Off the back of their league defeat to fellow NCEL outfit Nostell MW, FC Humber United return to league action with a second home fixture in a week. Saturday’s fixture will see Mark Maspero’s squad return to the Fairfax Plant Hire Stadium against Doncaster outfit, Armthorpe Welfare in a 3pm kick-off. Humber will begin the day in eighteenth place after collecting five points from their opening eleven fixtures and will certainly be aspiring to achieve something from the game, despite their opposition making a decent start to the season. 

Sighting our opponents for Saturday’s league fixture, Armthorpe Welfare visit the Fairfax Plant Hire Stadium on the back of a comfortable two-nil away victory against Swallownest. Welfare will begin the day inside the league’s top ten after making a decent start to their Northern Counties East campaign; collecting eighteen points from their opening eleven games of the season. Welfare boast the feat of beating Humber eight goals to nil in the return fixture, earlier in the month. 

With the return leg against Armthorpe Welfare fast approaching, the club will most definitely be seeking a much-improved display against the side that beat them 8-0 on September 1st, to that end, the time is now lads?! Quoting their official Armthorpe Welfare website, FC Humber extend an opportunity to all, in reviewing a brief history of the team they face Saturday:

“The club was formed in 1926 as part of the Colliery Social Welfare scheme. Throughout its years, it achieved varied but limited success before disbanding in 1974. The lack of senior football in the village was soon recognised, and the club was reformed in 1976 when they registered in the Doncaster Senior League Division Three.

It wasn’t long before honours were arriving, starting with the Senior League Championship in 1978/79 season. The following years brought further success by way of the Second Division Championship (1979/80), then the First Division Championship in the 1981/82 season, when they also lifted the West Riding Challenge Cup. Welfare also won the Doncaster Senior League Cup in the 1979/80 season and retained it for the following three seasons.

The 1982/83 season proved to be the most productive season as this included the Doncaster Senior League Championship, the West Riding Challenge Cup, the Goole and Thorne District FA Challenge Cup and the Doncaster Senior League Cup. The reserve team also lifted the Doncaster and District Challenge Trophy.

The following season saw Welfare Join the Northern Counties East League in the Northern Second Division. They finished runners-up, which was enough to gain promotion to the Central Division One. Once again, they were promoted at the first time of asking by topping the division in 84/85. It was this year where the goal scoring talents of Martin Johnson; the former Boston FC striker, and Peter Camm saw them score 42 goals between them.

Since the glory days of the early 80’s, Welfare have maintained their place in the Northern Counties East Premier Division since 1985, but have not lifted any silverware in that time. They came close in 2007/08 when they reached the Presidents Cup Final, but were beaten 4-2 (AET) by Liversedge.

The 2009/2010 season was their most successful of recent times, and if not for a late drop in form, could have gained promotion to the Unibond (now Evo-Stik) First Division. They still managed their highest point’s haul (79) to finish third, and reached the fourth round of the FA Vase where Wroxham beat them on penalties in the replay. Welfare also reached the League Cup Final, but finished runner-up to Dinnington Town.

Welfare’s most high-profile signing has been former Doncaster Rovers, Cardiff City and Rotherham professional Leo Fortune-West, who contributed 7 goals in 13 appearances in his first season. Fortune-West made 29 appearances in 2010/11, but he gradually took more of a back seat, assisting manager Des Bennett on the coaching side.

Welfare moved swiftly, and it seemed a natural transition to appoint Fortune-West as manager, with Gary Paton joining him as assistant manager. They certainly had a challenge on their hands after a number of players left the club, and it was a challenge that proved too great. The squad failed to gel together, and there were multiple personnel changes throughout the season. A major change occurred half way through the campaign when assistant manager Gary Paton resigned, but there was no time to dwell on the situation as the games were coming thick and fast. Brian Johnston was appointed assistant, and with him he brought a host of new faces. Despite the quality of some players showing through, there was still inconsistency in team selection and tactics, and Fortune-West was struggling to get his players playing as a team.

The club also changed chairman in 2017 with Lee Carmody taking over from Steve Taylor whose work and personal constraints meant he was unable to fully commit to the role. Lee has brought fresh enthusiasm to the role and the club have been making massive strides during the close season to improve the facilities at Church Street. The complete refurbishment of the clubhouse means the club now has a welcoming and fit for purpose area for supporters to come and enjoy whilst on the field Michael Carmody has finally had the chance to shape the squad and his backroom team from the bottom up without the constant pressure of competitive games.

Positivity around the club has not been higher for a long time. We have a young and enthusiastic manager who has a dedicated assistant manager and coaching team. We have an expanding committee which includes a dedicated media and press manager, Steve Pennock, ensuring our online presence is one of the best in the league, and we now have a brand-new Development Team starting its first season in 2019/20 in the Doncaster Senior League which aims to bridge the gap between adult and youth football and hopefully provide so fantastic talent for the first team

Such is the high morale and positivity there is a feeling amongst players, management and committee that on our day we can go out and compete and beat anybody. The league is tough and our squad is relatively young, so mistakes will be made. We don’t have the resources of other clubs in the league to set our stall out and say we want promotion, but our strong team ethic should get the club moving back in the direction it belongs, and who knows where that will take us?”


Tale of the Tape

When it comes to FC Humber United Versus Armthorpe Welfare, the two sides have only met in competitive action on eight occasions. Through the short period FC Humber have existed in their many forms, eight occasions they have met Armthorpe Welfare and as the record stands, FC Humber have picked up two victories and a draw, whilst Armthorpe have won on five occasions. The Saturday afternoon fixture will again prove a test for FC Humber, however, the Club will certainly have their sights set on improving their fortunes from the previous fixture. 

Of the eight fixtures FC Humber and Armthorpe have met in competitive action, there have been thirty-one goals between the two; Ten from FC Humber and twenty-one from Welfare. The last time these two met, was in league action on 1st September 2021, the tie ended in despair for Humber as Welfare ran away with a more than comfortable 8-0 victory. It would be suffice to say, Humber will aim their sights on a much improved result in the latest meeting between the two, as the club search for their next points on the board.

Tom Devereux | Media Executive | FC Humber United

September 23, 2021