Association football, more known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport; the game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal. Association football is one of a family of football codes, which emerged from various ball games played worldwide since antiquity; the modern game traces its origins to 1863 when the Laws of the Game were codified in England by The Football Association. Players are not allowed to touch the ball with hands or arms while it is in play, except for the goalkeepers within the penalty area. Other players use their feet to strike or pass the ball, but may use any other part of their body except the hands and the arms; the team that scores most goals by the end of the match wins.
If the score is level at the end of the game, either a draw is declared or the game goes into extra time or a penalty shootout depending on the format of the competition. Association football is governed internationally by the International Federation of Association Football, which organises World Cups for both men and women every four years; the rules of association football were codified in England by the Football Association in 1863 and the name association football was coined to distinguish the game from the other forms of football played at the time rugby 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 "rules of the game" were made in 1848, before the "split off in 1863". The term soccer comes from a slang or jocular abbreviation of the word "association", with the suffix "-er" appended to it; the word soccer was first recorded in 1889 in the earlier form of socca.
Within the English-speaking world, association football is now called "football" in the United Kingdom and "soccer" in Canada and the United States. People in countries where other codes of football are prevalent may use either term, although national associations in Australia and New Zealand now use "football" for the formal name. According to FIFA, the Chinese competitive game cuju is the earliest form of football for which there is 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 modern football. 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 and harpastum were played involving hands and violence.
They all appear to have resembled rugby football and volleyball more than what is recognizable as modern football. As with pre-codified "mob football", the antecedent of all modern football codes, these three games involved more handling the ball than kicking. Other games included kemari in chuk-guk in Korea. Association football in itself does not have a classical history. Notwithstanding any similarities to other ball games played around the world FIFA has recognised that no historical connection exists with any game played in antiquity outside Europe; the modern rules of association football are based on the mid-19th century efforts to standardise the varying forms of football played in the public schools of England. The history of football in England dates back to at least the eighth century AD; the Cambridge Rules, first drawn up at Cambridge University in 1848, were influential in the development of subsequent codes, including association football. The Cambridge Rules were written at Trinity College, Cambridge, at a meeting attended by representatives from Eton, Rugby and Shrewsbury schools.
They were not universally adopted. During the 1850s, many clubs unconnected to schools or universities were formed throughout the English-speaking world, to play various forms of football; some came up with their own distinct codes of rules, most notably the Sheffield Football Club, formed by former public school pupils in 1857, which led to formation of a Sheffield FA in 1867. In 1862, John Charles Thring of Uppingham School devised an influential set of rules; these ongoing efforts contributed to the formation of The Football Association in 1863, which first met on the morning of 26 October 1863 at the Freemasons' Tavern in Great Queen Street, London. The only school to be represented on this occasion was Charterhouse; the Freemason's Tavern was the setting for five more meetings between October and December, which produced the first comprehensive set of rules. At the final meeting, the first FA treasurer, the representative from Blackheath, withdrew his club from the FA over the removal of two draft rules at the previous meeting: the first allowed for running with the ball in hand.
Other English rugby clubs followed this lead and did not join the FA and instead in 1871 formed the Rugby Football Union. The eleven remaining clubs, under
Nottingham Forest F.C.
Nottingham Forest Football Club referred to as Forest, is a professional football club based in West Bridgford, England. Forest were founded in 1865 and have played home matches at the City Ground since 1898, they compete in the second tier of the English football league system. Forest have won the League title once, two FA Cups, four League Cups, one FA Charity Shield, two European Cups, one UEFA Super Cup, their most successful period was under the management reign of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor between 1976 and 1982. The club have competed in the top two league tiers during their history except for five seasons in the third tier. In 1865 a group of shinty players met at the Clinton Arms on Nottingham's Shakespeare Street. J. S. Scrimshaw's proposal to play association football instead was agreed and Nottingham Forest Football Club was formed, it was agreed at the same meeting that the club would purchase twelve tasselled caps coloured'Garibaldi Red'. Thus the club's official colours were established.
