West Midlands (region)
The West Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of NUTS for statistical purposes. It covers the western half of the area traditionally known as the Midlands, it contains Birmingham and the larger West Midlands conurbation, the third most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Coventry is located within the West Midlands county, but is separated from the conurbation to the west by several miles of green belt; the region contains 6 shire counties which stretch from the Welsh Border to the East Midlands. The region is geographically diverse, from the urban central areas of the conurbation to the rural western counties of Shropshire and Herefordshire which border Wales; the longest river in the UK, the River Severn, traverses the region southeastwards, flowing through the county towns of Shrewsbury and Worcester, the Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Staffordshire is home to the industrialised Potteries conurbation, including the city of Stoke-on-Trent, the Staffordshire Moorlands area, which borders the southeastern Peak District National Park near Leek.
The region encompasses five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Wye Valley, Shropshire Hills, Cannock Chase, Malvern Hills, parts of the Cotswolds. Warwickshire is home to the towns of Stratford upon Avon, birthplace of writer William Shakespeare, the birthplace of Rugby football and Nuneaton, birthplace to author George Eliot; the official region contains the ceremonial counties of Herefordshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire. There is some confusion in the use of the term "West Midlands", as the name is used for the much smaller West Midlands county and conurbation, in the central belt of the Midlands and on the eastern side of the West Midlands Region, it is still used by various organisations within that area, such as West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire Service. The highest point in the region is Black Mountain, at 703 metres in west Herefordshire on the border with Powys, Wales; the region contains five Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including the Shropshire Hills, Malvern Hills and Cannock Chase, parts of the Wye Valley and Cotswolds.
The Peak District national park stretches into the northern corner of Staffordshire. Served by many lines in the urban areas such as the West Coast Main Line and branches; the Welsh Marches Line and the Cotswold Line transect the region as well as the Cross Country Route and Chiltern Line. There are plans to reopen the Honeybourne Line. Numerous notable roads pass with most converging around the central conurbation; the M5, which connects South West England to the region, passes through Worcestershire, near to Worcester, through the West Midlands county, past West Bromwich, with its northern terminus at its junction with the M6 just south of Walsall. The M6, which has its southern terminus just outside the southeast of the region at its junction with the M1, which connects the region to North West England, passes Rugby and Nuneaton in Warwickshire and Birmingham, Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire; the M6 toll provides an alternative route to the M6 between Coleshill and Cannock, passing north of Sutton Coldfield and just south of Lichfield.
The M40 connects the region through South East England to London, with its northern terminus at its junction with the M42. The M42 connects the M5 at Bromsgrove, passing around the south and east of Birmingham, joining the M40 and M6, passing Solihull and Castle Bromwich, to Tamworth, northeast of Birmingham; the M50 connects the M5 from near Tewkesbury to Ross-on-Wye in the southwest. The M54 connects Wellington in the west, to the M6 near Cannock; the A5 road traverses the region northwest-southeast, passing through Shrewsbury, Cannock and Nuneaton. The longest elevated road viaduct in the UK is the 3 miles section from Gravelly Hill to Castle Bromwich on the M6, opened on 24 May 1972; the section of the A45 in Coventry from Willenhall to Allesley in 1939 was one of the UK's first large planned road schemes. Princes Square in Wolverhampton had Britain's first automatic traffic lights on 5 November 1927. On 13 January 2012, 34-year-old Ben Westwood of Wednesfield, was caught by the police, when speeding at 180 mph, in an Audi RS5 with a Lamborghini engine, from Wolverhampton up to Stafford on the M6, back again.
He was travelling so fast that he was outpacing the Central Counties Air Operations Unit Eurocopter helicopter. He and the vehicle had been in fifteen smash and grab raids and he was jailed for nine years at Wolverhampton Crown Court in August 2012; as part of the transport planning system, the Regional Assembly is under statutory requirement to produce a regional transport strategy to provide long term planning for transport in the region. This involves region wide transport schemes such as those carried out by Highways England and Network Rail. Within the region, the local transport authorities carry out transport planning through the use of a local transport plan which outlines their strategies and implementation programme; the most recent LTP is that for the period 2006–11. In the West Midlands region, the following transport authorities have published their LTP online: Herefordshire, Shropshire U. A. Staffordshire and Wrekin U. A. Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire; the transport authority of Stoke-on-Trent U.
