The Premier League is the top level of the English football league system. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the English Football League; the Premier League is a corporation. Seasons run from August to May with each team playing 38 matches. Most games are played on Sunday afternoons; the Premier League has featured 47 English and two Welsh clubs since its inception, making it a cross-border league. The competition was formed as the FA Premier League on 20 February 1992 following the decision of clubs in the Football League First Division to break away from the Football League, founded in 1888, take advantage of a lucrative television rights deal; the deal was worth £1 billion a year domestically as of 2013–14, with BSkyB and BT Group securing the domestic rights to broadcast 116 and 38 games respectively. The league generates € 2.2 billion per year in international television rights. Clubs were apportioned revenues of £2.4 billion in 2016–17. 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, second highest of any professional football league behind the Bundesliga's 43,500. Most stadium occupancies are near capacity; the Premier League ranks second in the UEFA coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the past five seasons, as of 2018. Forty-nine clubs have competed since the inception of the Premier League in 1992. Six of them have won the title since then: Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, Leicester City; the record of most points in a Premier League season is 100, set by Manchester City in 2017–18. Despite significant European success in the 1970s and early 1980s, the late 1980s marked a low point for English football. Stadiums were crumbling, supporters endured poor facilities, hooliganism was rife, English clubs were banned from European competition for five years following the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985; the Football League First Division, the top level of English football since 1888, was behind leagues such as Italy's Serie A and Spain's La Liga in attendances and revenues, several top English players had moved abroad.
By the turn of the 1990s the downward trend was starting to reverse: at the 1990 FIFA World Cup, England reached the semi-finals. In the 1980s, major English clubs had begun to transform into business ventures, applying commercial principles to club administration to maximise revenue. Martin Edwards of Manchester United, Irving Scholar of Tottenham Hotspur, David Dein of Arsenal were among the leaders in this transformation, it gave the top clubs more power. By threatening to break away, clubs in Division One managed to increase their voting power, they took a 50% share of all television and sponsorship income in 1986. Revenue from television became more important: the Football League received £6.3 million for a two-year agreement in 1986, but by 1988, in a deal agreed with ITV, the price rose to £44 million over four years with the leading clubs taking 75% of the cash. According to Scholar, involved in the negotiations of television deals, each of the First Division clubs received only around £25,000 per year from television rights before 1986, this increased to around £50,000 in the 1986 negotiation to £600,000 in 1988.
The 1988 negotiations were conducted under the threat of ten clubs leaving to form a "super league", but they were persuaded to stay with the top clubs taking the lion share of the deal. As stadiums improved and match attendance and revenues rose, the country's top teams again considered leaving the Football League in order to capitalise on the influx of money into the sport. In 1990, the managing director of London Weekend Television, Greg Dyke, met with the representatives of the "big five" football clubs in England over a dinner; the meeting was to pave the way for a break away from The Football League. Dyke believed that it would be more lucrative for LWT if only the larger clubs in the country were featured on national television and wanted to establish whether the clubs would be interested in a larger share of television rights money; the five clubs decided to press ahead with it. The FA did not enjoy an amicable relationship with the Football League at the time and considered it as a way to weaken the Football League's position.
At the close of the 1991 season, a proposal was tabled for the establishment of a new league that would bring more money into the game overall. The Founder Members Agreement, signed on 17 July 1991 by the game's top-flight clubs, established the basic principles for setting up the FA Premier League; the newly formed top division would have commercial independence from The Football Association and the Football League, giving the FA Premier League licence to negotiate
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC
APIA Leichhardt Tigers Football Club known as APIA, is a semi-professional soccer club based in the suburb of Leichhardt in Sydney, Australia. The club was formed in 1954 as APIA Leichhardt, by Italian Australians APIA, winner of the national Australian championship of 1987, is a member of the NPL NSW; the club was founded as the Associazione Poli-sportiva Italo Australiana in 1954 by members of the Italian-Australian community in Sydney's Inner West. After several years in the Canterbury District competition, the club joined the NSW Federation's state league. In the 1960s APIA became one of the foremost soccer clubs in Australia and won the Premiership of NSW of the years 1964, 1966, 1967 and 1975, the highest level of achievement in the absence of a national competition. Between 1966 and 1974 APIA won three times the State Cup of NSW named after a sponsor Ampol Cup; the 1974 final was considered "one of the most incredible finals" of the history of the club when skipper Jimmy Rooney and centreforward Peter Ollerton, who scored five goals, won 9–1 against Auburn in front of a crowd of 5210 at Wentworth Park, the highest finals result ever.
