Chris Turner has managed against Barnsley FC for Sheffield Wednesday in South Yorkshire derbies and now he is working in the town with ambitious non-league club Wakefield AFC.

The 61-year-old former Manchester United goalkeeper and League Cup winner with Wednesday was Owls boss for League One derbies against the Reds in 2003/04 – winning 2-1 at Hillsborough and drawing 1-1 at Oakwell when Paul Warhurst and Grant Holt were sent off.  Turner was also manager of the Stockport County side that came from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 at Oakwell the following season then they scored an injury-time penalty equaliser in the return fixture. 

After spells at Hartlepool United, Chesterfield and Port Vale, he is now working with Wakefield AFC who are playing in the County Senior Premier League, seven tiers below the EFL. They are currently based at the Dorothy Hyman Stadium in Cudworth but hope to groundshare with rugby league club Wakefield Trinity once the Belle Vue ground is redeveloped. 

Turner told the Chronicle: “We’re just inside the border of Barnsley at the moment but the aim is to be based in Wakefield.  Talks are ongoing between Wakefield Trinity and Wakefield Council over their new stadium and the plan is for us to play there as well. 

“That may take a couple of years and, by that time, we want to be higher in the football pyramid.  We are happy for our base now to be at the Dorothy Hyman Stadium.  The staff there have been absolutely fantastic with us. 

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“We could not find anywhere to play in the Wakefield area and this has been a good option for us.  “I went from being the chairman to the director of football to the manager because the pre-season was a bit chaotic. 

“But I was happy to work with the players and try to help them, with the experience I have in the game.  The bigger picture is to get the club running well so that, after I retire, it can keep going and Wakefield can have a successful football team for years to come. Dorothy Hyman will be a massive part of that history as the place the club started.”

Wakefield are currently third in the County Senior Premier, with 18 points from ten games.  The division also contains other Barnsley sides in Penistone Church reserves, Sheffield Senior Cup champions North Gawber, former Barnsley striker Bruce Dyer’s Grimethorpe LLFC, Wombwell Main, Dodworth MW and Houghton Main. 

Turner said: “I haven’t been at this level since I was about 15 and it has been a bit eye-opening at times when you are used to professional football. 

“The facilities are obviously very different but I have been really impressed by the dedication of the volunteers at all the clubs because it is not easy to keep them running. It’s a good league and very competitive. There is not far to travel and a lot of local derbies with a lot of Barnsley clubs in this league.  

“It’s going very well for us.  We had a tough start to the season as we were building a completely new team but the transformation has been fantastic. We are improving game by game.  We don’t have an aim for this season, we just want to get a decent team together and see what we can do at    this level.”