is in play, unless they are goalkeepers. Other players mainly use their feet to strike or pass the ball, the team that scores the most goals by the end of the match wins. If the score is level at the end of the game, the Laws of the Game were originally codified in England by The Football Association in 1863. Association football is governed internationally by the International Federation of Association Football, the first written reference to the inflated ball used in the game was in the mid-14th century, Þe heued fro þe body went, Als it were a foteballe. The Online Etymology Dictionary states that the word soccer was split off in 1863, according to Partha Mazumdar, the term soccer originated in England, first appearing in the 1880s as an Oxford -er abbreviation of the word association. Within the English-speaking world, association football is now usually called football in the United Kingdom and mainly soccer in Canada and the United States. People in Australia, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand use either or both terms, although national associations in Australia and New Zealand now primarily use football for the formal name. According to FIFA, the Chinese competitive game cuju is the earliest form of football for which there is scientific evidence, cuju players could use any part of the body apart from hands and the intent was kicking a ball through an opening into a net. It was remarkably similar to football, though similarities to rugby occurred. During the Han Dynasty, cuju games were standardised and rules were established, phaininda and episkyros were Greek ball games. An image of an episkyros player depicted in low relief on a vase at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens appears on the UEFA European Championship Cup, athenaeus, writing in 228 AD, referenced the Roman ball game harpastum. Phaininda, episkyros and harpastum were played involving hands and violence and they all appear to have resembled rugby football, wrestling and volleyball more than what is recognizable as modern football. As with pre-codified mob football, the antecedent of all football codes. Non-competitive games included kemari in Japan, chuk-guk in Korea and woggabaliri in Australia, Association football in itself does not have a classical history. Notwithstanding any similarities to other games played around the world FIFA have recognised that no historical connection exists with any game played in antiquity outside Europe. The modern rules of football are based on the mid-19th century efforts to standardise the widely varying forms of football played in the public schools of England