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Quakers hit impressive fundraising landmark (20/03/2015)

The Board of Directors of Darlington Football Club have to announce that, to date, more than 250 fans have purchased the extended season ticket packages.

Together with other equity injections and donations, the initial £225,000 target for funding the return to Darlington has been reached within just 2 weeks of its launch.

With plans for the Club to return to Darlington continuing to progress positively, the Board will be able to demonstrate the success of this initiative to the Football Foundation as part of the process to secure eligible FSIF grant funding.

Due to this key milestone being reached so quickly, the Board has decided to extend the deadline for the initiative by a further 2 weeks until Monday 6 April 2015, thereby allowing more time for fans to raise the funds across the month end and to join the exclusivity of the DFC500 or Vice-Presidents’ Clubs.

As a result of the huge interest in this initiative, and also the news that the Club’s new website has already had more than 12,000 unique visitors in the same period, the Board is now asking the devoted fans of the Club, old and new, young and old, to continue to dig deep and help build a ground with an even greater potential capacity and has increased the target to £300,000 to be raised through this initiative.

Achieving the additional £75,000 should allow the Club the opportunity to develop the facilities at Blackwell Meadows to FA Ground Grading Category B rather than Category C criteria, which is currently required, and thereby be fit for purpose in the event of further progression through the leagues.

Local businesses and fans keen to support this Heading Home campaign through commercial packages or equity injections are also encouraged to continue to contact the Club at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. whilst the opportunity exists. Further details are available on the Club’s official site.

Watson takes over as Celtic boss

Vanarama Conference North side Stalybridge Celtic have announced that Liam Watson has agreed to take up the vacant role as their new manager.

The former Southport manager will begin work at Bower Fold on Monday, however he will be in the stands for Celtic’s league fixture with Gloucester City on Saturday.

Watson will bring his former assistant Dominic Morley in to work alongside him although Coach Dave Sullivan and captain Scott Kerr will remain in charge for the City game.

Watson has had great success as a manager winning the Conference North on three separate occasions, twice with Southport and once with AFC Telford United and he won the Unibond League with Burscough.

FC United message spreads to China

FC United of Manchester’s positive message of fan ownership and involvement is spreading to China, the world’s most populous country.

Proud officials at the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League club revealed on Thursday that the first ever meeting of a new Chinese branch of the supporter-owned club is set to take place this Saturday in Hangzhou City.

Located in north western Zhejiang province, Hangzhou is home to nearly 10 million people in a nation of 1.35 billion.

FC member and prolific tweeter Fan Ming is pictured with the new branch’s suitably inscribed banner and fellow member Rentao Meng ahead of the historic meeting.

Ming is planning to share his experiences of his visit to the UK last year when he took in a number of FC United matches and visited the club’s offices while Meng is already thinking about expansion!

Speaking to the club’s website, Meng, who also helped organise the event, said: “The meeting won’t have a formal agenda but the main purpose is to meet some FC United China branch members and we expect about ten people to come.

“We’ll probably discuss how the branch can publicise the concept of the club and also provide funds to help its community development.”


Albion take disciplinary action against skipper

Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Witton Albion have stripped skipper Anthony Gardner of the captaincy and transfer listed the defender for his part in an incident following last Saturday’s home win against Ramsbottom United.

The Premier Division club’s officials announced they’d taken disciplinary action against the 24-year-old full-back in a short statement released on Friday.

The club said: “Defender Anthony Gardner has today been subject to disciplinary action by Witton Albion following an incident that occurred on Saturday after the win over Ramsbottom.

“As a result of this discipline Gardner has been stripped of the captaincy, received the maximum sanctions possible under the terms of his contract and placed onto the transfer list with immediate effect.”

Gardner, pictured, has made nearly 200 appearances for the club since signing for Witton in January 2011 from Cammell Laird where he also played under manager Tony Sullivan.


Non-League Day Partners With F.A. To Promote Trophy Final

The last five years have seen Non-League Day (NLD) grow from being an event on Facebook to an annual national campaign which has grabbed the attention of clubs, leagues, the media and most importantly the fans.

As NLD has grown it has received many requests to run a second event during the season to get even more people involved. Given the huge amount of time and effort and to preserve the uniqueness of NLD, the organisers have never really been able to entertain this idea but have thought about other ways they could do things.

New event
NLD’s favourite alternative was to create an event where, rather than send football fans to a wide variety of grounds around the country, they would encourage them to head to just one ground, bringing as many members of the non-league community together in the same place at the same time.

James Doe, Founder of Non-League Day explains, “It then came to our attention that this year’s FA Trophy Final is taking place on Sunday 29th March during the spring international break. Being on the Sunday, it allows fans of virtually every team in the country – whether they follow a club in the Premier League, Football League or non-league – to take part.

“We have therefore partnered with The Football Association in an initiative to try and mobilise fans in a different way and bring as many of us together at the country’s national stadium for one of the non-league game’s most prestigious finals.”

The FA Trophy Final photo competition
To celebrate this occasion/partnership, the organisers will be running a photo competition where snappers of all ages will be offered the chance to see their best non-league pictures published in the match day programme, displayed on the stadium’s big screens and win tickets for the match itself.

To enter, simply attend a non-league match between now and the 14th March and upload your photos on to Instagram or Twitter using #myfanphoto.

Alternatively you can email your entry by clicking HERE This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

A panel of respected non-league photographers will spend the 15th March judging which 10 people will win in two categories (adults and under-18s) and they will then contact those who do.

