Oakwell is a multi-purpose sports development in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England used by Barnsley Football Club for playing their home fixtures, those of their reserves. It is a fort While the name'Oakwell' refers to the main stadium, it includes several neighbouring venues which form the facilities of the Barnsley F. C. academy – an indoor training pitch, a smaller stadium with seating on the south and west sides for around 2,200 spectators, several training pitches used by the different Barnsley FC squads. Oakwell was the first stadium in English football to have a designated stand for disabled supporters; until 2003 the stadium and the vast amount of land that surrounds it were owned by Barnsley Football Club themselves. The West Stand is the only original part of Oakwell Stadium left standing; the stand is made up of two tiers, with only the upper tier covered, but at the expense of several supporting columns for the roof structure. The seats are the originals from the early 1900s, from here you get a decent view with moderate legroom.
In spite of the restricted views and modest facilities, the West Stand remains a popular vantage point for many fans. The lower tier of the West Stand offers a great view of the action; the roof of the West Stand is corrugated iron. This houses the main television gantry, accessed from the upper tier seating area by a temporary ladder. At the end of the 1990s, the stadium owners Barnsley Football Club were considering re-developing the West Stand after several seasons of high attendances; the stand incorporates a traditional players' tunnel in the centre. While this is used for access to some of the facilities underneath the stand, the main players' tunnel now feeds out from the north-west corner, following the relocation of the changing rooms to the North Stand; the West Stand has a total seating capacity of 4,752. The East Stand is a two-tier development, completed in 1993. Funded in part by the football trust, the stand has a capacity of 7,492 and replaced a large covered terrace known as the Brewery Stand.
The East Stand was designed by NYP Architects, as were the Corner Stand. With the completion of the East Stand, Barnsley FC became the first football club in Yorkshire to incorporate'executive boxes' into their stadium; the East stand is modern, has plenty of legroom. Because of the sloped land on which Oakwell Stadium is built, the rear of the East Stand is much taller than it is from the pitch side, meaning that a climb to the upper-tier seating area requires many more steps than a spectator may anticipate. Built in 1995, CK Beckett is the current name for what is traditionally known as the'Pontefract Road End' or'Ponty End'; some fans continue to call it the'ORA Stand', in reference to its original sponsors. It is known as the Van Damme Stand. With a capacity of 4,508, the CK Beckett Stand is a large covered single-tier seating area behind the goal on the south side of the stadium, traditionally houses the more vocal Barnsley supporters; this part of the stadium houses the club superstore, the box office, general administration offices.
It is understood, quite apparent on closer inspection, that this stand had been designed with future development in mind. The North Stand is the most recent addition to Oakwell Stadium and is a large covered singled-tiered seating area with a capacity of 6,257 spectators; as this stand is reserved for away supporters, its full capacity is utilized, although during the 2006–07 season, Sheffield Wednesday, Derby County, Birmingham City, Leicester City and Sunderland fans all filled the end, Sunderland and Derby County took up half of the West Stand. In the 2009–10 season, Sheffield Wednesday, Newcastle United fans filled the stand with Newcastle fans taking half of the West Stand. At a cost of £4.5 million, it has been a cause for debate since its construction. However, at the time it was built, Barnsley had only just been relegated from the FA Premier League and were planning for a possible return. Built in the summer of 1998 and known as'The Welcome Windows Stand', this unusual three-level structure provides further executive areas and disabled facilities for viewing an event.
Access to this area was incorporated into the neighbouring East Stand on several levels. In August 2015 Barnsley announced the new sponsor of the stand, renaming it to the Brittania Drilling Limited Stand. In recent years Oakwell Stadium has been used by anyone other than Barnsley FC, apart from the occasional'celebrity' charity football match. Wakefield Trinity Wildcats rugby league club used the stadium for their first game in the Super League in 1998. Non-league football club Wakefield and Emley used the stadium for an FA Cup tie against Rotherham in 1998, choosing a larger neutral venue as opposed to the traditional option of'switching' the tie to the home of the team, drawn away. Premier League side Manchester City used the stadium for their first qualify
Dundee Football Club is a professional football club based in the city of Dundee, Scotland. Founded in 1893, they are nicknamed "The Dark Blues" or "The Dee"; the club plays. The club's most successful era was in the 1960s when, under the management of Bob Shankly, Dundee won the Scottish Football League title in 1962 for the only time in their history before reaching the semi-finals of the 1962–63 European Cup. Dundee have won the Scottish Cup once in 1910 and the Scottish League Cup three times. Dundee F. C. was formed in 1893 by the merger of two local clubs, East End and Our Boys, with the intention of gaining election to the Scottish Football League. Their application was successful and they played their first League game on 12 August 1893 at West Craigie Park, securing a 3–3 draw against Rangers. Dundee struggled during the first 10 years of their existence, their best league position was fifth which they achieved in seasons 1895–96 and 1896–97. They reached the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup in 1894–95 and 1897–98, losing to Renton and Kilmarnock respectively.
