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Leek Town F.C.

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Leek Town
Club logo
Full name Leek Town Football Club
Nickname(s) The Blues
Founded 1946[1] (as Leek Lowe Hamil)
Ground Harrison Park, Leek
Ground Capacity 3,600[2]
Chairman Jon Eeles
Manager Neil Baker
League Northern Premier League Division One West
2017–18 Northern Premier League Division One South, 7th of 22

Leek Town Football Club is an English football club based in Leek, Staffordshire, currently playing in the Northern Premier League Division One South. The team, nicknamed "The Blues", play their home games at Harrison Park.

The club was founded in 1946 and played in a variety of local leagues including the Staffordshire County League, Manchester League, Mid-Cheshire League and Cheshire County League, before becoming a founder member of the North West Counties League in 1982 and from there progressing to the Northern Premier League in 1987. In 1997 they were Northern Premier League champions and gained promotion to the Football Conference, the highest level of English non-league football, spending two seasons at that level before being relegated.

Leek Town reached the final of the FA Trophy in 1990, having progressed all the way from the first qualifying round, but lost in the final at Wembley Stadium 3–0 to Barrow.

History[edit]

Football was played in Leek from at least 1876, with an earlier side called simply Leek F.C. having been part of The Combination in the 1890s,[3] but the current Leek Town club traces its lineage to the formation of a team called Leek Lowe Hamil in 1946 (although the club's official history does not mention it, some sources state that the club was initially known as Abbey Green Rovers before adopting the Lowe Hamil name).[4][5][6]

The club began life playing in the local Leek and Moorlands League, playing on a field adjoining a pub, before joining the Staffordshire County League in 1947. In 1949–50 Lowe Hamil were champions of this league, becoming the first (and to date only) team to win the title without losing a single match[1] (some sources state this title win occurred in 1950–51).[4] In 1951 the team switched to the Manchester League, adopting the name Leek Town at the same time,[1] and won the championship at the first attempt,[4] after which the team relocated once more to the Mid-Cheshire League, where again they played for just one season.[3] In 1954 the team joined the Birmingham & District League but resigned in the middle of the 1956–57 season due to financial difficulties, after which they had another brief spell in the Manchester League, which was also curtailed due to monetary problems,[4] before eventually returning to the Staffordshire County League.[1]

In 1968 a new committee was formed, under which the club emerged from the doldrums. Manager Paul Ogden took over in 1969 and led the club to two Staffordshire County League championships, followed in quick succession by two Manchester League titles.[4] After the second Manchester League win, Leek joined the Cheshire County League, where they were league champions at the second attempt in the 1974–75 season, but after Ogden left in 1975 to take over as manager of Northwich Victoria a series of managers came and went in quick succession without being able to maintain this level of success.[7]

In 1982 the Cheshire County League merged with the Lancashire Combination to form the new North West Counties League, where Leek spent five relatively unsuccessful seasons.[3] During their spell in this league former England player Mike Pejic took over as manager, Leek's most high-profile appointment to date, but he had only a short reign before moving to Northwich Victoria.[7] Following Kevin Lewis' brief reign Neil Baker took over in 1986 and was to lead the club to some of its greatest successes to date.

Leek were chosen to be among the founder members of the new Northern Premier League Division One in 1987 and in 1989–90 won the Division One title to gain promotion to the Premier Division, the highest level at which they had ever played. In the same season they progressed through eight rounds of the FA Trophy, including a quarter-final win over Darlington, that season's Conference champions, to reach the final at Wembley Stadium but were defeated 3–0 by Barrow.[3]

In 1993–94 Leek finished second in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, which should have been sufficient for promotion to the Football Conference. However, they were refused promotion due to financial irregularities. To compound their problems, they were shifted from the Northern Premier League to the Southern League; the resulting travel costs proved a severe drain on the club. After one season the club was allowed to return to the Northern Premier League.[4]

