Ferryhill Athletic Football Club

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RITCHIE MOURNS THE PASSING OF THE ATHLETIC



Ferryhill Athletic are dead, Ritchie Norman among the chief mourners. "They were a tremendous side and a lovely club," he recalls. "I never quite knew why I went there, but I never regretted it for a moment."


Among the region's best known amateur clubs, Athletic won the Northern League in 1938, 1948 and 1958 - the season when Richie pulled on the black and amber before a long and luminous career with Leicester City. "One of the club's great legends," says the Foxes' website.


Now he's 71, physio at Nuneaton Borough and still lives in Leicestershire - down the road from his 92-year-old mum.


Impoverished, vandal-hit and homeless, Ferryhill left the Northern League in 1997, re-formed as a Wearside League club the following season before dropping further down into the Durham Alliance. Now the club has folded completely.


Richie, Newcastle lad, joined after a letter of recommendation from Bob Denison, manager of Middlesbrough, where he'd been on amateur forms.


It was the season they beat both Bishop Auckland and Crook - "in those days it was like beating Manchester United and Chelsea" - won at Pegasus in the Amateur Cup and lifted the league title by six points.


Though the standard was high - "they could certainly have held their own in the Conference today" - Richie never made the England amateur side.


"I was once asked down for a trial but almost all the rest were from these snooty southern clubs.


"At the hotel, a snobbish chap with a blazer and a posh accent asked me which club I was from. He'd never even heard of us."


Vincent Johnson, still in Ferryhill, recalls that the Latics' team half a century ago was Roly Robinson, Jackie Hunter, Richie Norman, Albert Snaith, Billy Nesbitt, Haell, Ronnie Heslington, Bobby Kilcran, Terry Leach, Neil Howie and Geordie Broom.


"The facilities might have been quite basic, there was a bit of a slope and the money wasn't very good, but I had some great times with Athletic," says Richie.


"I was playing quite well at the time and it wasn't long before the Bishops came in. They offered much better money - they'd just had three successive Wembley wins - but I was quite happy where I was. There was just something about Ferryhill, it was part of the community. The crowds were fantastic."


Maybe it was also lunch at Bobby Kilcran's. "They were brilliant. I remember they always had huge Yorkshire puddings, served before the main course. I've never known that before or since."


He also recalls an Amateur Cup tie with Barnet, 2-2 in the home game but down 3-0 in the replay. "There must have been six inches of snow on our ground, but hundreds turned up with their shovels. It showed the spirit there was; it would never have gone ahead today."


Though other interested clubs included Sunderland, Newcastle and Arsenal, he signed for Leicester after being courted by North-East scout and former Sunderland centre forward Ronnie Turnbull - who himself had scored four on his Roker debut, against Portsmouth in 1947.


Under manager Matt Gillies, little known youngsters like Gordon Banks, Frank McLintock and Colin Appleton joined City at much the same time - City's swinging sixties. Richie, ever present for four seasons, made 365 senior appearances, helping City to two FA Cup finals and a League Cup triumph.


He scored just twice in the league - at the Stretford End at Old Trafford and at Filbert Street, against Chelsea.


His debut, by splendid coincidence, came in City's 2-0 win at Newcastle - January 23 1960. "I think the whole school turned out," he says, though the Echo's reporter missed the local angle.


Though "Tynesider" thought the Magpies "pathetic" - a view doubtless shared by most of the 31,650 crowd - young Norman never got a mention. Banks, added our man, had a great game - "his hands appeared to be magnetised."


That winter's day in 1960, Middlesbrough maintained their unbeaten second division record with as 3-3 draw with Liverpool, Sunderland went down 3-1 at Bristol Rovers despite a goal from singing winger Colin Grainger and in the Amateur Cup second round, Shildon won 7-2 at Erith and Belvedere and Crook Town 6-2 at Hallam.


Ronnie Heslington, still kicking about Ferryhill, scored Athletic's only goal against Marine - watched by a 2,445 crowd at the now abandoned Darlington Road ground.


After a decade at Leicester, Richie had a few games at Peterborough, became manager of Burton Albion, youth coach at Coventry City - under Bob Denison - and then youth team and reserve team manager at Derby. "It coincided with us winning the championship," he says, modestly.


At Northampton Town, strapped for cash, he was assistant manager, youth manager and physio - off on a treatment of injuries course to Lilleshall. "I thought that way I might stay longer in the game and so it's proved," he says.


When Northamptonshire Cricket Club's physio was himself unwell for a Sunday game, Richie was asked to stand in - and stayed for nine years which embraced four Lord's appearances and a team which included Geoff Cook, Wayne Larkins, Curtly Ambrose, David Capel and, for a season, Dennis Lillee.