On 26 October 1895 Dundee lost a league game by a record score of 0–11 to Celtic in Glasgow. On 1 January 1894 Dundee defeated Newton Heath 2–1 at their Carolina Port ground in Dundee. Carolina Port hosted the first international football match held in Dundee on 21 March 1896 when Scotland defeated Wales 4–0. Dundee's goalkeeper Frank Barrett, midfielder Sandy Keillor and inside-forward Bill Thomson were all capped for Scotland during this early period of the club's history. Things began to improve for Dundee with the beginning of the new century. In 1899 they moved from Carolina Port to their present ground of Dens Park. In season 1902–03 they finished runners-up in the league championship to Hibernian. Dundee were league runners-up in 1906–07 and 1908–09 finishing behind Celtic on both occasions, in 1908–09 by just 1 point. In the 10 seasons from 1902–03 Dundee lost just 16 league games at Dens Park out of 154 played and were unbeaten at home during season 1909–10. Although ultimate success eluded Dundee in the league the club achieved success in the Scottish Cup.
In season 1909–10 Dundee won their first trophy by defeating Clyde in the Scottish Cup Final. The winning goal in the second replay was scored by John'Sailor' Hunter. In season 1910–11 Dundee defeated Rangers 2–1 at Dens Park in the Scottish Cup quarter-final but lost to Hamilton in the semi-final; the beginning of the First World War and the call-up of many players for military duty drastically curtailed football in Britain from 1914 and in 1917 Dundee and Aberdeen were both asked to withdraw from the league due to increasing transport costs for the other league clubs. In 1919 league football recommenced and good home form once again propelled Dundee up the league, they finished 4th in seasons 1919–20, 1920–21 and 1921–22, were unbeaten at home during season 1921–22. However, they could not make the breakthrough to win the league championship. Dave Halliday had played on the left for his previous clubs, his hometown side Queen of the South and St Mirren. Halliday went to Dundee in 1921 with the celebrated Alec Troup playing on the left wing.
Dundee thus converted Halliday to centre forward with prolific results, finishing as Scottish top scorer in the 1923–24 season with 38 goals from 36 appearances – a good return in the era of the three-man off-side rule. With Halliday Dundee reached the 1924–25 Scottish Cup final eliminating the holders en route, the Airdrieonians side of Hughie Gallacher. Halliday scored 103 goals in 147 cup appearances for the Dee; the post-Second World War period was a golden era for Dundee Football Club. Having been relegated on the eve of war, the Dark Blues started in 1946 in the first official season in the second tier but within five years they were runners-up in the Scottish League Championship and won their first trophy in forty-one years. Back to back'B’ Division titles earned George Anderson's Dundee promotion in 1947 and just two years they were within a whisker of becoming Champions of Scotland. Silverware wasn't far away however as after spending a world record transfer fee of £23,500 on Billy Steel, much to the chagrin of modern-day supporters of the club – at least some anyway – who resented the aspect of finance in football and wish instead for'homegrown' talent, they won the Scottish League Cup in 1951 in one of the most exciting finals Hampden has seen.
