Amjad sees Celtic home

REAL CHARACTER: Amjad Iqbal in action for Farsley (Picture Telegragh and Argus Bradford)

REAL CHARACTER: Amjad Iqbal in action for Farsley (Picture Telegragh and Argus Bradford)

First published in Sport by

Enough has been written about playing in the top leagues but in the lower leagues it takes real character to make a name for yourself.

Amjad Iqbal has helped Farsley Celtic book a place in the Blue Square Premier league (formerly the Nationwide Conference League) after a thrilling play-off final.

The Conference North league club reached the promised land after beating Hinkley United 4-3 in a game watched by over 2,000 people. They came back not once but twice in the last 11 minutes to win the game and send their small group of fans wild.

That followed a nail-biting semi-final win on penalties against Kettering.

For Amjad it was an amazing turn-around. The 26-year-old chemistry lecturer from Bradford played 20 consecutive games at centre-back and midfield when it looked unlikely he would play at all!

"I started the season injured and didn't feature in any games until December 16."

"Farsley finished fifth in the table and for the club to gain promotion in the play-offs was a real surprise but the lads deserved every minute of it."

Amjad, 26 started playing or Farsley five years ago and and has been voted the club's player of the year twice. Nicknamed Ammers' he is a former Bradford City youth player and went on to play for Thackley AFC in the Northern Counties East League before arriving at Farsley.

He has had trials at Doncaster Rovers and Chesterfield, Oldham Athletic and Burnley.

He says this year the crowds really made a difference.

"We are used to gates of 90 but as we won more and more games that figure went up to 500.

"For a small club this is a major achievement."

In the lower leagues racism continues to rear its ugly head and for Amjad it as something he had to deal with during away games..

"I used to get a lot of stick when I was younger but as I grew older I learnt to deal with.

"It still happens now and then because to be honest they are not as strict in the lower leagues.

"Some of the grounds further north were a lot worse but I would just get on with it."

Jamil Rehman, friend of Amjad's watched from the sidelined as history was made.

"Six or seven of us have ben going down to wactch Amjad play but because it is not big club there is little interest from the local community."

"His natural postion is midfield but his versitility has been a great bonus for the club."

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