Northern League Day

Inspired by the nationwide success of last September’s Non-League Day, the first ever Northern League Day will take place at the traditional kick-off time of 3 o’clock on Saturday 9th April 2011.

With Middlesbrough at Sheffield United and Newcastle United playing in the lunchtime televised fixture away at Aston Villa the following day, we hope as many fans as possible will turn out to support their local non-league football teams.


Founded in 1889, the Northern League is the world’s second oldest surviving league after the Football League itself.  Long a conveyor belt of talent to the professional game, countless Football League players have begun or ended their careers at Northern League clubs, including Bob Paisley (Bishop Auckland), Brian Clough (Billingham Synthonia), Gary Pallister (Billingham Town), Steve Carney and Alan Shoulder (Blyth Spartans),  Chris Waddle (Tow Law Town), John Anderson (Dunston),  Frank Clark (Crook Town), Jimmy Smith (Whitley Bay), Alan Foggon (Consett) and Steve Harper (Seaham Red Star). Newcastle East End (later Newcastle United), Middlesbrough Ironopolis and Sheffield United all took part in that first Northern League season. Bishop Auckland won three FA Amateur Cups and were the most famous non-league side in the country as a Northern League side in the mid-1950s. Blyth Spartans came within a minute of the FA Cup quarter final in 1978. More recently, Whitley Bay have won the FA Vase three times, twice at Wembley. The professional game would be immeasurably poorer without grassroots leagues such as this. Have a great day out, watch some football, and help keep the game alive.


We’ll be at Ryton (bottom of Division One at the time of writing with three points from thirty games and a goal difference of minus one hundred and three).  After promised sponsorship money failed to materialise in the summer, Ryton had to sack their management team and every single player except one followed them out of the club. £5 of your money here would go a very long way. They play Billingham Synthonia, where Brian Clough started his career and perhaps the only club in world football to be named after an agricultural fertiliser.  The nearest train station to Ryton is Wylam (15 minutes from Central Station), home of the famous Boathouse Inn. Remember when you could enjoy a Saturday afternoon out with your mates, watch a game of football and have a couple of beers for a tenner? You still can.

Other games taking place:

Division One

Billingham Town vs Jarrow Roofing
Consett vs Bishop Auckland
Dunston UTS vs Tow Law Town
Esh Winning vs Shildon
Penrith vs Sunderland RCA
South Shields vs Stokesley
Spennymoor Town vs Bedlington Terriers
West Allotment Celtic vs Newcastle Benfield
West Auckland Town vs Norton & Stockton Ancients
Whitley Bay vs Ashington

Division Two

Birtley Town vs Horden Colliery Welfare
Brandon United vs Team Northumbria
Crook Town vs Guisborough Town
Gilford Park vs Darlington RA
Marske United vs Whitehaven
Morpeth Town vs North Shields
Northallerton Town vs Chester-le-Street Town
Thornaby vs Hebburn Town
Whickham vs Washington (11.30am)

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17 Responses to Northern League Day

  1. Kevin Clark says:

    Takes me back, used to play for Ryton many moons ago…get along, great little club.

  2. Kevin Clark says:

    Thinking back, I actually had 2 spells at Ryton. First time round they were just starting to try and move up the Alliance to the Northern League – it was a very exiting time for the club, they were looking to move from playing at Clara Vale to the new ground and clubhouse in Crawcrook. It was a proper community club with a bar where loads of locals got together to support the team, there were local lads plating in the team and there were junior teams ran from there as well. Remember we won the Northern Alliance after a bit of a battle with Hebburn Reyrolle. Second time around around was cut short by injury and meeting the future wife, still a great club to have a part of and well worth supporting…

  3. rokerreport says:

    Other notables I can think of being around the Northern League…

    Craig Russell – Once a £1m striker for Man City, later part-time physio/left-back for Jarrow Roofing

    Paul Beavers – SAFC youth team striker who never made it really, later spotted playing centre-half for someone, I can’t remember who in all honesty, but it was him.

    Nicky Deverdics – Once of NUFC, Barnet & Gretna now of Blyth Spartans, had a spell at Bedlington Terriers.

