Striker Richard Medcalf’s Non League Journey has come full circle.
It began at Hall Road Rangers in the mid-2000s and now he’s back at Hall Road Rangers banging in the goals for Leon Sewell’s side.
Scarborough Athletic fans will remember him fondly from their early days as he was a key part of their 2009 NCEL Division One title win.
Barton followers should as well as he played a role in the unforgettable and dramatic 2011 Division One promotion charge under their greatest manager Dave Anderson.
This is Richard Medcalf’s Non League Journey:
“I started at Hall Road many years ago, maybe 2005/06 season. Matty Edeson was the manager to start with and who gave me a chance after I had been scoring in the County team. I was only 17 or 18. We had a decent team but we were all young so that’s why we struggled. Jody (Barford) played. A kid called Mike Gibson who became my best mate in football played and I played with him at a load of different clubs. Danny Clarke who is at Alfreton Town now, he was there. It was my first insight into Non League football and because we struggled Matt got sacked around the October and Steve Richards came in. At the time I didn’t really like him but he did what happens in Non League, he brought in a load of experienced players.
“I went to Frickley next. Matt had played for Billy Heath at Brid so that’s how that move came about. I went in February (circa 2007) time and played a bit towards the end of the season. I then did pre-season and did pretty well and got myself in the team. You can make as many excuses as you want but I just wasn’t good enough. They had some great forwards like Lee Morris, Rich Tracey, Paul Palmer and I just found it hard to get a kick. It was also my first proper welcome to Non League with tea cups getting thrown and benches getting smashed.
“It got to maybe October in that season and Bill asked me if I wanted to go on loan to Brodsworth so I did. I got sent off in my first game for them at Armthorpe for two bookings in the space of the first 15 minutes. It had been moved to the Friday (12th October 2007) because it was a local derby and it wasn’t my finest moment. I think Rich (Sennett) took it well because I was only on loan at the time and it was only my first game. But the funny thing is, that’s not the only time I got sent off at Armthorpe whilst playing for a Rich Sennett side either.”
“I only played two or three games for Brodsworth because out of the blue I got a phone call from Brian France. He was just a top guy and the best manager I’ve had. He was a great guy from the start and he made you welcome instantly. He was a great man-manager.
“The first season I was there was when they had just started and Bri was getting his squad together. He did get a great team together but it was just a bit late for that first season. I signed around November (2007) and then we signed a few more for the next season which was one of the best they have ever had.
“Jamie Waltham at the back was unbelievable. Training or games he just wanted to win everything. We had Ryan Blott who is still there and he was brilliant as his record shows. Craig Hogg and Scott Phillips were always up to something like pranks on each other. Craig used to mess around with the physio’s notebook. This was also the time when Scott wasn’t a forward and played in centre midfield. I’ve got that written down here because not many people remember him as a centre-midfielder. I’m not lying to you, he was the best centre-midfielder in the league for two years. I’m not sure when or why he went upfront, maybe it was when he was at Brid but he’s never looked back has he.
“My mate Gibbo was there and once we played Lincoln Moorlands and every-time he went for a corner he always having some pushing and shoving with the kid who was marking him. It got to 70 or 80 minutes and he’d had enough of it and he punched him. The kid never moved and Gibbo broke his arm and was out for four weeks. He got sent off and another funny thing is Bri didn’t realise why he’d been sent off. The next day he asked him how he broke his arm and Gibbo said ‘I just fell on it’.
“The Emley game (January 2008) is a stand-out game from the first season when we drew 2-2. We had two sent-off and Jamie Green their goalie got sent off (for revealing his back-side to the Scarborough supporters) and got into a row with Jamie Waltham who had also been sent off. As we went into the tunnel at the end it just all kicked off. Bodies and arms were everywhere. Dave Thompson should have also got sent off straight from kick off when he took one of the Emley players out only a few seconds in.
“We played at Yorkshire Amateur once and in the first half part of one of the stanchions in one of the goals had come loose. Next minute someone was on Dave Thompson’s shoulders fixing it.
