OVER THE years several players who had their start at Billingham Town have gone on to have careers in the full time game. Pride of place must go to the only one who went on to win international caps, GARY PALLISTER, who did in fact win almost every honour in the game. He joined Middlesbrough in November 1984 from Billingham Town and went on to play 189 games for them, plus seven for Darlington, where he had a loan spell a year after joining Boro. In August 1989 he was sold to Manchester United for £2.3m and over the next nine years, along with Steve Bruce, formed a vital part of the United side. In the summer of 1989, after 437 games for United, he was sold back to Middlesbrough for a £200,000 profit. Though he did play 61 games back at Middlesbrough, injuries were taking their toll and it was no surprise when he retired in the summer of 2001.
MARK HINE played for Billingham Town and Whitby Town before being signed by Grimsby Town in October 1983. Over the next 10 years Mark played 252 games for Grimsby, Darlington, Peterborough, Scunthorpe and Doncaster Rovers. After leaving the full time game he played with Gateshead, Stalybridge Celtic, Spennymoor and Whitby Town among others, picking England Semi-Pro caps up along the way.
DAVE ROBINSON left Billingham to start his league career at Hartlepool in August 1983, and over the next three years played 66 league games before his transfer to Halifax Town. He spent three years with the Shaymen, playing a further 72 league games. His next move took him to Peterborough where he played 95 league games in what had become his usual three year stay. His league career ended at Notts County where he played just three games in two years.
Two Football League clubs actually signed TONY BARRETT from Billingham Town. Grimsby Town signed him first, but released him after he had played 28 games. He rejoined Billingham but after a few months Hartlepool United paid £1,000 for his services. He rewarded them with 116 games before moving to York City in March 1989. He went on to play 166 times for York, but sadly his last season there was marred by a serious groin injury and he was released in the summer of 1995.
Not quite making the grade was another Town ‘old boy’, TONY HALL. As an 18-year-old he left Town for Tranmere Rovers where he made just one appearance as a substitute. Two months later he was at Hartlepool and during his time there he again made just one appearance as a sub, and that unfortunately was the end of his Football League career.
Ironically, GRAEME HALL, who left Billingham to go to a bigger club never tasted league football. Graeme was signed by Arsenal and though he was signed on pro forms in 1994, he was freed a year later without a first team game. He then spent a season with Barnet, but again failed to make an appearance.
GERRY FORREST played for Southampton and Rotherham and also represented the Saints in veterans’ games. He still plays in the Over 40’s league alongside Town old boys Paul Rowntree, George and Gary Woodhouse.
NEAL BISHOP played for Town for a number of years before moving to UniBond sides Gateshead, Spennymoor and Whitby Town. He then played Conference football with Scarborough before being transferred to York City where he was instrumental in the Minstermen’s successful campaign of 2006-07, helping them towards the play-offs with some impressive midfield displays. He eventually won the ‘Players’ Player of the Year’ and the ‘Supporters’ Player of the Year’ awards. After being out of contract with York City in June 2007 he signed for Barnet and immediately stamped his authority on the Barnet midfield with his displays being a central feature of the Bees’ good start to that season. Neal won England C honours that season and finished up as club captain before his transfer to Notts County in the summer of 2009 After a successful season which ended with County winning the league and promotion to Division 1, Neal scored against Manchester City in a televised FA Cup game in early 2011.
HISTORY OF BILLINGHAM TOWN F.C.
BILLINGHAM TOWN was originally known as Billlingham Social Club when it was founded in 1967 by Tom Donnelly and Robbie Cushley. Tom, who played in Town’s first game back in 1968, was secretary of Billingham Town ever since its conception until he relinquished the post in 2000 to become chairman of the club. He is now life president.
In 1968 Town joined the Second Division of the Stockton & District League and won the league title at the first attempt, playing at Mill Lane and its legendary slope – the top of the corner flag was level with the crossbar. Town stayed in the Stockton League until 1973, winning the Division A League title three times, the League Cup twice and the Stockton Charity Cup twice.
In 1874 Town were admitted into the Teesside League where they remained for eight years. During this time they won the League twice (1978-79 and 1981-82) and were runners-up once. In 1975 they were beaten finalists in the Durham Amateur Cup Final, but won the competition in 1976 and 1982.
In 1982 the club took the golden opportunity of joining the newly formed Second Division of the Dryboroughs Northern League and changed its name to Billingham Town. After three years in the Second Division Town gained promotion into the First Division but were immediately relegated back to the Second Division in 1986. However, they bounced straight back in 1987, losing to neighbours Synthonia in the final of the Durham Challenge Cup a year later. Another relegation followed in 1991-92, but they regained their place in the top flight in 1997-98 and have remained there since.
