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
The Premier League is an English professional league for mens association football clubs. At the top of the English football league system, it is the primary football competition. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the English Football League, Welsh clubs that compete in the English football league system can also qualify. The Premier League is a corporation in which the 20 member clubs act as shareholders, seasons run from August to May. Teams play 38 matches each, totalling 380 matches in the season, most games are played on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, others during weekday evenings. It is colloquially known as the Premiership and outside the UK it is referred to as the English Premier League. The deal was worth £1 billion a year domestically as of 2013–14, with BSkyB, the league generates €2.2 billion per year in domestic and international television rights. In 2014/15, teams were apportioned revenues of £1.6 billion, the Premier League is the most-watched sports league in the world, broadcast in 212 territories to 643 million homes and a potential TV audience of 4.7 billion people. In the 2014–15 season, the average Premier League match attendance exceeded 36,000, most stadium occupancies are near capacity. The Premier League ranks third in the UEFA coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the past five seasons. While 47 clubs have competed since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, only six have won the title, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, the current champions are Leicester City, who won the title in 2015–16. Despite significant European success in the 1970s and early 1980s, the late 80s marked a low point for English football, the 1988 negotiations were the first signs of a breakaway league, ten clubs threatened to leave and form a super league, but were eventually persuaded to stay. As stadiums improved and match attendance and revenues rose, the top teams again considered leaving the Football League in order to capitalise on the influx of money into the sport. At the close of the 1991 season, a proposal was tabled for the establishment of a new league that would bring money into the game overall. The Founder Members Agreement, signed on 17 July 1991 by the games top-flight clubs, the argument given at the time was that the extra income would allow English clubs to compete with teams across Europe. The managing director of London Weekend Television, Greg Dyke, met with the representatives of the big five clubs in England in 1990. The meeting was to pave the way for an away from The Football League. The FA did not enjoy a relationship with the Football League at the time
The FA Cup, known officially as The Football Association Challenge Cup, is an annual knockout association football competition in mens domestic English football. First played during the 1871–72 season, it is the oldest association football competition in the world and it is organised by and named after The Football Association. For sponsorship reasons, from 2015 through to 2018 it is known as The Emirates FA Cup. A concurrent womens tournament is held, the FA Womens Cup. A record 763 clubs competed in 2011–12, the tournament consists of 12 randomly drawn rounds followed by the semi-finals and the final. The last entrants are the Premier League and Championship clubs, into the draw for the Third Round Proper, in the modern era, only one non-league team has ever reached the quarter finals, and teams below Level 2 have never reached the final. As a result, as well as who wins, significant focus is given to those minnows who progress furthest, especially if they achieve an unlikely giant-killing victory. Winners receive the FA Cup trophy, of which there have two designs and five actual cups, the latest is a 2014 replica of the second design. Winners also qualify for European football and a place in the FA Community Shield match, in 1863, the newly founded Football Association published the Laws of the Game of Association Football, unifying the various different rules in use before then. On 20 July 1871, in the offices of The Sportsman newspaper, the inaugural FA Cup tournament kicked off in November 1871. After thirteen games in all, Wanderers were crowned the winners in the final, Wanderers retained the trophy the following year. The modern cup was beginning to be established by the 1888–89 season, following the 1914–15 edition, the competition was suspended due to the First World War, and did not resume until 1919–20. The 1922–23 competition saw the first final to be played in the newly opened Wembley Stadium, due to the outbreak of World War II, the competition was not played between the 1938–39 and 1945–46 editions. Having previously featured replays, the modern day practice of ensuring the semi-final and final matches finish on the day, was introduced from 2000 onwards. Redevelopment of Wembley saw the final played outside of England for the first time, the final returned to Wembley in 2007, followed by the semi-finals from 2008. The competition is open to any club down to Level 10 of the English football league system which meets the eligibility criteria, all clubs in the top four levels are automatically eligible. Clubs in the six levels are also eligible provided they have played in either the FA Cup. Newly formed clubs, such as F. C. United of Manchester in 2005–06 and also 2006–07, all clubs entering the competition must also have a suitable stadium
Queens Park Rangers F.C.
