About the Ammers

Yorkshire Amateur AFC was founded in November 1918 by Kolin Robertson, but only began playing matches in 1919. In those early days, the club’s fixtures largely consisted of playing friendlies at Elland Road following the demise of Leeds City FC, on the orders of the Football Association, after irregularities were discovered in their accounts. However, in 1920 the club decided that the ground was not suitable for their needs and sold the lease to the newly formed Leeds United AFC for the sum of �250!

The aim of the club in those days was to compete as a major force against the professional teams playing in the north of England. This proved not to be viable and in 1920 the club became one of the founder members of the Yorkshire League. In 1922 the club became the first British team to tour in Latvia and Estonia. The club produced a number of leading amateur international players such as Joe Woodcock who, at left back, was the first Bradford born amateur international.

The “Ammers” (or �Ammas�), as they were known, moved to their present headquarters at Bracken Edge in 1922 after using several other grounds, including sharing with Harrogate Town. This period was by far the most successful for the club and a record crowd of 3569 paid receipts of �160 to see the 5-2 Amateur Cup Quarter Final replay victory over Wimbledon. This was after a 2-2 draw at Wimbledon before a crowd of 12,000. The “Ammers” had demolished the holders, Wycombe Wanderers, 4-0 in the previous round and the club’s sights were now set on a Wembley appearance. Unfortunately, Marine FC had not read the script and triumphed 2-1 in the semi-final replay played at Leicester City’s ground.

Such was the strength of the side in the 1931-32 season that George Hudson, the Amateur International and Captain of that season’s Football Association Representative XI, could not make the Ammers side and left the club in mid-season to join Farsley Celtic in the hope of gaining a first team place. The same season saw the club finish as runners-up to Huddersfield Town in the Yorkshire League after losing 2-1 in a play-off. The club also reached the first round of the FA Cup losing 3-1 at home to Carlisle United after defeating Denaby United, Altrincham and Frickley on the way.

1932-33 saw the club become the inaugural winners of the Yorkshire League Cup, beating Huddersfield Town 4-2 in the final. The 1945-46 season had seen the club again reach the First Round Proper of the FA Cup. The Ammers went down to Lincoln City 5-2 on aggregate after winning the first leg 1-0 at home. The post war years, however, saw a decline in the fortunes of the club, but occasional success was seen playing in the lower reaches of the Yorkshire League along with victories in the County Cup competition,

By the late 1970’s the club was at a very low ebb and a youth policy was embarked upon with the formation of the Junior Section. This policy has produced rich dividends in recent years with a number of players moving on to full-time professional football including Stuart Naylor & Gary Strodder (both West Bromwich Albion), Andy Watson (Swansea City) and Warren Ward (York City). Brian Deane of Middlesbrough and England has played in the Ammers First Team. A number of the current open-age squad are products of the club’s strong Junior Section. The club became a founder member of the newly formed Northern Counties East League in 1982.

The club’s resurgence continued with the construction of a covered seated stand, spectator hard standing all around the pitch, new dressing rooms (that are probably the best in our league), the installation of floodlights that are to Conference levels, the building of a floodlit wet weather training facility.

In addition, the inside of the clubhouse has been extended and refurbished with a new bar, lighting and decor. The club also saw success on the field with the first team rarely being out of the top five throughout the main part of the 1990’s. The team also won the Leeds Senior Cup Final at Elland Road and became Wilkinson Sword Trophy winners in 1998. The Reserve side also twice triumphed in the Reserve Team League Cup during that period.

The club is currently managed by is Graham Hodder who took over from Pete Cusic in March 2007. Graham who holds both F.A and U.E.F.A. coaching badges had been managing the Reserves and also Yorkshire Amateur’s U19 Academy side and was asked to take over when Pete Cusic resigned, Pete Ryder who was Assistant Manager of the Academy agreed to be the First Team Assistant.

Graham’s first full season in charge was very much a consolidation period as due to a lack of experienced players Graham has relied heavily on the young players from the Academy that he played the major part in setting up and these young men have done well in stepping up to the NCEL.

The 2007-08 season also saw John Ward taking over the Academy bringing a whole host of exciting young players with him to add to the players already at the Academy. Several Yorkshire Amateur Junior players also made the step up to the Academy. The Academy had a very good season finishing in third place in the league and having a good run in the F.A. Youth Cup.

For the 2009-09 season further changes are bring made with the Reserves entering the Lancashire League which will be a better standard of football than the league they were previously in, which will hopefully better prepare players for the demands of the NCEL. Steve Hart has been appointed Manager of the Reserves and Danny Redshaw will be the Assistant Manager. Both Steve and Danny hold F.A. coaching badges.

2007 also saw the return of Dave and Ann Packham and Charles Sharman to the club committee. The dressing rooms have been improved with the addition of a separate changing room for female officials, the clubhouse has been re-decorated and a new dance floor has been installed and doors have been fitted between the bar and the function room.

The management, committee and players have all worked hard over the months and progress is steadily being made and there is a definite “feel good” feeling at the club at present and a belief that the club is going places.

The story continues.