This weekend is the big kick off as Golcar United and Emley AFC get their Northern Counties East League Premier Division campaigns underway. Huddersfield Hub sports editor STEVEN DOWNES spoke to Golcar chairman Peter Gledhill and Emley’s Andrew Painten before a ball is kicked to get a view from the two camps.

Golcar, who won promotion last season, will be looking to get off to a strong start as they go to Thackley on Saturday July 30. Meanwhile Emley are also on their travels as they face big hitters North Ferriby, both are 3pm kick offs. 

On the season ahead, Golcar chairman Peter Gledhill said: “We are very excited to get going now as a club. We know it’s going to be a tough season for us as there are lots of great teams in there but we are going into this season wanting to hold our own.

“I’m not going to sit here and say we will finish in the top three because I think that’s pushing it. However, the aim is to try and finish mid-table to top half. 

“We don’t want to undo all the great work we’ve done up to this point and whilst consolidation is a negative word, that’s what we want to do. We want to give it a right good go.”

Gledill paid tribute to the people behind the scenes at the club and insists that it’s great to be playing at the same level as Emley. 

He said: “What we have at Golcar is a real connection between the trustees, the committee, the managers and players and, of course, our fans.

“All the way through the club there is a real bond there and we are taking that into the new season. There are lots of wonderful volunteers around the club and I have to give huge credit to Ben Senior who, in my opinion, is an outstanding secretary.

Golcar United pictured before Tuesday night’s friendly against Huddersfield Town Academy. Pic by: SEAN DOYLE

“We are excited for the new season and just want to get on with it now. The journey we have gone on to now is extraordinary and it’s a brilliant adventure that is set to continue.

“To be playing at the same level as Emley and getting average crowds of 500 is just fantastic and shows what can be done with creative thinking and passionate people who want the best for the club and local community.

“Emley have 12 months on us having played in this division and I expect them to be near the top. Hopefully we can give them a real game when we play them.” 

Meanwhile, Gledhill’s opposite number at Emley, Andrew Painten, is also ready to get going again and said: “We are excited for the season ahead and feel we have created a really competitive squad. The league gets tougher every year and this season will be no different. 

“When you start looking through the fixture list, it hammers home what a tough league this is with a long list of strong contenders. Not only those that were up there last season, but also clubs that are coming into the league through promotion or relegation.

“I think it will be another season where anyone can beat anyone on their day and we’ll have to be at our best from the first kick of the first game.”

North Ferriby v Emley AFC July 30 (3.00) at North Ferriby’s ground The Dransfield Stadium, HU14 3AB

Thackley v Golcar July 30 (3.00) at Thackley’s ground Dennyfield, BD10 0TL