Joe Dixon’s

Football Memories

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1977




Dawdon C.W. 1987 / 1988 Season


This proved to be my last season with Dawdon CW. I left at the end of the season and it was a very difficult decision to make as, after 4 seasons, I was leaving some of the nicest people in local football. I’ll go into the reasons a little later.


Quality players we lost through injuries, work commitments and the riches of other clubs meant that of all the games there were only 2 that had the same team. The list below shows the 42 players that were used. Things got that bad that I played once and was substitute in 3 games.









































The players must have been as frustrated as me for not being able to get a reasonably settled side. However we were always in the top half of the league and as you can see from the final league table, below, we finished 8th of the 20 teams.


You will also see that we were the leagues top scorers with 85 goals. Three of these were own goals and 18 players scored the remaining 82. Next to us were Whickham, the League Champions, with 82.


Taking everything into consideration I thought 8th was a remarkable achievement.

























































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I always thought that it would be hard to ever leave Dawdon CW and club management but there were three reasons that made it easy in 1988. Nothing, I might add, had anything to do with the Dawdon CW Club itself.

The first was with starting a new job, after taking redundancy from working 27 years with British Coal, I knew I couldn't give the time that the club deserved.

The second was the fact that at the end of each Wearside League season you effectively lost all of your players. Quite a few players each season that did well for us were attracted by the opportunity and financial incentives offered by Northern League sides. So each new season the management had to more or less start from scratch.

The third reason was when I was sickened by an illegal approach for our centre half, early in 1988 by, of all teams, Ryhope CA. To think of the service Harry Clark, my coach, and I gave to that club. Harry even went on to coach and manage the 'CA after starting there as a player way back in 1967.

Harry joined me as coach for the beginning of the the 1986/1987 season and he first of all asked me if I had any objections to him continuing to sell tickets for Ryhope CA, as he had done so for years. I didn't mind, although I obviously would have preferred him to sell Dawdon CW tickets, because I wanted him as a coach and not a ticket seller.

When Harry handed over the ticket money he was often quizzed about how Dawdon was performing and which players were doing well. Harry, who is the most honest person you could ever wish to meet, would give his assessment without much thought. Later on we found out that some of these players, including our leading goal scorer, had signed for the 'CA. I naively assumed that the players must have approached the ‘CA because I couldn’t believe that ‘friends’ would do this. I’d have been very disappointed even if they had gone through the proper channels but to illegally approach our players is something I can’t get my head round.

However early in 1988 we found out that our centre half had just recently signed for the 'CA and when I went to see him he said that he never approached the 'CA. They had come to see him and asked him to sign. He was given to believe that the Dawdon club had previously been approached. I couldn't believe the 'CA would allow this to happen when you consider the service both Harry and I gave to the ’CA as well as Harry still selling their tickets.

We reported this to the Durham FA and the hearing was arranged on a night when the 'CA had a game. On the day of the hearing we went to see our centre half, who was intending to play for them that night, and explained what was happening and he agreed to attend the hearing with us. I'm sure the 'CA thought that as the player would be playing for them that same night our case would be thrown out as it would be our word against their's. So representing the 'CA was, I believe, the youngest and newest committee member. Consequently the 'CA were found guilty of an illegal approach. What penalty they were given I can't recall but the players signing on form was cancelled.

The questions that come to mind are -

How many of our other players in the last 2 seasons had signed for the 'CA after illegal approaches?

If they would do it to us then what about players signed from other clubs?

How many of the committee were aware of what happened?

Unbeknown to Harry Clark our ‘friends’ from the ‘CA were effectively taking his ticket money in one hand and stabbing him in the back with the other hand.


I’d like to think that none of this would have been allowed to happen if Jimmy Clark had still been Manager or even if senior members of the committee had been aware of the situation.



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