Rooney and Ollerton were in the team that represented Australia a few months in its first World Cup participation in Germany. In 1979 APIA was given access to the National Soccer League, the top tier of Australian soccer since 1977. In 1987 APIA won the national championship, six points ahead of the Preston Makedonia Soccer Club from Melbourne, with only two points awarded per win; the coach in that season was Rale Rasic. Charlie Yankos and Peter Katholos are the best known players from that side; the main cast of that year consisted of Tony Pezzano. In 1988 APIA won the National Soccer League Cup. By 1992 the APIA Leichhardt was overwhelmed by financial difficulties; the club was somewhat restructured and forthwith played on state level with the moniker "Tigers."In 2017, APIA won the National Premier Leagues NSW premiership, but lost the grand final to Manly United FC on penalties. APIA made the grand final of the 2017 Waratah Cup, but lost 3–1 to Hakoah Sydney City East FC. In 2018, APIA won the 2018 Waratah Cup.
On 21 August 2018, APIA defeated reigning A-League champions Melbourne Victory FC in the Round of 16 of the 2018 FFA Cup, becoming the seventh state-league side to beat a top-tier team in the knockout tournament. The result was billed as one of the biggest upsets in the tournament's history. Lambert Park in Leichhardt is the club's traditional home ground, it has, over the years, been used for most of the club's home games. It is still hosts all of the club's NPL matches. APIA has hosted home games at a number of other venues, including Wentworth Park, Leichhardt Oval and Henson Park. Updated 1 September 2018. Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality. Source Note 1: During 1984 to 1986, the league was split into two conferences – APIA played in the Northern Conference and the position in the table reflects position in the conference. = Premiers or Champions = Runners-up 1R, 2R, 3R...7R = 1st Round, 2nd Round, 3rd Round...7th Round R32 = Round of 32 R16 = Round of 16 QF = Quarter-final SF = Semi-final EF = Elimination Final PF = Preliminary Final PO = Playoff Final National Premier Leagues NSWPremiers: 1964, 1966, 1967, 1975, 2017 Runners-Up: 1963, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1997, 2002–03, 2015, 2018National Premier Leagues NSW Grand FinalsChampionships: 1964, 1965, 1969, 1976, 2002–03 Runners-Up: 1963, 1966, 1967, 1975, 2017, 2018Waratah CupWinners: 1962, 1966, 1975, 2013, 2018 Runners-Up: 2012, 2017 National Soccer LeaguePremiers: 1987 National Soccer LeagueAustralia CupWinners: 1966 Runners-Up: 1964, 1965, 1967NSL CupWinners: 1982, 1988 Official website Oz Football Profile NPL NSW Fixtures & Results
Juventus Football Club, colloquially known as Juve, is an Italian professional football club based in Turin, Piedmont. Founded in 1897 by a group of Torinese students, the club has worn a black and white striped home kit since 1903 and has played home matches in different grounds around its city, the latest being the 41,507-capacity Allianz Stadium. Nicknamed Vecchia Signora, the club has won 34 official league titles, 13 Coppa Italia titles and eight Supercoppa Italiana titles, being the record holder for all these competitions; the side leads the historical Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio ranking whilst on the international stage occupies the 4th position in Europe and the eight in the world for most confederation titles won with eleven trophies, having led the UEFA ranking during seven seasons since its inception in 1979, the most for an Italian team and joint second overall. Founded with the name of Sport-Club Juventus as an athletics club, it is the second oldest of its kind still active in the country after Genoa's football section and has competed uninterruptedly in the top flight league since its debut in 1900 after changing its name to Foot-Ball Club Juventus, with the exception of the 2006–07 season, being managed by the industrial Agnelli family continuously since 1923.
