Background

Hall of Fame

We are excited to officially launch our Hall of Fame, recognising the individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the club over our proud 108-year history.

The Hall of Fame will be located in multiple locations across Harrogate – our new supporters bar at The EnviroVent Stadium, Official Store on Commercial Street, Exercise.co.uk Executive Lounge and Cedar Court Hotel.

Chaired by supporter Bernard Higgins, the Hall of Fame committee consists of a diverse group of Harrogate Town supporters representing different areas of the club, from the Independent Supporters Club to the Supporters Trust and Club Officials.

With the support of the club the Hall of Fame committee was formed and have been meeting regularly once a month since June. Phil Harrison the football club’s historian put together an extensive list of those individuals who have made significant contributions over a number of years at Harrogate Town AFC since it was established in 1914 from which the initial 11 inductees were selected.

An official launch event will be held at Cedar Court Hotel, on Thursday 9th February, 2023, with Chairman Irving Weaver and Manager Simon Weaver both in attendance.

Following the event, details will be revealed on how supporters can play their part in shaping our Hall of Fame and selecting the 12th and final inductee of the 2022/23 season.

Inaugural Hall of Fame members along with family of those who have sadly passed away will be invited back to The EnviroVent Stadium over the course of the 2022/23 season, where their contributions to the club will be celebrated.

Each season, two more individuals will be inducted to the Hall of Fame.

 

HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES

Alan Smith - Inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition of his management at Harrogate Town for 20 years between 1979-99.

After having two early spells playing at the club in 1974/75 and 1976/77 then Secretary Charlie Hartley asked him to return as player/ manager for the 1979/80 season as the club were at an all-time low after Peter Gunby’s departure. Under Alan guidance Town were promoted to Yorkshire League Division Two in 1980/81, were Division Two Champions in 1981/82 but then joined NCEL. He was sole manager in 1984/85 when Town finished runners-up in NCEL which earned promotion to the NCEL Premier Division 1985/86.

He remained Manager when Town joined Northern Premier League Division One in 1987/88. By 1991/92 he was Manager/ General Manager and also became a Director of the club and then Managing Director in 1997. In October 1999 he resigned from the club but continued running the Under 15s and was recognised for his service and granted a testimonial match. Alan made 171 appearances for Town scoring 41 goals in three spells from 1974/75, 1976/77 and 1979- 84. As Town manager over numerous spells, he took charge of 670 games, winning 283, drawing 157 and losing 230.
 
Johnny 'The Legend' Walker - Inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition of many years of service.

Town fan Johnny celebrated 76 years following the club in 2022 from the early age of 12 when he came down to Wetherby Road with his dad in 1946 to see Harrogate Hotspurs as they were known then. In 1957. aged 23. he became a volunteer behind the scenes until 2014 saying the club was his life. In his time he organised many raffles, did a lot of fundraising and was in charge of the gate staff for a good number of years and was also on the committee.

In 1992, he was presented with a commemorative silver salver by HFS Loans League secretary for his long and distinguished service. Johnny was made a life member in 1996, acknowledged for 50 years service to the club in 2007 and was presented with a personalised Town shirt in 2018 for his lifelong support. He was also Chairman of the Supporters Club in the early 2000's.
Lloyd Kerry - Inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition of his work in helping Town get into the Football League.

Midfielder Kerry, signed for Harrogate Town from Tamworth in the Summer of 2014. Although his time at Town as a player was a huge success earning him legendary status, he was plagued by injuries. He had a nightmare 2016/17 season with two serious, near career-ending injuries - a double fracture in his eye socket and fractured cheekbone followed by a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) - which together kept him out for almost a year. Despite these setbacks, Kerry would return to play a key role in Town’s promotion to the National League in 2018, and again, after spending much of the first half of the 2019/20 season out with an ankle injury, he returned and played a crucial role as Town secured promotion to the Football League.

Playing two seasons of League Football for Harrogate, Kerry revealed that he would retire at the end of the 2021–22 season. His last game, and 224th appearance for Town, was at home against Sutton United in May 2022 when he was made Captain and both teams formed a guard of honour as he came on to the pitch and he left to a standing ovation. For 2022/23, he became Town’s new Head of Recruitment
Jim Hague - Inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition of being Town’s all-time leading goalscorer.

With 135 league and cup goals as well as being the season’s top scorer on five occasions, Jim Hague was also the youngest player ever to play for the club at the tender age of 14.

Jim spent 17 seasons at Wetherby Road between 1956-58 and 1961-74 and racked up 402 appearances in that time, placing him and third in the all time appearances list for Harrogate Town. He was an important part of the Yorkshire League Division Three promotion winning team of 1971/72 and scored one of the goals in Town’s West Riding County Cup success of 1973.

After retiring he joined the club’s committee, in his words, ‘to give something back’, and in 2013, became head groundsman for a few years and still watches the club today.
Wilf Langlands - Inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition for his many years of service.

