A DENTON football club is showing that even from the darkest days of despair, a light can come shining through.
When Dominic Doyle was murdered after being stabbed during an incident outside a pub, his friends rallied round.
A charity football event organised to help raise funds to pay for his funeral spawned another idea, forming a team.
Now Dom Doyle FC boasts four sides that play both on Saturday and Sunday and are all heading for success this season.
And Billy Hustler admits they would like to have other sides but there is not the room to accommodate them at Haughton Green Park!
He said: “All Dom’s mates got together and said they wanted to do something to help.
“They said, ‘How can we help the family?’ and came up with a game of five-a-side with everyone paying £10 to play.
“But there were that many people enquired about it, we ended up with 25 teams, all paying £10 a person.
“So an 11-a-side game was organised as well and they ended up raising about £9,000, then after that I was asked about the possibility of setting up a team.
“I helped sort out the pitches and things like the kit, even though I didn’t know Dom personally, and it’s all gone from there.
“We now have a junior side at Under-13 level that is getting established at the moment. We would like more but we don’t have the facilities to accommodate more.
“It’s all come from mates who knew him – it was all about playing for “Dom Doyle.”
Dominic was murdered in June 2015 after a fight started in Hughes’ Bar in Denton.
Mitchell Ingham was ordered to serve at least 14 years after being handed a life sentence, a tariff that was maintained by the Court of Appeal.
Ingham’s stepfather, Colin McDonald, was jailed for life with a 15-year tariff.
But from the utter darkness and despair, something positive has emerged.
Now Dom Doyle FC has a Saturday side in the Lancashire and Cheshire League which sits top of division one and two Sunday sides that features in the Tameside League division one.
Dom Doyle FC won through to their Divisional Cup final, which was played on April 5 at Hyde Utd’s Ewen Fields.
Dom Doyle Rangers, who play in the Tameside League division two, created history by winning its very first cup final on March 29 in the Manchester FA Sunday Amateur Cup, beating Salford Colts 2-1 at Abbey Hey FC. They also have a junior Under-13s team.
Just one look at the armband all players wear hammers home the meaning behind the club. On it is a message, ‘RIP Dom.’
And Mr Hustler is proud of how far things have come from the very darkest of circumstances – and has his eye on Dom Doyle getting even better.
He added: “Considering how the club came about, I am extremely delighted and humbled at how things have gone.
“The Rangers came from lads coming over from another team, who basically just wanted to play a game.
“I said, ‘If you want to play, have a go,’ and we’ve taken it from there.
“But I want the club, especially the Saturday team, to go somewhere now. I don’t want to be sat here in 10 years and us still be in the same division. I want bigger and more for us.”
• DOM DOYLE FC trains at Hyde Community College on Thursday nights from 8pm-9pm. If you are interested in joining them, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find them on Facebook by searching for Dom Doyle FC on Facebook and on Twitter at @domdoyle_fc.