Joe Dixon’s

Football Memories

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1977


1975 / 1976 Season


I'd played for the 'Buffs' for a few seasons and, after the 1974/1975 season, I decided, at 30, I would just concentrate on the Saturday football. However before the 1975/1976 season started I had a visit from Ernie Muckles who to be honest I don't think I had ever met before. He was so enthusiastic about the Buffs team for the coming season. He told me the players who had already signed for the club, like Brian Page, Harry Clark, Keith Hembrough, Kenny Duckworth and the players he was sure would sign. He was certain we would win the league (Sunderland CIU Sunday League), something that the 'Buffs' had never come close to winning before. He was convinced that our partnership up front would work great. His enthusiasm and committment changed my mind and I agreed to sign. It turned out to be a very good decision.


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Early on in the season our centre half, Kenny Duckworth, got injured. I don't think he was particularly keen on playing 2 games each weekend and he didn't play again that season. I must admit that it was probably Kenny's name, that cropped up when Ernie came to see me, that convinced me to sign. Losing such a great player was a blow that I didn't think the team could overcome sufficiently to win anything.

I knew that Brian Page could do a good job there but then who could you get to replace Brian. To me I couldn't see us overcoming this problem. How wrong I was. To replace Kenny we brought in an 18 year old called
Berwick Hall. I don't how or where they got Berwick from but he was tremendous. He was so mature for his age and he just slotted into the defence with ease. Obviously the presence of the experienced and very tallented Ritchie Taylor, ex Sunderland AFC, along side him was a great help. But facing the likes of John Dickman, whose power, ability and experience frightened most centre halves, Berwick was unphased. So we had one great player leaving and one arriving.

Midway through the season, due to injuries, a relacement full back was needed. But such was the strength of our midfield that a midfielder filled in at full back. That player was Keith Hembrough, who I'd only ever seen play in midfield, and he played that well that he remained there for the rest of the season.

Another great addition, during the season, was
Ronnie Jobson. Ronnie was part of the best team I've ever seen namely Ryhope CW. Such was my admiration for this team and its players that to play along side Ronnie was an honour.

It was an unbelievable effort by everyone associated with the team over the whole season and to win the league and cup double in such a strong league was just incredible.

The partnership of Ernie and myself worked really well as we both scored plenty of goals but it was fitting that Ernie finished as the leading goal scorer. Add to this Ernie's efforts pre season makes him my choice as Player of the Year.

My biggest disappointment that season was missing the
League Cup Final against Plains Farm club because of holidays. Numerous people have told me it was one of best cup finals, for the goals, excitement and quality of football, they'd ever seen. In front of a packed ground, and against an excellent Plains Farm team, we won? Absolute Magic.

What a team and what a season.

Some of the other team members I hadn't played much with prior to this season like
Dave Steele, Geoff Carr, Tony Mulvaney, Clive Swindle, Billy Connelly, John Townsend, were a pleasure to play alongside. There wasn't a weakness in the squad. I appologise for any players that have slipped my mind but if you played in that side you had to be good.

In addition the management,
Billy Benson, Jackie Cow and the committee should be really proud of their achievements. Again what a team.


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                        Has winning the League Cup gone to their heads?

No, but the beer and spirit may have. It's just some of the lads, celebrating a lifetime memory Cup win to complete the League and Cup double, from the left, Clive Swindle, Billy Connelly, leading goal scorer Ernie Muckles, captain Brian Page and his dad Glan. Again, absolute magic. This great photo is courtesy of Brian Page.

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Below are some reports from this season. Unfortunately I have none from the League Cup Final as I was away on holiday. If any one has kept any I would love to add them to this page. The final league table would also be appreciated.





















































































































































Back from left  :- Jock Rowan, Dennis McKinney, Ray Milburn, Geordie Pickard, Keith Hembrough,

                             Tony Mulvaney, Dave Steele, Geoff Carr, Berwick Hall, Ritchie Taylor, Billy Benson,

                             Pat Kearney and Jackie Cow


Front from left :- Joe Dixon, Harry Clark, Clive Swindle, Ernie Muckles, Brian Page, Billy                              Connelly, Ronnie Jobson and John Townsend

 Mascot              :- Steve Mulvaney

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