Ground Guide: Gateshead Rutherford AFC

Formed as Science and Art FC in 1878 and founder members of the Northumberland FA five years later, Gateshead Rutherford have been in continuous existence ever since. On September 25th 1896 they played the first of two Northumberland Senior Cup semi-finals against Newcastle United ‘A’, losing 4-2. Newcastle also left with Rutherford’s captain, Colin Veitch, who would go on become the most decorated United skipper of all time. League and FA Cup winner, England international Veitch was the first man to use the chalkboard in pre-match tactical planning and later devised an offside trap which caused the FA to amend the rules of the game. “Veitch’s name,” began his obituary in The Guardian, “was synonymous with honesty and good fellowship.”

Both are qualities that Rutherford still pride themselves on. Initially fielding sides in the forerunner leagues of the Northern Football Alliance they were later members of the North Eastern and Tyneside Amateur Leagues until winning promotion back to the Alliance in 1994. First Division champions in 2009-2010, they managed they maintain their place in the Alliance top flight this season, finishing 14th in the league The club remain one of the largest in the north-east of England, with three senior men’s teams, ten different age groups playing in the Gateshead Youth League and a thriving women’s football section, with shirt sponsorship provided by local lad (and one time clubhouse regular) Andy Carroll.Each player contributes an annual membership fee which, along with cash with sponsors, helps keep the club afloat.

Rutherford’s Farnacres ground is off Coach Road in Lobley Hill, close to the main A1 road and Team Valley Trading Estate. Coming from the direction of Lobley Hill Road, take the first right on Coach Road through the open metal gates. Car parking is available outside the clubhouse, which also has a public bar. Regular Go North East bus services connect Lobley Hill, Newcastle city centre and the bus interchange at Gateshead Metro Station. The postcode is NE11 0HH.

Admission to games is currently free. If it’s raining, you can get a good view of the pitch from the front seat of your car.

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