A short history of Emley AFC…

The history of football in Emley can be traced back to 1903. Over many decades, Emley AFC became the most successful non-league team in Yorkshire. Consistent success in the Yorkshire League led to the club becoming a founder member of the NCEL.

At a national level, an FA Vase semi-final appearance was followed a year later with a trip to Wembley for the final in 1988.

Ground improvements meant the step up to the Northern Premier League was eventually achieved after two successive NCEL Premier Division championship wins.

In 1997-98, the village club went on a historic FA Cup run to the third round proper, culminating in a trip to Premier League West Ham United in 1998.

That success was followed by an ultimately failed move to Wakefield.

When the club dropped ‘Emley’ from their name and disbanded the reserve team – which had continued to play at The Welfare Ground since the move- the club was reborn as AFC Emley in 2005 and after a single season in the West Yorkshire League, were elevated to the NCEL.

After a run to the 4th round of the FA Vase in 2012-13, there followed two successive ‘oh-so-nearly’ promotion pushes: firstly, losing out on sudden death penalties in a play-off final in 2016 and then missing out on goal difference, after a record points total of 95, the following season. Disappointment carried through to an unsuccessful play-off bid.

Following two seasons of mid-table finishes, the summer of 2019 saw major developments. The club reclaimed its old name of Emley AFC and a new management team was installed – Richard Tracey joined as Manager with Steve Nicholson, who played in the famous West Ham team, as his assistant.

Unexpectedly moved to the North-West Counties League, the team was very well placed for promotion, lying comfortably in the top 4, until the Covid-19 pandemic caused the termination and voiding of the season by the FA.

Back in the NCEL for the 2020/21 season, the season was curtailed again, after just 10 games, with Emley top of the league. The FA’s reorganisation of steps 4, 5 and 6 benefitted Emley and our PPG average was enough for promotion to the NCEL Premier Division.

Emley got off to a difficult start in the higher league, due to a number of departures and injuries in the squad but a great run of eight wins in nine games secured a top half finish. This creditable return was improved upon with third place in 2022-23, as well as cup runs to the League Cup semi-final and the club’s first senior trophy in 25 years – recapturing the County Senior Cup for a ninth time.