Lakeland Loves Underdogs Tag But Wants To Upset The Odds Again

Every week there seems to be a new social media trend. First there was the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’, then there was the ‘Mannequin Challenge’.

Last year it was the ‘Ten-Year Challenge’ and you’ll do well to find a team in the National League with a bigger difference over a decade than Farsley Celtic.

They’ve been to oblivion and back again but as they stand on the brink of a return to what many will feel is their rightful home, Adam Lakeland is hoping they’ll be here to stay this time.

“First and foremost, we’ve got to retain our status in this league,” he told us for our latest special summer feature.

“We’ve worked too hard over a long period of time to get here and I have confidence we can cause a few upsets along the way - we’re relishing being the underdog.”

Despite their off-the-field issues, the West-Yorkshire outfit are a club with a long and distinguished history that wouldn’t look out of place in a Netflix documentary.

Neil Parsley was the man tasked with their revival in 2010. But after leading the Celts to the Northern Premier League Division One title two seasons ago, change was on the horizon once again.

Adam Lakeland picked up the managerial baton to kickstart what would be the club’s most successful period since reforming.

“It was very unusual circumstances,” he said. “When you go into a club, they’ve maybe not being doing as well as they should.

“But I watched them a few times when they came up through the play-offs and I thought I could improve the team.”

A play-off appearance in his first season gave Lakeland a taste of what his new club could achieve, and he made his intentions quite clear – but some took convincing.

“We recruited well, and I made it very clear that I thoroughly believed we could progress again, and we came very close in my first season,” he admitted.

“The objective for last season was to be promoted by winning the title. Some people thought I was crazy for saying that but that is the confidence I had in this team.

“I don’t think you win the Northern Premier League if you’re not a good team and we came out on top of a lot of big clubs.

“And now we’ve done it and we’re here, I’m under no illusions the National League North will be difficult week to week.”

The first bit of business to be done before the new campaign was to tie their top scorer Jimmy Spencer.

After joining at the beginning of last season, the former Mansfield Town man immediately found a place to call home at Throstle Nest.

“Jimmy fits right in – he’s a local lad, a hard-working lad and he’s really rediscovered his love for football again,” Lakeland said.

“That’s great for us because we continue getting top performances with him again. He joined us just before last season and he’d not had a pre-season anywhere, he’d just come out of full-time football with Mansfield.

“He’d fallen out of love with football a little bit and he just wanted to be closer to home and we managed to entice him to the club.”

Farsley Celtic get their National League North season underway against Darlington on August 3.

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