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Nethermoor Park Otley Road Guiseley Leeds LS20 8BT
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History

Guiseley AFC was founded in 1909 by a local group of enthusiasts and the club’s first success came in 1913 when they won the local Wharfedale League.

Following the end of the First World War the club switched to the Leeds League achieving little success until 1924 when another switch to the West Riding County Amateur League eventually brought them trophies.

A treble of league championships in the 1930s was aligned to two appearances in the last 16 of the old FA Amateur Cup, against South Bank in 1932 and Cambridge Town (now City) in 1934.

Another league title was gained in 1939 after which 17 years were to elapse before the fifth title was achieved in 1956.

This marked another switch to the West Yorkshire League, which heralded a remarkable run of success in the local Wharfedale Challenge Cup, winning the trophy on nine out of ten occasions played during the1960s.

Higher status was gained in1968 with club entering the Yorkshire League and after moderate success the Second Division the title was won in 1976.

Promotion to the First Division followed with a runners-up position being achieved in l980 along with a League Cup success over champions Emley.

Success was also achieved in the West Riding County Cup with a hat-trick of trophy wins in1979/80/81.

The year 1981 also saw the club have its first taste of FA Vase success reaching the quarter-finals before losing at home to eventual finalists Willenhall Town.

Following the set-up of the pyramid system in non-league football in 1982, the Yorkshire League merged with the Midland League to form the Northern Counties East League with Guiseley being placed in the Premier Division at its inception.

Moderate progress was again made with third place being achieved in 1985 and again in 1986. Off the field the installation of floodlights in 1988 enabled the club to set its sights on achieving higher status.

The 1989/90 season proved to be the springboard for a very successful period for the club, with the signing of the former England international Frank Worthington plus a first FA Vase semi-final appearance.

Defeat against rivals Bridlington Town was soon forgotten as the following season saw the club go one better by not only reaching the famous Wembley Twin Towers but also featuring in a never to be forgotten 4-4 draw with Gresley Rovers.

Eventually the trophy was won three days later with a 3-1 win in the re-play at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground.

Further success was also achieved that season with a league and cup double together with promotion to the Northern Premier League.

Another milestone in the club’s history was reached in 1991 with the First Round Proper of the FA Cup being reached for the first time.

Guiseley lost 1-0 to Chester City who were staging the game at their temporary home Macclesfield.

A further visit to Wembley in the FA Vase sadly saw the trophy relinquished to Dorset side Wimborne Town in another eight goal epic, losing 5-3.

Good progress was made in the NPL with fourth place being achieved in the first two campaigns together with the First Division Cup being lifted in 1993. Under the guidance of Ray McHale 1993/94 proved to be another exceptional season with the First Division title being won and along with it promotion to the Premier Division.

A greater feat was to reach the semi-finals of the FA Challenge Trophy against Runcorn (then a Conference side),when a stoppage time goal in extra-time of the second leg cruelly robbed the club of a third Wembley appearance in four years.

Consolation was gained by becoming the first Division side to lift the NPL President’s Cup, defeating Leek Town over two legs.

Elevation to the Premier Division saw the club gain a record breaking 93 points third position in its first campaign, as well as reaching the First Round Proper of the FA Cup again where, in a home tie against Carlisle United, played at Bradford City’s Valley Parade, Vinnie Brockie scored Guiseley’s goal in front of a record home club attendance of 6,548.

The latter half of the 1990s had been something of an anti-climax with just the West Riding County Cup being won in l996 and two NPL President’s Cup final defeats in 1996 and 1998.

Following the appointment of former Leeds United striker Bobby Davison as player/manager during the second half of the 1997/98 season a fresh impetus was given to the side as a number of the club’s promising young reserve side players were blooded into the squad.

A very creditable third place in the Premier Division of the UniBond League was achieved at the end of the 1998/99 season as well as reaching the final of the League Challenge Cup for the first time.

Sadly fortunes took an unexpected turn for the worse the following season with relegation being suffered for the first time in the club’s NPL membership which resulted in Davison being replaced by his assistant Neil Parsley.

In 2002/03 an excellent FA Cup run was enjoyed, when, despite languishing at the foot of the table, a fourth appearance in the First Round Proper of the competition was achieved with a visit to Second Division Luton Town.

Although suffering a 4-0 defeat the cup run boosted the club’s finances as well as providing some memorable matches, notably the 3-2 re-play victory at Tamworth.

Season 2004-05 saw the club back in the Premier Division as a result of the re-structuring of non-league football and saw the club gain its first piece of silverware of the new millennium with the West Riding County Cup being won.

During November 2006 former Bradford City boss Terry Dolan came in as manager and the UniBond League Chairman’s Cup was won.

The appointment of Steve Kittrick saw a succession of promotion near misses but the highlight in 2008-2009 was success for the first time in the UniBond Challenge Cup with a 3-2 extra-time victory over Ilkeston Town.

The goal of promotion again being missed with a Play-off semi-final defeat at Nantwich.

The club’s Centenary season saw massive ground developments with new seated stand, lights and terracing installed.

On the pitch a heart-stopping last few weeks finally saw promotion achieved as champions on the final day.

The first ever Conference North Season proved to be one of the most successful in the club’s history with success in the FA Cup where the First Round was once again reached, the FA Trophy, where only a 1-0 defeat by Luton Town prevented a semi-final place and, in the league, where eventual heartbreak occurred in the last seconds of the Promotion Final play-off at a packed AFC Telford United.

Guiseley were 2-1 up with ten minutes to go and lost 3-2 with the winner coming for Telford in the third minute of added time.

