16 May 2002

by Dan Webber

THE demise of Denaby United FC has been branded a "tragedy" for the village.

Speaking at the club's final ever game on Saturday, Conisbrough and Denaby MP and Club President, Caroline Flint, said: "A club founded in the 19th century will not survive the first years of the 21st century. It is sad for us. It is shameful. It is a tragedy for Denaby Main."  Ms Flint added she was "extremely saddened" by the chain of events which led to the club's extinction.

More than 400 supporters, officials and former players gathered for the last time at the Tickhill Square ground to mark the end of a club which has been an integral part of the community for more than 107 years.

Despite the best efforts of Denaby stalwarts, United were unable to remain at the ground they have graced since 1912 - and were forced to fold. Club secretary Barrie Dalby said the loss of the club, formed in 1895, was a major blow to Denaby Main. "Some of the players will find new teams but never again will Denaby have a football club which flies the flag for the community throughout the north of England," he said. "I am just very sad that it has come to this."

United played their first competitive match on September 7, 1895, beating Conisbrough St Peter's 2-0. Highlights in the club's history include three appearances in the first round proper of the FA Cup and former United centre-halves Sam Cowan and Jack Barber winning England caps.

More recently, Denaby won promotion to the Premier Division of the Northern Counties East League in 1984, were crowned league champions in 1997 and league cup winners two years later.
But last September club officials learnt that United faced an uncertain future.

The trustees of Denaby Main and Cadeby Miners' Welfare, who lease the ground from the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation, announced that Denaby had "outgrown the umbrella of the welfare." In an exclusive statement to the Times, the Trustees confirmed the club would be asked to leave the Tickhill Square ground at the end of the season.