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Farsley Celtic pay tribute to club stalwarts Dave Syers and Caroline Harriman

By John Baron

Farsley Celtic have paid tribute to two club stalwarts who are stepping back from the club after many years’ service.

Farsley Celtic skipper David Syers played his last match before retirement in the club’s 2-1 defeat at Spennymoor Town yesterday, with players forming a guard of honour as the club legend left the field for the final time.

And dedicated volunteer Caroline Harriman – who has been Head of Football Administration at Farsley since 2019 and had occupied a number of roles since 2015 – has also stepped down.

Farsley Celtic Supporters’ Club chief John Stubbs presented an emotional Caroline with flowers to thank her for her work before boarding the coach for yesterday’s match.

Farsley’s Dave Syers stretches for the ball against Gloucester. Photo: John McEvoy

Dave Syers is without doubt a Farsley legend, first playing for the original Celtic club in 2009/10, before re-joining in 2018.

It was his performances in the National League North for the Celts during that season that undoubtedly caught the eyes of club’s higher up the pyramid, and he would join Bradford City in the summer of 2010.

Syers made the jump to full-time football with ease, scoring 10 goals in his first season at Valley Parade, whilst being named the Players’ Player of the Year at the conclusion of his first campaign at the club.

He would spend six seasons in the Football League with the Bantams, Doncaster Rovers, Scunthorpe United and Rochdale, before a return to non-league football with Guiseley and Darlington.

Club legend: Dave Syers. Photo: John McEvoy

It wasn’t just football in which Syers represented Farsley, as he also turned out for Farsley CC, helping them to the Priestley Cup Final in 2010, before his move to Bradford City brought an end to his cricket career.

The midfielder, who has also featured as a centre-half, centre-forward, and goalkeeper, has made over 500 career appearances, but it is the Celts with whom he was the longest affinity.

He has made 189 appearances across his two spells in West Leeds, 144 in his current stint, finding the back of the net on 41 occasions.

He has also stepped up off the pitch at the club towards the end of his playing days, leading the club as interim manager at Brackley Town last season, before becoming a player/coach under Russ Wilcox.

Syers has delivered some incredible moments in a Farsley shirt, but perhaps none more so than the 3-1 victory over AFC Telford United in 2009.

Dave Syers put Farsley Celtic 2-0 up against Spennymoor earlier this season, but the Celts were thwarted at the death. Photo: Simon CUllingworth

Goalkeeper Piotr Skiba had earlier been forced off through concussion, and with no substitute ‘keeper, it was Syers who stepped between the sticks; no stranger to donning the gloves as a wicket-keeper. And he would be the hero for the Celts, saving Damien Reeves’ penalty to help his side to a 3-1 victory.

But of course, Syers will be best remembered for his role in this current Farsley side.

Re-joining Farsley from Darlington in November 2018 he would have an immediate impact that season as he helped drive Adam Lakeland’s side onto the Northern Premier League title, and promotion to the National League North.

He would continue to be an integral part of the Farsley sides that adapted to the step-up, maintaining National League North status for five seasons.

Following the departure of Danny Ellis early on in the 2021/22 season, Syers was made Farsley captain, and he has continued to wear the armband since.

His retirement brings to an end a five-year stint at the Citadel, and ends an association with the club that stretches back 14 years.

A clubs spokesperson said: “Dave Syers is without doubt a Farsley legend, and has played an integral part across two generations of this football club.

“Everyone at the club would like to think him for his immense efforts when representing the club, and wish him all the best for the future.”

Caroline Harriman. Photo: Farsley Celtic FC

Caroline Harriman has been an integral part of the Farsley Celtic set up for a number of years, and was recognised as the Vanarama National League North October Volunteer of the Month last October.

Caroline says she ‘started off being a bossy parent helping in her son’s team’ but her volunteering started in earnest in 2015 in the role of Club Welfare Officer, and after working as Development Secretary and Assistant Club Secretary, she was promoted to Head of Football Administration in 2019.

She is the single point of contact for all football-associated matters across the club, including the first team, women’s team, academy teams and the club’s many junior teams.

As well as running matchday operations, Caroline is the single point of contact for all football associated matters across the club; this includes the first team, women’s team, academy teams and the many junior teams at the club.

It’s a large role but she told the club website in October: “Fortunately, there any many other volunteers at the club who support me, and we definitely work well as a team, and I can delegate some tasks.

“The majority of my time is spent dealing with first-team matters, such as player registrations/contracts, discipline, match arrangements and making sure we are compliant with the many FA and league rules.

“I also run the first team match day operations and am generally the organiser of football matters.”

Caroline’s love of the club also shines through. She added: “Farsley Celtic is absolutely in my heart, and I am very passionate about it. In fact, I am too passionate sometimes, I usually have a lot to say about all club matters!

“I have had to learn to concentrate on things within my control only and occasionally have to tell myself to “wind my neck in.”

Thankfully for both Caroline and Dave, the Celts managed to avoid relegation from National League North yesterday, despite a 2-1 defeat.

Former Farsley Celtic media manager Tom Ritchie. Photo: John McEvoy

Earlier this month Farsley Celtic’s media manager Thomas Ritchie left the club to take up a paid role in Edinburgh with Cricket Scotland.

Tom had volunteered with the club since he was 15-years-old, starting off by writing match reports. Tom also contributed match reports to West Leeds Dispatch, writing more than 200 articles on the club. We wish him well for the future.

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