Harrogate’s hometown boy Jack Emmett proves perseverance can pay off

Jack Emmett has achieved plenty since turning professional with his hometown club just under three years ago.

POINT MADE: Harrogate Town's Jack Emmett

He played a starring role in Harrogate Town’s National League North promotion campaign of 2017/18 before helping the Wetherby Road outfit qualify for the National League play-offs the following season.

The 26-year-old midfielder hasn’t featured quite as regularly this term, but has still contributed to a team effort that had taken Simon Weaver’s men to within touching distance of League Two when competition was suspended due to the coronavrius outbreak.

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If nothing else, his progress since penning a full-time deal with Town is the equivalent of a thumbed nose to Doncaster Rovers, the Football League club who told him as a youngster that he wasn’t big enough to make it in the professional game.

SECOND CHANCE: Harrogate Town chief Simon Weaver.

“I had trials at Leeds United and then Doncaster, but Rovers said I was too small to be a pro,” revealed Emmett, who grew up in Harrogate and eventually found himself a part of Town’s under-19s.

“I signed a first-team deal and made my debut away at Solihull Moors in December 2011. I came on for about the last 15 minutes and I actually thought I played quite well, but we got smashed 4-1 so obviously the gaffer wasn’t in the best mood afterwards. After the initial knock-back and from where I was then [in 2011-12] I didn’t envisage becoming a professional footballer, but I’m very glad about how it has worked out.”

One of the reasons that Emmett didn’t expect to end up making a living from football is due to the fact that he had a rather different career path mapped out.

Having completed his A-Levels he accepted a place at Loughborough University to study accountancy.

“Obviously Harrogate Town were a part-time club playing in Conference North back then and I went to university to do accountancy,” added Emmett, who has now made well over 200 first-team appearances for the club.

“I eventually ended up on a placement with an accountancy firm in Leeds, so I asked Simon [Weaver] if I could come back and do pre-season in 2014 and he said yes. They’d just signed some big-name players, so I didn’t fancy my chances of playing much, but the gaffer signed me on.

“I used to have to commute every Tuesday and Thursday for training and then on Saturdays as well. It was horrible at times, sat in rush-hour traffic for hours.

“It was a lot of travelling, but I never questioned what I was doing because I had the chance to play at a really good level.

“That experience certainly makes me appreciate the fact that I’m able to walk to the stadium these days.

“Things have worked out pretty perfect for me really.”

Emmett’s perfect scenario was capped off in May 2018 – just under a year after his was handed his first professional contract – as Town beat Brackley 3-0 in the National League North play-off final.

“It’s certainly the most memorable moment so far,” he added.

“I think it will take some beating – getting promoted on your own ground in front of a crowd of 3,000 that was full of my family and friends. I’m really proud of being a part of that.”

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