In the weeks leading up to the game the organisers will also be giving away further tickets via their social media channels in other competitions so there will be plenty of opportunities to take part.

Tickets for the game itself go on sale on Monday 16th February and are only £20 for adults, £10 concessions and £7.50 for U16s*. These prices decrease still further if booked for a group of 15 or more.


Marine appoint Hackney as new assistant manager

Former Accrington Stanley and Morecambe academy head coach Phil Hackney is the new assistant manager at Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Marine.

The Premier Division’s Mariners unveiled the UEFA A licensed coach on Friday, 48 hours after the departure of former manager Carl Macauley and the appointment of defender Sean Hessey as caretaker manager.

Ainsdale-based Hackney, pictured, brings a wealth of coaching experience to the Arriva Stadium having also held roles at Liverpool County FA U18s and Everton Ladies. In the mid-1990’s he was also a coach with the Marine youth team when he assisted Ray Coleman.

Former Vauxhall Motors manager Macauley left the Arriva Stadium late on Tuesday night by mutual consent nine months after replacing Phil Brazier in May 2014 with the Mariners third bottom and 11 points from safety.

His successor Hessey is a Liverpool-based 36-year-old and experienced Non-League campaigner who holds a UEFA B coaching license.

Club officials also confirmed on Friday that physio Gary Ede and kit manager Gary Trowler are staying at the club to continue in their roles and aid Hessey and Hackney.



New Spartans coach looks to bright future at Croft Park

New Blyth Spartans coach Lee Picton, has been massively encouraged by what he has seen at the club despite only being appointed a few days ago.

The former Whitley Bay double FA Vase winning defender said:”The players have responded very positively to some new ideas I have already introduced. They’ve been really receptive and hungry to learn, both individually and as a team. In fact everyone at the club, the Board, backroom staff and the players have made me feel really at home from day one.”

36 year old Lee is Academy Director/Head Coach at Monseaton Academy but has no doubts that his experience of playing non-league football and coaching at several levels will stand him in good stead at Croft Park.

“Jobs like the Blyth one don’t come up very often so I jumped at the chance. It felt instinctive,” he said. “I have had a strong desire to work at Blyth’s level and am confident that I can adapt. Plus I only stopped playing a few years ago so I can empathise with the players.

“My footballing philosophy is to play an attractive, fast-flowing attacking game. All my teams in the past have been played in this way. Before the Ramsbottom game I said the lads to express themmselves and show me what they could do. The results where there for all to see.”



Core values will remain at the heart of City – Neville

As one member of the ‘Class of 92’ takeover at Salford City, former Manchester United and England star Phil Neville revealed that the true values of his upbringing would remain at the heart of how the Evo-Stik NPL First Division North club would be ran.

Neville, who also played for Everton during a trophy laden career, wants to ensure “hard work and integrity” will underpin every action that is taken as he looks to play his part in developing his hometown club into a real force in Non-League football.

“I think it’s important when you are involved at a club, whether it’s as a player or an owner, that there is passion and a belief in what you are doing. Salford has been good to all of us when we were growing up.

The city has values like hard work and integrity and they helped us become successful throughout our careers, they will remain key to everything we do at the club. We want to give something back and that is what we aim to do”

For a man who won 59 England caps during a career that saw him become a Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup winner you may think that the Non-League game may seem to be below him. However Neville admits that watching Salford and Non-League in general has him “engrossed” want is targeting an immediate promotion to the Evo-Stik NPL’s Premier Division.

That promotion could well be within their grasp too with The Ammies currently sitting top of their league, although he feels that their are some very strong challengers in their way. However the promotion race evokes memories of his Premier League past for thirty eight year old, who also acts as a pundit on the BBC’s Match of the Day programme.

“We wanted promotion in our first season, to change the mindset at the club and to invest well, which I think we have done. It is a fantastic division and there are some top sides like Darlington and Spennymoor who have games in hand. We are all engrossed by it and it is a full-time role for us. We are so engrossed it feels like watching Arsenal and Chelsea when you are waiting for results to come in”

If promotion in their first season is the short-term target for Neville and his fellow owners, then the Football League is something that he considers a “dream target”. Although he acknowledges that it won’t go as smoothly as some may expect.

“The dream target is to get Salford City into the Football League but that could be four, five or more years away. We have all been in football for a long time now and we know there will be ups and downs, it doesn’t always go smoothly but we know where we want to go”

There was one very notable success that City can claim in the opening six months since the “Class of 92” takeover and one that saw them take part in one of the shock transfers of the January transfer window.

Libyan born defender Sadiq El Fitouri made the move from Evo-Stik League to Premier League as he moved from City to Neville’s former club Manchester United. The right back made his Under 21 team debut on Monday evening in the 1-1 draw at Sunderland and Neville believes that the move is a “major step forward” for his club, but hoped it would be the first of many.

“Sadiq going to Manchester United was a major step forward. We made a pledge to the club that we would produce young talent. Within six months he has gone from playing for us to playing for Manchester United under 21s, it’s a great story.

Any young lads who are doubting what we are trying to do will look at that and think it could happen to them. If they have an opportunity to progress at a professional club, we won’t stand in their way, we want to develop players and do things the right way”

If doing things the right way continues with the same success, then Neville and his fellow ‘Class of 92’ members could be at the start of an exciting new chapter in their illustrious careers.

Photo: Action Images




Marine’s Arriva Stadium has been chosen by the Football Association to stage one of this season’s FA Sunday Cup semi-finals.

