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Wetherby Athletic: A New Dawn

Started on 16 October 2019 by Jack
Latest Reply on 31 March 2020 by Justice
Oh dear not ideal that for Karl and Scott. With a massive game coming it is a tough decision for Mark to make, make a point and potentially cost the promotion or ignore it in hopes of going up.

Saturday, 8th May 2021

Mark glared at Scott and Karl as they made their way onto the bus together, trying to put it into their mind that perhaps they shouldn’t be so confident of making their way into the team today after last night’s discovery at The Corn Mill pub.

For everyone else, everyone was already at the pick-up point in Wetherby Town Centre before even Mark had got to the location. It was 10am and the team had a 2 hour journey ahead of them with the fixture being played at Butlin Road in Rugby, just east of Coventry. Karl and Scott had arrived together, which Mark had assumed they would, 15 minutes late from the set-off time. They turned up scruffy, as if they hadn’t had a shower and their faces were pale.

Today’s opponents, Whitehawk had an even longer trip to the venue as they had a three-hour drive from Brighton to reach today’s fixture.

Due to the increased travel time, everybody had brought their own headphones to listen to whatever they wanted before the match rather than the regular Tony Holt playlist that went on the loudspeaker at the front of the coach.

Mark kept looking back in his seat towards Karl and Scott who were sitting next to each other on the bus. Without doubt, they looked very hungover from the night before, making Mark wonder just how long they continued their drinking session.

As the Wetherby bus pulled into Butlin Road, Mark did the usual routine of naming the starting eleven, followed by the subs bench: “Holt, Hosannah, Garfield, Thornton, Downing, Jackman, Gibbon, Meeson, Herd, Mottley-Henry, Jacobs. Bench is: Elliott, Casey, Hudson, Harker, Turner,” Mark paused before reading the final two names. “Scholes and Karl.

“Get yourselves out there, Chapman’s got the ball bag and all the equipment. Scott, Karl, I need you two to stay behind on the bus.” Mark said, glaring at them.

All of the team rushed off the bus as Scott and Karl sat upright as Mark took his seat on the opposite side of the bus, in the same column.

“Have fun last night did you?” Mark started. “Karl, you’re my brother - you are the Milne representative on that fucking pitch. What do you reckon mum and dad would say if I told them that you went against the manager’s call of no fucking drinking during this period of very important matches? What would dad think of you disobeying your manager’s orders? What would mum think of you betraying your brother before the most important day in each other’s lives?

“And Scott, mate, I am embarrassed of you. 31 years old and you can’t even control yourself for such a short period of time. You are not Paul Gascoigne, you’re in the 8th tier of the game. Both of you would’ve started today had you not done what you did last night. Now, it would take something appalling happening on that pitch today to see either of you get a minute on the field.” Mark said, almost growling at them both.

Mark stood up, looking down at the two of them who sat shaking in their seats like two naughty schoolboys. “Absolute fucking embarrassments, the pair of you. Sort yourselves out and grow up. You’re both adults now.”

Mark stepped off the bus, changing his mood almost instantly as he stepped into the summer afternoon’s fresh air, clapping his hands as he jogged over the to team who were practicing passes on the field, getting a feel for the turf today.

Karl and Scott sluggishly reached down to their bags on the coach before trudging off the bus in silence as they walked over to join the players with the knowledge that it was unlikely that they would see a minute of the game this afternoon.

Seb: Not good behaviour from them at all.
Tut tut. This could bring serious consequences to the team, but Mark has made the correct decision.

Wetherby Athletic manager Mark Milne told Wetherby News yesterday that he was ‘still in shock’ after the Regional First Division Play-Off Final came to an end.

After a total of 41 league games played this season across the Northern Premier North West and the Play-Offs, all the work has paid off as Wetherby flattened their Isthmian South East opponents Whitehawk in a crushing 7-0 win, seeing them up to the 7th tier of English football in a remarkable feat of two promotions in a row following last season’s title win in the Northern Counties East League.

In an aggressive game, seeing more yellow cards than goals, it was Dylan Mottley-Henry who started the rout in the 18th minute with a close-range volley from a Craig Herd cross into the box.

