Around the Grounds

South Shields vs Stokesley, April 9th.

While West Allotment Celtic against Newcastle Benfield is getting all of the derby attention on Northern League Day, there’s a Tyne-Tees clash at Filtrona Park, where midtable South Shields host Stokesley, promoted as Division Two champions last season but, along with West Allotment, currently doing all they can just to stay out of the relegation places.

Stokesley, with a number of ex-Boro academy players in their side and Lev Yalçin, a Turkish under-21 international who started off at Newcastle United, up front are a proper footballing team, with a propensity for both scoring and conceding goals. Already this season they’ve beaten Billingham Town 4-3, Bishop Auckland 5-1 and Whitehaven 4-2, while losing 6-1 at Consett and by five goals to nil at Spennymoor Town. The home team have had a similarly inconsistent season, beating Tow Law Town 4-1 in November but losing 6-2 to Bedlington Terriers two months later. This is a game where goals are pretty much guaranteed.

Sunderland fans will probably recognise Irish centre back Niall McArdle in the Mariners team. A few seasons ago, Craig Russell, a £1 million man when he moved from Roker Park to Maine Road, was Shields’ first choice left-back. Fans with even longer memories might remember the story of Warney Cresswell, for seven years the world’s most expensive footballer after moving from South Shields to Sunderland in 1922 for the then Fernando Torres-esque fee of £5,000.

Filtrona Park is less than a minute’s walk from Bede Metro Station (or a 15-minute stroll from Brockley Whins). There aren’t many pubs nearby but the Mariners do have their own clubhouse and bar inside the ground. For a bit of pre-match culture, St Paul’s Church (Britain’s candidate for UNESCO World Heritage listing in 2011) is just around the corner.

£5 in. Kick off on the 9th is at 3pm.

Michael Hudson.

This piece originally featured in the Newcastle United fanzine True Faith.

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