Toolstation NCEL Division One
Aodhan Brownlee may be injured and currently concentrating on rolling out Pundit Games to pubs across the country but he has seen first-hand the amazing job Mick O’Connell has done at Harrogate Railway.
Two years ago Railway were sinking towards the West Yorkshire League.
Fast forward to 2022 and former jockey O’Connell has transformed them into promotion candidates.
“Mick, Walshy (Josh Walsh) and Paul Clayton have created a culture which is getting 25 lads to training,” Brownlee told Non League Yorkshire.
“I remember speaking to Rob Youhill and we said we had never seen it in Non League Football before.
“Every single player is hungry to play and it is great problem for him.
“There is a feel good factor around the club and I’ve never seen a club have a change of culture so quickly.
“Everyone is pulling in the right direction.”
Former Farsley Celtic player Brownlee has struggled with injuries for several years and unfortunately he has only made one short appearance in the league this season because of injury.
“Through University and at Thackley I was always having niggly injuries with my ankles,” he said.
“When I have moved into the world of work it has got harder to get fit.
“For instance last season, games got called off and I had to come off with concussion once.
“But last summer I did a lot of running and I fractured my shin so that knocked me back massively.
“I barely played at all until I got fit to sit on the bench for the FA Vase away at Cleator Moor.
“Mick put me in to play Teversal and in the first ten minutes (after coming on as a substitute) I pulled my hamstring and my body wasn’t ready.
“They have a physio called Sammy (Lambert) and she’s really good and she is working with me to get myself fit.”
Brownlee has kept himself busy with his plan to roll out the Danish board game Pundit Games in the UK.
“It is a board game and the way best to describe is Trivial Pursuit meets Question of Sport and it was built by some Danish guys,” he said.
“You’re given some clues and you have to guess a player from those clues.
“It came about through football.
“I played football in America for a year after my first spell at Farsley and played with a Danish guy who was mates with (the makers of the game).
“Through the lockdowns I have worked with them to create an English version of the game so we can sell it in the UK.
“It is a competitive game so it is aimed at playing against friends.
“If you have loads of people around at Christmas you can but it is not the sort of game you would play with your nan.
“We want to get it in clubs and pubs across the country and start getting people competing against each other.”
If you are interested in playing the game, there is an opportunity to do so at Harrogate Railway on Monday 7th February.
Former Leeds United captain Dominic Matteo is visiting to take part in a question and answer event from 7pm to 9pm.
“We want to start getting some noise around the game,” he said.
“We see the Dom Matteo evening as an opportunity for people to turn up at Railway and listen to him.
“We’re going to throw in a few pundit questions and it is going to be an opportunity for people to play the game.”
If you would like to come to the free Dom Matteo event, email email@example.com.
To learn more about Pundit Games, visit https://www.punditgames.com/