Emley in the Northern Prem – the 90s

July 4, 2000

In the season Emley reached the FA Vase final they also won the Northern Counties East Title which should have entitled them to promotion to the Northern Premier League.  However changes to the ground grading rules meant the Welfare round was not up to standard and Emley were denied the promotion.  So the club undertook a year of frantic activity to meet the new regulations which resulted in the 330 seat stand and dressing rooms we see today.

On the pitch Gerry Quinn led the team to a more emphatic title win in the 1988-89 season and this time Emley were promoted.  They moved into the Northern Premier League Division One, which as the third tier of non-league football at the time.  It fed into the Premier Division and then the Conference (now the National League).  Emley’s first game at Winsford was a bit of a shock after all the hard work Emley had to put un to the Welfare Ground.  Winsford played at a run-down dog track with a pitch in the middle.  Not quite the step up we expected!

The Club finished a creditable fifth in their first season, but in their last shot at the FA Vase for many years fell to Rushden Town who were to progress to the Football League as Rushden and Diamonds in subsequent years.  John Francis had become a professional with Sheffield United and Emley struggled to replace his goals.

But in 1990-91 it all came good for Emley.  After just two seasons in the Northern Prem Division One they finished runners-up to Whitley Bay and gained promotion to the Premier Division, step two of the Pyramid, and undreamed of heights for the Club.  There was also a great run in the FA Trophy, reaching the Fourth Round with a victory over Conference side Telford United, and an incredible memorable victory over Kettering Town who were leading the Conference at the time.  Eventually Kidderminster Harriers defeated Emley but this was the start of some great FA Cup and Trophy exploits.

In 1991-92 Emley finally achieved success in the FA Cup after many years of trying.  They reached the First Round proper and faced Bolton Wanderers of the Third Division at Leeds Road.  It was a great occasion, though Emley were soundly beaten 3-0 by a strong Bolton side.  Emley finished a fantastic 6th in the Premier League in their first season.

The following few seasons saw Emley go through a rebuilding process following the departure of Gerry Quinn to Altrincham and with him some of the players who had taken Emley up the league ladder.  After a few mid-table finishes and relative failures in the FA Cup, Emley appointed Ronnie Glavin, a former Scottish International and Barnsley legend.  This was the catalyst for Emley’s greatest achievement in football.

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