The relationship between the club and that dynasty is the oldest and longest in national sports, making Juventus the first professional sporting club in the country, having established itself as a major force in the national stage since the 1930s and at confederation level since the mid-1970s and becoming one of the first ten wealthiest in world football in terms of value and profit since the mid-1990s, being stocked in Borsa italiana since 2001. Under the management of Giovanni Trapattoni, the club won 13 trophies in the ten years before 1986, including six league titles and five international titles, became the first to win all three competitions organised by the Union of European Football Associations: the European Champions' Cup, Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Cup. With successive triumphs in the 1984 European Super Cup and 1985 Intercontinental Cup, it become the first and thus far only in the world to complete a clean sweep of all confederation trophies. In December 2000, Juventus was ranked seventh in the FIFA's historic ranking of the best clubs in the world and nine years was ranked second best club in Europe during the 20th Century based on a statistical study series by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics, the highest for an Italian club in both.
The club's fan base is one of the largest worldwide. Unlike most European sporting supporters' groups, which are concentrated around their own club's city of origin, it is widespread throughout the whole country and the Italian diaspora, making Juventus a symbol of anticampanilismo and italianità; the club has provided the most players to the Italy national team—mostly in official competitions—who formed the group that led the Azzurri squad to international success, most in the 1934, 1982 and 2006 FIFA World Cups. Juventus were founded as Sport-Club Juventus in late 1897 by pupils from the Massimo D'Azeglio Lyceum school in Turin, but were renamed as Foot-Ball Club Juventus two years later; the club joined the Italian Football Championship during 1900. In 1904, the businessman Ajmone-Marsan revived the finances of the football club Juventus, making it possible to transfer the training field from piazza d'armi to the more appropriate Velodrome Umberto I. During this period, the team wore a black kit.
Juventus first won the league championship in 1905 while playing at their Velodrome Umberto I ground. By this time the club colours had changed to black and white stripes, inspired by English side Notts County. There was a split at the club in 1906, after some of the staff considered moving Juve out of Turin. President Alfred Dick was unhappy with this and left with some prominent players to found FBC Torino which in turn spawned the Derby della Mole. Juventus spent much of this period rebuilding after the split, surviving the First World War. FIAT owner Edoardo Agnelli built a new stadium; this helped the club to its second scudetto in the 1925–26 season, after beating Alba Roma with an aggregate score of 12–1. The club established itself as a major force in Italian football since the 1930s, becoming the country's first professional club and the first with a decentralised fan base, which led it to win a record of five consecutive Italian championships and form the core of the Italy national team during the Vittorio Pozzo's era, including the 1934 world champion squad, with star players such as Raimundo Orsi, Luigi Bertolini, Giovanni Ferrari and Luis Monti, among others.
Juventus moved to the Stadio Comunale, but for the rest of the 1930s and the majority of the 1940s they were unable to recapture championship dominance. After the Second
Gold Coast United FC
Gold Coast United FC is an association football club based on the Gold Coast, Australia. It was announced as a professional expansion team for the A-League's 2009–2010 season on 28 August 2008, it was the second bid accepted by the league, with an unrelated bid known as Gold Coast Galaxy FC preceding it. The club was owned by Clive Palmer, the wealthiest man in Queensland until the FFA took over the club's A-League licence in February 2012, folding on 25 March 2012 and its intellectual properties being surrendered to Football Federation Australia. In their first two A-League seasons, Gold Coast were one of the strongest clubs in the A-League, finishing in the top four on both occasions and making the finals series. Although in their third season, the teams form dropped due to off-field instability surrounding player contracts, coaching staff and community support. Since their inception, Gold Coast were criticised about their low attendance. In their first season, they averaged close to 5,500 people and in their second season, they averaged just under 3,300 people per game, making them the lowest attended team.