"I still have a photograph of my helping carry off Dennis at Lord's," he says.


He still gets up to see his mates in Newcastle, still considers himself a Geordie, hardly seems to have aged - "I've always been a lucky beggar" - in the 50 year mission to the Midlands.


Nice feller, 72 in September, he could probably have talked all afternoon but for a pressing engagement. "She still looks after herself, but I promised to pop down the shops for me mam.

The scene at the FA Amateur Cup tie at Ferryhill Athletic in front of a record crowd of 9,757 spectators. This figure is still the ground record today.

* Sunderland FC's first known competitive opponents on November 13th 1880, were Ferryhill. Sunderland played in blue, and lost the game 1-0.


* Ferryhill Athletic won the Northern League title three times, in 1937-38 (at the 15th attempt), 1947-48 and finally 1957-58. Unfortunately, 10 years later in 1967-68, they couldn't keep the run going and finished 16th.


* The Athletic still hold the post war record for the biggest victory in the FA Cup. They beat Skinningrove Works 18-0 in the 1st Qualifying Round in the 1953-54 season.  Ferryhill reached the 1st Round Proper that season, being beaten 3-0 at Workington, who were a 3rd Division North club at the time. Skinningrove also appeared in the previous 3 FA Cup 1st Rounds, losing 0-5, 0-6 and 0-7.


* In the Northern League Division 1 season of 1995-96, Ferryhill Athletic failed to win a single game (out of 38 played). They drew 5 games and lost the rest, conceding 146 goals in the process. The following season, in Division 2, was even worse. They managed only 1 victory, but let in an astonishing 177 goals in their 36 matches, scoring only 16 themselves!


* Ferryhill played for 68 seasons in the Northern League, featuring in 2,138 games, scoring 3,851 goals and conceding 4,443.? At the current time, only 7 other clubs have played more seasons than Ferryhill.



1923-24   Joined Northern League

          Northern League runner-up

1937-38   Northern League Champions

1939-40   Resigned from Northern League on 16.12.1939 and record deleted

1947-48   Northern League Champions (2nd time)

1957-58   Northern League Champions (3rd time)

