Northern Ireland is a constituent unit of the United Kingdom in the north-east of Ireland. It is variously described as a country, province, region, or part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the total population. Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland by an act of the British parliament, Northern Ireland has historically been the most industrialised region of Ireland. After declining as a result of the political and social turmoil of the Troubles, its economy has grown significantly since the late 1990s. Unemployment in Northern Ireland peaked at 17. 2% in 1986, dropping to 6. 1% for June–August 2014,58. 2% of those unemployed had been unemployed for over a year. Prominent artists and sports persons from Northern Ireland include Van Morrison, Rory McIlroy, Joey Dunlop, Wayne McCullough, some people from Northern Ireland prefer to identify as Irish while others prefer to identify as British. Cultural links between Northern Ireland, the rest of Ireland, and the rest of the UK are complex, in many sports, the island of Ireland fields a single team, a notable exception being association football. Northern Ireland competes separately at the Commonwealth Games, and people from Northern Ireland may compete for either Great Britain or Ireland at the Olympic Games. The region that is now Northern Ireland was the bedrock of the Irish war of resistance against English programmes of colonialism in the late 16th century, the English-controlled Kingdom of Ireland had been declared by the English king Henry VIII in 1542, but Irish resistance made English control fragmentary. Victories by English forces in war and further Protestant victories in the Williamite War in Ireland toward the close of the 17th century solidified Anglican rule in Ireland. In Northern Ireland, the victories of the Siege of Derry and their intention was to materially disadvantage the Catholic community and, to a lesser extent, the Presbyterian community. In the context of open institutional discrimination, the 18th century saw secret, militant societies develop in communities in the region and act on sectarian tensions in violent attacks. Following this, in an attempt to quell sectarianism and force the removal of discriminatory laws, the new state, formed in 1801, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, was governed from a single government and parliament based in London. Between 1717 and 1775 some 250,000 people from Ulster emigrated to the British North American colonies and it is estimated that there are more than 27 million Scotch-Irish Americans now living in the US. By the close of the century, autonomy for Ireland within the United Kingdom, in 1912, after decades of obstruction from the House of Lords, Home Rule became a near-certainty. A clash between the House of Commons and House of Lords over a controversial budget produced the Parliament Act 1911, which enabled the veto of the Lords to be overturned. The House of Lords veto had been the unionists main guarantee that Home Rule would not be enacted, in 1914, they smuggled thousands of rifles and rounds of ammunition from Imperial Germany for use by the Ulster Volunteers, a paramilitary organisation opposed to the implementation of Home Rule
Partick Thistle F.C.
Kingsley is the official mascot for Scottish Premiership football team Partick Thistle. Kingsley succeeded Jaggy MacBee as the mascot, who was representative of the sponsorship of Scottish beverage company MacB. Following the launch of the Kingsford Capital sponsorship, Kingsley was the subject of mockery on social media. The launch, and subsequent pictures, appeared across the UK media including in The Daily Telegraph, The Times, BBC, Sky Sports, The Herald, The Sun, global coverage included media agencies such as CNN The Washington Post and TIME Magazine. Kingsley is active on Twitter, instagram and Facebook
Northern Ireland national football team
The Northern Ireland national football team represents Northern Ireland in international association football. From 1882 to 1921 all of Ireland was represented by a single side, the Football Association of Ireland organises the separate Republic of Ireland national football team. Northern Ireland has competed in three FIFA World Cups, reaching the stage in the 1958 and 1982 tournaments. At UEFA Euro 2016, the team made its first appearance at the European tournament, on 18 February 1882,15 months after the founding of the Irish FA, Ireland made their international debut against England, losing 13–0 in a friendly played at Bloomfield in Belfast. This remains the record defeat for the team, and also Englands largest winning margin, on 25 February 1882, Ireland played their second international, against Wales at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, and an equaliser from Johnston became Ireland’s first ever goal. In 1884, Ireland competed in the inaugural British Home Championship, Ireland did not win their first game until 19 February 1887, a 4–1 win over Wales in Belfast. Between their debut and this game, they had a run of 14 defeats and 1 draw, despite the end of this run, heavy defeats continued. On 3 March 1888, they lost 11–0 to Wales and three weeks later, on 24 March, lost 10–2 to Scotland. Further heavy defeats came on 15 March 1890 when they lost 9–1 to England, on 18 February 1899 when they lost 13–2 to England, in 