The West Riding County Cup was lifted again to provide some solace.
Season 2011- 2012 was another successful season with the team finishing as runners-up in the Conference North (its highest ever league position) followed by another Play-Off defeat.

The West Riding County Cup was retained, a second seated stand built, and further ground development took place.

Season 2012- 2013 once again saw the club finish as runners-up, and once again heart ache in the Play-Offs, another appearance in the FA Cup First Round, losing to Barrow after a replay.

The sequence continued in 2013- 2014 where, after a change of manager was implemented and the appointment of centre-back Mark Bower was made, there was a storming run to the Play-Offs. A comfortable semi-final win was followed by another heartbreaking extra-time defeat at Altrincham in the final in front of over 4,600 fans.

Promotion to the Vanarama Conference National Division was finally achieved in 2014 -2015 when, after a fifth-place finish, wins in both legs of the semi-finals against AFC Fylde saw the Lions reach the final against Chorley FC.

The omens were poor after a nightmare trip to Lancashire, a late arrival, sickness in the team and an early 2-0 deficit.

However, an astonishing turnaround in the second-half saw the Lions triumph 3-2

Their first season in the National League saw them avoid the four relegation positions right up until the final two weeks of the season. However a late slump saw them in trouble and only a last day victory over Torquay and defeat for neighbours FC Halifax Town saw Town relegated and Guiseley retain their National League status.

Season 2016-17 started off badly for Guiseley with five successive defeats and so the Board decided to dispense with the services of manager Mark Bower and his assistant Danny Boshell.

Centre-back Adam Lockwood, the former Doncaster Rovers, Yeovil and Oldham Athletic player stepped in as caretaker manager, a move later made permanent.

He then recruited former Doncaster Rovers manager Dave Penney as his assistant. This pair managed to avoid relegation in 2016-17 but a poor start to the 2017-18 campaign saw then replaced in September by former Barrow and Mansfield manager Paul Cox.

Cox persuaded the club to go full time and brought in 18 new players to add to the 24 already with the club.

Suffice to say things did not work out, Cox was sacked in February and former Republic of Ireland centre-back Sean St Ledger moved up from playing to take the reins of a side already doomed to relegation.

What the Guiseley fans will be forever grateful to St Ledger for was the fact that he gave them back their club by bringing a feel-good factor back and re-uniting the players with the supporters.

The season’s gloom was lightened by the success of its Academy team under the management of Dave Currie and the work of its award-winning Community Foundation.

The Board appointed Guiseley’s first ever joint manager team for the start of the 2018-19 season when they installed former Solihull and Chester manager Marcus Bignot and former Alfreton Town manager Russ O’Neill, with former England C striker Paul Clayton as their assistant.

They had a tough first season in the league as much of their time was spent trying to move on Cox’s highly paid players who were on long contracts.

The new management team endeared themselves to the fans with their all-out efforts for the club.

The FA Cup provided some light relief, joyous moments and much needed funds for the club.

A 4-0 win at Staveley MW, which included a hat-trick for Kingsley James, was followed by a trip to Cleethorpes and after a 2-2 draw Guiseley went through 2-1 at home to meet Cambridge United in the First Round Proper on Remembrance Sunday. In front of 1,097 people Guiseley performed magnificently and won 4-1.

This brought a second successive appearance in the Second Round with Joey Barton bringing his Fleetwood Town side to Nethermoor in front of the TV cameras.

Guiseley were unlucky to lose out 2-1 in front of a crowd of 2,324 with Alex Purver netting their goal.

The end of the 2018-19 season saw a big clear out at the club and an influx of young and hungry players came in, some from Guiseley’s own very successful Academy.

The squad lined up with nine teenagers in it and 17 of the 22 players under 23 as Bignot and O’Neill banked on youth with a sprinkling of experienced players.

The 2019/20 season bought with it unprecedented challenges in the present era as it was cut short just as The Lions were pouncing on a play-off spot, little did anyone know that fans would miss out from football from March 2020 until August 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 2020/21 season never really got going and was again cut short in January 2021 after many interruptions because of Covid-19 rules and regulations around isolation periods for affected clubs and no fans were permitted to attend games.

The Academy did provide a bright spark though as they knocked out Bolton Wanderers on their own turf in the FA Youth Cup with a 2-1 extra time victory, Lewis Hey struck the equaliser before Ethan Hudson-Parker’s stunner sealed an impressive victory. The Young Lions were rewarded with a trip to Cambridge United which came after a ten-day Covid-19 isolation period which meant training was not permitted, they were knocked out by the EFL League 2 side.

The 2021/22 campaign was another season of struggle for The Lions who continued to face impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic. Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neill led the side to an Emirates FA Cup first round appearance at AFC Wimbledon in November but after defeat there the league form began to falter. The management duo were placed on gardening leave in April with former boss Steve Kittrick given seven games to save The Lions’ place in the Vanarama National League North.

Despite two victories in the run-in it wasn’t enough as two late goals from Alfreton on the final day of the season saw GAFC return to the Pitching In Northern Premier League Premier Division for the first time in 12 years.

The Academy enjoyed another successful FA Youth Cup run though including a home win over League Two side Rochdale. Scunthorpe United denied Dave Currie’s side a chance of a match against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the third round, The Iron recorded a 1-0 win.

In the close season former defender and current academy coach Danny Ellis was appointed as the clubs new manager. The centre back signed on a player manager basis and appointed former Lions midfielder Danny Forrest as his assistant. Ellis could add to his 473 appearances for the club.

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