Emley AFC Reclaims its History

November 15, 2023

Then in 2019 AFC Emley, with Wakefield FC now defunct reclaimed the Emley AFC name and took on a new management team in Richard Tracey and Steve Nicholson.  This, along with fresh faces on the committee and a new Chairperson, Andrew Painten and Vice-Chairperson, Marcus Pound, has given the Club a fresh impetus.  The ground has seen new investment and a new professionalism injected into the running of the Club.

Of course things haven’t gone smoothly.  Soon after the Club regained its traditional identity Emley were moved into the North-West Counties Football League which caused great disruption to player recruitment due to the additional travelling involved.  But the management team made th best of it and Emley were well placed for promotion when COVID-19 struck.  The season was curtailed and there was no promotion.  The following season Emley were moved back to the Northern Counties east League, but again the season was curtailed with Emley top of the League, unbeaten in ten games.

However now fortune favoured Emley.  The FA went through with their planned reorganisation and the playing record of teams over the last two seasons was used to determine promotion places. Emley’s excellent record meant they were placed second in the NCEL and promoted to the Premier Division.

The team took time to get going and adjust to the new league and by the new year in 2021 were in the bottom half of the division.  Finally though the team gelled and a great run in the second half of the campaign saw Emley finish in 9th.  2022-23 was even better with Emley challenging the leaders throughout the season, and only a narrow defeat at Hallam in the penultimate game meant the team missed out on the runners-up spot which would have meant a play-off with a Club from the leagues above for promotion.

Compensation came with good cup runs in the League Cup where Emley reached the semi-final, and finally the Club’s first senior trophy for 25 years when Maltby Main were defeated 2-0 in the final of the Sheffield and Hallamshire Senior Cup at Doncaster’s ground.

In the following season, 2023-24, the Club built on its success. The recruitment of Ruben Jerome and talented centre-half Jack Cowgill along with the retention of most of the squad gave Emley a formidable team. Conceding just 29 league goals whilst scoring 99 gave Emley their first Northern Counties East League Championship for 35 years and promotion to the Northern Premier League. Along with this Emley reached the third qualifying round of the FA Cup, losing narrowly to National League North Alfreton Town, the quarter-final of the FA Vase, falling to defeat at Worcester City, and also the NCEL League Cup final.  Sadly the double could not be completed as a rusty Emley side fell 3-0 to in form Parkgate.

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