Forest's first official game was played against Notts County taking place on 22 March 1866. In their early years Forest were a multi-sports club; as well as their roots in bandy and shinty, Forest's baseball club were British champions in 1899. Forest's charitable approach helped clubs like Liverpool and Brighton & Hove Albion to form. In 1886, Forest donated a set of football kits to help Arsenal establish themselves – the North London team still wear red. Forest donated shirts to Everton and helped secure a site to play on for Brighton. In 1878–79 season Forest entered the FA Cup for the first time. Forest beat Notts County 3–1 in the first round at Beeston Cricket Ground before losing 2–1 to Old Etonians in the semi final. Forest's application was rejected to join the Football League at its formation in 1888. Forest instead joined the Football Alliance in 1889, they won the competition in 1892 before entering the Football League. That season they lost in an FA Cup semi final for the fourth time to date.
This time it was to West Bromwich Albion after a replay. Forest's first FA Cup semi-final win was at the fifth attempt, the 1897–98 FA Cup 2–0 replay win against Southampton; the first game was drawn 1–1. Derby County beat Forest 5–0 five days before the final. Six of the cup final side were rested in that league game. In that 1898 FA Cup Final at Crystal Palace before 62,000 fans, Willie Wragg passed a 19th minute free kick to Arthur Capes. Capes shot through the defensive wall to score. Derby equalised with a free kick headed home by Steve Bloomer off the underside of the cross bar after 31 minutes. In the 42nd minute Jack Fryer was unable to hold a Charlie Richards shot giving Capes a tap in for his second goal. Wragg's injury meant. In the 86th minute John Boag headed away a corner by Forest. John McPherson moved in to collect shooting low into the goal to win 3–1. Forest lost FA Cup semi finals in 1900 and 1902, they finished fourth in the 1900–01 Football League followed with fifth place the season after.
The club started to slide down the table. Forest were relegated for the first time in 1905–06. Grenville Morris had his first of five seasons as the club's highest scorer en route to becoming the all-time club highest goalscorer with 213 goals. Promotion as champions was immediate in 1906–07, they were relegated a second time to the Second Division in 1911 and had to seek re-election in 1914 after finishing bottom of that tier. As World War One approached; the outbreak of The Great War along with the benevolence of the committee members mitigated the club going under. In 1919, the Football League First Division was to be expanded from twenty clubs to twenty-two in time for the 1919–20 Football League: Forest were one of eight clubs to campaign for entry but received only three votes. Arsenal and Chelsea gained the two additional top tier slots. In a turnaround from the first six seasons struggling back in the Second Division, Forest were promoted as champions in 1921–22, they survived each of the first two seasons back in the top flight by one position.
In the third season after promotion they were relegated as the division's bottom club in 1924–25. They remained in the second tier until relegation in 1949 to the Football League Third Division, they were promoted back two years as champions having scored a record 110 goals in the 1950–51 season. They regained First Division status in 1957. Johnny Quigley's solitary 1958–59 FA Cup semi final goal beat Aston Villa. Billy Walker's Forest beat Luton Town 2–1 in the 1959 FA Cup Final. Like in 1898 Forest had lost to their opponents only weeks earlier in the league. Stewart Imlach crossed for a 10th-minute opener by Roy Dwight. Tommy Wilson had Forest 2–0 up after 14 minutes; the game had an unusually large number of stoppages due to injury to Forest players. This was put down to the lush nature of the Wembley turf; the most notable of these stoppages was Dwight breaking his leg in a 33rd minute tackle with Brendan McNally. Forest had been on top until that point. Luton though took control of the match with Dave Pacey scoring midway through the second half.
Forest were reduced to nine fit men with ten minutes remaining when Bill Whare crippled with cramp became little more than a spectator. Despite late Allan Brown and Billy Bingham chances Chick Thomson conceded no further goals for Forest to beat the Wembley 1950s'hoodoo'. Club record appearance holder Bobby McKinlay played in the final winning
1891 FA Cup Final
The 1891 FA Cup Final was contested by Blackburn Rovers and Notts County at the Kennington Oval. Blackburn won 3–1, their second consecutive FA Cup Final victory, with goals by Geordie Dewar, Jack Southworth and William Townley. James Oswald scored Notts County's goal. Line-ups Match report at www.fa-cupfinals.co.uk
The EFL Cup known as the Carabao Cup for sponsorship reasons, is an annual knockout football competition in men's domestic English football. Organised by the English Football League, it is open to any club within the top four levels of the English football league system – 92 clubs in total – comprising the top level Premier League, the three divisions of the English Football League's own league competition. First held in 1960–61 as the Football League Cup, it is one of the three top-tier domestic football competitions in England, alongside the Premier League and FA Cup, it concludes in February, long before the other two. It was introduced by the league as a response to the increasing popularity of European football, to exert power over the FA, it took advantage of the roll-out of floodlights, allowing the fixtures to be played as midweek evening games. With the renaming of the Football League as the English Football League in 2016, the tournament was rebranded as the EFL Cup for the 2016–17 season.
