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Wetherby Athletic: A New Dawn

Started on 16 October 2019 by Jack
Latest Reply on 31 March 2020 by Justice
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“I just think that we are certainly capable of playing at a higher level,” Mark said. Milne and Paddy Kenny had sat down for a few drinks in Leeds City Centre during the international break. The pair had become good friends ever since the Leeds United players began coming to Mark’s local pub in Wetherby and had kept in contact most days.

“We’ve shown that for years now: the cup win, the easy league wins in reasonably good-quality divisions, the constant battering that we’re giving teams that come up against us. It’s just getting quite boring actually!” Mark laughed as him and Kenny discussed a variety of topics from Leeds United, internationals, politics and now they had got onto Wetherby Athletic’s status.

“Well, a little birdie down at the FA divisional coordination department has told me that Yorkshire Amateur has taken a spot in the ninth tier for next season,” Kenny told Mark. “It’s ever since North Ferriby had that trouble with the reformation and everything, and especially now with Bury and Bolton in terrible shape - you never know how that might end up!”

Mark nodded his head in agreement. “Wait!” Mark said suddenly, as if he’d just picked up on something Kenny mentioned. “You’re telling me that Amateur have snuck into next year’s division?”

Paddy Kenny smiled towards Mark before glinting his eyes side-to-side. “Well, yeah that’s about the size of it. However, in the same division that Amateur have just gotten into, I’m hearing that another team in that division are having a little bit of trouble coping with the demands of that level - Bottesford Town, down in Nottingham - they’re increasingly looking like they’re off down the pan.”

Mark squinted his eyes at Paddy, intrigued at what he was transmitting to him. It sounded like an opportunity. “So you’re telling me-”

“Yes. To put it simply,” Kenny interrupted the impending question. “If Yorkshire Amateur can get in, then you will be able to get Wetherby in - easily. All I’m saying is I can put you through to the right channels, however, it’s not just you that has got to really want it. You can’t have a team, apply to be entered into that division and then your team suddenly jack it in because I have seen that before.”

Mark sipped his pint, looking at Kenny when he was giving him the suggestions. “Yeah, I’ll have to discuss it with the lads obviously for the reasons you just mentioned. I’m sure they’ll be bang up for it but I am also aware of their other commitments, be it work or parenting, you name it.”

“Well, in that case, cheers to Wetherby Athletic!” Paddy Kenny raised his glass.

“And to the mighty Whites!” Mark joined in, referring to Leeds United.

Scott: Glad to be back. We'll see how Mark compares to Aapo within that department ;)
Griffo: *love is in the air...*
Seb: Thanks for parroting
And the story truly begins!
And here... we ... go!
oooo Friends, football friends. Always good to have friends in higher places!



Leeds United are now having to search for a new goalkeeper after the club’s new owner Massimo Cellino told his new shock managerial appointment David Hockaday to deselect Paddy Kenny due to the Italian owner finding the goalkeeper’s date of birth unlucky.

Cellino completed the takeover of Leeds United from Arab bank GFH Capital towards the end of the 2013/14 Championship campaign and is said to have such a dislike of the number 17 that he no longer wants Kenny to feature in the first-team because he was born on the 17th May, according to The Guardian

At his old club in Italy - Cagliari - Cellino famously removed the number 17 seats in the stadium and replaced them with new seats labelled ‘16B’ instead such is his dislike of the number. Now, one of his contracted employees will now be removed from first-team affairs due to the owner’s peculiar superstition.

Kenny is currently the second-highest paid player on the books at Leeds, earning a reported £10,000-a-week, and he has been left at home while the rest of the squad fly out to Italy for a pre-season tour.

The Halifax-born Irish international has also caused concerns upon returning from the off-season being overweight, but Cellino is said to have reacted ‘emotionally’ when he discovered Kenny’s date of birth.

The previous wearer of the number 17 at Leeds United was Michael Brown, who was released at the end of last season.

Cellino’s belief about the number 17 has its roots back to his spell as owner of Italian club Cagliari where he stated that the team won just once in 20 years on the 17th of any month. The Whites’ owner also has a fear of the colour purple and asked supporters to wear purple on a game on the 17th as it would ‘cancel out the bad luck of the number 17’ according to Cellino.

The 57-year-old Sicilian completed his takeover of Leeds United in April after initially failing the Football League’s Fit & Proper Persons exam. After successfully appealing this judgement, Cellino has sacked former manager Brian McDermott and hired unknown former Forest Green Rovers manager Dave Hockaday, who has no Football League experience.

In order to replace the departing Kenny, Leeds have signed free agent Stuart Taylor as an exception to his transfer approach - of which he is in full control - of signing cheap lower Italian league imports to keep the club’s expenditure lower.

