A New Farnley football club which has folded due to a lack of players bowed out on a high with a cup final at the home of Premier League giants Leeds United, writes Liam O’Sullivan.
HT Sports Football Club were a Sunday League club widely regarded as one of the top teams around.
The club accumulated over 20 trophies and played multiple finals at Elland Road during their 29 years of existence, but as of August this year, the club were forced to fold due to a lack of players.
The decision to fold came just months after the club played at Elland Road in the Senior Challenge Cup Final, which ended in defeat against Colton FC.
In their long history, HT were league champions on seven occasions, Sanford Cup winners six times, Sunday Cup winners four times, and Challenge cup winners four times. They also reached the national cup semi-final on one occasion, epitomising their impressive time as a club.
The club enjoyed a long spell in the Jubilee Premier League, which is the highest division the club could reach.
Former player and manager Lee Connor said HT Sports had struggled to attract players. He added: “The numbers were really low. We were struggling every week towards the end. We couldn’t really attract any players which is weird because we had probably one of the best facilities in the league.”
Following the club’s disintegration, Lee said he fears for the future of Sunday League football.
“Sunday football seems to have died at the moment if I’m being honest,” he said.
“Years ago, in the Jubilee Premier you got to have changing rooms at the side of the pitch, a barrier at the side of your pitch, a decent pitch, we used to get a linesman sometimes at games.
“Now you’re getting changed at the side of the pitch in your car, no showers. You’d think 30 years later facilities would improve.
“It’s a shame. I think Sunday morning football’s dying and I’d love to see it come back again how it used to be.”
Despite this, he still looks back at the positive times at the club: “I’m happy it happened. I’m not sad it ended. We had some fantastic times and memories, I played with some great lads.
“We got to the final five times at Elland Road throughout the years since 1997.
“We actually won the District Cup without conceding a single goal one season.
“We used to get around 200 people watching in some local derby games. Bringing all their people up, it was great to see like two or three hundred people watching us on a Sunday morning.”
Some may see the end of HT Sports’ spell as a club coming to an end as a disappointment, but with the many great years they had, there’s a strong legacy left behind for the Sunday League side.
Lee is also optimistic HT Sports will make a return at some point. “Now we’ve folded it’s a bit of a shock, but I’m hoping to start it again,” he said. “My son’s 16, they’re a junior team, so maybe in a couple of years I might see HT again.”