After being runners-up in the Durham Challenge Cup in 1988-89 and 2001-02, Town eventually won the cup in season 2003-04 when manager Alan Robinson led them to a 3-1 victory over then UniBond side Bishop Auckland.
Since 1981, ground improvements at the Bedford Terrace ground have resulted in new dressing rooms, a cantilever stand, hard terracing behind one goal, hard terracing and covered accommodation opposite the main stand. A refreshment room and a re-turfed pitch surrounded by an 8ft boundary fence around 5.5. acres of land have also been added.
Bedford Terrace is now recognised as one of the more attractive grounds in the North-East. Floodlights were installed in the 1992-93 season with the official switch-on match against Middlesbrough F.C. After severe gales blew down one of the pylons, Town installed new floodlights in 2003.
In the summer of 2007 Hartlepool United invested in Bedford Terrace, completely re-laying the football pitch to a depth of several feet and installed new drainage. The new pitch measurements and now exactly the same as Pool’s Victoria Park. Behind the scenes there has been a total facelift with new showers and central heating being put in the dressing rooms. Hartlepool now play the majority of their home Reserve games at Bedford Terrace.
In 2009 things turned sour with Hartlepool when they took away the goalposts prior to Town’s first game of the season. Town’s committee hurriedly obtained some temporary posts enabling the game against Bishop Auckland to take place.
In the 2006-07 Town had their most successful league season under the management of Michael Watson, Lee Tucker and Mark Scott and just missed out on the league title after Whitley Bay won their last game of the season to beat Town on goal difference.
Town could not keep the momentum going in season 2007-08 and finished 10th top in the League but beat Shildon 2-1 in the League Cup in a exciting game at Seaham’s ground. Unfortunately, after the game the management team and the majority of the players walked away from Bedford Terrace leaving Town with a mammoth task for the following season.
Town appointed Peter Mulcaster late May 2008 and he had the task of keeping Town in the First Division with a budget of zero and with only four players signed on. Peter managed to cobble together a team for the start of the 2008-09 season and eventually kept them in the league finishing sixth bottom.
2009-10 was a lot harder for Peter, but he kept the team in the league, finishing fourth bottom. At the end of the season Peter resigned and Carl Jarrett took over as manager. Carl brought in an influx of new players and Town improved to fifteenth in 2010-11.
After long delays over planning permission and hitting methane gas, Town finally built their clubhouse. The clubhouse provides changing accommodation for the junior football section plus a social club for after match hospitality and for local community to use. The work will not stop there as Town hope to provide better facilities for the community, both on the playing field and in the social and sporting facilities.
Since the formation of the club and as a result of an extremely successful youth policy, Town have produced a number of players that have progressed to the professional game. Anthony Barrett (York City and Hartlepool United), Gerry Forrest (Southampton), Mark Hines, (Grimsby and Peterborough), Dave Robinson (Halifax Town), Tony Hall (Middlesbrough). Most notable of course was Gary Pallister who played for both Town’s junior and senior teams, before moving on to Middlesbrough, Manchester United and England, before returning to Middlesbrough until his retirement with a back injury.
The most recent graduate to the professional ranks is Town old boy Neal Bishop, who originally played for Conference side Scarborough before moving to York City. He then transferred to Barnet where he was club captain. In the summer of 2009 Neal joined Notts County.
In his second season at the club after joining in the summer of 2010 from local neighbours Norton and Stockton Ancients. Briggsy is the clubs number one and has made the shirt his own by cutting the sleeves off it. Great shot stopper who is improving all the time. Previous clubs are Norton and Stockton Ancients and Wolviston.
Voted Players’ Player of the Year in 2010/2011 following a strong season at both left back and at the centre of defence, “Jambo” was also runner – up in the Supporters’ Player of the Year award. James hates pre-season. Previously played for Bishop Auckland and Northallerton.
Young Player of the Year and Runner up in the Players’ Player category in 2010/11. Danny is a tough tackling full back and one of the fittest members of the squad. Has played at both right back and left back. By his own admission, Danny is not the brightest of lads. Previous Clubs: Norton and Stockton Ancients.
Club captain and Supporters’ Player of the Year in 2010/11. Alan has been used in the centre of both midfield and defence since signing from Norton and Stockton Ancients in the summer of 2010. “Cossa” brings a wealth of experience to the side and seems to be maturing with age, unlike his dress sense which seems to be getting a lot worse. Previous clubs: Norton and Stockton Ancients, Thornaby, Wolviston.
Centre half, missed the first 20 games and the back end of last season through injury. Chris is strong in the air and large in the backside department. Previous Clubs: Norton and Stockton Ancients, Darlington RA, Wolviston, Guisborough Town.
