West Yorkshire League: Legendary Bardsey boss to step down

Lee Barraclough
Lee Barraclough
  • Bardsey boss intends to stand down after six years
  • Barraclough led Bardsey to four league titles in five years
  • Boss said the club needs “freshening up”

Lee Barraclough has revealed his intention to step down as Bardsey manager at the end of the season after seven trophy-laden years in charge.

Barraclough has led the Keswick Lane outfit to unrivalled success in the West Yorkshire League during his time in charge.

I have had my time and it needs freshening up.”

Lee Barraclough

His Bardsey side has lifted the Premier Division title four times out of six seasons, including a record points haul in the 2013/14 campaign.

However, after a difficult year on and off the field for Bardsey, Barraclough said it was the right time to leave.

The manager said: “What we have done, no one will ever emulate.

“You can’t keep a group of players together for that length of time to keep winning.

“But sadly, everything comes to an end.”

Barraclough took over the first team hot-seat at the start of the 2009-10 season after guiding the Red and Blacks Reserves to the Alliance Division Two title.

The first team soon began to set the West Yorkshire League alight and they stormed to the Premier title in his first year in charge by an 11-point margin, losing only three matches in the process.

The triumph was repeated the following year with a 12-point gap over Knaresborough Town, losing just two of their 30 matches.

Beeston St Anthony’s denied Barraclough a League and League Cup double on the final day of the 2011-12 season. But Bardsey soon reclaimed the title the following year with 71 points. That total was eclipsed again last season when Barraclough’s front-runners created history with 74 points in a season – winning 23 matches.

However, a West Riding County Cup final appearance at Elland Road remained elusive and Barraclough channelled his entire focus on the competition this season.

As favourites for the competition, Bardsey had made seamless progress until the West Riding County FA controversially chucked them out for fielding an ineligible player.

The cup exit has marred this campaign, which has also seen Bardsey struggling for top form behind runaway leaders Field.

Barraclough, whose side sit third ahead of Saturday’s home clash against Oxenhope Recreation, credited assistant manager Gary Melia, chairman Graham Hopton and former boss Martin Bradley for the club’s success.

He added: “The chairman and players don’t want me stepping down, but it needs some new blood.

“It’s a bit long in the tooth for me now, especially with some players coming to the end of their time.

“It’s been hard for me because Bardsey has been my baby. I am really proud of the team I have had here. But I have had my time and it needs freshening up.”