A. publishes a joint local transport plan in partnership with
AFC Bridgnorth is a football club based in the town of Bridgnorth, England. They are members of the West Midlands League Premier Division and play at Crown Meadow; the club badge depicts the town hall in Bridgnorth's high town. A Bridgnorth Town existed in the 19th century, joining the Shropshire & District League in 1899. Another club by the same name was formed in July 1938 and joined the Worcestershire Combination for the 1938–39 season. However, the club folded after one season due to the outbreak of World War II; the name reappeared in 1949 when Kidderminster League club Bridgnorth Boys Club Old Boys were renamed Bridgnorth Town. In 1968 they moved up to the Worcestershire Combination, which had just been renamed the Midland Combination, joining Division One. In 1970–71 the club became one of a small number of English clubs to win the FAW Trophy, beating Welshpool 2–1 in the final, they were runners-up in 1976–77 and won the league title in 1979–80. After finishing as runners-up again the following season, the club won a second Division One title in 1982–83, earning promotion to the Midland Division of the Southern League.
After thirteen seasons in the Southern League Midland Division, Bridgnorth finished bottom of the table in Southern League and were relegated to the Midland Alliance. They remained in the Alliance until finishing bottom of the league in 2004–05, after which they were relegated to the Premier Division of the Midland Combination. After a season in the Combination the club transferred laterally to the Premier Division of the West Midlands League, they were promoted back to the Midland Alliance. Despite finishing seventh in the league in 2012–13, the club folded due to financial problems. After Bridgnorth Town folded, AFC Bridgnorth were established as a replacement; the new club started two levels lower, in Division One of the West Midlands League. They won Division One at the first attempt. In 2014–15 they were Premier Division runners-up, a feat matched the following season. Midland Combination Champions 1979–80, 1982–83 West Midlands League Premier Division champions 2007–08 FAW Trophy Winners 1970–71 Shropshire Senior Cup Winners 1985–86 West Midlands League Division One champions 2013–14 Best FA Cup performance: Third qualifying round, 1983–84, 1984–85 Best FA Trophy performance: Second qualifying round, 1994–95 Best FA Vase performance: Fifth round, 1975–76, 1993–94 Best FA Cup performance: Preliminary round, 2015–16 Best FA Vase performance: Second round, 2015–16 AFC Bridgnorth players AFC Bridgnorth managers Bridgnorth Town F.
C. players Bridgnorth Town F. C. managers Official website
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
Stourbridge Football Club is an English association football club based in the town of Stourbridge, West Midlands. The club plays in the Southern League Premier Division Central; the club was founded in 1876 and was known as Stourbridge Standard. By the late 1880s it is known that they had changed its name to Stourbridge and competed in the Birmingham and District League, where reasonable success was achieved without gaining the league title, although the Worcestershire Senior Cup was won on three occasions; the 1923–24 season was one of the best in the club's history, as they clinched the Birmingham League championship and won the Worcestershire Senior Cup yet again. After World War II, The Glassboys enjoyed their greatest period of success in non-league football, as they carried off the Birmingham Combination Championship in 1952 and won the Birmingham and Herefordshire Senior Cups; the club returned to the Birmingham League in 1954 on the disbanding of the Birmingham Combination and were runners-up in 1955–56.
The Birmingham Senior Cup was won for a second time in 1958–59 and the 1967–68 season saw the club achieve their own "double" in lifting both the Worcestershire and Birmingham Senior Cups. In 1971 the club was elected to the expanding Southern League and met instant success under manager Alan Grundy in the 1973–74 season, with the Division 1 title and the Merit Cup coming to Amblecote. Twin strikers Ray Haywood and Chic Bates each notched 50 goals that season and were transferred to Shrewsbury Town, where Bates served 13 years as both player and manager. Another highlight in 1973–74 was a tremendous run in the Welsh Cup, in which the team disposed of both Swansea City and Wrexham on their own grounds and faced Cardiff City in a two leg final. A record crowd of 5,726 saw the Glassboys lose the home leg 1–0 and they lost 1–0 at Ninian Park. Stourbridge spent ten seasons in the Premier Division of the Southern League between 1974 and 1984, two centre-forwards were sold in the 70s, Steve Cooper to Torquay United and Tony Cunningham to Lincoln City.