The EVO-STIK Northern Premier League club’s ground will host the last four clash between Liverpool Business Houses Sunday League side Campfield and Leeds outfit Chapeltown Fforde Grene on Sunday March 15.

In the competition’s other last four tie, Warley & District Sunday League side OJM face Cheshunt-based New Salamis at Hednesford’s Key Park on the same day in another 2pm kick-off.

Marine chairman Paul Leary said: “We have staged a number of FA Sunday Cup semi-finals in the past and it is fantastic to get the nod again this year. I’m sure we will see another exciting tie.”

Tickets, which can be purchased on the gate, are priced £4 for adults and £1 for U16s and over 65s.

This season’s final will take place on Sunday 26 April at a venue yet to be announced.

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Two Late Goals Take Darlington Back To The Top

Padiham 1 Darlington 3

Two late goals saw relieved Darlington return to the top of the table with a 3-1 win at struggling Padiham that puts the promotion-chasers in a healthy position.

They are now ahead of Salford City thanks to a much better goal difference, but have three games in hand on their promotion rivals as well as third-placed Northwich Victoria.

The scoreline, however, does little to reflect a match in which they were made to be patient after missing a succession of first-half chances.

Only the most pessimistic of followers would not have expected a Darlington win against the division’s bottom side, Padiham having lost 23 of their 30 matches before last night.

Ten of those had been at home, yet they took the lead and although Quakers turned it around, it was not until the 84th minute that the points looked safe when Stephen Thompson grabbed Darlington’s third goal.

Nonetheless, an eighth away win puts Martin Gray’s men on top of the table ahead of this weekend’s trip to play-off chasing Harrogate RA.

“I was always confident,” said Gray, who had taken the opportunity to leave Chris Hunter on the bench and also give David Dowson a rare start.

“We started the game really well and had a lot of chances. We could’ve been two or 3-0 up before they’d even scored what was their only clear chance of the game.

“I was disappointed with conceding a goal when we were on top, but the reaction of the players was really positive. I don’t think the fact we could go top of the table was a factor.

“We stayed patient and eventually broke them down. The second goal took the wind out of their sails.”


Craig Stoddart Northern Echo

Do I Shout Goal Or Howzatttt??

A decade ago Steve Harmison helped England win back the Ashes, destroying the Australian top order with his hostile fast bowling. Tonight the 36-year-old makes his managerial debut – in football, taking charge of Ashington FC in their Ebac Northern Football League Division One clash against Bishop Auckland. In case you’re wondering, that’s the ninth tier of English football.

Though Ashington have been around since 1883 the club they – or at least their few hundred fans – call ‘The Colliers’ have not made much of an impression on the wider footballing world in the last 75 years. In the years immediately after the First World War Ashington reached the dizzy heights of the Football League Third Division North, and in January 1924 nearly 12,000 fans watched them lose 5-1 to Aston Villa in the FA Cup.

That was about as good as it got for the Colliers, and nowadays the average crowd in the Woodhorn Lane ground is around 200. But some 500 are expected tonight to see Harmison take his seat in the dugout as Ashington look to improve on recent results that have seen them drop to 16th in the table with just nine wins from 30 league outings.

Many of the fans will know the England bowler personally. Harmison grew up in the former mining town and his family were better known for their footballing skills than their cricketing. Harmison played in the defence for the club’s youth team before concentrating on cricket, while his dad played for Yeovil Town in the Conference and his brother still plays for another local side.

According to the Daily Mail, Harmison’s part-time role as manager “pays a token wage to cover expenses and will involve at least two weeknight training sessions and Saturday matches”. Whether it will lead to bigger and better things remains to be seen but Harmison dismissed suggestions it’s nothing more than a publicity stunt. “Anyone who knows me understands that football has always been first,” he told the Mail. “Northern League football is something I have watched since I was old enough to walk – not many people have watched more non-league games than I have.”

Harmison, who won the last of his 63 England caps in 2009 and retired from all cricket three years later, explained why he had taken the plunge. “It felt right,” he said. “The club has solid foundations but they needed a change with some fresh ideas and I’ve got a fantastic team… the club has so much going for it and we want to be part of that. I know the league and I know what’s going on. We’re in a bit of a relegation fight but I’m excited by it.”

Harmison intends to undergo an FA coaching course in the summer and in the meantime he’ll bring to bear at Ashington what he learned on the cricket field. “If you have played a professional sport at the top level then those core values transfer – a winning mentality and demanding certain standards,” he said.

Harmison is a lifelong Newcastle United fan and the Magpies’ head coach, John Carver, has offered to lend a helping hand to a North East sporting icon. “He might come in and have a cup of tea and go through some tactics – he’s more than welcome to do that,” said Carver, who, when asked what he thought of Harmison’s decision to manager Ashington, replied: “He must be crazy.” ·

Groundshare Deal Signed To Bring Vics Home

Northwich Victoria can look forward to ending their three year exile after agreeing a groundsharing agreement with EVO-STIK Northern Premier League Witton Albion.

Instead of travelling 18 miles to their current temporary home at Flixton on the outskirts of Manchester, the First Division North Vics will be kicking off in their hometown at Albion’s Wincham Park from August.

Under the terms of an initial three year deal, Vics will play all their home league and cup games at the ground, pictured, an arrangement that worked successfully for both clubs in the early 2000’s.

