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Wetherby Athletic: A New Dawn

Started on 16 October 2019 by Jack
Latest Reply on 31 March 2020 by Justice
Jack's avatar Group Jack
4 yearsEdited

“To the Queen!” the boys all shouted.

‘The Queen’ was basically the customary toast before drinking except the boys in The Corn Mill pub toasted to the name of the reigning monarch - Queen Elizabeth II. Nobody ever thought much of the action, it was done more out of instinct than a celebration of the United Kingdom’s constitutional monarchy.

Mark Milne had grown up in Wetherby since his mother and father had moved from Bingley in the 1990s, when Mark was only five years old. Born on 20th December 1989, Mark had made the small market town into his own. Since when he was old enough to get into pubs around the age of 14, his personality made him a lot of friends and he slowly became a leader in the small town which had a population of only 15,000 at this time.

The Corn Mill served as his regular drinking hole where he would go to have a few drinks before taking a bus into Leeds City Centre to watch his beloved Leeds United at Elland Road in the successful days of the early 2000s.

Whilst following his favourite team both midweek and Saturday afternoons, Sunday mornings were reserved for his Sunday league team - Wetherby Athletic. His team enjoyed great success in the very local regions, with Wetherby’s geography proving to be handy due to its proximity to North Yorkshire despite being part of a Leeds postcode. With Leeds United’s Thorp Arch training ground and academy centre being just ten minutes drive away from Wetherby Athletic’s home turf Old Boston Road, lots of Mark’s players were picked off by Leeds’ scouts over the years.

Within his family, Mark Milne had a brother, Karl, who was five years younger than him, as well as an older sister, Julie, who was just two years older than him. With football bringing the brothers together, Mark and Karl were able to develop a much stronger relationship over the years as Karl began joining Mark on Leeds United trips to Elland Road and all over the country.

To Karl, Mark was an idol. Mark was able to get Karl into his band of friends due to how much respect others in Wetherby had for Mark and the Milne family name itself. With Mark running the local football team in the town he was able to build positive relationships all over Wetherby. This height of stature that Mark held in the local area made Karl in awe of his personality and his mannerisms, even more so that his older brother was bringing him into the thick of it.

On the sunny Sunday early evenings when the Sunday league players came into The Corn Mill battered and bruised after the strong challenges from the much more physical West Yorkshire divisions, the pain was always smoothed over with the use of alcohol and the team’s camaraderie which the pub locals always loved to be part of too. Wives and girlfriends were either hauled up to the pub with their partner, or told an excuse as to why they would be back home late that Sunday night. Either way, it was all good fun.

But this was all acceptable, after all. Mark Milne had built a community out of nothing, and everybody loved it.

And so this is the story of Mark Milne.
Mark & Karl....
Karl Mark....
Karl Marx
Lads Lads Lads!
Another Jack story, you've certainly upped your standards with Aapo, so I am expecting big things once again this year! Looking forward to it mate!
Who needs a working copy of FM20 to start writing a story about it, huh? :P
Looking forward to this mate. Love how it's based around your actual roots too with Leeds United being involved. Good luck!
Bingley Working Mens Club, where Eileen and Harold Milne used to frequent

Eileen Milne was the most personable out of the couple by a long stretch. As a young man, Harold Milne was an all-rounder for his time. Whilst earning his living by being a construction worker, Harold played cricket at a high level in the Yorkshire region as well as playing semi-professional football for the likes of Halifax Town and Boston United. Before his time at those particular clubs he had tried out at Leeds United, moving up through the ranks of the Leeds City Boys’ team and even scoring a header at Elland Road at a trialist match.

Eileen gave birth to Julie as an 18-year-old teenager, having married Harold months before she fell pregnant in 1986. Mark Milne was the second child in 1989 before the youngest sibling, Karl, was born in 1994.

