2012/13: FA Cup Preliminary Round – Garforth Town v Wakefield
Saturday 25 August 2012 (11:00)
The start of a season heralds a clean-slate, where the triumphs or otherwise of the last campaign are merely consigned to the pages of football-past. For two teams in West Yorkshire from the Evo-Stik First Division North last season was one of great contrast. Garforth Town achieved their highest ever League finish, before bowing out of the Play-offs on penalties. Wakefield had been forced out of their home at College Grove and had to play their fixtures at Ossett Town and narrowly avoided relegation. This summer the two clubs have also had an “interesting” time. Wakefield had some good news in that they were able to return to playing in the city, moving in with their Rugby League neighbours the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats. For Garforth however, it has been a summer of strife, with the loss of manager, virtually the entire playing squad and a number of club officials.
Neither team has made a great start to their 2012/13 League campaigns and in fact there is symmetry to the games played so far. Both lost their opening home fixture of the season 2-0, Garforth to Clitheroe and Wakefield to Skelmersdale and followed this up with thumping losses in their first away games. Garforth were hammered 6-0 at Curzon Ashton, whilst Wakefield were on the end of a 7-0 thrashing by Trafford. Whilst it is too early to talk of crisis at these two clubs, August has so far not been kind.
Today though brings some respite from League action as Garforth and Wakefield meet in the FA Cup Preliminary Round. At this stage last year, Garforth overcame Sheffield FC (3-2), whilst Wakefield beat Thackley (1-0). It’s difficult to make any prediction as to how this game might go, but hope that being a local derby it might produce a decent crowd and so be of financial benefit to both sides.
Saturday 25 August 2012 (19:30)
A curious day to say the least. Arrived at the ground about fifteen minutes before kick-off, so grabbed a programme and sat down, unaware that the stadium was without power. I could hear a generator whirring away in the background, but thought nothing of it as the game started and the heavens opened. Without a teamsheet and no tannoy announcements about the respective line-ups, I was pretty much in the dark as to who was playing. However, it was interesting to see that Garforth were fielding their third different keeper in as many games. Between the sticks today was Ján Zolna, who had a spell at Wakefield in 2009/10.
Given the poor start to the season for both these teams, it was no surprise that the opening quarter of an hour lacked any real cohesion. The lack of confidence was evident in both teams, as passes went astray. Gradually Garforth began to assert some pressure and their first real effort which brought a saved from Wakefield keeper Dan Truman came after twenty six minutes. Fernando Moke was looking more and more dangerous as the first-half went on and on thirty minutes a weaving run took him into the box, where he was brought down. The referee adjudged it to be a penalty and Moke stepped up to give Garforth a 1-0 lead and their first goal of the season. The home team continued to dominate and deserved their half-time lead. There was then the strange sight of both teams and the officials staying on the pitch at the interval. Mumblings in the crowd informed those gathered that there was no power at the stadium, others more cynically suggested that the electricity had been cut off!
If the first forty five minutes belonged to Garforth, the second was all about Wakefield. However, for all their possession they couldn’t make that pressure tell, with Jordan Cooper guilty of missing two excellent chances for the visitors and Ján Zolna making some good saves. Garforth hung onto their 1-0 lead and will be grateful for the financial reward that come with progress in the FA Cup and look forward to the trip to Blyth Spartans (Evo-Stik League Premier Division).
Postscript – Sunday 26 August – (15:00)
Today the following appeared on the Facebook page of Garforth Town owner Simon Clifford,
“…How Garforth and more are to go-forth
We are going forward on the front foot with Garforth Town with investment in the playing squad, the stadium facilities, the entire complex. South African Business man Nick Aresti I have installed as the club’s new chairman. Nick will be responsible for all operational duties and the appointment of new staff. We will have the club at the very top of our pyramid at the pinnacle of our work across the world with Brazilian Soccer Schools and SOCATOTS. We have incredibly exciting plans for the club. Vernol Blair is the man that we wish to have in charge of first team affairs for as long as Vernol wishes. He is my choice and always has been, he’s a very special man. Chris Wright and Mark Hanson will remain involved. I remain as sole owner of the club and will work closely with Nick. Congratulations Vernol and the players on yesterday’s FA Cup Win. We will be moving our Head Office to Garforth Town and in refurbishing and making the interior ‘magical’ and solely of use for Brazilian Soccer Schools and SOCATOTS and Garforth Town. The facility will run a Brazilian Soccer School and SOCATOTS classes, the bar will be open 7 days of the week and the facility available for conference and birthday parties/functions on request. For further information or if you have interest in working for Garforth Town AFC please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the sole owner of three very great companies I have always had the stand that I have no wish to make profit as owner of Brazilian Soccer Schools or SOCATOTS. Or Garforth Town, which I have funded to over half a million pounds through Brazilian Soccer Schools and SOCATOTS the past nine years. I am not really interested in money, at all. I just like to build, create and invent things and then keep adding and plussing to these things. To me, they have to each be bringing some good to the world, or I would not spend another day on any of them. I try to be an example in taking this stance to other business owners, With money, I don’t need much, I prefer to give it to those who need it more. I have always paid high wages to my staff, higher than the norm. Personally, truly I have not taken any profit from any of my three businesses, not a penny for the last decade. I always keep putting the money back in for growth. The three business’s will be operated by a South African management team led by Stephanie and Nick Aresti run on my behalf, with both assisted by a growing world class management team here in South Africa and in England. All of the profit’s that we make going forward that we make will 100% be directed to building a world class team to service our franchisees, beyond this all monies will be directed at Garforth Town Football Club to achieve the aims that I first stated on buying the club in 2003. Any surplus monies as the company grows will be given in full to my own charitable organization. I will remain owning all three entities, but am not involving myself in business matters. I have never been and do not wish to be a business man. I will be responsible for the message, values, principles and philosophy of all that we stand for forevermore. I will be responsible for all concerning design, branding and have sole control of the coaching content and will have should I wish, control of every aspect. I don’t want to interfere with business decisions and I am happy for my South African team to grow this business without too much interference from me on a business level. I don’t too much like business or business people, I like to speak, teach, write, create and innovate, that’s about all I wish to do. This we wish to be as outstanding as our unique, world class and unparalleled coaching methods. Later we may involve investors from the United States, who are pretty eminent, for now I do not wish to do that and should I wish to grow quickly to that level I will take this South African Management team with me
Garforth Town Football Club Ltd will not accept any new proposals from and sponsors or partners, by November the stadium will be renamed
‘The Brazilian Soccer Schools Stadium’.
Any advertising boards, branding and shirt, kit sponsorships will not be available. The entire facility will feature Brazilian Soccer Schools, Socatots and Garforth Town branding solely. Work on the stadium and a reworked interior will be complete by December 2012”
So what can anybody take from this statement? Firstly that Genix are no longer involved with the club and that future sponsorship of the club will only feature the Brazilian Soccer Schools and Socatots (One wonders though if that will exclude those currently featured in the club programme, given the following line in the statement from Mr Clifford, “…the entire facility will feature Brazilian Soccer Schools, Socatots and Garforth Town branding solely…). Secondly, Vernol Blair will continue in his role as team manager. Thirdly, “…Chris Wright and Mark Hanson will remain involved…”, however, this doesn’t exactly sound like a resounding vote of confidence. The major plus is that at last there is a statement from the owner and does provide some clarity as to what is intended to happen in the coming months. Everyone associated with Garforth will hope that the situation will be resolved as quickly as possible, as uncertainty behind the scenes impacts on the pitch, especially as any transition will take place during the playing season. Not for the first time in their history – interesting times in this part of West Yorkshire.