Marsden FC are champions, completing a remarkable turnaround on and off the field.
Boss Luke Haigh has masterminded the reset of a struggling club which sealed the Yorkshire Amateur League Division Two title with two matches to spare.
The Fall Lane club clinched top spot last weekend after winning 18 of their first 20 matches, losing just once.
On the turnaround, Haigh said: “Last season Marsden couldn’t field enough players to compete in the 3rd Division of the District League and I believe they forfeited four of their last five games.
“Just 12 months later we have won the YAL Division 2 title at the first attempt and are now regularly fielding two teams every weekend.
“We have some very exciting young players at the club and the future now is starting to look bright for them again.
“I’m feeling proud that we have managed to bring some silverware back to Marsden for the first time in quite a while for the senior sides.
“This season means a great deal for the club going forwards as it shows our youth teams that we have a successful open age team ready for them to step into when they are old enough and ready.
“It’s been a collective performance most of the season. What I will say is we have a nice blend of young and experienced players at the moment and the senior lads are really helping the young lads out. Some as young as 16 and 17 years old have made a big impression in the first team this season and long may it continue.”
Haigh took over at Marsden in July 2022 and his success this season meant he soon attracted interest from other clubs.
Haigh stayed put and with the title in the bag, he said: “Regarding my future at the club I’m not looking to go anywhere anytime soon.
“So the plan for next season is that we will be moving up a minimum of two divisions. I’m looking at bringing in at least five new players this summer to push my first team lads on and I’m also looking to strengthen our reserve team, which will be joining us next season in the YAL.
“I’ve got a few lads already in for next season who have bought into what I’m trying to do with the club as a whole. So I’m hoping by the time pre-season comes we will be a lot stronger than last season.”
For Haigh it’s all about building the club and its facilities off the field too.
He added: “It’s full steam ahead with regards to getting our ground up to scratch. I’m hoping by the time pre-season comes around we have sponsor boards up all around the pitch.
“The dugouts will be installed with fixed seating and we’ll have artificial grass areas at the front of the dugouts laid. We also want a new kitchen to be installed in the clubhouse for match days for food and hot drinks. The home changing rooms are also due to get refurbished too so there is lots to do.
“I’d like to finish by saying a massive thank you to all the people behind the scenes who have worked tremendously hard all season for us. Long may that continue.”