“Getting used to playing in front of the fans was hard. Most Non League teams you maybe get 100 fans, whereas with Scarborough we were getting quite a few (500+) but it was a great experience, every game was, especially away games. It felt like we were playing for a Football League team. Even now I look for their results and they deserve to get back to where they belong.
“In that first season my goal at Rainworth got voted goal of the season. I think I was about 25 yards out and I drove past four players and chipped it over the goalkeeper. The following season I scored the goal of the year again. That was at Hemsworth and it was a half-volley from about 25-yards. We were 1-0 down and we won 2-1.”
NCEL Division One Title with Scarborough (2008/09)
“It is up there with my best seasons, along with when I did half with Scarborough and half with Barton when we got promoted. But going back to Scarborough’s title win, it is the only time in my career where I played for a team who I didn’t think would get beat. We had such a good squad. Going forward we had me, Blotty, Craig Hogg and Danny Gray and credit to Bri because he kept everyone happy. In defence we had Jamie and Graham Botham who was our captain and so talented he could do anything. Blotty scored loads of goals that season but Jamie won all the awards at the presentation night. I can’t remember him having a bad game or training session.
“I don’t remember a lot from the games where we got promoted or won the league. It had been coming, that was a downside to it. When we got promoted at Barton it was nip and tuck right to the end and always exciting. With Scarborough, by Christmas everybody knew we were going to get promoted. I think we got promoted at Teversal in the end.
“The disappointing thing was losing the President’s Cup final to Nostell. We lost 3-2 and we should have done better. We also lost in the FA Vase away at Bideford which was a long trip to Cornwall. But it was a decent trip as I won about £300 off Arron Reid when we were playing cards. It wasn’t all off Arron Reid though!”
Memorable Games and Moments
“We beat Brodsworth 13-0 in the first season in the Premier. It was towards the end of the season. Craig Palmer and Ryan Blott scored hat-tricks along with me. I was a substitute too. I only played about half-an-hour.
“The best games when I was at Scarborough were the games against Brid. Sometimes we’d get 1100 in and there were always good games.
“I can’t remember where we played, it may have been in the Vase but we came to get on the coach after the game and it had got stuck in a field. It took hours to get it off. They parked it up and it rained and the coach got stuck in the mud.
“My worst red card was at Pickering when I was playing for Scarborough. Even in the match report it says how bad it was. To this day I don’t know what was going through my head. We were getting beat 2-1 and the ball went through to their goalkeeper and he must have had in it in his hands for two or three seconds and I absolutely wiped him out. I stood there and thought ‘why have I done that’? I got sent off at the far end so I had to walk the length of the whole field and as I walked past my mate Mike Gibson, he went ‘if you press circle on the ‘keeper on Fifa you get a red card’ and started laughing.”
Move to Barton and promotion again (via a brief return to Scarborough) – 2010/11
“I left Scarborough in pre-season to sign for Barton. It had fizzled out at Scarborough and I started really well at Barton. I scored against Hull City in pre-season and I think I had scored about 15 goals by November or December.
“It was good playing for Dave (Anderson). One thing that him and (assistant) Mally (Parker), they put the effort in and they always knew about who we were playing against. They had information on everyone. They had a coach called Sidda (Ian Dearden), I don’t know if he’s come up in any of the stories. He’s a character, the only builder I know who hasn’t got a phone. He must have been a good player because he was still good when we trained and he must have been 50 then.
“At the time Bri had stepped down because of illness at Scarborough and Paul Olsson and Darren France brought me back to Scarborough. On my second debut I scored a hat-trick against Hallam and we were 4-0 up with 20 minutes to go. Olly then brought me and Blotty and we ended up drawing 4-4. That’s on YouTube somewhere.
“It didn’t go down well and it was the start of how it was going to carry on for the rest of the season. It was just one of those seasons for Scarborough. Olly got sacked around the deadline day and Rudy Funk took. I decided I needed a change and myself and my mate Gibbo both rang Rudy on deadline day saying ‘we didn’t want to play for Scarborough, we want a change’. I think Rudy was after getting his own men in and to be fair to him he didn’t have to but he waived the seven days for both of us and let us go.
