Southampton Football Club is a professional association football club based in Southampton, England, which plays in the Premier League, the top tier of English football. Their home ground since 2001 has been St Mary's Stadium, before; the club has been nicknamed "The Saints" since its inception in 1885 due to its history as a church football team, founded as St. Mary's Church of England Young Men's Association, play in red and white shirts. Southampton has a long-standing rivalry with Portsmouth due to its close proximity and both cities' respective maritime history. Matches between the two sides are known as the South Coast derby; the club has won the FA Cup once, in 1976, their highest-ever league finish was second in the First Division in 1983–84. Southampton were relegated from the Premier League on 15 May 2005, ending 27 successive seasons of top-division football for the club, they returned after a seven-year absence, have played there since. Southampton were founded at St. Mary's Church, on 21 November 1885 by members of the St. Mary's Church of England Young Men's Association.
St. Mary's Y. M. A. as they were referred to in the local press, played most of their early games on The Common where games were interrupted by pedestrians insistent on exercising their right to roam. More important matches, such as cup games, were played either at the County Cricket Ground in Northlands Road or the Antelope Cricket Ground in St Mary's Road; the club was known as St. Mary's Young Men's Association F. C. and became St. Mary's F. C. in 1887–88, before adopting the name Southampton St. Mary's when the club joined the Southern League in 1894. For the start of their League career, Saints signed several new players on professional contracts, including Charles Baker, Alf Littlehales and Lachie Thomson from Stoke and Fred Hollands from Millwall. After winning the Southern League title in 1896–97, the club became a limited company and was renamed Southampton F. C. Southampton won the Southern League championship for three years running between 1897 and 1899 and again in 1901, 1903 and 1904.
During this time, they moved to a newly built £10,000 stadium called The Dell, to the northwest of the city centre in 1898. Although they would spend the next 103 years there, the future was far from certain in those early days and the club had to rent the premises first before they could afford to buy the stadium in the early part of the 20th century; the club reached the first of their four FA Cup Finals in 1900. On that day, they went down 4–0 to Bury and two years they would suffer a similar fate at the hands of Sheffield United as they were beaten 2–1 in a replay of the 1902 final. After World War I, Saints joined the newly formed Football League Third Division in 1920 which split into South and North sections a year later; the 1921–22 season ended in triumph with promotion and marked the beginning of a 31-year stay in the Second Division. The 1922–23 season was a unique "Even Season" – 14 wins, 14 draws and 14 defeats for a total of 42 points, or one point per game. Goals for and against statistics were equal and the team finished in mid-table.
In 1925 and 1927, they reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, losing 2–0 and 2–1 to Sheffield United and Arsenal respectively. Saints were forced to switch home matches to the ground of their local rivals Portsmouth at Fratton Park during World War II when a bomb landed on The Dell pitch in November 1940, leaving an 18-foot crater which damaged an underground culvert and flooded the pitch. Promotion was narrowly missed in 1947–48 when they finished in third place, a feat repeated the following season whilst in 1949–50 they were to be denied promotion by 0.06 of a goal, missing out on second place to Sheffield United. In the 1948–49 and 1949–50 seasons, Charlie Wayman rattled in a total of 56 goals. Relegation in 1953 sent Saints sliding back into Division 3, it took until 1960 for Saints to regain Second Division status with Derek Reeves plundering 39 of the champions' 106 league goals. On 27 April 1963 a crowd of 68,000 at Villa Park saw them lose 1–0 to Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final.
In 1966, when Ted Bates' team were promoted to the First Division as runners-up, with Martin Chivers scoring 30 of Saints' 85 league goals. For the following campaign Ron Davies arrived to score 43 goals in his first season. Saints stayed among the elite for eight years, with the highest finishing position being seventh place in 1968–69 and again in 1970–71; these finishes were high enough for them to qualify for the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969–70 and its successor, the UEFA Cup in 1971–72, when they went out in the first round to Athletic Bilbao. In December 1973, Bates stood down to be replaced by his assistant Lawrie McMenemy; the Saints were one of the first victims of the new three-down relegation system in 1974. Under McMenemy's management, Saints started to rebuild in the Second Division, capturing players such as Peter Osgood, Jim McCalliog, Jim Steele and Peter Rodrigues and in 1976, Southampton reached the FA Cup Final, playing Manchester United at Wembley, beat much-fancied United 1–0 with a goal from Bobby Stokes.