Leek Town (blue shirts) in action against Marine in 2006

In 1996–97 Leek claimed the Northern Premier League title by ten points and were this time granted promotion to the Conference. In their first season at this level they narrowly managed to avoid relegation but could not repeat the feat the following year and were relegated back to the Northern Premier League Premier Division. In 2000–01 the Blues were relegated to Division One, but regained their place in the Premier Division when the league was restructured due to the formation of Conference North in 2004.[3] The club achieved several mid-table finishes in the league but struggled off the pitch. On 21 June 2006 it was announced that the club was in such severe financial peril that it was facing a winding-up order,[8] but on 11 June the following year it was confirmed that a new consortium had taken over the club and secured its future.[9] In the 2007–08 season Leek finished in the bottom four, resulting in relegation to Division One South.[10] Between the 2011–2012 and 2014–15 seasons the club qualified for the play-offs for promotion back to the Premier Division three times, but missed out each time. In 2011–12 Leek lost in the final to Ilkeston.[11] Two seasons later the team lost at the semi-final stage to Belper Town, and in 2015–16 Leek lost in the final to Sutton Coldfield Town.[10]

Colours and crest[edit]

Leek's home colours have traditionally been all blue, and their away colours all yellow,[12][13] both colours which reflect the town's coat of arms, which is predominantly blue and gold.[14] The club has also used a blue and white kit similar to that of Blackburn Rovers, and a red and black away kit.[15] Since 1997, the team's shirts have been sponsored by butter manufacturer Kerrygold, whose headquarters are in the town.[16]

The club's crest features a garb and a Staffordshire knot, both of which are elements of the town's arms,[14] as well as a caduceus, a symbol which appears on token coins issued in Leek in the 18th century.[17]

Stadium[edit]

Harrison Park, Leek Town's home ground

Harrison Park lies on the outskirts of Leek and has been the team's home since 1948, when the club purchased what was then called Hamil Park for £1,250. Changing rooms were constructed in the 1950s (previously the players had been obliged to change in a nearby pub), along with the first covered accommodation for spectators, and floodlights (which had previously belonged to the defunct Rugby Town) were erected in 1972, soon after which the stadium was renamed Harrison Park after former club chairman Geoff Harrison.[6]

The ground currently has a seated stand along one side of the pitch, which was constructed in 1992,[6] three covered terraces and a small amount of uncovered terracing.[18] In 1998 the ground was flooded when a nearby reservoir overflowed and the river which runs alongside the ground burst its banks.[6]

Leek County School Old Boys, when they were in the North West Counties Football League, shared the ground between the early 1990s and 2014.[19]

Supporters[edit]

In the 2016-17 season Leek's average attendance was 244, placing them fourth out of twenty two teams in the Northern Premier League Division One South.[20] In Leek's final season in the Conference National, 1998–99, the club's average home attendance was 607.[21]

Statistics and records[edit]

Leek's best ever league finish was a 19th-place finish in Conference National (level 5 of the overall English football league system) in 1997–98, the first of two seasons the team played at that level. The Blues have only twice progressed as far as the rounds proper of the FA Cup, reaching the first round in 1993–94 and the second round in 1990–91, when they held Chester City to a draw at home but lost 4–0 in the replay.[3]

Leek reached the final of the FA Trophy in 1989–90 but lost 3–0 to Barrow at Wembley Stadium.[22]

The highest attendance figure recorded at Harrison Park came when the club played near-neighbours Macclesfield Town in an FA Cup 2nd qualifying round match in the 1973–74 season in front of a crowd of 3,512.[6]

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

As of 21 October 2017[23]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
British Virgin Islands GK Ben Chapman
England GK Owen Wyatt
England DF Niall Green
England DF Jordan Lemon
England DF Joe Kearns
England DF James Curley
England DF Darren Chadwick
England DF Scott Lycett
England MF Danny Shelley
England MF Dan Marr
No. Position Player
England MF Sam Hall
England MF Marc Grocott
England MF Kyle Blake
England MF Sam Grimshaw
England MF Rob Stevenson
Northern Ireland MF Niall Maguire
British Virgin Islands FW Jordan Johnson
England FW Daniel Trickett-Smith
England FW Tim Grice
France FW Boris Melingui

