Farsley’s FA Trophy win was nice way to honour John Palmer, says Wilcox

National North 

Farsley Celtic manager Russ Wilcox. Picture: Matthew Appleby

Russ Wilcox believes Farsley Celtic’s FA Trophy victory over Chester FC was a fitting tribute to former chairman John Palmer.

Mr Palmer passed away earlier this week at the age of 86.

He had two spells as chairman across 50 years and he was the frontman for the Palmer-Farrell consortium who saved the club from extinction in 2010.

Twenty-four hours after the sad news announced, Farsley saw off Chester in the Trophy after winning the penalty shootout and Wilcox said it was a nice way to honour Mr Palmer.

“There is not too much I can say as I only met him and his wife Margaret a couple of times but on those occasions he oozed his love for the football club,” Wilcox told Non League Yorkshire.

“He spent 50 years at the Football Club so it is an incredible story.

“You can’t speak highly enough of the man and his association with the Football Club.

“It doesn’t happen very often for someone to be there that long and to come again and be the saviour in 2010. It speaks volume of him as a man and his family.

“It was fitting (that we won on Tuesday) and it was almost written in the stars.

“Maybe he looking down on us when we were taking the penalties.”

John Palmer served Farsley Celtic for around 50 years and saved them in 2010

Farsley now move onto the mouth-watering double-header against local rivals Bradford (Park Avenue) over the festive season.

The Celts visit Avenue on Boxing Day before the return fixture at The Citadel on New Year’s Day – a game which is dedicated to the life of Mr Palmer.

The opportunities are clear for both sides. 

Six points to Farsley would see them potentially leap several places above the relegation zone.

Avenue have a major opportunity to pull well clear of the bottom four and set their sights on the play-offs.

“They are big, although I’m a big believer every game is big,” he said.

“Because they are back-to-back games, they are huge for both teams and I’m sure you’ll be asking the same question (to Mark Bower).

“They are big games, let’s not hide away from it.

“We have been there in the (FA Trophy) and been successful. It doesn’t mean we will be successful next time.

“I think sometimes after every game you can look at results and say ‘wow we have moved up two (places)’.

“There’s still a long way to go in the season but I get what you’re saying about the magnitude of the two games.

“I said to you before that we have to take a leaf out of Bradford’s book.

“They started the season really poorly and everyone had them written off.

“Now if they can get back-to-back win they’ll be looking at the play-offs spot, a bit like Alfreton last season.

“They are a good outfit. (Mark Bower) is doing a fantastic job because everyone knows that them and ourselves are down there budget-wise.

“He always puts a good squad together and they are always competitive and always hard-working.

“He plays different ways and he has gone to a three a lot this season.

“He’s a really good manager and a good guy.”

Farsley can take huge heart from the Chester win.

Although the Trophy tie was won on penalties, Farsley led twice in the 2-2 draw against a very in-form side who sit third in the National North.

“We missed the first penalty but we stayed strong as (Chester) scored their next two,” Wilcox said.

“We dug in and scored some good penalties.

“Overall I think we deserved to win the game.

“The first half performance was very good and I was a tad disappointed to only come in 1-0 up.

“They are a good outfit, they’re third in the league. 

“I know they have a few injuries like everyone but I thought It was a really good performance.

“Frank (Mulhern) scored a superb goal. 

“He picked it up and drove with pace and power and showed quality with his finish.

“Our two goals were really good.

“It was a fantastic cross from Lewis Butroid (for the first goal). We spoke about getting at their diamond out-wide and Jimmy (Spencer) was between the sticks where you always want your number nine to be.

“We conceded poor goals but overall it was fitting on the night to progress into the next round.”

Another positive for Farsley is the return of on-loan Bradford City starlet Kian Scales who returns from suspension for the Avenue trip.

“We’re starting to get players back and the squad (against Chester) looked strong,” Wilcox said.

“Kian Scales is back from suspension.

“So the only other one who is missing but could be back is Dave Syers.

“If we get him back it gives me a headache.

“It is good to get everyone back and it certainly gets more out of the players who have got the shirts.

“They realise if they don’t perform that could change.

“We’re not in a bad place at the moment.”

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