Wakefield to get its own professional football club

Wakefield is to finally gets its own football club, led by a consortium of businessmen and a former professional player and manager.

Chris Turner, who played for Manchester United and managed Sheffield Wednesday among other clubs, is the chairman of newly-founded Wakefield AFC which will start non-league games next season.

Playing at Pontefract Collieries’ stadium initially for home fixtures, it is hoped that the club will eventually ground share with Wakefield Trinity at Belle Vue once the stadium is redeveloped as planned.

Businessman Mike Hegarty, who is the founder and owner of the new club, hopes football fans will back the new venture.

He said: “This is the culmination of a nine-year dream. Wakefield is the UK’s largest city without its own football team something that football fans and proud citizens have complained of for decades.

“After years of negotiations and a hunt for a suitable management team and guarantors we are able to launch Wakefield AFC with a clear plan to develop professional football in the city.

“We realise there’s a huge demand for a professional club in Wakefield.

“We realise we have a long way to go to move the club up the league ladder, but we think we have most things in place.

“It says a lot about our aspirations that we have Chris (Turner) involved, he was a successful professional footballer and also a manager.

“I doubt that there’s embryonic football club that has started with such a strong team.

“We are in an excellent position.”

It is hoped that the team will play in the same colours as Trinity - white with red and blue trim - and a kit deal has already been agreed.

Starting off in the Central Midlands League for the 2019/20, to finance the venture, the club will be launching a share issue to attract sponsorship.

The club has also been quietly building up a squad of players which has already taken on under-23 teams from professional clubs including Nottingham Forest, Wigan Athletic, Tranmere Rovers and Bristol Rovers, with “positive results”, according to Mr Hegarty.

He added: “The level of football that the existing players are it is very high, they are very, very good players.”