OSSETT ALBION FOOTBALL CLUB
A BRIEF HISTORY
Ossett Albion’s origin, though not unique, is somewhat rare in that the Club was formed in 1944 during the Second World War. Then a junior club, with all the players students at the local Grammar School, Albion enjoyed great success before moving into open age football. Again success was never far away and the club quickly progressed through the local and district leagues before becoming members of the Yorkshire League.
The sixties and seventies were especially eventful decades with Albion regularly amongst the silverware. Albion lifted the West Riding County Cup three times in four years (1964/65, 1965/66 and 1967/68). At the end of the 1974/75 season they were crowned Yorkshire League champions and in the following two seasons they lifted the Yorkshire League Cup. This success, especially in cup competitions, established them as one of the top Non-League clubs in Yorkshire at the time.
When the Northern Counties East League was formed in 1982 following a merger of the Yorkshire league and the Midland League, Albion found themselves in Division One as their ground at Dimple Wells was deemed sub-standard for the Premier Division. This was a problem which was to come back and haunt the Club many years later and again put a delay on their progression up the ladder of Non-League football.
Winning the Northern Counties East League Cup in 1984 thanks to victory over Ilkeston Town again saw Albion back in the headlines.
All through the eighties the Club embarked on a wide ranging array of ground development projects and this policy brought its just rewards in 1987 when Albion gained promotion to the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.
It took 12 years to finally win the Premier Division title but again their hopes were dashed when Dimple Wells failed to meet the Northern Premier League’s ground grading criteria and promotion was denied.
In season 2000/2001 Albion finished the campaign runners-up to Brigg Town but, ironically, they were finally promoted to the Northern Premier League as this time the Lincolnshire club fell short of the minimum ground standards.
Albion managed to sustain only one season at this level and, having finished bottom of Division One, they reverted back to the Northern Counties East League. Their demise was to last only two seasons before they were again back in the Northern Premier League when, on a dramatic final day of the season, they pipped Eastwood Town to the Premier Division title by virtue of scoring the more goals with the two clubs locked on the same number of points and also with the same goal difference.
This season will be Albion’s 9th in the Northern Premier League and their fortunes in recent campaigns have fluctuated considerably. Twice the Club finished just outside the play-off positions but the last two seasons have seen them struggling against relegation and last season only a late reprieve rescued their status at this level.
Over the years Albion have had many long-serving players most notably Peter Eaton who played over 800 games for the Club in a 22 year career and Nigel Yarrow whose appearances topped 600. Both are still actively involved with the Club and are committed members of the administration. Eric Gilchrist, who stepped down as manager at the end of last season after eleven years in charge, was the Club’s longest serving manager and also, during this time, the longest serving manager in the Northern Premier League.
Albion have never reached the first round proper of the FA Cup but they nearly made it on two occasions before falling at the final fourth qualifying round hurdle to Scarborough and Stalybridge Celtic respectively both of whom were then members of the Football Conference.
A number of former Ossett Albion players progressed into the Football League including Ian Ironside who had a long professional career with Middlesbrough and Barnsley, Gary Brook (Blackpool and Halifax Town), Chris Cornelly (Lincoln City), Steve Downes (York City and Grimsby Town), Shane Killoock (Huddersfield Town), David Syers (Bradford City) and, perhaps most notably of all, Cameron Jerome who was briefly with Albion playing in the pre-season games before gaining a contract with Middlebrough and subsequently Birmingham City. Players who represented Ossett Albion after their professional careers ended include Mick Norbury (Cambridge United, Preston North End & Halifax Town), Barry Holmes (Halifax Town), John Balmer (Cambridge United), Andy Wilson (Fulham), Paul Raynor (Nottingham Forest) and Rob Edwards (Huddersfield Town)..