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Tiers for Promotion Fears - Thurgoland Welfare FC One Year on.

In April 2020 we took a closer look at one of the rising stars in the Sheffield Grassroots football scene – Thurgoland Welfare Football Club. A year later we set out to learn what has changed, and asked how the pandemic has affected an ambitious local club at grassroots level. If you haven’t already read about the rise of Thugoland Welfare, who were only established in 2017, then check out the original article here first.

In the 2019/20 season Thurgoland led the Sheffield and District Fair Play League with an impressive 12 wins from their opening 15 games. As the league only features 8 teams it was deemed that the clubs had played enough games for the season to be judged on a points per game basis, once the pandemic ruled out the prospect of finishing the season. Thurgoland were therefore crowned champions with a PPG of 2.47 which was vastly superior to the 1.94 of second placed Totley Sports. This meant that in just three seasons Thurgoland had achieved three consecutive promotions, a wonderful achievement for the club.

Thurgoland were crowned Division 2 champions in 19/20

Thurgoland were in the process of planning another title challenge, this time in Division 1, with ambitions of moving to a higher level when further restrictions hampered their progress. A source from the club explains “COVID-19 has massively affected us this season as about 8 players in the squad don’t live locally, and due to all the tier restrictions that were in place they have been unable to play for us this season.” Losing 8 players has meant that Thurgoland have had to change their aims for the season, targeting a promotion in the 2021/22 season with a focus on identifying talent that may be able to help them in the meantime, as previous players found footballing opportunities elsewhere that were compliant with Covid rules.

Covid restrictions have led to a refocus for the 20/21 campaign.

With the form that the club has been in since its establishment, it is hard to argue that if things had been normal that Thurgoland wouldn’t have been a contender for the Division 1 title, however the loss of a majority of the first team squad means that their plans have had to be placed on hold.

Despite a depleted squad, Thurgoland settled into life in Division 1 comfortably winning 4 of their opening 7 games. With lockdown restrictions easing for grassroots sport, The Welfare can look forward to the prospect of further competition after the season with talks amongst league officials about a “Champions League” style cup competition that will run through May and June. Thurgoland hope they can regroup their original squad in their quest for silverware this season.

Thurgoland celebrate winning the Division 3 Title

Welfare are incredibly open to the prospect of new players that can help with the development of the club, stating that many players have chosen to drop down from higher divisions to play for the club. Thurgoland are transparent about their high turnover of players since 2017 with a club representative explaining “over 60 players have represented the club since our first season in 2017/18, but we are a great club and many talented players have gone further up the pyramid playing in the County Senior League, the Central Midlands League and even as high as the Northern Premier League. Welfare also boasts excellent home facilities in the form of the Dearne Valley College 4G pitch and a strong relationship with JB Burkinshaw & Son garage who are proud sponsors of their village team. Coupled with their lofty ambitions and track record for footballing success means that this time next year we could be writing about yet another title heading the way of Thurgoland Welfare FC.

Thurgoland contesting the Junior cup final More Information on Thurgoland Welfare can be found on their twitter and facebook accounts:

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