On 29 February 2012, the FFA revoked Palmer's Gold Coast United A-League licence. On August 3, 2017, it was announced that they would be joining the National Premier League Queensland to compete both Men's and Women's competitions. A consortium under the working title of "Gold Coast Galaxy FC", led by real estate magnate Fred Taplin was, along with North Queensland Thunder, was considered for admission for the 2008–2009 season but Football Federation Australia delayed expansion of the league until at least the 2009–2010 season; the Galaxy was expected to join in the 2008–2009 season along with North Queensland Thunder, expanding the league to ten teams. Although the Galaxy bid appeared to have good support, the Thunder bid appeared much less secure after a major financial backer pulled out of the franchise on 5 March 2008; the FFA determined on 11 March that neither team would be granted entry "in the best interests of the league," given that a nine team format was unfavoured. Clive Palmer, who owned the club sold a 10 percent share of Gold Coast to close friends who live in Melbourne at the start of 2007 when the club were not expected to be given a licence into the A-League.
During the off-season prior to the 2008–2009 season, a number of players were touted to join the club and it made some tentative signings, including former Queensland Roar manager Miron Bleiberg, goalkeeper Scott Higgins, former Wellington Phoenix Brazilian player Felipe. Without entry into 2008–2009 season, the players became free agents and could still sign for the 2009–2010 season depending on the terms of their next club contracts; the franchise was linked at times with signing Nwankwo Kanu as their "marquee" player. The name'Galaxy' was an interim name and it was always undetermined whether or not that name would be used by the club as a permanent name. Galaxy was said to have ties to American Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy, which would have meant pre-season warm-up matches and possible player sharing opportunities. Indeed, in February 2008 there was talk of David Beckham turning out for a pre-season match; the Galaxy consortium had planned to market the club deep into Northern New South Wales, down to Coffs Harbour.
Once the FFA had decided not to have new franchises in 2008–2009, the focus turned to 2009–2010. The club was 70 percent owned by Clive Palmer, the richest man in Queensland, the other 30 percent was owned by 3 unidentified men; the Galaxy consortium's chances of entering the A-League were dealt a severe blow in June 2008 when a rival consortium headed by real estate and mining businessman Clive Palmer entered talks with the FFA. On 3 June 2008, Fred Taplin announced that the Gold Coast Galaxy had dropped out of the race for the Gold Coast licence and a place in the A-League'in the interests of football'; the same day, FFA chief Ben Buckley confirmed that the Palmer consortium had succeeded in securing the franchise. On 6 June, Palmer signed a provisional agreement with the FFA to field a team in the 2009–2010 season; the press conference was held at Robina Stadium, further reinforcing the suggestion that the new franchise will play at the 27,000 capacity stadium. Palmer declared. On 9 April 2010 it was reported that Clive Palmer had ended his financial support of Gold Coast United, putting the club at risk of instant closure.
However, this did not happen, Palmer retained control of the club. Gold Coast United chief executive Clive Mensink denied the club would fold, but the club would be forced to change its ownership structure, and after crucial recruitings of Bruce Djite, Peter Perchtold and the re-signing of Shane Smeltz, the team would have the most dangerous attack in the whole of the A-League. The 2011–12 season began with several key players departing including Bruce Djite to Adelaide United and the loss of Shane Smeltz to Perth Glory. On 27 January 2012, Clive Palmer once again caused controversy by deciding to close all but the western grandstand of Skilled Park for the remainder of the A-League season; the action was a form of punishment to the club's fans for a flare, thrown during their derby against Brisbane Roar. Despite backlash from within the community, Palmer stuck with his word by permanently closing the northern and eastern stands along with the southern stand, closed. On 29 February 2012, the FFA revoked Clive Palmer's Gold Coast United's A-League licence, they were allowed to play the final four games of the season.
As a result, Palmer founded Football Australia – a competing organisation that operated without any intern
The A-League is a professional men's soccer league run by Football Federation Australia. At the top of the Australian league system, it is the country's primary competition for the sport; the A-League was established in 2004 as a successor to the National Soccer League and competition commenced in August 2005. The league is contested by ten teams, it is known as the Hyundai A-League through a sponsorship arrangement with the Hyundai Motor Company. Seasons run from October to May and include a 27-round regular season followed by a Finals Series playoff involving the highest-placed teams, culminating in a grand final match; the winner of the regular season tournament is dubbed the'premier' while the winner of the grand final is the season's'champion'. This differs from the other major football codes in Australia, where'premier' refers to the winner of the grand final and the winner of the regular season is the'minor premier'. Successful A-League clubs gain qualification into the continental competition, the Asian Football Confederation Champions League known as "AFC Champions League".