Mainly thanks to her husband’s involvement in the game, Eileen was also football-mad and had been a Leeds United season ticket holder ever since she and Harold had began courting back in primary school as eleven year olds. Harold himself traded going to the Leeds matches with his group of friends to take his childhood sweetheart every Saturday afternoon.

Whilst living in Bingley after Harold’s short-lived semi-professional footballing career had ended and he returned to construction full-time, he was able to build his own house on the outskirts of the town centre. It took three years to build as he gathered his contacts in the housing and construction industries before the end product was furnished in 1995 as he was determined to move his newly-born son Karl out of the static home and into the home.

During the construction period, Mark Milne had been watching his dad toiling away incessantly and his admiration for his father grew and grew from the age of five years old. Mark used to be sent out of the static home by Eileen on the tea run for his dad and his colleagues and whilst he was on the worksite against Health and Safety legislation, Mark was able to learn a lot about his father’s trade early on and began making his own wooden toys as a result.

On weekends though, Mark’s immaculate view of his dad was frequently shattered by some of the drunken states that he and Eileen used to come home in. As soon as the three siblings heard the pair stumbling down the driveway with Eileen often aggressively questioning why all the women in the Bingley Working Mens Club were looking in Harold’s direction, they knew it was time to switch the television off and hurry to bed before Eileen’s frustration would be taken out on them.

Deep down Eileen and Harold loved each other deeply from day one and Eileen only got jealous, never suspicious of Harold because of just how much she loved him. Eileen as a person was loving but extremely protective - a true matriarch. She often made up for Harold’s slightly unaffectionate method of parenting by showing an abundance of love to all three of her children, although Mark being almost a carbon copy of his father gave rise to a suspicion that she loved Mark slightly more than the others.

Harold, on the other hand, was not cold towards his children, but his own upbringing added together with the societal nature of masculinity made him a little more detached than Eileen’s overbearing love. He certainly preferred being around his boys Mark and Karl than Julie because he felt like he had to guide the boys’ way meanwhile his old-fashioned view of women's roles led him to leave Julie under the wing of Eileen a lot more.

Upon the family’s move to Wetherby in the late 1990s to a much bigger house than the one that Harold had built but then sold in Bingley. Harold was delighted and found joy in his new hobby of gardening as his trade in construction was overpowering his body’s capacity, meanwhile Eileen worked in the textiles industry. Wetherby made for a place for the kids to free themselves of living under their parents’ shadows in Bingley and Mark seized the opportunity with both hands by making lots of friends at secondary school and dragging his younger brother into the social circle later on in life.

Justice: Ties in with the whole Working Mens Club idea I guess, proletariat and everything...
Seb: Cheers buddy, looking forward to it!
Rien: Story now, football later ;)
Maguire: Thanks mate! Thought I would bring my story closer to home this year, should make for a more knowledgeable writing :P
Scenes! I've read an entire story update. :yes:
Oh, come on, Eileen! I wonder what effect their childhood upbringing will have in the future, especially after their mothers aggressive outbursts after a few drinks.
Someone's keen to defend their Story of the Year title. ;) Looking forward to this. Every year you continue to outdo yourself, so I know this will be excellent.
I live in York so definitely following this, good read so fat

12th May 2013 - Northern Counties Cup Final

With the neutral ground being unsuitable due to recent rain issues in the middle of summer, the cup final was to be played against Yorkshire Amateurs at Wetherby’s home turf at Old Boston Road due to the fact Wetherby Athletic had not received a bye in the second round of the cup which Yorkshire Amateurs did due to their opponents not having enough players to field a full team.

Wetherby had obliterated every team in the same way that Yorkshire Amateurs did on the road to the final with 9-1 and 7-0 scorelines not being unfamiliar with Mark Milne and his team. These two teams respected each other, though. Both sides had similar backgrounds in Sunday league in that both had high-quality players that were back-and-forth between playing for them or Leeds United, depending on if they had been recently scouted or recently let go by the club.

