Oxenhope have appointed Paul Brearey as their new manager.
It is familiar ground for the 49-year-old who was manager until six years ago.
Brearey has had a long and successful association with the club, first joining in 1978 as a 15-year-old.
His playing career was cut short by injury but he returned to manage the club for 10 years in which the first team won 17 trophies under his stewardship.
His team regained the Craven League Premier Division title in 2003 after a gap of 37 years and the side went on to complete two back-to-back league and cup doubles in 2005 and 2006.
The second one saw a memorable ‘must win’ last match of the season at ‘the Slope’ when Oxenhope completed the double with the last kick of the game against Grindleton in front of a 200-plus crowd, which caused a jubilant pitch invasion.
Brearey gave up the manager’s role after that and in recognition for his commitment and the success he had brought to the club he was awarded life membership.
He set the foundations in place for the club to progress and over the following six years Oxenhope continued to grow and develop, eventually reaching the Premier Division of the West Yorkshire League.
His plan for the future for the club is to improve on that position and become a recognised force in the league with at least a top four finish next season plus make significant strides in the County Cup competition.
Brearey is looking forward to managing the club in its centenary year and the return of the first team back to the Recreation Ground in the village and the club’s new pitch where he is determined to make it a fortress where opponents will feel the pressure of the fervent home support.
He is joined by assistant Dave Collier, who again has a long and successful playing history with Oxenhope during the years when Paul previously managed the club.
Brearey takes over from caretaker manager Mark Bentham, who took on the dual role of player/manager in September, following the resignation of Paul O’Neill.
Bentham accepted until the role the end of December while getting over an injury but, having achieved success, he agreed to see it through to the end of the season.
During his time in charge Bentham delivered the targets the club asked of him – keeping the first team in the Premier Division for another season and winning the Keighley FA Cup.
Club secretary Ray Broadbent said: “On both counts Mark achieved these aims. Playing good attacking football, he steered the team to 10th position and mid-table safety plus leading the team to vup success for the first time since 1966.
“The club wish to put on record their sincere thanks to Mark for his commitment and energy that he has put into the club and the success that he has brought to Oxenhope during his time in charge. He will continue his role as a player and committee member.”
The reserve team who joined the West Yorkshire League’s Alliance Division Two last season and gained promotion to Division One at their first attempt, will continue to be managed by Tony Trowers and assisted by Rick Cummins.
Oxenhope’s third team, who consolidated their Craven League Division Three status this season, following the previous year’s promotion and winning the Division Four title in their inaugural year, will have the same management set-up as in previous seasons with Johnny Coates, Simon Knaggs and Andy Lamb at the helm.