welcome to the final installment of our four-part look at some of the clubs who exist on the coasts of the Uk Shipping forecast areas. We move through the North sea and into the English Channel…

FISHER

Esbjerg fB

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Founded in 1924, Esbjerg FB are based in the port city of Esbjerg, West Jutland in Denmark. Their full name is Esbjerg Forenede Boldklubber and they play in blue and white stripes at the Blue Water Arena which has a capacity of 18,000. They have won the Danish title five times with the last occasion being in 1979. They have won the Danish Cup three times, with the latest being in 2013.

Their heyday was the early 1960’s when they won three titles in a row between 1961-1963 and four titles in five years. They also appeared in two Danish Cup Finals, winning one and losing one.

The club was formed through a merger between two clubs, Esbjerg Boldklub and Esbjerg Amatorklub.

Esbjerg suffered relegation from the top flight in 2011, but bounced straight back a year later. They then finished 4th in the league and won the Danish Cup. But this season they’re battling against relegation again. After week 12 they sat 3rd in the table but an alarming slump in form, no win in eight games, has seen them slip to second from bottom.

The club’s most capped player was Jens Jorn Bertelsen who was capped 69 times by Denmark and appeared in the 1984 European Championships and then the 1986 World Cup. He was voted Denmark’s Player of the Year in 1979. PS

GERMAN BIGHT

Rot-Weiss Cuxhaven

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The club was created in 1990 after a merger between three sports clubs in the area; Brockeswalder Sport Club, Sports Club Cuxhaven and Eintracht Cuxhaven. Two of those original clubs date back to the early 1900s. February 23rd 1990 a new club, Rot-Weiss (Red-White) Cuxhaven 1990 was born. The club is a traditional sports club with athletics and basketball sections amongst them.

They currently compete in the 6th tier of German football, the Landesliga Luneburg. This is the second highest league in the German state of Lower Saxony. Yet to win the title, they have finished 2nd in 2006-07 and 2008-09.

This current season is not going at all well. 18 games played, 18 games lost, conceding 79 goals in the process.

In Cuxhaven there are three different sports fields, the third of which (Jahn Sports Ground) plays host to the second team which is made up of predominantly Spanish citizens. For English readers, there is a certain humour in the goalkeeper suffering the ignominy of being told he was being replaced by a goalkeeper who’s Worse; Rene Worse. PS

HUMBER

Grimsby Town

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Grimsby Town are based, not in the famous fishing port of Grimsby, but in the seaside town of Cleethorpes, in North East Lincolnshire, and play in the Conference National division. They were formed in 1878 as Grimsby Pelham before becoming Grimsby Town. Matches are played at Blundell Park, Town’s ground since 1898.

Despite recent misfortunes, the club is the most successful of the three professional league clubs in historic Lincolnshire, being the only one to have played top-flight football. It is also the only club of the three to reach an FA Cup semi-final (doing so on two occasions) and is the only one to succeed in two finals at the old Wembley Stadium. It has also spent more time in the English game’s first and second tiers than any other club from Lincolnshire.

Notable ex-managers include Bill Shankly, Lawrie McMenemy and Alan Buckley, who is the club’s most successful manager. He had three spells as team manager between 1988 and 2008, guiding the club to three promotions and two appearances at Wembley Stadium during the 1997–1998 season winning both the Football League Trophy and the Football League Second Division Play-Off Final.

In 2008 Buckley took Grimsby to the capital again, but lost out to MK Dons in the final of the Football League Trophy. The Mariners had also reached the Football League Two Play-Off final in 2006 at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, but lost the match 1–0 to Cheltenham Town. In 2013, they returned to Wembley only to be defeated by Wrexham in the FA Trophy final.

Relegation from the Football League in 2010 makes them the fourth club to compete in all top five divisions of English football, after Carlisle United, Oxford United, and Luton Town. GM

THAMES

Southend United

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Southend United F.C. was founded in 1906 and has been a member of the Football League since 1920.

The club has spent most of its League career in the lower divisions, with only seven seasons in the second tier.
Their home ground is Roots Hall, but the club plans to move to a new stadium at Fossetts Farm. Southend F.C. are known as “The Shrimpers”, a reference to the area’s maritime industry included as one of the devices on the club badge.