Mark Milne was a very talented centre-half, however, nowhere near the standard of his father Harold who had played for Leeds United’s main supplier of academy players - Leeds City Boys. What set Mark apart from the other skilfully and technically gifted players on the team was his communication. Mark once received a warning from a referee just because for an entire 45 minutes, he did not stop talking once. He didn’t say anything directed at the opponent or offensive to anybody - he just handed out instructions as if he was watching from the sidelines as opposed to all the way back in defence.

This communication made Mark a fantastic player-manager as he was able to do his bit on the pitch but also dictate play as if he was a coach from the sideline. Although a few times his teammates had something to say back to him, his commands were respected and enacted 90% of the time.

Mark’s younger brother, Karl played left-wing. He was only 17 at the time and playing open-age football along with all of Mark’s friends. Despite being the youngest player on the field, he was built in a similar way to Mark with his strength on and off the ball but he was blessed with pace which his older brother had lost due to an ankle injury a few years before.

Other star players consisted of the mad goalkeeper - Anthony Holt - who was just as mental between the sticks as he was after five consecutive vodka shots and Henry Jacobs who had been scoring for fun in both the cup and league for Wetherby all season. Jacobs was one of the Milnes’ friends and had scored 51 goals in 29 games after being released by the Leeds United academy.

With the game taking place at Old Boston Road, there was easily a few hundred spectators all cheering in support of Wetherby Athletic whether they were related or friends of the players or not - it was a huge event in the wider community aspect and it created a hostile environment for the Yorkshire Amateurs who had travelled from a worn out area in Leeds called Holbeck.

After a dirty challenge from Mark Milne in the first ten minutes of the fixture, Yorkshire Amateurs really got their backs up as that particular challenge on their central midfielder - an ex-Huddersfield academy man - set the standard for aggression in the game.

The referee had to tone the game down in aggression following this as Karl Milne was two-footed by the Yorkshire Amateurs right-winger whilst at full pace. Karl was fortunately not seriously harmed but Mark Milne was in a hurry to pick up the offender by the scruff of his shirt for dangerously tackling his younger brother who he was protective of in the first place. Mark screamed nonsensically in the winger’s face for a good five seconds which his fists clenched and teeth gritted before the referee and players from either side stepped in and realised it was time for the game to calm down.

Nevertheless, Mark’s anger and fire after the challenge on Karl inspired the team as they began playing superb football down the wings orchestrated by Mark’s gruff shouts. With a shot from Jacobs hitting the outside of the post being the last action of the first-half, Wetherby Athletic were disappointed not to have taken a lead but were rejuvenated by Mark’s half-time team talk.

The second half became just as scrappy as the first, except with more fouls as a result of the players’ tiredness disrupting the flow of play every so often. Yorkshire Amateurs had pinned two men on Henry Jacobs after seeing his talent in the first half.

“What’s left, ref?” Mark demanded, shouting towards the teenage-looking referee.

“Four minutes,” the referee replied. Shortly after giving the time, another poorly timed tackle flew in from the Yorkshire Amateurs right-back as the whistle screeched and the referee waiting for the full-back to get up to receive his yellow-coloured punishment.

Karl Milne was the designated free-kick taker, particularly from this position out on the wing due to his harshly whipped crosses. Mark Milne and his centre-back partner Sean Garfield trudged up the field to hopefully stick a head on the incoming cross.

Karl swiped a high cross into the box and it began to look like a mosh pit as bodies bustled, some not even watching the ball’s trajectory. Amongst all the commotion within the eighteen-yard box, it was Mark Milne who climbed up on the back of the small Yorkshire Amateurs winger to power a header past the goalkeeper.

As Mark crashed to the floor from the high leap that he had taken to reach the ball, he leapt back up straight away to rush over to his younger brother who had assisted the goal. As the brothers both raced towards each other at the quickest they could run, what was meant to be a celebratory hug turned into a pile-on with Mark and Karl Milne at the bottom of it.

It was 1-0. All Wetherby had to do now was to see the game out.