1899, the Irish FA also changed its rules governing the selection of non-resident players. Before then the Ireland team selected its players exclusively from the Irish League, on 4 March 1899, for the match against Wales, McAteer included four Irish players based in England. The change in policy produced dividends as Ireland won 1–0, in 1920, Ireland was partitioned into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. In 1922, Southern Ireland gained independence as the Irish Free State, amid these political upheavals, a rival football association, the Football Association of Ireland, emerged in Dublin in 1921 and organised a separate league and international team. The Irish FA continued to organise its national team on an all-Ireland basis, between 1928 and 1946, the IFA were not affiliated to FIFA and the two Ireland teams co-existed, never competing in the same competition. On 8 March 1950, however, in a 0–0 draw with Wales at the Racecourse Ground in a FIFA World Cup qualifier, the IFA fielded a team that included four players who were born in the Irish Free State. All four players had played for the FAI in their qualifiers. After complaints from the FAI, FIFA intervened and restricted players eligibility based on the political border. In 1953 FIFA ruled neither team could be referred to as Ireland, decreeing that the FAI team be designated as the Republic of Ireland. Until the 1950s, the competition for Northern Ireland/Ireland was the British Home Championship
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies making it the worlds most popular sport, the game is played on a rectangular field with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by getting the ball into the opposing goal, players are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms while it is in play, unless they are goalkeepers. Other players mainly use their feet to strike or pass the ball, the team that scores the most goals by the end of the match wins. If the score is level at the end of the game, the Laws of the Game were originally codified in England by The Football Association in 1863. Association football is governed internationally by the International Federation of Association Football, the first written reference to the inflated ball used in the game was in the mid-14th century, Þe heued fro þe body went, Als it were a foteballe. The Online Etymology Dictionary states that the word soccer was split off in 1863, according to Partha Mazumdar, the term soccer originated in England, first appearing in the 1880s as an Oxford -er abbreviation of the word association. Within the English-speaking world, association football is now usually called football in the United Kingdom and mainly soccer in Canada and the United States. People in Australia, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand use either or both terms, although national associations in Australia and New Zealand now primarily use football for the formal name. According to FIFA, the Chinese competitive game cuju is the earliest form of football for which there is scientific evidence, cuju players could use any part of the body apart from hands and the intent was kicking a ball through an opening into a net. It was remarkably similar to football, though similarities to rugby occurred. During the Han Dynasty, cuju games were standardised and rules were established, phaininda and episkyros were Greek ball games. An image of an episkyros player depicted in low relief on a vase at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens appears on the UEFA European Championship Cup, athenaeus, writing in 228 AD, referenced the Roman ball game harpastum. Phaininda, episkyros and harpastum were played involving hands and violence and they all appear to have resembled rugby football, wrestling and volleyball more than what is recognizable as modern football. As with pre-codified mob football, the antecedent of all football codes. Non-competitive games included kemari in Japan, chuk-guk in Korea and woggabaliri in Australia, Association football in itself does not have a classical history. Notwithstanding any similarities to other games played around the world FIFA have recognised that no historical connection exists with any game played in antiquity outside Europe. The modern rules of football are based on the mid-19th century efforts to standardise the widely varying forms of football played in the public schools of England
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain. It shares a border with England to the south, and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east. In addition to the mainland, the country is made up of more than 790 islands, including the Northern Isles, the Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI, King of Scots, became King of England and King of Ireland, Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain. The union also created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles, titles, the legal system within Scotland has also remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland, Scotland constitutes a distinct jurisdiction in both public and private law. Glasgow, Scotlands largest city, was one of the worlds leading industrial cities. Other major urban areas are Aberdeen and Dundee, Scottish waters consist of a large sector of the North Atlantic and the North Sea, containing the