    Kevin Arnott – Another former SAFC, Blackburn & Sheff United player later ended up at Jarrow Roofing in his twilight.

    Paul Chow – Prolific at this level, scorer of the fastest ever goal at the new Wembley.

    Andy Morrell – Once of Blackpool, Coventry & Wrexham had a spell at Jarrow Roofing whilst studying at Northumbria Uni.

  4. Thanks for all the comments. With Sunderland being at home on April 9th, I’ve been concentrating on Newcastle links but there are just as many red and white connections as black and white ones. I saw Russell play at South Shields a few years ago. Was strange seeing him in defence.
    Kevin Richardson’s son Joe plays for Team Northumbria at the moment. So does Dean Critchlow, who was an FA Youth Cup semi finalist along with Carroll and Fraser Forster in 2005.

  5. I think this is a great initiative, well done for thinking it up! I hope that day to be sampling the pies at Frenchfields for Penrith v Sunderland Ryhope CA, which is not incuded in the list of fixtures at the moment. On the “former league players theme”, Martin Smith ex Sunderland, Sheffield United, Huddersfield Town, Northampton Town and Kettering Town is currently a regular choice up front for Sunderland RCA while David Duke ex Sunderland and Swindon Town, recently transferred from Sunderland RCA to Jarrow Roofing.

  6. Cheers. I’ve added that Penrith game now. Over the next week or so we’ll be adding a lot more info about the games themselves.

  7. Stev48 says:

    Smashing initiative and I hope that it is very well supported. I am so pleased that the day will take place when my team Synners play at Ryton as it puts the whole idea of watching Northern League football into perspective for me.

    I am would be able to get into the game as I have a pass but Ryton will be getting my entrance fee as I know that £5 and the ale I buy [must make sure it isn’t my turn to drive!!!] along with anything will back a massive difference. It may only equate to around £15 in total but if 10, 20 or 30 people did the same then Ryton will benefit immensely.

    Having said that any club would and it you want to put it into perspective then consider how much it would be to take a father and two kids with add ons to Newcastle, Sunderland or Middlesbrough!!! You get the same product with the Northern League but it is a more honest one at a fraction of the price.

    Just try it once and see what the Northern League has to offer 😉

  8. I completely agree, Steve. One of the things I want to do on the site is produce some visitor guides for Northern League grounds along the lines of this:
    Any info you can give us from the Synners would be great.

  9. A nice idea if you can get 2 or 3 games arranged for the same day , but not really achievable for those who live further south for just one game.

  10. Hi Onion Bag, now you know how us northerners feel 😉
    Seriously, though, this just started yesterday with the idea of getting a few Newcastle fans along to Ryton, a club which desperately needs some extra support. Although I’m surprised by how quickly it’s snowballed since then, it’s by no means planned as a one-off event. I’m contacted the Northern League so keep watching and we’ll see what happens.

  11. no probs ! 🙂 i would love to attend if 2-3 games can be arranged say with a 11.30/3/6pm kick off times it would be a great day for everyone and much needed boost to club funds. i really hope it goes ahead.

  12. I got in touch with the Wearside League today to ask about the possibility of an early kick off at Prudhoe (who’ve had several problems of their own in recent years), one stop down the Newcastle -Carlisle line from Ryton. At the moment, waiting to hear back from both them and the Northern League. I’d love to get a 6pm kick off too (maybe at Whickham?). The ideas are there, it’s just getting the cooperation of the clubs.

  13. maybe it could be arranged this way …. Consett – Ryton- Dunston ? and then why not one on the friday night ?

  14. I’ve suggested that very thing to the Ryton secretary, including Whickham to make up the four. I’ll let you know what they say.

  15. as long as the grounds are scenic and decent for photographic opportunities i dont think the majority of people will mind which games you are able to arrange.

  16. Onion Bag says:

    will there be a game on friday 8th ?

  17. No, but games on Thursday 7th (Northern League and Northern Alliance) and Monday 11th (Northern League, Wearside League and Northern Alliance) if you fancy making a weekend of it.

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