AT WEST Yorkshire League side Sherburn White Rose FC, it’s a bit of a family affair.
The club, based on Tadcaster Road in the Elmet area of Leeds, are one of the more successful amateur sides in the city and, looking at the club’s list of officials, perhaps an on-and-off-pitch familiarity may be the key to that.
After all, chairman and under-21s coach is Ben Bradley, who is the son of club president Trevor Bradley.
Coach Neil McClure has also had a long affiliation with the side himself.
The club was resurrected in the 1960s after a team, made up of the local bacon factory employees, folded.
And ever since that time they have been in and around the West Yorkshire leagues, being one of the oldest names now seen in the division.
They have also won 20 district FA Cups, two West Riding County Cups and eight West Yorkshire Association League competitions, showing they have an illustrious history of successes.
“My dad has been involved with the club for over 40 years,” says Ben.
“He started as a player, and then himself has been a first-team manager.
“I have followed on from him over the last 15 years.”
Neil also has long-term ties: “I got involved with Sherburn White Rose when I started playing as a junior over 20 years ago for the now club president Trevor Bradley’s team.
“Since leaving junior football, due to other commitments, I was not involved in the club until the now club chairman, Ben Bradley, asked me to become his assistant manager for the first team two years ago.
“In that first season we won the Second Division and got to the final of the Barkston Ash Challenge Cup which, unfortunately, we lost on penalties. When Ben stepped down as manager I took over the reins.”
The club has benefited from some off-pitch investment and stability, according to Ben.
“We have our own clubhouse,” he explains. “We had a substantial grant in 2004, just over half a million pounds, and we built a brand new clubhouse and new changing rooms.
‘“What happened was, in the early 90s, we were winning cups.
“And then in the early 2000s we dropped to the second division and lost a lot of players.
“Then, in 2004, we got the new club house and a new manager called Wayne Day.”
Day ushered in an era of success at the club and a new approach that still sees him held in high regard.
His side, along with the new clubhouse, acted as an important catalyst for the club in the local community as well, according to Neil.
He continued: “With the development of our club in 2004, which brought a new clubhouse and changing rooms, means the facilities are outstanding for all involved from inside the club and outside the club.
“The clubhouse also serves the community with various events throughout the year.
“This would not be possible without the help of everyone involved within the club.
“This club is special as it brings all the community in Sherburn and surrounding areas together with players as young as six years old playing for the club right up to over-35s.
“The club really is a family affair.
“The major thing that makes this club special is that everyone involved is trying to help each other and get the best for the club.
“This is all done on a voluntary basis.
“The community aspect is certainly something the pair are – rightly – proud of.
“We help to provide a lot of out-of-school activities as a club for over a 100 children,” says Tom.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t run a reserve and second team last year but plans are in place to have a reserve team next year and we have also applied for the under-19s league, so we can have a team next year.”
On the pitch this season, Sherburn lie in seventh place on 25 points but with games in hand. Manager Neil is happy with the direction the side is heading.
“The aims of the season were to get promotion back to the Premier Division of the West Yorkshire League,” he says.
“This aim has not changed and we are in a great position to achieve this goal. Also, an aim from the club was to build up the squad so, again, we can field a reserve team and an under-19s team.
“That goal has been achieved and, starting in the 2016/2017 season, we will have both.
“Our style of football can differ depending on what players are available, weather conditions, pitch conditions and the opposition that we are playing. The players have been able to easily adapt when required.
“All my players have stood out to me this season.
“After a difficult start the players adapted to different styles of football and all worked together as a team.
“This really stood out to me, as one individual does not make a team.
“So credit must go to every member of the squad who has been part of the team this season as, without you all, we would not be in a position to achieve promotion.
“We are still actively recruiting players. If anyone out there’s interested, contact Neil McClure on 07875556259. We are also advertising for a reserve-team manager.
“Again, if anyone’s interested they should please send their CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The long-term goal is to get back into the Northern counties league within the next five years.”
And being settled on and off the pitch, who would bet against them continuing their progress?
Name: Sherburn White Rose FC
Division: West Yorkshire Association Football League Division One
President: Trevor Bradley
Chairman and under-21s coach: Ben Bradley
Secretary: Nick Dunwell
Coach: Neil McClure