Team of the Week: Young at heart of Mirfield’s success

Team of the Week Mirfield Town FC (SH100130086a).
Team of the Week Mirfield Town FC (SH100130086a).
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IT is perhaps no coincidence that in winning a perfect 18 games out of 18, Mirfield Town have conceded just 16 goals.

Not when their manager was once coached by Jack Charlton with the 2015 success for Mirfield made in the 1960s in Leeds.

Mirfield have taken the Heavy Woollen League Championship by storm and have completed their season as champions with a 100 per cent record.

It means an immediate return to the Premier Division for Mirfield – relegated last year having worked their way to the league’s top flight since their formation in 2004. But a large part of the club’s roots lie with Leeds through their founder, manager and former Leeds United season ticket holder Gordon Young, now a director of online car accessory business Auto Silicone Hoses Ltd.

Young and wife Gillian moved to Mirfield from Leeds in 1980 with Young going on to become chairman of Mirfield Cricket Club which proved the catalyst to creating Mirfield Town FC. The club have become accustomed to winning, and perhaps unsurprisingly given that their manager bases his style on one of Leeds United’s natural born winners.

Leeds-born Young grew up in Whitkirk, attending Temple Moor Grammar School and before that Halton Junior School, where one of English football’s most famous faces was on help to lend a hand. Young told the YEP: “In the days when we went to school at Halton, Jack Charlton used to live a couple of hundred yards away from the school and take us for football.

“That was in the days when you had a top international player who would just walk round to the local schools but Jack was a regular, a super guy, and I’ve got to say I based my style on Jack because I was a clogger. I was a centre-half and it was more about determination and effort than skill! If my knees weren’t as old as the rest of my body I think I would still be playing – at any level – because I absolutely love it.”

Young’s playing days also came in Leeds for successful Sunday side Manston Hotel who the centre-half was a founder member of before setting up the team’s second XI. Eventually, though, after meeting future wife Gillian at the Brown Cow Pub in Whitkirk, Young checked out of Leeds for a new life with his wife in Mirfield which is now benefiting from his leadership skills and his wife’s hospitality and cooking on both a football and cricket front. The couple have two sons, 31-year-old Andrew and 28-year-old Scott who were responsible for taking their dad to first Mirfield Town Cricket Club, and ultimately forming Mirfield Town FC.

Young explained: “It all started because the kids started playing football and I ended up managing junior teams at Battyeford Sports Club. I did the same with the cricket at Mirfield and I’m now chairman at Mirfield Cricket Club where we have a ground and a field and a clubhouse which virtually wasn’t get used all winter. So forming the football club was a win-win situation because it puts the heating on, it uses the club and brings in some bar revenue. We use the football pitches at the Memorial Grounds in Mirfield which are owned by the residents of Mirfield and the cricket club are good to us in that there’s a constant saving not renting council dressing rooms.

“I’m still also managing a junior cricket team again for the second time around – the second generation as my grandson, Ethan, is 14. Plus I’ve got another grandson, Jude, who is about six months old. I hope he doesn’t start playing cricket in seven or eight years or I’ll have to do it again. I’ll be doing it when I’m 90.”

Cricket duties now await Young this summer but Mirfield’s season is not quite complete given they are in the semi-finals of the Brook Butler Cup in which they hope to settle a score. The club’s only defeat this season came on penalties against Premier Division top dogs St John Fisher in the Heavy Woollen Challenge Cup and Young hopes a potential Brook Butler final with Fisher will offer the perfect chance for revenge.

“It would be nice to get one back on them,” said Young. “But whatever happens we’ve done well. Every season we start with the aim of winning every game but it’s a bit of a pipe dream really. It’s really satisfying to have done it.”

All roads now lead to the Heavy Woollen Premier and all Young needs now is promotion for the team he supports. For now, though, of paramount importance is Leeds United finishing above Huddersfield Town with Young’s assistant and former next door neighbour, Simon Fern, a Terriers supporter.

“You can imagine how many good times and bad times I have seen at Leeds,” said Young.

“I was fortunate because we used to get tickets because we played for the school football team when we were 10 and 11 in the 60s. It was absolutely incredible with massive crowds.

“It was amazing. We used to stand on the oval terrace which is the Don Revie stand now when they had a shed at the opposite end and it was fabulous. The good old days. With my assistant being a Huddersfield Town supporter we have a good friendly banter and I’m afraid with Leeds’ standards nowadays we’ve got to be above Huddersfield at the very least.”