Wilf joined the club in 1946 as a committee man and was still working for them 60 years later in 2006. In that time he was on the committee as team selector in the 50s as well as Reserve and Youth Team Manager and Gateman. In 1960, Wilf helped raise much-needed cash for the new dressing rooms. and has also been Supporters Club Secretary, Club President and has worked in the hospitality bar. In 1998 the English FA presented him with a gold medal for 50 years service to local football.

His son Colin played for the club and Grandson worked on the club’s website. Wilf’s wife Mavis and daughter Sheila ran the canteen many years ago.
George Smith - Inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition for the amount of work he has done at the club over many years.

It all began on Saturday 31 August 1946 when George scored the historic first goal for Harrogate Hotspurs (the new Town team) at Wetherby Road. Between 1946-50 and 1951-56, he played 124 games for the club scoring 46 goals and played before record cup crowd of 4,280 at Wetherby Road in 1950. He tells the story that when he arrived at the ground it was full and he was not allowed in and 'he was playing.

George returned to Town in 1979 to join his son Alan who was Town's new manager and joined the committee working tirelessly behind the scenes. In 1990. he became a Director of the club and life member in
1996. He watched matches regularly until his death in June 2018 - before his death.

Town players took the footage of Town's National League North Promotion Play-Off Final victory to the hospital for George to watch. George's father Herbert was also on the Harrogate Hotspurs committee as Entertainments Secretary, so a real family affair for the Smith's at Wetherby Road.
Paul Williamson - Inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition for holding the record number of league and cup appearances for the club

In three stints at the club 1980/81, 1982-85 and 1986-93. Paul Williamson made a total of 447 appearances scoring 65 goals, many of which were from the penalty-spot.1984 saw the first of many Ackrills (Harrogate
Advertiser) Plaver of the Season awards and in the 1984/85 season, he helped Town finish as runners-up in Northern Counties East Football League.

As well as playing in the club's first Northern Premier League game in 1987/88, he captained the side from 1989 to 1993 including skippering the 1990 HFS Loans League Cup winning side.

Paul was given a testimonial match against Sunderland after 12 seasons at club and he later plaved for Town veterans and still attends games today.

George Dunnington - Inducted into the hall of fame in recognition of the work he did in developing the ground.

George was invited to Wetherby Road in the early 1980s by managing director Alan Smith. When he first arrived, it was for a drainage problem and through hard work in the 1980s and 90s George, with his willing band of workers including his brother Alf, set to work which resulted in a brand new grandstand, floodlights, terracing, clubhouse extension, fences, turnstiles, toilets, changing rooms, garage and canteen.

He was elected Chairman in October 1986 until 1998. November 1993, in his main role as head of ground development, saw Town's Wetherby Road ground voted best non-league ground in North of England thanks to him and his team of workers. In January 1994 he received £100 as part of his Ackrill/Dunlopillo 'great sports award' for his services to local sport and put it towards further ground improvements. 2012/13 saw him as the new club President.

Bill Fotherby - Inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition of bringing better times to the Club and it's fortunes both on and off the pitch.

The former Leeds United Chairman was approached by Roy Abel, Town's Managing Director, to see if he was interested in joining the club as the new Chairman. Bill accepted the approach and arrived at Wetherby Road in 2000 to take up the role. With Bill's knowledge, the club thrived, winning the Northern Premier League Division One title in 2001/02 after a long 15 year wait, before taking the club into the Conference North in 2004/05.

He appointed Simon Weaver as manager for the 2009/10 campaign. Simon says, "He was a one-off, a proper big character, loveable and a very warm man and we wouldn't be where we are today if it wasn't for him"
George Squires - Inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition for helping form Harrogate Hotspurs in 1935 along with Chairman, John Thackray and Harry Lunn.

George did every job imaginable, from selecting the team to marking out and cutting the pitch to washing the kit and preparing the tin baths for the players, which were big enough for four men at a time.

During the Second World War he was temporary Club Secretary and kept the club going and if it had not been for him, they would have folded
John Deacey - Inducted into the Hall of Fame in recognition of playing most league games for Town.

Standing second in the all-time list of appearances for the club, between 1979-89 and 1992-95. John Deacey played a total of 441 league games for Town, whilst also scoring 70 goals.

He was part of the successful early 80's team who were promoted as runners-up of Yorkshire League Division Three in 1980/81, Champions of Yorkshire League Division Two in 1981/82, and then runners-up of the NCEL Division One North in 1984/85. which resulted in promotion to the NCEL Premier Division for the 1985/86 acmpaign.

John was named captain for the clubs first season of Northern Premier League Division One football and remained skipper the following season. In his second spell with the club, he became joint manager in 1993/94 and 1994/95. He went on to manage Farsley Celtic, Bradford Park Avenue, Scarborough and Tadcaster Albion.
Harrogate Town AFC
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