Local lad Sean made limited appearances last season but is looking fit and ready after pre-season. Was not allowed to go to Dublin with the lads or on any of the nights out for that matter but is going to attempt to get more involved this season. Can play at full back or in the middle of defence. Previous Clubs: Thornaby, Seaham Red Star and Norton and Stockton Ancients.
Adam is a young centre half who played for Stockton Town last season. Previous Clubs: Stockton Town.
“Boom Boom” is a very popular member of the squad. Attacking left back who has struggled with numerous injuries but has come back fit pre season. In his second spell at the club and is an important part of the back four. Always the longest in the shower. Previous Clubs: Northallerton, Norton and Stockton Ancients.
“Martha” was signed in the summer of 2010, and provided cover for a number of positions throughout the season on the left hand side and also in goal. Again, not the brightest of lads and possesses one of the worst tattoos in the dressing room. Previous Clubs: Guisborough Town, Wolviston.
Last season’s Sponsors’ Player of the Year. “Jamo” can play anywhere on the pitch although he is best suited to the heart of the defence. Unfortunately his appearances in the coming season will be limited due to work committments and the fact he has purchased an allottment plot with his mate (seriously). Previous Clubs: Norton and Stockton Ancients, West Auckland, Shildon, Billingham Synthonia, Marske United.
“Pez” signed from rivals Billingham Synthonia half way through last season and settled into the central midfield role well. Will be looking to continue in a similar vein this season with the kind of tough tackling, no-nonsense performances that typify him. Previous Clubs: Billingham Synthonia, Blyth Spartans.
Tough tackling defensive midfielder from Shildon. Previous Clubs: Shildon, Darlington RA, Wolviston.
Glenn was the Manager’s Player of the Year last season following a consistently enterprising season in the attacking midfield positions. Has recently started taking fashion tips from JLS and turned up in some horrific gear. Previous Clubs: Stokesley, Guisborough Town, Spennymoor Town.
Marcus joined in the summer of 2010 from Norton and scored the opening goal of the last campaign. He chipped with a handful of goals from midfield last season. Marcus never whinges or spits his dummy out about anything, honestly. Previous Clubs: Norton and Stockton Ancients.
“Garbo” has joined the club after playing local football last season. Can play in midfield or in a more advanced position: Previous Clubs: Norton and Stockton Ancients, Thornaby, Billingham Synthonia, Coxhoe.
James has signed this summer from Teesside League team Thornaby Dubliners. A quick, direct winger who likes to run at defences. Previous Clubs: Thornaby Dubliners.
“Normski” is starting his second season at the club. Always on the treatment table but seems as though he fancies it a bit this term and is looking sharp. Craig is another attacking winger who likes to get to the byeline and provide crosses for strikers. Previous Clubs: Stokesley.
“Flocky” is another direct winger and forward player who runs at defences. Yet another one not allowed to go on the Dublin trip, he persists on wearing training gear from his old clubs rather than our own. Previous clubs: Tow Law Town, West Auckland, Billingham Synthonia and also a previous spell at Town.
Michael won the Golden Boot last season with 18 goals in 24 appearances before breaking his leg in Janaury at Ashington. Now in his second season as Assistant Manager. Previous Clubs: Norton and Stockton Ancients, Billingham Synthonia, Durham City, Bishop Auckland, Hartlepool United.
Jamie signed in the summer after spending the end of last season at Norton and Stockton Ancients. With has a keen eye for goal, ‘J-Lo’ is a nightmare for defenders who has slotted into the side perfectly pre-season and is expected to contribute with plenty of goals this term. Previous Clubs: Norton and Stockton Ancients, Whitby Town, Stockton Town, Wolviston.
Nicky has signed for the club after spending last season at Washington. An experienced striker who has scored goals in the Northern League wherever he has been. Very quick and dangerous in the box as well as having a great leap. Previous Clubs: Washington, Esh Winning, Tow Law Town.
“Stav” is a versatile attacking player who chips in with more of his fair share of goals from midfield or when playing up top. Another one who wasn’t allowed to go to Dublin with the lads as he only drinks with his Sunday Morning football mates. Previous Clubs: Norton and Stockton Ancients, Northallerton, Spennymoor Town.
Carl Jarrett In his second full season as manager at the club after previously being assistant manager during 2009/2010. Will be looking to improve once again on our league position.
Ian Perry joined halfway through last season. Helps Carl and Michael Dunwell out when he’s not working away.
Paul Scott Physio. “Scotty” has a great relationship with the lads and is a dedicated member of the management set-up. Scotty often goes the extra mile for the lads which is appreciated by them all.
Further information can be seen on the club’s website here.