Coventry is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. Historically part of Warwickshire, Coventry is the 9th largest city in England and it is the second largest city in the West Midlands region, after Birmingham, with a population of 345,385 in 2015. Coventry is 95 miles northwest of central London,19 miles east-south-east of Birmingham,24 miles southwest of Leicester and 11 miles north of Warwick. Coventry Cathedral was built after the destruction of the 14th century cathedral church of Saint Michael by the German Luftwaffe in the Coventry Blitz of 14 November 1940, Coventry motor companies have contributed significantly to the British motor industry. The city has two universities, Coventry University in the city centre and the University of Warwick on the southern outskirts. The Romans founded a settlement in Baginton, next to the River Sowe, and another formed around a Saxon nunnery, founded c. AD700 by St Osburga, that was later left in ruins by King Canutes invading Danish army in 1016. Earl Leofric of Mercia and his wife Lady Godiva built on the remains of the nunnery, in time, a market was established at the abbey gates and the settlement expanded. By the 14th century, Coventry was an important centre of the cloth trade, the bishops of Lichfield were often referred to as bishops of Coventry and Lichfield, or Lichfield and Coventry. Coventry claimed the status of a city by ancient prescriptive usage, was granted a charter of incorporation in 1345, the plays that William Shakespeare witnessed in Coventry during his boyhood or teens may have influenced how his plays, such as Hamlet, came about. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Coventry became one of the three main British centres of watch and clock manufacture and ranked alongside Prescot, in Lancashire, in the late 19th century, Coventry became a major centre of bicycle manufacture. The industry energised by the invention by James Starley and his nephew John Kemp Starley of the Rover safety bicycle, by the early 20th century, bicycle manufacture had evolved into motor manufacture, and Coventry became a major centre of the British motor industry. Jaguar is owned by the Indian company, Tata Motors, with many of the citys older properties becoming increasingly unfit for habitation, the first council houses were let to their tenants in 1917. With Coventrys industrial base continuing to soar after the end of the Great War a year later, numerous private and council housing developments took place across the city in the 1920s and 1930s. The development of a southern by-pass around the city, starting in the 1930s and being completed in 1940, Coventry suffered severe bomb damage during the Second World War. There was a massive Luftwaffe air raid, part of the Coventry Blitz, firebombing on this date led to severe damage to large areas of the city centre and to Coventrys historic cathedral, leaving only a shell and the spire. More than 4,000 houses were damaged or destroyed, along with three quarters of the citys industrial plants. More than 800 people were killed, with injured and homeless. Aside from London, Hull and Plymouth, Coventry suffered more damage than any other British city during the Luftwaffe attacks, following the raids, the majority of Coventrys historic buildings could not be saved as they were in ruinous states or were deemed unsafe for any future use
Goalkeeper (association football)
Goalkeeper, often shortened to keeper or goalie, is one of the major positions of association football. It is the most specialised position in the sport, the goalkeepers primary role is to prevent the opposing team from successfully moving the ball over the defended goal-line. This is accomplished by the moving into the path of the ball. Within the penalty area goalkeepers are able to use their hands, goalkeepers usually perform goal kicks, and also give commands to their defence during corner kicks, direct and indirect free kicks, and marking. Goalkeepers play an important role in directing on field strategy as they have a view of the entire pitch. If an attacker on the opposing team obstructs the keeper from catching or saving the ball, for example, in a corner, it will normally be a free kick. If a goalkeeper is injured or sent off, a goalkeeper has to take their place. In order to replace a goalkeeper who is sent off, a team usually substitutes an outfield player for the backup keeper and they then play the remainder of the match with nine outfield players. Goalkeepers often have longer playing careers than players, many not retiring until their late thirties or early forties. This can be explained by noting that goalkeepers play a physically demanding position that requires significantly less running. For example, Peter Shilton played for 31 years between 1966 and 1997 before retiring at the age of 47. Because only one player can play in goal and the position is so specialised many professional teams on average especially at the highest level have one player as first-choice for many years, for example Gianlugi Buffon has played as first choice keeper for Juventus for more than 15 years. Petr Cech prior to his move to Aresnal was first choice keeper for Chelsea between 2004 and 2015, the squad number for a first choice goalkeeper is generally number 1. Although this is common, some goalkeepers now wear other numbers when in goal, association football, like many sports, has experienced many changes in tactics resulting in the generation and elimination of different positions. Goalkeeper is the position that is certain to have existed since the codification of the sport. The earliest account of football teams with player positions comes from Richard Mulcaster in 1581, the earliest specific reference to keeping goal comes from Cornish Hurling in 1602. One of these is appointed by lots, to the one side, there is assigned for their guard, a couple of their best stopping Hurlers. Other references to scoring goals begin in English literature in the early 16th century, for example, in John Days play The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green, Ill play a gole at camp-ball
Bristol Rovers F.C.
