Joe Dixon’s

Football Memories

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1977

Sunderland Ryhope CA - Brief History 1963-1979

Sunderland RCA started its life as Ryhope YC and was formed in 1963 playing its first ever game on Saturday 24th August in the Seaham & District League. The man most responsible for this was a lovely gentleman called Bill Bond. He had great support from Arthur Crago, Ernie Carlin, Jack Hedley and from the youth club committee which included Terry Brace, Frank Masters, Swansbury and myself. As Youth Club leader, Bill was instrumental in the development of all the clubs activities and without his enthusiasm, guidance and help none of the football teams would have been formed.

The first seeds had been sown 3 years earlier, in 1960, when the Ryhope Youth Club Centre opened in the
Welfare Hall. Although many activities took place there it didn’t take long before the highlight of the YC’s evenings was the 5 a side games. They became very competitive and in the summer of 1961 we started playing on the store field and the 5 a sides soon became 6 and 7 a side. Such was the enthusiasm shown and the numbers involved the youth club leader, Bill Bond, asked the youth club committee, if they would like him to arrange a game against another youth club. And yes we were up for it and a handful of games followed. We played with borrowed strips along with goal posts from the ‘Bluebell’ pub and sawdust from the Ryhope Co-op to mark out the lines. Sometimes the lines resembled a straight line but it didn’t matter we were enjoying ourselves. We were just 14 to 16 years old and although there was obviously nothing official about these games it didn‘t stop us from being very competitive.


In the following summer, 1962, Bill put the idea to the youth club committee about forming a Junior team to play in the Hetton Junior League. This caused me a big problem. As I was a member of the youth clubs committee I had to explain that I had already committed myself to playing for Dawdon CW Juniors for the coming season. However it was agreed and the clubs application was accepted and the junior team was formed for the start of the 1962/63 season and played its home games at the Ryhope CW ground.


At the end of the Juniors first season, 1963, along with some of the YC players, we were no longer eligible to play in the Hetton Junior League. Again it was Bill Bond who suggested forming a senior team. It was agreed and our application to join the Seaham & District League for the 1963/64 season was accepted.


The Youth Clubs first ever game was against Seaham UDC at the Seaham CW ground, now home to Seaham Red Star, and it was 3-3 draw. I know I scored that day, and I think it was 2 goals and I may have scored the clubs first ever goal. I'd like to think it was but I'm just not 100% sure. All the games were played on opponents grounds that season and the following 1964/65 season.


The 'YC's first success may have come prior to the 1968/1969 season. I have a couple of old trophies which weren't engraved and may have related to these early seasons.

I do know that 1968/1969 was a successful season as we won the Seaham and District League title, League Cup and the Leukemia Charity Cup. Several players were selected to represent the League side.

1969/1970 was another successful season, when it won the Seaham and District League title, Seaham Aged Miners Cup and Bennison(Houghton Blind) Cup, and again the 'YC had several representitaves in the League side.

To progress it was decided to apply for membership to the
Houghton & District League. The application was accepted. However before the season, 1970/1971, started there were problems in that our Manager, Jimmy Clark and Norman T Taylor had too many work commitments to be involved too much with the club that season. Team building and pre season preparation suffered hence a poor season.

The club changed its name to
Ryhope CA at the start of its second season, 1971/1972, in the Houghton & District League. Things were back to normal, Jimmy was back, and this was a good season. We came second in the league and won both the Seaham Aged Miners and Houghton Blind Cups.

The 1972/1973 season was probably my best season with the club scoring 85 goals (some say it was 89). We won the League and Durham Hospitals Cup as well as runners up in the League Cup and Easington Aged Miners Cup. In the process we won 19 consecutive league games. All this coincided with the magic of Sunderland AFC's FA cup success. What a season.

After the 1974/1975 season ended, and we were League Champions and Durham Hospital Cup winners again, the 'CA resigned from the Houghton and District league, as was the rule, in order to apply for membership to the
Wearside league. Unfortunately the application was turned down and then the Houghton league refused to readmit the club. Three seasons passed before the club reformed in the 1978/1979 season and played in the Northern Alliance league.