West Yorkshire League: Legendary Bardsey manager suffers anticlimactic final game

Lee Barraclough
Lee Barraclough

Lee Barraclough bid an emotional farewell to Bardsey after seven years with an anticlimactic 6-1 defeat away to Robin Hood Athletic on Saturday.

The result means Barraclough finishes his final season in charge at Keswick Lane fourth in the Premier League, after winning the title four times previously.

Despite describing Saturday’s defeat one of the worst performances he has seen during his managerial reign, Barraclough took pride in his sides’ achievements over the years.

He said: “After Saturday’s game this feels like a weight off my shoulders, it was one of the worst performances I have ever seen but it’s one out of many fantastic others.

There were a lot of emotions to be honest but I know I have made the right decision. It has been a great experience but life moves on.

“I think it will all kick in for me when pre season starts but nobody can change or take away what we have achieved down there as a group.

“I have loved every single minute of it but it’s time we moved on. The club will still be a massive part of my life, it’s just the football side of it and the running of it that will be a different job.”

Barraclough revealed that, since his final game in charge of Bardsey, he had been inundated with congratulatory messages from players and managers.

“A lot of managers from other clubs have messaged me. Sometimes we have not always seen eye to eye because I am a passionate person and I like to win.

“But I must have had over 100 texts, tweets and direct messages saying what a good job I have done and that it will never be repeated.

“Victories over Bardsey have been very few and far between over the years so it’s been really touching to get that recognition.”

Despite the multitude of title triumphs, as well as setting a record points haul in the 2013/14 campaign, Barraclough admitted he had one regret from his stint in charge.

He said: “The only regret us that we have got to associate ourselves with the West Riding FA.

“We did not set up to win the league this year, I wanted the County Cup. We have got to the semis a few times but we have never had that little bit of luck.

“This year when I sat them down I told them to forget about the league, just let me get the County Cup.

“So to have it taken away from us will be my biggest regret.”