The tournament is played with single leg ties throughout, except the semi-finals. The final is held at Wembley Stadium. Entrants are seeded in the early rounds, a system of byes based on league level ensures higher ranked teams enter in rounds, to defer the entry of teams still involved in Europe. Winners receive the EFL Cup, of which there have been three designs, the current one being the original. Winners qualify for European football, receiving a place in the UEFA Europa League; the current holders are Manchester City, who beat Chelsea 4–3 on penalties in the 2019 final to win their sixth League Cup. Although the League Cup is one of the four domestic trophies attainable by English league teams, it is perceived as being of lower prestige than the league championship or the FA Cup. League Cup winners receive £100,000 prize money with the runners-up receiving £50,000, considered insignificant to top-flight teams, compared to the £2 million prize money of the FA Cup, in turn eclipsed by the Premier League's television money and consequent participation in the Champions League.
Some clubs have fielded a weaker side in the competition, making the opportunity for giant-killing of the larger clubs more likely. Many teams in the Premier League and Manchester United in particular, have used the competition to give young players valuable big-game experience. However, in 2010, in response to Arsène Wenger's claim that a League Cup win would not end his trophy drought, Alex Ferguson described the trophy as "a pot worth winning"; the original idea for a League Cup came from Stanley Rous who saw the competition as a consolation for clubs, knocked out of the FA Cup. However it was not Rous. Hardaker proposed the competition as a way for the clubs to make up on lost revenue, due to a reduction in matches played, for when the league was to be re-organised; the re-organisation of the league was not forthcoming. The trophy was paid for by Football League President Joe Richards, proud of the competition and he had his own name engraved on it. Richards described the competition's formation as an'interim step' on the way to the league's re-organisation.
Richards' priority was the re-organisation of the leagues. Hardaker felt that the Football League needed to adapt to the times, as the English game was losing prestige, he felt that the Football League should take the lead in revitalising football in the nation: "It must be obvious to all of you that the time has come to do something, it is up to the Football League to give the lead. I hope the Press will not assume that the League is going to fall out with the F. A. or anybody else... the time has come for our voice to be heard in every problem which affects the professional game."The League Cup competition was established at a time when match day attendances were dwindling. The league had lost one million spectators compared to the previous season, it was established at a time when tensions between the Football League and the Football Association were high. The biggest disagreement was about. During the late 1950s, the majority of senior English clubs equipped their grounds with floodlights.
This opened up the opportunity to exploit weekday evenings throughout the winter. The League Cup was introduced in the 1960–61 season as a mid-week floodlit tournament, to replace the Southern Professional Floodlit Cup; the League Cup was criticised by the better-endowed clubs. The Times' correspondent at the time felt; the Times published on 30 May 1960: "Where a drastic reduction is required in an attempt to raise quality, no doubt quantity and a further spread of mediocrity
Notts County F.C.
Notts County Football Club is a professional association football club based in Nottingham, England. They participate in the fourth tier of the English football league system, they are nicknamed the "Magpies" due to the black and white colour of their home strip, which inspired Italian club Juventus to adopt the colours for their kit in 1903. After playing at different home grounds during their first fifty years, including Trent Bridge, the club moved to Meadow Lane in 1910 and have remained there since. Between 2014 and 2017, there was a professional Notts County ladies team, replaced by Notts County Women in May 2018. County hold a rivalry with Nottingham Forest, as well as with other nearby clubs such as Mansfield Town. Founded in 1862, they are the oldest professional association football club in the world, they hold a Football League record 29 combined promotions and relegations; the club predates The Football Association itself and became one of the 12 founder members of the Football League in 1888.