The following season, they played in Europe again in the Cup Winners' Cup, reaching Round 3 where they lost 2–3 on aggregate to Anderlecht. In 1977–78, captained by Alan Ball, Saints finished runners-up in the Second Division and returned to the First Division, they finished comfortably in 14th place in their first season back in the top flight. The following season they returned to Wembley in the final of the
Wimbledon Football Club was an English football club formed in Wimbledon, south-west London, in 1889 and based at Plough Lane from 1912 to 1991. Founded as Wimbledon Old Centrals, the club were a non-League team for most of their history. Nicknamed "the Dons" and latterly "the Wombles", they won eight Isthmian League titles, the FA Amateur Cup in 1963 and three successive Southern League championships between 1975 and 1977, were elected to the Football League; the team rose from obscurity during the 1980s and were promoted to the top-flight First Division in 1986, just four seasons after being in the Fourth Division. Wimbledon's "Crazy Gang"—so-called because of the boisterous, eccentric behaviour of the players—won the FA Cup in 1988, beating that season's League champions Liverpool, thereby became one of only three clubs to have won both the FA Cup and its amateur counterpart. In 1991, following the publication of the Taylor Report recommending all-seater grounds for top-flight clubs, Wimbledon left Plough Lane to groundshare with nearby Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park—an temporary arrangement that ended up lasting over a decade.
The team remained in the First Division and its successor the FA Premier League until they were relegated in 2000. In 2001, after rejecting a variety of possible local sites and others further afield, the club announced its intention to move 56 miles north to Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire; the idea of Wimbledon leaving south London was unpopular both with the bulk of the club's established fanbase and football supporters but an independent commission appointed by the Football Association granted permission in May 2002. A group of supporters responded by forming a new club, AFC Wimbledon, to which the large majority of Wimbledon fans switched allegiance. Wimbledon F. C. played their first match in Milton Keynes in 2003 and changed their name to Milton Keynes Dons in 2004. Wimbledon Old Central Football Club were formed in 1889, taking its name from the Old Central School on Wimbledon Common where players had been pupils; the club's first match was a 1–0 victory over Westminster, it only took seven years for success to come to Wimbledon as the club won both the Clapham League and the Herald League in 1895–96.
Wimbledon won the Clapham League again in 1900–01, as well as two minor trophies. A meeting was convened on 1 May 1905, the decision was taken to drop "Old Central" from the club's name – the club became Wimbledon Football Club, under its new name the club won the South London Charity Cup the same year – however, excessive debts caused the club to fold in 1910; the club was restarted a year under the name Wimbledon Borough, though "Borough" was dropped from the team's name after a year. The club continued to play on Wimbledon Common and at various other locations in the Wimbledon area until 1912, when the side settled at Plough Lane. Wimbledon joined the Athenian League for 1919–20, in the second season in its new division finished as runners-up; the club joined the Isthmian League. Winning four Isthmian League titles during the 1930s, reaching the FA Amateur Cup final in 1934–35, Wimbledon began to prosper; the club reached another FA Amateur Cup final in 1946–47, finished as runners-up in the league twice over the next few seasons.
Wimbledon won the Isthmian League for the fifth time in 1958–59 before starting a period of domination that saw three successive championships – 1961–62, 1962–63 and 1963–64. Wimbledon lifted the FA Amateur Cup in 1962–63, beating Sutton United 4–2: the club's all-time top goalscorer, Eddie Reynolds, scored all four Wimbledon goals with his head, in doing so became the only player to have headed in all four of his side's goals in a Wembley match – as of 2012, still a unique feat. Following these successes the decision was taken to turn professional for the 1964–65 season and to enter the Southern League. Wimbledon had continued success in their new league. Wimbledon became nationally famous during an FA Cup run during the 1974–75 season: entering the competition at the first qualifying round, Wimbledon saw off first Bracknell Town Maidenhead United, Wokingham Town, Guildford & Dorking United, Bath City and Kettering Town to find themselves in the third round proper, they became the first non-League team that century to beat a First Division side away from home by defeating Burnley at Turf Moor.