1960-61   Missed runner-up spot on goal difference

1990-91   Three points deducted

1992      Escaped relegation by goal difference

1994-95   Three points deducted

1996      Relegated to Division Two

1997      Membership of Northern League suspended

1998-99   Joined Wearside League in newly reformed Division Two

2005-06   Resigned from Wearside League mid-season, record expunged


SEASON    LEAGUE     P    W    D    L    F    A    P      POS


1923-24   NORTH     28   15    9    4   69   36   39      2/15

1924-25   NORTH     28   12    3   13   70   60   27      7/15

1925-26   NORTH     26   14    4    8   62   42   32      4/14

1926-27   NORTH     26   16    3    7   76   37   35      3/14

1927-28   NORTH     24    7    5   12   52   73   19      9/13

1928-29   NORTH     24   10    4   10   47   55   24      7/13

1929-30   NORTH     24   11    2   11   53   59   24      7/13

1930-31   NORTH     24    4    3   17   41   66   11     13/13

1931-32   NORTH     26   12    3   11   66   63   27      7/14

1932-33   NORTH     26   12    4   10   64   51   28      5/14

1933-34   NORTH     26   12    4   10   63   61   28      4/14

1934-35   NORTH     26   16    3    7   69   43   35      3/14

1935-36   NORTH     26    9    7   10   65   64   25      8/14

1936-37   NORTH     26   11    3   12   62   66   25      8/14

1937-38   NORTH     26   21    0    5   81   36   42      1/14

1938-39   NORTH     26    9    4   13   62   65   22      9/14

1939-40   NORTH     RECORD EXPUNGED


1945-46   NORTH     22    5    3   14   44   76   13     11/12

1946-47   NORTH     26   13    3   10   77   66   29      6/14

1947-48   NORTH     26   20    4    2   90   40   44      1/14

1948-49   NORTH     26   14    3    9   53   49   31      4/14

1949-50   NORTH     26   11    5   10   64   67   27      7/14

1950-51   NORTH     26    7    7   12   53   79   21     10/14

1951-52   NORTH     26   10    6   10   60   67   26      8/14

1952-53   NORTH     26   11    7    8   51   43   29      6/14

1953-54   NORTH     26   17    5    4   56   27   39      3/14

1954-55   NORTH     26    9    8    9   58   57   26      8/14

1955-56   NORTH     26    8    5   13   42   62   21     11/14

1956-57   NORTH     26   14    4    8   63   48   32      4/14

1957-58   NORTH     26   20    3    3   90   41   43      1/14

1958-59   NORTH     28   10    5   13   60   72   25      9/15

1959-60   NORTH     28   13    4   11   76   46   30      6/15

1960-61   NORTH     30   18    4    8   80   56   40      3/16

1961-62   NORTH     30   13    3   14   66   68   29      9/16

1962-63   NORTH     30    6   14   10   51   59   26     12/16

1963-64   NORTH     30   13    7   10   64   60   33      5/16

1964-65   NORTH     34   15    7   12   79   62   37      8/18

1965-66   NORTH     34   13    7   14   57   88   33     11/18

1966-67   NORTH     34   10    7   17   56   75   27     14/18

1967-68   NORTH     34    6    7   21   57   94   19     16/18

1968-69   NORTH     34    3    9   22   33   83   15     17/18

1969-70   NORTH     34    5    6   23   32   83   14 *   18/18

1970-71   NORTH     38   22    6   10   75   58   50      3/20

1971-72   NORTH     38   16    8   14   60   58   40     11/20

1972-73   NORTH     38   21    4   13   60   56   46      6/20

1973-74   NORTH     38   14    7   17   47   69   35     14/20

1974-75   NORTH     36    9   12   15   52   72   39     13/19

1975-76   NORTH     38    8    9   21   51   73   33     18/20

1976-77   NORTH     38   12   10   16   42   58   46     14/20

1977-78   NORTH     38    8    8   22   30   69   32     18/20

1978-79   NORTH     38   10    5   23   43   74   35     17/20

1979-80   NORTH     38    9    7   22   38   60   34     17/20

1980-81   NORTH     38   17   10   11   71   49   61      6/20

1981-82   NORTH     38   16    6   16   57   59   54     11/20

1982-83   NORTH-1   36   14   12   10   53   42   54     12/19

1983-84   NORTH-1   34    9    6   19   47   61   33     16/18

1984-85   NORTH-1   34    8    8   18   39   70   32     14/18

1985-86   NORTH-1   38   11    6   21   62   94   39     18/20

1986-87   NORTH-1   38    7    9   22   42   80   30     18/20

1987-88   NORTH-1   38   12    7   19   58   75   43     14/20

1988-89   NORTH-1   38   15    7   16   72   65   52      8/20

1989-90   NORTH-1   38   14    4   20   63   79   49     13/20

1990-91   NORTH-1   38   16    9   13   55   50   54 *    8/20

1991-92   NORTH-1   38   10   10   18   45   60   40     16/20

1992-93   NORTH-1   38    6   10   22   51   97   28     17/20

1993-94   NORTH-1   38   11    8   19   47   67   41     13/20

1994-95   NORTH-1   38    9    6   23   34   80   30 *   17/20

1995-96   NORTH-1   38    0    5   33   27  146    5     20/20

1996-97   NORTH-2   36    1    2   33   16  177    5     19/19


1998-99   WEAR-2    24   10    4   10   50   56   34      8/13

1999-00   WEAR-2    21    8    5    8   69   45   29      5/8

2000-01   WEAR      38   16    4   18   92   89   52     11/20

2001-02   WEAR      32    6    3   23   41  114   18     17/17

2002-03   WEAR      34    4    2   28   44  138   14     18/18

2003-04   WEAR      34    3    3   28   39  119   12     17/18

2004-05   WEAR      36    3    1   32   30  161   10     19/19

2005-06   WEAR      RECORD EXPUNGED



F.A. CUP


1926-27   4Q    DETAILS REMOVED FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS

1935-36   1     OLDHAM ATHLETIC                     A    1-6

1938-39   4Q    DETAILS REMOVED FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS

