They say good things come to those who wait but success is something JB Celtic enjoyed soon after their formation in 2009.
Following a summer tournament, a large number of young players were left with a hunger to play football consistently and so JB Celtic was born.
The name of the club comes from the Jug and Barrel pub in Stanningley, with co-owner Matthew Dalton a key part of the launch of the team, and the fact a large number of their original squad had played for Farsley Celtic Juniors.
The side joined the Sunday Alliance First Division in time for the 2009/10 campaign, winning the league and cup in their first season and achieving promotion to the Premier Division at the first time of asking.
They didn’t stop there, as they were crowned champions of the top flight the following season as they completed another league and cup double.
After such a meteoric rise the team switched to the Leeds Combination League, starting in the Premier Division before clinching promotion to the Jubilee Premier in 2012.
Mark Rowlands is manager of the club and has been on the rollercoaster journey since the club burst onto the scene seven years ago.
“I know they’ve set up a Saturday team at Farsley now but back in 2009 there were lots of lads playing for Farsley at 16 who then had no club to play for. So we formed the side and a lot of players of our original squad had played for Farsley,” recalls Rowlands.
“We started well, our best moment would have to be the league and cup double in 2011 when we won the Sunday Alliance Premier Division and then we moved to the Leeds Combination leagues.”
While trophies may have dried up since the switch, Rowlands has still been left pleased at his side’s commitment and good performances, highlighting a number of cup runs in recent seasons.
“Losing in the Leeds and District semi-final last year was particularly pleasing and another one of our best moments despite being beaten.
“We reached the quarter-finals of the same competition this year. It was really frustrating losing on penalties because it was a game that we should have won.”
Despite the side’s last promotion to the Jubilee Premier back in 2012, Rowlands has been left excited by Celtic’s chances of promotion back to the top league this season and also has the belief they can lift silverware.
“We have a good chance of getting back to the Jubilee Premier this year. That’s the aim for us and it’s what all the lads want. We’d like to get promoted but winning it as champions would certainly be nice.”
Celtic are currently fifth in the Premier Division and are 19 points behind leaders Main Line Social.
It may look bleak but the positive, however, is that they have seven games in hand which could deliver 21 points if they earn victories in all.
They looked to derail title favourites Main Line Social’s season with a 2-0 win when the sides met last month, although they fell to a 4-1 defeat when they clashed in October.
Celtic have not been goal-shy either having scored in all 15 games they have played this season.
Matthew Dalton Jr – son of the Jug and Barrel co-owner – is one of the side’s longest serving players along with Adam Jesusko, with both being with the club since its formation.
Dalton has been the star striker this campaign having an impressive return of 10 goals in eight games, while Philip Coates is the only player to have appeared in every game.
Rowlands, who works in sales for a furniture supplier, compared his day job with football management.
“It’s like anything in life, this job is rewarding in sales and some days it can be bad.
“Running a football team is rewarding when you are on a great run and you’re winning games and the confidence is high. It can be depressing when you’re waiting and you’ve got 10 lads waiting to play, but I am still doing it because I really enjoy it.”
Rowlands admits that he couldn’t have done such a great job alone and thanked people who have given their time and assisted him while he’s been in charge of the club.
“Matthew Dalton from the Jug and Barrel is my right-hand man who is always here to help me. He’s someone I discuss ideas about the team with and the odd Sunday if I am unavailable he will run the team.”
“Someone else I should mention is Mick Kemp who helped me a couple of seasons ago.
“He came on board and he helped me get new players and he did a very good job.
“He used to run the junior side at Stanningley Albion and knew a lot of players which was a big help to us.”
But while JB Celtic have enjoyed numerous highs, they’ve also struggled with a number of lows.
With clubs folding in recent years, Rowlands accepts how difficult it is to keep a team going at this level.
“It’s very hard to keep running, there’s no two ways about that. Like a number of managers we can end up ringing round to get people out of bed.
“This season we have been more consistent, we’ve lost some players but got new ones too. The problem is when you start losing games and fickle players don’t turn up.”
Until this season, the club used to play very close to the Jug and Barrel, the pub which the team is named after. However, they had to relocate to play at a pitch six miles away but Rowlands is pleased with the facilities.
“We used to play locally but quite simply the pitch wasn’t great.
“With sponsorship we’ve been able to move to Weetwood Sports Park which have good football playing pitches.”
And while five years have elapsed since Celtic’s last silverware, there is a strong belief at Weetwood that they can return back to the Jubilee Premier as champions and kick-on to challenge for more trophies in the future.
Division: Leeds Combination Association Football League Premier Division
Manager: Mark Rowlands
Longest serving players: Matthew Dalton Jnr. and Adam Jesusko
Honours: Sunday Alliance First Division 2010, Cup 2010, Sunday Alliance Premier Division 2011, Cup 2011