Twelve months Dundee were back at Hampden to become the first side to retain the League Cup and in between these two victories appeared in the 1952 Scottish Cup Final. The Dark Blue side of the era included players such as Bill Brown, Tommy Gallacher, Doug Cowie, Alfie Boyd, Bobby Flavell and Billy Steel. In the 1958–59 Scottish Cup Dundee suffered a shock 1–0 defeat to Highland League side Fraserburgh; this is regarded as Dundee's most embarrassing defeat in their history. Bob Shankly was appointed manager in 1959. Dundee won the league title of Scotland's top division called the Division One, in the 1961–62 season. With players such as Bobby Cox, Bobby Wishart, Pat Liney, Alan Cousin, Andy Penman, Hugh Robertson, Alan Gilzean, Alex Hamilton, Bobby Seith, Gordon Smith and Ian Ure they clinched the title with a win against St Johnstone, which in turn relegated St Johnstone to the Second Division. Gordon Smith earned the distinction of being the only player to win the Scottish football championship with three clubs (Hibs, Hearts and
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
1923–24 Port Vale F.C. season
The 1923–24 season was Port Vale's fifth consecutive season of football in the Football League. Another season of slow and steady progress saw the club finish one point, one place higher than the previous campaign; the club still lacked a regular goalscorer since selling Bobby Blood, however Wilf Kirkham made his debut, goals came from all across the team. A still-standing club record was set on 5 April 1924, when Tom Holford played against Derby County at the age of 46; the most notable incident in the campaign was the death of Tom Butler on 11 November 1923. To strengthen the side, pre-season signings included: Stalybridge Celtic goalkeeper Tommy Lonsdale; the kit for the season was picked – red jerseys with white shorts. The season started positively, with two wins recorded, as well as a 14,000 home crowd; however a run of one point won in five games saw the club slump down the table. The arrival of Ireland international Louis Bookman for £250 from Luton Town couldn't reverse the side's fortunes.
Their stats by the end of October were: lost eight, failed to score in six. This miserable run included two defeats inflicted by rivals Stoke – the first time they had done the double over Vale in the league. Crockford agreed to have his contract cancelled, talks began to try to re-sign Billy Briscoe. A young Wilf Kirkham failed to make much of an impact, their rotten form seemed to have been turned around when the "Valiants" earned a 1–1 draw with Clapton Orient on 3 November 1923. Tom Butler paid the ultimate price for his efforts. Near the end of the match he suffered a compound fracture in his left arm, complications set in whilst he was at Hackney Hospital, causing septic poisoning; the club paid his widow the rest of his wages, Stoke and numerous other clubs donated generously to provide the widow with a £700 benefit fund. Back to football, the club signed 41-year-old former England international Arthur Bridgett, despite the fact that he had spent several years in retirement; the winger impressed, scored within ninety seconds of his debut.
In the year Peter Pursell returned to the field for the first time in the season following an injury, was like a new signing. Despite all this, Vale still suffered, a heavy defeat at Old Trafford saw them stuck at the foot of the table. Turning to 1924, the Vale managed a run of six games unbeaten, Briscoe was given his pay rise and so was re-signed from Congleton Town. Despite Blackpool putting twelve past the Vale defence, the latter half of the season saw a massive improvement, as they lost just 6 of the 22 games. Briscoe and Kirkham provided the goals necessary to lift the club out of the relegation zone. On 5 April 1924, Tom Holford played against Derby County at the age of 46 – still a club record. At the end of season, Vale finished in sixteenth place with 38 points, making it two seasons in a row in which the club bettered their previous season tally by one point and one place. Performing poorly at home, only bottom place Bristol City lost more home games, only second-bottom Nelson conceded more at home.
Vale were five points clear of relegation. Briscoe, Page and Bridgett were the major goalscorers. Full-back Len Birks was an ever-present, Tommy Lonsdale, Jack Hampson, Jack Lowe were key first team players; as well as the debut of Kirkham, Roger Jones made his debut, starting his fourteen-year association with the club. At the end of the season the club let Peter Pursell leave for Wigan Borough, whereas Lonsdale and Hampson both retired due to injury. Finances were once again worrying for its supporters. A reduced wage bill of £7,900 still necessitated fund raising activities from fans to keep the club alive. Arthur Prince was sold to Sheffield Wednesday to raise cash. Season ticket prices ranged from £2 6s. 6d. to £3, 6s. 6d. In the FA Cup, Vale drew Third Division North Wrexham at the Fifth Round of Qualifying for the second successive season, another disappointing defeat followed, this time at the Racecourse Ground, with the Welsh club running out 5–1 winners; the North Staffordshire Infirmary Cup went to Stoke.
