St Marys 1947 Football Club
In June 2017, St Marys 1947 marked its 70th anniversary by rebranding and to formally be known as ST MARYS 1947 FC. They have reverted back to team colours worn by the club in the very successful late 90s and 2000 era of red and black stripes. They have also adopted the team navy blue colours worn in the mid 70’s as their away kit.
With the re-brand they have received sponsorship support from local business, “The Parkmore Hotel” who has helped finance the full rebranding of the club. Also local business sponsorship through advertising and community funds continues to support the club.
The club has started the 2017-18 season very well with three wins, two draws and only the one defeat. They currently sit 5th in the new North Riding League Premier Division and have aspirations to finish within the top half. A good cup run and defence of their Yorkshire shield provide plenty of exciting opportunities for the club this season to add to a real positive buzz around the club.
Football Focus Magazine recently caught up with Club Representative Tony Wilson to find out more. He told us, “I joined the club in 2004 as a player (centre forward) to join my close friends Chris Strike and Craig Sillick who were existing players of the St Marys team.”
“Within only two seasons under my belt and an ageing side the club lost its long serving manager and it was requested of the team players for a new management lead to re-connect the team with younger players. As a trio Chris, Craig and I stepped up as the younger of the players of the team at only 26 years old to take on the management. Chris was 1st team player manager, Craig was player coach and I became 1st team player/secretary for the start of the 2006/07 season.
“Over eight seasons we transitioned the club by introducing young teenage players and losing some of the older senior players now in their 40s. The club tasted success in 2010 and 2011 with domestic league cup success and managed to maintain a mid-table finish each season in the FA Level 7 Teesside league which the club entered in 2008.
“In 2014, Chris stepped down from his role and Craig took over 1st team player manger duties and I became Assistant player Manager as well as Secretary. For two seasons we again established the club within the League and continued to develop the younger players who had joined us back in 2006 and onwards. Craig left the club following a nineteen year association as player and manager in 2016 and I was appointed 1st team player manager.
“As I have been with the club for now thirteen years I can’t imagine a Saturday not with the team when the football season is active. One of my skills and passions has been the development side of the club which spans over a decade now which has seen me introduce new pitch facilities, sponsorship, marketing & promotion, social media engagement, club chartered status and much more.
“It is not always easy managing a club with the financial constraints in grassroots football as well as attracting the calibre of players who are usually attracted to 5/6 a-side football or the Premier league games on a Saturday rather than being part of 11 a-side grassroots football.
However, my ambition of taking the club to a higher level in the football league pyramid system has kept the drive and focus for me season after season and seeing the players, ex-players and supporters of the club fully supportive and behind me gives me a great sense of pride and affiliation to our club.
“The club unfortunately does not have a youth development infrastructure as it is just an FA Chartered Adult club. However, introducing youth has always been the blue print of the club which has helped us to exist for seventy years.
“Younger players will always be given the opportunity to play at the club and it is great to see at least six or seven 1st team players in today’s team such as Lewis Kaid, Thomas Straker, Chris Norlund and Ryan MacKey who joined the club around ten years ago when only 17 or 18 and have now matured as senior players.
“One of the team’s star players currently is 16 year old Kurtis Osborne who joined last season following being released by Hartlepool United. At a young age he has shown great ability and maturity and looks to have a bright future in football at a much higher level.
“With a good infrastructure and good financial standing the club continues to develop in Level 7 football. With further off field investment in facilities and direction the club ambition would be to one day reach Level 6 Northern League status. However, until the big investors and facilities materialise the club will look to achieve success in its pursuit of Cup and league honours as well as developing players to reach their goals of playing at a higher level of football.”