AFTER well over a decade as Eccleshill United chairman, Adrian Benson has crossed the Bradford divide to become a committee member at Thackley.

Benson did not make that move directly, and had planned to step away from football after leaving Eccleshill, but when the Dennyboys got in touch and asked if he was able to offer his services, he jumped at the chance, admitting they were the only other club he’d have even considered joining.

He told the T&A: “I probably spent about 15 years as Eccleshill’s chairman, but I left in May for personal reasons.

“I didn’t leave Eccleshill to go to Thackley and I was going to retire from football, or from being directly involved with another club.

“But I took a call from Thackley and they said they’d be interested in having me down.

“I met the chairman, Ben Oliver, for a chat, who’s a real gentleman. I have the utmost respect for him and everyone down at Thackley.

“I was flattered that a few clubs asked for me after I left Eccleshill, but Thackley were the only one I’d have gone to.

They’re a very well-run football club and I’ve been welcomed with open arms by everyone there. I feel part of the football family and it’s a pleasure to be around them all.”

Talking about his role at Thackley, Benson said: “I went to help as a volunteer but then they asked me on to the committee, where I have more chance of having an influence.

“I have a lot of experience and have been involved at this level of football for many years, so in a nutshell, I feel I can help with everything I’ve learned over that time.

“I’m just there to try and help Thackley with whatever they need me to and in any way I can, there’s no specific role for me as such.”

Benson insists his Eccleshill past did not put him off from making the move, nor does he have any issue with his old club.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Thackley against Eccleshill is the biggest Bradford derby played on a regular, competitive basis.Thackley against Eccleshill is the biggest Bradford derby played on a regular, competitive basis. (Image: Martin Taylor.)

He said: “I had no qualms about crossing the divide, because I gave Eccleshill everything I had for a long time.

“I wish them all the best and there are no bad feelings there.

“After leaving, I was simply asked if I’d be interested in joining Thackley and after some consideration, I was delighted to accept their offer.”

While Benson will hope Thackley create some new memories for him, he can still look back fondly on his time at Eccleshill.

He recalled: "The club's very existence was in doubt when I arrived, due to financial problems.

"I am extremely proud that under my leadership, the football club was financially stabilised and continued to improve and prosper on and off the field.

My proudest moment and best footballing memory is us winning the West Riding County Cup for the first time in 2014 under Lee Duxbury, who did a magnificent job and deserves all the credit.

“We beat Guiseley during that run and then Harrogate, managed by Simon Weaver, in the final at Valley Parade.

“It was a last-gasp penalty from Marcus Edwards that won it at Valley Parade, and it was extra special with him being a local lad.

“Us winning promotion to the Northern Counties East League Premier Division under Sean Regan was a special achievement too, as was reaching the FA Vase fifth round last season.”