Football teams have been around in Bedlington since the early 1900’s. The present club was formed in 1949 under the name of Bedlington Mechanics joining the Northern Combination League. The first honour of the new era was the Northumberland Minor Cup in season 1953/54 and they followed this up with their only Northern Combination title in 1954/55. During these years they changed their name from Mechanics to Colliery Town and then as Bedlington Colliery Welfare they joined the Northern Alliance League in 1955/56.
They spent 8 seasons in this league before disbanding at the end of the 1962/63 season. During this spell they won their first Northern Alliance League Cup. During this period they played their home games at West Sleekburn ‘A’ Pit. In 1965 the club re-formed as Bedlington Colliery Welfare and moved to Milnes Park staying there three seasons before moving to the present location of Dr. Pit Welfare Park. In the 1966/67 season the club did the “double” in the Northern Alliance League and in 1969/70 won their third League Cup final. At the end of the 1970/71 season they had to leave the Northern Alliance and played in a number of minor local leagues until season 1979/80. For this season they joined the Tyneside Amateur League under the name of Bedlington United and in 1980/81 were re-admitted to the Northern Alliance League.
They won their fourth Northern Alliance League Cup in season 1981/82 and in the next season were elected as founder members of the Northern League 2nd Division winning promotion to the 1st Division in season 1984/85 as division runners-up. In their first season in the 1st division they finished runners-up but sadly in the next season they were relegated back to the 2nd division. The club spluttered along in the next few seasons and early in 1993 faced the real prospect of going out of business as they were marooned at the bottom of the 2nd division and had their fixtures suspended by the league for a month. Bedlington stalwart Billy Ward with almost 40 years at the helm approached local businessmen Dave and Keith Perry and asked them to mount a rescue operation. What happened next is the stuff dreams are made of.
With extinction ruled out the Terriers as they had been renamed stormed back and in the very next season won the 2nd division title. Sadly, Billy Ward had departed this world and missed this renaissance although his memory still burns bright at the club. Consolidation followed and gradually the tide turned. In 1996/97 the club marched to St. James Park and picked up the NFA Senior Cup beating Morpeth Town 2 – 0 in the final. The same season saw them win the Northern League Cup by defeating Billingham Synthonia 3 – 0 in the final. In season 1997/98 it got even better as the Terriers ran away with the 1st Division title by a clear 12 points scoring 120 goals in only 38 games. They completed the season by retaining the NFA Senior Cup defeating Blyth Spartans 2 – 1 in the final at St. James Park.
The 1998/99 season was Bedlington’s 50th year since the club was formed and what a season it was. It started with a Cleator Cup win over Dunston Fed and continued with a march to the second round proper of the F.A. Cup after defeating Colchester United of the Football League Division Two 4 – 1 in round one before finally falling away at Scunthorpe where the “Woof Woof Terriers” chant was born. The league title was retained this time with 26 points to spare, 128 goals and 101 points. The other story of the season was the F.A. Carlsberg Vase where the Terriers marched all the way to Wembley Stadium for a day in the club’s history never to be forgotten. A last minute goal from opponents Tiverton Town denied them the trophy but with an open top bus ride to follow on the return, 1998/99 was the year that Bedlington Terriers put themselves firmly on the footballing map.
The coming seasons were still successful, but a return trip to the FA Vase final was just that little too far out of reach with quarter final and semi final appearances still ensuring they were one of the top sides at that level in the country.
Meanwhile, the Northern League title in total was won for five consecutive seasons, equalling the record of Blyth Spartans, and they were only just pipped to the post in the sixth season by Brandon United. Along with the Northern League titles, Bedlington also won the League Cup in 2001 and the Northumberland Senior Cup in 2002 and 2004.
With such success in the previous years, there was always going to be a period of change and that started during the 2005/6 season when mass changes started to happen behind the scenes. The team still managed to reach the FA Vase fourth round but things were not well and in the close season Bedlington entered a very dark few months which almost saw the team disappear forever.
A summer of trauma ensued as the club veered on the edge of extinction, and the eventual departure of the unimaginably successful management partnership of Keith Perry and Tony Lowery, until current Chairman David Holmes stepped in along with local businessman Graeme Redpath, steadied the ship, and showed the way to a brighter future.
Even a serious arson attack on the Clubhouse, soon after the takeover, couldn’t dent the determination to get Bedlington Terriers back on track. However, the effects of the summer of trauma had it’s impact on the pitch, as a squad of mainly teenagers found it difficult to compete against much more experienced teams. Facing almost certain relegation heading into April 2007, a stunning finish to the season saw them lift up to third bottom in the table. With Newcastle Blue Star heading for the Unibond League, it meant that only two clubs were relegated and the Terriers were reprieved. However, by November things had not progressed as hoped and Tom Wade left the club. A week later it was announced that the management duo of Perry and Lowery were back to help the Terriers climb the table once again.
Top ten finishes in 2009-10 and 20010-11 were an indication of the progress being made on the pitch, while the involvement of Robert Rich, an American businessman with ancestral links to Bedlington, led to a pre-season tour of the USA. With Holmes leading the club in the right direction once more, fans are sure that the saying “every dog has its day” will come true.
Signed on once more during October 2009 as back up to Paul Newton. Kevin is now in his third spell with the club having formerly played for West Allotment Celtic. A young keeper who has bags of potential, a tremendous shot stopper and will only get better working alongside Paul.
