After being forced to fold last decade, Kippax Band Club FC are back in business again this year, filling a gap in the local community as the only Sunday league team in Kippax.
Orchestrating this comeback is manager Richard Fisher, who will be hoping to get his new team playing in harmony as soon as possible, as they look to progress quickly from the bottom tier of the Leeds Combination Association Football League.
And Fisher is embracing his role at his new club, where he has taken the majority of the responsibility, only receiving a small amount of help from a couple of people in running it.
“The brass band play from one of the local pubs, Kippax Brass Band, so they named the football team after that,” Fisher explained.
“Although, it’s actually turned out that we don’t play from there anymore, we play from the Kippax Legion!
“Kippax Band Club has been there longer than I’ve been born, it’s about 50 years old.
“They folded about seven years ago now, maybe a bit longer, and then this year is the first time the team has come back.
“One of my friends took over the local pub and to help him out I said that I’d start a football team to bring in an income for him.
“It’s pretty much just me. David Langsdale helps me with the treasury side of it and Paul Wilson helps out now and then – he found us Brett Scaffolding, the kit sponsor.
“And my darling partner who just puts up with it all!”
This is Fisher’s second foray into management, after previously managing Allerton Bywater FC.
But he is so far finding Kippax to be a much more fruitful experience, after struggling with inexperienced players and a badly run league last time round.
“This is just the second time I’ve done it – the first time I did it to help out my local rugby team,” Fisher revealed.
“They said to help them graduate in their funding to get better club facilities they got told by the league to try and find a football team to play under them.
“My coach knew that I played football, so I went out, found some players – and got a team together.
“But some of them hadn’t played 11-a-side football ever, so it was a bit of a mismatch with that team.
“The league was just not run well enough either.
“Not organised and nothing behind it.
“(This league) has been brilliant.
“It’s been a pleasure to do and I’ve enjoyed it.”
It’s not surprising that Fisher has enjoyed his time at Kippax so far.
Kippax – who play their home matches in Allerton Bywater on a pitch Fisher described as “a decent pitch when you get it on the right weather, but then sometimes a bit of a proper Sunday football pitch” – have started their debut campaign in commanding fashion, winning 10 of their opening 12 games, whilst racking up a goal difference of plus 34, to lead at the top of the table by nine points.
But Fisher insists there is more to come from his men – over half of whom were ‘gifted’ to the club by the folding of another local team, Kippax Welfare FC.
He does insist though that his team knows the reason behind their two losses this season – one in the league and one in the cup.
“Unfortunately, in the two games we have lost (including one loss in the cup) we’ve had our second-choice keeper, Ryan Plowse, in,” Fisher laughed.
“In the two games he’s played for us he’s conceded 10 goals, so he’s not quite happy with himself to be fair!
“I didn’t think of it but he was the first person to mention it!”
Although Fisher was keen to impress that all his players have contributed towards their strong start to the season, he stressed the importance of captain Mark ‘Scouse’ Owen, and top goal scorer Tom Micklethwaite, who has excelled with his goal-scoring, including a remarkable double hat-trick in a 10-3 thrashing of WIBS at the end of November.
“I’ll tell you something about Tom, he started the first three of four games of the season at centre-back,” the Kippax boss explained.
“We just couldn’t find that striker that could score goals and I knew he could do it, it was just that he was doing better in defence for me.
“But I had to sacrifice him there – and I have found that we need to get another defender – but I had to sacrifice him there and play him up top.
“So technically he’s scored all those goals in the last six games!”
After such a promising start to the season, it would be easy for Fisher to be fooled into thinking that football management is a simple business – a point proven by the fact that Kippax only managed a 1-1 draw at home to struggling Bedford Arms Wakefield this weekend, dropping points for only the second time.
October’s 5-1 defeat against Second Division Chapel Allerton in the first round of the Luty Cup was also an indicator of the work still be done by a team very much in its infancy – although Kippax did take the lead in that tie, through Tom Micklethwaite once again, and were hampered by a first-half sending off.
But, being a local lad, he is keen to turn Kippax Band Club FC into something that can provide a focal point to the local community for many years to come, and in doing so avoid the fate of the previous incarnation of the club.
Fisher said: “This season our main target, as you can see from our record, has to be to win the league and hopefully not to lose again – definitely not at home!
“Going forward, we’ve got two young lads who have just come down to sign on for the New Year.
“A lot of young lads nowadays don’t like going straight into Saturday football.
“I don’t know why to be fair, I prefer Saturdays to Sundays, but these two young lads want to start open age by going into Sunday League and we’re the only Sunday football team in Kippax now.
“So the aim is to bring the local community around us, hopefully we’ll keep it running as long as we can and then try to get further up the leagues at the same time.”