In the fourth round the good form continued, as the team held the reigning First Division champions Leeds United to a 0–0 draw at Elland Road. Goalkeeper Dickie Guy saved a penalty from Peter Lorimer to earn a replay, narrowly lost 1–0 by an own goal in front of over 40,000 spectators at Selhurst Park. After winning the Southern League three times running from 1974–75 to 1976–77, Wimbledon were elected to The Football League in place of Workington for the 1977–78 season; the 1977–78 season was a satisfactory Football League debut for Wimbledon, who finished 13th in the Fourth Division. Allen Batsford had resigned as manager on 2 January 1978 to be succeeded by Dario Gradi, who guided the club to promotion in 1978–79. Wimbledon's first stay in the Third Division was not a successful one; the team struggled, were relegated in bottom place, winning just 10 league games all season. Following relegation, relocation to Milton Keynes was considered – chairman Ron Noades entered talks with the Milton Keynes Development Corporation about the possibility of moving the club to the new town, but the plan was never executed.
Still in south London, 1980–81 saw Wimbledon regain Third Division status at the first attempt, at the end of an eventful season which saw chairman Ron Noades walk out of the club to take over Crystal Palace, taking manager Dario Gradi to Selhurst
Nottingham Forest F.C.
Nottingham Forest Football Club referred to as Forest, is a professional football club based in West Bridgford, England. Forest were founded in 1865 and have played home matches at the City Ground since 1898, they compete in the second tier of the English football league system. Forest have won the League title once, two FA Cups, four League Cups, one FA Charity Shield, two European Cups, one UEFA Super Cup, their most successful period was under the management reign of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor between 1976 and 1982. The club have competed in the top two league tiers during their history except for five seasons in the third tier. In 1865 a group of shinty players met at the Clinton Arms on Nottingham's Shakespeare Street. J. S. Scrimshaw's proposal to play association football instead was agreed and Nottingham Forest Football Club was formed, it was agreed at the same meeting that the club would purchase twelve tasselled caps coloured'Garibaldi Red'. Thus the club's official colours were established.
Forest's first official game was played against Notts County taking place on 22 March 1866. In their early years Forest were a multi-sports club; as well as their roots in bandy and shinty, Forest's baseball club were British champions in 1899. Forest's charitable approach helped clubs like Liverpool and Brighton & Hove Albion to form. In 1886, Forest donated a set of football kits to help Arsenal establish themselves – the North London team still wear red. Forest donated shirts to Everton and helped secure a site to play on for Brighton. In 1878–79 season Forest entered the FA Cup for the first time. Forest beat Notts County 3–1 in the first round at Beeston Cricket Ground before losing 2–1 to Old Etonians in the semi final. Forest's application was rejected to join the Football League at its formation in 1888. Forest instead joined the Football Alliance in 1889, they won the competition in 1892 before entering the Football League. That season they lost in an FA Cup semi final for the fourth time to date.
This time it was to West Bromwich Albion after a replay. Forest's first FA Cup semi-final win was at the fifth attempt, the 1897–98 FA Cup 2–0 replay win against Southampton; the first game was drawn 1–1. Derby County beat Forest 5–0 five days before the final. Six of the cup final side were rested in that league game. In that 1898 FA Cup Final at Crystal Palace before 62,000 fans, Willie Wragg passed a 19th minute free kick to Arthur Capes. Capes shot through the defensive wall to score. Derby equalised with a free kick headed home by Steve Bloomer off the underside of the cross bar after 31 minutes. In the 42nd minute Jack Fryer was unable to hold a Charlie Richards shot giving Capes a tap in for his second goal. Wragg's injury meant. In the 86th minute John Boag headed away a corner by Forest. John McPherson moved in to collect shooting low into the goal to win 3–1. Forest lost FA Cup semi finals in 1900 and 1902, they finished fourth in the 1900–01 Football League followed with fifth place the season after.
