Saturday, 31 July 2010

Stafford Rangers FC (England)

Rangers are a Conference North team - the sixth tier of English football - from the county town of Staffordshire. It's unclear as to when they were actually formed, as all their records got destroyed during the First World war, but there are two schools of thought. One that they were started by a bible class in 1877, and another that suggests that newspaper records prove they were formed a year earlier. Either way, this would make them one of the oldest clubs in England.

They were perhaps most successful in the 1970s, when they won the FA Trophy twice in 1972 and 1979, and took another visit to Wembley as losing finalists in 1976. Then in 1975 they beat three league clubs - Stockport, Halifax and Rotherham - on their way to the fourth round of the FA Cup, where they lost to Peterborough in front of 31,160 fans after electing to shift their home game to Stoke City's Victoria Ground. Their biggest proper home gate though was when 8536 saw the third round defeat of Rotherham. These days though their Marston Road ground is only allowed to hold a slightly safer 3000. They were also founder members of the first united top flight of non-league football, the Alliance Premier League.

They've got a pretty good roster of notable - and in some cases notorious - former players. Stan Collymore started his career here, and earned the club a substantial six-figure fee when he was bough by Crystal Palace - and that was a lot of money back in 1990. New Birmingham City keeper and brief England custodian Ben Foster stood between the sticks for a spell early on in his career, and old pros like Forest legend Kenny Burns, Villa defender Des Bremner and West Brom and Wolves charmer Don Goodman had brief stays late on in their careers.

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