Next up in the Vanarama National League North is Bank Holiday Monday’s visit from North Yorkshire side Harrogate Town AFC at the MBi Shay Stadium.
Despite goals from Tom Denton and Danny Hone, Billy Heath’s side suffered their first defeat of the season last time out against AFC Fylde (3-2) after the Lancashire side came from behind to take all three points. Harrogate on the other hand leap frogged the Shaymen on Saturday with their 3-1 victory over struggling starters Nuneaton Town.
As we limber up for the Bank Holiday clash, here are 10 things about our opposition that you may not have known.
Harrogate Town were first founded in 1914 and entered the Northern Football League. However just two hours prior to kick-off of their first ever competitive fixture a telegram was send to their hosts Bishop Auckland to announce that Britain had declared their involvement in the First World War and all fixtures were postponed until conflicts ended. With most of the team away with regiments, Harrogate had to wait five years to play their first game on the 30th August 1919, winning 1-0 at Bishop Aukland.
Since the clubs formation they have played at the now named the CNG Stadium, a 500 seater ground that, thanks to heavy refurbishment in 2013, can accommodate a further 3,500 standing.
Harrogate’s club nickname, the Sulphurites, comes from the use of Suphur in the town’s historic spas. People would travel from all over the country to join the local miners with the hope of curing their illnesses in the waters.
In 2013, Harrogate was voted the happiest place to live in England by property website Rightmove and has defended its crown every year since. Wolverhampton came dead bottom of the pile with Halifax placing 38th in the country, and the second happiest place in Yorkshire.
When the Tour de France came to Yorkshire, the town was host to the finish line of Leed’s stage and famously, Mark Cavendish fell just meters from the finish line handing the stage victory to Germany’s Marcel Kittel.
Back to the Football, Harrogate Town’s all time record goalscorer is Jim Hauge who bagged a remarkable 135 goals in 402 appearances for the Sulphurites. Their all time record appearance holder however is Paul Williamson who notched up a stunning 447 appearances during his time in North Yorkshire.
The club’s best FA Cup run came in the 2012-13 season when Harrogate were just a sudden death penalty away from a third round trip to Middlesbrough when former Halifax man Lee Elam missed the decisive spot kick in a dramatic replay with Hastings United.
On the way to the second round they defeated League side Torquay United 1-0, getting revenge over the Gulls after they had crushed Harrogate’s cup dream seven years prior in the sides then best ever cup run.
Their current manager is former Doncaster Rovers defender Simon Weaver, in his first managerial role since he retired from playing as Harrogate’s player-manager in 2012. In his first season as player-manager in 2009, Weaver struggled, with Harrogate only surviving relegation due to Northwich Victoria’s demotion from the league. Since then Weaver has guided his side to the highest finish ever.
The Sulphurites are currently playing in the highest tier in their history, after gaining promotion to the National League North in 2004 where they have remained ever since. Last season saw their best finish at this level, coming fourth but losing in the play-offs to AFC Fylde.
You can catch Billy Heath’s Shaymen taking on Harrogate at the Mbi Shay Stadium on Bank Holiday Monday at 3pm.
Read more posts by Kelly Gilchrist