Programme Review: 2022/23 Yorkshire Amateur AFC

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

Pages: 20

Front cover

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).

Back cover

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 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.


Book Review – Towering Tales & a Ripping Yarn: Yorkshire Football’s Grassroots Legends by Steven Penny

This is not Steven Penny’s first book looking at football in Yorkshire, as he took a look at the soccer scene in the White Rose county with, Soap Stars and Burst Bubbles, featuring the 2002/03 season. Penny had hoped to revisit many of the Clubs featured in that book, but COVID put pay to that as football at non-league level was effectively shut down, with the 2019/20 and 2020/21 campaigns in many divisions made ‘null and void’. As a result the author had to rethink his plans as the country and football, stopped and started, around the various lockdowns.

What Penny has produced is a record of the game as it learned to live with the restrictions that COVID brought. This saw socially distanced sitting and standing, temperature checks for players, officials and spectators, e-tickets, face masks, hand sanitiser stations and in some instances playing behind closed doors the new ‘normal’. It seems strange some two years on since the first lockdown that the game and indeed life in general has pretty much returned to as before, therefore this book is a good reminder of the hoops that needed to jumped through for players and fans alike to get their football fix.

As with Soap Stars and Burst Bubbles, Penny uses a diary format to record each game, with details about the Clubs taking part, some interesting associated storis about past players and some brief match details. In terms of the time-line, August 2020 marks the starting point with chapters through to December 2020 before lockdown and a resumption of games in April 2021 through to June 2021. Whereas Penny focused on the steps taking in the Northern Premier League, Northern Counties East League and the like in 2002/03, in Towering Tales & a Ripping Yarn, he has to step down even further in the English football pyramid, where COVID restrictions allowed the playing of games in non-enclosed ground. As a result readers are introduced to the grassroots levels of the Yorkshire Christian League, Humber Premier League and Doncaster Saturday League amongst others, as well as the cup competitions of the Huddersfield League and Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior League.

Once again Penny finds points of interest at all the games he attends, making links between the fixtures he attends and tales of ex-players such as England World Cup winner Gordon Banks and Manchester United legend Dennis Law, as well as renowned musician Paul Heaton and even Michael Palin from the classic Ripping Yarns tale of Golden Gordon shown on the BBC in 1979. This is another winner from Penny to follow-up on the success of Soap Stars and Burst Bubbles, taking readers back to a time, we hope we don’t have to endure again.

(Publisher: Victor Publishing. January 2022. Paperback: 248 pages)


Buy here: FBR Towering

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Football writer Steven Penny takes you on a journey across the football fields of Yorkshire during the 2002/03 season.

From the multi-national squad of Premiership club Middlesbrough to the six-year-old boys of Wheldrake Junior FC playing their first game. The book concentrates on the non-League clubs of the county, from Barnoldswick – playing in Lancashire competitions – to Easington – tucked away on Spurn Point. And from Northern League sides Marske United and Northallerton Town to the world’s oldest club, Sheffield FC, now based in Derbyshire.

Penny reports on more than 40 matches, including Harrogate Railway’s remarkable FA Cup run and Doncaster Rovers’ return to the Football League. As well as reports and match details from every game, included are club histories, interviews with fans and club officials

(Publisher: Victor Publishing. February 2021. Paperback: 269 pages)


Read our review here: Book Review: Soap st (

For details about: Towering Tales & a Ripping Yarn: Yorkshire Football’s Grassroots Legends click here: TOWERING TALES & A RIPP (