They finished third in the 1890–91 season, have never bettered this position. They reached the 1891 FA Cup Final, but finished as runners-up to Blackburn Rovers, they did manage to best this accomplishment three years by winning the 1894 FA Cup Final with a 4–1 victory over Bolton Wanderers. They won the FA Cup as a Second Division side after being relegated the previous year, before gaining promotion by winning the Second Division title in 1896–97, they remained in the First Division until 1920, barring the 1913–14 season when they won the Second Division following relegation the previous year. They won the Second Division for a third time in the 1922–23 campaign, before suffering relegations down to the Third Division South, which they won in their first attempt in 1930–31. Back in the Third Division South by World War II, they were again promoted as champions in 1949–50 and spent most of the 1950s in the second tier before successive relegations into the Fourth Division, which they won promotion out of as runners-up in 1959–60.
They returned to the fourth tier by 1964 and went on to win the Fourth Division title in the 1970–71 season, before securing promotion out of the Third Division under the stewardship of Jimmy Sirrel in 1972–73. They made their return to the top-flight by finishing as runners-up of the Second Division in 1980–81. Relegated after a three season stay, they ended the decade back in the third tier, before Neil Warnock masterminded play-off successes in 1990 and 1991 that saw them promoted back into the first tier; however they were relegated, thus missing out on the first-ever season of Premier League football. They managed to finish the season as champions. Following a financial crisis they were relegated again in 2004, before they won the League Two title in 2009–10 admist a takeover from a Middle Eastern consortium that fell through despite great publicity and initial expectations. Notts County is the oldest professional league club in the world, having been formed in 1862. Notts pre-dated The Football Association and played a game of its own devising, rather than association football.
At the time of its formation, Notts County, like most sports teams, were considered to be a "gentlemen-only" club. Notts County are considered to be one of the pioneers of the modern game and are the oldest of the world's professional association football clubs. In November 1872, the Notts County full-back Ernest Greenhalgh played for England against Scotland in the first-ever international match, thereby becoming the club's first international player. In 1888, Notts County, along with 11 other football clubs, became a founding member of The Football League, they finished their first league season in 11th place, but avoided the dubious honour of the wooden spoon, which went to Midlands rivals Stoke. However, Notts County did achieve their highest league finish of third in 1890–91, an achievement they repeated 10 seasons later. On 25 March 1891, Notts County reached the FA Cup final for the first time; the Magpies were defeated 3–1 by Blackburn Rovers at The Oval, despite having beaten the same side 7–1 in the league only a week earlier.
County made up for this on 31 March 1894, when they won the FA Cup at Goodison Park, defeating Bolton Wanderers 4–1 in a game in which Jimmy Logan scored the second hat-trick in FA Cup final history. This achievement is memorable for Notts County becoming the first club outside the top division to win the FA Cup: Notts County finished third in Division Two that season. In 1910 they moved to Meadow Lane. County were relegated in 1926 in what was to be their last season in the English top flight for over half a century; the 1925–26 season was the last season that famed giant goalkeeper Albert Iremonger played for the club. Legend among Notts County supporters it has been said he had "hands like the claws of a JCB and was a seven foot tall monster"; the club suspended all fixtures during the 1941–42 season after Meadow Lane was hit by enemy bombing. In the 1946–47 season, the ground was used temporarily by Nottingham Forest after the River Trent flooded both Meadow Lane and the City Ground. Forest again used Meadow Lane in 1968.
The'golden age' of the club came just after the end of World War II. County stunned the footballing world by signing Tommy Lawton from Chelsea for £20,000 a then-record fee. Lawton's arrival increased crowds by over 10,000. One incident during this period saw 10,000 fans locked outside the ground. In the 1949–5
The Meadow Lane Stadium is a football stadium in Nottingham, England. It is the home ground of Notts County, who have played there since 1910; the stadium was home to Notts County Ladies F. C. from 2014 until 2017. It has an all-seated capacity of 19,841 for Football League games; the record attendance is 47,310, who watched Notts lose 1–0 to York City in the FA Cup Sixth Round on 12 March 1955. Meadow Lane lies just three hundred yards away from the City Ground, home of Nottingham Forest; the two grounds are the closest in England and the second-closest in the United Kingdom after the grounds of Dundee and Dundee United. The Trent End of the City Ground is visible from parts of the Spion Kop; the stadium hosts the men's and women's football in the Varsity Series – a sporting series contested by Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham. Prior to 1910, Notts County played their home games across the River Trent at Trent Bridge as a tenant of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club.
