It’s a balancing act for Golcar United as they bid for success on and off the field.
As a community club with a charitable purpose at its heart it’s not all about promotion at all costs.
Golcar are in their second season in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division and it’s about building solid foundations, not risking everything for promotion.
Chairman Peter Gledhill remains ambitious to climb the football pyramid but he also wants to build a club with facilities that the local community can use and be proud of.
“We have to balance the objectives within the club,” he said. “We would like to be in the top five and pushing for promotion but we have a budget and we have to stick to it.
“I’ve had to temper my obsession with going up every season. We have to be more realistic.”
The season didn’t start well for Golcar as they struggled to replace last season’s top scorer Kayle Price and also lost former Huddersfield Town defender player-coach Joe Skarz, who now plays for Hallam.
Prolific goalscorers are always going to attract offers of big wages and that’s something Golcar can’t – or won’t – compete with.
“In our division we have Emley and Campion doing extremely well and possibly half a dozen to 10 teams who have also invested in players,” said Mr Gledhill, pictured above. “There seems to be more money swilling around.
“Money has crept in to a greater extent than was our experience last season and there’s no doubt money talks. I’m not complaining about it. It’s just a fact of life.
“We are up against teams who are prepared to splash the cash and that’s more notable this year.”
Golcar and its ground – five years ago little more than a council field – is run by a charity and trustees who have a duty to the local community and wider concerns than just building a squad to challenge for promotion.
“We want to establish ourselves and build a platform,” said Mr Gledhill. “Unlike other clubs we have a charity organisation which runs the ground and we need to establish community benefit.”
That community benefit is already evident and the club has 26 teams from boys and girls from the age of four through to open age men’s and women’s teams.
The club’s Christmas draw raised almost £7,000, thanks to the support of the local community. That money will go towards the club’s off-the-field ambitions.
Mr Gledhill is keen to continue to develop the Skye Direct Stadium and being a charity helps open up new sources of funding.
Next on the agenda is increasing the size of the clubhouse. The club has put an application into the Football Foundation for around £40,000 to build an extension and double its size. An architect is now drawing up the plans.
The clubhouse is a converted former mobile bank! It was snapped up for a bargain £5,000 and has a steel construction and bullet-proof glass, perfect for protecting drinkers from hoofed clearances or (very) wayward strikers.
When they bought the former HSBC mobile branch it even had a safe, which took some shifting.
Mr Gledhill said: “When we bought the mobile bank they said we were lucky to get it as you wouldn’t find another. It’s one of the club’s best buys!
“It’s brilliant, it’s cosy and it’s right in front of the pitch. There’s space to extend it towards the pitch. The problem is it’s too small and we want people to stay in the ground longer after matches.
“The extension will make it twice the size and that should increase our income by another 50%, which for us is quite meaningful.”
The club is also looking to improve its car park. Some trees and shrubbery have been cut back and they are looking at putting down rubber matting to improve the surface and encourage drivers into the car park and away from surrounding residential streets.
There is funding for that too and Mr Gledhill said: “There’s definitely money coming down from the Premier League. Who would have thought there would be money available for building a car park?”
Longer-term the club wants to improve its training facilities too.
“We are basically building an infrastructure and we want to build this club,” said Mr Gledhill.
“We are on a journey and while we want to play at as high a level as possible we have a business plan which goes way beyond playing football on a Saturday afternoon.
“We are a true community club. That’s the basis of who we are.”
Images by: Huddersfield Hub photographer SEAN DOYLE