BAY Athletic are working on a five-year plan to bring Northern Counties East League football back to Huddersfield.
AFC Emley are currently operating at that level, but not since the demise of Bradley Rangers in the early Nineties has the town itself had a representative.
Bay chairman Martin Byrne, the former Town director, and secretary Kevin Burns believe their club, who are leading lights in the West Riding County Amateur League, could fill the void.
But they warned there is a lot of hard work ahead before the former District League side, founded in 1972, make the big step up.
The Football Association are said to be keen to encourage movement between the Northern Counties East League and its current feeders, which include the County Amateur.
Burns explained: “There are strict criteria on grounds regarding things like the floodlights, fencing, viewing areas and dressing rooms.
“The good news is that the FA are set to make grants available to get them up to the necessary standard, and that Syngenta, where we are currently based, are willing to work with us.”
With defending champions Bay currently top of the County Amateur Premier Division (the reserves also lead their division), Byrne said: “We’ve made steady progress since moving into the County Amateur League (in 1995).
“We believe Huddersfield could sustain a Northern Counties East League club. The town has six teams in the top division of the County Amateur and there are players here who go elsewhere to play decent-level non-league football.”
Bay have recently lost three players to higher-level clubs, with Lincoln Adams joining Halifax Town, Steve Smith moving to Buxton and Brighton Mugadza heading to Harrogate Railway.
But Burns insisted: “We wouldn’t want to stand in their way, and it’s enabled us to give other players a chance.
“We’ve got a strong second team, so there are players who can step up to the firsts when required, and our record over the last few years (Bay are chasing a third title in four seasons) matches most at this level.
“It’s important to keep moving forward as a club and we would like to join the Northern Counties at some stage.”
Brighouse Town and Hemsworth are the last two clubs to leave the County Amateur for the two-division NCEL, which was founded by the 1982 merger of the old Yorkshire and Midland Leagues.