One of Worksop most successful Sunday League clubs is making the switch to Saturday non-league football.
St Joseph’s, established in 1984 by Gus Guest and the late Les Cane, will take their place in the Central Midlands Division One North and end a 28-year Sunday League membership.
The three-time Division One winners will play their games at Rockware and become St Joseph’s Rockware.
Pre-season friendlies are booked, sponsors have begun to come on board and chairman/manager Andrew Guest, inset, is excited about the new challenge.
“I can’t wait to be honest,” he said.
“It’s revved everyone back up.
“We thought about it a couple of years ago but obviously you need the right ground requirements.
“I’ve been talking to Rockware for a couple of years and they were told by the FA that if they could get someone to play Step 7 football there, they’d get a certain amount of funding for dugouts, a barrier, that kind of thing.
“We’ve got a good set of lads who are committed and it felt like the time was right.”
One of the reasons behind the switch was to challenge the players and get them excited again.
“We’ve won two things this year but the year before we won pretty much everything and I could feel the motivation drop,” said Guest, who has played for St Joe’s since he was 15.
“We are good enough for the level, it’s not like we’re going in at Worksop Town’s level.
“At this level or even the one above they’d handle it, they just need a chance.”
As well as achieving on the pitch in the Sunday League, St Joseph’s have been able to boast stability in terms of finance and players, no mean feat in times when other Sunday League clubs across the region have been forced to fold or amalgamate with their rivals.
And now St Joseph’s Rockware want to give the town’s footballers a platform to thrive in the Saturday game.
They aren’t, however, setting themselves up as a rival to neighbouring Worksop Town.
“It will be primarily Worksop based players, to give local lads a chance,” said Guest.
“We’ve got no problem with Worksop Town whatsoever, a lot of our lads have played for them in the past, I played for them when I was younger.
“It’s not to take them on, it’s just to give opportunities to everyone.
“We’d love people to come and support us in a positive way when we play at home.”
The new club has a series of goals, including early success and the eventual addition of a junior set-up.
Guest said: “In the short term we want to get settled into this division, have a go at winning it, which we think we’ve got the players to.
“We’ve already had lads jump on board from other teams who were playing a bit higher.
“It depends who comes into the league at the same time, obviously.
“We’ll hopefully do well in one of the cups.
“Promotion is the first priority, we’ve got to get into the Central Midlands Premier.
“If we do end up getting more funding and putting floodlights up, we could enter the FA Vase - that’s one of the longterm goals.
“The aim is to get to Step 6, but that might be a 10-year project, on and off the field.”
FA funding will facilitate dugouts and a pitchside barrier at Rockware, but extra backing will also be needed.
“We’re committed to a sponsor for last year who got the kit, but going up a level, you’re wanting a bit more funding because costs will go up.
“We’re looking for a little bit of sponsorship to get us going.”
Guest says St Joseph’s won’t forget their roots and they depart the Sunday League full of gratitude.
“We’ve had some great times in the Sunday League and we have to thank the likes of Dave Northage, Dave Crisp, Steve Crisp, Shaun Donnolley for everything they’ve done for us.
“Without any of that, this wouldn’t be possible, they’ve given us the foundations to do it.”