Guiseley Juniors is one of the UK’s largest junior football clubs, boasting 500 players, but has to play up to 30 games a week at 15 venues around the town in west Leeds.
Yesterday they began training at the Fitness Success Obstacle Gym at Rothwell for a challenge which they hope will raise the final funds they need to build a clubhouse and a series of pitches.
More than 200 boys and girls, aged between six and 15, and around 40 adults are due to take part in the Total Warrior event at Bramham Park, Leeds, on the weekend of June 23 and 24. The club has 10 players at the Leeds United, Bradford City, Blackburn, Burnley and Chesterfield academies but Guiseley members say the dream of having its own permanent base “has been about the many”.
Club committee member Andrew Driver said: “We’ve been fundraising for 10 years to get to this point. It’s been a huge sustained effort by an awful lot of people but we’re approaching the finish line and we hope this latest event will get us to where we want to be.”
Older members will tackle the 10km course and the youngsters are to run the 2km Junior Warrior route.
The club already has use of two seven-a-side pitches and a nine-a-side pitch at the site of the former High Royds Sports and Social Club in Guiseley.
And the plan is for the pitches to be upgraded, to build a clubhouse and for the site to become the club’s permanent home. Mr Driver said that the state of facilities for grassroots football clubs is an issue “we feel very strongly about” and that nationwide, “we think much more needs to be done”.
He added: “At present, our games are mainly played on school, council or paid 3G [synthetic surface] pitches which costs us a lot of money.
“When we get our new home up and running, it will make a huge difference to us.”
Charlie Tatman, the national event director for Total Warrior said: “There’ll be upwards of 10,000 people tackling our Total Warrior course in June. We think it will be the largest mass participation event in the county that day and we’re delighted that Guiseley Juniors will be taking part.
“We know they’ll have fun doing it and we hope they raise lots of funds for their clubhouse project.”