Dennis Brookes – Emley Legend from the 60s to the 80s

September 28, 2022

Everyone at Emley was saddened to hear of the passing of Dennis Brookes on Sunday 18th September.  Dennis was a legend of Emley’s first great team in non-league football and was still visiting the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground up to a couple of seasons ago along with his wife Barbara who also has strong connections with Emley AFC.

Dennis made his debut for Emley in the 1966-67 season whilst the Club were still in the Huddersfield League.  He made just one appearance that season playing as he did in his younger years as a forward who added strength in the air, but also had an eye for goal and skill on the ground.

In 1969-70 he really began to establish himself.  That was the season that Emley again reached the last 16 of the FA Amateur Cup and Dennis played in both matches against Dagenham.  His partnership with Mick Pamment was very potent indeed.  Dennis scored 26 goals in 38 appearances whilst Mick scored 36 in 41.  Both were great headers of the ball and defences in the Yorkshire League must have been overwhelmed by this pair bearing down on them at corners and set pieces!  Also that season Dennis was part of the team that won Emley’s first senior non-league trophy with the victory in the Yorkshire League cup final over Rawmarsh.

After that Dennis became a fixture in the team. He was top scorer the following season after Pamment’s departure to Buxton. He also tried his luck at Alfreton Town and after his return injuries restricted his appearances, but he still contributed goals when available..

In 1975-76 Dennis returned to the side and reprised his partnership with Pamment.  He played in the Sheffield Cup win over Worksop at Hillsborough, winning the corner that led to the first goal and having a ‘goal’ of his own disallowed.  Emley also went on to win their first of four Yorkshire League titles that season with Dennis in the team. He got his second Yorkshire League Championship medal in 1977-78 and his second Yorkshire League Cup winners medal in 1978-79.  By then he had switched to centre-half, where he was just as effective as he had been up front.  His defensive performance in the cup final against Winterton at Frickley was key to keeping the scoresheet clean in Emley’s 1-0 win.

By the time he won his and Emley’s third Yorkshire League title in 1979-80, Dennis was a fixture at centre-half.  That season Emley were dominant winning 22 and losing only 2 of their league games, conceding just 21 goals.  In the Sheffield Cup he played in the team that won the trophy for the second time.  Again Worksop were the opponents and again the result was 2-0, with Dennis “outstanding with his clearances both in the air and on the ground” according to the match report.  He made it a hat-trick of Sheffield Cup wins the following year with the 2-1 victory over Frickley.In 1981-82 Dennis was still the rock at the heart of Emley’s defence, and team captain, as they won their fourth Yorkshire League title and third Yorkshire League Cup.  Incredibly Dennis’s career continued into the brave new world of the Northern Counties East League and he secured his fourth Sheffield Cup winners medal in 1983-84 in the win over Frecheville at Oakwell.

That was Dennis’s last trophy with Emley, but he did not hang up his boots until the 1986-87 season.  His career at Emley spanned an amazing 20 seasons and he was part of every trophy winning team in that time.  With four Yorkshire League Championship medals, four Sheffield Cup winners medals and three Yorkshire League Cup winners medals there can’t be a more successful player in Emley’s history.

Dennis leaves behind his wife Barbara, who helped out as a volunteer throughout his time as a player and children Alison and Richard.  Dennis was a lovely man, a fine husband and father, a tough competitor and a fantastic all-round footballer, accomplished both in attack and defence.  Emley AFC will be forever grateful for his massive contribution to the success and building of our Club.

RIP Dennis Brookes

Photographs courtesy of Huddersfield Examiner and the Huddersfield and District Chronicle


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