Cricket took priority on the ground and the football club were forced to play early and late season fixtures at other venues to avoid a clash. The Football League deemed that this practice was inappropriate and demanded that Notts either seek more favourable terms for the use of Trent Bridge or relocate to a new ground on which they could fulfil all of their fixtures. In 1910, a plot of land near the cattle market on the opposite side of the River Trent was leased from the city council and a new stadium hastily erected. Part of the new stadium was a temporary stand from Trent Bridge, floated across the river. On 3 September 1910, County moved to Meadow Lane, the first game was a 1–1 draw with old rivals Nottingham Forest, played in front of 27,000 fans paying receipts of £775. In 1920 the landlord, Nottingham Corporation, which leased the land to the club, came close to removing the club from its premises to make way for an abattoir; the stadium remained the same until 1923 when the Sneinton Side was replaced with a new stand, named the County Road Stand after the newly constructed road behind it.
Meadow Lane was bombed during World War II forcing the club to suspend all fixtures during the 1942 season. The northern side of the Main Stand was badly damaged and the pitch left in an unplayable condition; the stadium has played host to Forest games on a number of occasions. After the war, when flooding from the River Trent left the City Ground in an unplayable condition and again in 1968 when the Main Stand at the City Ground was destroyed by fire in a game against Leeds United. During the 1970s and 80s the stadium became dilapidated; the Meadow Lane End was demolished in 1978 and replaced by a building which housed new dressing rooms, a social club and a variety of other facilities designed to generate more income. There was no stand at this end for several years and Meadow Lane was reduced to a three sided ground. A small terrace was installed on this side; the Bradford City stadium fire and Hillsborough disaster brought the safety of football stadia into the public gaze and the Taylor Report required that football clubs modernise their grounds.
Meadow Lane was subsequently redeveloped during the early 1990s, although the work was planned before the report was issued. The Meadow Lane End, County Road Stand and Spion Kop were all demolished in the 1992 close season and replaced with the Family Stand, the Jimmy Sirrel Stand and the Spion Kop Stand respectively; the Main Stand was replaced during the close season of 1994 by the Derek Pavis Stand. In June 2002, as part of a sponsorship deal, the ground was renamed the "Aaron Scargill Stadium". However, the ground reverted to its original name when the deal fell through; the Derek Pavis Stand contains a number of conference and function facilities to complement The Broken Wheelbarrow bar behind the Family Stand. These host numerous functions throughout the year, ranging from social evenings organised by Notts County's supporter organisations, to wedding receptions and meetings of evangelical Christian churches. Away supporters are restricted to the Jimmy Sirrel stand, at the County Road side.
This features a triangular gable with its year of formation. Such gables are present in the stadia of Sheffield Wednesday and Leyton Orient; the Family Stand was renamed The Haydn Green Family Stand in 2007, after the man who saved Notts County from liquidation in 2003, by buying the lease on the ground and investing several million pounds. Haydn Green died in 2007 leaving an estate which still controls the lease on the ground. Outside the stadium on Meadow Lane is a bronze statue of coach Jack Wheeler. Entitled "Legends of the Lane", the statue was sculpted by Andy Edwards and unveiled on 5 May 2016. In 2006, it was announced, it was further announced in May 2006 that Notts County and Nottingham Rugby were negotiating making the agreement permanent. In October 2006 it was announced that an agreement had been reached with Notts County, allowing Nottingham Rugby to play the remainder of their 2006/07 home fixtures at Meadow Lane. In 2014 it was announced that the rugby club would move out of Meadow Lane to play at The Bay, West Bridgford.
