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Steve Downes30 May - 18:29
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We speak to Emley AFC manager Richard Tracey and reviewed the 2023-24 season

Emley AFC have been promoted to the Northern Premier League Division One and have had an amazing season overall. The club played 38 times in the regular season scoring 99 goals and only conceding 29, they won 26 fixtures, only losing five and drawing seven. They collected 85 points out of a possible 114, finishing top of the table and winning the Northern Counties East League Premier Division.

The club had a five year plan to get back to the Northern Premier League and that has now been achieved. Looking back on the season that has just been, Pewits boss Richard Tracey reflected on what was overall a thrilling season for the club.

He commented: “I shared a message recently with the players and said to them that we achieved the objective that we set out at the start of the season, which was to get the club promoted to the Northern Premier League.

“Alongside achieving our objective, we had a fantastic FA Cup run, we had a fantastic FA Vase run and we had a good run in the League Cup getting to the final. So we've got a season that we can all look back on in the future and be proud of what we've achieved.

“Obviously, promotion was the biggest aim. One of the best periods was in February where we won every game. Things like that and the unbeaten runs are what gets you up there and challenging.

“We had a five year plan to achieve what we wanted to. Two out of those five years were hit by Covid, I think it is testament to the work that everybody's done within the club to get to this point now.”

Tracey's team has been known for scoring goals this season, 99 of them in fact, however unlike their promotion rivals they also conceded very few too. Tracey praised both ends of his team for their efforts.

He said: “This season I thought we had units right throughout our team this season. We had units who all could play higher than this level, and if we got them to gel, then we knew we could be a side that kept teams out and we knew we'd have goals.”

Despite the season ending just a few weeks ago, Tracey says the wheels of a club never stop turning as he turns his attention to the 2024/25 campaign.

On looking ahead, Tracey commented: “The players will have a break as will I. Mine will only be a short break. I will get to spend time with family and turn off my phone for a few days before the planning starts for next season. You have to have that right balance. We only finished playing at the start of May and pre-season will soon be upon us again.

“We have chatted to some players already and seen where their heads are at for next season. However most of the talking will happen over the next few weeks. We already know some of our lads will be key targets for some clubs, but we are looking to strengthen too. I've asked all the lads to quickly make up their minds about if they want to stay or not so we can get things sorted.

“The quicker we get the squad sorted going into the next pre-season the better. So I'm sure there will be plenty of movement of players in and out. In non-league you never know what will happen regarding transfers. All you can do is plan what you'd like to happen.”

Next season the Pewits will be playing in several West Yorkshire derbies which excites Tracey hugely, he added: “I think the league is brilliant for the games we will have. It was the league we wanted to be in as it's better traveling for the players. Lots of them still have regular jobs at this level and so all the close games are better.

“However, to have so many derbies is exciting too. It will be a hard league next season. There are lots of clubs in there with aspirations of moving up a level. We need to see what the level is like to begin with and assess what we are able to achieve. However we are going up with confidence and we know a lot of our lads can perform at the level we are going into.”

Finally Tracey wanted to thank a few people to round off the 2023-24 season by saying: “This season couldn't have been achieved without the help and support of Andrew, Marcus and the board, they gave us the tools to be able to deliver promotion and achieve what we set out to do at the start of this journey. Thanks to our hard working volunteers who do an amazing job on match days to keep the club running. Thanks to the players and my staff who have all earned this promotion through dedication and hard work, I couldn't be prouder of them.

Finally thanks to our amazing fans, following us up and down the league's. Without their backing, support and passion for the club, Emley AFC wouldn't be the same.”

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