Queens Park Rangers Football Club is a professional association football club based in White City, London, that plays in the Championship, the second tier of English football. Their honours include winning the League Cup in 1967, as well as finishing top of the tier in 1983 and 2011. QPR were also runners-up of the Football League First Division in 1975–76, Queens Park Rangers were founded in 1886 after the merger of Christchurch Rangers and St. Judes Institute. Owing to their proximity to other west London clubs, QPR maintain long-standing rivalries with other clubs in the area. The most notable of these are Chelsea, Fulham and Brentford, outside London, QPR also traditionally share rivalries with Watford, Luton and Cardiff, although in recent years these fixtures have become less prominent. For the current season see 2015–16 Queens Park Rangers F. C. season The club was formed in 1886, the resulting team was called Queens Park Rangers, because most of the players came from the Queens Park area of north-west London. QPR were promoted as champions of Division 3 South in the 1947–48 season, Dave Mangnall was the manager as the club participated in four seasons of the Second Division, being relegated in 1951–52. Tony Ingham was signed from Leeds United and went on to make the most ever league appearances for QPR, arguably the clubs greatest ever manager, Alec Stock, arrived prior to the start of the 1959–60 season. The 1960–61 season saw QPR achieve their biggest win to date, in time, Stock, together with Jim Gregory who arrived as chairman in the mid-1960s, helped to achieve a total transformation of the club and its surroundings. It is still the major trophy that QPR have won. It was also the first League Cup final to be held at Wembley Stadium, after winning promotion in 1968 to the top flight for the first time in their history, Rangers were relegated after just one season and spent the next four years in Division Two. Terry Venables joined from Spurs at the beginning of the 1969–70 season, during this time, new QPR heroes emerged including Phil Parkes, Don Givens, Dave Thomas and Stan Bowles. These new signings were in addition to home-grown talent such as Dave Clement, Ian Gillard, Mick Leach, after completing their 42-game season, QPR sat at the top of the league, one point ahead of Liverpool who went on to defeat Wolverhampton Wanderers to clinch the title. Wolves were relegated to the Second Division that same season, following Sextons departure in 1977 the club eventually slipped into the Second Division in 1979. In 1980 Terry Venables took over as manager and the club installed a plastic pitch, in 1982 QPR, still playing in the Second Division, reached the FA Cup Final for the only time in the clubs history, facing holders Tottenham Hotspur. Tottenham won 1–0 in a replay, the following season QPR went on to win the Second Division championship and returned to English footballs top division. After a respectable fifth-place finish, and UEFA Cup qualification, the following year, in 1988 the club had a new chairman, Richard Thompson. Who at 24 was the Premier Leagues youngest ever chairman, over the next seven years, various managers came and went from Loftus Road and the club spent many seasons finishing mid table but avoided relegation
Coventry City F.C.
