Hanging Heaton Cricket Club has been around for more than a century, but the football club is very much in its infancy.
The historic cricket club was formed in 1876 but up until 2013 they had never had a football club.
Hanging Heaton Football Club are currently on course for back-to-back promotions in the Heavy Woollen Sunday League and are constantly developing and gathering momentum.
Conrad Spivey is the man who helped set up the football club and holds the position of secretary and manager: “I’m on the committee at Hanging Heaton and they asked me to come up with some ideas for a new team and we decided to start up a football team three years ago.
“We still run from Hanging Heaton Cricket Club, using all of the facilities down there, such as the changings room and bar.
“Plus the cricket field is there which we sometimes use for training, but we play our home games at Sand Lanes in Dewsbury.”
This is a close-knit club with the vast majority of the players coming from the local area, which Spivey believes gives them an advantage over other teams.
“When we first started a few of the lads were playing both cricket and football, currently we just have one, James Keen playing for both.
“All the players are from the local area and we’ve tried to get stronger over the last 18 months or so, signing some players in the summer. We try and sign them from Hanging Heaton and keep a very close-knit group of players coming to the club.” said Spivey.
It certainly seems to be working because Spivey’s side currently sit top of the Heavy Woollen Division One by five points and, before Sunday’s 7-5 defeat at the hands of title rivals FC Liversedge, they had been on a five-game winning streak.
However, they are looking to bounce back at the first attempt next Sunday when they host bottom-of-the-table St Ignatius, who have won only once so far this season.
Spivey said: “We have a much younger team now and we’ve been doing really well, top of the league with six games still left to play.
“The club are very happy with us and it helps that we have a really good set of lads with us.”
The manager has an awful lot of experience within the game having played for a number of Sunday League teams and a spell as a semi-professional at Bradford Park Avenue.
“I do miss playing football but I’m having a back operation next year, so I might try playing again but the wife isn’t too happy about that!
“I played a lot in the local leagues playing for a few successful teams who won this Heavy Woollen Sunday League numerous times.
“Back in 1996 I played at Anfield for Barfield Arms in the Inaugural Carlsberg Pub Cup where we unfortunately suffered a 4-2 defeat at the hands of eventual champions Dawlish Town.
“It meant we missed out on the chance of playing at Wembley, but we’re having a 20-year reunion of that team this year. I stopped playing about five or six years ago and now I’m just the manager and secretary of this team.
“This year I’ve got another lad here to help me, Tom Wigglesworth, as I can’t be there all the time and he has been doing a cracking job. He’s only 25 and has really helped improve the team.”
Although it is very much early days, Spivey has huge ambitions for the football club: “Hanging Heaton is a really big cricket club in the Leeds area with a big history, but I really want to be able to build this football team and develop it over the next 10-15 years so that we’re winning titles and cup competitions.
“We really enjoy playing on a Sunday and take it very seriously, so hopefully we can keep enjoying our football in this league or maybe the Leeds Combination in the future.
“Ultimately it would be great to expand it on to a junior level as well, even though we have only been going for a short period of time. We have great facilities and backing here, and there are lots of people involved in the club that really want it to succeed.”
This is demonstrated by the full house that is expected in February for a fundraising event for the football club.
Tickets were snapped up almost immediately for the event which includes a talk from former Leeds United defender Dominic Matteo and comedian Jed Stone.
“The event is completely sold out and we’ve had lots of enquires about tickets but it’s going to be full.
“We’re hoping to try and do this sort of event once a year, every February or March time and we are hoping to be able to get a different Leeds United player to come, because 90 per cent of the people round here are big Leeds fans. The money will be going to pay for some of our expenses, helping us to get stronger and stronger which is only a good thing and gives us even more chance to build some momentum for the forth-coming seasons.”
With the amount of backing and support this football club have, this is certainly a club to look out for in the near future, both on the wicket and the football pitch.
Name: Hanging Heaton Cricket Club Football Club
Division: Heavy Woollen Sunday League Division One
Secretary: Conrad Spivey
Managers: Conrad Spivey and Tom Wigglesworth