Scott: I wouldn't be so sure! ;)
Griffo: So you'd think with Kenny having that influence at hand!
Seb: Can't think of any scenario where it wouldn't be a nice tool to have ;)
What an interesting man. I wonder were Mark's new pal, Paddy will end up now!
ScottT's avatar Group ScottT
2 yearsEdited
Mad. Absolutely mad...

Although binning off Paddy Kenny, is that really a bad thing?

Tuesday, 4th August 2014

“Honestly Mark, mate,” Paddy Kenny said, sounding bemused. “The story in the Independent’s true, he’s an absolute nutcase - he has been ever since he came in! I’ve never seen anything like it, and I played under Warnock at Sheffield United!”

Mark sat there listening to the now former Leeds United goalkeeper over the phone following his release. He wanted to check if Kenny was feeling OK after being sacked first and foremost, realising how a job loss can make someone feel. Secondly, Mark wanted to know the future of Paddy as he still had the quality to play in the Football League, for sure.

Kenny continued, “Bolton Wanderers have been in contact anyway, saying they want to meet for discussions which would obviously mean me moving over the Pennines.”

Mark obviously knew that Kenny was a Yorkshire lad just through his accent and his birthplace being recorded on Wikipedia as Halifax.

“Mate, I don’t know what to say,” Mark said after hearing the news of Kenny’s release and reading the circumstances of which. “I mean we all knew that GFH were a set of chancers, especially after you lot missed out on your wages. We’ve all been sort of circulating that Cellino’s this madman that could just save us, though. This has sort of tipped the balance, this. I can’t believe you’d cut a man’s contract just due to a date of birth - it’s absolutely ludicrous!”

Mark was aware that Kenny was attempting to schmooze the Football Association contact in order to get Wetherby Athletic into a competitive division of some sort for the upcoming 2014/15 season. That would be his next question to Kenny.

“I know I promised a lot on that part, mate, but the fact is that Bottesford have supposedly given evidence that they will be functional this season and obviously they can’t just go around kicking teams out of the league just due to a Leeds player phoning them up and asking for a favour,” Kenny admitted, with a hint of sadness in his voice. “They’ll still be sending a representative down to your place to check out the ground, finances and all that stuff, so make sure that’s in order just in case, but I’m not feeling too confident that they’ll accept you into that league.”

Mark’s heart sank a little. Running Wetherby Athletic was the best thing he had ever done and he also never achieved anything but success with the team, so this would be his first proper failure in charge of Wetherby - even if it was only an administrative failure due to conditions improving at Bottesford.

“If this Bolton move does come off then I would undoubtedly have to move down there but we’ll still meet up if I’m ever up in Yorkshire now we have each other’s numbers and there might be a few more opportunities down the road because as you could imagine, the fees of running a team at that level doesn’t come cheap!” Kenny said chirpily despite the situation of both parties, with Kenny unemployed for the time being and Mark learning that Wetherby may not be accepted into the division after all.

“Yeah, no worries Paddy mate. You’ve been a top man all the way through and let the Leeds lads know they have been great as well. I’ve got to get to work anyway, mate so I’ll catch up with you in a bit?” Mark said in a defeated tone. He knew he’d have to share this gutting information with the lads later this week.

“Cheers Mark, I’ll see you later buddy.”

Seb: Well, looks like Paddy's heading to Bolton, but Mark is left nowhere!
Scott: For Leeds, definitely not! For Mark, maybe so...
A spanner in the works for sure, but I suspect there's still another twist in the tale yet...

Saturday, 22nd August 2014

“Mr Milne, we do believe that Wetherby Athletic do have sufficient facilities and meet all the regulations required to enter the particular division, but as you probably already know through Mr Kenny, there is no room for another club in the division.” The co-ordinator, John, said as he walked up the touchline of Old Boston Road’s pitch with Mark.

Mark’s dad, Harold was also present for the examination of the club’s surroundings. Mark was aware that a judgement like this was coming due to Bottesford Town’s recovery with regards to their finances that they will now be able to compete in the division for the upcoming campaign.

“I know that you are all keen here to enter the league at this level and you clearly have the quality as you have beaten one of our league’s teams in the Northern Counties Final when you won against Yorkshire Amateur,” John stated. “What I’ll do in the meantime is I will stick your club on a waiting list to join the league, meaning if there are any exits from now, you will be inducted into the league at the earliest opportunity.”

“That’s great, thanks John.” Mark said with a smile on his face.

“I must make you aware though that teams dropping out of these leagues aren’t any regular occurrence. The way Yorkshire Amateur got in was just by chance and we rarely have any such instance similar. You could be waiting years to enter the division and now I have you on the waiting list, it’s your job to ensure that you are ready to enter if such a vacancy comes up.” John said sternly, as if he had previous experience of teams in Wetherby’s position messing him about.

