If fans of the club thought that the 2009-10 season would be forever etched in the memories of all concerned with Newton Aycliffe Football Club, they were to have a shock as just one year after their introduction to the Northern League saw them finish a respectable 9th in division two, the Newtonians romped to the Championship, amassing a huge 95 points along the way.
Having smashed their way into the Start To Learn Northern League in emphatic fashion – winning back-to-back league titles; Durham Alliance (2007-08) and the Wearside League (2008-09) – Allan Oliver’s side built on their inaugural campaign at Northern League level by topping the table for a huge eight months as they finished seven points clear of their nearest rivals in the 2010-11 title race.
Aycliffe, originally formed in 1965, had previously participated in the Wearside League of old before folding from it more than 20 years ago. And although the current club was re-formed a number of years ago, competing successfully in the Darlington & District League and its re-emergence in the past three seasons has been nothing short of both phenomenal and inspiring.
The club’s development off the field has been as rapid as that on it, as Moore Lane Park gradually transforms into a ground befitting the numbers who pour through its gates every home game – the club averaged 191 in 2009-10, the fifth highest average crowd in the Northern League and 222 last term, again bettered by just four teams!
Of course, the club owes a lot to Sedgefield Council’s Local Improvement Programme and the Football Foundation for providing grants to afford the facilities but the football club are also indebted to the support received from Newton Aycliffe Sports Club who continue to be a massive backer and supporter of the clubs transformation.
Seated accommodation was delivered in the spring of 2010 and after the assistance from local firm Finlay Structures and a team of volunteers dedicated to the club, standing accommodation for over 100 persons was installed in February 2011, ready for the club’s transition into a top-flight outfit.
Kingfisher Finance Cup: 1998-1999, 2004-2005
Darlington & District League Cup: 2000-2001
Invitation Trophy: 1999-2000
Walter Stones Trophy: 1998-1999
League Division A Winners: 2000-2001, 04-05
Durham FA Minor Cup: 2004-05
Darlington Charity Cup: 2004-05
Sacriston Age Minors Cup: 2004-2005, R-Up 07-08
Durham Alliance League: 2007-08
Durham Alliance League Cup: 2007-08
Clem Smith Bowl: 2007-2008
Washington Age Minors Cup: 2007-2008
South Durham Bowl: 2007-2008
Wearside League: 2008-09
Sunderland Shipowners Cup: R-Up 2008-2009
Northern League Division Two: 2010-2011
Farley re-joined Aycliffe five years ago and has played a huge role at the club, both on and off the field. Farley, who previously managed Aycliffe in the Wearside League, assists manager Allan Oliver in the dugout and is a big personality in the backroom team, but his role as chairman in recent years has also proved crucial, particularly with the development of Moore Lane Park and the club’s complicated application for funding. As a player, Farley played at Northern League level for a number of years at Brandon, West Auckland and Darlington Cleveland Bridge.
Oliver offers Aycliffe hugely-valuable experience of the Northern League, both as a player and a manager. Oliver played for the town’s team in the Wearside League more than 20 years ago and later took on a player-manager role at the age of 30, but when the club folded, he took up a managerial role with Newton Aycliffe WMC on a Sunday morning, where he spent nine years. His first big break in management came in 2000 when he was appointed West Auckland boss, and Oliver spent three seasons in charge there before he was appointed manager at Crook at Christmas 2003, and spent three-and-a-half seasons there, taking over at Aycliffe at the beginning of 2006-07.
Manager sponsored by Suzie, Kayleigh, Jack & Chip!
Former Sunderland midfielder Atkinson joined Aycliffe nearly five years ago and the club has benefited hugely from his wealth of experience in the professional game.
Atkinson began his career with the Wearsiders in 1989 and made 169 league and cup appearances for the club, scoring six goals.
His highlight with the Black Cats was winning promotion to the old first division in 1990 and an FA Cup final appearance against Liverpool at Wembley in 1992.
Atkinson went on to play 224 games for Darlington, scoring 23 times, and had another Wembley appearance, his third, against Peterborough in the League Two play-off final in 2000.
After a 13-year playing career which brought almost 400 league and cup appearances, Atkinson had a brief spell working for Darlington’s Centre of Excellence before joining Aycliffe.
Now in his second season with his hometown club, Gillham, 19, is a popular dressing room figure. Gillham studied a BTEC National Certificate in Sports Development Coaching and Fitness and recently begun an apprenticeship with the Martin Gray Football Academy. Gillham is a qualified level-seven referee, and has experience of running the line at Northern League games.
The former Newcastle and Darlington ‘keeper served time with Newcastle Benfield during their title season in 2008-09, before joining his hometown club in March 2010. The 20-year-old stopper kept a remarkable club-record 15 clean-sheets last season, helping the club to the second division title.
Player sponsored by: Ian Pocklington & Margaret Pocklington-Hall
The 26-year-old ‘keeper put pen-to-paper as the 2011-12 season loomed having spent last season with relegated Esh Winning. Born in Bishop Auckland, Spence was once on the books of Spennymoor Town.
