Ilkley Town Remember Prolific Striker Dale Hoyle

Many tributes have been paid to Dale Hoyle, the former Ilkley Town striker, who sadly passed away from a terminal illness at the age of 53 just before Christmas, writes Evan Seaman. Dale is fondly remembered for breaking goalscoring records while he was playing for the Baht’atters and he was also successful when playing for local clubs Silsden and Steeton. 

Dale joined Ilkley Town towards the end of the 2001-02 campaign and played seven games for them in that season, scoring three goals. He was a local lad, from Keighley and was good friends with one of lIkley’s players, Rick Wilson, who was influential in attracting Dale to the club. 

In the following 2002-03 season, he scored a remarkable 50 goals in 35 games including four hat-tricks and four 4-goal hauls, which made a significant contribution to the team’s success in achieving the league and cup double in the Harrogate Senior League. In the same Ilkley team was current club Chairman, Richard Giles, and Dale was partnered in attack by Steve Hall, who is now managing one of the Ilkley junior teams.

There were many highlights in that 2002-03 campaign, but one of them was undoubtedly when Ilkley defeated Bedale at home 8-0 on the 12th April 2003, which included four goals from Dale. He also scored the most goals from the penalty spot (4) and helped the team to win 26 out of 36 games, scoring a staggering 119 goals in the season. Dale’s goal tally during the 2002-03 season remains the club record to this day and his achievements at Ilkley Town will forever be remembered by those associated with the club at the time.

The Ilkley manager at the time and current senior team Head Coach, Dave Houlston, believes the 2002-03 season was the ‘springboard’ for the senior team being accepted into the West Yorkshire League. This was a unique period for the club as Ilkley AFC changed name to Ilkley Town, moved to Ben Rhydding and were the first team to win promotion in their initial season in the West Yorkshire League (2004-05). By this time, Dale had moved onto higher level football at Silsden where his goalscoring exploits for the Cobbydalers continued for many seasons. 

This success couldn’t have been achieved without the commitment of all the players at the time and this led to several other team managers and league officials regarding them as the “best footballing side in the league”.  Dave Houlston said of his former player that “he was the best header of a ball I’ve seen in non-league football” and that Dale’s relatively short but significant contribution to Ilkley Town’s development “cannot be underestimated”. 

Richard Giles remembers playing with Dale “If I am honest, Dale was the difference between being a good side and being a side that won the league and cup double. It was the high point of the playing career for many of the Ilkley players, myself included, and is something that remains very special.”

Aside from football, Houlston recalls a summer 6-a-side cricket competition amongst the players, held at Ilkley CC ground that was followed by a barbecue at Assistant Manager David Crowther’s home, where Dale’s devotion to wife Ianthe and, at the time, young daughters Sophie and Grace revealed a loving family man. So much more important than football and, hopefully, of great pride and solace to the Hoyle family.

Pictured - the double winning team from 2002/3 with Dale on the right of the goalkeeper