Wetherby’s top scorer Henry Jacobs started his second consecutive hat-trick with another close-range volley from inside the six-yard box in the 28th minute as he doubled Wetherby’s lead. The game had hardly kicked off again before Whitehawk’s Chris Knowles mistakenly passed the ball straight into the oncoming Jacobs’ path, allowing the lethal striker to go one-on-one with Whitehawk keeper Mitchell Stedman and dink it over his body to make it 3-0.

Whitehawk went into the break 3-0 down and already looking defeated, with all 1,600 spectators looking to see if Wetherby would choose hold their lead or go for an attacking mindset once again in the second half. They would later see that Milne had chosen the latter.

The fourth goal was scored by central midfielder Cole Gibbon, getting his 18th goal in all competitions after signing a new one-year extension at Old Boston Road during the week. The 18-year-old finished off a nice move with a great 25-yard shot that nestled into the bottom left corner.

Whitehawk themselves ensured deeper trouble as their young centre-back Harvey Bertrand embarrassingly put the ball into the back of his own net on the 62nd minute mark following a Craig Herd cross.

Wetherby boss Mark Milne made all of his changes between the 60th and 75th minute with Oliver Casey, Lewis Turner and Theo Hudson all coming on for Sean Garfield, Bryce Hosannah and Dylan Mottley-Henry respectively, interestingly leaving his brother Karl Milne on the bench all game despite featuring from the bench ten times this season added onto 21 starts.

The sixth goal of the game came as the teams entered the final ten minutes of the game as Craig Herd finished a six-yard volley in the 81st minute with Whitehawk already wanting to give up a long time before.

The scoring was rounded off just a minute later as Henry Jacobs scored Wetherby’s seventh goal and completed his hat-trick in legendary Jacobs style with a header from a Cole Gibbon cross coming in from deep.

From then on, Wetherby simply toyed with their opponents who had travelled three hours from the south coast of Brighton, much to the delight of the jubilant Wetherby fans, including family members and friends of those playing as well as club directors Harold and Eileen Milne - Mark and Karl’s parents - and local investor Alan Kitchener.

As the final whistle went, Wetherby Athletic had joined four other teams who had worked hard to get promoted to the 7th tier as Workington, Whickham, Leek Town and Halesowen Town all ran out as victors in the Regional First Division Play-Off Final.

Mark Milne commented on the Play-Off success: “It’s quite unbelievable. If I told this group of lads five years ago that now we’d be securing a spot playing alongside some of English football’s great local teams they wouldn’t believe me. I’m very lucky to have this community around me, with these supporters continuing to come see us week-in-week-out and it’s great to know that we’ve repaid their faith with back-to-back promotions now.

“Now we’re just buzzing to see where the FA puts us for next year as three out of the four teams that got into our division’s play-offs have all gone up, so huge congratulations to them as well.

“I think now we’ll get back home, have a bit of a Saturday afternoon nap before we head into town for a celebration with everyone involved! These lads deserve and these followers deserve it just as much. It’s been a great journey so far.”

Wetherby Athletic have also received a £10,000 cash bonus for winning promotion in the Play-Off Final against Whitehawk.

Scott: Misbehaving is one thing, but from two of the club's old-timers makes it even worse. The telling off was justified in my opinion too.
That's some way to do it! Congratulations to Wetherby. A very impressive crowd too.

Saturday, 8th May 2021, 9:04pm

“So how did that feel lad, eh?” Mark asked, putting his arms around Henry Jacobs who had just bagged a hat-trick in the Play-Off Final. “You don’t half get lucky in front of goal, lad,” he laughed, jokingly lauding Jacobs’ prowess in front of goal.

It was 9pm and The Corn Mill was the busiest that anyone had ever seen it. The pub had never had bouncers in it’s 107 year history of being open yet Paul, the pub landlord had to call a private security firm as an emergency because customers could barely fit through the door and were pouring onto the public streets and the last thing Paul wanted to deal with on a busy night like this was a noise complaint.

As a running joke, Mark had requested One Step Beyond by Madness as he and his best friend and club captain Mike Jackman had always copied the dance moves to the song. As soon as the booming voice of Chas Smash introduced the song, Jackman automatically looked over to Mark who already had his fists clenched ready to dance along to the song and soon enough the whole pub was doing the dance with them.