Coventry City Football Club is a professional football club in Coventry, West Midlands, England, which plays in League One, the third tier of English football. Coventry City formed as Singers F. C. in 1883 and they won their only major trophy in 1987 when they beat Tottenham Hotspur 3–2 to win the FA Cup. They are one of five clubs to have ever won the FA Cup and FA Youth Cup in the same season. They returned to Wembley in April 2017, beating Oxford United 2-1 to win the English Football League Trophy. Following eleven seasons in the second-tier Football League Championship, Coventry were relegated to Football League One in 2012, Coventry have qualified for European competitions twice. In the 1970–71 season, they competed in the European Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, despite beating Bayern Munich 2–1 in their home leg, they had lost 1–6 in the first leg in Munich to go out of the competition. They were unable to compete in the 1987–88 UEFA Cup Winners Cup due to the ban on English clubs at that time, from 1899 to 2005, Coventry City played at Highfield Road. A return to the Ricoh Arena was announced on 21 August 2014 by the club after a one-year absence,1883 – The club is founded by employees of Singer, the cycle firm, with William Stanley one of the leading lights. 1898 – The clubs 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 ever defeat with an 11–2 loss against Worcester-based Berwick Rangers in the round of the FA Cup. 1919 – The club are voted into the Football League, where they have remained ever since,1928 – In February, and with Coventry struggling near the foot of Division Three South, the clubs worst ever 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 ever victory a 9–0 league drubbing of Bristol City. 1936 – Coventry City win the Third Division South championship after a final day 2–1 victory over Torquay United. 1958 – Goalkeeper Alf Wood becomes the oldest player to start a game for the club and he played against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup aged 43 years and 207 days. 1961 – Former Fulham player and PFA chairman Jimmy Hill is appointed following an embarrassing FA Cup defeat at home to non-league Kings 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 manager and BBC Sport presenter Jimmy Hill a legend at the club, Coventrys record attendance was also set in this year – officially recorded as 51,455, against Wolverhampton Wanderers, the team that finished a close second to Coventry at the top of the table
Colchester United F.C.
Colchester United Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Colchester, Essex, England. The team competes in League Two, the tier of the English football league system. Founded in 1937, the club spent its early years playing in the Southern Football League until they were elected to the Football League in 1950. Colchester United were relegated to the Football Conference in 1990 following a decline in the late 1980s and they achieved promotion to the Second Division in 1998 following a 1–0 win against Torquay United in the play-off final. The club were promoted in 2006, achieving second place in League One. The club returned to League One in 2008 following relegation from the Championship, Colchester United play their home games at Colchester Community Stadium in Colchester. They relocated to the stadium in 2008 when they moved away from Layer Road, until 1937, Colchester Town were Colchesters main club and were the original tenants of Layer Road. Colchester Town joined the Eastern Counties League in 1935, but their performances in the league convinced supporters that the club should turn professional. With club officials against the idea of turning professional, a new club was formed in March 1937, Colchester United. United joined the Southern Football League as crowds for Town matches dwindled, in December 1937, Colchester United formed a reserve team, signing many of Towns players. As a result of this and Town struggling with £300 debts, the club won the Southern League Cup in their first season of existence, and were Southern League champions during in 1939 prior to the Second World War. They finally fell to Blackpool in the fifth round and this set them in good stead for potential election to the Football League. Colchester United were elected to the Football League in 1950 on the back of their second Southern League Cup win and ending the 1949–50 season second to Merthyr Tydfil on goal average alone. With the draw having been made prior to the replay against Rochdale, the Us knew they would face a home tie with First Division Leeds United, and duly trounced Dale 5–0. In the match with Leeds, the Us raced to an unprecedented 3–0 lead in front of a 16,000 Layer Road crowd, Leeds did grab two goals back but Colchester held on for a famous 3–2 victory. The club faced Everton in the quarter-finals but succumbed to a 5–0 defeat in front of 53,028 at Goodison Park. Financial difficulties and a number of changes at board level in the mid-1980s caused a slide towards the end of the Fourth Division table. Despite a brief turn around in form under former Rangers manager Jock Wallace, despite their relegation, the Us remained a full-time club while playing in the Football Conference, as they sold their Layer Road ground to the Colchester Borough Council to clear the clubs debts
