Rods angling for success through merger

Rodillian FC
Rodillian FC
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DUTCH fluency, German efficiency and Spanish flair.

It sounds like some sort of European dream team.

But instead it’s the mantra of Rodillian FC, for whom ambitions burn brighter than ever following a merge with FC Tadcaster.

Operating from Rodillian High School, Rodillian FC’s first team ply their trade in the Yorkshire Amateur League Championship.

Yet there is plenty more to the club than the league’s second tier title chasers with a second team in Division Five and a third team in Division Six, not to mention under-21s and under-17s sides.

At Rodillian, there is strength in depth, and that includes on the coaching side which has a international feel with Loz Lok an American, Stephen Grime a Norwegian and James Basnett having learnt his trade in the USA and Australia. Englishman Nick Powell completes the coaching team along with first-team manager Paul Borrman and the international feel is highly appropriate.

Borrman, 28, says: “We have a number of UEFA-qualified coaches on board who are cultivating a style that is best described as Total Rodillian – a hybrid of Dutch fluency, German efficiency and Spanish flair!”

And while Rodillian FC might be a million miles from playing in Europe, the club is now stronger than ever following their recent merger with FC Tadcaster.

Formed before the previous season, FC Tadcaster were the brain-wave of Borrman who set about trying to establish an FC Tadcaster reserve team during pre-season. At the same time, Borrman was approached by Rodillian FC and two became one.

And the new-look operation is only going to get bigger with Borrman delighted with life at Rodillian FC who initially began life as Sandal Athletic.

“After a successful debut season as FC Tadcaster the board decided to launch an additional reserves team,” said Borrman, an estate agent who grew up in Cambridge before moving permanently to Leeds after university.

“Whilst sounding out potential feeder clubs I was approached by Rodillian FC to become player-manager of their first team.

“From sitting down with the board there it became apparent that the situation could be mutually beneficial.

“Rodillian had two senior teams as well as an under 21s side and over the coming weeks we discussed a merger of the two clubs, leaving us forming Rodillian FC with three senior sides as well as the under 21s.

“The aim of the merge is to strengthen all the teams at the club and push for promotion on all fronts.”

A rise up the ranks would certainly be appropriate for the club, which since 2012 has been based at the Rodillian Academy in Lofthouse, formerly Rodillian School. Former pupils include ex-Leeds United favourites Alan Smith and Gareth Evans, as well as the The Pigeon Detectives.

Rodillian FC, meanwhile, have been rocking since 2001 when they were formed in Wakefield, but as Sandal Athletic.

Of the original class of 2001, Dan Whincup, Steve Osbourne and club captain Dave Johnson still play regularly today.

The club changed its name from Sandal Athletic to Rodillian FC following the switch to the school grounds in 2012 but the club badge carries a picture of Sandal Castle as a nod to the club’s former name.

Now new changes are afoot following the merge with FC Tadcaster but Borrman is aware his club are adaptable to both change and challenges.

Borrman explained: “The club motto ‘Ever Onwards’ was born when the club was experiencing dark days around 2008 – and we faced some huge challenges.

“We felt that this motto reflected the committee’s drive to get through any adversity and to always be moving the club forwards.

“At its lowest ebb, the club had significant debts, nowhere to play, no first-team manager and an exodus of players.

“We restructured, committed to putting things right and now the club has some of the best facilities in the area, is in the black and fields three open age Saturday teams in the Yorkshire Amateur League, has a talented under-21s, an enthusiastic veterans’ team and this year will see our new under-17s playing its first games.

“We are in a very good place and are looking forward to developing stronger links with the local community. Plus we are about to announce a really exciting partnership with a junior club that will see us be able to provide football from four years old to veterans.

“The future for the club looks very bright.”

There’s likely to be plenty to celebrate in the coming years at Rodillian whose hospitality now comes at the Gardeners Arms on the A61.

The club had a short spell at the Bedford Arms in East Ardsley but moved to The Gardeners, initially because it was closer.

“The Bedford Arms were great to us, but it was a bit too far away,” said Borrman, whose club also features fitness coaches Sean Scantlebury and Craig Whish and club physio Ross Forde.

“The Gardeners has recently got new owners and a new landlord who has been very supportive and we hope the relationship will be long one.”

It’s a relationship that Borrman hopes will coincide with a quick rise up the leagues – and in true eye-pleasing Rodillian fashion.

Borrman pondered: “The first ambition of the club is to get the first team into the top flight of the Yorkshire Amateur League as we’ve finished in mid-table for the past three seasons.

“The reserves and third team have also been given the target of promotion from their respective divisions.

“We have strengthened the club across the board and we are now looking to put this into results on the field.

“On the field we want to win in the right way.

“The young players we have attracted have stayed with us because we look after them and protect them properly; we aim to ‘win beautifully!”

Dan Daly of Beeston St Anthony's.

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