Similar to the United States and Canada's Major League Soccer, as well as other professional sports leagues in Australia, Australia's A-League does not practice promotion and relegation. Since the league's inaugural season, a total of six clubs have been crowned A-League Premiers and five clubs have been crowned A-League Champions; the current premier is Perth Glory. The current champions are Melbourne Victory, who won the 2018 A-League Grand Final, equaling the record of four domestic titles held by Marconi Stallions, South Melbourne, Sydney City; the A-League does not recognize the history of its predecessor, the National Soccer League, the nations premier football competition from 1977 to 2004. A national round-robin tournament existed in various forms prior to the formation of the A-League, with the most notable being the National Soccer League; the formation of the NSL came after Australia's qualification for the 1974 FIFA World Cup, which led to discussion of a national league, with 14 teams chosen to participate in the inaugural season of the NSL in 1977.
Under the guidance of the then-governing body, the Australian Soccer Federation, the NSL flourished through the 1980s and early 1990s but fell into decline with the increasing departure of Australian players to overseas leagues, a disastrous television deal with the Seven Network and the resulting lack of sponsorship. Few clubs continued to grow with Sydney Olympic, Perth Glory, the newly established Adelaide United the exception in a dying league. In April 2003, the Australian Federal Government initiated the Independent Soccer Review Committee to investigate the governance and management of the sport in Australia, including that of the NSL. In December 2003, the Crawford Report found that the NSL was financially unviable, in response the chairman of the sports new governing body, Frank Lowy of Football Federation Australia, announced that a task force would be formed to create a new national competition as a successor to the NSL which dissolved at the conclusion of the 2003–04 season after 27 years of operation.
The A-League was announced in April 2004, as a successor to the NSL. Eight teams would be part of the new national competition, with one team from each city of Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, plus a New Zealand team and one from a remaining expressions of interest from either Melbourne or Sydney; the competition start date was set for August 2005. By June 2004, 20 submissions had been received and a month 12 consortiums sent in their final bids for the eight spots. Three bids were received from Melbourne, two each from Sydney and Brisbane, one from each of the remaining preferred cities and a bid from the New South Wales Central Coast city of Gosford. Over the next three months, each bid was reviewed and on 1 November 2004, the eight successful bidders and the major sponsor were revealed, for what would be known as the Hyundai A-League, with the Hyundai Motor Company unveiled as the official naming rights sponsor for the league; the eight founding teams for the league were Adelaide United, Central Coast Mariners, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets, New Zealand Knights, Perth Glory, Queensland Roar and Sydney FC, with three former NSL clubs taking part, those being Adelaide United, Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory, as well as Queensland Roar and New Zealand Knights who were formed from NSL clubs Brisbane Lions and New Zealand Football Kingz.
Each club was given a five-year exclusivity deal in its own market as part of the league's "one-city, one-team" policy. This was intended to allow clubs to grow and develop an identity in their respective region without local competition. On 26 August 2005, 16 months after the demise of the NSL, the inaugural season of the A-League began; the first season would see Adelaide United win the premier's plate by seven points over Sydney FC with Central Coast and Newcastle filling the final two spots in the final series. In the final series, it was Sydney that took out the title after they defeated Central Coast by a Steve Corica goal to claim the first title on 5 March 2006. On 20 March 2007, it was announced that Wellington Phoenix would replace New Zealand Knights from the start of the 2007–08 season. Both Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury joined the league in the 2009–10 season. On 12 June 2009, Melbourne Heart was awarded a licence to join the 2010–11 season. On 1 March 2011 North Queensland Fury's A-League licence was revoked for financial reasons.
