TRADITION is embedded within Brighouse Old Boys.
Formed in 1997 out of Brighouse Juniors who date back to 1989, the club’s first team and reserves have had the same management duo for 15 years.
Until now that is with Old Boys opting for fresh blood and new ideas under Paul Jenkinson three years short of the club’s 20th birthday.
Chris Wadsworth, 63, is one of the club’s old guard who became involved with Brighouse Juniors in 1989 when they had just one team.
Wadsworth’s 33-year-old son Michael was a member of that team as a nine-year-old and the following year Wadsworth became manager of the outfit as under-10s, sticking with them until under-18s.
But that was just the beginning for Wadsworth and ultimately the birth of Brighouse Old Boys under Wadsworth and Phil Garbe in 1997.
Upon that leap into open age football, Wadsworth and Garbe have taken the club from Division Two of the Halifax and District League to the West Yorkshire Premier and from Brighouse High School to Hipperholme and Lightcliffe School where they are now based.
With three adult teams now representing the Old Boys, retired senior IT manager Wadsworth is proud of what his outfit have become.
But a new chapter is now beginning at Brighouse with Wadsworth backing new first team boss Jenkinson to see Brighouse Old Boys past their second successful decade.
“Since 1989 when we first started the juniors, the management of the teams have been undertaken by the same four people,” said Wadsworth.
“With Phil, he and I saw the opportunity to build and develop an adult football club and the vision was always to take it as far as we could.
“We are very proud of what the club has achieved.
“But for the forthcoming season there has been significant change with Phil and myself stepping down from team management because we both feel we need fresh blood and ideas. Paul Jenkinson has joined the club and he has managed at North East Counties level. He is a qualified UEFA B coach and we will be taking more of a back seat role in the club to concentrate on moving it forward. Whilst we want to achieve success our main driver is to provide the opportunity for adults to play football with over 40 players being involved each weekend,
“Over 60 per cent of the players have come through from Brighouse Juniors Football Club, we are a self funding club with players paying subscriptions through the season and we also have a good relationship with Brighouse Town with them passing players to us to help develop. We have good kit sponsors in Webster Interiors of Brighouse and we are based at the Old Pond in Brighouse where Helen the landlady and her staff look after us very well.”
FA Chartered standard club Brighouse have certainly come a long way since 1997 when the club was formed by a couple of parents from FA Charted Community Club Brighouse Juniors. Dave Hirst and the late Richard Knowles created the club to provide an adult football team for players who were leaving junior football and also for some of the dads who wanted to play. Wadsworth and Garbe then stepped up from junior level the following year and today the club operate three teams - Jenkinson’s flag-bearers in the West Yorkshire Premier, Julian Prior’s men in the West Yorkshire League Alliance Division One and Rob Moore’s side in Division Four of the Huddersfield and District Association Football League.
And there have also been plenty of changes on the facilities front.
Wadsworth recalled: “Our first home pitch was a sloping field at the back of Brighouse High School and we started in the Halifax and District League Division Two. The following season Phil and myself got involved and took on the roles as manager and assistant respectively.
“The club then moved from Brighouse High School to a flatter pitch at Rastrick High School where they also set up their training headquarters on the astro turf setup at the school. The club continued to grow and flourish and a reserve team was set up with Julian Prior stepping in as manager. They worked their way up the Halifax League with the first team getting into the Premier Division and the reserves into Division One. With the facilities being limited in terms of pitches at Rastrick High, the club then moved to Hipperholme and Lightcliffe School in 2001. At this time they were changing at the school and playing their matches on pitches half a mile down the road!”
But that weekly half a mile trek was to become a thing of the past with Wadsworth admitting that Hipperholme and Lightcliffe School’s awarding of Sports College status in 2006 was a huge development for both the school and the football club.
It proved the catalyst to significantly upgrade facilities including the installation of a 3G pitch and ultimately the switch to the West Yorkshire League in 2007. The following season the reserves joined the West Yorkshire Alliance League and due to demand Brighouse retained a third team in the Halifax League under the stewardship of Rob Moore. Two seasons ago that team was moved into the Huddersfield and District League - in a league where it all began for Brighouse Old Boys in 1997. Wadsworth looks back on both the development of the club’s senior and junior sides with a huge degree of satisfaction he prepares to take matters down a notch.
“The club has made fantastic progress with its own facilities and running up to 30 teams for both boys and girls,” said Wadsworth, who remains chairman of the juniors - 25 years after first becoming involved with them.
And anyhow, the former HBOS worker is not disappearing altogether just yet - far from it - and indeed the club stalwart admits he would be lost without the club that has been part of his life for a quarter of a decade.
Wadsworth added: “I am lucky to be involved in two fantastic clubs and I think the standard of amateur football especially in the West Yorkshire League is good and great to watch. I wouldn’t know what to do with my Saturday afternoons without football.
“In Marilyn I have a very understanding wife!”
BRIGHOUSE OLD BOYS
FORMED: 1997 (1989 as Brighouse Juniors).
LEAGUES: West Yorkshire League Premier Division and Alliance Division One, Huddersfield and District League Division Four.
CHAIRMAN: Doug Tait.
FIRST TEAM MANAGER: Paul Jenkinson.
SECOND TEAM MANAGER: Julian Prior.
THIRD TEAM MANAGER: Rob Moore.
club development: Chris Wadsworth and Phil Garbe.
GROUND: Hipperholme & Lightcliffe High School, Stoney Lane, Lightcliffe.
SOCIAL HEADQUARTERS: The Old Pond, Spout House Lane, Hove Edge, Brighouse.
SPONSORS: Webster Interiors, Brighouse.