in conjunction with the and the
Leek Town Details
This Page6 October, 2000
Leek Town: Pen Pictures
Compiled and supplied by Grahame Rowley, to whom thanks are due.
Matt Beeby: Matt is a solid and dependable defender who was signed in October 1991 and made his debut in March 1992 against Morecambe. Born in Leek, he has made more than 300 appearances for "The Blues". His previous clubs were Port Vale, Macclesfield & Kidsgrove Athletic.
Aidan Callan: Aidan is an attacking midfielder who spent two seasons as a professional with Stoke City following his period as a trainee. He joined Leek in August 1997, making his debut as a substitute at Morecambe. He has now made more than 100 appearances.
John Diskin: John signed in July 1993 and made his debut against Bridlington Town. A defender and former club captain, he has played in more than 300 games for Leek and enjoyed a well earned testimonial season in 1999-2000. He represented the FA against the Combined Services in January, 1998. Born in Stoke, his previous clubs include Nantwich Town.
Craig Lovatt: Craig is a central midfielder who signed in July 1999. He made his debut against Gainsborough as a substitute and marked his full debut with the opening goal against Frickley. He was born in Stoke and previous clubs include Stone Dominoes & Kidsgrove Athletic.
Dave Sutton: A former apprentice with Stoke City, Dave turned down a chance of a professional career. Stoke's loss was Leek's gain as he went on to become the club's leading goalscorer and appearance maker. Dave signed for the club in July 1987 and played 435 times before leaving only to return in July 1999. He was born in Leek in 1966 and is now both a Director and Coach.
Rob Wade: Rob is a forward who signed in August 1999. He made his debut against Winsford, was born in Stoke and his previous clubs include Stoke City, Congleton and Newcastle Town.
Dave Whittaker: Dave is a midfielder signed in July 1999 and made his debut against Guiseley. He is ambitious to return to the professional game as quickly as possible. He was born in Stockport and signed from Crewe.
Daryl Wilkes: Daryl prefers to play in midfield but is a utility player who can play in most positions. He was signed in July 1999. As a schoolboy he was attached to Stoke City and Crewe, representing Staffordshire and having trials for England. He was born in Stoke and has played for Nantwich and Kidsgrove Athletic.
Scott Williams: Scott is a left sided player who has progressed from the Juniors. He made his debut in February, 1999 against Bilston Town.
Darren Twigg: Darren is a strong front-runner who returned to the club in July 1999 after a previous long spell at the club. He was one of the most highly rated strikers in the Unibond in his former spell and holds the record for the most goals in a season for Leek.
Bradley Sandeman: Bradley is a right back signed in July 2000. He is noted for his strong tackling and his surging runs. Bradley was born in Northampton in 1970 and has played for Northampton, Maidstone, Port Vale, Rotherham and Hereford.
Mark Statham: Mark is a talented keeper who was allowed to join Leek in August 1999 after losing his place at Stalybridge to former Leek favourite Gary Ingham. He made his debut in August, 1999.
A History of LEEK TOWN Football Club
With thanks to Mike Cope.
No doubt historians could trace the origins of LEEK TOWN back to 9 March 1876 when Leek played Macclesfield at home and the game ended in dispute. The Leek players alleged that their opponents displayed a total lack of knowledge of the rules - apparently a case of anything goes!!
However, the lines of origin are a little bit hazy since those days at the end of the 19th century when Leek played such teams as Stoke City, Derby County, Newport, Walsall, West Brom, Port Vale, Crewe Alex, Wolves and Queens Park Glasgow. Their most recent history stems from the end of the Second World War, in 1946.
Graduating from ABBEY GREEN ROVERS to LEEK LOWE HAMIL, they played in the Leek and Moorlands League and acquired Sam Goodfellow's field next to the White Lion pub. Then followed a period in the Staffordshire County League, becoming runners-up in 1947/48 and 1949/50. In 1950/51, the club established, and still holds, the all-time record for the County League - winning the championship without losing a match - a part of the club's history which began a new era.
