Emley are founder members of the NCEL – the 80s

July 6, 1990

As 1980 began Emley were well established as the leading club in the Yorkshire League and that season won the league title again along with the Sheffield Cup and the reserve division.  In 1981 Emley were runners up in the league but continued the run of four seasons with silverware by retaining the Sheffield Cup, this time against Frickley Athletic, with a last-minute Dave Cook winner at the less than glamorous surroundings of Woolley Colliery’s ground.

The Emley committee were now again looking at how the Club could progress.  There were moves afoot in the FA to create a non-league pyramid which would give clubs the automatic promotion to higher levels of the game, which up until now was only available by applying to join other leagues.  For this, floodlights would be needed, so the Club raised the money and they were installed in time for an inaugural game at the start of the 1981-82 season against Huddersfield Town.  In those days Town weren’t above sending a strong senior side and the game ended with them taking a 6-1 victory.

The season turned out to be the last of the Yorkshire League and Emley went out in style winning the League and the League Cup, as well as three reserves trophies.  Mick Pamment was now manager and Gerry Quinn the captain.  Up front was a young Graham Cooper who would go on to be Emley’s first Football League player with Huddersfield and Wrexham.

When the Northern Counties East League was formed from the Yorkshire League and the Midlands League Emley were put into the Premier Division.  This was a tougher league and Emley found the first season hard going.  But the team soon established itself as a top 8 team with a number of competitive seasons that included a fourth Sheffield Cup win in 1983-84 against Frecheville at Oakwell.

In 1985 Gerry Quinn took over the manager’s role and this was the spark to take Emley to the next level.  With a team based on long-serving stalwarts such as Ray Dennis and Nicky Bramald plus rising star like Reg Mellor and John Francis, Emley would soon raise themselves into the national spotlight with a Wembley visit and a push for the Northern Premier League.

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