Finishing in the top six and under the management of Tony Freely, they won the Worcestershire Senior Cup for the 9th time with a victory over close rivals Kidderminster Harriers in 1981 with the Stourbridge born Brendan Drummond getting the winning goal in the second leg away to the Harriers to win 2–1 on aggregate. Stourbridge were one of the first English semi-professional clubs to tour the South East of the USA in the early Eighties. Subsequent Midland Division form was mediocre too, despite three good FA Cup runs, a disastrous run of results in 1987–88 led to a relegation spot, however fortune was on the club's side and they were re-elected to the League in the close season. Stourbridge went on from strength to strength, culminating in winning the Midland Division championship in 1991, although Southern League officials refused promotion due to the shared use of the ground by the local cricket club. October 1997 saw a new Chairman at the club and his early enthusiasm in refurbishing the social club continued with many signings for the 1998–99 season under the guidance of new manager, Steve Daniels.
The Glassboys spent much of the early part of the season in the top 3 whilst reaching the FA Cup 4th qualifying round for the first time in 15 years, but the success was short lived as budget cutbacks saw many of the more experienced players moving on. In 2000 a new owner came to the club, swiftly appointed Mark Serrell as chairman, along with FA Qualified coach and ex-Birmingham City player Mark Harrison as manager. Despite an influx of new players, continued poor results meant Stourbridge's 29-year spell at Southern League level ended with defeat in the last game of the season at Hinckley United in May 2000; the club began its first spell in the Midland Football Alliance by finishing in fifth place and claiming the League Cup by defeating Bridgnorth Town following a dramatic penalty shoot-out after the final had finished in a 1–1 draw. The 2001–02 season began well with the lifting of the Joe McGorian Cup after a 2–1 victory at league champions Stourport Swifts, however in November 2001 the club parted company with Mark Harrison, with the former Bilston Town boss Joe Jackson taking over as manager.
On the final Saturday of the season, the Glassboys were crowned champions in dramatic fashion as a last gasp stoppage time goal by Brian Gray earned the point needed at Stafford Town to pip Bromsgrove Rovers to the title. Although Serrell left the club the following January, to be succeeded as chairman by Stephen Hyde, Jackson once more led the club to the Midland Football Alliance championship in 2002–03, although promotion was refused due to the ground grading regulations in place at the time. Jackson declined to try for a hat trick of titles in 2003–04 and was replaced by well-known local duo, Jon Ford and Gary Hackett, who had enjoyed two successful seasons in charge at Bromsgrove Rovers. With many players moving on, the new management team had to rebuild the side from scratch, but an encouraging second half of the season saw the Glassboys finish a creditable 9th; the following season saw a memorable run in the FA Vase, culminating in a quarter-final defeat at A. F. C. Sudbury in the quarter-final before succumbing to a 4–1 defeat after extra time.
In May 2005 Hackett took sole charge of the team after Ford decided to step down due to work and family commitments. With the re-organisation of the non-league pyramid at Step 4 level, the club looked to mount a strong push for promotion, however a mixed start to the campaign left Stourbridge lying in mid-ta
National League System
The National League System comprises the seven levels of the English football league system below the level of the English Football League. It contains more than 1,600 clubs, it comes under the jurisdiction of The Football Association. The National League System has a hierarchical format with promotion and relegation between leagues at different levels. For details of leagues above and below the National League System, see the English football league system; the system underwent a rearrangement from 2004 to 2008 and was rearranged in 2018. Phase one went into operation in 2004–05. At the start of the 2006–07 season, phase two was introduced, a further phase three started from 2007–08 with the starting of a second Step 4 league in the north of England. Phase four took effect in 2018–19. At the top of the National League System pyramid is the National League, its top division called the National League, is the only division in the System, organised on a national rather than regional basis. Although the National League is the top level of the non-league pyramid, it is not the highest level of English football.