Once the song had ended, Mike headed to the toilet and Mark stood by the bar to order another drink. “Just two pints of Tetley’s please, Paul, cheers,” Mark said, handing over a £5 note plus a few coins before Paul picked up two glasses.

As he was waiting, Mark noticed his brother Karl was standing with Scott Scholes and a crowd of their friends who hadn’t much to do with Wetherby Athletic. He knew he had to speak to his brother soon to cut the tension after leaving him and Scott out of the final that afternoon. As soon as Mark collected his and Mike’s pint, he headed outside for a cigarette.

As he lit his cigarette pursed in between his lips he turned around to greet whoever was coming outside as he heard the pub door creaking open. It was Karl who had come outside with Scott. “Alright Karl, Scott,” Mark smiled, ready to address the awkwardness of the day. “You enjoying it in there then?”

“Yeah, it’s a good night Mark. Really good place is this.” Scott said in response, shaking Mark’s hand.

Karl was silent, but it was clear to everyone that he had drank too much tonight by the way he was staggering around the bar and even creeping some of the women out during conversation, made worse by the fact that some of their partners were in the same building at the time.

“Karl, you alright lad?” Mark said, attempting to get a response out of his younger brother.

Karl chuntered something under his breath that was inaudible to Mark and Scott.

“What was that, Karl?” Mark asked for him to repeat.

“I said: Fuck off, you wanker.” Karl said, lifting his head up and looking Mark right in the eyes as he finished his expletive comment.

Mark and Scott stood back, shocked at what Karl had just come out with about Mark. Karl had never said a bad word about his brother in either of the witnesses' memories. Mark wasn’t really sure how to deal with this as it was a situation that he had never been placed in with Karl.

“Karl, mate,” Mark said, approaching his brother. “I’m sorry about what I said earlier, it’s just you know - rules are rules and I didn’t want anybody seeing you in the pub and thinking that because you’re the manager’s brother that you get special treatment. It’s harsh discipline, you know… Like mam and dad taught us.”

Karl whipped his right hand out of his pocket, grabbing the collar of Mark and pulling him towards him so only his ear could hear what Karl was about to whisper.

“You think that you are the big man around here don’t you? Fucking Mark Milne this, Mark Milne that. Thing is you don’t realise is that there are a fucking silent majority of people in this place right here that can’t fucking stand you but it’s about time you got told. The thing is about me: they won’t ever oust me like they’re going to oust you.” Karl said, gritting his teeth and spitting into his brother’s ear.

After hearing the end of Karl’s last sentence, Mark grabbed hold of the hand that was clenched against his collar, pushed Karl away to arms distance before clenching his fist and delivering the sweetest uppercut Mark had ever completed in his life. That punch meant something to him.

“Someone needed to do that to you because by God, you are getting far too much hassle for me to handle, never mind the shit that you give mum and dad on a daily basis. Don’t ever speak to your own fucking family like that ever again.” Mark said, pointing his finger down at his brother who was sitting up against the brick wall that he had fallen into as a result of the punch.

Karl scraped his heels on the concrete in a defeated attempt at getting up off the floor. Once he was on two feet, unbalanced, Karl began slowly trudging away to the alleyway leading back to his house that Mark had helped decorate.

“Don’t even think about coming back either you sly, weedy twat,” Mark shouted as Karl held his jaw that had just been crippled by his brother. “You’re finished with me mate! No coming back from this, you and me - done! Tosser!”

Scott: A lovely win, finished off in style I would say!
Well, that wasn't what I expected! I think Mark was more than justified to do that, though.
An interesting turn there. Scott clearly accepted he had done wrong but Karl couldn't take the discipline it seems. I wonder whats next for both Karl and Mark and if they are really done like Mark says they are.

Sunday, 9th May 2021, 09:47am

“Morning Eileen, Harold!” Carla said, giving her parents-in-law a hug as they walked through the door at 9:47am in the morning. “You’re up early, what’s going on? Do you want some tea?”

