Team Of The Week: Horbury Town serve up ace success story

28 December 2013...    Your Club....    Horbury Town, back row Stuart Longbottom, Dean Mountain, Chris Martin, Danny Cooper, Marc Keane, Andy Liversidge, Marc Griffiths, Gary Wood, Mark Atkinson Danny Mills, Joe Mosalski, Micky Long. Front, Gaz Jones, Lee Geraghty, Sam Atkinson, Neil Samardzija, Lee Mills, James Taylor, Tom Dews, Tristan Cost. (TJ1001/75e) Picture by Tony Johnson
28 December 2013... Your Club.... Horbury Town, back row Stuart Longbottom, Dean Mountain, Chris Martin, Danny Cooper, Marc Keane, Andy Liversidge, Marc Griffiths, Gary Wood, Mark Atkinson Danny Mills, Joe Mosalski, Micky Long. Front, Gaz Jones, Lee Geraghty, Sam Atkinson, Neil Samardzija, Lee Mills, James Taylor, Tom Dews, Tristan Cost. (TJ1001/75e) Picture by Tony Johnson
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IT is something of an irony that the biggest name connected with Horbury Town’s history has little to do with football.

IT is something of an irony that the biggest name connected with Horbury Town’s history has little to do with football.

Back in 1950, the Slazenger Sports Complex and what would become Horbury’s new ground was opened by former Wimbledon hero Fred Perry.

There was no tennis ace on hand for returning to the site in 1994 yet that hasn’t stopped the club thriving since with Town now looking to prove a permanent smash hit in the West Yorkshire Premier.

The earliest records of a Horbury Town team date back to 1964 but it was well before that the Three Castles were plying their trade – a team which would one day become Horbury Town. And the change in name has not been the only change experienced by Horbury in a rollercoaster 60-something year history. As well as an appearance from triple Wimbledon champion Perry, the club’s history is linked with World War Two which was ultimately responsible for the Slazenger brand pooling their resources to manufacture equipment for the war effort.

What eventually followed was a consolidated effort to move to the Horbury Bridge Albion Mills in 1941. It was from that move that nine years later the new Slazenger Sports Complex for the sports and social needs of the workforce was born at the old site of the Horbury Fever Isolation Hospital.

After leaving the facility amidst something of downward spiral in the 1990s, Horbury Town returned to the Slazenger in 1994 but even their modern-day history has not been straightforward with the complex’s pavilion set on fire by vandals and destroyed in 2007. After sharing changing rooms with the local hockey club, a second return of sorts to the Slazenger came in 2013 when the new pavilion was used for the first time at home to Beeston St Anthony’s on the club’s long-awaited return to the West Yorkshire Premier. And it is in that illustrious West Yorkshire Premier where Horbury now hope to stay with club secretary Joe Mosalski optimistic that future off-field events are also rather less eventful. Mosalski, 58, reasoned: “We obviously go back a long way with our Slazenger roots and an indication of the prominence of the Slazenger brand in the 1960s came with the grand opening of the grounds – an exhibition tennis match between Fred Perry and Dan Maskell! We had a lot of success in the 60s, 70s and 80s but after leaving the Slazenger to play on a variety of council pitches we secured the move back to the Slazenger Sports complex in 1994 which was a giant step forwards in the long-term development of the club.

“It has to be said that disaster struck in 2007 when the pavilion was set on fire but with the help of a £10k grant from the FA and a lot of hard work from volunteers the new pavilion was finished and used for the first time in August 2013. We’ve been through a lot but we now have a new pavilion and are playing at the highest level off amateur football in Yorkshire so we hope to consolidate our position over the next few years and challenge for more West Yorkshire League trophies.”

The securing of one West Yorkshire League trophy currently takes top rank at Horbury who bagged the 1997 West Yorkshire League Cup with a landmark victory against Knaresborough Town. But the club then had to contend with a host of departures which led to a series of heavy defeats in the West Yorkshire Premier. What followed was a move to the Wakefield League but it proved a case of dropping down a level to move back up again with a thriving Horbury side accepted back into the West Yorkshire League’s Division Two in 2005.

It is a division the club won the following season and eight years on Horbury sit proudly in the West Yorkshire Premier with the outfit’s second team – reformed in 1993 – now pushing for promotion to the Wakefield League top flight. Mosalski says the introduction of first team boss Dean Mountain – formerly of rivals Ossett Common Rovers – has been key. Manufacturing company general manager Mosalski – introduced to the club by a friend in 1985 – beamed: “The current period is the most enjoyable I’ve had at the club with a great management team and this is the best squad we’ve had for some time. And the main reason is the introduction of Dean Mountain to the club after he had served Ossett Common Rovers for many years as player and coach. Dean’s positive attitude has driven the first team forward to help us achieve our main goal of getting back into the West Yorkshire Premier. The first team are lucky to have an experienced management team consisting of Dean, Micky Long and his assistant and the long serving Stuart Longbottom. Myself, I have fulfilled all sorts of roles since coming to the club – secretary, player, manager, kitman, therapist, cleaner, first aider and all the other jobs the players don’t see! I live 15 minutes away in Mirfield but it’s safe to say that after 20 years working and playing in Horbury my car could make its on way there and back!”

In those 20 years, Mosalski has seen highs and lows but right now Horbury are quite clearly a club on the up. Town’s first team are up to the dizzy heights of eighth in the West Yorkshire Premier with a District Cup semi-final and League Cup quarter-final to look forward to. Under the guidance of boss Simon Oakes and assistant Gaz James, promotion is by no means impossible for the side’s reserves with the North Counties East League the next leg up as far as Horbury’s firsts are concerned.

But NCE League discussion is for another day with the first team initially aiming to establish themselves not just as a West Yorkshire Premier outfit but a West Yorkshire Premier force.

“Our short term objective is to consolidate and then to become a consistent ‘top four’ club,” said Mosalski, whose club introduced junior teams in 1994.

“Beyond that we are in a tricky position of having a wonderful backdrop to our facilities which is built on green belt land.

“Planning permission to build and move to the next level could prove difficult, but we will be asking questions when the time is right...”

FACTFILE

Formed: 1964 (first records).

Leagues: West Yorkshire League Premier Division and Wakefield League Division One.

GROUND: Slazenger Sports Complex, Southfields.

Manager: Dean Mountain (pictured above).

Assistant: Micky Long.

club secretary: Joe Mosalski (pictured right).

first team Secretary: Stuart Longbottom.

Honours: West Yorkshire League – Cup (1997), Div Two (2006); Wakefield League – Premier (2002, 2005), Div One (2000, 2001), Div Two (1988), District Cup (2010, 2012), Div Two League Cup (2000 and 2001), Invitation Cup (2007); Charity Shield (2011).

Sponsors: Horbury Tyres, Bistro 42, UM Products Ltd, Boons and F and G Commercials.

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