MOST of the origins of King George FC no longer exist.
The Rocking Horse pub from which they were first formed is closed and the King George watering hole they moved to is now a Premier Stores supermarket.
It’s ironic then the football team has never been stronger with the County Sunday Cup, FA Sunday Cup and a possible switch to the Leeds Combination League all on the Wakefield side’s agenda.
Plying their trade from the Eastmoor Playing Fields, King George are today’s top dogs in the Wakefield Sunday League, winning nine trophies in the last two years. They are again on course to scoop every prize the league has to offer in 2015 and young joint manager Michael Dunhill says the next few years could be about breaking new ground on a Leeds, county and even national front. Former Eastmoor City High pupil Dunhill was just 23 when recruited to King George by club chairman Dave Parkinson who is also the father of Dunhill’s fiancé Charlie, a TSB bank worker, formerly of St Thomas à Becket School. The young couple attended Wakefield College together and also worked part time for Morrisons on Dewsbury Road. Once the duo became an item, King George chairman Parkinson was keen to recruit Eastmoor and Wrenthorpe centre midfielder Dunhill to his club and three years on he is preparing to take over as permanent manager. And Dunhill will be overseeing a brand new chapter at a club that has been going under different guises for 32 years and has conquered all the Wakefield Sunday League has to offer.
“I think we have won nine trophies in the last two years and we’ve won all the cups apart from the County Cup,” Dunhill told the YEP. “That was the main goal this year to be honest and it was a bit of a let down when we went out. We have proved ourselves in the Wakefield League and we just wanted to prove ourselves in the County. But far as the league is concerned hopefully this year will be another clean sweep. Things are going well but it may be that we have to take the next step up and moving to the Leeds Combination League is something we’d look at.”
The Combination is becoming one of the strongest Sunday leagues in England with champions Chapeltown Fforde Grene through to the FA Sunday Cup semi-finals. And King George have already had their first crack at going national with Dunhill’s side entering the FA Sunday Cup for the first time this season and suffering an agonising third round exit to Liverpool powerhouses Pineapple.
The team have come a long way since their 1983 formation as The Rocking Horse by Mick Maulinson and Ken Deed. With current chairman Parkinson a player since the early days, the club won the League Cup in its first year and went on to win all honours before eventually folding in 2007 due to injuries and players moving away.
With uncertainty also surrounding the future of the Rocking Horse pub, the club then reformed from the nearby King George pub – taking its name in the process. When the King George pub finally closed its doors the football team made its third move to Eastmoor Rugby Club which is now the side’s headquarters but the King George name is here to stay. Dunhill says his future father in law Parkinson – a 52-year-old retired policeman and married to Maxine – has been integral to the club’s development.
Dunhill, a machine operator by trade, explained: “Dave deserves a lot of credit for his continuous hard work and the time and effort he has put in to drive the club forward and each year he organises an end of season trip to Scarborough with the first team and reserve team which is just an example of how close everyone at the club is.
“A couple of years ago we got a few new players when Redoubt folded and Dave decided to go for it. He’s found the right blend really. There have been a lot of great players for the club throughout its history – Liam Powell, Scott Hartley, Matthew Denton, Craig Maguire, Jon Padget and Tony Morris. But there’s also our reserves featuring players which have been at the club for 20 years and more. Players such as Barry Watson, Darren Lupton, Phil Dickerson, Andrew Hurst, Colin Lovell and Geoff Scott who is still playing football at the age of 62.” Dunhill has 37 years on Scott, and 27 years on future father in law and chairman Parkinson who is preparing to take a back seat. In any case, there’s a wedding on the agenda, eventually. “Maybe another year, two years,” said Dunhill, asked for a save the date. “We’ve just got our own place in Carr Gate so we’re sorting that out and things and hopefully the wedding after.”
In any case, time is hardly ticking for Dunhill, still only 26 and quite likely one the brightest young managers the area has to offer. Dunhill pondered: “I was gutted to call it time as a player at 25 but in five years I’d had four operations and I just had to try something new. Now I’m just learning from what Dave does – the money, the organising, the ringing – and hopefully next year I can take it on and do it myself. I’d maybe look at management in Saturday football one day, it’s a possibility. I’m only 26 – but at the moment I am just concentrating on King George...”
HOME GROUND: King George V Playing Fields, Eastmoor.
SOCIAL HEADQUARTERS: Eastmoor Rugby Club.
JOINT MANAGER/CHAIRMAN/SECRETARY: Dave Parkinson.
JOINT MANAGER: Michael Dunhill.
CLUB CAPTAIN: Scott Hartley.
HONOURS: Wakefield Sunday League Premiership 1 champions (2014, 2013, 1990); Premiership 1 League Cup winners (2014, 2013, 2011, 2000); Seymour Memorial Trophy winners (2014, 2013, 2005); Landlords’ Trophy winners (2014, 2013, 2006, 1990); Division 3 League Cup winners (2008).