1945-46   1Q    SHILDON                             H    1-3

1946-47   PRE   BLACKHALL COLLIERY WELFARE          H    2-1

          1Q    CHILTON & WINDLESTONE               H    3-1

          2Q    SPENNYMOOR UNITED                   A    0-2

1947-48   PRE   CONSETT                             H    3-2

          1Q    SHILDON                             H    1-0

          2Q    EVENWOOD TOWN                       H    4-0

          3Q    EASINGTON COLLIERY WELFARE          A    3-3

          3Qr   EASINGTON COLLIERY WELFARE          H    3-1

          4Q    STOCKTON                            H    1-1

          4Q    STOCKTON                            A    2-3

1948-49   PRE   SOUTH HETTON COLLIERY WELFARE       A    1-1

          PREr  SOUTH HETTON COLLIERY WELFARE       H    1-2

1949-50   PRE   HORDEN COLLIERY WELFARE             A    4-8

1950-51   EP    CROOK TOWN                          H    2-2

          EPr   CROOK TOWN                          A    4-4

          EPr2  CROOK TOWN                          H    0-4

1951-52   1Q    SOUTH BANK                          H    3-4

1952-53   1Q    SKINNIGROVE WORKS                   H    7-0

          2Q    WHITBY TOWN                         H    4-0

          3Q    BILLINGHAM SYNTHONIA                A    0-5

1953-54   1Q    SKINNIGROVE WORKS                   H   18-0

          2Q    HEAD WRIGHTSONS                     H    7-1

          3Q    BILLINGHAM SYNTHONIA                A    2-1

          4Q    SOUTH SHIELDS{2}                    H    2-0

          1     WORKINGTON                          A    0-3

1954-55   1Q    COCKFIELD                           A    1-1

          1Qr   COCKFIELD                           H    2-1

          2Q    EVENWOOD TOWN                       H    3-0

          3Q    STANLEY UNITED                      A    1-3

1955-56   2Q    MURTON COLLIERY WELFARE             A    2-0

          3Q    DURHAM CITY                         A    0-0

          3Qr   DURHAM CITY                         H    0-2

1956-57   1Q    HORDEN COLLIERY WELFARE             H    0-3

1957-58   1Q    SPENNYMOOR UNITED                   A    2-2

          1Qr   SPENNYMOOR UNITED                   H    4-2

          2Q    HORDEN COLLIERY WELFARE             A    1-3

1958-59   1Q    MORPETH TOWN                        H    1-1

          1Qr   MORPETH TOWN                        A    2-0

          2Q    SPENNYMOOR UNITED                   A    3-3

          2Qr   SPENNYMOOR UNITED                   H    2-1

          3Q    TOW LAW TOWN                        A    0-2

1959-60   1Q    BRIDLINGTON TOWN                    H    0-0

          1Qr   BRIDLINGTON TOWN                    A    2-1

          2Q    CONSETT                             H    2-4

1960-61   1Q    EVENWOOD TOWN                       H    3-2

          2Q    SOUTH BANK                          A    4-3

          3Q    ASHINGTON                           H    2-1

          4Q    SCARBOROUGH                         A    0-1

1961-62   1Q    HORDEN COLLIERY WELFARE             H    0-1

1962-63   1Q    BOLDON COLLIERY WELFARE             A    2-1

          2Q    RYHOPE COLLIERY WELFARE             H    2-2

          2Qr   RYHOPE COLLIERY WELFARE             A    0-1

1963-64   2Q    RYHOPE COLLIERY WELFARE             H    4-1

          3Q    HORDEN COLLIERY WELFARE             A    2-3

1964-65   1Q    BILLINGHAM SYNTHONIA                H    5-0

          2Q    HORDEN COLLIERY WELFARE             A    1-4

1965-66   1Q    STANLEY UNITED                      H    1-3

1966-67   1Q    ANNFIELD PLAIN                      A    2-2

          1Qr   ANNFIELD PLAIN                      H    2-2

          1Qr2  ANNFIELD PLAIN                      A    2-3

1967-68   1Q    BEDLINGTON COLLIERY WELFARE         H    2-1

          2Q    SPENNYMOOR UNITED                   H    0-0

          2Qr   SPENNYMOOR UNITED                   A    2-4

1968-69   1Q    MURTON COLLIERY WELFARE             A    0-1

1969-70   PRE   BOLDON COLLIERY WELFARE             H    2-0

          1Q    CROOK TOWN                          A    3-3

          1Qr   CROOK TOWN                          H    0-1

1970-71   1Q    CROOK TOWN                          H    3-1

          2Q    DURHAM CITY                         H    1-0

          3Q    GATESHEAD{1}                        A    0-0

          3Qr   GATESHEAD{1}                        H    2-0

          4Q    SCARBOROUGH                         A    0-3

1971-72   1Q    BILLINGHAM SYNTHONIA                A    2-0

          2Q    NORTH SHIELDS                       A    1-3

1972-73   1Q    DURHAM CITY                         A    2-1