Eileen hurriedly rushed down the hallway in Mark’s house. “Oh yes please, Carla, that’d be lovely. Do you know where our Mark is?” she said, turning to face Carla.

“Yeah, he’s just in our room - bit hungover from last night! It was a lovely do wasn’t it, everyone altogether?” Carla said, heading to the kitchen where bacon rashers sat grilling as she turned on the kettle. Eileen and Harold joined Carla in the kitchen.

“Did Mark tell you anything that had happened between him and Karl last night?” Eileen said, keeping her voice down.

“No, as far as I could tell Mark was having a lovely time,” Carla said, opening the cupboard containing all the mugs. “Why? Have they fallen out or something? Mark did get a bit drunk last night.”

“Yes,” Eileen said. “I’ve just been over to Karl’s because he called me at six this morning in tears because they’d had a bit of a to-do outside the pub last night.

“Do you mind if I go see him, love?” Eileen asked, heading out of the kitchen as Carla said she could go to see him.

Mark was laid up in bed with his glasses on. He was watching last night’s Match of the Day on BBC iPlayer on his Samsung when his parents walked in. “Mam, Dad? What’re you doing here?” Mark said, grunting his way through his hangover, pausing Match of the Day to address their presence.

“Mark, what has gone on between you and Karl? This morning he called us to his house and he was sitting on a chair on his own, surrounded by booze and cigarettes - he was in tears saying you hit him outside The Corn Mill,” Eileen said, sharply and aggressively. “What the hell did you do that for?”

Mark sat up, putting his phone on his bedside cabinet before putting his slippers on and getting out of bed, leading his parents into the living room. “That little boy has something wrong with him. During this play-off season I told everyone in that team not to drink: who did I see on Friday night in the beer garden less than 24 hours before the play-off final? Karl and Scott with their weird little mate.

“I left him them two out of the team because everyone else deserved it, accepted it at the time then decided to come outside to see me at the pub last night after annoying just about everybody in their and their partners then he starts telling me all sorts of shite about how apparently everyone hates me and all this karma bollocks when I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong.” Mark said angrily as he recalled last night’s events.

“I can’t believe he’s dragged you into this and started playing the victim. He needed a smack. If it wasn’t me, it would’ve been someone else - and by God they would’ve had him a lot worse than I did.” He added, admitting to hitting Karl.

Eileen stood up. “I just can’t believe this! You two are so close, why’s this all been brought on now?!” She pleaded emotionally for answers.

“Mam, maybe you need to look at how much he’s drinking. It’s not just weekends - it’s everyday. Paul the landlord has seen him up there everyday for the past two weeks, he looks knackered every single day I’ve seen him but I didn’t want to bring it up,” Mark replied as Harold held Eileen’s hand and brought her back down to the sofa. “I don’t know what’s gotten into him but he’s old enough now to handle his own issues which is why I’m so pissed off that he’s brought you two into this when it’s one hundred percent his problem.”

It was at that moment, when it was all laid out in words that he had just spoken did Mark finally make his decision. “Karl’s going to be leaving the team next season. I appreciate that we’re family but at the end of the day, if he’s bringing disrespect into this team that we’ve all worked so hard to establish and threatening to ‘oust’ me - his words, not mine - then he needs to go and learn the hard way. I’ve practically brought him up around me, socially and financially to an extent but he’s not a child anymore. He’s going, mam, I’m sorry.”

Eileen sat up, ready to go on another fiery rant at Mark, her eldest son but Harold held her back when he felt her tensing up in her seat.

“Eileen, love,” Harold said softly, holding her forearm. “Let’s go home, we’ll talk about it there - we haven’t spoken about it to each other privately yet.” he said, starting to get up to begin their exit out of Mark’s home.

As the front door closed shut with Mark starting to hear his mum crying on her way out, Carla returned with a tray of four mugs and the teapot. “Where have they gone? Are they both OK?”

Scott: I think Karl is certainly the bad guy in all this :P
Seb: It's harder when people are family which is why Karl might've reacted to being left out by his brother. Discipline is discipline though!
Poor Eileen, caught up in the middle of it all. While it must be difficult for her, she perhaps needs time to come to terms with the reasonable stance Mark has taken.
It's a tough situation for the family to be in, I guess that's why they say don't mix family and business as majority of the time it will come to blows. Hopefully as a family they can solve the issues together over time.

