- Historical HQ: York
- Major Cities/Towns: Bradford, Doncaster, Kingston upon Hull, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Scarborough, Sheffield, Wakefield
- Nickname: The Vikings
- Association: Yorkshire International Football Association (YIFA)
- Confederations Affiliated To: CONIFA, WUFA
- CONIFA World Football Cup Best Result (Men): Not Qualified
- CONIFA European Football Cup Best Result (Men): Not Qualified
- Most Capped Player: Jordan Coduri – 7 caps
- Top Scorers: Jordan Coduri, Tom Greaves, Brodie Litchfield – 4 goals each
Yorkshire, formerly known as the County of York is a historic county in Northern England and is the largest county in the whole of the United Kingdom. Due to it’s huge size in comparison with other English counties, functions have been undertaken over time by its subdivisions. Firstly divided into geographical and historical ‘ridings’, which divided the county into East Riding, West Riding, North Riding, and the Ainsty of York, and later into smaller counties (North, South, East, and West Yorkshire), as well as city councils, and unitary autorities. However, throughout these changes, Yorkshire has continued to be recognised as a geographic territory and cultural region. This is due to Yorkshire’s long and fascinating history with the county’s borders roughly being in-line with that of the old Viking Kingdom of Jórvík, which existed between 867-954CE (hence the nickname of the team). Encompassed within Yorkshire are large areas of beautiful unspoiled countryside which can be found most notably in the Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors, and Peak District national parks. The historic county over the years has been known and nicknamed as “God’s Own County”.
The sport of football has a long and proud history within Yorkshire. This is evident at the fact that the world’s first ever football club is from “God’s Own County”, the world-famous Sheffield FC who were founded in 1857, as well as the world’s oldest rivalry between Sheffield FC and Hallam FC which started in 1860. In addition, a large number of rules that wee being played in Sheffield (at the time) were incorporated into the laws of the game when a unified code of laws was created by the English FA in 1863. Since those inaugural days of the beautiful game, other clubs from Yorkshire were born and went onto (and continue to) be very successful within the English game. Some of these clubs include the likes of Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United, Bradford City, Huddersfield Town, Barnsley FC, and countless others.
The subject of this blog, the Yorkshire International Football Team was officially founded on 16th July 2017 with the team’s governing body – YIFA being founded in October of the same year at the Square Chapel in the town of Halifax. Despite only being formed until fairly recently, there have previously been other occasions when similar teams from the area have taken to the field. In 1924, the West Riding County Football Association formed a team as part of the jubilee of the University of Leeds. Players selected for this team were picked from club teams such as Bradford City, Bradford Park Avenue, Halifax Town, Huddersfield Town and Leeds United. Although the team won their fixture by 2 goals to 0 (opposition not known) it did not represent the whole of Yorkshire. Just over ten years later another representative team was formed but again it did not fully represent the whole of the county.
Since their formation in 2017, the Yorkshire International Team have gone onto become members of both the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) and the World Unity Football Alliance (WUFA) The team played their first ever game on 28th January 2018 in Fitzwilliam, Yorkshire. This historic day saw the team taking on Ellan Vannin (the Isle of Man) with the game ending as a 1-1 draw. Since that inaugural game, Yorkshire have also played against the likes of Barawa, Chagos Islands, Parishes of Jersey, Panjab, and Somaliland.
To find out more about the team dubbed “The Vikings”, we spoke to Ziggy Smith who is the supporters’ liaison officer for the Yorkshire International Football Team. You can follow Ziggy on Twitter by clicking on the link provided below. We have also provided a link to the Yorkshire International Football Team Twitter feed too.
Q. Who would you say is your team’s best player and coach/manager of all-time, and the reasonings behind the choices?
Well, manager is a easy one, Ryan Farrell as he’s our only manager so far [manager since 2017]. Player wise, my personal favourites are Paddy Maguire [33-year-old midfielder currently player-manager at Thackley], purely for his no nonsense style of play, and as a member of the “goalkeepers’ union”, Edd Hall [28-year-old keeper currently playing for Stocksbridge Park Steels].
Q. Who could be regarded as a ‘cult hero’ in terms of the team both in the past and present?
Cult hero is a difficult one purely because the team is in its infancy, but Jordan Coduri [midfielder currently at Penistone Church] would definitely be up there, after all he scored our first ever goal.
But I also love watching Matt Dempsey [31-year-old defender] (even if he does claim I’m cursed due to the fact whenever I see him play be it for Yorkshire or his club side Yorkshire Amateurs he gets booked).
Q. Of the current team, who would you say is the best player in the Yorkshire national side currently?
For me, the best player currently in the side would be [34-year-old] Bury AFC forward Tom Greaves, played at a really high level and it shows.
Q. How would you describe the current state/performance of the team?
Unfortunately we’ve not played since the pandemic hit, but, pre-covid, things were looking good! We’d only lost the one game to Parishes of Jersey [2-1 in Saint Peter, Jersey] and we’d since beat them [1-0 in Ossett] to level the outcome of games.
Q. Are there any Yorkshire players who you think we should be focusing on for the future – who would you say is the most exciting up & coming talent from the county.
One of the really good upcoming players is Brodie Litchfield [forward currently with Belper Town], shows real flashes that leave you thinking, “how the hell did he do that??”
Q. Looking at Yorkshire’s international history, what would you say has been the best game, result or performance for the national team in your opinion?
Best performance I’d say would be the 1-0 win over Parishes of Jersey at Ossett [in the 2019 CONIFA Atlantic Heritage Cup], we’ve had bigger wins but it was a complete performance against possibly the best side we’ve faced.
Q. Likewise, is there a performance or result which is regarded as the team’s lowest point?
On the flip side, our worst defeat came away to Parishes of Jersey, which was harsh as it wasn’t a particularly bad performance, but it still ended up as a 2-1 defeat.
Q. What are the best and worst things about being a fan of the Yorkshire national team?
The best things about watching Yorkshire is that it’s a good level of football, and you can tell that it means so much to the lads to pull on the shirt for the white rose.
Q. Have the fans adopted some kind of unofficial anthem to sing along to before/during/after matches?
The county have adopted our own national anthem, but like all football fans, we offer up chants about the players.
Q. Do you have a favourite or iconic shirt from the whole time of the national team?
My favourite shirt is the original home shirt, it was just beautiful.
Q. Finally, what are your hopes for the future of the Yorkshire national team?
It’s a easy one, I want to see us play and compete in the later stages of the World Cup.
A massive thank you to Ziggy for answering our questions on the The Vikings. Remember you can find his excellent Twitter account, and that of the Yorkshire team, in the links at the top of the blogpage.
If you have any comments, suggestions, reactions, or even your own answers to the above questions, please write them in the comments box below. Likewise, you can either email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a message to the author at @Gareth19801 or the editor at @The94thMin on Twitter.