          2Q    BISHOP AUCKLAND                     H    3-2

          3Q    WILLINGTON                          H    1-5

1973-74   1Q    SHILDON                             A    1-2

1974-75   1Q    TOW LAW TOWN                        H    0-3

1975-76   1Q    EPPLETON COLLIERY WELFARE           A    0-1

1976-77   1Q    NETHERFIELD                         H    0-1

1977-78   1Q    SPENNYMOOR UNITED                   H    2-4

1978-79   1Q    WALLSEND TOWN                       A    0-1

1979-80   PRE   WILLINGTON                          H    2-1

          1Q    NORTH SHIELDS                       A    2-4

1980-81   1Q    EVENWOOD TOWN                       H    2-2

          1Qr   EVENWOOD TOWN                       A    1-2

1981-82   1Q    CHESTER-LE-STREET                   H    2-2

          1Qr   CHESTER-LE-STREET                   A    1-2

1982-83   1Q    BARROW                              H    0-1

1983-84   PRE   GUISBOROUGH TOWN                    A    1-2

1984-85   PRE   GUISELEY                            H    1-2

1985-86   PRE   WEST AUCKLAND TOWN                  H    2-2

          PREr  WEST AUCKLAND TOWN                  A    2-1

          1Q    BISHOP AUCKLAND                     H    0-3

1986-87   PRE   DARLINGTON CLEVELAND BRIDGE         H    1-2

1987-88   PRE   LANGLEY PARK WELFARE                H    3-0

          1Q    GRETNA                              H    1-2

1988-89   PRE   CROOK TOWN                          A    4-0

          1Q    HORDEN COLLIERY WELFARE             A    2-0

          2Q    SPENNYMOOR UNITED                   H    0-2

1989-90   PRE   CONSETT                             A    3-1

          1Q    CLITHEROE                           A    2-2

          1Qr   CLITHEROE                           H    1-1

          1Qr2  CLITHEROE                           A    4-3

          2Q    GATESHEAD                           A    0-3

1990-91   PRE   BLACKPOOL MECHANICS                 H    3-1

          1Q    SOUTH BANK                          H    1-1

          1Qr   SOUTH BANK                          A    0-1

1991-92   PRE   PENRITH                             A    0-1

1992-93   PRE   SPENNYMOOR UNITED                   H    2-3

1993-94   PRE   EVENWOOD TOWN                       A    1-3

1996-97   PRE   YORKSHIRE AMATEUR                   H    1-2



F.A. AMATEUR CUP


1925-26   QF    ST ALBANS CITY                      A    1-4

1963-64   QF    KINGSTONIAN                         H    0-1



F.A. TROPHY


1974-75   PRE   HORDEN COLLIERY WELFARE             A    2-4

1975-76   PRE   CROOK TOWN                          A    0-1

1976-77   1Q    BRIDLINGTON TRINITY                 A    0-1

1977-78   1Q    HORDEN COLLIERY WELFARE             H    2-3

1978-79   1Q    RADCLIFFE BOROUGH                   A    1-2

1979-80   1Q    FRICKLEY ATHLETIC                   H    1-2

1980-81   1Q    EMLEY                               H    3-2

          2Q    GATESHEAD                           A    0-5

1981-82   1Q    EVENWOOD TOWN                       A    0-0

          1Qr   EVENWOOD TOWN                       H    8-0

          2Q    ROSSENDALE UNITED                   H    1-1

          2Qr   ROSSENDALE UNITED                   A    0-3    @ Droylsden

1982-83   1Q    BYE

          2Q    TOW LAW TOWN                        H    1-4

1983-84   1Qr   MORECAMBE                           A    1-2

1984-85   1Q    WORKSOP TOWN                        H    2-2

          1Qr   WORKSOP TOWN                        A    1-4

1985-86   1Q    FORMBY                              A    2-3

1986-87   1Q    HORWICH R M I                       A    2-3

1987-88   1Q    NORTH SHIELDS                       H    1-4

1988-89   1Q    BRANDON UNITED                      H    0-3

1989-90   1Q    MORECAMBE                           H    2-0

          2Q    SEAHAM RED STAR                     A    2-2

          2Qr   SEAHAM RED STAR                     H    1-3

1990-91   1Q    NORTH SHIELDS                       H    0-0

          1Qr   NORTH SHIELDS                       A    2-0

          2Q    EMLEY                               H    0-0

          2Qr   EMLEY                               A    1-4

1991-92   1Q    WHITLEY BAY                         H    0-2

1992-93   2Q    STOCKTON                            A    2-10

1993-94   1Q    BRIDLINGTON TOWN                    A    0-4



F.A. VASE


1995-96   2Q    YORKSHIRE AMATEUR                   H    0-1

1996-97   2Q    NORTON & STOCKTON ANCIENTS          A    4-3

          1     POULTON VICTORIA                    A    0-7



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Please acknowledge the F.C.H.D. when using this information elsewhere