Fixture: Toolstation Northern Counties East League (NCEL) Premier Division
Date: Tuesday 28 September 2022
Venue: Roxholme Road
Result: Yorkshire Amateur 0 (0) – (1) 3 Hemsworth Miners Welfare
Programme cost: £2.00
Leeds may have only one professional football club but has a host of clubs playing in the non-league system. Among them, is Yorkshire Amateur, a club based in the north east part of the city and less than three miles out of the centre.
The Ammers as they are nicknamed, were founded in 1918, but didn’t start playing matches until the following season. The club played at Elland Road after Leeds City FC were dissolved in 1919 due to financial irregularities. However, Yorkshire Amateur’s decided in 1920 to sell the lease to the newly formed Leeds United for just £250. The clubs have since has driven down very different paths, with Leeds United one of the best clubs in the country in the 1960s and ‘70s and now back in the Premier League. The Ammers meanwhile were founders of the Yorkshire League in 1920 playing in it until 1981/82 when it was merged with the Midland League to form the Northern Counties East League (NCEL).
Following the disrupted seasons in 2019/20 and 2020/21 due to the global pandemic, The Ammers were promoted to the Northern Premier League, East Division (Step 4 of the National League System), their highest ever playing level. Despite a respectable mid-table finish, the club was relegated back to the NCEL due to failing ground grading. This led to major changes to the club both on and off the pitch.
With so much upheaval it has not been an easy start to the 2022/23 campaign for the Roxholme Road team. Coming into this fixture they were bottom of the league after nine games, having won just one game, drawn one, with seven losses and suffered early exits in both the FA Cup and FA Vase. Despite all this and with crowds averaging just 77 from their five home games, it was great to see that The Ammers produce a physical programme (and it should be noted provided a link on their website to a free pdf version).
The 20 page offering is as most non-league programmes tend to be A5 size and printed on glossy paper and in colour throughout. The cover is of a thicker material to the inner pages and has the club nickname splashed large across the front with the usual match details – opposition, club badges, date, league logo and additionally the FA club accreditation badge. It also has the image of one of the Ammers players.
Inside, page 2 provides a “Welcome to Ammers” with a brief mention of the recent defeat to Barton Town and the standard greeting to the visiting players, fans and officials. It is unfortunate that it contains a couple of typos including opening with “Good afternoon” despite this being an evening fixture. Page 3 is taken up with the league sponsor’s advert, leading into a double page spread (pages 4 & 5) dedicated to the “Club History”. It is in the main an interesting read for those unfamiliar with the Ammers story, but once again contains typos and provides no real update of the Club since 2007/08 which is a real shame. Pages 6 & 7 contain headshots of the current squad, with the manager allocated pages 8 & 9. Page 8 is completely taken up with a picture of Mark Maspero, with page 9 “Ammers Challenge” notes from the manager with an honest appraisal of the teams current plight acknowledging, “we have a very young side with an abundance of technical ability, but very little league experience.” The centrespread (pages 10 & 11) are given over to the fixture list and results, with the next two given over to a history of the visitors Hemsworth Miners Welfare. This material is provided by the opposition and suffers from a lack of proofreading as a number of typos are evident. Pages 14 & 15 are given over to the NCEL Premier Division table, with page 16 advertising the next home game and page 17 providing brief details about the club set-up. Page 18 is a simple “Thank You for Your Support” and the penultimate page is given over to an advert for the Football Foundation. The back cover is dominated by the club badge, with additional details including the ground address, club twitter details and logos for league sponsor Toolstation and FA club accreditation.
The club is to be praised for producing a physical copy, which is well designed, has some cracking graphics and is in full colour. However, where it falls down is that it suffers from a number of easily avoided typos and a lack of content with too many pages just large graphics simply describing the facing page (i.e. fixtures and league table). Eradicating these typos will help improve the read as well as the addition of more content, which can be provided by for instance the Non-League Paper (and can be requested by contacting email@example.com) who will produce a free weekly column, as well as sites like ourselves who are happy to provide free content.
The Ammers are going through a tough transition after the trauma of relegation and the impact on the club, but one can only hope that there are better times around the corner in this part of Leeds.