The Premier League and the three divisions of the English Football League comprise the top 92 clubs in the English game, two teams from the National League are able to achieve promotion to the English Football League. Some leagues have more than one division. At the lower levels the existence of leagues becomes intermittent, although in some areas there are as many as twenty layers. All the leagues are bound together by the principle of relegation. Clubs that are successful in their league can rise higher in the pyramid, whilst those that finish at the bottom can find themselves sinking further down. In theory it is possible for a lowly local amateur club to rise to the pinnacle of the English game and become champions of the Premier League. While this may be unlikely in practice, there is significant movement within the pyramid; the number of teams promoted between leagues or divisions varies, promotion is contingent on meeting criteria set by the higher league concerning appropriate facilities and finances.
In particular, clubs that hope to be promoted from Step 5 leagues to Step 4 must apply in advance to be assessed for whether they meet the grading requirements. The teams must also finish in the top 3 in their league to be considered for promotion, not automatic. For instance, in the 2005–06 season 100 clubs applied to be considered for promotion, of which 51 met the grading requirements, 29 of those finished in the top 3 in their leagues. With an additional division commencing at Step 4 in 2006–07, all 29 clubs had their promotions accepted). Under the direction of The Football Association, the National League System evolved over many years. Today's pyramid can be said to be twenty years old. Leagues have formed and dissolved over the years and reorganisations have taken place every few years as a result. Beginning with the 2004–05 season, Phase One of the latest change was introduced with the formation of a Conference North and Conference South below the Football Conference, renamed Conference Premier, dropping the top divisions of the Southern League, Isthmian League, Northern Premier League down one level.
The Conference North and South have since been renamed the National League South. This table includes the seven steps of the National League System. Above the NLS are the English Football League. Two teams from the National League can be promoted to EFL League Two at the end of each season; this structure was the result of changes made after the 2005–06 season. The official name is given for all the leagues listed, the sponsorship name is provided for the leagues in the top four steps. All divisions in the top four steps have 20 to 24 clubs each; the FA's National League System Committee determine promotion and relegation between leagues shown based on location. The NLS Committee has the power to transfer clubs between divisions and leagues at the same level of the pyramid should this be deemed necessary to maintain geographically practical and numerically balanced divisions and leagues at every level. All clubs in the NLS are eligible to compete in the FA Cup, but are seeded into it according to tier standing.
Tiers 1 to 4 clubs are eligible for the FA Trophy and tiers 5 to 7 for the FA Vase, as well as their respective regional and county cups. With the arrival of the new sponsors for the Football Conference starting in the 2007–08 season, the administrators of the Conference announced the reintroduction of the short-lived Conference League Cup; this competition, as its predecessor, was open to clubs in tiers 1 and 2 of the NLS. Source For the 2012–13 season, the FA announced a re-structuring of the National League System's lowest level, Step 7, it was split into three sub-categories, which were full Step 7 divisions, Step 7A and Step 7B. The categorisation depended on the ground facilities of the particular league's clubs; the required percentage of clubs to meet ground grade requirements for each of the categorisations were as follows: Step 7: 100%. Step 7 – is awarded to leagues where 100% of their clubs meet the Step 7 minimum ground grading requirements as of 31 March and the league complies with all other requirements for Step 7 status.
Step 7A – was awarded to leagues where 75% or more of their clubs met the Step 7 minimum ground grading requirements after 31 March and the league complied with all other requirements for Step 7 status. (It was noted that in Season 2011/12 these leagues were referred to as provisional
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club known as Wolves, is a professional football club in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England. Formed as St Luke's F. C. in 1877, they have played at Molineux Stadium since 1889 and compete in the Premier League, the top tier of English football, after winning the 2017–18 EFL Championship. Wolves were one of the founding members of the Football League in 1888; the club spent 33 years in the top flight from 1932 to 1965, their longest continuous period at that level. In the 1950s, they were League champions three times, under the management of Stan Cullis. Wolves finished League runners-up on five occasions, most in 1959–60. Wolves have won the FA Cup four times, most in 1960, finished runners-up on a further four occasions; the club has won the Football League Cup twice, in 1974 and 1980. In 1953, Wolves was one of the first British clubs to install floodlights, taking part in televised "floodlit friendlies" against leading overseas club sides between 1953 and 1956 before the creation of the European Cup in 1955.