“The first game I played back at Barton was Shirebrook away (April 2011) and we had to win because we had to win all our final eight games to overtake Yorkshire Amateur. That Shirebrook games was one of those games where it looked like we were never going to score. Gaz Barlow scored a last minute winner and Sid was that excited he burst a blood vessel in his eye. He had a bloodshot eye at the end of the game.
“We lost to Emley in the third to last game of the season and I had missed a penalty so I was also gutted about that. Had Yorkshire Amateur won, we wouldn’t have been able to win promotion. About 5.30pm someone came in the bar and said Yorkshire Amateur had lost (1-0 to Askern after a last minute goal). I’d played for Scarborough with Paddy Miller and he told me that they had sent their goalie up in the last minute and Askern broke away and scored. That was their last game whereas we had two games left and we had to win them both.
“We then went to Eccleshill and they had Ollie Banks who is now in the Football League playing for them. Dave being Dave, he was giving it loads, ‘he’s rubbish, he’s rubbish’. Well he scored one of the best volleys I’ve ever seen in the Non League game, it was a great goal. That was in the 87th minute to make it 1-1 and we literally scored with the last kick of the game. We then beat Louth in the final game to win promotion.
“Personally it was one of my best seasons. I think I scored 37 goals that season and I lost out on the golden boot to Gaz Barlow. I think he got 39 goals. I must give a special mention to Gaz as he’s the best strike partner I’ve had. I clicked him with straightaway. People used to say ‘he’s rubbish’ but you can’t say that because he’s scored over 200 goals for Barton. He’s been an unbelievable goal-scorer.
“We had a good side. There were my mate Gibbo at centre-half along with Ash Dexter. It was a proper team. I’ve seen Ash Dexter’s party trick. After the Louth game, he put a pint glass in his mouth and downed a pint and a kid called James Tomlinson said ‘I bet you £20 you can’t do that again’. He did it again so he bet him another £20’. He had £40 off him.”
“I did the full 2011/12 season at Barton. We played Staveley on Bank Holiday Monday and at the time I thought they were being big babies but when you actually watch the video back the rain was pretty bad. We were 5-0 up and they walked off. It was one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen in football. That’s another YouTube video. When we started the game it was alright but as the game wore on it got worse and worse. Because we were winning by so many I don’t think the referee dared call it off. All the Staveley players were all telling him to abandon it. We got the points for it in the end. When we played them at home next a load of the Barton fans brought umbrellas with them in the middle of summer.
“We got to two cup finals. One was at Lincoln City’s ground but I missed that because I was suspended. Then we lost to that good Handsworth team which was in the league below.”
2012/13 – Reunion with Sennett at Retford
“I started the season with Barton and left around October time. I wouldn’t say I fell out with Dave Anderson but I got the impression that he wanted me out. I was on the bench a lot but I had been coming on and scoring and I just said to him after one of the games that I needed to be playing and gave him my tracksuit and left. I didn’t want to fall out with anyone so that’s how I handled it.
“I didn’t do anything for three or four weeks and then out of the blue Jody rang me to ask me I fancied going to Retford to play under Rich Sennett. He had tried to sign me at Winterton and I should have gone because it was all the same players and one of the best dressing rooms I’ve ever been part of. Rich is a top guy and he loved a good dressing room. We played Pickering away in the first season with him and we won 3-2 after coming from behind. We were buzzing in the changing rooms and the chairman came in and said ‘the budget has gone, I’ve no money left’. Bear in mind Rich had players coming in from all over, not one player left. That sums up how good he was. I can’t imagine that happens often.
“When I signed for Retford I met with Sennett not far from my house. So I had never been to the ground. When I did go all I was thinking was ‘how far is this place, what have I done’? It was a trek.
