Non-league football: Outgoing captain Holdsworth full of praise for Lions

Andy Holdsworth with the Conference North play-off trophy.

Andy Holdsworth with the Conference North play-off trophy.

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OUTGOING captain Andy Holdsworth has paid tribute to Guiseley – and says his association with the club helped rekindle his love of football again.

The 31-year-old quit the Lions on a high, skippering them to promotion to the Conference National for the first time in their remarkable 3-2 comeback win at Chorley on May 10.

The former Huddersfield Town full-back has now elected to hang up his boots to take up a full-time post with Barnsley Academy and he says that he will always treasure his time at Nethermoor.

He said: “For a part-time club, the family feel around it is brilliant and you know everybody there by their first names, from the people selling programmes to those behind the bar.

“Guiseley will always be in my heart as it got me enjoying football again from the disappointments of my injury at Oldham and Morecambe.

“I know we lost in a few play-offs, but the highs definitely outweighed the lows.”

He added: “It was nice to go out on a high and could not have finished any better really.

“Barnsley asked if I would be interested and I am getting to a point now where I am not going to play forever and need to start look after (playing) football.

“With the fantastic way that Guiseley went up, I just thought the time was right for me to take a step away from that.

“The Conference is also mainly a full-time league with a lot of travelling involved and I couldn’t commit to being there every week and it wouldn’t have been fair on the club as well.”

Guiseley boss Mark Bower is now busy planning for the step-up to the Conference, with top-scorer Adam Boyes handing him a boost by signing on for next season – following on from Danny Lowe, Ryan Toulson and Danny Hall.

Bower says he should know by the end of the week about the outcome of offers that have been made to Steven Drench, Danny Ellis, Ben Parker, Gavin Rothery, Wayne Brooksby and Nicky Boshell.

Currently under contract are Oli Johnson, Jake Lawlor and Liam Dickinson, with Alex Johnson and Kyle Harrison to move onto pastures new.

The club have invited Jack Stockdill and Jordan Hendrie back for pre-season, while Steve Dickinson has been offered a new role as goalkeeping coach.

Guiseley may be competing against a host of former league clubs including Grimsby Town, Wrexham and FC Halifax next season in what is virtually a full-time league, but Holdsworth believes that the Lions will compete and prove a match for all rivals – if they keep their squad together.

Holdsworth added: “I think they will do all right, thinking of the way we did last season.

“Adam Boyes has signed on again, which is a major impact on the squad as he scores goals and work rate is fantastic for the rest of the team.

“They also have experience in there in the likes of Danny Boshell and against a lot of full-time teams, you need the mentality of a few older heads in there sometimes.

“With Mark (Bower) and Danny’s footballing background, they know what it is like to be in this scenario. They need to just consolidate this year.

“It’s new for everybody, including the fans and those behind the scenes. But on the pitch, there is a good core of players and I am sure they will compete week in week out.”

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EMLEY Football Club officials are trying to track down players from the club’s glory years, writes ROBERT GLEDHILL.

They are holding a reunion evening at their Welfare Club headquarters on Friday, June 12 and are wanting anyone involved with the club from the 60s through to 2000 to join them in the celebrations.

Former player Roger Wood, who featured in the 60s before helping to run the side alongside the late Mick Pamment for a decade, is the man behind the evening along with Granville Ellam.

“The more we look at the record, the better it seems to get,” says Wood, father of former Yorkshire cricketer Matthew.

“None of us are getting any younger and we have had this in mind for some time. We swept the board at least twice in the Yorkshire League and it was like a big family here.

“We reached the last 16 of the FA Amateur Cup as a Huddersfield League side in the late 60s – none of the London sides fancied coming up here!

“Then, of course, we went to Wembley for the 1988 FA Vase final where we lost to Colne Dynamoes and then we had that famous FA Cup third round encounter with West Ham in 1998 when we only lost 2-1.

“We want everyone to join our evening but, unfortunately, we have lost contact with many of the players.”

Further details on the reunion can be obtained from Mr Wood in the evenings on 01924 848921.

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