Wolves reached the quarter-finals of the 1959–60 European Cup and the semi-finals of the 1960–61 European Cup Winners' Cup, were runners-up to Tottenham Hotspur in the inaugural 1972 UEFA Cup Final. Wolves' traditional kit consists of gold shirts and black shorts and the club badge one or more wolves. Wolves have long-standing rivalries with other West Midlands clubs, the main one being with West Bromwich Albion, against whom they contest the Black Country derby, although the two clubs have not met in a League fixture since 2011–12, the last season they competed in the same division. In the 2000 edition of "The Rough Guide to English Football", the history section on the Wolves page begins: "The name Wolves thunders from the pages of English football history"; as with several other clubs, Everton for example, Wolves had humble beginnings shaped by the twin influences of cricket and the church. The club was founded in 1877 as St Luke's F. C. by John Baynton and John Brodie, two pupils of St Luke's Church School in Blakenhall, presented with a football by their headmaster Harry Barcroft.
The team played its first-ever game on 13 January 1877 against a reserve side from Stafford Road merging with the football section of a local cricket club called Blakenhall Wanderers to form Wolverhampton Wanderers in August 1879. Having played on two different strips of land in the town, they relocated to a more substantial venue on Dudley Road in 1881, before lifting their first trophy in 1884 when they won the Wrekin Cup, during a season in which they played their first-ever FA Cup tie. Having become professional, the club were nominated to become one of the twelve founder members of the Football League in 1888, in which they played the first Football League match staged, they ended the inaugural season in third place, as well as reaching their first FA Cup Final, losing 0–3 to the first "Double" winners, Preston North End. At the conclusion of the campaign the club relocated for a final time when they moved to Molineux a pleasure park known as the Molineux Grounds. Wolves lifted the FA Cup for the first time in 1893 when they beat Everton 1–0, made a third FA Cup Final appearance in 1896.
The club added a second FA Cup Final triumph to their 1893 success in 1908, two years after having dropped into the Second Division for the first time. After struggling during the years either side of the First World War to regain their place in the top division, the club suffered a further relegation in 1923, entering the Third Division, which they won at the first attempt. Eight years after returning to the Second Division, Wolves regained their top-flight status as Second Division Champions under Major Frank Buckley after twenty-six years away. With Buckley at the helm the team became established as one of the leading club sides in England in the years leading up to the Second World War, as they finished runners-up in the league twice in succession, as well as reaching the last pre-war FA Cup Final, in which they suffered a shock defeat to Portsmouth. In 1937–38 Wolves came within a whisker of winning the club's first English league title: a win in the side's last game away to Sunderland would have clinched things, but in the event Wolves lost 0–1 and thus ended the campaign one point behind the eventual champions, Arsenal.
One of the things Major Buckley and his Wolves side attracted a lot of attention for in the last two full seasons prior to the outbreak of the Second World War was Buckley's insistence that his players be injected with monkey gland extract to enhance their stamina and performance, a practice that the Football League elected not to sanction. When league football resumed after the Second World War, Wolves suffered yet another final day failure in the First Division. Just as in 1938, victory in their last match would have won the title but a 2–1 loss to title rivals Liverpool gave the championship to the Merseysiders instead; this game had been the last in a Wolves shirt for Stan Cullis, a year he became manager of the club. In Cullis's first season in charge, he led Wolves to a first major honour in 41 years as they beat Leicester City to lift the FA Cup, a year only goal average prevented Wolves winning the league title; the 1950s were by far the most successful period in the club's history.
Captained by Billy Wright, Wolves claimed the league championship for the first time in 1953–54, overhauling local rivals West Bromwich Albion late in the season. Two further titles were soon won in successive years, as Wolves