Ask around the club, and you won't hear a bad word said against James Woodward, and that is testament, not only to the type of player that he is but also what he brings to the dressing room and the pitch!
It's hard to describe James in just a few words, he is the heart and soul of the team, he is that never say die spirit you need in the 90th minute, he is the player that will chase down every seemingly lost cause and put his body on the line in a tackle, if he's cut, he bleeds blue and white!
A sly smile crosses his face, "I got a yellow card five minutes after coming on as a substitute at half-time!"
By taking part in the match against Glasshoughton Rock recently, James became a member of "the ton club" which is an achievement in itself at our level, with all the player movement that occurs. "I'm very happy to have reached the hundred mark." commented James, "To be honest, I love this club and can't see myself being anywhere else."
James is a product of our popular Junior section, and just as with the Seniors, he loved growing up in the many blue and white shirts he wore. "I've played for Deighton since I was seven. This club means a lot to me and I'm extremely proud to have been a part of the Juniors, and then the Seniors. As I said before, I can't see myself ever playing elsewhere."
Having played in his hundredth game, he casts his mind back to taking to the pitch for his debut and a sly smile crosses his face, "I got a yellow card five minutes after coming on as a substitute at half-time! It was away against Rawdon, but I loved it and I still do!"
Having been at the club so long, it's inevitable that a few memories (and trophies) have been picked up. James quickly highlights one particular moment as his favourite, and it's one that will cause no shocks at all, "It has to be the Cup Final away at Boroughbridge AFC a few seasons ago. Not only did we win the match, but we won the treble! It was a great season and a great set of lads to play alongside."
I've played for Deighton since I was seven. This club means a lot to me.
It's not only memories that James has accumulated, he has also witnessed the club grow throughout the years. "The club has grown and is surrounded by so many fantastic people. I'm extremely proud of the support for Prostate Cancer and the fact we continue to progress the fantastic work that Lloyd Pinder has done, spreading the word about this awful illness. He is a great role model and ambassador for the club. I also have to say that Dan (Marshall), Benji (Ben Lawrence), Cammy (David Campbell) and Kris (Macdonald) are all fantastic and put in so much work behind the scenes. All of it allows the club to grow and that's brilliant."
It's not just James from the Woodward family who attends the matches, often seen on the sidelines is his dad, and like his son, he is a man of few words but has that air of someone who is constantly paying attention, not missing a thing. "He's certainly a calming influence after most games!" commented James.
James admits that he loves a tackle, and those of us who have watched him agree that if you remove that part of his game, then he wouldn't be the player that we know and love, so it's little surprise that when asked about the part of the game he would alter if he could, he answers about the physical aspect, "I would love to be able to bring back more of the contact that the past version of the game had. I feel that it would add that extra bite to the game that we miss sometimes."
With the first hundred games under his belt and time definitely on his side, we could well be seeing a career, from a Rangers player born and bred, that rivals the highest appearance makers in the club's history.
James scores against Overthorpe Sports Club.
James is sponsored by: