On Tuesday 19th October 2010 I went to the Genix Healthcare Stadium to watch Garforth Town play Radcliffe Borough in the FA Trophy first qualifying round replay.
Garforth Town AFC have caught our attention a few times in recent years. Back in 2004, former Brazilian international player Socrates made an appearance for the club against Tadcaster Albion. Another Brazilian, Careca, made six appearances for Garforth in 2005 and former Manchester United player Lee Sharpe also played a few matches for the club.
Only last month Paul Gascoigne was announced to be becoming manager of Garforth Town, but he seemed to change his mind and this is no longer the case.
This is all thanks to Simon Clifford, who bought the club in 2003. Clifford is known for his strong connections to Brazilian football; he has brought Brazilian coaching methods to the United Kingdom with his string of ICFDS (International Confederation of Futebol de Salão) footballing academies.
With all this history and still only playing in Step 8 of the football pyramid, their home game against Radcliffe Borough seemed an obvious choice.
We arrived at the ground in plenty of time, took some photos outside and bought a programme. One kind man then invited us up to have a look behind the scenes. We were taken in to the Brian Clough Conference Suite, which had lots of different pieces of Brian Clough memorabilia such as autographs, pictures and shirts.
We then headed through the turnstiles ready for the match. The ground was very nice, with one big stand, the Norman Hebbron Stand, running down one side.
The two teams came out and lined up on the pitch. Garforth wearing their ‘Brazilian’ yellow and blue shirt, while Radcliffe Borough were playing in AC Milan colours! We went and sat in the stand, which gave you a good view of the game but being higher up it was bitterly cold on an already chilly evening.
Garforth started the game well, and took the lead after just 3 minutes Paul Walker fired the ball home from inside the box.
You could hear the managers shouting at the players from where we were sat, and you had to feel sorry for Radcliffe’s Ricardo Brandao who Boro’s manager was having a real go at. Despite all the manager’s shouting, Radcliffe equalised on the 19th minute from an Adam Roscoe goal.
It remained 1-1 at half time during the break Garforth Town’s general manager Brian Close came and invited us in to the club shop, which was actually closed today. He was very friendly to us, and even gave us a free badge and mug as souvenirs of our visit to Garforth.
During the second half we had a walk around the ground to get some good photos from different areas of the ground. While walking around we even got asked by Garforth’s goalkeeper how Leeds were doing (they were losing 1-0 to Leicester!).
On the 55th minute Radcliffe took the lead with a cracking goal from outside the area by Reece Kelly that any goalscorer would have been pleased with.
Garforth really pushed forward towards the end, trying to find an equaliser, but all was in vain as the away side took the victory and prgressed in to the next round of the FA Trophy.
I had a good time at Garforth Town. The ground was great for Step 8, the people were all really friendly, inviting us behind the scenes and in to the club shop. I had been impressed with how both teams played and it was a decent game. The ground is well worth a visit if you get the chance.