This is an UNOFFICIAL website for Spalding United FC – it is not meant to deceive anyone into thinking otherwise.
Originally, association football didn’t have crossbars, It is a much newer addition to the game. In 1863, when the FA’s Laws of the Game were introduced, the rule was simply that football goals were to be “two upright posts, no more than eight yards apart, with no tape or bar across them”. There were other rule sets that required cord or tape be strung across the two goalposts.
In January 1863, during a match between the Crusaders and Charterhouse, a player for Charterhouse named Kenneth Muir Mackenzie managed to shoot just over the cord. He argued that it should be considered a goal. As the story goes, an unfortunate accident occurred that caused the cord to tighten. Due to this, it was hanging slack, which deviated quite a bit from the straight line. That would not admit the ball under the required limits.
In 1866 an incident in a game involving Reigate forced the FA to change the rules, a Reigate player decided to kick the ball almost 90 feet into the air but between to two posts, naturally the team declared it a goal…
In the 1870s, the FA began to introduce solid crossbars. However, it wasn’t until 1882 that the FA updated their laws to require every club to have crossbars.
It was in the winter of 1887-88, during an FA Cup fourth round game between Swifts and Crewe Alexandra, that a game has to be replayed due to a crossbar argument. Initially, the match was played at Crewe, and the game finished at a 2-2 draw. As one might imagine, tempers were high. The Swifts claimed that Crewe had been unsporting.
The replay occurred at the Oval on the next Saturday. The Swifts triumphed 3-2 in an incredibly exciting game. However, as one might expect, Crewe lodged an appeal with the FA. They claimed that one of the crossbars was two entire inches lower than the FA Law required height.
Due to this complaint, the FA ordered yet another replay. It was set 2 weeks later, at a neutral venue. Taking place at the County Ground in Derby, it had unfavorable conditions and was not nearly as exciting.
Crewe eventually won 2-1.
Jamie Vardy is now one of the top striker’s in the English Premiership. This gave me the idea of listing the top 5 top players who started their careers as non-league footballers;
What many people do not know about the England’s number one is the fact that he played for Shrewsbury Town twice during their promotion season from the conference. This happened during the start of his career. It is these humble beginnings that molded Hart to win very many trophies. Hart is now a household name at Manchester City, selling shirts, and shampoo!
Now playing for Manchester United as a defender, Smalling began his football career at Maidstone United. He made his debut during the Kent Senior Cup. His performance pleased Sir Alex Ferguson after Roy Hodgson brought him to Fulham. For anyone looking for inspiration to make it in football, a dozen England caps, and two Premier League titles can be enough to fire you up.
Before Stockport County came calling, Williams had his big break in Hednesford Town. Following a large bid, the non league outfit cash in and sold hime to Swansea City where he became and established centre half and also the captain of the Welsh National team. Williams is now a stalwart at the Liberty Stadium and has been linked with an even bigger money move to one of the Premier League giants!
Beginning his career as a footballer in a non-league team known as Hillingdon Borough, Bolasie is now a regular in the Crystal Palace first XI playing as a winger. After leaving Hillingdon Bolasie played for Floriana in Malta before returning to England with Plymouth Argyle. He has also had loan spells with his boyhood club Rushden and Diamonds and also later to Barnet, he then joined Bristol City before Palace swooped for him.
Released by Sheffield Wednesday when he was a youngster, Jamie Vardy never gave up hope that one day he would play in the English Premiership and today that dream is a reality. Vary is now regarded as one of the top strikers in the Premier League and seems certain to feature in next year’s Euro Championships in France.
Vary started his career at Stocksbridge Park Steels and progressed through playing for Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town before joining Leicester City in 2012.
The system is comprised of a league pyramid. They are bound together by the principles of relegation and promotion. There are a certain number of each league’s most successful clubs that are able to rise into a higher league. On the other hand, those finishing on the bottom of their leagues may end up sinking down another level. Beyond sporting performance, being promoted is normally contingent on certain criteria being met that the higher league has set, especially regarding finances and appropriate facilities.
It is possible in theory for a local amateur club to advance to the English game’s pinnacle and become Premier League champions. Although in practice this is unlikely (in the short run at least), the pyramid certainly does experience significant movement.
One division is contained in each of the top five levels. Their scope is nationwide. Below that, the levels contain leagues that are progressively more parallel, with each of them covering geographic areas that are progressively smaller. There are multiple divisions in many of the leagues. In the lower levels, league existence is intermittent. However, in some of the densely populated areas, leagues with over twenty layers beneath the Premier League exist.
In addition, there are leagues in different areas of the country that are not part of the system officially since they don’t have formal agreements in place with the other leagues. However, at various levels they are recognised by county football associations. The clubs from those leagues, if they think they have suitable facilities and meet the standard of play that is considered appropriate, can apply to join one of the leagues which is part of the system.