Attack-minded left-back who has served the club for over 10 years having joined initially as a 16-year-old. Campbell netted three times last season in 32 outings, taking his Northern League goals haul to six, from 70 appearances. Can also play further up field and his mazy dribbles down the left have caused many a Northern League player a problem.
Dependable centre-half who reads the game with ease. The 25-year-old first played under Allan Oliver as a youngster at West Auckland and has been a valuable part of the club’s meteoric rise through the lower echelons of the footballing pyramid, making over 50 appearances along the way.
The teenage nephew of boss Allan Oliver and former youth-team captain stepped up to the first team in the latter stages of the last campaign, taking his total appearances for his hometown team to 15, having made his debut at just 16-years-old, making him the club’s youngest ever player in the Northern League.
The 20-year-old Chester-le-Street resident was plucked from Whitehill FC of the Durham Alliance League just weeks into last season and went on to make 34 appearances at both the heart of the Aycliffe defence, and occasionally at left back, weighing in with three goals. Comfortable with the ball, Peck rarely misses out in the aerial challenge.
Experienced Northern League performer who has served with both Crook Town and West Auckland in previous years. The 30-year-old versatile defender signed in October 2010 and went on to make 22 appearances as the club strolled to the second division title.
The 26-year-old defender put pen to paper with his hometown club during the summer of 2011, after one-year stints with Whitby Town, Blyth Spartans and the now defunct Newcastle Blue Star. Formerly with Hartlepool United, where he made over 30 appearances before signing for York City in 2006, spending two years with the Minstermen playing almost 70 times in the Football Conference.
Player sponsored by Robert Tarling
The 27-year-old right winger has bags of pace and an eye for goal, racking up 65 outings in two seasons, finding the net five times. Having started out with West Auckland under boss Oliver, McMullen linked up with him once more at Crook Town in 2006, via Brandon United and has been with his hometown club for the past four seasons.
The former Coxhoe Athletic winger caught the eye of the Aycliffe management during the historic Wearside League title campaign and was duly snapped up as the club prepared for the Northern League. In his first term with the club, the 24-year-old played 36 times, scoring four times and last season added another eight goals in his 39 outings, meaning he will start the 2011-12 campaign as Aycliffe’s leading appearance maker since joining the Northern League.
Player sponsored by KEM Refrigeration, 0191 584 7711
Tarling skippered the side to their tremendous title win last season having taken the armband from the injured Paul Stout in late summer. The 26-year-old combative midfielder never shirks a challenge and truly wears his heart on his sleeve. Grabbed four goals last season in making 40 appearances, second only to ‘keeper Pocklington and the now departed Warren Byrne, who reached 41.
Player sponsored by Lynn Tarling
The 24-year-old joined his hometown club during the historic Wearside League campaign after serving both West Auckland and Crook Town in the Northern League. Owen has played 69 times for the Newtonians in their Northern League history, netting six goals from his position on the left wing.
Player sponsored by Frank Swinburn & Clive Cooper
Talented winger who burst on to the Northern League scene in April 2010 when he scored a hat-trick against Crook Town while making his debut in the club’s record-breaking 10-2 victory. The former Stockton Town player can play down eith er flank or through the middle and had scored eight times in 31 appearances for the club prior to the 2011-12 campaign.
Midfield player who defies his youth, Knox is the former captain of the club’s youth team before being catapulted into the Northern League spotlight during the club’s debut season. Knox scored twice in 16 games and followed it up with a further six goals in 32 outings last year, despite missing several months with a toe injury.
20-year-old winger from South Shields who was released by Darlington in June 2011, having played 52 times for the Quakers since making his debut at 17. Gray scored once for the Arena outfit and also served time on loan with Blyth Spartans last term, playing seven times.
After signing, and scoring seven times in 13 appearances for his hometown club during 2010-11, following his exit from Sunderland, Wood agreed to stay with the club for their assault on the 2011-12 campaign. A tricky player, who can operate wide, centrally or up front, the 20-year-old is a valuable asset in Allan Oliver’s artillery.
The 32-year-old who played 50 games for Darlington in the Football League, scoring nine times rolled back the years last season as the club strolled to the second division title. Former Bishop Auckland striker, and member of Oliver’s Crook Town side which reached the FA Vase quarter-finals in 2006, Mellanby, who also served under Oliver at West Auckland, has hit 15 goals in 50 Northern League appearances for the Newtonians.
Player sponsored by Matt Callaghan
The former Chester-le-Street striker signed for his hometown club midway during the Wearside League campaign and has plundered goals ever since. Finishing as the club’s top scorer in 2009-10, Gardner was second only to Byrne last season as he chipped in with 21 goals, the majority of which were notched in the second half of the season when he was asked to play an unfamiliar central midfield role.
Signed for the club during the summer of 2011 after a career which saw him go from hometown team Murton to professional clubs Southampton, Rochdale and Darlington. Between his spells with ‘Dale and The Quakers, Robson netted 86 times for Blyth in 125 appearances and since his exit from the Darlington Arena has represented Consett, Shildon and Stokesley in the Northern League.
Another summer signing, this time from Stokesley, where the 27-year-old spent the majority of last term having signed from Bishop Auckland in October 2010. Prior to playing for the Bishops, Emson scored goals for Consett and Shildon during three seasons dating back to 2005.