Wrexham Association Football Club is a professional association football club based in Wrexham, Wales. Based on the clubs recorded formation date of 1864, they are the oldest club in Wales, since August 2011 Wrexham have been a supporter-owned football club. As of May 2015, the club has 4,129 adult members, Wrexham are perhaps most notable for an FA Cup upset over reigning English Champions Arsenal in 1992 and a 1–0 victory over FC Porto in 1984 in the European Cup Winners Cup. Wrexhams home stadium, the Racecourse Ground, is the worlds oldest international stadium that still continues to host international games, the record attendance at the ground was set in 1957, when Wrexham hosted a match against Manchester United in front of 36,445 spectators. Their first game was played on 22 October 1864 at the Denbigh County Cricket Ground against the Prince of Wales Fire Brigade, as the rules of football were still somewhat fluid at the time, early matches featured teams with up to 17 players on each side. In these early years Wrexham were leaders of the campaign to restrict teams to having just 11 players on the pitch at any one time. C, in the 1877–78 season the FAW inaugurated the Welsh Cup competition, to run on similar lines to the English FA Cup. The first Welsh Cup Final was played at Acton Park, Wrexham got to the final of the inaugural competition, where they defeated Druids F. C. 1–0, with James Davies being credited with the goal. Because of a lack of money at the fledgling FAW, Wrexham did not receive their trophy until the next year. 1883 also saw Wrexhams first appearance in the FA Cup, when receiving a bye to the second round of the competition they were defeated 3–4 at home by Oswestry. Crowd trouble at the game led to the club being expelled from the Football Association, Olympic was dropped from this clubs name in 1888. In 1890 Wrexham joined The Combination league, playing their first game against Gorton Villa on 6 September 1890, Lea played for the club despite only having one arm as did playing colleague James Roberts. Wrexham finished the second from bottom in eighth place in the first season. Wrexham played in the Combination for four years before an increase in costs resulted in the club joining the Welsh League in the 1894–95 season. The club then remained in the Combination league until 1905, by time they had managed to win the league four times. After several unsuccessful attempts Wrexham were finally elected to the Birmingham, Wrexhams first ever match in this league was at home against Kidderminster Harriers at the Racecourse, and two thousand spectators witnessed Wrexham win the match 2–1. Wrexham finished sixth in their first season in this league, during their time in the Birmingham and District League, Wrexham won the Welsh Cup six times, in 1908–09, 1909–10, 1910–11, 1913–14, 1914–15, and 1920–21. They also reached the First Round proper of the FA Cup for a time in the 1908–09 season before losing a replay 1–2 to Exeter City after extra time. In 1921 Wrexham were elected to the newly formed Third Division North of the Football League and their first League game was against Hartlepool United at the Racecourse in front of 8,000 spectators
Blackpool Football Club is a professional association football club based in the seaside town of Blackpool, Lancashire, England. For the 2016–17 season, they are competing in League Two, founded in 1887, Blackpools home ground has been Bloomfield Road since 1901. Their main nickname is the Seasiders, but they are called the Pool and the Tangerines, the latter in reference to the colour of their home kit. Blackpools least successful period was in the 1980s, particularly when, in the 1982–83 season, they finished 21st in English League footballs lowest tier, the clubs motto is Progress, as featured on the club crest. Blackpool have a rivalry with Preston North End, and matches between the two clubs are known as the West Lancashire derby. They have not met in a match since February 2010. Football had developed in Blackpool by 1877 when Victoria F. C. were founded as a club with a ground in Caunce Street. This team disbanded a few years later but some of its members are understood to have merged with old boys from St Johns School to form a new club called Blackpool St Johns. The new club managed to win two pieces of silverware in its first season in existence, 1887–88, the Fylde 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 out of the 13 member clubs. They finished as runners-up over the three seasons, before winning the championship themselves on their fourth attempt. Blackpools home at that point in time was Raikes Hall, which was part of an entertainment complex that included a theatre. This meant that the average attendances were around the 2000 mark. Their application was successful, and for the debut season, 1896–97. Blackpools first-ever Football League game took place on 5 September 1896, at Lincoln City, for the 1897–98 campaign, the club played their home games at the Athletic Grounds. They remained there for the first seven games of 1898–99. After finishing third-bottom, the club were not re-elected at the end of the 1898–99 season and they finished third, and after the Football Leagues 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, during the 10 seasons that followed, Blackpool could finish no higher than 12th place
