Prestwich Heys A.F.C.

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Prestwich Heys
Prestwich heys new badge.jpg
Full name Prestwich Heys Amateur Football Club
Nickname(s) The Heys
Founded 1938
Ground Grimshaw Park, Whitefield
Chairman John Carroll
Manager Mike Joshua
League Manchester League Premier Division
2012–13 Manchester League Premier Division, 8th

Prestwich Heys A.F.C. is an amateur football club based in Prestwich, Greater Manchester, England.

Heys run three senior sides with the first team competing in the Manchester Football League Premier Division and the reserves team competing in the Manchester Football League Division Two (reserves division). The third team (A team) play in the fourth division (A team division) of the Manchester League. Heys are a Chartered Standard senior club.

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

The origins of Prestwich Heys A.F.C. can be traced back to February 9, 1938 when a meeting was called at the music room of the Heys Road Boys' School at which Elgar Lumsden put forward the idea of forming an old boys' association.

Attending that first meeting were messrs Bridge, Stott, Foster, Taplin and Alan Proctor Bell, who was to become a central figure in the club’s history and whose progress he was to report on in the Prestwich Guide under the guise of ‘Touchliner’.

Despite the onset of the Second World War a year later, the association flourished under the chairmanship of Bell, who also acted as secretary of the football arm, known as Heys Old Boys' AFC and was acknowledged as one of the region’s best.

The club went on to win its first honours in 1943 in the Prestwich and Whitefield League with the Woodward Shield – a success which was repeated for the next three seasons.

The glory years[edit]

The team gradually progressed through the Bury Amateur League and into the South East Lancashire League claiming championships in 1960, 1961 and 1964. Under the guidance of Peter Gilmore in the 1960s, Heys won the prestigious Lancashire Amateur Cup in 1967 followed by the one and only Lancashire Combination Grand Slam in the 1970–71 season with Heys bringing all four trophies available back to Grimshaw's.

The club also changed its name in 1964 to Prestwich Heys AFC, an acknowledgement of the fame achieved by the club as they proved one of the nation’s top amateur clubs.

Thousands flocked to see Heys play, and beat, the likes of Sutton United, Ferryhill Athletic, Finchley and Highgate United in the FA Amateur Cup with the club's best run taking Heys to the last 8. The victory over Sutton United in 1969 ranks as one of Heys’ most famous moments, attracting nationwide coverage, coming a week before their opponents were due to meet Leeds United in the FA Cup.

Prestwich Heys match action 2008–09 season

Restructuring and a new home[edit]

These were heady days but with the 1970s came the onslaught of professionalism and the club struggled to maintain its winning ways. After claiming the Manchester Amateur Cup in 1972, the trophy cabinet remained bare as Heys negotiated the gradual restructuring of semi-professional football, moving from the Cheshire County League into the newly formed North West Counties League in 1982.

Ground grading problems saw the club drop into the Manchester Football League in 1986 but the club went on to gain its first trophy for over a decade when the First Division title was claimed in 1988.

1991 saw Heys moved by Bury Council off their Grimshaw's home on Heys Road for a new base at Sandgate Road, just over the border in Whitefield.

After relegation in 1996, the club bounced back with the Manchester League double of First Division Championship and Murray Shield built on the back of a record 19 league wins from the start of the season.

Former skipper Lee Connell in action for Heys in 2006

Present day[edit]

After finishing runners-up to champions Royton Town in the 2003–04 season, the 2004–05 season saw Heys finally take the major prize of their first Manchester League Premier Division title. They followed this up by retaining their crown the following season with a 2–0 victory in their penultimate game of the season at Hindsford.

In 2006–07 Heys made it a hat-trick of Premier Division titles and also lifted the Goldline Trophy after defeating Charnock Richard on penalties at the Reebok Stadium.

Manager and Chairman Adie Moran died on June 27, 2007, whilst on holiday in Sri Lanka at the age of 43. Assistant Manager Jason Dormer took over first team duties until he was replaced by Peter Freakes and Andy Whiteman in February 2008.

However, Freakes and Whiteman's spell in charge was to last only nine games with the club citing differences of opinion in the future strategy of the development of the club as the reason for their dismissal.

Reserve team management duo of Liam Morrissey and Paul Taylor took over the running of first team affairs during the summer of 2008. Morrissey led the team to a 12th-place finish in the 2008–09 season, some 29 points behind league champions Manchester Gregorians.

On 8 October 2009, with Heys sitting third from bottom in the table, it was announced that Morrissey was standing down from his position as first team manager. Morrissey moved to manage the reserve squad and was replaced by former Heys player Mark Slater, who was taking on his first managerial role.

Heys continue to work on their redevelopment plans as they look to get their Sandgate Road ground up to a standard that may possibly see a return of North West Counties League football to Prestwich for the first time since 1986. Planning permission for pitch floodlights was granted in November 2007, but the great expectation's of the local council made the club unable to fulfill the ground structure as far too much work was obligated to take place around the ground wall,in the way of a woodern covering the wall, also the amount of work obligated to take place in and around the car park.

League history[edit]

Records[edit]

League Positions:
1st in the Lancashire Combination 1970–71
4th in the North West Counties League Division Three 1982–83
1st in the Manchester Football League Premier Division 2004–05, 2005–06 and 2006–07

FA Cup:
Second Round Qualifying v Mossley 1973–74 (lost 3–2)
Second Round Qualifying v Stalybridge Celtic 1978–79 (lost 4–1)
Second Round Qualifying v Southport, 1983–84 (lost 1–0)

FA Amateur Cup:
Quarter-final v Enfield 1969–70 (lost 2–0)

FA Trophy
Second Round Qualifying v Leeds & Carnegie College 1974–75 (lost 2–1)

FA Vase
Preliminary Round (on 7 occasions)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°32′40″N 2°16′23″W / 53.54444°N 2.27306°W / 53.54444; -2.27306