Landmark 60 years for Diggle FC

DIGGLE Football Club, reformed in 1959 after Diggle AFC disbanded in 1955, celebrates a landmark 60th birthday in 2019.

And to mark the momentous occasion, the club recently held a reunion at Boarshurst Band Club, a chance to reminisce.

The ‘new’ Diggle was based at Diggle Band Club and played their home matches on the Sam Road ground which was famously known as ‘The Tip’.

Teenagers Geoff and Gordon Wood were the instrumental founders of the team and, with Bill Langhorn as the energetic administrator, they set about recruiting players for the new village team.

The club played its first two seasons in the Saddleworth League until its demise in 1962. Around this time Bill spotted that his young team had potential, and Diggle found fresh challenges when they joined the Ashton League.

In 1963 Diggle won their first trophy, the Ashton Junior League Cup, at Mossley’s Seel Park ground. The team at that time comprised of two 16-year-olds, three 18-year-olds and the rest made up of lads in there early to late twenties, and they went on to win further honours in the Ashton League before they joined the Oldham Amateur League in 1965.

During this phase Diggle FC had their most successful period and they went on to win everything that was possible to win in the Oldham Amateur League as they became three-times winners of the division one knockout cup, were crowned league champions once, were runners-up twice and culminating in a Challenge Cup victory at Boundary Park in 1968.

The team was continually improving and in 1968 the club switched leagues again as they stepped in to the South East Lancs League. Starting in division one east, the club gained promotion in their first season as well as winning the Heys Trophy.

Now in the premier division, Diggle’s opposition involved the likes of Shawside, Robinson Rees, Sacred Heart, ICL, Heywood, Clayton Amateurs, Marsden and Mount Pleasant just to mention a few teams from the past.

During the next 27 years in the South East Lancs Diggle moved grounds to Churchill Playing Fields, Greenfield, in 1968, formed a reserve team in the mid-1970s and went on to win the Frank Reynolds Trophy.

The various ups and downs of promotion and relegation, cup final places and a best premier league finish of third placed were all experienced during this period.

In 1993 the club made a decision that would revitalise the whole club when members decided to join the Huddersfield and District League.

Both teams began in the bottom divisions, the first team starting in division five and the seconds in reserve division four. Championships and promotions followed for both over the next couple of seasons, and in 1995 the reserve team completed the double of reserve division three champions and Gee Cup winners.

At the start of the 1996/97 season and with interest and enthusiasm rising a third team was formed which mirrored the achievements of the past to gain successive promotions and cup successes.

Towards the end of the 1990s all three teams were holding their own in their respective divisions, and in the 2000/01 season the first team finally won promotion to the first division under the management of Ronnie Wilde. The following season saw the first team win the Barlow Cup at the then McAlpine Stadium, the home of Huddersfield Town, and two more consecutive appearances followed in 2003 and 2004, before finishing division one runners-up in 2003.

This marked a very successful period with all three teams proving very competitive in both the league and cup competitions they entered.

The first team finishing up as runners-up on numerous occasions, the reserves won the reserve division one title for four consecutive years, twice winning the Huddersfield Junior Challenge Cup and were crowned three times winners of the Richardson League Cup, twice winning a historic league and cup treble, while the ‘A’ team won the division two league title in 2006 and 2010.

In 2008 the club was awarded conveted FA Adult Charter Standard status which is FA’s accreditation scheme for grassroots clubs and leagues, where its aims are to raise standards in grassroots football, support the development of clubs and leagues, recognising and rewarding them for their commitment and achievements, which the club still holds today.

In to a new decade, both sides gained further successes in 2012 when the first team again visited the then Galpham Stadium, winning the Barlow Cup, 10 years after their last victory, and in the same season the reserves again claimed the Huddersfield Junior Challenge Cup.

Due to pitch renovation work on their home ground at Churchill Playing fields during the 2011/13 seasons the club was forced to find temporary pitches, moving around the local boroughs, using pitches in Marsden, Mossley, Ashton and Oldham, before moving back to their home ground at the start of the 2013 season.

In 2015 the club took the decision to reduce the club to two teams with both teams continuing to compete in their respective top divisions for both first team and reserve teams. The club’s aim is to continue to provide a good level of amateur football for the local community, continually improving performances and increase participation in local sport.

Stalwart and current chairman George Bradbury has been an instrumental figure for the club for more than five decades and officials said a huge amount of gratitude is owed to him for his unsung work as a player, team manager and committee member.

They added a huge thank you to all players, past and present, and sponsors for their continued support over the past 60 years.

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