Hailing the news, a Vics spokesman said: “We are delighted to be returning to the town and would like to put on record our sincere thanks and gratitude to everyone at Witton Albion for the way in which negotiations were carried out and concluded in a very understanding and professional manner.

“Northwich Victoria have found that the time spent away from its home town have proved extremely difficult and we are more than ready to return. Witton Albion have made that possible for the foreseeable future which we hope will prove successful period for both clubs.

“We would like to thank the Vics supporters who have managed to travel with us during our enforced exile and welcome back those who for a variety of reasons were unable to make the journey but continued to keep Northwich Victoria close to their hearts. We look forward to seeing you all and to creating the next chapter in a long and proud history.”

Witton Albion chairman Mark Harris echoed the sentiments of the Vics and believes the arrangement is fantastic news for both clubs.

Welcoming Wednesday’s announcement, he said: “We have been looking for partner to share Wincham Park for some time. In the modern era it makes total sense for competing clubs to share facilities, providing that the deal works for both parties – especially financially. This agreement will provide a sound basis on which to build the revenue necessary to invest in both the team and the stadium’s facilities.

“No club enters into a ground share agreement lightly. We have carefully evaluated the ramifications in terms of extra workload for our volunteers, pressure on the playing surface and additional commercial opportunities that two local clubs playing in on stadium provides. We have also built in the necessary safeguards to protect the additional revenue that this agreement brings.”

Harris, who is also chairman of the EVO-STIK NPL, added: “Witton Albion has a recent history of successful ground shares, both with Vics and Runcorn Linnets, so we know that they can work very well for both parties. We look forward to welcoming Vics to Wincham Park next season.”

Source: David Watters

Massive Few Weeks For Bamber Bridge

The next few weeks will indicate whether Bamber Bridge are serious about winning promotion this season.

That is the view of assistant manager Neil Reynolds as his players face up to a tough-looking set of fixtures in the NPL First Division North over the forthcoming month.

After a tricky away test at Brighouse Town tomorrow, Brig then host second-placed Northwich Victoria at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium the following Saturday.

They also face away trips to big-spending Darlington 1883, who are currently third, and play-off rivals AFC Farsley during February.

After losing three games on the trot, Brig got their league campaign back on track with a 3-1 victory over bottom side Padiham last weekend.

They find themselves in ninth spot in the table but only four points outside the play-offs with several games in hand.

“It’s going to be challenging, but I’m quite excited about what’s coming up,” Reynolds told the Evening Post.

“I can’t wait to go to Darlington and Farsley and play Northwich at home.

“I can’t wait for these games – pitting ourselves against the best in the league.

“It will tell us where we are. If we do well in these games, then we will be in the play-offs.

“If we don’t, then we will have to re-evaluate our season.

“But we have full confidence in the squad. The lads are absolutely brilliant.

“They have got great believe and we’ll keep chipping away.

“Hopefully that will be good enough to see us end up in the play-offs.”

Tomorrow’s opponents Brighouse are near the bottom of the table but they have collected seven wins on their home patch and defeated leaders Salford City 3-1 at Hove Edge in their last match.

“It will be a tough game against Brighouse,” Reynolds said.

“They had a great win against Salford in their last game at home and we know they have got some quality players in their team. They probably have not had the rub of the green.

“But it’s a big, flat pitch at their place which will suit our wide men and our runners from midfield.”

Brig are likely to include Curtis Thompson in their line-up once again for tomorrow’s encounter.

The midfielder, who returned to the club last week after a spell at Premier Division outfit Skelmersdale United, started in the win over Padiham on Saturday before being withdrawn 25 minutes into the second half.

“Curtis was a massive part of our success last season,” Reynolds added.

“He’s not played much football at Skem, but he got through 70 minutes of the game against Padiham on Saturday. He’s going to be a massive asset to us for the rest of the season.”

Reynolds was also impressed with the display of defender Michael Muscat, who has joined on loan from Fleetwood Town’s academy, while the squad is also strengthened by the return of striker Darren Green .

“Mike Muscat looks a real prospect,” Reynolds said.

“We’ve also got Darren Green back, which is a massive boost.”

One negative is the continued absence of Matt Mahoney, who looks like he will be out of action for a number of weeks with a hernia.

Seventeen-year-old youngster Regan Linney is also missing as he is away in the USA on a scholarship programme.

Hughes Speaks About The Importance Of Coaching

Scarborough Athletic’s joint manager Bryan Hughes has spoken of the importance of coaching education after becoming the latest beneficiary of the EVO-STIK NPL’s Coaching Development Fund,

The NPL’s successful bursary scheme is part-funded by the Football Association to pick up 50 per cent of the costs of earning FA and UEFA coaching badges. Hughes is the sixth coach to have already taken advantage of the funding so far this season as part of the EVO-STIK NPL’s on-going drive to raise standards of excellence.

The Seadogs joint-manager is pictured being presented with a cheque for £300 by EVO-STIK NPL development officer Mark Ogley prior to his side’s home game against Warrington Town in January.

Hughes said: “I’m really grateful to the Coaching Development Fund for the help it provided towards the cost of my UEFA B course.

“The more coaches we can get with the right qualifications to develop the skills of players from grassroots football through to semi-professional sides the better.

“I’d also like to thank club secretary Sally Elwick for helping with my application to allow me to benefit from the fund.”

Former Birmingham City and Charlton midfielder Hughes was appointed as assistant manager to former Athletic boss Rudy Funk back in April 2014 before taking the reins as joint-manager alongside Paul Foot in December.