On 29 February 2012, Gold Coast United had its licence revoked. On 4 April 2012 it was announced that a new We
APOEL FC is a professional football club based in Nicosia, Cyprus. APOEL is the most popular and the most successful football team in Cyprus with an overall tally of 27 national championships, 21 cups, 13 super cups. APOEL's greatest moment in the European competitions occurred in the 2011–12 season, when the club participated in the group stages of the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League; the club achieved qualification for the quarter-finals of the competition by topping the group and eliminating Olympique Lyonnais in the last 16, becoming the only Cypriot club to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. APOEL's European competitions highlights include appearances in the group stages of the 2009–10 and 2014–15 UEFA Champions League and the group stages of the 2013–14, 2015–16, 2016–17 UEFA Europa League, they marked their most successful UEFA Europa League campaign during the 2016–17 season, when they managed to top their group and eliminated Athletic Bilbao in the round of 32, to reach the last 16 of the competition for the first time in their history.
APOEL is the only Cypriot club. In the 2016–17 season, APOEL drew an average home league attendance of 7,126 and their highest league attendance was 15,462. Both were the highest in the league. APOEL FC is part of the APOEL multi-sport club, founded in 1926 and maintains departments for several sports including football, volleyball, table tennis, cycling, archery and water polo. APOEL is one of the founding members of the Cyprus Football Association and an ordinary member of the European Club Association, an organization that replaced the previous G-14 which consists of major football clubs in Europe; the club was formed as POEL on 8 November 1926. The club's formation came about when a group of forty people, with a common vision and set the foundations for creating a football club that would represent the Greek residents of the capital and express their deep desire for Cyprus' incorporation into Greece; the meeting took place at a traditional confectionery, owned by Charalambos Hadjioannou, downtown in Ledra Street and the first president of the club was Giorgos Poulias.
The first clubhouse was the "Athenians Club" at the end of Ledra Street. After a journey to the football club in Alexandria, Egypt in 1927 the General Assembly of 1928 decided the players showed that they were not just good footballers but excellent track and field athletes. Hence it was decided to create a field team in addition to the football team; the name APOEL was adopted to reflect this, with the'A' standing for'Athletic'. Soon after a volleyball team and a table tennis team were established. Cyprus did not have any country-wide league until 1932. Football clubs of the time played friendly matches only. In 1932, Pezoporikos Larnaca organised an unofficial league, the first island-wide league, it was won by APOEL after defeating AEL Limassol in the final by 4–0. In 1934, there was a disagreement between Trust and Anorthosis Famagusta on the organisation of the fourth unofficial league. APOEL and AEL Limassol organised a meeting for the foundation of a country-wide governing body and an official country-wide league.
The meeting took place in APOEL's clubhouse on 23 September and the establishment of the Cyprus Football Association was agreed. Two years the APOEL football team celebrated its first championship title of the official Cyprus football league. APOEL won the championship for the following four years, making this a successful period for the club with 5 consecutive championships. Politics, would soon spark conflict within the team. On 23 May 1948 the board of the club send a telegram to the Hellenic Association of Amateur Athletics, with the opportunity of the annual Panhellenic Track and Field Competition, which included wishes that "the rebellion" is finished. Several leftist club members perceived the telegram as a political comment on the Greek Civil War and they distanced themselves from the club. A few days on 4 June 1948, they founded AC Omonia, which until today is the archrival of APOEL and there has been a traditional animosity between the fans of the two teams. More conflicts led to further struggles for APOEL.
Athletes belonging to the club participated in national clashes. During the 1955–59 national uprising against the British, many of APOEL's athletes and members of the club were active members of EOKA, the most outstanding example being the club's track and field athlete Michalakis Karaolis, hanged by the British colonial authorities. During this period the football team had their closest brush with relegation as most football players were taking part in the national struggle; the football team were back to full strength and made their debut in European Competitions in 1963, when they faced the Norwegian team SK Gjøvik-Lyn in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. Two victories for APOEL over both legs marked APOEL's successful European debut, as they became the first Hellenic team to progress in a European Competition; the next round against the tournament winners Sporting Clube de
Ostend is a Belgian coastal city and municipality, located in the province of West Flanders. It comprises the boroughs of Mariakerke, Raversijde and Zandvoorde, the city of Ostend proper – the largest on the Belgian coast. In earlier times, Ostend was a small village built on the east-end of an island between the North Sea and a beach lake. Although small, the village rose to the status of "town" around 1265 when the inhabitants were allowed to hold a market and to build a market hall; the major source of income for the inhabitants was fishing. The North Sea coastline has always been rather unstable and in 1395 the inhabitants decided to build a new Ostend behind large dikes and further away from the always-threatening sea; the strategic position on the North Sea coast had major advantages for Ostend as a harbour but proved to be a source of trouble. The town was taken, ravaged and destroyed by conquering armies; the Dutch rebels, the Gueuzen, took control of the town. The Siege of Ostend, 1601 to 1604, of which it was said that "the Spanish assailed the unassailable and the Dutch defended the indefensible", cost a combined total of more than 80,000 dead or wounded, making it the single bloodiest battle of the Eighty Years' War.