The club started to slide down the table. Forest were relegated for the first time in 1905–06. Grenville Morris had his first of five seasons as the club's highest scorer en route to becoming the all-time club highest goalscorer with 213 goals. Promotion as champions was immediate in 1906–07, they were relegated a second time to the Second Division in 1911 and had to seek re-election in 1914 after finishing bottom of that tier. As World War One approached; the outbreak of The Great War along with the benevolence of the committee members mitigated the club going under. In 1919, the Football League First Division was to be expanded from twenty clubs to twenty-two in time for the 1919–20 Football League: Forest were one of eight clubs to campaign for entry but received only three votes. Arsenal and Chelsea gained the two additional top tier slots. In a turnaround from the first six seasons struggling back in the Second Division, Forest were promoted as champions in 1921–22, they survived each of the first two seasons back in the top flight by one position.
In the third season after promotion they were relegated as the division's bottom club in 1924–25. They remained in the second tier until relegation in 1949 to the Football League Third Division, they were promoted back two years as champions having scored a record 110 goals in the 1950–51 season. They regained First Division status in 1957. Johnny Quigley's solitary 1958–59 FA Cup semi final goal beat Aston Villa. Billy Walker's Forest beat Luton Town 2–1 in the 1959 FA Cup Final. Like in 1898 Forest had lost to their opponents only weeks earlier in the league. Stewart Imlach crossed for a 10th-minute opener by Roy Dwight. Tommy Wilson had Forest 2–0 up after 14 minutes; the game had an unusually large number of stoppages due to injury to Forest players. This was put down to the lush nature of the Wembley turf; the most notable of these stoppages was Dwight breaking his leg in a 33rd minute tackle with Brendan McNally. Forest had been on top until that point. Luton though took control of the match with Dave Pacey scoring midway through the second half.
Forest were reduced to nine fit men with ten minutes remaining when Bill Whare crippled with cramp became little more than a spectator. Despite late Allan Brown and Billy Bingham chances Chick Thomson conceded no further goals for Forest to beat the Wembley 1950s'hoodoo'. Club record appearance holder Bobby McKinlay played in the final winning
PFA Young Player of the Year
The Professional Footballers' Association Young Player of the Year is an annual award given to the player aged 23 or under at the start of the season, adjudged to have been the best of the season in English football. The award has been presented since the 1973–74 season and the winner is chosen by a vote amongst the members of the players' trade union, the Professional Footballers' Association; the first winner of the award was Ipswich Town defender Kevin Beattie. The current holder is Leroy Sané, who won the award for his performances throughout the 2017–18 campaign for Manchester City. Although the award is open to players at all levels, all winners to date have played in the highest division of the English football league system; as of 2017, only Ryan Giggs, Robbie Fowler, Wayne Rooney and Dele Alli have won the award on more than one occasion. Only five players from outside the United Kingdom have won the trophy, compared with nine winners of the main PFA Players' Player of the Year award.
Although they have their own dedicated award, players aged 23 or under at the start of the season remain eligible to win the Players' Player of the Year award, on three occasions the same player has won both awards for a season. In 2018 Ryan Sessegnon of Fulham became the first player from outside the top division of English football to be nominated for the award. A shortlist of nominees is published in April and the winner of the award, along with the winners of the PFA's other annual awards, is announced at a gala event in London a few days later; the players themselves consider the award to be prestigious, because the winner is chosen by his fellow professionals. The award has been presented with 41 different winners; the table indicates where the winning player won one or more of the other major "player of the year" awards in English football, namely the PFA Players' Player of the Year award, the Football Writers' Association's Footballer of the Year award, the PFA Fans' Player of the Year award.
The official website of the Professional Footballers' Association
Sheffield United F.C.
