Recurrently Generated Football League: Belton Rail - Join the Love Train!

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Belton Rail, Belton, North Yorkshire

Nickname(s): The Railers, The Rails, The Limited (diminutive)
Motto: All Aboard!
Manager: Alain Pardoux
Stadium: Trolleybus Museum Grounds
Shirt sponsor: Ryan Air
SB Nation blog: Le Chemin de Fer
Colors: Railway Gray and Bronze

Belton Rail began as Belton Rail Limited AF, a small company team in 1910. At the height of the British railway boom, Belton Rail Limited was growing larger, and the employees fancied a chance at glory in the British Railways National Cup. The early days were met with many challenges, including a betting scandal involving the entire team in 1929. In the spring of 1939 they prevailed in the Railways Cup final over the now-defunct Harrogate Railway Atheltic. Sadly, the Railers' stunning upset against a formidable Beavers squad would be their last for 19 years.

The Second World War took its toll on the club, with gritty players leaving to battle Nazis and the Reich, while the French owners sold off assets in an attempt to find stable investments in the South American Quebracho trade. The stadium fell into ruin, and the team officially disbanded in 1943. Fans of the club rekindled interest in regenerating the team as early as 1948, but their efforts were derailed by a lack agreement on the name of the club.

In the original name of the club the meaning of "AF" was not described in any document found during the regeneration. While the general assumption was this meant "Association Football," certain people connected with the earlier French ownership insisted this meant "As French." The majority of fans preferred to keep the name as a relic of days gone by, however the new ownership objected. They refused to allow the players to be taunted as "Limited As French."

At that time the club bought the Depot View ground with a £1,500 loan from the London and North Eastern Railway, with supporters paying it off at 1p per week. Ironically, the Railers' home is now sponsored by the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft.

The 50's and 60's treated Belton well, punching tickets for promotion from the 14th level (Yorkshire Amateur League Premier Division) to the 7th level (Northern Premier League Premier Division). A healthy rivalry with Cokers saw Belton moving forward, and Cokers burning bright during this era. Depot View ground could heard from meters away, chanting "Love Train" by The O'Jays starting in the mid 1970's, a tradition that continues today. Sadly they were stuck in the roundhouse in the 7th level for 10 years under Norwegian manager Haward Anderssen, until a freak heat wave in 1976 caused him to return his family's reindeer farm in the Arctic Circle.

League reorganisation in 1985 saw Belton jump the tracks, being registered in the First Division by a clerical error in the Football League Office. This went unnoticed for 3 games. Despite much backlash from the lower divisions, the error was allowed to stand and Belton Rail kept chugging along. Dorlington Town (Not to be confused with Dorlington Town) were the unfortunate side that lost out on promotion as a result of the error, leading to the club's main derby. Belton Rail brought home the League Cup with a 5-€0 win in a tie with Eversfarthead Welfare in 1986 before being relegated to the Second Division. The club spiked down again, being relegated into their current league, where they have remained in 5th place for 20 straight years.

In January 2012 Manager Ronald Plump was cast out like ballast after being accused of collusion with a Russian oligarch who was in talks to purchase the team. The club was later sold to a French fresh-cut flower consortium which is working on renaming the club Belton Rail AF, in a nod to the earlier ownership. They've stayed on track with the help of current Brazilian player Fraabinho. He was brought up in the Belton reserve squad known as the Trainees. He's yet to ride into a higher league because he plays entire matches out of position. This is much to the dismay of pragmatic French-Canadian manager Alain Pardoux.

This year Belton Rail are focusing on clearing a track for improvement. Having been limited to 5th for two full decades, they're going to need new fuel to move up.

Belton Rail crest

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