Until 1988, Roots Hall was still the newest ground in the Football League, but then the ground underwent significant changes. United had hit bad times in the mid-1980s and new chairman Vic Jobson sold virtually all of the South Bank for development. In 1994, seats were installed onto the original terracing whilst a second tier was added, with the upper level giving some of the best views in the country. These days, Roots Hall has a capacity of just fewer than 12,500.

In 2007, Southend Borough Council and Rochford District Council agreeing to give planning permission for a new 22,000-seater stadium at the proposed Fossetts Farm site. The application was subsequently submitted to Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, for government approval, but was “called in” at the beginning of April 2007. Two inquiries followed and Chairman Ron Martin called for supporters to show up in numbers at Southend’s local government headquarters to hear them. On 6 March 2008, permission to develop Fossetts Farm was given by the Government. The club hopes to move in at the start of the 2015–16 season.

The club has a fierce local rivalry with fellow Essex side Colchester United and Leyton Orient. United beat Orient in the 2012/13 Johnstone’s Paint Southern Area Final to get to Wembley. GM

DOVER

Dover Athletic

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Dover Athletic F.C. formed in 1983 after Dover folded, taking Dover’s place in the Southern League Southern Division.

Journeyman manager Peter Taylor had a short spell as the club’s manager in the mid-1990s, but was unable to get Dover Athletic off the foot of the table. Dover only stayed in the Conference because Northern Premier League runners-up Boston United failed to submit their application for promotion before the deadline date!

Bill Williams took over in 1997 and led the club to the FA Trophy semi-finals in the 1997–98 season and a best ever league finish of sixth place in the 1999–2000 season. Williams left in 2001 and, by now, the club was in severe financial difficulties, with debts exceeding £100,000. The entire board of directors resigned, and the club’s Supporters’ Trust took over the running of the club. Manager Gary Bellamy was sacked after just six months in the job. Former Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall took over but was dismissed just three months later, with Clive Walker taking over in March 2002 with the club bottom of the table. The club finished the season bottom of the Conference and was relegated back to the Southern League Premier Division. The club’s ongoing financial problems led to it entering a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), with debts estimated at £400,000.

The financial problems continued subsequently, and the club was within two months of being closed down in 2004. They were saved from extinction in January 2005 when former director Jim Parmenter headed up a consortium that took over the club. He convinced Clive Walker to return as manager and cleared the club’s outstanding CVA debts, putting the club on a firm financial footing.

Athletic were Isthmian League Division One South champions in 2007–08, and Premier Division champions in 2008–09. GM

WIGHT

Mad Cow FC

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Based in the Isle of Wight town of Ventnor, Mad Cow are a club who play in the island’s Sunday League alongside other fantastically named clubs Robin Hood FC, Royal Canaries and Ryde Falcons. Mad Cow play their home games at Watcombe Bottom in Ventnor.
The club is named after a pub in Shanklin and the team’s colours are pink and black. The 2014 season has begun slowly for Mad Cow – they find themselves at the foot of the Isle of Wight Sunday League.
The seaside town of Ventnor is home to the biggest colony of common wall lizards in Britain. MG

PORTLAND

Torquay United

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The original Torquay United was formed in 1899.

In 1920, after the resumption of the Football League following World War I, United’s local teams Plymouth Argyle and Exeter City were both elected to the Football League as founder members of the Football League Third Division. This prompted a movement in the town to merge the two local teams (Torquay Town and Babbacombe) together and create one footballing entity capable of competing at this level and being elected into the new league.

Although now unified, Torquay United failed to get into the League and played non-league football until 1927. The team then competed in Divisions 3 and 4 throughout their subsequent history.

At the end of the 1984–85 season United finished bottom of Division Four and had to apply for re-election. A ‘suspicious’ fire also destroyed half a grandstand and the Plainmoor ground’s capacity fell to below 5,000.
United also finished bottom of Division Four in 1985-86, and again had to apply for re-election.

The 1986–87 season saw automatic relegation to the GM Vauxhall Conference introduced into Division Four for the first time. With the final game of the season to go, Torquay were third from bottom on 47 points.

Losing 2-1 in the final game of the season against Crewe Alexandra with seven minutes to go, a footballing folklore was created. A Police dog by the name of Bryn apparently thought that United player Jim McNichol was running to attack his handler, and sank his teeth into the defender’s thigh. It was during the resultant four minutes of injury time that Paul Dobson scored possibly the most important goal in the club’s history to keep them in the Football League, with Lincoln dropping into the GM Vauxhall Conference instead.

United continue to play in League Two. GM

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