Signed from North Shields to provide competition for Kevin Morton
Colin returned to the club following spells with Newcastle Blue Star, Ryton and Ashington. Formerly of Blyth Spartans, Hibernian and Derby County, he is an uncompromising defender and one of the first names on the team sheet.
Peter comes to the club with experience in higher leagues following his time with Blyth Spartans and Newcastle Blue Star. An imposing defender, he loves a tackle and relishes locking horns with opposing strikers.
A central defender who included Newcastle Blue Star and Sunderland RCA amongst his former clubs before joining the Terriers ranks in the summer of 2009. He is good in the air and wins more than his fair share of tackles. An archetypal ‘no nonsense’ defender, Flynny compliments the current defenders at the club and will be an asset in our push for honours.
Chris signed from Newcastle Benfield and settled into the backline immediately. A committed player who adds to the formidable defensive line up that we have. Chris plays in central defence and has England U-18 honours. Previously with: West Denton Boys Club, Sunderland FC Centre of Excellence, Newcastle United Academy, Newcastle United, Sheffield Wednesday and Macclesfield Town.
John signed from Blyth Spartans during the summer of 2010 to fill the left back position. Brackers is a solid left back who will add another dimension to the backline alongisde ex-Spartan Peter Snowden.
Full back who has signed from league champions Spennymoor Town, formerly at Durham City, Gateshead FC and Blyth Spartans.
Left sided defender/midfielder who was captain last season of Harrogate Town in the Blue Square Bet North. Previously at Livingston, York City, Darlington, Poirt Vale, Hibernian and Sunderland.
Chris signed from Morpeth Town early in the 2008/9 season and made an instant impact. A versatile player who can play in defence but is more at home in midfield, Chris has a powerful shot and is always sniffing about should a free kick be awarded around the opponents’ box.
Chappy needs no introduction to the Terriers as he is now in his third spell at the club. Signed from Sunderland Nissan, his former clubs also include Durham City and Billingham Town. A wide player who regularly pulls defences apart with his runs down the right wing and follows it up with quality crosses into the box. A great player to have back at the club and watch out for his free kicks!
Steve is a terrific player to have in the squad and his signing in the summer of 2009 was seen as a bit of a coup. Released from Newcastle Blue Star when they folded, Steve adds a huge amount of experience and class to the centre of the park. Previous clubs include Forest Green Rovers, Bristol Rovers, Gateshead, Queen of the South, York City and Newcastle Blue Star. Returned to the club after playing for Ayr United and Harrogate Town for the 2011/2012 season.
They don’t come with more experience than Stuart, who boasts Newcastle United, Hull City, Darlington, Swindon, Hartlepool, Carlisle, Exeter, Bournemouth and many more in his long list of previous clubs. Stuart has scored goals at all levels he has played at and will do the same from the centre of the park at Bedlington. A top player who adds another edge to an impressive Terriers squad.
Winger who joined the club from Sunderland RCA. Formerly at Durham, Blyth Spartans and Chester-Le-Street Town, he can play on either wing and has pace to burn. He brings a wealth Northern League experience.
Mark is another player who signed during the summer and instantly impressed with his midfield performances. A player who likes to have the ball and dictate the play he will be a valuable attacking asset. Former clubs include Sunderland, Hvidovre (Denmark), York, Cambridge United, Northwich Victoria, Newcastle Blue Star and Darlington.
Pacy left winger who can also fill in at left back. Formerly at West Allotment.
Goalscoring winger who played for both Spennymoor Town and Durham last season. Made more than 50 league appearances for Queen of the South after starting his career at Newcastle United.
Pacy winger/forward who has a history of terrorising the Terriers defence while playing for both Whitley Bay and Penrith. Will be an asset to the side in creating and scoring goals!
Shandy is a talented striker in his second spell with the club. Formerly of Burnley, York, Spennymoor United, Gateshead, Newcastle Blue Star and Newcastle Benfield Saints. Re-signed during the 2007/8 campaign and is one of the biggest reasons why the club avoided relegation. Has ability by the bucket load and has a fantastic goals to game ratio.
Former Benfield and Blyth Spartans forward who was on the books of Sunderland as a youngster.
Speedy was top scorer for Spennymoor Town in their 2010/2011 league winning side. Steven moves to Bedlington having scored goals at every level he has played. A prolific scorer who will cause any defence trouble!
To describe Keith as joint manager is almost an insult. For the last 12 years or so he has been “Mr Bedlington”. Has turned his hand to everything from pitch maintenance to player negotiations to ground renovation in his time. On the managerial front his motivational talks and techniques have grown to legendary status. Has been instrumental in lifting the club from the depths of the Northern League 2nd Division to the well documented feats feats they have achieved today. Without him the phenomenon that is now Bedlington Terriers would not exist. Left at the end of the 2006/7 season as the club was on the verge of foldong, but returned with Tony in November 2007.
In a football league playing career that took in a spell at West Bromwich Albion, Tony appeared in over 350 first team games for Mansfield Town before injury curtailed his career at 31. Moved into management on his return to the north where he had a spell as assistant manager at Blyth before being invited by Keith Perry to join forces at Welfare Park. A good reader of the game and players, he has contributed immensely to the Terriers success through his knowledge and dedication to his duties.
More information on the Bedlington website.