This is not a definitive Greatest Non League X1. This is my own personal greatest team from watching Non League football through Bradford (Park Avenue), Farsley Celtic and then as a neutral spectator through Non League Yorkshire from 2013.
Goalkeeper: Tom Morgan (Farsley Celtic, Tadcaster Albion, plus a few more)
Having forgiven Morgs for his blunders at Lincoln Moorlands (“it moved Pars”) nine years ago, he has made the cut as the goalkeeper.
Others considered: Gavin Kelly, Lutz Pfannenstiel, Steven Drench.
Right-back: Stephen Downes (Ossett Albion, Bradford PA, Farsley Celtic)
Now out in Australia, Downsy was a complete right-back who could also play further up.
Others considered: Martin James, Jamie Price, Andy Quinn, Steve Nicholson.
Centre-backs: Mark Jackson (Farsley Celtic) and Ryan Crossley (Wakefield & Emley, Bradford Park Avenue, Farsley Celtic, Halifax Town)
Ryan Crossley was hugely influential in Farsley’s rise up the pyramid, while Jacko was crucial on hundreds of levels to the club’s rebirth. That said, Crossley technically missed Farsley’s NPL Premier play-off final victory over North Ferriby having had to go off early as he had sustained a massive head wound after heading a piece of metal on the Throstle Nest tunnel celling whilst waiting to be led out.
Others considered: Lee Connor, Amjad Iqbal, James Riley, James Cotteril, Mickey Thompson, Jimmy Williams.
Left-back: Ryan Serrant (Farsley Celtic, Bradford Park Avenue, Yorkshire Amateur)
An under-rated member of Farsley Celtic’s first team for nearly a decade. Still turning out top performances for Yorkshire Amateur.
Others considered: Leon Henry, Luke O’Brien, Carl Serrant.
Right-midfield: Andy Watson (Garforth Town, Farsley Celtic, Doncaster Rovers)
Watto is one of the best Non League players never to play in the Football League. Few will disagree with that. Having burst on the scene at Garforth Town in 1998, he only played a handful of games before Conference outfit Doncaster Rovers bought him. Watto is also skilled at ensuring the survival of goldfish during six hour journeys.
Others considered: Chris Brandon, Rob Youhill
Centre-midfielders: Simeon Bambrook (Garforth Town, Emley, Worksop Town, Farsley Celtic, Guiseley) and Harrison Biggins (Stocksbridge Park Steels)
Simeon was absolutely brilliant for all his clubs and is rightly classed as one of Leeds’ greatest Non League footballers. His place in Farsley’s history is also assured through scoring the last minute penalty in the 2007 Conference North play-off final to put Farsley into the top flight of Non League Football.
Biggins was exceptional for Stocksbridge and because of how he developed and how hard he worked during his three years under Chris Hilton, he is a shining example to all young players to what is possible. Ultimately it all earned him his move to Fleetwood Town.
Others considered: Wayne Benn, Craig Bentham, Mark Hancock, Steve Mallory, Matt Thornhill.
Left-midfield: Roy Stamer (Farsley Celtic, Bradford Park Avenue)
The German winger was another key member of Farsley’s success under Lee Sinnott.
Others considered: Stephen Ball, Neil Grayston, Ryan Hall.
Strikers: Andy Hayward and Jason Maxwell
The ultimate forward partnership – and 20 years on still Avenue’s greatest striker pairing. Maxwell had already been at Avenue for two years when Hayward arrived from Frickley in late 2000 and set the world alight with a double on his debut at Trafford. The pair were integral as Avenue won the old NPL Division One title.
Others considered: James Walshaw, Lee Ellington, Gavin Allott, Nathan Cartman, Ash Flynn, Rob Bordman, Gary Bradshaw.