League Clubs Snap Up Six From Conisbro’ Boys’ Club

6 June 1969

South Yorkshire Times June 14, 1969

League Clubs Snap Up Six From Conisbro’ Boys’ Club

A Conisbrough boys’ team, who have been playing competitive football for only one year and who have to train on roads, have had six of their side snapped up by Football League clubs. Wolverhampton Wanderers, Huddersfield Town and Rotherham United have swooped on the club to pick the best of a promising bunch.

Conisbrough Bowman Hilltop Rangers won the Rotherham and District 1968-69 Youth Championship the Challenge Cup, and were runners-up in the Intermediate Challenge Cup. They scored over 114 goals and were beaten only twice, once in the Intermediate Cup final.

Wolves have stepped in to sign Alan Sunderland as an apprentice-professional, Huddersfield are set to sign Gary Griffiths as an amateur, and the Millers have taken Douglas Hemingway, Alan Hepton. Stephen Culic and Stephen Laycock, all as amateurs. Hilltop Rangers were started only two years ago by Fred Clarke of Acacia Grove, Conisbrough, who decided that Conisbrough needed some representation in boys’ football.

The team, average age 16, played a season of friendly matches, last year, when they were unbeaten, and then stepped up to sweep the board in Rotherham Youth Football.


“Every word of praise must go to Fred Clarke,” said Club Secretary, Harry Powell, a former Warrant Officer in the Regular Army, in charge of physical training.

“They have nowhere to train in the winter, and have to rely on pot luck on borrowing a gymnasium, but do most of their training — running — on on the road,” he said.

The team also set a record with a clean sheet for discipline. No boy had his name taken or appeared before a disciplinary committee, the first time in Rotherham Youth Football’s history.

“They are one of the finest, most sporting bunch of lads I have seen in 49 years of youth football,” said Rotherham District Football Association President T. Portman, when the club were presented with their trophies recently.

Next season Rangers hope to be running two teams. This year’s regular first teamers were Gary Griffiths, Stephen Culic, Alan Sunderland, Robert Allen, Alan Hepton, Douglas Hemingway, Kenneth Booker, Arthur Cooper, Michael Bar-mer, Derek Pearce, Stephen Laycock, Kenneth Winfield and Kenneth Blakemoor,

Rotherham United manager, Jim McAnearney, had a special word for the boys.” Anybody with the record these lads have is worthy of special note by local professional bodies,” he said. He proved it by signing four of the team.