FC Halifax Town take first step towards marking anniversary with trophy

FOUR promotions, lifting the FA Trophy at Wembley and nurturing a raw talent who would later go on to represent England.
Matty Kosylo scored the only goal of the game as FC Halifax Town defeated Macclesfield last night (Picture: Tony Johnson).Matty Kosylo scored the only goal of the game as FC Halifax Town defeated Macclesfield last night (Picture: Tony Johnson).
Matty Kosylo scored the only goal of the game as FC Halifax Town defeated Macclesfield last night (Picture: Tony Johnson).

With FC Halifax Town closing in on their first decade since being formed from the ashes of the old bankrupt club, much has been achieved at The Shay.

Add to this notable list a small profit having been posted in each of their nine full seasons and the faith shown by David Bosomworth and Bobby Ham in ensuring professional football did not die in Calderdale during the summer of 2008 has been fully justified.

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Last night also kept alive hopes of emulating the club’s 2016 FA Trophy success under the Wembley Arch as Macclesfield Town, four points clear at the top of the National League, were beaten 1-0.

It was a deserved win, too, as Billy Heath’s men, beaten twice by the high-flying Silkmen over the festive season, played the more incisive football on a bitterly cold night.

Only 503 hardy souls may have braved the plunging temperatures to see the Shaymen book a second-round home tie against Maidenhead United, which will take place this Saturday.

But all were rewarded for such fortitude with an entertaining contest settled by a bullet header from Matty Kosylo shortly before half-time.

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Kosylo almost added a second goal early in the second half with an exquisitely curled free-kick that Macclesfield goalkeeper Sam Ramsbottom did well to tip over the crossbar at full stretch.

For the visitors, Scott Wilson brought two fine saves from home goalkeeper Sam Johnson before Scott Burgess and Tyrone Marsh wasted gilt-edged opportunities to level during a late onslaught to ensure Halifax went through.

Watching from his usual vantage point in the main stand alongside chairman Bosomworth was Ham, a former professional footballer with a host of clubs, including Bradford City and Park Avenue.

He is rightly proud of how far FC Halifax have progressed since starting life ten summers ago with nothing but a blank piece of paper on which to map out a plan.

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“We think the club has come a long way,” said the 75-year-old to The Yorkshire Post. “The FA making us start three divisions below where the old Halifax Town had been was a blow, but we just got on with it and fought our way back.”

Eight points separate Halifax, promoted last May via the play-offs, from the drop zone in a competition where the Yorkshire side are very much in the minority by being part-time.

“There is a lot more money being spent by clubs these days,” added Ham, who along with the rest of the board helped fund the signing of Jamie Vardy from Stocksbridge in 2010 that helped propel the striker towards the Premier League and England recognition.

“More and more are going full-time, too. It isn’t just this division, either. Salford (City), who are in the league below, must pay double what we can afford in wages.

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“That makes things hard for clubs like ourselves to get players. But what we have said right from the start is we will not put the club in financial trouble and we have stuck to that.

“Of course, we would love bigger crowds (Halifax’s league average is 1,762). We have done what we can, including free season tickets for kids and reducing the prices.

“But it is hard to compete with Huddersfield Town and Bradford City, who both offer cheaper season tickets than they can afford due to the volume sold.

“We would love to make them £50 a year, but it just isn’t viable. So, we ensure we don’t threaten the club’s future.

“The problem with benefactors pumping money in is that if they then walk away, it is the club that is left saddled with the debts. That will not happen to us.”