Joe Dixon’s

Football Memories

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1977

Sunderland RCA the first 50 years 1963 - 2013










On Saturday 24th August 1963 Ryhope Youth Club FC, now Sunderland RCA, played its first ever game against Seaham UDC at the Seaham CW ground, now home to Seaham Red Star, in the Seaham & District League.


None of the founder members, not even in our wildest dreams, could ever foresee the team still going strong 50 years on and playing in the Northern League, the worlds second oldest football league. Now playing the likes of Bishop Auckland, Spennymoor Town, Crook Town etc etc is just incredible. Obviously the early success of the team in the Seaham & District League was the first step in the club starting to believe they could compete at higher levels.


Back in the 1969/70 season in the Seaham & District League the team travelled to play Shildon United in an early round of the Durham Challenge Cup competition. Although we lost 4-2 it was a great performance considering they finished the season 11th in the Northern League above the likes of Bishop Auckland and Crook Town.


Then, when in the Houghton & District League, we were paired against Shildon United again in the Durham Challenge Cup in the 1973/74 season. This time we drew 2-2 at home and in the replay it was again 2-2 after 90 mins. This was a tremendous performance because after the first game they would not have been underestimating us. Unfortunately, and I believe it was only because of their superior fitness, they scored 4 goals in extra time without reply. Although Shildon finished 15th from the top they still finished above Crook Town, Whitby Town, South Bank, West Auckland Town and Stanley United.


However the long road from the Seaham & District League to the Northern League, via the Houghton & District and Northern Alliance Leagues, could only be achieved by an enormous amount of effort, dedication, sacrifices etc etc by the members of the committee. AND that’s exactly what they did. Having lost the use of the Ryhope CW ground in 1975 the biggest hurdle was to build their own ground to the high standards set by the Northern League. This was an incredible achievement as, with minimum funds, a lot of the work had to be done by themselves.


The high point for the club was the 2011/12 season when they finished 4th off top after spending several weeks, in the last quarter of the season, at the top. If the clubs home record had been as good as their away record they would have been crowned champions.



























All in all a remarkable journey.



Congratulations


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Out of interest the tables below show how the top two Football Leagues finished in the clubs first season.