Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The Resurrection of Farsley AFC

From Darkness into Blue:

Twitter - @jamesAgrayson

Almost three years to the day Farsley Celtic played its last ever game – a 2-1 Blue Square North victory at Droylsden. Eleven days later, administrators Mazars folded the senior team to end 101 years of history. The club reformed in the summer of 2010 and in 2013, Farsley AFC is a thriving business and football club built with steel on solid ground rather than on sand.

The Palmer-Farrell consortium bought Throstle Nest in June 2010 to pave the way for the club to reform and compete in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division. Led by chairman John Palmer, they had and still have a solid business plan designed for the club to make money and become self-sufficient. The bar and sports hall were renovated and new sports facilities were added including an all-weather surface and two small-sided pitches. The bar makes money and there are parties every weekend. The sports hall is booked up every night. Until recently a church group held its Sunday service in the function room.

The successful business side of the football club has allowed Neil Parsley, who returned to manage the reformed team, to create a promotion-chasing side in all three seasons as Farsley AFC. He persuaded most of his Blue Square North side to take a massive wage cut to return and lead the charge back up the leagues. Farsley won the NCEL Premier title at the first attempt at a canter – winning 13 and drawing one of the last 14 games. Ryan Watson’s last minute goal also secured the NCEL League Cup.

The success continued last season when Farsley finished fourth in the Evo Stik Division One North and bowed out in the play-off semi-final at Witton Albion. The Villagers again went on a long unbeaten run to secure their aim.

Last summer Farsley set their sights on winning the league with the signings of Chris Walton, Adam Priestley and Rob Pacey from Garforth Town. However, inconsistent performances have dogged the club’s progress and they will do well to hold their play-off spot as other teams have games in hand. The season has not been a disaster though. Farsley returned to the FA Cup for the first time in three years and are still challenging for the Doodson Sports Cup.

If promotion can’t be achieved this season, Farsley will go for it against next year. They will not go away. Although the aims of the club are not to reach the heights of his predecessor, Farsley AFC still want to play at the highest standard possible. Farsley are a gathering storm, but a powerful one backed by a successful business.

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