Hughes follows in the footsteps of Warrington Town’s assistant manager Lee Smith, Stafford Rangers manager Neil Kitching, Mickleover Sports physio and coach Dave Hoole, Stourbridge’s Steve Fellows and Leek Town’s Darren Baker who collected their bursary awards over the first half of the campaign.

Candidates have up to three years to complete their courses at a variety of venues

EVO-STIK NPL’s development officer Ogley said: “I was delighted to be able to present the bursary cheque to Bryan.

“Bryan’s thoughts of how he wants to develop players at semi professional level through his own experiences and quality FA coach education will benefit the players who will get to work with him for many years to come.

“This will consequently improve player standards within the EVO-STIK Northern Premier League which is .”

More information on the FA Level 2 courses can be accessed through local County FAs with information also on available on the FA Learning website.

For further information about the EVO-STIK NPL’s bursary scheme, club secretaries should contact Mark Ogley via email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Dave Watters

Evo-Stik Groundsmen Up for Awards 

The EVO-STIK Northern Premier League’s top groundsmen are on their way to being honoured nationally at the Football Association’s 2015 Groundsmen of the Year Awards.

Loughborough Dynamo’s Chris Nurse, named by the FA at last year’s finals as the EVO-STIK NPL’s top groundsmen, Nantwich Town’s Peter Temmin, Colin Spence from Newcastle Town, Mick Grimmer at Stocksbridge Park Steels and Witton Albion’s Peter Robinson, will fly the flag for the EVO-STIK NPL at the 14th annual awards in August after their nominations were confirmed by the league on Wednesday.

The awards are taking place once again at the FA’s new national football centre at St George’s Park near Burton where the five will bid to beat their Ryman and EVO-STIK League Southern counterparts to the title of FA Step 3-4 Groundsman of the Year as well as competing against each other for the EVO-STIK NPL’s title in the league categories.

The next stage of the competition will see on-site assessments at the nominated grounds by the FA’s expert panel of judges, made up of groundsmen from a number of Premier League and Football League clubs.

They’ll not only look at the quality of the pitches but also take into consideration a finalist’s skills and knowledge, their ambitions for the pitch, the resources available, how often the pitch is used and the amount of time they are able to work on the surface.

Witton Albion’s Peter Robinson has reached the finals for the third successive year while Grimmer was runner-up to Nurse in 2014 in the EVO-STIK NPL category. The pair also flew the flag for the EVO-STIK League in the Step 3 & 4 finals where both were highly commended by judges.

When not tending to the First Division South club’s pristine playing surface at the Nanpantan Sports Ground, Nurse, 28, is of course, one of the EVO-STIK League’s top strikers.

The FA’s Groundsman of the Year accolades are handed out to recognise the outstanding contribution made by the unsung heroes of the game and encourage the development of groundmanship.

Groundsmen, the vast majority of whom are volunteers, play a huge role in ensuring pitches are in the best possible condition, working week in, week out, in all weathers and all year round, to make sure that thousands of matches can take place on high standard playing surfaces.

More than a hundred groundsmen and women from all levels of the game are expected to attend the awards where the winners will be honoured in front of their peers when they collect national and individual league awards and commendations from members of the FA’s Pitches & Facilities Committee.


Source Dave Watters

Evo-Stik Club Of The Month

The Awards for the Evo-Stik Club of the month are as follows:

Premier: FC United of Manchester
First North: Warrington Town
First South: Newcastle Town

Torquay To Welcome The Manchester Masses

The sedate English Riviera town of Torquay is set to welcome up to 1,000 Mancunian visitors this weekend as FC United of Manchester prepare to face Torquay United in the quarter final of the FA Trophy on Saturday 7 February 2015.

FC United supporters have been booking places on planes, trains, coaches and cars to make the 500-mile round trip for a game which will see the winners just two games away from playing in a Wembley cup final. FC United board member Tom Stott said: “Since we drew Torquay out of the hat for the quarter final, we’ve seen an amazing response from our supporters. The phones at our office have been red hot with people booking travel and we now have five official club coaches going to Torquay. We’re also aware of at least another three coaches making the trip and hundreds more driving, flying or making their way to Torquay on the train.”

The seaside resort is set to see an unprecedented winter influx of FC United supporters, with many booking up for mini-breaks to make a weekend of it. One Torquay hotel, The Cavendish, which is currently featured on Channel Four’s The Hotel series, is almost fully booked up thanks to FC United fans who have taken advantage of special bed and breakfast rates on offer.

FC United’s supporters will be travelling to Torquay in good heart as the team has already beaten higher-league opposition in the FA Trophy this season, having disposed of Harrogate Town, Chorley and AFC Fylde in previous rounds. They will be hoping that manager Karl Marginson’s side can go one better by reaching the semi-final on Saturday when they take on Conference Premier side Torquay United, who were playing league football only last year

Former Nation Boss Chosen To Take Town Reins

Northern League Division Two club Northallerton Town are pleased to announce the appointment of Stephen Skinner as manager.

The appointment comes following the resignation of Peter Mulcaster last month.

Skinner brings a wealth of experience with him both as a player, manager and also as chairman of Celtic Nation.

He played professionally for clubs including Gretna, Carlisle United and Queen of the South before moving into the Northern League.

His former Northern League clubs are Celtic Nation, West Auckland Town and Newton Aycliffe.

Skinner is retaining the services of current coach Danny Mellanby, who joined the club in September.

