Huncoat United are celebrating a long-overdue victory this week – the first in their five-year history.
The under-15s team – whose website is powered by Club Website – had not won a game in four and a half seasons in the Accrington & District Junior Football League, conceding over 900 goals in the process.
Their landmark result came courtesy of a 2-0 win over Brierfield Celtic in their 100th game since the beginning of the 2008/09 season in the ADJFL, when they were an under-11s team.
The result bought to an end a run of 99 games that included 94 defeats and five draws, which saw them concede 933 goals with an aggregate goal difference of -884.
Manager Paul Chadwick, who started the team so that his son Joshua could play football, spoke of the relief at losing the unwanted tag of never winning a game, but said that he was proud of his side.
“All the lads ran to eachother in the centre circle to celebrate, then the parents and I joined them,” Paul told Club Website.
“It was just sheer relief for everybody at first, but we’re all delighted. The lads deserved it because they’ve worked hard, they’ve stuck together and stuck at it.”
The current side contains just three players from the squad’s first ever mini-soccer team, with a number of players pulling out over the years, fed up of losing every week.
Even the manager had considered calling it a day, but felt he could not let down the players, whose attitude and efforts continue to impress him.
“I thought of packing it in once or twice, but then I looked at the lads turn up week in, week out and thought if they want to keep coming and playing, then I’ll be there for them”, he said.
“The best thing for me is the lads would still turn up for training on the Wednesday and to play on the Saturday.
“Even though they know they might get beaten, they still want to play football on a Saturday morning.”
The result has captured the attention of the media at home and abroad, with Huncoat’s Facebook page full of recent articles and congratulatory messages from as far away as Italy, Sweden and Vietnam, along with many others from closer to home.
Now, with their first win under their belt and international stardom beckoning, the Huncoat players cannot wait for the rest of the season.
They remain rooted to the bottom of the league on three points, but are only one more win behind local rivals Rishton United.
Having retained the majority of last season’s squad for the first time – a “massive bonus” according to the manager – before adding three fresh faces to the squad before Christmas, the manager believes things are looking up for Huncoat.
“We’ve got that win now and we’ll look to try and get another win or two this season if we can. I think the aim of the lads now will probably be to not finish bottom, if possible.
“That would be the biggest achievement of all, not just getting the win but actually not finishing bottom for the first time in five seasons.
“The players know what they can do now. The ability is there. I think the new lads gave confidence to the other players who weren’t playing to the best of their ability.
“They were a bit down in the dumps, and so everyone started to believe in themselves a bit more. They can do whatever now; they can conquer the world if they want!”
Dan Pope, Club Website editor
Congratulations to Paul and all of the team at Huncoat United, not only for registering their first win, but for demonstrating a fantastic attitude to the game that sums up everything that is good about grassroots football. Good luck for the rest of the season!