Pld = Matches played. The Port Vale Record 1879-1993. Witan Books. ISBN 0-9508981-9-8
Port Vale F.C.
Port Vale Football Club is a professional association football club based in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, England. The team compete in the fourth tier of the English football league system. Port Vale is one of the few English league clubs not to be named after a geographical location, their name being a reference to the valley of ports on the Trent and Mersey Canal, they have never played top-flight football, hold the records for the most seasons in the English Football League and in the second tier without reaching the first tier. After playing at the Athletic Ground in Cobridge and The Old Recreation Ground in Hanley, the club returned to Burslem when Vale Park was opened in 1950. Outside the ground is a statue to Roy Sproson; the club's traditional rivals are Stoke City, games between the two are known as the Potteries derby. After becoming one of the more prominent football clubs in Staffordshire, Burslem Port Vale were invited to become founder members of the Football League Second Division in 1892.
They spent 13 non-consecutive seasons in the division, punctuated by two seasons in the Midland League, before they resigned due to financial difficulties and entered liquidation in 1907. The name of Port Vale continued in the North Staffordshire Federation League, this new club were successful enough to be reinstated into the Football League in October 1919, they spent 16 non-consecutive seasons in the Second Division, punctuated by them winning the Third Division North title in 1929–30, before dropping back into the third tier for a much longer stay at the end of the 1935–36 campaign. The 1953–54 season saw manager Freddie Steele's "Iron Curtain" defence win both a Third Division North title and a semi-final place in the FA Cup, they failed to build on this success however, though went on to finish as champions of the first Fourth Division season under Norman Low's stewardship in 1958–59. The club had little success throughout the 1960s and 1970s, despite being managed by Stanley Matthews, in fact were forced to apply for re-election after breaking FA rules on illegal payments in 1968.
Gordon Lee guided the club to promotion back to the Third Division the following season, where they would remain until relegation at the end of the 1977–78 campaign. John McGrath steered the club to promotion in 1982–83, though he departed after relegation became inevitable the following season, his assistant, John Rudge, stepped up to become the club's longest-serving and most successful manager, leading the club from 1983 to 1999. Under his leadership Port Vale won promotions in 1985–86, 1988–89 and 1993–94, lifted the League Trophy in 1993 and reached a post-war record finish of eighth in the second tier in the 1996–97 season. After Rudge's reign ended the club entered a decline, slipping into the fourth tier whilst twice entering administration in 2003 and 2012; the decline was arrested when Norman Smurthwaite brought the club out of administration in 2012 and manager Micky Adams achieved automatic promotion from League Two in the 2012–13 season, though they were relegated back into League Two at the end of the 2016–17 season after a failed experiment with a continental staff and playing style.
The official story reported on the club website is that Port Vale F. C. was formed in 1876, following a meeting at Port Vale House, from where the club was supposed to have taken its name. However documented evidence of football from that era is scarce and comprehensive research by historian Jeff Kent indicated that it was formed in 1879 as an offshoot of Porthill Victoria F. C. and took its name from the valley of canal ports. In the club's early days the team played their football at Limekiln Lane and from 1880 at Westport; the club moved to Moorland Road in Burslem in 1884, changing its name to Burslem Port Vale in the process, though stayed in Burslem for just one year before both turning professional and moving to Cobridge to play at the Athletic Ground. In 1892 the club were invited to become founder members of the Football League Second Division after proving themselves a strong club in the Midland League, they spent 13 seasons in the Second Division either side of a two season return to the Midland League.
The club were forced to resign from the league at the end of the 1906–07 season and were subsequently liquidated. However the name of Port Vale was continued after ambitious minor league side Cobridge Church opted to change their name; the new club subsequently moved into their new home of the Old Recreation Ground in Hanley in 1912, returned to the Football League in October 1919, taking over the fixture list of Leeds City in the Second Division, who were forced to disband because of financial irregularities. Wilf Kirkham made his Vale debut in October 1923, over the next ten years would score a club record 164 league and cup goals, including a club record 41 goals in the 1926–27 campaign; the club were relegated for the first time at the end of the 1928–29 season, going from the Second Division to the Third Division North. They came up as champions the following season and in the 1930–31 season they placed fifth in the second tier of English football, their highest league finish. Vale went to beat Chesterfield by a club record 9–1 margin on 24 September 1932.