Stam: An honour to welcome you to this part of the site ;)
Seb: Eileen's portrayal may seem like she is a mean woman, but she is good-hearted as she makes up for the lack of affection that her husband doesn't offer.
Scott: Straight into the groove this year :P Cheers for the support mate.
Matt: Good to have a relatively local guy following! Hope you enjoy it buddy. :)
A 1-0 lead is always precarious... hopefully Wetherby can find a second to give themselves some breathing room in the final.
A feisty game to say the least! Mark putting his side ahead is always a good side but now they need to hold on to see it out!

"Here you go, mate," Mark said to Karl as he passed the trophy to his younger brother. Mark was the captain and therefore the man who collected Wetherby's winnings in front of the two-hundred-strong crowd at Old Boston Road.

Karl looked fondly at his elder brother as the cup landed in his palms. It was a small trophy - all the local footballing authorities could really get their hands on - but one of The Corn Mill's landlord's sons provided the players with two free bottles of champagne to celebrate in the photograph finish which would be in the local newspapers the next day.

"That's our achievement, is that, mate," Mark said just before Karl lifted the cup aloft having provided the winning assist over to his brother. The rest of the lads in the background going mental in front of the ever-supportive Wetherby community.

Once the local paper photographer called time on the photos being taken there was a brief silence where all the players realised that that was the last game of their season and they now had nothing to do apart from go back to work until the next season started in September.

That silence was quickly filled by Mark, as expected: "Right then," he said calmly. "Pub?" The mere usage of that one word was enough to get the gratification of every Wetherbyite in the vicinity as the boys began piling into each other's cars heading to The Corn Mill.

It was Sunday evening - a 'school night' as some may call it, with people having kids to send off in the morning or jobs to get up early for - but nobody was going home tonight.

The Corn Mill had a very old-fashioned aura about it. A classic pub with obscure antiques like the chain mail armour tucked away in the corner, a bookshelf full of literature that nobody bothered to look at, no Sky packages, just the BBC on the telly at all times, a very socially backward landlord and finally, the customers' favourite - the jukebox - and on a day like today, there was only one song to be played.

The clamouring voices all started to drop off as a piano melody began playing soothingly across the bar. Mark Milne got his arm around both his brother Karl and best friend Henry Jacobs and all as one began singing: "I paid my dues, time after time, I've done my sentence... But committed no crime. And bad mistakes, I've made a few..." Mark, Karl and Henry all looked at each other as they began to reach the crescendo before the chorus. "I've had my share of sand kicked in my face, BUT WE'VE COME THROUGH!!!"

All of the Wetherby Athletic players rushed to join the trio in the centre of the bar with the landlord, Paul, orchestrating them from his stool. "We are the champions, my friends! And we'll keep on fighting to the end!" the whole pub roared as Mark essentially inhaled the beer that was being poured out of the trophy.

The Sunday night partied on with the earliest departures leaving at 11pm but for an hour or so, Mark and Karl separated themselves from the jamboree and took themselves into the beer garden on their own. Mark had bought a couple of cigars for himself and his brother to enjoy after the final.

"You're absolutely fucking great, Mark," Karl said, randomly as they sat and watched the celebrations through the window quietly. "I mean, look at what you have created here: the team, the community coming together, the feeling around this place - it's all down to you. I don't know how you do it, but you've got that special something about you. A magnetism."

Mark looked over to his brother as he finished his sentence. "It's great isn't it. I mean mum and dad are in there and they deserve to live in the great environment that we have created here, because they brought us up to be leaders - simple as," he said, laughing. "We've got something going here that's going to last decades, maybe even centuries. Me and you, mum and dad in there. We created this feeling. It's a Milne world, everyone else just seems to be living in it, eh?"

Scott: They did just fine I think ;)
Seb: Sunday league is the place to be feisty, mate :P
I feel like that last sentence may be one repeated many a time in the future with Marks seemingly extraordinary leadership ability.

You are reading "Wetherby Athletic: A New Dawn".

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