Albion Boost Midfield Options With Robinson Signing

Northern League Division Two club Ryton & Crawcrook Albion have signed Philip Robinson from Northern League Division One side West Allotment Celtic.

The right-sided midfielder celebrated his 27th birthday by putting pen to paper last week.

Robins was part of North Shields’ promotion-winning team last season, before moving to neighbouring Celtic.

He has also played for Brandon United and Crook Town, so brings a wealth of Northern League experience to the club.

Former Ancients Boss Hillerby Handed Synners Post
Northern League Division One club Billingham Synthonia have appointed Conrad Hillerby as their new manager.

Hillerby takes over from Lee Tucker, who quit Central Avenue a month ago, and he brings with him former players Richie Storr and Paul Campbell as part of the coaching team.

Hillerby was previously manager of Norton & Stockton Ancients for four years, with whom he guided to promotion from Northern League Division Two, and then to the FA Vase Quarter Finals.

Young Striker Crosses River Tyne For Heed Move

Conference club Gateshead have snapped up forward Tom Heardman on a one-month loan deal from Premier League side Newcastle United.

The 19-year-old was a regular for the Magpies’ Under-18 side, and has made a handful of appearances for the Under-21 side this season.

Born in Gosforth, the young forward is six-foot-four in height, and will hopefully prove a welcome addition to The Tynesiders’ injury-ravaged attack.

He will be available for selection in tonight’s clash with Lincoln City at the International Stadium.

Tynesiders Move To Bolster Defence With Anderton Capture

Conference club Gateshead are delighted to confirm that defender Nick Anderton has joined on a one-month loan deal from League One side Preston North End.

Anderton, 18, signed a professional contract with the Deepdale outfit in the summer, after spending time on loan at Chorley last season. He will be available for tomorrow’s trip to Aldershot Town.

Manager Gary Mills is hopeful the youngster can make an immediate impact on Tyneside: “He will be bring a bit of solidity to the back-four. He is someone who can defend. If the ball comes into the box, he’s going to defend that ball. I’m sick of saying it – we’ve conceded too many sloppy goals. It has to stop.

It needs to be addressed. Nick has trained with us yesterday and today, and he will be travelling with us to Aldershot tomorrow.”

Dixon Continues Squad Overhaul With Skinner Joining Newtonians

Peter Dixon, manager of Northern League Division one club Newton Aycliffe, has continued his squad overhaul with the signing of Stephen Skinner.

Skinner, who is ironically the owner of The Newtonians’ league rivals Celtic Nation, played under Dixon at the beginning of this season at West Auckland Town.

The 32-year-old forward began his career with hometown club Carlisle United, before having spells at Scotland with Queen of the South and Gretna. He rejoined United on loan in 2001, before moving to Albion Rovers.

Since 2005, he played for Celtic Nation (once known as Gillford Park), before his move to play under Dixon at Town in August.

Synners Appoint Watson To Caretaker Position Following Tucker Exit

Micky Watson took caretaker charge of Northern League Division One club Billingham Synthonia prior to their 1-1 home draw with Durham City on Saturday.

Watson takes over from Lee Tucker, who resigned midweek due to an inconsistent start to the season.

Tucker and first-team coach Mark Scott both stepped down from their positions.

Tucker said: “My thanks go to Stuart Coleby, Graham Craggs and others whose support has always been incredible. They truly deserve success and over the four years I have been here we have not had that success.

“A new manager will have the time this season to challenge for three trophies and plenty of league games left to take the team up the table. Whoever gets the job will be fortunate to be working with a great group of people at a superb club and I genuinely wish them every success.”

Mulcaster Steps Down From Town Helm After Home Defeat

northallerton_logoAfter Friday night’s 2-1 home defeat to Billingham Town, Northallerton Town manager Peter Mulcaster tendered his resignation at the Northern League Division Two club.

This was reluctantly accepted. Peter’s resignation came after a string of poor away results following one of the best starts to a season enjoyed by the club for many years.

Peter felt this was the best time for him to go to allow the club to put a new manager in place. He felt over recent games that he was unable to further exact the type of performance from the team that they have proved they are capable of already this season. He also felt that a new impetus was needed.

Chairman Peter Young said: “The club are very grateful to Peter for his hard work and great efforts on their behalf during his third term here at the Calvert Stadium. As always Peter has been a significant influence at the club. We wish him well in whatever he decides to do in the future.”

In the short term, coach Danny Mellanby will take charge of the team.

The club is now seeking applications from anyone interested in the vacant role. Ideally the person will have knowledge of Northern League football and be able to recruit, coach and motivate players.

Citizens Move To Sign Former Black Cats Starlet
durham cityNorthern League Division One club Durham City have completed the signing of Lewis Gibbons.

Gibbons is former captain of Sunderland Under-18s, and the highly-rated centre-half went straight into the squad for City’s 1-1 draw away to Billingham Synthonia on Saturday.

Manager Ian Chandler said on Saturday morning: “Lewis is a classy player and can fit into either the centre-half position or midfield, and will be available for selection this afternoon.”

United Stalwart Steps Down From Managerial Role

brandon_logoVince Kirkup is stepping down as team manager at Northern League Division Two club Brandon United. He will continue as commercial manager, an additional role he took on earlier this year. His decision ends thirty-seven years in team management, chiefly at Stanley United.

The club is now seeking applications from people interested in looking after first-team affairs.

Chairman Bill Fisher said: “Ideally the person will have knowledge of the local football scene and be able to recruit, coach and motivate players.”

