Emley AFC is a proud club with ambitions to work its way up the divisions in non-league football. Led by chairman Andrew Painten, the club has more than 35 dedicated volunteers hard at work behind the scenes. Here STEVEN DOWNES introduces some of the club’s unsung heroes. 

It’s Non-League Day on Saturday March 26 and Emley face Silsden at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground (3.00). Non-league weekend happens every season during an international break and gives fans of football league clubs the chance to watch their local grassroots team instead. 

Emley chairman Andrew Painten said: “We are a proud club and we love Non-League Day. It gives us a chance to entice some extra supporters to come and watch us play. In the past we’ve had fans of Leeds United, Huddersfield Town, Barnsley and the two Sheffield clubs come along to watch us which is great. 

“We are all very proud of what we do at the football club and I think it gives us an opportunity to celebrate all the fantastic help we get from our amazing volunteers.” 

Emley manager Richard Tracey echoed those thoughts and said: “We are excited to play Silsden on Non-League Day. The club has had big attendances in the past on these days and we are hoping for another big crowd. 

“All the volunteers do an amazing job and because of what they do and the work they put in it means we can concentrate on the football side of things.”

So who are the Emley volunteers and what do they do?


Andrew is known as ‘the gatekeeper’ at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground. He lives in Waterloo and works as a screen printer in his day job. However on home match days you can expect a friendly smile from Andrew on the turnstiles. 

He has supported the club for 12 years and is hoping another promotion is on the cards, but insists that even if that doesn’t happen again he’ll still be here welcoming people into the ground.

Andrew said: “Even if we didn’t get promoted again, I would still enjoy the social aspect of coming to watch Emley. I would always recommend people to get involved with this friendly club.” 

Barrie Pettinger


Once you are through the gates, you might fancy a pint or maybe a soft drink. If you head over to the Pewits bar you are likely to see Barrie Pettinger who will likely serve you. 

Barrie, 78, from Salendine Nook, is a real people person and is a firm favourite with everyone at the club. He’s a retired delivery driver who now puts all his efforts into helping the Pewits be the best they can be. 

On his eight years supporting and volunteering for the club he said: “I love helping. I have made new friends and it keeps me active. My routine starts three hours before kick off making sure everything’s ready in the bars for the visiting club officials, match officials and spectators.” 

Karen Wood, Christine Pettinger, Val Lidiard


After having a refreshing pint in the bar served by the fantastic Barrie you might be feeling a bit peckish before the big kick-off. Well Emley has got you covered with their brilliant Dugout Diner team making sure no one goes hungry.

Three of the Diner ladies are Christine Pettinger, Karen Wood and Val Liddard. 

Christine, wife of barman Barrie, is a key figure at the club and has been involved for the last nine years. She was a co-founder of the Dugout Diner when it was created. Christine will be hanging up her apron at the end of this season. 

Karen joined the team in 2014 and will be taking over the lead role from Christine as of next season. 

Last but not least is Val who came on board five years ago and has loved every minute of helping out. She said: “There are no blips in the kitchen. If someone needs to make a tea one of us instantly covers, no words needed.”

While the ladies may run a tight ship there are some things even they can’t control. “We’ve had a football through the window before now,” said Val.

Emley chairman Andrew Painten said: “Christine and her team do a brilliant job. On behalf of everyone at the club thank you Christine and Barrie for everything you have done for the club and match day crowd.” 

Richard Poulain


After tucking in to some fantastic food at the Dugout Diner and having a pint in the bar you’ll be able to hear the dulcet tones of Richard Poulain over the tannoy at the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground. 

Richard, 72, from Meltham, has a long and storied history with the club stretching back over 30 years. He has an even longer association with the game overall. 

Having worked for Huddersfield-based Stotts coaches, Richard has driven Emley’s first team to many away fixtures. He was also club secretary between 1996 and 2003 but had to give up the role due to his wife Christine’s ill-health. 

During his time as secretary, Emley played West Ham United in a famous third round FA Cup tie. The Hammers won the game 2-1 but it brought Richard’s story full circle having had trials at the London-based club in the 1964-65 season. His playing career was ended by some serious ankle injuries. 

Richard moved into refereeing and officiated until he retired at the age of 48. In 1997 he made League history by becoming the first referee to send off five players in one match – the Second Division fixture between Chesterfield and Plymouth.

He was also in charge of the match which officially opened the McAlpine Stadium – now the John Smith’s Stadium – when Town played the then Premiership champions, Blackburn Rovers. He has also been secretary of the Huddersfield and District Junior Football League in the past. 