largest oil reserves in the European Union. This has given Aberdeen, the third-largest city in Scotland, the title of Europes oil capital, following a referendum in 1997, a Scottish Parliament was re-established, in the form of a devolved unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, having authority over many areas of domestic policy. Scotland is represented in the UK Parliament by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs, Scotland is also a member nation of the British–Irish Council, and the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland comes from Scoti, the Latin name for the Gaels, the Late Latin word Scotia was initially used to refer to Ireland. By the 11th century at the latest, Scotia was being used to refer to Scotland north of the River Forth, alongside Albania or Albany, the use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass all of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages. Repeated glaciations, which covered the land mass of modern Scotland. It is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, the groups of settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, and the first villages around 6,000 years ago. The well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period and it contains the remains of an early Bronze Age ruler laid out on white quartz pebbles and birch bark. It was also discovered for the first time that early Bronze Age people placed flowers in their graves, in the winter of 1850, a severe storm hit Scotland, causing widespread damage and over 200 deaths. In the Bay of Skaill, the storm stripped the earth from a large irregular knoll, when the storm cleared, local villagers found the outline of a village, consisting of a number of small houses without roofs. William Watt of Skaill, the laird, began an amateur excavation of the site, but after uncovering four houses
Scottish Premier League
The Scottish Premier League was the top level league competition for professional football clubs in Scotland. The league was founded in 1998, when it broke away from the Scottish Football League and it was abolished in 2013, when the SPL and SFL merged to form the new Scottish Professional Football League, with its top division being known as the Scottish Premiership. A total of 19 clubs competed in the SPL, but only the Old Firm clubs, Celtic, for most of its history, the Scottish Football League had a two divisional structure between which clubs were promoted and relegated at the end of each season. This system came into force for the 1975–76 season and this setup continued until the 1994–95 season, when a four divisional structure was introduced. This involved the creation of a Third Division, with all four divisions consisting of ten clubs, on 8 September 1997, the clubs in the Premier Division decided to split from the Scottish Football League and form a Scottish Premier League. This followed an example in England, which came into force during the 1992–93 season. This decision was fuelled by a desire by the top clubs in Scotland to retain more of the revenue generated by the game, originally, league sponsorship money was divided proportionally between clubs in all four divisions. After the SPL was formed, its clubs retained all of its commercial revenues except for a payment to the SFL. Teams received three points for a win and one point for a draw, no points were awarded for a loss. Teams were ranked by points, then goal difference. At the end of season, the club with the most points was crowned league champion. If points were equal, the difference and then goals scored determine the winner. Originally the SPL contained 10 clubs, but it subsequently enlarged to 12 for the 2000–01 season, the increase from 10 clubs to 12 was part of the deal offered to obtain approval from SFL member clubs. After the expansion to 12 clubs the SPL operated a split format and this was done to prevent the need for a 44-game schedule, based on playing each other four times. That format had used in the Scottish Premier Division, but was considered to be too high a number of games in a league season. A season, which runs from July until May, was divided into two phases, during the first phase, each club played three games against every other team, either once at home and twice away or vice versa. After this first phase of matches, by which all clubs had played 33 games, the league split into a top six. Each club then played a further five matches against the five teams in their own section
England national football team
The England national football team represents England in international football and is controlled by The Football Association, the governing body for football in England. England are one of the two oldest national teams in football, alongside Scotland, whom played in the worlds first international football match in 1872. Englands home ground is Wembley Stadium, London, and the current manager is Gareth Southgate, England contest the FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship, which alternate biennially. In contesting for the World Cup seventeen times over the past sixty four years, England won the 1966 World Cup, when they hosted the finals, the England national football team is the joint-oldest in the world, it was formed at the same time as Scotland. A representative match between England and Scotland was played on 