Churwell Lions still roaring after 30 years
THIRTY years of footballing excellence has been celebrated by one of the area’s biggest junior clubs.
Churwell Lions, the brainchild of local football scout Sonny Sweeney, began life with a handful of boys and a plan to introduce some successful grassroots football into Morley.
Three decades on the club has hundreds of talented young players on the books and kickstarted the careers of professionals Richard Naylor and Jonny Howson.
It was also the inspiration behind a much-loved 80s children’s show. The late darts commentator and writer Sid Waddell was so impressed with Mr Sweeney and the club he based his show Jossy’s Giants on them.
The first ever episode of the show featured the boys from Churwell Lions and those first players - now in their 40s - were taken back to their days of TV stardom when the show was screened at a special celebration dinner at Elland Road recently.
Over 200 people attended the event, including Leeds United legends Peter Lorimer and Arthur Graham and current United Technical Director Gwyn Williams.
The only sadness to tinge the proceedings was the absence of Sid Waddell, who was due to be one of the guests of honour but who died in August.
Mr Sweeney, who attended the dinner with his wife, June, said players and club members and officials past and present attended what he said was a fantastic evening.
“It was a real shame that Sid couldn’t be there to share it with us but it was a great night,” he said.
“We had a screen showing that first episode of Jossy’s Giants as well as photographs of Churwell Lions through the years.”
Mr Sweeney, a former Ipswich Town scout who now works for Leeds United, said the future was looking more exciting than ever for the club.
It is one of several local sports organisations to be involved in the scheme to bring state-of-the-art 3G pitches to Bruntcliffe School for the use of the community.
Mr Sweeney is also hoping to re-establish links with German side TSV Siegen, the main club of Morley’s twin town.
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