Friday, 25th June 2021

“Good evening everybody, thank you all for coming here tonight for the Wetherby Athletic community meeting. I’d also like to thank Paul and everybody involved here for allowing us to hold this event here at The Corn Mill pub tonight.

“It’s been quite a few years for this team, this club, this community - family, as I like to call you now. The large majority of us gathered here tonight, grew up with each other, have had tea around each other’s houses, our kids go to the same schools, our kids play out on the street together, a fair few of us have probably all pulled on a Wetherby kit once in our lifetimes and played for the club back in the Sunday league era!

“That is what I love the most about this club: the community and the sense of belonging that all of us feel tied to every weekend. I’m delighted to have led this club all the way through its 21st century existence after it was close to crumbling in the early 2000s, it’s helped me personally in so many ways whether it be an enjoyment, a distraction or simply a way to open conversation around here.

“This beautiful market town has deserved this tremendous club and its tremendous success that we have had over the many years we have been around. I remember everything from day one of getting involved. The struggle to raise funds to keep us going, we managed that together. The preparation for matchdays, putting up goal frames, pumping up the match balls, marking the pitch outlines on Old Boston Road and before that the old Recreation Ground, we managed that.

“The series of constant league title and cup victories - we owe it to the players on the field for their remarkable talent and resilience, but we all did that, together.

“Now, heading into the 2021/22 season we find ourselves entering the seventh tier of English football: something that I hadn’t even dreamed of happening to us because it just seemed so inconceivable previous to our entrance into the ninth tier two years ago, yet two seasons and here we are - ready to take on the likes of Darlington, Gateshead, Sheffield - the oldest football club in the entire world!

“It is this situation that we find ourselves in today that is why we may see a few ripples in our community. Wetherby Athletic have to adapt to the position we are in currently, and that means we need to look at what we have on the table and improve this playing team beyond what we have ever previously had to do.

“The playing squads that I have played with and managed in the past are an absolute credit to themselves and this community - I could not have asked for a much better group of lads to be involved with and the results of which are evident right now. I have actually lost count of how many honours we have had together we have been that great!

“This is why I propose that we make a slight cut with our past. We have reached a point in our club’s history where we must look to the future. As you can see on the board behind me, we have designed our new crest. We keep the Wetherby coat of arms central, surrounded by the beautiful White Rose of Yorkshire. Both symbols mean so much to all of us here as a place of alliance, fellowship and hardiness. We have teamed up with the online kit suppliers EV2 who have designed for us two sensational kits going into the new season and a new generation.

“Alongside this celebration of the club in the form of updating our look, it comes with some losses that I wish I didn’t have to make. We are losing some players that have been with us in the Wetherby neighbourhood for years, including my own brother who unfortunately can’t be with us here tonight. But Shaqeel and Scott will sadly be parting ways with us going into the new season. All three have been essential to this club’s growth and they will be missed out on the pitch but I’m sure that we will see them regularly at Old Boston Road if they choose not to pursue a further career in the game.

“Our approach to incoming players will be changing, too. Over the end of season period, we acquired two new additions to our recruitment team. Former Staines manager Robert Easom joins us as a new chief scout with Sam Masters also coming in to assist him and our old friend Chris Walton in the scouting team. They will be massively important to this club’s development over the coming years.

“We know that this season will be our toughest season yet simply down to how good our opposition is this time around with so many superb sides in the Northern Premier. This is why we need the whole town of Wetherby’s backing throughout this period of change.

“Wetherby: You are now in charge of your own club’s destiny. Thank you for listening and have a fantastic evening.”

Scott: It's tough on any parent seeing their children divided, especially when so involved in both's lives.
Seb: Perfectly put, the Milne's will still keep a hold on the club, even if Karl is out!
A beautiful crest (and a beautiful graphic) ;) . It's been a truly meteoric rise for Wetherby driven by an incredible group of people. The Northern Premier League best watch out!

