Dream start for premier division new boys Uppermill FC

NEWLY promoted Uppermill FC have made a dream start to their premier division campaign in the Manchester Football League.

After nine league games, Uppermill sit top of the table which has exceeded all expectations.

Yet the best is still to come according to manager Mark Howard who said: “We are doing okay, but not pulling up any trees performances wise.

“We have scraped a few wins, but I would not say we have hit the ground running. We have not clicked or you can say ‘wow’ about our performances or we have set a benchmark for ourselves.”

Uppermill FC U6 team were first-team mascots

Howard, who has vast managerial experience with Chadderton, Royton Town and Maine Road, added they have yet to field a settled side through work commitments and holidays.

Uppermill have been a yo-yo team between the premier and first divisions in recent years.

The Springhead-based Howard spoke about realistic expectations for the current campaign, explaining: “The last time we were in the premier division, I think we won only one game all season, so this is a step forward.

“The target we set was to try and finish mid-table and not be involved in a relegation battle and have a bit of luck in one of the cups.

“We were after stability but what we have done so far has exceeded expectations.”

Howard, manager since 2018 when Uppermill were near the bottom of division one, pointed out he still has essentially the same squad he inherited.

He said: “I have added a few players like Andy Bainbridge and Ash Ainsworth who come wherever I go.

“Individually they were all decent footballers, but as a unit something was missing. All they needed was a bit of direction and belief and have trust in themselves.”

Howard, whose hospitality empire includes the Top House, Springhead; Chapter One, Lees; and Legends, Lees, which is to become The Venue, pointed out the success is a team effort, though the versatile Ben Ford and forward Liam Wood, with six goals in nine games, have done particularly well.

He added the club has a good infrastructure in place at senior level with Trevor Hughes managing the reserves and Ben McConnell the new development side which comprises mainly players aged 16 and 17 to provide experience of open-age football.

Uppermill thought they had missed out on promotion earlier this year when they finished third in division one with only the top two going up after slipping up on the last day of the season.

They were to be handed a reprieve, though, after a third spot became available following the withdrawal of a premier division side.

• Uppermill FC is this season running 26 teams ranging from Under-5s to three open age teams plus one for walking football which is restarting in the next couple of weeks having been mothballed during Covid. Anyone aged over 60 and interest in joining should contact the club.

Uppermill has three U16 teams, having gained one from another club. They are in different leagues and all are doing well.

The club started a new U5s team in September and it immediately filled up while the U6s were at capacity all last season.

Other teams from U7s to U15s are all doing really well in either the East Manchester Junior Football League or the North Bury Junior Football League, and most are full to capacity, and have been since last season.

It is the first season of matches for the three U7 teams.

Uppermill post information on their Facebook and Twitter pages and the website has up to date information about teams, training and matchday information.

It also links to the club’s results pages and online kit shop. Contact details are on our website and Facebook pages.

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