However after these achievements the club were once again relegated in the 1935–36 season and remained in the third tier until World War II. Port Vale moved into their new home of Vale Park in 1950, a year Freddie Steele was appointed club manager. Steele established himself at the club, masterminding the celebrated'Iron Curtain' defence; the 1953–54 season saw Vale winning the Third Division North title as well as reaching the semi-finals of the FA C
Northwich Victoria F.C.
Northwich Victoria Football Club is an English football club based in Northwich, playing their home games at Wincham Park, the home of Witton Albion. The club participates in the North West Counties League Premier Division, at the ninth tier of the English football league system, having been demoted from the Northern Premier League at the end of the 2016–17 season; the original club was founded in 1874, named in honour of the then-reigning monarch, Queen Victoria, before becoming defunct and amalgamating with Hartford and Davenham United in February 1890 with the new club taking the old Northwich Victoria name. The new club was a founder member of several leagues including the Football League Second Division, in which they competed for only two seasons from 1892 to 1894, they played at the same Drill Field ground for over 125 years. At the time Drill Field was believed to be the oldest ground in the world on which football had been continuously played. However, it was demolished in 2002 and, after a ground-sharing period with their local rivals Witton Albion, they started the 2005–06 season in their new stadium, the Victoria Stadium in Wincham, just outside Northwich and across the Trent & Mersey Canal, which separated them from their rivals.
The ground was demolished. In June 2017 the club was taken over by supporters; the accepted year for the original bois Victoria Football Club's founding is 1874 by Charles James Hughes and James Heyworth. However, according to club historian Ken Edwards' book A Team for All Seasons, the organisation itself could have been in existence earlier in the 1870s. Northwich played their first challenge matches in the 1874 season and accepted both association football and rugby rules; this was shown in 1876 when they contested an away match under Rugby rules at Farnworth and Appleton F. C. and at home under association rules, winning both games. The first time the club entered an organised competition was the 1877 Welsh Cup, which at the time was open to Welsh teams as well as English teams situated close to the border, its best achievement in the competition was in the 1881–82 and 1888–89 seasons, when the club reached the final, losing to Druids and Bangor respectively. When they reached the final in 1882, they were the first English club to do so.
In 1880, the club entered the inaugural competition for the new Cheshire Football Association Challenge Cup and became the first winners of the cup with a victory over Hartford St. John's, they went on to win the cup for the next five seasons, defeating in the finals: Birkenhead, Northwich Novelty, Crewe Alexandra, Davenham. In 1890, the club became a founding member of the second incarnation of The Combination, Northwich's first league. In their second season in the league they finished as runners-up. On Monday 17 February 1890, the original club would cease to exist by the end of that season after a vote was passed at the Crown and Anchor Hotel, Northwich, to amalgamate with nearby Hartford and Davenham United, it was agreed at the meeting that the new club would use the name Northwich Victoria, however the original club was declared defunct, the Cheshire Challenge Cup, given to the club, was now given to the Brunner Public Library in the town. A great leap forward was taken in 1892, when Northwich became one of the founding members of the English Second Division, which saw the team turn professional.
In the league's inaugural season, Northwich finished the highest finish in the club's history. It was during the latter stages of this season that Northwich acquired the services of Billy Meredith, the Welsh International, regarded as the first football superstar. At Northwich, he teamed up with Pat Finnerhan, a regular for the Northwich team for the past few seasons, a player whom Meredith would spend more time with when both joined Manchester City in 1894, it was said by many that "Finnerhan made Meredith". Northwich would remain a professional team for one further season, 1893–94, during which they defeated Newcastle United 5–3 at the Drill Field, a game where Meredith scored his first hat-trick for the club. Another notable result was holding Woolwich Arsenal to a 2–2 draw at the Drill Field. However, as a result of their final position at the bottom of the league, the club's board decided not to apply for re-election to the Football League at the end of the season; the financial burden of professional football had taken its toll on the club, which decided to return to amateur, regional football in their first and previous league, The Combination, where they had a mixture of mid-table and top-half finishes up to the 1898 season, when they left the league.
