"For you Cal!" Asfordby dedicate title win to pal Payne

The culmination of two years hard work for the players and staff at Asfordby Football Club has paid off as they earned their return to the Everards Brewery Leicestershire Senior League Premier Division with a 5-3 win at home to Markfield.

By Duncan Browne
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 10:28 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 10:33 am
Asfordby dedicate their title to Callum Payne.
Asfordby dedicate their title to Callum Payne.

Goals from Sam Allen, Brandon Hands, skipper Howitt and an Andy Melville brace saw off the one-time promotion challengers.

The squad lifted the trophy wearing T-shirts with ‘For You Cal’ written across the front, in memory of teammate Callum Payne, who passed away in pre-season.

“At difficult moments we stayed together for Cal,” said skipper Luke Howitt.

"The gaffer told us to play the game for those who would have loved to have been here.

"It’s difficult because Cal was a good friend of mine and the lads and we miss him, but he’s with us every time we stepped onto the pitch and his memory has driven us on.”

At the beginning of the 2020-21 season Asfordby were relegated to Division Two following the departure of two management teams in the previous campaign.

Simon Atherley, who had taken the club’s Development Team to three promotions in the North Leicestershire League, stepped in, believing there was enough talent at the club to get back into the top-flight, although he cautioned that this may be a five-year project.

The 2020-21 season was curtailed by the pandemic, but with Asfordby so far clear in the table they were promoted, although without being crowned champions.

Over the summer Atherley added Connor Tinley to the coaching staff and recruited three players into key positions to boost the squad and deliver the league title.

Atherley said: “Lifting the trophy at home on Saturday was a special day for the club and the team.

"These are a special group of players who have bought in to what we have wanted to achieve.

"Despite some challenging moments, the players have been strong mentally and have shown levels of commitment that I have not encountered before in the adult game.

"Everyone has played their part and we couldn’t have achieved it without the support of our fans and our sponsors Cellar Tech.”