An experienced person would be preferred, said Bill, though the role could suit someone either still playing or have just ended their playing career.

Applications are asked to be sent to club secretary Barry Ross on 07717673090, or via email at

FA Vase First Round Draw Made At Wembley 

VASE The draw for the FA Vase First Round was made at Wembley today. Ties are to be played over the weekend of 31st October to 2nd November.

Colne v Shildon
West Allotment Celtic or Nelson v Runcorn Town
North Shields v AFC Emley
Marske United v Winterton Rangers
Bishop Auckland v Holker Old Boys
Bottesford Town v Ryhope CW
Selby Town v Seaham Red Star
Guisborough Town v Billingham Synthonia or Celtic Nation
Sunderland RCA v Handsworth Parramore
Bedlington Terriers v Whitley Bay
Consett v Silsden

Alnwick Town have a bye

Aycliffe Appoint Dixon As New Manager For Season RemainderNewton Aycliffe

Former West Auckland Town manager Peter Dixon has agreed to take over as manager of Northern League Division One rivals Newton Aycliffe until the end of the season.

Dixon, who was appointed after Aycliffe lost their local derby by 2-1 at home to Shildon on Saturday, quit West in August after leading them to two FA Vase finals, and turned down several job offers until he was approached by chairman Allan Oliver a fortnight ago.

Dixon said: “Allan sold the club to me. He told me that if the club is successful, then the crowds will follow. They’ve done a lot of hard work to get into the Northern League first division, and they don’t want to waste it. My mission statement, if you like, is to keep them in the division, and then we’ll sit down in April and see where we go from there.”

Dixon watched the game from the sidelines, and said; “If Shildon are the second best team in the league, then we should retain Aycliffe’s divisional status.”

Crowther Seals Loan Move Away From Holker Street 


Barrow midfielder Jamie Crowther has joined Conference North rivals Hednesford Town on a one-month loan deal.

The 22-year-old central midfielder, who suffered a leg injury during the beginning of the current campaign, started for The Bluebirds last Saturday when they stumbled to a 1-0 home FA Cup defeat against North West Counties League Premier Division side Runcorn Town.

Meanwhile, young attacking midfielder Alex Newby has been loaned to Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division outfit Workington for an initial one-month period

Three More For Citizens With Squad Shaping Nicely
durham cityNorthern League Division One club Durham City have announced three more signings that will further strengthen Manager Ian Chandler’s squad.

Moussa Bakhti is 21, comes from Rosny Sous Bois in Paris. He is a product of the Academy Toulouse, and plays in the left-back position.

Matthew Smith is 20, and is an accomplished centre midfielder currently playing for Durham City Under-23s.

Aiden Haley is a product of the Sunderland Academy, and is also a quality midfield player.

Mills Proud As Danny Proves To Be Wright Once More
GatesheadGary Mills, manager of Conference club Gateshead, paid tribute to his players as they dug deep to register their fourth 1-1 draw in succession at Lincoln City’s Sincil Bank.

The Heed fell behind to Tom Anderson’s header early into the second-half, but restored parity only eight minutes later thanks to in-form forward Danny Wright.

And, although disappointed not to clinch the three points late on, Mills was delighted that his players found the means to combat a physical Lincoln side.

He said: “I’m proud of my players. We’ve gone behind again and we’ve come back again, so I think that keeps telling somebody something. It was a tough challenge tonight as Lincoln play very direct.

We like to go and squeeze the ball high, but at times it’s impossible to squeeze the ball here because they get it forward straight away.

“But what Lincoln do, they do well, so to get a point is a good result for us.”

Bluebirds Sign Forward To Cover For Injured Wilson

imageConference North club Barrow have confirmed the loan signing of striker Andy Owens, who arrives from Conference club AFC Telford United on a one-month deal.

The 24-year-old striker has been drafted in as cover for injured front man Anthony Wilson, and will be drafted straight into Darren Edmondson’s squad when Barrow host Lowestoft Town on Saturday.

Ainsley Praises Professional McAndrew After Moors Exit 

spennymoor_logoJason Ainsley, manager of Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One North club Spennymoor Town, has called Lee McAndrew a ‘model professional’ after he left on Monday.

The 29-year-old left the Brewery Field in search of regular first-team football.
McAndrew can play on either flank or through the middle, and weighed in with twelve goals in his fourth and final season at Northern League Division One club Dunston UTS before becoming Ainsley’s second signing of the summer.

Ainsley said: “Lee can argue that he hasn’t had a great deal of opportunities to start and I accept that but the tremendous performances Anthony Peacock has been putting in has been a major factor in that.

“Lee has decided he wants to play week in week out which is something I couldn’t guarantee him. He has been a model professional whilst with us and is a top lad to go with it. I wish him every success at his new club.”

Spartans release Watson ahead of Darlo move
IMG_0006Blyth Spartans defender Ian Watson has had his registration with the club cancelled to enable him to complete a move to Evo-Stik NPL First Division North club Darlington 1883.

Watson signed for Spartans in August 2013, joining from Northern League club Whitley Bay. He made his debut on the last day of the month in the home defeat to Matlock Town.

His first season at the club ended with him making forty four apperances, scoring one goal. That came in the 6-2 hammering of Stafford Rangers at Croft Park.

Ironically Watson’s final appearance at Croft Park was to come against his new club as Spartans knocked the Quakers out of the FA Cup. Four days later the defender made his final appearance in the green and white in the away draw at Stamford.