Sheffield United Football Club is a professional association football club based in the city of Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. The team competes in the second tier of English football; the football club was formed in 1889 as an offshoot of Sheffield United Cricket Club, are nicknamed The Blades due to Sheffield's history of steel production. The club have played their home games at Bramall Lane since their formation in 1889. Bramall Lane is an all-seater ground with a capacity of 32,702. Sheffield United won the original Football League in 1898 and the FA Cup in 1899, 1902, 1915 and 1925, they were beaten finalists in the FA Cup in 1901 and 1936, reached the semi-finals in 1961, 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2014. They reached the semi-finals of the League Cup in 2003 and 2015. For most of the club's history they have played in white striped shirts with black shorts, their closest rivals are Sheffield Wednesday. Sheffield United formed on 22 March 1889 at the Adelphi Hotel, Sheffield by the President of the Cricket Club Sir Charles Clegg.
The Wednesday had moved from Bramall Lane to their own ground at Olive Grove after a dispute over gate receipts and the tenants of Bramall Lane needed to create a new team to generate income. Sir Charles Clegg was incidentally the president of The Wednesday. Undoubtedly United's heyday was the 30-year period from 1895–1925, when they were champions of England in 1897–98 and runners up in 1896–97 and 1899–00, FA Cup winners in 1899, 1902, 1915 and 1925, finishing runners up in 1901, eleven years after their cup final win in 1936. United have not won a trophy since 1925, bar those associated with promotion from lower-leagues, their best performances in the cup competitions being several semi-final appearances in the FA Cup and Football League Cup, their darkest days came between 1975 and 1981. After finishing sixth in the First Division at the end of the 1974–75 season, they were relegated to the Second Division the following season and three years after that setback they fell into the Third Division.
They reached an absolute low in 1981 when they were relegated to the Fourth Division, but were champions in their first season in the league's basement division and two years afterwards they won promotion to the Second Division. They did fall back into the Third Division in 1988, but new manager Dave Bassett masterminded a quick revival which launched the Blades towards one of the most successful eras in their history. Successive promotions in the aftermath of the 1988 relegation saw them return to the First Division in 1990 after a 14-year exile, they survived at this level for four seasons and reached an FA Cup semi-final in the 1992–93 season before being relegated in 1994. They would remain outside the top flight for the next 12 years, although they did qualify for the play-offs under Bassett's successor Howard Kendall in 1997 and caretaker manager Steve Thompson in 1998, they were struggling at the wrong end of Division One when Neil Warnock was appointed manager in December 1999, a financial crisis was preventing the club from being able to boost their squad, but in 2002–03 they enjoyed their most successful season for a decade, reaching the semi-finals of both domestic cups and reaching the Division One play-off final, where they were beaten 3–0 by Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Three years however, Warnock delivered a Premier League return as the Blades finished runners-up in the rebranded Championship. They lasted just one season back amongst the elite, before being relegated from the Premier League amidst the controversy surrounding Carlos Tevez, the player, controversially signed by West Ham United and whose performances played a big part in their remarkable escape from relegation. Neil Warnock resigned as manager; the club struggled to come to terms with life back in the Championship, with a spiralling wage bill not being matched by the quality of the players brought in, a succession of managers within a short period of time. The Blades did reach the Championship playoff final in 2009 under Kevin Blackwell, but a period of decline set in; the 2010–11 season proved disastrous, with the club employing three different managers in the space of a season, which ended in relegation to League One under Micky Adams, meaning they would play in the third tier of English football for the first time since 1989, only five years after gaining promotion to the Premiership.
In the 2011–12 season, the club finished third in League One, narrowly missing out on automatic promotion to rivals Sheffield Wednesday, entered the playoffs. With victory over Stevenage in the semi-final, United missed out on an immediate return to the Championship after suffering a penalty shootout defeat to Huddersfield Town; the Blades again made it to the League One playoffs in 2012–13 after a fifth-place finish, but were knocked out by eventual promotion winners Yeovil Town on an 85th-minute goal in the second leg of the semi-finals. On 3 September 2013 it was confirmed that Saudi Prince Abdullah bin Musa'ed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the royal House of Saud had bought a 50% stake in United's parent company'Blades Leisure Ltd' for the fee of £1 with the promise of providing "substantial new capital" with the aim of returning the Blades to the Premier League as "quickly as possible". In 2014 the Blades began to be described by areas of the media as "giant-killers", having reached the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley, losing 5–3 to Hull City.
