Emley AFC, Wakefield & Emley AFC, Wakefield - Emley AFC, Wakefield FC
Shorter History

 

Wakefield FC (& Emley AFC club history  

Emley FC was formed in 1903 and joined the second division of the Huddersfield league.  Sixty years later, after winning the Huddersfield District League Championship for the fourth successive season, the club entered the FA Amateur cup and reached the last sixteen at the first attempt, losing at home to Barking before a record crowd of 5,139.  The following season the club entered the Yorkshire League and were champions on four occasions and league cup winners three times before the formation of the North Counties East League in 1982. 

In the 1986/7 season Emley reached the semi-final of the FA Challenge Vase, losing 2-1 on aggregate to St Helens Town.  The following season the club did reach Wembley to meet Colne Dynamoes in the final but with the score 0-0 at 90 minutes, extra time was played and a late goal denied Emley a moment of glory.  The NCE Premier Division Championship was won the same season but promotion to the Northern Premier League was denied on ground grading.  When the club retained the championship in 1989 all the necessary work had been completed and the club was able to claim promotion. 

Two seasons later Emley had a great season, winning further promotion to the Premier Division and reaching the quarter finals of the FA trophy, losing away to the eventual finalists Kidderminster Harriers. In the process two conference sides were beaten.

The following season 6th place was achieved in the NPL Premier Division and the club reached the 1st round proper in the FA cup for the first time.  The game was played at Huddersfield Town's ground and Emley lost to Bolton Wanderers. That year the Sheffield and Hallamshire senior cup was retained. 

During the close season the manager, Gerry Quinn,  left to take over at Conference club Altrincham  and many of the successful side went with him.  Central defender Steve Codd took over the reins and with little time to prepare and no experience of management did well to maintain the clubs standing in the division. 

 
The following season Emley finished in 13th place and after a poor start in 1994, ex Frickley Athletic manager Ronnie Glavin took over. Slowly the club stabilised and in season 1996/97 a fourth place was achieved.

The next season brought more success with the club reaching the 3rd round proper of the FA cup, a draw at Morecambe was followed by a win in the replay at the Welfare ground in the 1st round.  The 2nd round produced a draw at Lincoln City, the replay was played at Huddersfield Towns new McAlpine stadium saw fortunes fluctuate before Emley won the penalty shootout.  A trip to West Ham United was the prize and after a close game, the premiership side won 2-1 with a late winning goal in front of a crowd of 18,629 spectators. A 6th place in the league followed and the Hurst brotherís transfers brought sizeable fees to the club. 

The FA Cup provided further success in 1998/99 with Emley going out to Rotherham United in a 1st round replay.  Michael Reynolds went to Ayr for a fee of £60,000 and in the quarter finals of the FA Trophy Emley lost 1-0 to Cheltenham in the year that the Gloucestershire club won promotion to the Football League. 

Season 2000/01 started at Belle Vue, Wakefield as the club sought Conference football at its new ground.  Despite reaching a mammoth 101 points Emley lost out to Stalybridge Celtic by one point and a further change off the field was needed. 

  In January 2002 the club became a Limited Company and changed its name to Wakefield & Emley FC.  At the end of the season 5th place had been achieved. 

The 2002/03 season was one of transition both on and off the field and after a poor start, the team finished in 12th place.  During the summer of 2003 Ronnie Glavin returned to league football as 1st team coach at Barnsley and Ian Banks, who had a distinguished football league career ending at Emley for a number of seasons, was installed as manager.  

After a poor start to the 2003/04 season Ian Banks decided to quit and the long serving duo of Ray Dennis and Paul David took over.  A number of established players moved on and the season was a very poor one for Wakefield-Emley;  finishing at the foot of the table some 10 points adrift, something not experienced at the club before. 

Relegation was effectively avoided due to the formation of the Conference North and South so, after a minor name change to  Wakefield - Emley, we remained in the Northern Premier League Premier Division for season 2004/05. Early in the season Ray Dennis resigned as joint manager, after a defeat by Clitheroe in the FA Cup but we finished the season in a reasonably satisfying 12th position.

During the period 2000/01 to 2004/05 the reserve side continued to compete in the Northern Counties East League Reserve Division, playing their home fixtures at the Welfare Ground in the village. However, the league gave notice that at the end of the season the Reserves Division would be terminated due to a continual loss of clubs. This essentially led to the formation of a new club, AFC Emley, who set up to play in Division 1 (2nd level) of the West Yorkshire League for season 2005/06.

Season 2005/06 started well and by Christmas the club were well placed in the top 6, although they had played more games than those challenging for promotion. However, severe budget cuts early in the new year meant the better players moved to other clubs and the second half of the campaign was a disaster. On the last day of the season we lost at champions Blyth Spartans and slipped into the relegation zone; finishing two points adrift of 4th bottom Lincoln United  who had won their last game at Guiseley.

The summer of 2006 saw the club rename itself as Wakefield FC. This was accompanied by a move across the city to play at College Grove, the former ground of Wakefield Rugby Union club. The club's strip was also changed from the famous claret and blue to blue and yellow.  However, all this re-organisation coupled with a virtually new, inexperienced side meant we were ill prepared for the challenges of the lower division. Despite some plucky performances we lost 11 league games in a row. In the first 15 games we also went out of the FA Cup and the FA Trophy and our only two victories were in the FA Cup against lower level opposition. In the 16th game of the season we gained our first point at Clitheroe on October 10th and finally in our 14th League game we claimed victory on October 18th, coming from behind to clinch a winner in the last minute at Brigg Town!

Form improved, especially after Christmas when Paul David stood down and joined the Board of Directors. Gareth Stoker, a previous Football League player, took over the reigns and we finished the season 4th from bottom and outside the 'nominal' relegation positions. We also reached the final of the President's Cup, played in front of a 700+ crowd at Buxton. We lost 1 - 3 but the game will be long remembered by all who were there for a diabolical decision by a linesman to disallow an equaliser at 1 - 2 after the referee had signalled a goal.