Watson is expected to be in the Darlington squad for the league fixture with Harrogate Railway on Wednesday evening.


Mechanics Add To Squad With Three Impressive Captures
washington_logoNorthern League Division Two club Washington have completed the signings of midfielder Stephen Halliday, defender Joe Kendrick and striker Daniel Iredale.

Halliday was previously joint-manager at Northern League Division One side Sunderland RCA, but left earlier this month. He is 37, and will add vast experience to the midfield having played with Seaham Red Star in recent times.

31-year-old Kendrick is a natural left-back, who has enjoyed an extensive footballing career, starting as a youth player at Newcastle United. He then moved to Germany with TSV 1860 Munchen, but failed to make an apperance. This was followed by spells back in England with Darlington, Torquay United, Tamworth and Newcastle Blue Star.

He moved back to his native Ireland with Drogheda United, before an impressive move to Azerbaijan with Neftchi Baku. In 2010, he returned to Ireland with Sligo Rovers, before heading back to Drogheda United and then to Bray Wanderers. Recently, he has played for Mansfield Town, Blyth Spartans and Bedlington Terriers.

Iredale is a striker who has been with Ryton & Crawcrook Albion previously.

Coup For Citizens With Former Black Cats Striker Signing
durham cityStriker Ryan Noble has signed for Northern League Division One club Durham City.

Noble is a centre-forward with Premier League, having started his career with Sunderland as a product of their Academy. He made several subsitute appearances, as well as scoring in the FA Cup against Barrow in January 2010.

Following loan spells at Watford, Derby County and Hartlepool he moved to Burnley, then Gateshead and more recently Darlington 1883.

Johnson To Take Reins From Diamond At The Welfare
imageFollowing a meeting between players and management earlier in the week, Gordon Diamond decided to step down as manager of Wearside League club Harton & Westoe.

Diamond will be at their game away to Seaton Carew tomorrow, before handing over the reigns to newly-appointed manager Simon Johnson.

The club have had several very good applications for the position, but feel that Johnson, having been assistant manager at both Hebburn Reyrolle and Seaham Red Star in recent seasons, has the desire and connections to put the team back on track.

The club appeal to all players to get behind this change, and give Simon a chance to bring successful, enjoyable football back to The Welfare.

Mills Delighted With Growing Confidence In Heed Camp
GatesheadGary Mills, manager of Conference Premier club Gateshead, believes his side are adjusting well to the rigours of the new campaign, with their mental strength firmly intact following two testing fixtures on the road.

The Heed followed up a 1-1 draw at Macclesfield Town with the same result at Welling United last Saturday, leaving them fifth in the standings, four points adrift of early pacesetters Barnet.

But, having fallen behind in both games, Mills believes his side are building the character required for a sustained promotion push.

He said: “Those results have grown our mental strength. To come from behind in two games – both away from home – in a short space of time, represents a turnaround at Gateshead Football Club.

“Compare that to the Gateshead I knew in the past – if you got in front against them, you’d beat them.  So, we’ve built a belief that when we do go behind in a game, we have the character to turn it around.”

Turnbull returns to Spartans for a third time
IMG_0006Blyth Spartans have announced the signing of midfielder Stephen Turnbull, meaning the fans favourite returns to Croft Park for a third spell in the green and white.

The former Hartlepool United and Shildon man signed a contract to complete a return to the club that he joined in 2009 and went on to make 91 appearances scoring 14 goals during that initial spell.

After spells with Harrogate Town and Australian side Bayswater City he made a return to Croft Park in February 2013 making a further 16 appearances and scoring two goals.

“Twinny” signed for Northern League side Shildon at the end of the 2013\14 season but departed the County Durham club at the end of the season.
Spartans manager Tom Wade was delighted to have captured a player who he admitted he held in the highest regard.

“Ste is a great signing for the club. We fought off stiff competition from a number of clubs to get him to the club and with the backing of the board we managed to bring him back. He will give us a lot of experience in the centre of the park and the younger midfielders like Ryan Hutchinson and Matthew Wade will benefit from having Stephen and Neal Hooks in there with them. He is a leader on and off the park and we are all very happy to have him on board once again”

New Role At Dean Street For Former Favourite
shildon_logoNorthern League Division One club Shildon are pleased to announce the return of fans favourite Chris Hughes in his new capacity as director of football.

The former midfielder will be responsible for liaising between the development centre, and all other teams up to the first-team.

The Railwaymen welcome back Chris, and wish him good luck in his new role at Dean Street.

FTLOF Agree Deal With To Become News Partner
imageAs part of For The Love of Football Blog’s plans to give a more complete view of the Non-League scene in the North East and Cumbria, a deal has been agreed with, who will now provide the latest updates in their news section.

Starting today’s news articles will be available on FTLOF to give supporters the latest stories from around the grounds whether it’s transfer news, managerial changes or player interviews.

Editor Luke Donkin commented: “I’m delighted to be working in partnership with For The Love of Football Blog, as I believe it is the perfect platform to help us further engage with non-league supporters, who are without question the lifeblood of the beautiful game.

I’ve worked quite closely with founder Mark Carruthers for a considerable length of time now, and I believe liaising with him over and For The Love of Football Blog will help establish us even more throughout the non-league community.”

FTLOF Editor Mark Carruthers was delighted with the deal, saying: “We wanted to expand what we offer and getting on board is a real boost. They offer a reliable, professional news service and I am delighted we have agreed to work together.”


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