5 March 1870, having been organised by the Football Association, a return fixture was organised by representatives of Scottish football teams on 30 November 1872. Over the next forty years, England played exclusively with the other three Home Nations—Scotland, Wales and Ireland—in the British Home Championship, to begin with, England had no permanent home stadium. They joined FIFA in 1906 and played their first ever games against countries other than the Home Nations on a tour of Central Europe in 1908, Wembley Stadium was opened in 1923 and became their home ground. The relationship between England and FIFA became strained, and this resulted in their departure from FIFA in 1928 and their first ever defeat on home soil to a foreign team was a 0–2 loss to the Republic of Ireland, on 21 September 1949 at Goodison Park. A 6–3 loss in 1953 to Hungary, was their defeat by a foreign team at Wembley. In the return match in Budapest, Hungary won 7–1 and this still stands as Englands worst ever defeat. After the game, a bewildered Syd Owen said, it was like playing men from outer space, in the 1954 FIFA World Cup, England reached the quarter-finals for the first time, and lost 4–2 to reigning champions Uruguay. Although Walter Winterbottom was appointed as Englands first ever manager in 1946. In UEFA Euro 1968, the reached the semi-finals for the first time. England qualified for the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico as reigning champions, and reached the quarter-finals, England had been 2–0 up, but were eventually beaten 3–2 after extra time. They failed in qualification for the 1974, leading to Ramseys dismissal, under Ron Greenwood, they managed to qualify for the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain, despite not losing a game, they were eliminated in the second group stage. Despite losing to Italy in the third place play-off, the members of the England team were given bronze medals identical to the Italians’, the England team of 1990 were welcomed home as heroes and thousands of people lined the streets, for a spectacular open-top bus parade. However, the team did not win any matches in UEFA Euro 1992, drawing with tournament winners Denmark, the 1990s saw four England managers, each in the role for a relatively brief period. Graham Taylor was Robsons successor, but resigned after England failed to qualify for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, at UEFA Euro 1996, held in England, Terry Venables led England, equalling their best performance at a European Championship, reaching the semi-finals as they did in 1968
Captain (association football)
The team captain is usually identified by the wearing of an armband. The only official responsibility of a captain specified by the Laws of the Game is to participate in the toss prior to kick-off. Contrary to what is said, captains have no special authority under the Laws to challenge a decision by the referee. However, referees may talk to the captain of a side about the general behaviour when necessary. At an award-giving ceremony after a fixture like a cup competition final, any trophy won by a team will be received by the captain who will also be the first one to hoist it. The captain also generally leads the teams out of the room at the start of the match. The captain generally provides a point for the team, if morale is low. Captains may join the manager in deciding the first team for a certain game, in youth or recreational football, the captain often takes on duties, that would, at a higher level, be delegated to the manager. A club captain is usually appointed for a season, if he is unavailable or not selected for a particular game, then the club vice-captain will be appointed to perform a similar role. The match captain is the first player to lift a trophy should the team win one, a good example of this was in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final when match captain Peter Schmeichel lifted the trophy for Manchester United as club captain Roy Keane was suspended. In the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final, match captain Frank Lampard jointly lifted the trophy for Chelsea with club captain John Terry, a club may appoint two distinct roles, a club captain to represent the players in a public relations role, and correspondent on the pitch. After Neville retired in 2011, regular starter Nemanja Vidić was named as club captain, são Paulos Rogério Ceni is the player who has worn the captains armband the most times. A vice-captain is a player that is expected to captain the side when the captain is not included in the starting eleven, or if, during a game. Examples include Manuel Neuer succeeding Philipp Lahm at Bayern Munich, Marcelo attaining from Sergio Ramos at Real Madrid C. F, gary Cahill being the understudy of John Terry at Chelsea FC and Lionel Messi taking over from Andrés Iniesta at FC Barcelona. Similarly, some clubs also name a 3rd captain to take the role of captain when both the captain and vice-captain are unavailable, during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Germany had three captains. Michael Ballack had skippered the team since 2004, including the successful qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup. Lahm ended up becoming the permanent captain of Germany, as Ballack was never called up for the national team
Dundee United F.C.
