900 games for non-league legend “Willy”

Mark Wilson at AFC Emley for his 900th game

Mark Wilson at AFC Emley for his 900th game


by James Grayson

A non-league footballer played his 900th game last night – and now has set his sights on making 1000 career appearances.

Former Farsley Celtic footballer Mark ‘Willy’ Wilson, 42, came on as second half substitute for AFC Emley in their 8-0 thrashing of Bottesford Town last night in the Northern Counties East League Division One.
Mark has played for numerous clubs in the West Yorkshire and Derbyshire area since making his first career appearance in 1991 when he joined Frickley Athletic.  
Mark, is best known for being in the old Emley team who narrowly lost 2-1 to a Premier League West Ham team that contained Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard, in 1998 in the FA Cup Third Round.
He said: “1000 games is what I’m looking towards.
“But when I started out you were playing 50 or 60 games a season with all the cup competitions.
“But now with me getting older, I get rested quite a lot.
“As long as I know in myself that I can produce, which I have showed at this level, I’ll keep going.”
But, Mark admits that the camaraderie between players is different to how it was in 1991.
He said: “The changes have been the mentality of the youth which is obviously a different generation.
“All the lads stick together, but the social side is not as active as it used to be.
“All the lads use to stop in the individual clubs for hours on end and would bring their families.
“In this day and age, all the lads seem to play, spend an hour and then go their own way.”
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