N.B. The Northern Premier League does not use a squad numbering system

Managers[edit]

Despite their relatively short history, over 30 men have managed The Blues. Paul Ogden has had six separate spells in charge.[7][24][25]

From To Manager
1946 1949 Selection committee
1949 1954 Billy Bonsall
1955 1957 Eric Sweeny
1958 1961 George Parr
1961 1963 Jack Lally
1964 1967 Dennis Chorlton
1968 1969 Reg Halton
1969 1975 Paul Ogden
1975 1976 Cliff Hodgkinson
1976 1977 Peter Wragg
1977 1978 Paul Ogden
1978 1979 Ken Hancock
1980 1981 Alan Vickers
1982 1984 Jimmy Wallace
1984 1985 Mike Pejic
1985 1986 Kevin Lewis
1986 1994 Neil Baker
1994 1995 Steve Norris
1995 1996 Phil Wilson
1996 1998 Peter Ward
1998 1998 Ray Walker (caretaker)
1998 1998 Mike Pejic (caretaker)
From To Manager
1998 1999 Ernie Moss
1999 1999 Tony Agana (caretaker)
1999 2000 Andy Holmes
2000 2001 Mark Gardiner (caretaker)
2001 2002 Karl Wilcox & Mark Bromley
2002 2002 Paul Ogden (caretaker)
2002 2003 John Ramshaw
2003 2005 Paul Ogden
2005 2006 Nigel Deeley
2006 2006 Mark Cartwright
2006 2007 Paul Moore
2007 2007 Paul Ogden
2007 2007 Neil Brown (caretaker)[26]
2007 2007 Paul Ogden (caretaker)[25]
2007 2007 Paul Moore[27]
2007 2010 Wayne Johnson[27][28]
2010 2011 Neil Cox[29]
2011 2011 Stuart Heeps (caretaker)[30]
2011 2011 Neil Baker[31]
2011 2016 Lee Casswell[32]
2016 2017 Anthony Danylyk[33]
2017 Present Neil Baker

Current staff[edit]

As of May 2018[34][35]

Position Name
Manager Neil Baker
Assistant Manager Jamie Cullerton
Physiotherapist Lauren Dawson
Chairman Jon Eeles
Vice Chairman Paul Bateman
Director Neil Baker
Director Steve Norris
Director Andy Reeves
Director Tracy Reynolds
Director Ian Smith
Club Secretary Ian Evans

Honours[edit]

Leek reached the FA Trophy final in 1990.
Honour Season(s)
Northern Premier League
Premier Division champions
1996–97
Northern Premier League
Division One champions
1989–90
FA Trophy
Finalists
1989–90
Cheshire County League
Champions
1974–75[3]
Manchester League
Champions
1951–52,[36] 1971–72,[37] 1972–73[38]
Staffordshire County League
Champions
1949–50[36] or 1950–51[4] (records are unclear)
and two other occasions (dates unknown)[4]

Rivalries[edit]

