Steeton Announce Plans For Future
STEETON have revealed their intention to make the step up from the West Riding County Amateur League to a higher level, having registered their interest with the Northern Counties East League over a potential move in the future.
The Keighley outfit have been mainstays of the County Amateur Premier Division since earning promotion from Division One as champions in 2010.
They finished runners-up in 2013 and reached the West Riding County FA Challenge Cup Final at Elland Road a year later.
“As a club we feel that we need to progress now. The club is being run in a very professional way,” said Mason. “Football is changing and more lads want to play at a higher level.”
“It’s about safeguarding our future. At the moment we run it as a semi-professional club with the facilities, training, website, social media, sponsorship we receive already and the programme we produce has won awards. Off the field, plenty is in place already.”
number of teams have moved up to the non-league football pyramid from the West Riding County Amateur League in recent years, including neighbours Silsden, Albion Sports, Hemsworth and Brighouse Town. Campion could be the latest team to make the jump at the end of the season if their plans come to fruition.
Mason has felt the pressure of clubs around Steeton progressing to a higher tier, with players leaving for local rivals.
In the last two seasons, Arley Barnes and Jamie Longley joined Barnsoldwick Town, while most recently Nicky McNally and James Nettleton returned to Silsden just months after signing with Steeton.
Mason said: “It’s unfortunate and it’s had nothing to do with Steeton or the way the club is run. It’s simply the quality of football that we can’t provide to players.”
“It’s getting more and more difficult to attract footballers to come and play at the County Amateur level. It used to be the pinnacle to play at this level for some lads, but those days are gone.”
“Getting to the senior Challenge Cup final at Elland Road in 2014, where we lost to Field, has had an effect. The run we had that year and the interest we got in the club, along with the buzz of playing in bigger games, has made it difficult as a club to then come back down to our league level.”
The club now await an inspection of Summerfield Lane before learning which improvements must be made to the ground to meet the standards of the Northern Counties East League.
“We know we’ll need to get floodlights and we’re going to have to build a small stand that will sit 50 people as well.
“It’s a bit of a rallying call as a club because in order to make this step up, we will need more people to get involved with us off the field and involved in sponsorship because there will be financial implications if we move up.”
Jackson, who grew up in Keighley and who captained and managed both the Bantams and the Terriers, is right behind Steeton's ambition.
He said: "I am happy to help Steeton in any way that I can. I was very impressed with the set-up at Summerhill Lane when I took a side down there for a pre-season game when I was in charge at Bradford and have kept in touch with Roy since then.
"The club are very ambitious and well run and I am sure that they are making the right decision in exploring the possibility of progressing to a higher level.
"I would urge the people and business community of Keighley to get behind the club as they will need the support of everyone if they are to achieve their ambitions."
Jackson added that it would be great to have another Keighley side looking to progress up the non-league ladder as he still retains a great affinity for the town.
Mason said: "It's a great boost for us to have not only Peter's backing, but he has promised to help us all he can. Having someone with his connections and also being able to ring him for advice as we embark on this project will be invaluable."
Providing that Steeton can finish in the top five of their division, they would qualify to be considered for a promotion to a higher tier. A move is still some way off, with the 2017/18 season being targeted as the prime time to make the step up.
However, Mason wants to get plans up and running. He said: “We have to start getting the wheels in motion now and there are no guarantees.
Campion Reserves 3 Steeton Reserves 1
The reserves managed to beat the weather as their game with Campion Reserves was moved to Zara Sports Centre.
Stephen Pearson headed Steeton into the lead only for the home side to hit back with 3 goals to take the points.
This week, weather permitting, the first team entertain Hunsworth at Summerhill Lane. The reserves travel to Westbrook. Both games kick off at 2pm
Happy New Year
Steeton AFC would like to wish all supporters a Happy New Year and wish everyone the best for 2016.
Our first fixtures see the first team face Lepton Highlanders in the league cup. The game kicks off at the earlier time of 13.45pm.
The reserves face Campion Reserves in a game that kicks off at 2.00pm
Wins for both teams
Both teams had good wins on Saturday, following a few weeks of in activity.
The first team beat Tyersal 6-0 with Lee Reilly hitting a hatrick. Andy Holden had given Steeton the lead within the first minute and further goals from Jack Morrall and Dom Mortimer Steeton were good for the win.
Manager Roy Mason introduced a number of young players including Sam Fox, Morgan Bridge and Tom Leach whp all made their first team debuts.
The reserves took revenge for lasts seasons defeat at Oxenhope with an emphatic 8-0 win. Andy Briggs lead the way with a hatrick and further goals from Greig Hudson, Casey Dowthwaite, Ross Champman, Aaron Abass and Harry Jarman completed the rout.