Our History

Norristhorpe Junior Football Club was founded on 17th November 1997 by Russ Clarke. The Club formed quite simply because Russ’s son was turned away from three different local clubs because he was told he was not good enough. He had attended trials and been hurt by each rejection. The Club was therefore formed to provide football for anyone, regardless of ability.

11 boys attended the first training session and by the fourth week, there were over 60 boys and girls in attendance. Parents were very quickly asked to help from the sidelines. By mid-March 1998 Norristhorpe Junior and Junior Bees FC had formed six football teams — boys' U7s, 8s, 9s, & 10s and girls' U12s and 14s.

The original colours of the Club were orange and black. A shortage in supply of the orange and black kit, worn by our very first team, meant that the Club had to change to the now famous yellow and black stripes from the second season onwards. The first ever boys' match was a 6-2 win versus Laund Hill YMCA. The game was played at Norristhorpe Rec, which had an 11-a-side pitch on it in those days. Norristhorpe Rec will always be the spiritual home of the Club. The fencing you see today, along with drainage improvements, were all funded in 1998 by a Football Foundation grant of £9,000.

The girls' first game was a 4-0 win against Hebden Bridge Saints. By the mid 2000s Norristhorpe Junior Bees was the largest girls' football Club in Yorkshire. The Club grew and grew from those first days and Gail Wilson played a massive part in that for about 5 years. Gail coached all the new players at 5 and 6 years old. It is believed at the time that Norristhorpe was one of the first clubs to start players so young. Russ continued to run the Club for about 10 years before Dave Bardell took over the reins as Club Secretary before his retirement in 2016.

One of the earliest players at the Club was Daniel Gannon who started playing in 1998. Daniel is now first team captain of the open age team and this year scored his 100th club goal!

The Mini World Cup was started in the second season. In the early days all the players marched onto the pitches with their country flag flying high, a great sight to see. As the club grew bigger it became impossible to keep that tradition alive. Other notable organisers of the Club’s end of season tournament were Mr & Mrs Collinson who still live in Norristhorpe, with sons Lewis and Jason still playing for the Club in the open age team.

Norristhorpe Junior Football Club became an FA Charter Standard Club as soon as the requirement came out. It is now a Charter Standard Development Club, with strict criteria having to be met each season. Today the Club has over 350 players with over 50 volunteer coaches and helpers. We are all very proud of the Club’s origins and continue to strive to provide football for all ages and abilities.

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