Sunderland Association Football Club is a professional football club based in the North East city of Sunderland in the larger metropolitan area of Tyne and Wear. The club is playing in the Premier League, the top league of English football. Since its formation in 1879, the club has won six top-flight First Division titles, a total bettered by five other clubs. The club has won the FA Cup twice and been runners-up twice, as well as winning the FA Community Shield in 1936. Sunderland have also been Football League Cup finalists in 1985 and 2014, Sunderland won their first FA Cup in 1937 with a 3–1 victory over Preston North End, and remained in the top league for 68 successive seasons until they were relegated for the first time in 1958. Sunderlands most notable trophy after the Second World War was their second FA Cup in 1973, the team has won the second tier title five times in that period and the third tier title once. Sunderland play their games at the 49, 000-capacity all-seater Stadium of Light having moved from Roker Park in 1997. The original ground capacity was 42,000 which was increased to 49,000 following expansion in 2000, Sunderland have a long-standing rivalry with their neighbouring club Newcastle United, with whom they have contested the Tyne–Wear derby since 1898. Founded 17 October 1879 as Sunderland and District Teachers A. F. C. by schoolmaster James Allan and they replaced Stoke, who had failed to be re-elected, becoming the first new club to join the league since its inauguration in 1888. During the late 19th century, they were declared the Team of All Talents by William McGregor, Sunderland won the league championship in the 1891–92 season, one season after joining The Football League. The clubs 42 points were five clear of nearest rivals Preston North End, Sunderland successfully defended the title the following season, aided by centre forward Johnny Campbell, who broke the 30-goal mark for the second time in consecutive seasons. In the process, they became the first team to score 100 goals in a season, a feat not matched until 1919–20, Sunderland came close to winning a third successive league championship in the 1893–94 season, finishing second behind Aston Villa. However, they regained the title in the 1894–95 season, ending the five points ahead of Everton. After winning the English League Championship, Sunderland played against Heart of Midlothian, Sunderland won the game 5–3 and were announced Champions of the world. Sunderland came close to winning another title in the 1897–98 season. That season was their last at Newcastle Road, as moved to Roker Park the following season. After coming second in 1900–01, the club won their league title in the 1901–02 season. In 1904, Sunderlands management was embroiled in a payment scandal involving player Andrew McCombie, the club was said to have given the player £100 to help him start his own business, on the understanding that he would repay the money after his benefit game
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
Stoke City F.C.
Stoke City Football Club is a professional football club based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. Founded as Stoke Ramblers in 1863 the club changed its name to Stoke in 1878 and they are the second oldest professional football club in the world, after Notts County, and are one of the founding members of the Football League. Their first, and to date only major trophy, the League Cup was won in 1972, the clubs highest league finish in the top division is 4th, which was achieved in the 1935–36 and 1946–47 seasons. Stoke played in the FA Cup Final in 2011, finishing runners-up to Manchester City and have reached three FA Cup semi-finals, in 1899 then consecutively in 1971 and 1972. Stoke have competed in European football on three occasions, firstly in 1972–73 then in 1974–75 and most recently in 2011–12, the club has won the Football League Trophy twice, in 1992 and in 2000. Stokes home ground is the bet365 Stadium, a 28,116 all-seater stadium, before the stadium was opened in 1997, the club was based at the Victoria Ground, which had been their home ground since 1878. The clubs nickname is The Potters, named after the industry in Stoke-on-Trent and their traditional home kit is a red and white vertically striped shirt, white shorts. Stokes traditional