Sports Awards: Baddeley Green make their mark on trophy trail
BADDELEY Green WMC surprised themselves by securing the Potteries and District Sunday League Premier Division title and League Cup double just three years after their formation.
Manager Peter Sromek and secretary Ant Munday had no idea what lay ahead when they set up a team in the summer of 2009 to give a much-needed lift to the village's financially-troubled workingmen's club.
A third-place finish in Division Two in their debut season, when they were also runners-up in the Subsidiary Cup, was sufficient to climb into Division One and rapid progress has been made on and off the field since.
An uneasy start to the 2010/11 campaign was followed by a run of 20 wins in 21 games in all competitions as Baddeley Green edged out near neighbours Abbey Hulton to finish at the top of Division One.
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Sromek's side suffered a rare defeat in the final of the Staffordshire Trophy by Robin Hood of Cannock, but bounced back to win the Division One Cup after a thrilling seven-goal final against Abbey Hulton at Norton United.
Green then went from strength to strength last season as they lifted the Premier Division title at the first time of asking, finishing five points clear of runners-up Butt Lane White Star, and beat Cheadle United 2-1 in the League Cup final at Vale Park.
They started this season by beating Butt Lane to lift the Peter Bott Memorial Trophy and are currently battling neck and neck with Tom Pope's Sneyd in a bid to retain their championship crown.
Sromek's charges have lost just one of their last 46 league games over the past two-and-a-half years.
Former Hanley Town Sunday side manager Ron Morton has joined Sromek in the dug-out this term and Green have also reached the last eight in defence of the League Cup and are still in the Sentinel Sunday Cup.
Baddeley Green's home for the first two seasons was Ball Green Y&A, but some serious fund-raising and the influence of football club chairman Gordon Leake, who attracted major sponsorship from Baskerville Reclamation of Cobridge, facilitated a move to Hanley Town.
Leake has now nominated Baddeley Green in the Senior Team of the Year category of The Sentinel/City of Stoke-on-Trent Sports Personality of the Year Awards.
He said: "We've got a talented bunch of lads and most either live in or close to Baddeley Green. They have grown up together and that has helped to encourage a tremendous spirit.
"The move to Hanley Town made a lot of sense because there is a very close relationship between our clubs. A lot of our players also play for Hanley and we also hold joint fund-raising events together.
"I'm proud of the lads. We've got a competitive team who never know when they are beaten, but Ant always insists we have a pint or three with the opposition if we win, lose or draw.
"There are some cracking teams in the Coors League, but the Potteries and District Premier Division title is the biggest prize in Sunday football around here.
"To win it so soon after we formed the team is a fantastic achievement."