Richard joined the volunteers team at Emley last year taking up the match announcer role. 

Nigel Wakefield on the right


You might think the people at the top of a football club wouldn’t get involved with the nitty gritty of preparing the ground for home matches and most times you’d be right. However, that’s not the case at Emley AFC where club president Nigel is happy to get stuck in. 

Known affectionately as ‘El Presidente’ by some fans, Nigel has supported the Pewits since the 1980s. 

Now retired, he is a big part of the ‘Tuesday Club’ where Emley volunteers go up to the ground to keep it looking smart. Despite being president, Nigel had to fall into line with the other volunteers as Barrie Pettinger made sure the former club chairman pulled his wait with painting and sweeping up duties. 

Nigel said: “On my very first day Baz said I would need to start at the bottom and work my way up. Getting together on a Tuesday to keep the facility clean and tidy gives you a sense of pride.” 

John Mason- Kitman and Physio


John Hodgson, 80, of Skelmanthorpe, has supported the club for half of his life and is another dedicated volunteer who helps to keep the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground clean and tidy. 

Joanna Gray


Every club has that person who keeps everything together and that certain someone for Emley is Joanna Gray. Having grown up in the village Jo, as she is known, as has watched the club grow and evolve.

Her uncle Gordan Adamson played for the club and was also club secretary for 30 years. Now Jo is following in her uncle’s footsteps, she loves being at the club. “It’s one big, happy Emley family,” she says.

Ashley Booth


The name Booth is well known in the town of Huddersfield but it’s at Emley AFC where it’s not Andy Booth that’s a key person it’s Ashley. 

Ashley, 41, is an important man on matchdays. When he’s not chasing after stray footballs in people’s gardens he’s helping to tidy things around the ground. He also runs the admin side for the club’s under 23 team, creating the teamsheets on match days and sometimes even washing the kit. 

He said: “The best thing about being involved with the club is that everyone is kind and helpful. On match days I get up and put my tracksuit on ready to put the flags out and help prepare the pitch before games.” 


First of all, Emley has Ian Mason who keeps the Emley AFC website going. He has been the club’s communications manager in the past and now helps secretary Jo out with communicating details to match officials. 

Ian, 58, now lives in Cheshire but has supported the club since the age of eight and believes it has a bright future. 

He said: “I hope we can get into the Northern Premier League again in the next five years. We have people who are running the club that have given it a real boost over the last few seasons and a management team who are capable of succeeding.”

Ian Mason

Emley have in the past few years really expanded their social media presence and that is thanks to the whole media team but specifically two people in particular. 

Firstly Andy Whittaker, 41, who has superb tweeting skills and keeps fans up to date with the match action. He was particularly important through the difficult period of the Covid-19 pandemic, and although reduced crowds were let into non-league stadia many fans still relied on match tweets for updates. His affiliation to Emley stretches back to the late 1980s supporting them as a youngster.

The club also relies on Lil Adamson the granddaughter to the aforementioned Gordan Adamson, the former club secretary. Lil who is Emley born and bred helps out with the Instagram and Facebook pages and can’t remember a time when she didn’t go to the Fantastic Media Welfare Ground.

Lil Adamson and Krissi Simmons

Martin Eastwood is a loyal fan and the club reporter. He attended his first game in 1988 and often now writes match reports for the club’s website. 

Much like Martin, Andy Wells writes articles and match reports for the website. Hailing from Manchester he moved to the area with his fiance just before the pandemic hit. He joined the club to make new friends.

Krissi Simmons is the club’s Media and Marketing Director and helps to lead the media team to become one of the best in the country at non-league level.

Krissi grew up in the village but has spent the last 10 years away from the area. Being bored in lockdown in 2021 and moving back to the village, Krissi wanted to find out what was going down in the town.

After seeing an opportunity to get involved with the club and having a conversation with chairman Andrew Painten, Krissi who had never attended a football game before has now found her love for the sport and club. she only lives four minutes away too. 

Mark Parsons is the club photographer and has supported the club since the 1980s. He can regularly be seen on match days snapping the match action.

Mark Parsons


Andrew Painten became chairman of the club just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Taking over the role from Nigel Wakefield you have to give credit to Andrew as he didn’t take over at the smoothest of times. In his day job he is a TV producer living in the village of Penistone.

Chairman Andrew Painten

Having supported the club since 1989, Andrew is honoured to now lead the club he dearly loves. 

He said: “I am honoured to be chairman. Some weeks it feels like I have a second full-time job but I love it. The best thing is when you see the effort that’s being put in being rewarded by good performances and results on the pitch and increased interest and attendances off of it.”