Leek's main local rivals are Buxton,[39] the two sides having been historic Northern Premier League rivals throughout the 1990s. Matlock Town[40] and Kidsgrove Athletic[41] are also considered local rivals to the Blues.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "History". Leek Town F.C. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  2. ^ "A San Siro for Everyone?". Ciderspace – The Independent Yeovil Town Fans Website. 15 July 2000. Retrieved 4 July 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Leek". The Football Club History Database. Retrieved 6 July 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Leek Town F.C." Mossley F.C. Retrieved 6 July 2007. 
  5. ^ "Leek Town F.C." nonleaguefooty.co.uk. Retrieved 6 July 2007. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Leek Town FC". PyramidPassion.co.uk. Retrieved 3 July 2007. 
  7. ^ a b c "Past managers of Leek Town F.C." Leek Town F.C. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  8. ^ "Leek face winding-up order". nonleaguedaily.com. 22 June 2006. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2 July 2007. 
  9. ^ "Leek Town Saved – Press Statement". Northern Premier League. 11 June 2007. Archived from the original on 22 October 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2007. 
  10. ^ a b "Leek Town". The Football Club History Database. Retrieved May 19, 2018. 
  11. ^ "Ilkeston FC promoted". Ilkeston Advertiser. 29 April 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  12. ^ Williams, Tony (1978). The FA Non-League Football Annual 1978–79. MacDonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd. p. 137. 
  13. ^ Williams, Tony; Mike Williams (2007). Non-League Club Directory 2007. Tony Williams Publications Ltd. p. 292. ISBN 978-1-869833-55-8. 
  14. ^ a b "Civil Heraldry of England and Wales: Staffordshire". civicheraldry.co.uk. Retrieved 4 July 2007. 
  15. ^ "Club shop". Leek Town F.C. Archived from the original on 22 September 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2008. 
  16. ^ "Team building". Kerrygold. Archived from the original on 27 September 2006. Retrieved 4 July 2007. 
  17. ^ "Great Britain – 1793 – ½ Penny Token". napoleonicmedals.org. 17 November 2005. Retrieved 4 July 2007. 
  18. ^ "Leek Town: Harrison Park". FanZone.co.uk. Archived from the original on 12 February 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  19. ^ "Directions". Leek CSOB F.C. Retrieved 3 July 2007. 
  20. ^ "Attendances: Northern Premier League Premier Division". Tony's English Football Site. Retrieved 30 May 2009. 
  21. ^ "stats for confguide.com". ConfGuide.com. Archived from the original on 6 October 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2008. 
  22. ^ "FA Trophy Statistics". The FA. Archived from the original on 26 April 2005. Retrieved 4 July 2007. 
  23. ^ "First – Players & Coaches". Leek Town F.C. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  24. ^ "Leek Town Appointment for Ogden". Northern Premier League. 13 June 2007. Archived from the original on 22 October 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2007. 
  25. ^ a b "Ogden Returns to Take Charge at Leek- But Only One Game". Northern Premier League. 30 September 2007. Archived from the original on 4 October 2007. Retrieved 11 October 2007. 
  26. ^ "Ogden makes brief return to Leek hot-seat". NonLeagueDaily.com. 1 October 2007. Archived from the original on 27 March 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2012. 
  27. ^ a b "Leek Town Shocked by Moores Exit". Northern Premier League. 29 November 2007. Archived from the original on 1 December 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2007. 
  28. ^ "Johnson leaves Leek". Leek Town F.C. 3 October 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  29. ^ White, Andy (6 October 2010). "Leek appoint former Watford captain Cox". The Non-League Paper. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  30. ^ "Cox drops resignation bombshell". Leek Town F.C. 17 April 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  31. ^ Perkin, Alex (28 March 2011). "YLP: "Management team all but in place"". Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  32. ^ Snee, Tom. "Flurry of transfers at Leek". Northern Premier League. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012. 
  33. ^ Hannah, Jim (1 April 2016). "Leek Town: Ant Danylyk – I love the place now it's my job to lift the players". The Sentinel. Retrieved 17 April 2016. [permanent dead link]
  34. ^ "Officials". Leek Town F.C. Retrieved May 19, 2018. 
  35. ^ "Contacts". Leek Town F.C. Retrieved May 19, 2018. 
  36. ^ a b "leek Town Honours". Leek Town F.C. Retrieved 26 January 2010. 
  37. ^ "Non League Tables for 1971–1972". UK Soccer – Non League Archive. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 30 July 2007. 
  38. ^ "Non League Tables for 1972–1973". UK Soccer – Non League Archive. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 30 July 2007. 
  39. ^ Louise Bellicoso (20 June 2007). "Old rivalry is to be reignited". Buxton Advertiser. Archived from the original on 30 June 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2007. 
  40. ^ "Leek Town Weekly News". Northern Premier League. 8 April 2007. Retrieved 6 December 2007. [permanent dead link]
  41. ^ "Leek Town Weekly News". Northern Premier League. 25 March 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2007. [permanent dead link]

External links[edit]