I joined the club, playing in the Vaux Blue Bell Over 40’s League, early in the season
after being approached by old friends Larry Phillips and Trevor Campbell. Because
of knee trouble, which started at the end of the 1985/86 season with Seaham Red Star
Over 35’s, I hadn‘t played any football for 2 years.
At 43 I had accepted my playing days were over but the thought of joining Larry and
Trevor appealed and I conveniently forgot about my knee. I'd never played for any
team in the Durham area so it was a very pleasant surprise to find that I knew some
of the other players:-
Charlie Grose, a Ryhope CW legend, who I'd played alongside
for Silksworth CW.
Bob McLeod, ex Hartlepool Utd and Brian Clough’s first ever signing,
who I first met at the Durham Coaches Association.
Kenny Rutter, an old schoolmate,
who I'd last seen in 1961, some 27 years previous. In his school days he was an excellent
centre forward. On leaving school our paths never crossed and I never found out at
what level he played. My guess would be the Northern League or higher.
players that were there included:-
Neil Marshall ex Everton, Hartlepool, Durham City,
North Shields and Willington.
John Sproates, ex Darlington, Barnsley and Gateshead
my first game I got off to a great start with a goal after 3 minutes. See report
below. I was knackered towards the end of game and wasted a golden opportunity for
a 2 goal lead which would have won us this game. I got clear and with tired legs
I shot weakly for the goal keeper to comfortably save. I always fancied my chances
in any one on one situation. Why I remember this is because John Sproates had also
run clear and shouted for me to square the ball and he would have had an open goal
at his mercy. Then to make matters worse, and totally against the run of play, they
equalised in the last minute of the game. I made a bad decision, let people down
and it still bugs me today.
However after 4 or 5 games I was beginning to feel reasonably
fit and I was really enjoying playing again. By the 7th game I was feeling quite
sharp and scored 2 early goals before my knee flared up again and I had to come off
at half time. That was my playing days over.