For the 2017-18 season, the capacity set by the local authority for football is 19,841. The stadium has a total of 20,211 seats. Football Ground Guide Article Stadium Guide Article
1996 Football League Second Division play-off Final
The 1996 Football League Second Division play-off Final was a football match played at Wembley Stadium on 26 May 1996, at the end of the 1995–96 English league season to determine the final promoted club from the Second Division. Bradford City beat Notts County 2–0 to join Swindon Town and Oxford United in winning promotion to the First Division, it was the seventh to be held at Wembley. For Bradford, it was the first time. City finished sixth during the regular league season only winning a play-off place with a victory on the final day of the season, they came from two goals down during the semi-finals against Blackpool to gain a place in the play-off final. Having been relegated the previous season, Notts County had the chance to win an instant promotion back to the First Division, they finished fourth during the regular season and defeated Crewe Alexandra in the semi-final by drawing the away tie and winning by one-goal in the second leg at home. Bradford took an eighth-minute lead in the final through 19-year-old Bradford-born Des Hamilton.
Notts County only had one chance in the first half before applying more pressure during the early part of the second half. However Bradford's recent signing Mark Stallard doubled their lead to give them victory and newspaper reporters agreed that Bradford dominated the match, their manager Chris Kamara had only been in charge for six months before the final. Three years after their victory, Bradford went on to win promotion to the Premier League. Second Division league champions Swindon Town and runners-up Oxford United took the two automatic promotion spots after recording 92 and 83 points leaving Blackpool, Notts County, Crewe Alexandra and Bradford City to contest the play-offs for the final promotion place. Bradford City, who appointed rookie manager Chris Kamara in November 1995, won nine of their last 12 league matches and only secured a play-off berth on the final day of the season by defeating Hull City 3–2 at Boothferry Park in a match, delayed because of crowd trouble, they were one point ahead of seventh place Chesterfield, equal on points with Crewe but behind in goal difference.
As a result, in the play-off semi-finals Bradford played third-place Blackpool, whose manager Sam Allardyce admitted his team had thrown away an automatic promotion spot. Bradford had played Blackpool four times during the season, after being drawn together in the League Cup, with Bradford winning three of the previous encounters. Notts County, relegated the previous season having finished in last place in the First Division, came in fourth position to set up a tie against Crewe Alexandra in the other semi-final. Notts County's fourth place meant they were away to Crewe Alexandra in the first leg, which finished 2–2 at Gresty Road. With home advantage at Meadow Lane three days they won 1–0 thanks to a goal from Gary Martindale to give them a 3–2 aggregate victory; the other semi-final went against home advantage. However, they overturned the deficit by winning 3–0 at Bloomfield Road. Des Hamilton, Carl Shutt and Mark Stallard scored the three goals that gave them a 3–2 aggregate victory. Kamara called it the "best night" of his career.
City had only appeared in one previous major final when they won the 1911 FA Cup Final before Wembley Stadium had been built. Hence, the play-off final was the club's first match at Wembley in their 93-year history. For Notts County, it was the fifth visit to the national stadium since 1990; the historic occasion for Bradford was reflected in the ticket sales, with City fans outnumbering their opponents nearly three-to-one with 28,000 of the crowd of 39,972 coming from Bradford. Kamara's main selection dilemma was in attack where he had to pick a strike partner for Stallard, a player who had joined from Derby County in January for £120,000 and gone on to score ten goals. Kamara opted for Shutt, given only a 50 per cent of playing in the run-up to the match because of a slight knock, with Ian Ormondroyd, a veteran of three play-off finals with his previous club Leicester City, selected as substitute. Captain Eddie Youds, who overcame a knee problem to return to the team in defence in place of David Brightwell, was the only player not to have played in the second leg against Blackpool.
Notts County's team featured only two of the players, relegated the previous season – Tony Agana and Shaun Murphy. Their team contained Darren Ward, selected for the Second Division PFA representative team, Steve Finnan, on loan from First Division club Birmingham City. City's chairman Geoffrey Richmond was reported to have told his team before the match: "Well boys, you can either play Bury or Manchester City next season – it's up to you!" Two times league champions Manchester City had been relegated from the Premier League whereas Bury had been just promoted from the Third Division. Three of the City players, Richard Huxford, Wayne Jacobs and Andy Kiwomya – all Christians – went onto the pitch to pray before the match. Gurnam Singh, from Wolverhampton, a former non-League player who turned to officiating after an injury, was chosen as the match referee, he had been overlooked as the referee for the previous year's First Division play-off Final despite having the top marks in the country and The Independent reported after Singh's career that his appointme