“We played Basford and they were obviously spending decent money. Martin Curruthers was manager and they had Lee Hendrie playing and we had a style of play which no-one liked playing against. We got in people’s faces. I don’t know if we were winning this game against Basford or it was 1-1 but it was a feisty game. I went down the tunnel at half-time and I’m not sure what started it off but there were bodies everywhere. Rich was in the middle trying to separate it and I don’t think we had a team-talk because it went on for ten minutes. There was another game against Basford which I didn’t play in but the dressing rooms were a disgrace and Rich tried to get the game called off. I’ve seen Sennett have loads of changing room rants, especially the one about people not being fit – that stands out.
“Thackley at home is another story. Everybody hated us because of the way we played and we beat them 2-1. Vince Brockie, their manager, came on the field at the end sulking. He couldn’t say well done, all he could say was ‘I don’t know how you can play that sort of f***ing football, how can you enjoy it’? When we have gone out of the changing rooms to get into our cars, our captain James O’Neill is a football coach and he had a Lionel Messi Total Football poster and he stuck it on their windscreen under the windscreen wiper.
“At Retford when we played against Worksop in the derby, that’s one of my best games. I scored a hat-trick and we won 4-2. I’ve got a picture of somewhere because it was on the back of the local paper.
“We won ten on the spin at one stage and we went to Armthorpe and Sennett had been saying ‘last time you played for me at Armthorpe you got sent off’. I didn’t think too about it but we were 2-0 up and we got beat 3-2 and I got sent off again. So I played for him twice there and got sent off both times. I think it was two bookings again. I think it was their centre-half Craig Morley, he did a bad tackle and got a straight red card and it kicked on from there. Instead of not getting involved I think I started throwing people around.”
Linking up with Selby Town for the Dave Ricardo revolution (2014)
“I did the full 2013/14 season with Retford and then I joined Selby for the following season. I don’t remember too much about playing for Selby because I didn’t play for them for long. I played with Rico at Scarborough and Beverley when I was really young. I had just changed jobs and I think I broke my arm earlier in the season too. I think I played until November and that’s when I had to tell them I had too much on. That’s when I played for Reckitts to play with my mates and I really enjoyed it. I was going to pack in at one point but a guy called Jamie Richards who played under Billy Heath at Brid took over and he got me back fit. I owe him a lot.”
Reckitts and Full Circle with Hall Road (2019)
“I played for Reckitts for four or five seasons until I went back to Hall Road in the summer of 2019 after Leon asked me to come back. I’ve known Leon since we went to College together and he’s always asked me to sign for him at Westella and East Yorkshire Carnegie.
“I really enjoyed pre-season training with them (in 2019) and I thought I’d give it a go. I felt I had a decent season until it got stopped last season. Beating East Hull 9-0 stands out. I only got two as he took me off! We beat Selby at home when they were top of the league. If the season hadn’t got stopped I think we may have pushed on for a top ten place. I was chuffed that I won players’ player of the year and chairman’s player of the year too.”
“I don’t know how much longer I’ll play for. I knew you’d ask me. I feel pretty fit and I’m always in the top three or four in the Hall Road running group.”
If you have enjoyed reading Non League Yorkshire over the past few months, please consider making a donation to the not-for-profit organisation NLY Community Sport which provides sport for children and adults with disabilities and learning difficulties. CLICK HERE to visit the JustGiving page. There is a video at the bottom of the page showing our work.
NLY Community Sport, run by James Grayson and Connor Rollinson, has always had combatting social isolation at the top of our objectives when running our Disability Football teams. When we properly return to ‘action’, our work will play an important role in reintroducing our players, who have disabilities and learning difficulties, back into society.
We have six teams, a mixture of Junior and Adult teams – Nostell MW DFC, Pontefract Pirates, Selby Disability Football Club and the South Yorkshire Superheroes (Barnsley) – across Yorkshire.
We have enjoyed great success over the past three years. Several of our players have represented Mencap GB in Geneva, including Billy Hobson from Selby and Greg Smith, whose story is quite inspiring.
Watch the video below to see highlights from our three years as an organisation. The video was produced for our players at the end of March to remind them of good memories from the last three years.