In 1898, Northwich became a member of the newly formed Cheshire League, where they remained for two seasons, finishing 8th in their first season, runners-up in their next season in the First Division. Up to the middle of this century, Northwich played in blue horizontal stripes; however a major change in the club's livery occurred when they adopted the colours they still wear today. Lured by the chance of increased revenues, the club joined the Manchester League in the 1900–01 season, when they finished runners-up. Silverware came only two seasons in the 1902–03 season when they won the league, finishing 9 points clear of their nearest challengers Newton Heath Athletic, they departed the Manchester League in the 1912–13 season, becoming members of the second division of the Lancashire Combination. Their first season saw them promoted to the
English Football League
The English Football League is a league competition featuring professional football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888 as the Football League, the league is the oldest such competition in world football, it was the top-level football league in England from its foundation until 1992, when the top 22 clubs split away to form the Premier League. The three leagues below the Premier League are known as the Championship, League One and League Two, with 24 clubs in each division. Promotion and relegation between these divisions is a central feature of the League and is further extended to allow the top Championship clubs to exchange places with the lowest-placed clubs in the Premier League, the bottom clubs of League Two to switch with the top clubs of the National League, thus integrating the League into the English football league system. Although a competition for English clubs, clubs from Wales – Swansea City and Newport County – take part, while in the past Cardiff City, Merthyr Town and Aberdare Athletic have been members.
The Football League was associated with a title sponsor between 1983 and 2016. As this sponsor changed over the years the league too has been known by various names. Starting with the 2016–17 season, the league has moved away from having a title sponsor, rebranding itself as the English Football League, in much the same way the Premier League is known as the "EPL" internationally; the English Football League is the name of the governing body of the league competition, this body organises two knock-out cup competitions, the EFL Cup and the EFL Trophy. The operations centre of the Football League is in Preston, while its commercial office is in London; the commercial office was based in Lytham St Annes, after its original spell in Preston. The Football League consists of 70 professional association football clubs in England and 2 in Wales, it runs the oldest professional football league competition in the world. It organises two knockout cup competitions, the EFL Cup and EFL Trophy; the Football League was founded in 1888 by Aston Villa director William McGregor with 12 member clubs.
Steady growth and the addition of more divisions meant. Financial considerations led to a major shake-up in 1992 when, in a step to maximise their revenue, the leading members of the Football League broke away to form their own competition, the FA Premier League, renamed in 2007 as the Premier League; the Football League therefore no longer includes the top 20 clubs who belong to this group, although promotion and relegation between the Football League and the Premier League continues. In total, 136 teams have played in the Football League up to 2013; the EFL's 72 member clubs are grouped into three divisions: the EFL Championship, EFL League One, EFL League Two. Each division has 24 clubs, in any given season a club plays each of the others in the same division twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents; this makes for a total of 46 games played each season. Clubs gain three points for a win, one for a draw, none for a defeat. At the end of the season, clubs at the top of their division may win promotion to the next higher division, while those at the bottom may be relegated to the next lower one.
At the top end of the competition, three Championship clubs win promotion from the Football League to the Premier League, with the bottom three Premier League clubs taking their places. At the lower end, two League Two clubs lose their Football League status with relegation to the National division of the National League, while two teams from that division join League Two of The Football League in their stead. Promotion and relegation are determined by final league positions, but to sustain interest for more clubs over the length of the season one promotion place from each division is decided according to a playoff between four clubs, which takes place at the end of the season, it is therefore possible for a team finishing sixth in the Championship or League One, or seventh in League Two, to be promoted rather than the clubs finishing above them in the standings. Since the 2004–05 season, penalties have existed for clubs entering financial administration during the season. If a club enters administration before 31 March of any given season, they will be deducted 12 points.
It is required that a club exiting administration agree a Creditor's Voluntary Agreement, pay in full any other footballing creditors. Failure to do either of these will result in a second unlimited points deduction; the other main situation in, a club may lose points is by fielding an improperly registered or otherwise ineligible player. If a club is found to have done this any points earned from any match that player participated in will be deducted; the EFL organises two knock-out cup competitions: the EFL Trophy. The EFL Cup was established in 1960 and is open to all EFL and Premier League