Immediately below the Football League and Premier League are seven levels. They are called the National League Systems and fall under The Football Association’s jurisdiction. It has evolved over the course of many years. The major re-organization that recently took place involved having two new leagues entered in at level six – the Conference South and Conference North (now National League South and North). This shifted the top divisions from the Northern Premier League, Isthmian League and Southern League down into level seven. The Football Association in May 2014 announced provisional plans where a new division is being planned between the National League and Football League. It would include higher level club “B” teams.
The English football league system doesn’t have the amateur version of the sport which is frequently referred to as Sunday League football. Those leagues are independent entities that have no relegation or promotion that involves the football pyramid. However, there have been some Sunday League clubs that have joined pyramid leagues when they wanted to progress higher.
The English Premier League has attracted negative attention due to the rarity of home-grown talent showing up on the field. Very few English players arrive at the first level by coming up through the club academy system.
The UK media were discussing the matter once again this week when Greg Dyke, the chairman of the English Football Association, called for more playing time for young English footballers in the top-tier squads.
When the matter is investigated more deeply, though, there are 29 different clubs in both the Premier League and Championship who are taking innovative approaches to nurturing England’s up-and-coming football talent.
The academies associated with these clubs have launched initiatives backed by data to improve their retention of promising youngsters and to allow those younger stars to reach their full potential.
According to the statistics, only a half of a percent of Under-9 footballers will be able to rise within a given club to join its first eleven.
The Gaping Hole
According to James Bunce, the head of sport science for the Premier League, in the long term the professional football industry has raised up hundreds of thousands of great players over centuries of the game. Yet despite all this experience, he says it’s still difficult — if not impossible — to identify the qualities that will make a given young player a professional or international-level talent. It’s a gaping hole in the system.
Steps are being taken to fill in that hole at last. Clubs are pushing very hard on this new data-driven approach to try and counteract certain idiosyncrasies in the training process. A prime example is the way that certain groups of players get overlooked due to their birth month; they enter into programs at a younger age with a lower level of physical development.
There’s a push on to collaborate between clubs so that data on physical development and the results of tests can be shared and reasonable standards can be set. The aim is to evaluate players based on their biological development as well as their calendar age.
According to Bunce, the ideal is for clubs to see more players rise internally though their own academies to reach the first team.
The club’s roots begin in 1921, when Spalding Town was reformed. The old club played in the Peterborough & District League, as did its successor. The new Spalding United successfully won the League in 1930-31, and this propelled them into the Northamptonshire League. In 1934 this became the United Counties League.
Spalding United experienced some tumultuous times following World War II. In 1950-51 they won the Lincolnshire Senior B Cup, and in 1952-53 they brought home the Senior A Cup. Based on this strong performance they applied to join the Eastern Counties League in 1954, but their application was rejected. Winning the UCL and the League Cup in the following season dedicated their quality, though, and they were subsequently brought into the ECL.
The club moved rapidly in the 60s. 1960 saw them switching to Central Alliance, and they joined the Midland League the next season. They had a woeful season in 1967-68, finishing last, and returned afterwards to the UCL. Spalding United twice enjoyed a first round showing in the FA Cup during this period. In 1957-58 they lost 3-1 at Durham City; in 1964-65 they went 5-3 at Newport County.
The 1974-75 season saw great improvement in the club’s performance, and Spalding United won the UCL. They maintained a strong top-four position over several continuous seasons, leading them back into the Midland League in 1978. When the Midland League merged with the Yorkshire League in 1982, Spalding United’s strong showing in the 1981-82 season earned them a place in the Northern Counties East League’s Premier Division.
The NCEL was torn apart by internal arguments over the ongoing miners’ strike in the 80’s, leading Spalding to head back to the UCL in 1986. They dominated in the following season, winning the League handily, and this allowed them to move up to the Midland Division of the Southern League. A poor showing (finishing last) in the 1990-91 season sent them back to the UCL once again.
The club narrowly escaped liquidation in the early 90s. Their performance on the field was strong afterwards; Spalding won the UCL Cup in the 1994-95 season and the Premier Division in 1998-99.
Another promotion into the Southern League repeated the old story of struggles and reverses. Spalding managed to hang on after bottoming out in 2000-01 thanks to the resignation of other clubs, but continued poor showings sent them back to the UCL after the 2002-03 season.
Winning a UCL title for the fifth time in 2003-04 sent the club up again, this time to the Northern Premier League. They spent a year in the Midland Division of the Southern League (in 2006) but later returned to Division One South of the NPL. Club transfers after the 2009-10 season allowed Spalding to avoid relegation despite poor performance, but the next season saw them headed to the UCL once again.
Spalding’s performance in the 2013-14 started with an unprecedented string of 17 victories in a row, a feat never seen in the league before. Sadly, a loss to AFC Rushden & Diamonds (on 14 December 2013) brought the run to an end.