AFC Emley are delighted with the financial ‘lifeline’ thrown to them by Town.
Tuesday’s Welfare Ground friendly against Stan Ternent’s League I squad attracted a crowd of 1,927 to boost the coffers of the Northern Counties East Division I club.
And AFC secretary Richard Poulain explained how valuable that support is to the re-launched village organisation, who have former favourite Ian Banks back in charge this season.
“The ground-sharing with the cricket club (Emley Clarence of the Drakes League) means we can’t play a home league game until September 20,” said Poulain, who was car park attendant, programme seller and announcer in addition to his other duties on Tuesday when AFC were soundly beaten 8-0.
“It means we’ve got seven away games to kick off the campaign – which in turn means we’ve got no-one coming through the gate or to use our bar – so the revenue from the Town game is an absolute lifeline for us to get the season under way.
“We have to rely on the generosity of clubs like Town to come and put on a pre-season friendly – and bring their fans with them – just to exist until we can stage our first home game of the season.
“Everyone at the club is working very hard but it can be tough, because if playing seven away games to start means we aren’t as far up the table as we might have been, then people are less likely to come and watch us when we are at home.
“It’s a bit of a Catch 22 situation, really, but we are hoping people will get behind us as much as they can and, if supporters are not travelling everywhere to watch Town, they will come up and support us and give us their backing as much as they can.”
AFC finished 11th in the NCE Division I last season but are hoping for a big improvement under Banks this time, especially as he’s signed experienced Neil Redfearn to play midfield when time allows (he’s youth coach at York) in a season which opens at Barton Town Old Boys on August 9.
Emley have a friendly at Colne this Saturday and their next big home pre-season friendly is against Rotherham United on Tuesday, August 5 (7.30).
The temporary fence which AFC have to erect on matchdays (to enclose their playing area and separate it from the cricket ground) will have to go up again for that match.
“If we can get a team of six or seven people together then it takes us about an hour and a half to put the fence up,” said Poulain.
“It doesn’t quite take so long to take it down again, but it does belong to us and it’s another of those team efforts which keeps us going.”
Emley have reverted to their traditional claret and blue colours, with sponsorship from Holmfirth-based estate agents and valuers Wm.Sykes & Son.