After a successful association with the County League, they joined the Manchester League in 1951/52 and changed their name to LEEK TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB. The Blues won the championship at the first attempt to bring home a unique double as they also won the Staffordshire Junior Cup.
Leek joined the Birmingham League in 1954/55 but the anticipated enthusiasm and support was not maintained. In December 1956 the club had to resign due to financial difficulties and were re-admitted to the Manchester League in 1957/58. Again it was necessary to curtail expense and a year later, they moved back to the Staffordshire County League. The club struggled along until 1968 when a bunch of volunteers answered secretary Harry Allen's pleas for help and they became unparalleled as a working committee. In a few short years, by sheer hard graft, they transformed the team under Manager Paul Ogden and the ground found itself with a club house, a small stand and, eventually, floodlights. During this period the club went on to win the Staffs County League twice and the Manchester Premier League twice before joining the Cheshire League in the 1973/74 season.
In only the club's second season in the league, The Blues lifted the coveted Cheshire League title, the first Staffordshire club to do so. All this success was achieved under the charismatic Chairmanship of the late GEOFF HARRISON after whom their stadium is now named.
When the Cheshire League was amalgamated into the newly formed North West Counties League in 1982, Leek Town became founder members. Success in the league was virtually non-existent however, they lifted the North West Counties League Cup in 1985 and also won the Charity Shield.
The Northern Premier League First Division was formed in 1987 and again Leek were founder members. After missing out on promotion by finishing third in the first two seasons, the club was finally promoted to the Premier Division having won the 1989/90 championship. They also re-wrote the record books that season by reaching the FA Trophy final at Wembley only to lose 3-0 to Vauxhall Conference side Barrow. During their first season in the Premier Division of the NPL, the League Challenge Shield was lifted and Chester City were taken to a replay in the Second Round Proper of the FA Cup following a first round victory at Scarborough.
The 1993/94 season was one of the best in the club's history but, despite finishing the season in second place in the league table, only one point behind Marine, they were denied a place in the Vauxhall Conference for financial reasons. Two appeals to the FA failed and subsequently the Joint Liaison Committee of the Football Pyramid determined that the club would play in the Southern Football League to make way for relegated Witton Albion in the 'NPL'.
The club, enjoyed a fairly successful campaign in the Southern League Premier Division, finishing in 7th place and coming runners-up to Hastings Town in the League Challenge Cup Final over two legs. The Evans Halshaw Floodlit Cup was also won for the second time.
However, their enforced exile in the South was financially crippling and, at the end of the season, they formally requested the Joint Liaison Committee to consider moving them back to the NPL - and that's how it worked out.
Since NEIL BAKER left the club to become Assistant Manager to Dario Gradi at Crewe Alexandra in 1995, the Blues have had no fewer than five managers. Former player, Steve Norris managed the side in their one season in the Southern League and when he resigned he was replaced by PHIL WILSON in June 1995. When he departed for Northwich Victoria on 1 December 1996, the team were in second place and the Vauxhall Conference had just given Harrison Park an 'A' grading. Assistant Manager Peter Ward took over and Leek went on to win the championship by a clear 10 points and with it promotion to the Conference. Following a decent first half of the 1997-98 campaign, the Blues sank into the relegation zone after failing to win a game in the first two and a half months of 1998 and Peter Ward became only the fourth manager in Leek's history to be given the sack. Player coach Ray Walker was put in temporary charge on 17 March but five games later ex-Stoke City and England star Mike Pejic was drafted in with a brief to keep the club in the League with just eight games to play. Those eight games included six matches in the final eight days of the season and Pejic's influence saw the team drag itself through the final five games in six days to achieve the objective on the last day of the campaign. Mike Pejic moved on at the end of the season and former Port Vale and Chesterfield striker, Ernie Moss, was appointed team manager in May 1998 after a successful four year spell in charge at Gainsborough Trinity in the UniBond League. However, Moss was sacked eight games before the end of the season with his side in a relegation position and caretaker manager Tony Agana was unable to halt the slide and the club was relegated for the first time in its history. Former Blues star Andy Holmes was appointed manager during the close season and he has built a side of mainly local players which is expected to hold its own in the UniBond Premier Division this season.