Bristol Rovers Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Bristol, England. They compete in League One, the tier of English football. The team play their matches at Memorial Stadium, in Horfield, a suburb of Bristol. The club was founded in 1883 as Black Arabs F. C. and were known as Eastville Rovers. The clubs official nickname is The Pirates, reflecting the history of Bristol. According to a survey conducted in December 2003, Cardiff City and Swindon Town are considered their second, Rovers were admitted to the Football League in 1920 and have played there ever 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, then the tier of English football. 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 initially called Black Arabs F. C. after the Arabs rugby team and this name only lasted for the 1883–84 season, and in a bid to draw more fans from the local area the club was renamed Eastville Rovers in 1884. The club played 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 member of the Bristol and District League. In 1897 Eastville Rovers joined the Birmingham and District League, at the beginning of the 1897–98 season, the club turned professional and changed its name to Bristol Eastville Rovers, and on 17 February 1899 the name was officially changed to Bristol Rovers. In 1899 Bristol Rovers joined the newly formed Southern League, where remained until 1920. For the 1920–21 season, the Southern League teams were moved into the new Division Three of the Football League and they remained in this division for over 30 years, before winning the league, and promotion in the 1952–53 season. The club has been relegated six times—in 1961–62, 1980–81, 1992–93, 2000–01, 2010–11 and most recently 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 tier, which they did twice, once in 1955–56. The closest they came to the top flight was in 1955–56, the lowest league position achieved by the club is twenty-third out of twenty-four teams in the fourth tier, which has occurred twice. This position was matched at the end of the 2013–14 season and 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
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
Aston Villa F.C.
Aston Villa Football Club is a professional association football club based in Aston, Birmingham, that plays in the Championship, the second level of English football. Founded in 1874, they have played at their current home ground, Villa Park, Aston Villa were one of the founder members of the Football League in 1888. They were also one of the members of the Premier League in 1992. Aston Villa are one of only five English clubs to be crowned champions of Europe and they have also won the First Division Championship seven times, the FA Cup seven times, the Football League Cup five times, and the UEFA Super Cup once. They have a local rivalry with Birmingham City and the Second City derby between the sides has been played since 1879. The clubs traditional kit colours are claret shirts with sky blue sleeves, white shorts and their traditional badge is of a rampant lion, which was introduced by the clubs Scottish chairman William McGregor in honour of the Royal Standard of Scotland. The club is owned by Recon Group Limited, a company chaired by Chinese businessman Tony Xia. Aston Villa Football Club were formed in March 1874, by members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel in Handsworth which is now part of Birmingham, the four founders of Aston Villa were Jack Hughes, Frederick Matthews, Walter Price and William Scattergood. Aston Villas first match was against the local Aston Brook St Marys Rugby team, as a condition of the match, the Villa side had to agree to play the first half under Rugby rules and the second half under Association rules. The club won their first FA Cup in 1887 with captain Archie Hunter becoming one of the games first household names. Aston Villa were one of the teams that competed in the inaugural Football League in 1888 with one of the clubs directors. Aston Villa emerged as the most successful English club of the Victorian era, winning no fewer than five League titles, in 1897, the year Villa won The Double, they moved into their present home, the Aston Lower Grounds. Supporters coined the name Villa Park, no official declaration listed the ground as Villa Park. This was largely the result of a defensive record, they conceded 110 goals in 42 games,7 of them coming from Arsenals Ted Drake in an infamous 1–7 defeat at Villa Park. Like all English clubs, Villa lost seven seasons to the Second World War, the team was rebuilt under the guidance of former player Alex Massie for the remainder of the 1940s. The team struggled in the league though and were relegated two seasons later, due in part to complacency. However, under the stewardship of manager Joe Mercer Villa returned to the top-flight in 1960 as Second Division Champions, the following season Aston Villa became the first team to win the Football League Cup. Mercers forced retirement from the club in 1964 signalled a period of deep turmoil, the most successful club in England was struggling to keep pace with changes in the modern game, with Villa being relegated for the third time, under manager Dick Taylor in 1967
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
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
Everton F. C. /ˈɛvərtən/ is a football club in Liverpool, England, that currently competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. The club have competed in the top division for a record 114 seasons and won the League Championship nine times, formed in 1878, Everton were founding members of The Football League in 1888 and won their first League Championship two seasons later. The mid-1980s represented their most recent period of sustained success, with two League Championships, an FA Cup, and the 1985 European Cup Winners Cup, the clubs most recent major trophy was the 1995 FA Cup. The clubs supporters are known as Evertonians, Everton have a rivalry with neighbours Liverpool, and the two sides contest the Merseyside derby. The club have been based at Goodison Park in Walton, Liverpool, since 1892, the clubs home colours are royal blue shirts with white shorts and socks. Everton were founded as St Domingos in 1878 so that people from the parish of St Domingos Methodist Church Everton could play year round — cricket was played in summer. The clubs first game was a 1–0 victory over Everton Church Club, the club was renamed Everton in November 1879 after the local area, as people outside the parish wished to participate. The club was a member of the Football League in 1888–89. Everton won the FA Cup for the first time in 1906, the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 interrupted the football programme while Everton were champions, which was something that would again occur in 1939. It was not until 1927 that Evertons first sustained period of success began, in 