A few months ago no one had heard of Harrogate town; even in England. The club’s gradual rise is often overlooked by football fans, but Harrogate’s recent EFL League 2 performances have made it impossible to ignore. The Yorkshire club lead their league after winning 4 of 5 opening games this season.
From 200-300 fans flocking to their games to crowded stadiums, the latest underdog team celebrities show us the unpredictability of modern football.
FROM LEAGUE NORTH TO 4TH DIVISION
In her 106 years, Harrogate played in the minor leagues of English football until her most recent period of good and consistent performance. In 2004 the club joined the newly formed Northern Premier League Premier Division and struggled for promotion over the next 14 years, despite making the playoffs several times.
In the 2016/17 season, the team did not get back to normal after a week-long standstill after a good start.
This required major changes in the club and the Harrogate board of directors responded accordingly. The club decided to put their players on full-time contracts for the first time to improve consistency in their camp and improve their chances of promotion. This reform worked wonders for them as they were promoted to the National League North the next season.
– EFL (@EFL) 2nd August 2020
They were promoted to the EFL League in their 2019/20 season, but unfortunately finished 17th in their promotional season. Their main concern was to avoid relegation, and that is exactly what they did. Now is the time to think about the future and go higher and higher with time. With new academies and better facilities for their offspring.
They even hired a prestigious analysis in their camp that shows how confident and serious they are about their future. The only way is open to them and they are sure to play as they mean it.
SIMON WEAVER ON THE HELMET
Simon Weaver coached Harrogate 13 years ago in 2009 when he joined them as a player plus manager. His father Irving Weaver is the chairman of the club and the father-son duo has added many folds to the club.
He’s not the only iconic Yorkshire manager since England’s national hero Gareth Southgate moved to the neighborhood. Simon Weaver and Southgate are actually good friends and first met at a local gym.
Southgate even gave the Harrogate club players a little cheer ahead of their National League play-off semi-final win against Boreham Wood last year. Weaver often chats with Southgate about his game and tactics, which has certainly had an impact on the game’s overall improvement.
In his 13 years, Weaver and Harrogate have worked together to move up the ranks and eventually get into EFL League 2. They avoided relegation to the lower division last season and this time they look stronger with every game. Harrogate and his team have realized that 15 of their 21 losses last season were due to just 1 goal and they will be working on that.
They’ve only conceded 1 goal in their last 4 games which means everything they do is clearly working for them. Beating teams with a higher pedigree like Leyton Orient and Rochdale shows how strong they have become compared to last season.
Fans of Harrogate Town should be happy about the current status of their club, as a promotion to League 1 is in prospect this season. One thing their club has known over the past few years is how to grow exponentially over time.
Players like their captain Falkingham, George Thomson, Ryan Fallowfield, Lloyd Kerry have long been part of this club and have taken the ride through thick and thin.
With loyal and determined players like them on their roster, on top of their recent good signings, promotion to EFL League 1 is no longer just a far-fetched dream.