In 2014–15 the team reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and semi-finals of the Football League Cup, desp
Arsenal Football Club is a professional football club based in Islington, England, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight of English football. It has won 13 League titles, a record 13 FA Cups, two League Cups, the League Centenary Trophy, 15 FA Community Shields, one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, one Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. Arsenal was the first club from the South of England to join The Football League, in 1893, they reached the First Division in 1904. Relegated only once, in 1913, they continue the longest streak in the top division, have won the second-most top-flight matches in English football history. In the 1930s, Arsenal won five League Championships and two FA Cups, another FA Cup and two Championships after the war. In 1970 -- 71, they won their first FA Cup Double. Between 1989 and 2005, they won five FA Cups, including two more Doubles, they completed the 20th century with the highest average league position. Herbert Chapman died prematurely, he helped introduce the WM formation and shirt numbers, added the white sleeves and brighter red to Arsenal's kit.
Arsène Wenger won the most trophies. He won a record 7 FA Cups, his title-winning team set an English record for the longest top-flight unbeaten league run at 49 games between 2003 and 2004, receiving the nickname The Invincibles, a special gold Premier League trophy. In 1886, Woolwich munitions workers founded the club as Dial Square. In 1913, the club crossed the city to Arsenal Stadium in Highbury, becoming close neighbours of Tottenham Hotspur, creating the North London derby. In 2006, they moved to the nearby Emirates Stadium. In terms of revenue, Arsenal is the ninth highest-earning football club in the world, earned €487.6m in 2016–17 season. Based on social media activity from 2014 to 2015, Arsenal's fanbase is the fifth largest in the world. In 2018, Forbes estimated the club was the third most valuable in England, with the club being worth $2.24 billion. In October 1886, Scotsman David Danskin and his fellow 15 munitions workers in Woolwich, now South East London, formed Arsenal as Dial Square, with each member contributing sixpence and Danskin adding another three shillings to help form the club.
Named after the heart of the Royal Arsenal complex, they took the name of the whole complex a month later. Royal Arsenal F. C.'s first home was Plumstead Common, though they spent most of their time in South East London playing on the other side of Plumstead, at the Manor Ground. Royal Arsenal won Arsenal's first trophies in 1890 and 1891, these were the only football association trophies Arsenal won during their time in South East London. In 1891, Royal Arsenal became the first London club to turn professional. Royal Arsenal renamed themselves for a second time upon becoming a limited liability company in 1893, they registered their new name, Woolwich Arsenal, with The Football League when the club ascended that year. Woolwich Arsenal was the first southern member of The Football League, starting out in the Second Division and winning promotion to the First Division in 1904. Falling attendances, due to financial difficulties among the munitions workers and the arrival of more accessible football clubs elsewhere in the city, led the club close to bankruptcy by 1910.
Businessmen Henry Norris and William Hall became involved in the club, sought to move them elsewhere. In 1913, soon after relegation back to the Second Division, Woolwich Arsenal moved to the new Arsenal Stadium in Highbury, North London; this saw their third change of name: the following year, they reduced Woolwich Arsenal to The Arsenal. In 1919, The Football League voted to promote The Arsenal, instead of relegated local rivals Tottenham Hotspur, into the newly enlarged First Division, despite only listing the club sixth in the Second Division's last pre-war season of 1914–15; some books have speculated. That year, The Arsenal started dropping "The" in official documents shifting its name for the final time towards Arsenal, as it is known today. With a new home and First Division football, attendances were more than double those at the Manor Ground, Arsenal's budget grew rapidly, their location and record-breaking salary offer lured star Huddersfield Town manager Herbert Chapman in 1925. Over the next five years, Chapman built a new Arsenal.
