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Ulster Praetorians FC

Upfcrock2

Full name
Ulster Praetorians FC
Nickname
Praetorians
Founded
December 2006
Stadium
The Green (5450)
Manager
chugger
League
1st Division


Ulster Praetorians FC is an Irish football club, based at The Green, Belfast. The Praetorians are the most successful Irish team, having won the Irish Cup twice and the league once. They are also the highest rated team in Ireland and have progressed to the 2nd round in both the Challenge Cup and more recently the Champions Cup (a feat not achieved by any other Irish club).

Club HistoryEdit

Season 3Edit

The club's first match was an away friendly against Ankh-Morpork Wizzards which finished as a 2-2 draw. The first competitive game was against The Irish Silkmen, who would go on to win the league that season, and this ended in a goalless draw. The first competitive goal scored by the club came in the next match against Shamrock Black Jacks (later to become St Mary's Shamrocks) with left-forward Charlie Hayes grabbing both goals in a thrilling 2-2 draw.

The Praetorians had a good first season, finishing 3rd in the league, having only lost 2 games, and winning the inaugural Irish Cup 2-0 against Spartak Wicklow. Ken Tisdall quickly established himself as a fan's favourite, being the leading goalscorer for the club.

Season 4Edit

The club temporarily renamed itself the Country Bumpkins and changed its kit to yellow and green for the next season. The season started promisingly, with the Bumpkins sitting in 1st or 2nd place for most of the season, but the club began dropping points in the closing stages and ended up in a disappointing 5th place. The Bumpkins were also knocked out of the Irish Cup in round 1 to compound a poor domestic season.

However, the club had qualified for the Challenge Cup with its Irish Cup win in the previous season, and managed to progress to the 2nd round in the international competition. Ken Tisdall scored the only goal of the game against Polish side KS Hetman Zamość in one of the surprises of the season. The club went on to lose 4-0 against Italian giants Ghemon FC, but had become the first Irish side to get beyond the first round of an international tournament.

Praetorian legend, Leon Williamson, who had been signed at the beginning of Season 4 for a then club record of £250K, moved on after the unsuccessful campaign. The former Scottish international then retired at the end of Season 6, having played in the lower leagues of Argentina for a short spell.

Season 5Edit

After the disappointment of Season 4, the Praetorians returned to their original name and colours and picked up where they left off. Notable pre-season signings Nicolas Labrousse and Sholto Somerville strengthened the club's defence, and German striker Maximilian Brautigam was loaned for another season from Legio Carpatica FC. The club enjoyed a very successful season, winning the Irish Cup and also the league title.

It was a tight season with the Praetorians lurking close behind the league leaders for half the campaign, but the second half of the season saw Rory O'Conway join the club on loan from FC Hyders. The Irish star striker gave the club extra firepower, striking up a great combination with Brautigam up-front, helping the club score a record 96 goals in the league. The Praetorians became the first, and so far the only, Irish club to do "The Double", having beaten Bushy Park Rangers of the 2nd division in the Irish Cup final.

Club captain Nicolas Labrousse was named club player of the season, having been a rock in the defence, which only conceded 5 goals. Labrousse had been named man of the match in 10 games. Leading goalscorer was Rory O'Conway, who scored 29 times in half a season. O'Conway's performances with the Praetorians earned him an Ireland call-up, and the star striker has now returned to Estonia after his loan spell. Attacking midfielder Scott Ferguson made the most assists, and also weighed in with 14 league goals.

Season 6Edit

The club's fourth season has begun well, with the Praetorians remaining unbeaten and sitting top of the league for a few matches, but as the season progressed the club became consigned to 2nd place, dropping too many points in the later encounters of the season. However, the Blues ended the season on a high, defeating champions elect, FLS, 1-0 with a Scott Ferguson long shot.

In the Champions Cup the club beat South African side New Creation United 10-0 to become the first Irish team to reach the second round of the competition. Georgie Brasher, on loan from United States Arsenal FC, was scored 6 goals in that CC encounter, but the Praetorians were unable to progress further in the prestigious tournament, losing to RC Moravia in the 2nd round.

In the Irish Cup, the Praetorians were unable to set-up a mouth-watering final with FLS, losing on penalties in the semi-finals to Bushy Park Rangers after 2-2 in normal time. Georgie Brasher was top goalscorer in the Irish Cup and joint top goalscorer in the league.

RivalriesEdit

Fully Loaded SatellitesEdit

The Praetorians biggest rivals are FLS, and matches between the sides are always very close. The rivalry began in earnest when the Praetorians knocked FLS out of the Irish Cup in the 1st round of Season 3. In Season 5, the club did the double on FLS, beating them 1-0 home and away.

Spartak WicklowEdit

A fellow founding member of the Irish league, Spartak Wicklow have taken part in many close encounters with the Praetorians. In season 3 Ulster Praetorians beat Spartak 2-0 in the cup final to secure the club's first silverware. In season 5, the Blues' title hopes almost faded after a 1-1 draw with the Wicklow club.

St Mary's ShamrocksEdit

Shamrocks and the Praetorians had a rivalry that heated up during season 5 when the Blues won the league in dramatic style, displacing SMS late on in the season. In season 6 SMS were dissolved after DOFAI ruled the club to have performed illegal transfers, thus ending the clubs' rivalry.

The GreenEdit

Originally known as Queen's Park, the stadium name changed to The Fiddler's Green in Season 4 and then became known simply as The Green in Season 6 after being increased to hold a capacity of 5450 fans.

Club HonoursEdit

1st Division TitleEdit

Season 5

Irish CupEdit

Season 3, Season 5

Legendary Former PlayersEdit

Leon Williamson - Former Scottish international centre-back, who played for the club in Season 4. Williamson was a no nonsense centre-half and had great defensive as well as passing abilities. Williamson was signed for a then club record of £250K, and has a stand at The Green named after him.

Maximilian Brautigam - A German striker who played for the Praetorians in Seasons 4 and 5, having been on loan from Romanian side Legio Carpatica FC. Brautigam scored over 40 goals for the club, helping them lift the league title and Irish Cup in his last season. His aggression and passion earned him the nickname "The Battering Ram".

Tipene Mellon - A New Zealand goalkeeper who was on loan from Royal Lions over Season 3 and Season 4. Mellon was the best goalkeeper in the Irish league for this period, and made many saves, helping the Praetorians finish 3rd in the league and win the Cup in Season 3.

Michael Joyce - An Australian centre-forward who played for the club in Seasons 3, 4 and 5. Joyce was a big personality, and captained the team to their first trophy, scoring a goal in the Cup final in Season 3. The veteran's advancing years meant he had to move on to pastures new at the beginning of Season 5.

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