After two back-to-back promotions, two seasons earlier than the Chairman, Jimmy Woodyer had planned, Pilkington FC will play in the North West Counties league next season!
After securing promotion the club is also just one game away from a history-making Cheshire FL Premier Division title.
A win on Saturday against Congleton Vale will see them crowned champions for the first time ever. After being the first local side to successfully join the Mid-Cheshire League back in 1983, the club has never won the top league, coming closest in 2011 when they missed out on goal difference. Ironically, a win on Saturday will mean they become Champions on goal difference!
As well as gaining promotion, the first team is also in the final of the Liverpool FA Challenge Cup for the first time.
When he became Chairman in 2016, Woodyer created a five-year plan to grow the club and get the first team into the North West Counties, aiming to join fellow locals St Helens Town.
Back then, the club was getting by with just enough players for one team but the club’s vision was to not only have successful open age teams but to re-establish junior football down at Ruskin Drive.
Not only is the first team performing beyond expectations, the club has grown at a phenomenal rate with a Reserve Team competing in the Cheshire Reserve Division, Pilkington Ladies sitting fourth in the Liverpool County FA, and heading into a cup final, the Sunday team with a League Cup Final date at the end of the month and a Youth Team that has just won the league and are into the semi-finals of a League Cup.
And the kids are back! After a 10-year absence of junior football at Ruskin Drive, the club now boasts 10 junior teams playing in the Warrington JFL and runs a Reception group at Ruskin Sports Village on a Saturday morning and Wednesday evenings.
The Chairman is naturally ecstatic at the progress but feels it’s just a start; “It’s a great achievement to be promoted two years earlier than we were aiming for and to grow from a single team to a club with 14 teams. This is only the beginning though and we are now working on another plan to take us even higher up the pyramid and grow the club even further! Our success at the first team level right down to the juniors is testament to all of the hard work of everyone involved at the club from the manager, players and volunteers. Grassroots sport in St Helens is strong and Pilkington FC is proud to be a part of that”
Saturday’s game is set to be a classic – kick off is 3pm at the Arcoframe Stadium, Ruskin Drive and admission is free.
The Liverpool FA Challenge Cup Final is on Tuesday 14th May, 19:00 Walton Hall Park, Liverpool.