This shocking event set in motion negotiations. When the truce broke down, it became a Dunkirker base. After this era, Ostend was turned into a harbour of some importance. In 1722, the Dutch again closed off the entrance to the world's biggest harbour of Antwerp, the Westerschelde. Therefore, Ostend rose in importance; the Belgium Austriacum had become part of the Austrian Empire. The Austrian Emperor Charles VI granted the town the trade monopoly with the Far-East; the Oostendse Compagnie was allowed to found colonies overseas. However, in 1727 the Oostendse Compagnie was forced to stop its activities because of Dutch and British pressure; the Netherlands and Britain would not allow competitors on the international trade level. Both nations regarded international trade. On 19 September 1826 the local artillery magazine exploded. At least 20 people were killed and a further 200 injured; the affluent quarter of d'Hargras was levelled and scarcely a building in the city escaped damage. Disease followed the devastation leading to further deaths.
The harbour of Ostend continued to expand because the harbour dock, as well as the traffic connections with the hinterland, were improved. In 1838, a railway connection with Brussels was constructed. Ostend became a transit harbour to England in 1846. Important for the image of the town was the attention it started to receive from the Belgian kings Leopold I and Leopold II. Both monarchs liked to spend their holidays in Ostend. Important monuments and villas were built to please the Royal Family, including the Hippodrome Wellington horse racing track and the Royal Galleries; the rest of aristocratic Belgium followed and soon Ostend became known as "the queen of the Belgian sea-side resorts". In 1866, Ostend was the venue for a crucial meeting of exile Spanish Liberals and Republicans which laid the framework for a major uprising in their country, culminating in Spain's Glorious Revolution two years later. Ostend was occupied by German forces and used as an access point to the sea for submarines and other light naval forces for much of the duration of World War I.
As a consequence the port was subjected to two naval assaults by the Royal Navy. The town hosted all of the sailing events for the 1920 Summer Olympics for Antwerp. Only the finals of the 12 foot dinghy were sailed in Amsterdam. Ostend hosted the polo events. World War II involved a second occupation of the town by Germany within a period of little more than twenty years. Both conflicts brought significant destruction to Ostend. In addition, other opulent buildings which had survived the wars were replaced with structures in the modernist architecture style. Ostend is known for its sea-side esplanade, including the Royal Galleries of Ostend and fine-sand beaches. Ostend is visited by many day-trippers heading to the beaches during July and August. Tourists from inland Belgium and foreigners arrive by train and head for the closest beach area, the Klein Strand, located next to the pier; the locals and other residents in Belgium occupy the larger beach. Near the beach is a well-preserved section of the fortified Atlantic Wall, open to the public as the Atlantic Wall Open Air Museum located in Raversijde.
One can walk through the streets around Het Vissersplein. At certain times, there are markets in the neighbourhood streets and in the summer the Vissersplein has music festivals; the Vissersplein is a car free zone with many brasseries where patrons can sit outside and have a drink. Towards the port side there are many little fish outlets, beyond that the ferries can be observed docking. Notable sites include: Fort Napoleon, Ostend. Oostende railway station; the Mercator, the ex training sailing ship for Belgian merchant navy officers, now open to the public to view. Hippodrome Wellington, horse racing venue. St Petrus and St Paulus Church, built in Neo Gothic style; the James Ensor museum can be visited in the house where the artist lived from 1917 until 1949. The Mu. Zee (merged from the Provinciaal Museum v