THE 2011-12 season saw new Town manager Paul Quinn lead Brighouse Town to a highest ever fourth place finish in NCEL Premier Division in his first season in charge.
Quinn then acted quickly to confirm his coaching team for the forthcoming season, with Mark Booth and Mark Brady as his assistants and Barrie Thomas being deployed as Head of Player Development. Quinn had also managed to retain most of last season’s squad but crucially managed to attract some new recruits.
As final preparations were made for the 2012-13 campaign, there was a real feeling of optimism running through the club.
That optimism was enhanced by the quality of pre-season training and the performances in the friendly matches, especially the very creditable 1-1 draw in Gateshead against the FA Vase holders Dunston UTS.
Town made an excellent start to the league campaign, taking 23 points from the first 10 games, which briefly saw them as leaders.
The team also created another piece of history; the first ever victory in the FA Cup courtesy of a thrilling 3-2 win against Silsden after coming back from two goals down.
However, the FA Cup also brought the most disappointing result so far when Town were knocked out in the next round by Division One side Eccleshill United.
Quinn had to make an adjustment to his coaching staff in early October when Mark Brady had to stand down and Rob Mitchell was promoted from the Reserves.
Mid-October brought the start of Town’s adventure in the FA Vase; a comfortable 5-2 away win at Hall Road Rangers included a Tom Matthews double, and the prolific Town striker got an extra time brace in a 3-1 win as Town knocked out last season’s semi-finalists Staveley MW.
Derbyshire side Holbrook Sports were the visitors in the next round where a brilliant performance and a 4-1 win saw Town through to the last 32.
The only thing to put Town’s passage in doubt was a floodlight failure with 20 minutes to go. Up stepped local electrician Will Cahill, who saved the day.
Town could hardly have been drawn further away than against Newport from the Isle of Wight.
The tie will take place on January 19 and with the support of the people and businesses of Brighouse and beyond, co-ordinated with the help of Echo sports editor, Dave Parker, the club will have the best possible preparations to try get through to the last 16, including training at St Georges Park, Burton-on-Trent and staying in a Southampton hotel the night before the game.
It’s been very pleasing that the coaches and players have not lost focus on the league campaign and they are unbeaten in the league since September 18, winning 10 games and drawing three.
Town sit third, three points behind second placed Bridlington and four points behind leaders Scarborough with a game in hand over both sides.
Town have made the FA aware of their intention to accept promotion to Step Four of the league pyramid should they finish in a qualifying position.
Extra work to upgrade the facilities at the Dual Seal Stadium would be required to meet the criteria, and the management committee are busy formulating an action plan to raise the necessary funds to make this possible.
A decision was made to withdraw from the WRCAL and Northern Alliance U19 League and replace them with a team in the Galaxy Lancashire League, East Division.
This team is run very much as a development side with the aim of attracting the very best young players in the area and give them the chance to show their abilities with the ultimate ambition of progressing to play for the first team. Under Charlie Tolley’s guidance, this ethos seems to be working well with several youngsters getting their chance with the first team.
The Reserves are in a very respectable third position with games in hand over most of their rivals and are still in the Halifax Cup.
The majority of the reserves are still eligible to play in the FA Youth Cup which the club entered again and saw them take the scalp of a full time Guiseley Academy side before losing 1-0 to Bottesford.
It was decided that last season’s treble winning U16 side should step up to play at U18 level this season in the Huddersfield League.
After taking a few games to adapt, they are currently on a five game winning run. Several of the youngsters have also gained valuable experience as part of the FA Youth Cup squad.
Off the field, committee members Malcolm and Margaret Taylor have had problems; a back injury for Malcolm and a broken wrist and hip for Margaret. Keith Gledhill has also been unable to attend games through illness and everyone hopes to see them at a game before the end of the season.
The general feeling is that the restructuring on the playing side has been of benefit and each team enters the second half of the season with plenty to play for.
There are challenges ahead, but with a superb team of coaches, committed players, a hard working committee and the backing of our sponsors, especially main club sponsor Dual Seal Glass, Brighouse Town hope they can continue to follow the same philosophy of continuous improvement that has served them well.