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Written by George Williams
Thursday, 12 November 2009 09:49
 

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Garforth Town Football Club were originally formed in 1964 as the MINERS ARMS, a local pub team taking their name from the hostelry where they were based. Formative years were spent in the Elmet Sunday League and then the Leeds Sunday Combination League in 1972.

Having no ground of their own and none available in Garforth, matches had to be played on a council pitch in nearby Swillington. Following several years of League & Cup success, the club decided to step up into Saturday Football and joined the West Yorkshire League, at the same time acquiring their own ground at BRIERLANDS LANE, by transforming a former council rubbish tip.

In 1977 Garforth made an application to join the Yorkshire League, however they were advised that pub teams were ineligible to compete so they changed the team’s name to GARFORTH MINERS and were duly elected. At the start of the 1981/82 season they became founder members of the Northern Counties East League, which was an amalgamation of the old Yorkshire and Midland League. In 1985 came the name change to the present one of GARFORTH TOWN.

The 1986/87 season saw Town produce their best ever Cup run when they reached the QUARTER FINAL stage of the FA VASE, eventually bowing out by 2 goals to 1 to the Essex based side Collier Row. 1991 saw the clubhouse erected at Brierlands Lane and in 1995 floodlights were installed following a campaign, which included the handing over, to local councillors of a petition in favour of lights going up which was signed by several hundred people. The appointment of Dave Parker as manager in 1994 after the departure of the previous manager and nearly all the first team players started what is undoubtedly Town’s best period in the NCEL.

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The 1996/97 season brought a NCE Division One runnersup spot as well as a Cup Final win when Town lifted The Wilkinson Sword Trophy by defeating Eccleshill United over two legs. In 1997/98 Town won the NCE Division One Championship in style, 18 points clear of the second placed team - their first ever major League victory - and also completed the DOUBLE by winning the West Riding County Cup, beating Premiership side Liversedge 2-0 in the final.

For the 1998/99 season Town moved into their brand new purpose built stadium - WHEATLEY PARK. That season saw Town reach the final of the NCEL President’s Cup, eventually losing over two legs to North Ferriby United and in their first season in the Northern Counties East Premier Division - although topping the table to Christmas - finish a very creditable mid-table position.

In the 1999 /2000 season, despite a poor league finish, Town proved to be a cup winning side. They won the West Riding County Cup, beating Eccleshill United 2-0, as well as the Northern Counties East League Cup with a 3-1 victory over First Division side Glapwell in the final at Ossett Albion’s ground. Success that season was not confined to the First Team.

Town’s Under 18 side won the Leeds & District Championship at their first attempt and several of the side also made their debut for the First Team. A sign that Town’s youth policy is starting to bear fruit. Dave Parker retired as manager following the League Cup final after six years at the helm. He was the best and most successful manager Town has ever had. His successor was Dave Harrison who had been Dave Parker’s assistant manager for the previous 3 years. His time in charge at Town saw him having to guide a young and inexperienced side through difficult times before being replaced towards the end of the 2001/2002 season as manager by Dave Holmes. Despite the hopes for better as the previous season’s young squad had more experience and had also been augmented with experienced players, in the 2002/2003 season Town finished bottom of the NCEL Premier Division and relegated to Division 1.

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Simon Clifford who runs the Brazilian Soccer Schools then took over as owner of the Club and after a shaky start to the 2004/05 season took over as manager guiding the club to promotion back to the NCEL Premier - the 1st step of his ambition to take Town all the way up the football pyramid. The season also saw the Miners take the National limelight with former Brazilian International Socrates making his Garforth Town debut, alongside former Manchester United player Lee Sharpe. Clifford went on to steer the club to it's highest-ever finish in the 2005/2006 season of 11th in the Northern Counties East League. In 2006/2007, Garforth formed a major three-year sponsorship deal with GENIX, which also included the Stadium name changed to The GENIX Healthcare Stadium. Clifford also led Garforth to their second promotion in three years. For the first time in the clubs history, Garforth reached Step Four of the National League System and entered the newly-formed UniBond Division One North.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 July 2010 12:59
 

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