Monday, April 27, 2009

Burton Albion in the league

Well one of my new local clubs finally made it into the league at the expense of one of my new clubs. The Brewers who were running away with the Conference a few weeks ago finally had to rely on Cambridge drawing 0-0 with Altrincham. Perhaps it was just desserts for the 4-3 victory Cambridge had over Albion in the play off semi finals last year with a couple of dodgy decisions.

Burton Albion were formed in 1950 and started out life in the Birmingham and District League before bouncing around the Northern Premier League and Southern League depending on what was going on with other clubs being elected to relegated from the perspective leagues.

Their most famous game of recent years, up until they got promotion yesterday, was when they took Manchester United to a replay in the FA Cup third round in 2005-06. However, I saw them for the first time in a Northern Premier game at Buxton when Neil Warnock was their manager and I can also remember another FA Cup third round game where they were beaten by Leicester at the Baseball Ground, but the game had to be replayed at Coventry behind closed doors after a missile hit the goalkeeper.

I really started following the Brewers when they were topping the Southern League, not as a glory hunter, but because it was the local team. In 2000 and again in 2001 they ended up runners up to Weymouth and Margate before moving to the Northern Premier League in 2001 -2 and winning the title. At this time they were playing at the Eton Road ground, but in 2005 they moved across the road to the purpose built Pireeli Stadium. Great as the new stadium is it was still sad to lose the Football Tavern.

Next season will be the first time that Burton has had a team in the league since 1907 when Burton United left the league.

Burton Swifts who joined the Football Combination in 1890, joined the Football Alliance in 1891. The Alliance became the 2nd division of the league in 1892 and despite playing well at the start they had to apply for re-election in 1897, as did another Burton club, Burton Wanderers. The Swifts lived to fight another day, but the Wanderers were demoted from the league. The Swifts again had to apply for re-election in 1901 and in order to save their league status they decided to merge with Burton Wanderers to form Burton United. It wasn't a successful marriage though as Burton United came last in 1905,6 and 7. In 1907 the powers that be finally lost their patience and United ended up in the Birmingham and District League. Burton was therefor without a team in the league and has been since, but this is all going to change next season.

Notes on the pictures:
Top: The Burton Albion badge
Second: An advertisement for a league game between Burton Wanderers and Newcastle United.
Third : Burton United's original colours, as we can see although Burton Albion are famous for their black and amber kits (which have got more and more yellow over the years) most of the Burton clubs wore blue, however none of these teams had a real set colour and changed their colours on regular occassions.
Fourth: Burton Wanderers' original colours
Bottom: Burton Swifts' first shirts

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