Dundee United Football Club is a Scottish professional football club based in the city of Dundee. Formed in 1909, originally as Dundee Hibernian, the changed to the present name in 1923. United are nicknamed The Terrors or The Tangerines and the supporters are known as Arabs, the club has played in tangerine kits since the 1960s and have played at the present ground, Tannadice Park, since their foundation in 1909. United were founder members of the Scottish Premier League in 1998 and were ever-present in the competition until it was abolished in 2013 to make way for the SPFL structure, United were relegated in 2016 to the Scottish Championship, which is the second tier of the SPFL. Domestically, the club has won the Scottish Premier Division on one occasion, the Scottish Cup twice, United appeared in European competition for the first time in the 1966–67 season, going on to appear in Europe in 14 successive seasons from 1976. They also reached the European Cup semi-finals in 1984 and the UEFA Cup final in 1987, the club has a 100% record in four matches against Barcelona in competitive European ties. The club was formed as Dundee Hibernian in 1909, playing from the outset at Tannadice Park and they were voted into the Scottish Football League in 1910. After being saved from going out of business in October 1923, between 1925 and 1932 United were promoted and then relegated three times, winning the Second Division title in 1925 and 1929. The club achieved little success until Jerry Kerr became manager in 1959. Kerrs team won promotion in his first season in charge and became established in the top flight, Jim McLean took over from Kerr in 1971 and his youth policy led to the most successful era in the clubs history. United won the Scottish League Cup in 1979 and 1980 and then the Premier Division title in 1982–83, the club were also successful in Europe, reaching the European Cup semi-finals in 1984 and the 1987 UEFA Cup Final. The latter featuring another elimination of Barcelona, despite losing to IFK Gothenburg in the final, the club won a FIFA Fair Play Award. McLean retired as manager in 1993, but remained as club chairman, United won the Scottish Cup for the first time in 1994 under McLeans successor Ivan Golac, but were relegated in 1995, returning a year later. Shortly after Leveins departure, the won the Scottish Cup for a second time in 2010 under the management of Peter Houston. After several relatively successful seasons, a slump in form led to United being relegated in 2016, for a complete pictorial history of playing kit, see the Historical Football Kits site. After persuasion by the wife of manager Jerry Kerr, the colour would soon be adopted as the own in 1969 to give the club a brighter. The new colour was paraded for the first time in a friendly against Everton in August. When founded as Dundee Hibernian, they had followed the example of clubs of similar heritage by adopting the traditionally Irish colours of green shirts
Aberdeen Football Club are a Scottish professional football club based in Aberdeen, Scotland. They compete in the Scottish Premiership and have never relegated from the top division of the Scottish football league system since they were promoted in 1905. Aberdeen have won four Scottish league titles, seven Scottish Cups and they are also the only Scottish team to have won two European trophies, having won the European Cup Winners Cup and the European Super Cup in 1983. Aberdeen were the last club outside of the Old Firm to win a title, in 1984–85. The team has enjoyed success since this golden era, though a 19-year wait for a major trophy was ended by winning the 2013–14 Scottish League Cup. Aberdeen have played at Pittodrie Stadium since their inception, the ground currently has a capacity of 20,866 and was the first all-seated and all-covered stadium in the United Kingdom. Pittodrie was also the first football stadium to feature a dug-out, the clubs colours have been primarily red and white since 1939, before this, they played in black and gold vertical stripes. Aberdeen attract support from the city and surrounding areas, as they are the senior team within a wide area. Aberdeen have no close rivals, their nearest neighbours at the same level are in the city of Dundee. The current Aberdeen F. C. was formed following the merger of three based in the city—Aberdeen, Victoria United and Orion—in 1903. The new club played its first match on 15 August 1903 and that first season produced a win in the Aberdeenshire Cup, but only a third-place finish in the Northern League. The club applied for membership of the Scottish League for the following season, in 1904, the club were managed by Jimmy Philip. At the end of its first season, despite having finished seventh out of teams, Aberdeen were elected to the new. They have remained in the top tier of Scottish football ever since, from 1906, the club made steady progress, with a Scottish Cup semi-final appearance in 1908 and another in 1911. In that season of 1910–11, Aberdeen recorded their first victories over the Old Firm of Celtic and Rangers, and led the league for a time, wartime affected the club as much as any other, despite spending cuts and other economies, by 1917 the situation became untenable. Aberdeen dropped out of football, along with Dundee and Raith Rovers. Senior football returned on 16 August 1919, and Aberdeen resumed with a fixture against Albion Rovers, Philip was still in charge, and continued to oversee a team capable of isolated good results, but never quite able to sustain a challenge long enough to win a trophy. In 1923, Aberdeen were drawn against Peterhead in the Scottish Cup, Philip retired a year later, and was replaced as manager by Paddy Travers