1925 the club signed Dixie Dean from Tranmere Rovers. In 1927–28, Dean set the record for league goals in a single season with 60 goals in 39 league games. He helped Everton win their third League Championship that season, however, Everton were relegated to the Second Division two years later during internal turmoil at the club. The club quickly rebounded and was promoted at the first attempt, on return to the top flight in 1931–32, Everton wasted no time in reaffirming their status and won a fourth League Championship at the first opportunity. Everton also won their second FA Cup in 1933 with a 3–0 win against Manchester City in the final, the era ended in 1938–39 with a fifth League Championship. Everton were relegated for the time in 1950–51 and did not earn promotion until 1953–54. The club have been a top-flight presence ever since, Evertons second successful era started when Harry Catterick was made manager in 1961. In 1962–63, his season in charge, Everton won the League Championship. In 1966 the club won the FA Cup with a 3–2 win over Sheffield Wednesday, Everton again reached the final in 1968, but this time were unable to overcome West Bromwich Albion at Wembley
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
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 and it was the top-level football league in England from its foundation in the 19th century until 1992, when the top 22 clubs split away to form the Premier League. The league has 72 clubs evenly divided into three divisions, which are known as the Championship, League One and League Two, with 24 clubs in each division, the Football League has been 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, the English Football League is also the name of the governing body of the league competition, and this body also 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 formerly 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 and it runs the oldest professional football league competition in the world. It also organises two knockout cup competitions, the Football League Cup and Football League Trophy, the Football League was founded in 1888 by then Aston Villa director William McGregor, originally with 12 member clubs. Steady growth and the addition of more divisions meant that by 1950 the League had 92 clubs, 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 Football Leagues 72 member clubs are grouped into three divisions, the Football League Championship, Football League One, and Football League Two. Each division has 24 clubs, and in any season a club plays each of the others in the same division twice, once at their home stadium. This makes for a total of 46 games played each season, clubs gain three points for a win, one for a draw, and none for a defeat. At the end of the season, clubs at the top of their division may win promotion to the higher division. 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, reserve teams of Football League clubs usually play in the Central League or the Football Combination. Since the 2004–05 season, penalties have existed for clubs entering financial administration during the season and it is also required that a club exiting administration agree a Creditors Voluntary Agreement, and pay in full any other footballing creditors. Failure to do either of these result in a second. The other main situation in which is a club may lose points is by fielding an improperly registered or otherwise ineligible player. If a club is found to have done this, then any points earned from any match that player participated in will be deducted, the EFL organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The EFL Cup was established in 1960 and is open to all EFL and Premier League clubs, the EFL Trophy is for clubs belonging to EFL League One and EFL League Two
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
Midland Football Alliance
The Midland Football Alliance was an English association football league for semi-professional teams. It covered Leicestershire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire, the league consisted of a single division which sat at Step 5 of the National League System, or the ninth level of the overall English football league system. Each season, the club of each feeder league was eligible for promotion to the Alliance. Successful teams in the Alliance were eligible for promotion to a Step 4 league, the league merged with the Midland Combination in 2014 to form the new Midland Football League. The league drew ten member clubs from each of the two leagues for its inaugural season, paget Rangers won the first league championship by a margin of 12 points from Hinckley Athletic in the 1994–95 season, and gained promotion to the Southern League. The Alliances status as a feeder to the Southern League was cemented when Armitage 90 were relegated in the opposite direction, Armitage went on to dominate the league in the 1995–96 season but disbanded midway through the season, with the result that their record was expunged from the table. For the 1999–2000 season the increased in size to 22 clubs when two clubs were promoted into the Alliance but none relegated out of it. One of the clubs was Oadby Town of the Leicestershire Senior League. The following season Coalville Town became the first Alliance team to reach the first round proper of the FA Cup, with the creation of the National League System by the Football Association the league was officially defined as a Step 5 league. In 2014 the Alliance merged with the Midland Combination to form the new Midland Football League, the clubs which had been members of the Alliance formed the Premier Division of the new league. The Alliance was known under various sponsored names following deals with companies including Baker-Joiner, Polymac Services, Harvey World Travel, Travel Factory, and Aspire. The league was contested on a double round-robin basis, with each playing each of the other teams in the division once at home. Three points were awarded for a win, one for a draw, goal difference was used to separate teams on the same points. As the Alliance was a Step 5 league, its clubs were eligible to take part in the FA Cup. According to official FA regulations, clubs from the Alliance were eligible for promotion to a Step 4 league, clubs promoted from Step 5 leagues were placed in the most geographically appropriate Step 4 leagues as determined by the FAs Leagues Committee. The number of clubs promoted from the Alliance each season could vary, all clubs gaining promotion from the Alliance were placed in either the Southern League or the Northern Premier League. Attendances at Midland Alliance matches were generally small, with many matches attracting fewer than 100 spectators, in the 2006–07 season the average attendance across the league was 124, but in the 2007–08 season this fell to 87. The best supported team in that season was Atherstone Town, whose average attendance was 162