On a separate note, a massive surprise to see both Gateshead and Darlo at this level. A massive shame for football in the North-East!
A lovely badge that I am sure we will be seeing in the Premier League one day :D Also two very nice kits, looking forward to seeing if you can go three in a row!
Jack's avatar Group Jack
3 yearsEdited

We will be playing in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League heading into our third season in the English national football league system following two consecutive promotions, so we have had to strengthen this side as best we can.

As a result, we have signed thirteen players this summer whilst releasing eight players who were either out of contract or simply not good enough for the next level.

Joining as our back-up goalkeeper, we signed Jack Sims on a free transfer after his Blackpool contract expired. He has previously played at this level before with Lancaster City in the 2018/19 season.

Three players joined us from Huddersfield Town alone upon the expiry of their contracts as central defenders Ernaldo Krasniqi and Loick Ayina both make moves to Wetherby. French Central midfielder Brahima Diarra also joins from the John Smith’s Stadium.

With Bryce Hosannah set to keep his place as starting right-back and the departure of Lewis Turner, Brocton’s Martin Palmer joins us to keep Hosannah busy throughout the season, with the ability to step right into the side if he needs to be used. On the other side of defence, former Slough and Leatherhead left-back George Wells provides a back-up option for Matty Downing. The other defensive signing we brought in was former Spalding centre-back Jack Withers.

Ilkestone Town’s defensive midfielder Charlie Russell joins us on a free transfer as cover for our ageing 33-year-old captain Mike Jackman with Ivor Lawton and and Hugo Lopes joining us from Alvechurch and Wolverhampton Wanderers respectively as our other central midfield signings.

As our starting left-winger Karl Milne left the club this summer, we brought in Yusifu Ceesay on a free transfer from Northern Premier North West side Clitheroe and he is likely to take up the starting spot on the left flank with Pick Up Academy’s Leigh Bricknell coming in to offer a back-up option throughout the season.

Our most recent and likely final signing of the summer period was to bring in former Chesterfield and Leicester City academy player Will Russ as a third option to last season’s star players Henry Jacobs and Rob Harker.

Released List:
Oliver Casey
Chris Elliott
Theo Hudson
Shaqeel Khan
Karl Milne
Scott Scholes
Will Thornton
Lewis Turner

Looking at the team, it seems that Tony Holt will have some real competition to keep his number spot between the sticks for the third season running, with Fletch Paley and Chris Elliott previously not being able to depose him.

Vice-captain Sean Garfield will be our starting centre-back, most likely alongside one of our new additions from Huddersfield in either Loick Ayina or Ernaldo Krasniqi.

On the left and right at the back, Matty Downing and Bryce Hosannah look set to keep their spots ahead of George Wells and Martin Palmer.

Captain Mike Jackman - who is studying for his coaching badges already - now has a natural defensive midfielder in Charlie Russell set to challenge him throughout this season. Ahead of them in central midfield, our strongest pairing seems to be Cole Gibbon and Wolves arrival Hugo Lopes but we have plenty of other options following this summer’s activity.

Craig Herd will remain our starting right-winger ahead of Dylan Mottley-Henry, having been one of our best players in the club’s history meanwhile new signings Yusifu Ceesay and Leigh Bracknell will fight it out on the left wing.

Up front we have Henry Jacobs and Rob Harker who were equally as superb as each other last season due to Jacobs’ injury at Christmas. Will Russ will likely only feature a few times as a substitute.

Before the season starts at the end of July, we will play six friendly fixtures - the biggest of which is against Vanarama National side Barrow. Our first game in the league is against Darlington at their Blackwell Meadows home ground.

Another tough test against a large relegated team comes at the end of August against Gateshead at their stadium. We enter our first cup competition in September in the Integro League Cup.

We will enter the FA Trophy in October. I hope to take the team far in the cup competitions this time due to the financial reward available as well as not being expected to contend for a promotion position this season.

We begin the new year of 2022 with an away tie against Sheffield FC - the world’s oldest football club. Our season then ends with last season’s title winners Bamber Bridge at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.

Scott: Thank you for your comment on the new crest :D It's been a great few seasons but I worry about our adventure stalling now with the amount of quality sides in this league, such as the teams you mentioned.
Seb: The Northern Premier League for now! Cheers buddy.

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