rivals are Midlands clubs West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers whilst their local rivals are Port Vale with whom they contest the Potteries derby, the clubs first documented match was in October 1868, against an EW May XV at the Victoria Cricket Club ground. Henry Almond, the founder, was also captain. During this period they played at the Victoria Cricket Ground, however, in 1878, the club merged with Stoke Victoria Cricket Club, and became Stoke Football Club. They moved from their previous ground, Sweetings Field, to the Athletic Club ground and it was around this time that the club adopted their traditional red-and-white striped kit. In August 1885, the club turned professional, Stoke were one of the twelve founding members of the Football League when it was introduced in 1888. The club struggled in their first two seasons, 1888–89 and 1889–90, finishing bottom on both occasions, in 1890 Stoke failed to be re-elected and joined the Football Alliance, which they won and thus were re-elected to the Football League. Stoke spent the next 15 seasons in the First Division and reached the FA Cup Semi-Final in the 1898–99 season before being relegated in 1907, Stoke went bankrupt and entered non-league football until 1914, when the First World War meant the Football League was suspended for four years. During the wartime period, Stoke entered the Lancashire Primary and Secondary leagues, when football recommenced in August 1919, Stoke re-joined the league. The club became owners of the Victoria Ground in 1919 and this was followed by the construction of the Butler Street stand, which increased the overall capacity of the ground to 50,000. In 1925, Stoke-on-Trent was granted city status and this led the club to change its name to Stoke City F. C, the 1930s saw the debut of clubs most celebrated player, Stanley Matthews. Matthews, who grew up in Hanley, was an apprentice at the club and made his first appearance in March 1932, against Bury, by end of the decade, Matthews had established himself as an England international and as one of the best footballers of his generation
Preston North End F.C.
Preston North End Football Club is a professional association football club located in the Deepdale area of Preston, Lancashire. They play in the Championship, the tier of the English football league system. Prestons unbeaten League and Cup season earned them the nickname The Invincibles, Prestons most recent major trophy success was their FA Cup victory over Huddersfield Town in 1938. Many notable players have played for the club, including Tom Finney, Bill Shankly, Tommy Docherty, Alan Kelly, Sr. and Graham Alexander. On 21 January 1875, the club leased a field opposite Moor Park on the site of the current Deepdale stadium, Preston North End were famously successful during the early years of professional football in England. In 1887, Preston beat Hyde 26–0 in the First Round of the FA Cup, Preston forward Jimmy Ross scored eight goals in the match, going on to score 19 goals in the competition that season, also still a record. The clubs last major win was their FA Cup triumph in 1938. Prestons most famous player, Sir Tom Finney, played for the club between 1946 and 1960, Finney is considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time, and was also a local lad, dubbed the Preston Plumber due to his professional training as a plumber. Finney remains the top goalscorer, with 187 goals from 433 appearances. Following Finneys retirement, Preston were relegated to the Second Division in 1961 and have not played in the top division since, the club did reach the FA Cup final in 1964, but lost to West Ham United. Preston were relegated to the Third Division in the 1969–70 season, Alan Ball, Sr. John McGrath oversaw Prestons promotion back to the Third Division a year later, where they remained when John Beck took over in October 1992. The 38-year-old Beck had only recently been sacked by Cambridge United, the club almost made it two promotions in a row to reach the Premier League, but lost to Bolton Wanderers in the 2001 play-off final. Simon Grayson was appointed by the club on 18 February 2013, of Simon Graysons next 10 games, Preston won 3, drew 4 and lost 3. In Simon Graysons first summer in charge, he permanently signed 4 players, Tom Clarke, a centreback, Chris Humphrey, a winger, Kevin Davies, a Centre forward and Alex Nicholson. He also signed Declan Rudd on a long loan from Norwich City. He allowed 3 players to leave during the summer, those being Luke Foster, Chris Robertson, the 2013–14 season started off well, unbeaten in their first 9 league games. They also beat local rivals Blackpool in the League Cup, before being beaten by Lancashire rivals Burnley in the second round. The 9 league game unbeaten run came to an end on 5 October, against Peterborough United, Preston then went on another 9 game unbeaten league run, winning 5 and drawing 4, including a win against Leyton Orient, only their second league defeat of the season