The original Emley AFC's history stretches back as far as 1903. They were successful in Yorkshire non-league football over the years, winning several championships but were perhaps most famous for their run to the third round of the FA Cup in 1998 which saw them playing at West Ham United.
Things started to go wrong for the original club in 2000 after the Northern Premier League announced new ground regulation rulings. As Emley were unable to improve their ground, they moved to Wakefield to avoid expulsion from the league.
The move and name change to Wakefield & Emley FC in 2003, alienated many Emley fans that had supported the club throughout the years. The final straw came when the Northern Counties East League discontinued its reserve league as the reserve team had continued to play at the old Welfare Ground in Emley even after the first team move to Wakefield.
The disbanding of the Reserve Team lead to several fans and former members forming the current club in the name of AFC Emley in 2005, moving back to their home village. During their first season, the club finished third in the West Yorkshire League Division One. A year later the club was successful in an application to become members of the Northern Counties East Football League Division One.
In 2012/13 the new Emley really started to create some headlines of their own. The season saw a best ever run to the 4th round proper of the FA Vase and a then highest finish of 7th in the league.
2013/14 brought a league and cup double for the club’s Under 19 side – now at the heart of developing young local players with many success stories coming through to the first team. A number of that successful squad came through to help secure the Development Squad the Lancashire League (East) title in 2014/15. The Under 19s also retained the league trophy that season.
The club continued to make progress in 2014/15 and 2015/16 – improving the record finish with a 5th and 4th place respectively.
The 2015/16 season will be remembered for the remarkable goal-scoring record of Ashley Flynn. Officially, 73 goals in a single season (there would have been 5 more but for the resignation of one team before the season’s end) – this could be a record that is never broken at Emley or any other semi-pro club.
The season ended in a heart-breaking play-off final defeat on sudden death penalties after being 30 seconds from victory in normal time.
The 2016/17 season saw the club again have a fantastic season, gaining a club record 95 points but still somehow missing out on promotion. This tally would have achieved first or second place in any other season in NCEL Division One history but promotion was missed by just 3 goals and the title by 1 point. The disappointment carried over into the play-off semi-final where Penistone beat a clearly dejected Emley team.
At the end of the season Darren Hepworth resigned from the manager's role due to his changing work commitments. The committee moved quickly to promote Joe Howson from his role as Assistant Manager. The close season saw the departure of most of the players who had given the club two very exciting seasons. But with the combination of new young talent from local football mixed with players with NCEL experience, 2017/18 should be another exciting season.
The partnership with Kirklees College to run the Under 19s as an academy side will continue, though the Development Squad has been put on hold for a season. Financial stability has also been aided by new sponsors Cemkem, as well as retention of several long term sponsors including Fantastic Media who continue to sponsor the ground.