BRIGHOUSE Town’s first team ended the 2011-12 season in fourth position in the NCEL Premier Division, the highest position ever achieved in the club’s history, writes Town vice-chairman Ray McLaughlin
Manager Paul Quinn and coaches Mark Booth and Barry Thomas deserve a huge amount of credit for building a side that became a match for anyone in the division.
There were some very impressive results along the way; notably doing the double over local rivals Liversedge and also avenging a heavy early season defeat at Thackley with a good win in the home fixture in the New Year.
The real standout results came against two of the best teams in the League. A 7-1 away victory to complete the double over Parkgate was an astonishing result. Then completing the double over would-be champions Retford United, with an emphatic 4-0 home win after having already inflicted what would be their only home defeat earlier in the season, really showed the potential of the side.
Paul Quinn believes in a team culture; but nobody could deny the impact one individual has made on the Town side.
Tom Matthews arrived with a reputation as a prolific goal scorer in the WRCAL but he wasted no time in a Town shirt to show he had the ability to make the step up to the NCEL – and 28 goals proved the point.
His exploits have brought attention from other clubs, but Quinn and chairman Chris Lister have already talked with the player who has enjoyed his first season with the club and has already committed to Brighouse Town for next season.
Quinn has made it clear he wants to keep the squad together to try build on what has been achieved, and the indications from this tight-knit group of players are they cannot wait for the challenge ahead next season.
Daz Laycock and Mark Brady’s Reserve side have enjoyed their best moments in the cup competitions, reaching the latter stages of both the County Cup and League Cup, but managing to reach the final of the Halifax Cup.
A backlog of fixtures and the poorly thought-out rules on player eligibility have again hampered the side in the league where they sit near the bottom. This and the demise in facilities and lack of appropriate match officials, mean Town have decided to remove the reserves from the WRCAL and next season will join the Lancashire League made up of other reserve sides from the NCEL and Evo-Stik League standard and above, and they will be placed in the East Division which is nearly entirely Yorkshire-based sides.
This team will be run as a development side with the aim of attracting the best young players in the area to play at a good level of football, on good facilities with well qualified match officials that will allow players the chance to show their abilities.
The club feels the step up for the reserves to play in the Lancashire League fulfils many of the requirements previously served by the Academy side. So it has been decided that Town will not enter a team into the Northern U19 Alliance League next season.
After two successful seasons winning the Championship twice and a League Cup, Simon Wood’s young side have had a more challenging season and currently sit in mid-table in the league. However, no one will forget the fantastic run in the FA Youth Cup this season reaching the First Round proper before eventually losing at Kidderminster Harriers when all concerned represented the club with distinction. The committee would like to place on record their thanks for the job coach Simon Wood has done with the Academy.
Town’s U16 side is having a fantastic season. Having already won the Halifax Cup with a 7-1 victory over Warley, they won the prestigious County Cup beating Yorkshire Amateurs 5-1. The quality of their football drew praise from everyone who was present on the night.
Despite a horrendous backlog of fixtures due to the cup success, the youngsters are still in with a chance of winning the League Championship. If they can win two of their remaining four fixtures it would complete a memorable treble.
Next season they will play at U18 level in the Huddersfield League and it is hoped it will help their development and transition into senior football.
The cost of running the club does not get any easier in the current financial climate, so supporters and sponsors alike, especially main sponsor Dual Seal Glass, are vitally important and much appreciated.
Town Reserves were last night hoping at the second attempt to play their Albert Crabtree Halifax and District League Cup Final against Ovenden West Riding at the Shay.
Tonight, Town’s U19s entertain AFC Field (7.45pm) and on Saturday Town’s Reserves entertain Hall Green Utd (2.30pm).
Next Monday, May 14, Storthes Hall are the visitors to to the Dual Seal Stadium (6.15pm) and the following night Town’s U-19s entertain Ossett Albion (7.45pm).
The reserves still have an away game with Campion to fix up which should have been played last night but had to be cancelled owing to the rearranged final.