Emley AFC’s combative midfielder Joe Kenny has had a less than conventional football career so far.
An England international in Futsal, he’s represented his country in Japan, Germany and France. Now 27, Kenny finds himself in the cut and thrust of Emley’s bid for promotion from the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.
Futsal is a football-based sport played mainly indoors on a hard-floored court that’s smaller than a football pitch. It’s played with a smaller, harder, lower-bounce ball which helps emphasise skill and technique.
On his Futsal career, Kenny said: “To represent England was fantastic. Sadly, we never qualified for a World Cup but I played eight times for my country.
“I got into Futsal when I went to Loughborough University. Unfortunately, there is no England team now as funding was cut before Covid-19 hit.
“I’ve played in Japan, Germany and France. They were all great experiences and we regularly trained at St George’s Park.”
Kenny’s career started in the conventional way before his Futsal diversion. Having progressed through the ranks at Leeds United’s academy as a youngster from the age of seven until 15, he had a year at Huddersfield Town before giving up on academy football.
Kenny then signed for Frickley Athletic whilst also progressing his Futsal career. After leaving Frickley he went on to play for Liversedge for three years. The travelling for Futsal became too much and Kenny gave up the game to concentrate on his football.
He has now landed at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground and is balancing football at Emley with his job as an electrical engineer.
Kenny joined Emley in the middle of last season after finding game time limited at newly-promoted Liversedge.
He works away a lot and seriously thought about giving up semi-pro football but Pewits boss Richard Tracey persuaded him to sign for Emley.
“Richard understands my working situation and because of that it made me want to sign for him and the club,” said Kenny. “Sometimes I can’t make it to training not because I don’t want to but because I just can’t be there all the time due to the nature of my job.”
Emley are unbeaten in the league since an opening day defeat to leaders North Ferriby. Emley are currently second, eight points behind North Ferriby with two games in hand.
On Saturday (November 26) North Ferriby come to the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground (3.00) and a win for the Pewits could throw the title race wide open.
Kenny said: “We are going into this game very confident. We are at home and in good form. Yes, they are at the top of the table but their form hasn’t been great.
“If we can beat them and then win our games in hand it puts huge pressure on them and ultimately we want to be at the top of the league.
“This could be a real springboard for us for the rest of the season if we can get a good result.”
Emley are putting on a free bus in partnership with Stotts Coaches for this game leaving Huddersfield town centre and going up to the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground.
The club has also said it’s free entry to any Huddersfield Town season ticket holder but you must show your season card on the gate.
Despite being a keen Leeds United fan, Kenny hopes to see as many Town fans as possible there to support the Pewits.
He said: “Hopefully we’ll get a big crowd at the ground because the fans’ backing really does make a difference.
“Emley have put on a really great offer so I hope as many people as possible come to the game and see what Emley is all about.”