He appointed enduring new trainer Tom Whittaker, implemented Charlie Buchan's new twist on the nascent WM formation, captured young players like Cliff Bastin and Eddie Hapgood, lavished Highbury's income on stars like David Jack and Alex James. With record-breaking spending and gate receipts, Arsenal became known as the Bank of England club. Transformed, Chapman's Arsenal claimed their first national trophy, the FA Cup, in 1930. Two League Championships followed, in 1930–31 and 1932–33. Chapman presided over multiple off the pitch changes: white sleeves and shirt numbers were added to the kit. In the middle of the 1933–34 season, Chapman died of pneumonia, his work was left to Joe Shaw and George Allison, who saw out a hat-trick with the 1933–34 and 1934–35 titles, won the 1936 FA Cup and 1937–38 title. World War II meant The Football League was suspended for seven years, but Arsenal returned to win it in the second post-war season, 1947–48; this was Tom Whittaker's first season as manager, after his promotion to succeed Allison, the club had equalled the champions of England record.
They won a third FA Cup in 1950, won a record-breaking seven
Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland, variously described as a country, province or region. Northern Ireland shares a border to the west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863, constituting about 30% of the island's total population and about 3% of the UK's population. Established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the British government. Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland in some areas, the Agreement granted the Republic the ability to "put forward views and proposals" with "determined efforts to resolve disagreements between the two governments". Northern Ireland was created in 1921, when Ireland was partitioned between Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland by the Government of Ireland Act 1920. Unlike Southern Ireland, which would become the Irish Free State in 1922, the majority of Northern Ireland's population were unionists, who wanted to remain within the United Kingdom.
Most of these were the Protestant descendants of colonists from Great Britain. However, a significant minority Catholics, were nationalists who wanted a united Ireland independent of British rule. Today, the former see themselves as British and the latter see themselves as Irish, while a distinct Northern Irish or Ulster identity is claimed both by a large minority of Catholics and Protestants and by many of those who are non-aligned. For most of the 20th century, when it came into existence, Northern Ireland was marked by discrimination and hostility between these two sides in what First Minister of Northern Ireland, David Trimble, called a "cold house" for Catholics. In the late 1960s, conflict between state forces and chiefly Protestant unionists on the one hand, chiefly Catholic nationalists on the other, erupted into three decades of violence known as the Troubles, which claimed over 3,500 lives and caused over 50,000 casualties; the 1998 Good Friday Agreement was a major step in the peace process, including the decommissioning of weapons, although sectarianism and religious segregation still remain major social problems, sporadic violence has continued.
Northern Ireland has 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 since the late 1990s; the initial growth came from the "peace dividend" and the links which increased trade with the Republic of Ireland, continuing with a significant increase in tourism and business from around the world. Unemployment in Northern Ireland peaked at 17.2% in 1986, dropping to 6.1% for June–August 2014 and down by 1.2 percentage points over the year, similar to the UK figure of 6.2%. 58.2% of those unemployed had been unemployed for over a year. Prominent artists and sportspeople from Northern Ireland include Van Morrison, Rory McIlroy, Joey Dunlop, Wayne McCullough and George Best; 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, the rest of the UK are complex, with Northern Ireland sharing both the culture of Ireland and the culture of the United Kingdom.
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, people from Northern Ireland may compete for either Great Britain or Ireland at the Olympic Games; the region, 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. Following Irish defeat at the Battle of Kinsale, the region's Gaelic, Roman Catholic aristocracy fled to continental Europe in 1607 and the region became subject to major programmes of colonialism by Protestant English and Scottish settlers. A rebellion in 1641 by Irish aristocrats against English rule resulted in a massacre of settlers in Ulster in the context of a war breaking out between England and Ireland fuelled by religious intolerance in government.
Victories by English forces in that 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 the Battle of the Boyne in this latter war are still celebrated by some Protestants. Popes Innocent XI and Alexander VIII had supported William of Orange instead of his maternal uncle and father-in-law James II, despite William being Protestant and James a Catholic, due to William's participation in alliance with both Protesant and Catholic powers in Europe in wars against Louis XIV, the powerful King of France, in conflict with the papacy for decades. In 1693, Pope Innocent XII recognised James as continuing King of Great Britain and Ireland in place of William, after reconciliation with Louis. In 1695, contrary to the terms of the Treaty of Limerick, a series of penal laws were passed by the Anglican ruling class in Ireland in intense anger at the Pope's recognition of James over William, felt to be a betrayal.
The intention of the la