Harold came in to back up his son’s promise. “I’m the club treasurer, I make sure that no losses are recorded, so on the finance side of things that is all locked down.”

“Indeed, and in terms of the on-the-pitch I’ll make sure that there is always a team ready to enter. Wetherby have contacts within the Leeds United academy and we’re always getting a couple players here and there from them, so we’re good on that side of things.” Mark also reassured John.

John smiled at both Mark and Harold as they stopped at around the center circle. “Well, you do have a marvellous set-up here I have got to say. You two also seem very switched on guys, I’ll be sure to keep in contact with you if I have any doubts in the future regarding one of the teams.” he said, offering his hand out as he looked over towards his car.

“Absolutely, you have a safe trip back.” Harold said, firmly shaking John’s hand.

“Thanks a lot for coming down, John. We really appreciate it!” Mark said as John began to head back towards his car.

Scott: Right place, wrong time it seems for Wetherby. No twists as of yet...
A true shame for the club, with a small positive of now being on a waiting list. Hopefully an opportunity arises soon.
Patience is a virtue.
Really good update, love this story, amateur sport at its best!

Saturday, 13th December 2014

Mark flicked on his bluetooth speaker while laid in bed, connecting his iPhone as he scrolled through his morning playlist filled with all genres of music. It was 9am and Mark thought that it was time for some David Bowie - arguably his all-time favourite artist.

Leaping up from his mattress to the sound of the guitar intro to The Man Who Sold the World, Mark headed over to his wardrobe which was built into the bedroom wall directly opposite the pillow-side of the bed.

Leeds United were playing at home later, taking on the newly relegated Fulham at Elland Road which he would be going to attend the kick-off time of 3pm. Once fully dressed in his blue jeans and Fred Perry polo shirt, it was time for breakfast. Mark never really kept full stock of his fridge despite being a generally well-organised man but with only one person living in this particular household, a lot of the food eventually went out of date and never got eaten before ending up in the bin.

Upon noticing that there was no bacon in the fridge for his usual Saturday morning breakfast - a treat compared to the light cereal he’d eat during the week - Mark decided to head out to the shop. Switching off his music as he was now fully awake and ready for the day, Mark brushed his teeth before heading out to his local Tesco which was just a short walk past Wetherby Athletic’s home pitch.

Looking through his messages from the night before on the team group chat, Mark admitted that due to the glacial state that the home pitch was in that it was unlikely that Wetherby’s match would be on tomorrow - essentially giving the green light for the lads to have a big drinking session at the Leeds game later.

Walking on the pavement alongside the Wetherby pitch, Mark looked across to see a figure in a t-shirt and cargo trousers stood beside a stack of wooden planks and pieces of metal. Mark stopped and took a closer look to realise that his dad was the man attending to the planks. Mark set off on the grass to go and see Harold.

“Alright Dad?” Mark said, both as a question and trying to get a grasp on what Harold was doing here.

“Morning son! Just been down to the timber yard today to see Alan,” Harold said. Alan Kershaw was one of Harold’s friends that owned a timber and building supply unit and often helped Harold out with his personal construction projects by giving him the yard’s spare leftover planks of wood and other supplies. Alan had always driven by Mark’s house whilst he was a young boy during the time Harold had built his family home, stopping to chat to Harold and Mark frequently for chats about football, cricket and mutual friends on his supply drop-off visits.

Harold put his measuring tape back in his pocket as he stood upright to give Mark a handshake. “I just thought it’d be nice to make this place a bit prettier by adding a little area for everyone to sit when they come down for games, that’s all.” he said with a warm smile.

Mark laughed, happy seeing that Harold hadn’t lost his touch in construction with age. “But Dad, this is council land!” he said to him, chuckling. “I mean, have you got permission for this?”

“Oh, no, that’s just all administration though isn’t it!” Harold said with a serious face but with a wrinkle of giddiness to get started on his new project.

“Well, once the council comes down here, they’ll be talking to you, not me!” Mark laughed as he patted his dad on his back before continuing heading to the shop.

“I’ll deal with them lot! Build it first, talk later - you know me, son!” Harold shouted to his son.

Mark continued walking before stopping and turning around. “Dad!” he shouted over. “You off to Leeds game later?!” he asked, knowing that Harold and Eileen usually meet him for a quick chat at the Billy Bremner statue before Leeds United games.

Harold gave a thumbs up before bending back down with his measuring tape.

Seb: Thankfully Mark and Harold sort of knew this was coming after the conversation with Kenny. It is a little bit gutting to not get on the ladder early on, however.
Scott: Precisely ;)
Griffo: Thanks mate :) Pure Sunday League at the moment eh!
Won’t be long until Wetherby are playing in a state of the art stadium with undersoil heating so those games can go on!

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