Norton & Stockton Ancients

This photograph shows Norton & Stockton Ancients Northern League Challenge Cup Winners season 1982/3. Norton, in their first season in the Norton League beat Whitby Town 2-1 in the final under the guidance of the manager Tommy Smith. Courtesy of Richard Scott.

27 thoughts on “Norton & Stockton Ancients

  1. Norton & Stockton Ancients were formed in 1980 with the amalgamation of Norton Cricket Club Trust & Stockton F.C., but there was an amalgamation in the late fifties of Stockton Harriers & Norton C.C.T. which became Norton & Stockton Harriers which Ken Sawyer one of the contributors of this site was involved in as a coach.

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  2. KEN WILLIAMSON FROM NORTON CRICKET CLUB APPEARS ON THE CROOK TOWN 1954 AMATEUR CUP WINNING TEAM PHOTO & RIGHTLY SO HE PLAYED AGAINST BISHOP AUCKLAND AT WEMBLEY I WAS THERE. THERE IS A PHOTO OF THE 1959 TEAM WITH THE F.A. AMATEUR CUP WITH MILLER & FOSTER ON IT, BUT COATES & KEATING ACTUALLY PLAYED IN THE FINAL.

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  3. Norton & Stockton Ancients have been drawn away to Causeway Utd in the third-round of the F.A.Vase, they play at Stourbridge in the Midlands, one of their early stars was Leo Sharpe, the father of Lee Sharpe the former Manchester United player.

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  4. As mentioned elsewhere on this site Norman Fowler & Dennis Thwaites represented England Schoolboys & both played professional football, one of the most recent is Jonathon Franks who has also been capped at under 17 & 19 level and is in the Middlesbrough F.C. first team squad at the moment but is recovering from an operation. He is a level headed lad who coaches the under 18 team where he started Stockton Town. A lot of lads that are capped at schoolboy & youth level do not make the professional game, where as lads like Gordon Jones, Willie Maddren & Lee Cattermole worked hard at their game as they progressed through the age groups and represented England under 23 team and became top professionals.

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  5. Peter Lax brings back memories of my youth Anon. Peter was a schoolboy International one of a very select group from Teesside to gain that honour. It would be interesting to know who the other local players where lucky enough to be selected. You needed more than natural ability to get the International call. If you did not have some high up official pushing your case it did not happen. Peter was also a playing collegue at South Bank St Peters and South Bank Juniors with me, and was an outstanding Junior Player. I understand Peter went on to be a senior official at the Billingham Synthonia Senior teams of recent years.

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  6. On the subject of football selection committees Benny, Barry Lee at Norton C.C.T. later Norton & Stockton Ancients always surrounded himself with friends or I.C.I. colleagues on their selection committee, in the early days there were Dennis Suttill, Bob McRoberts, Don Raper & Peter Lax to name a few, which gave them the final say in the team selection.

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  7. The day the 1959 Cup Final brings back memories, the weather that day on Teesside was a very hot Saturday. I was helping a friend build a garage in Acklam and my friend decided to order the concrete early, 9 cubic yards, for the base and the paths. His helpers failed to arrive leaving my friend and I to sort the problem out. The delivery truck dropped the concrete in the Cul-de-sac and it immediately started to spread all over the end of the road which was circular. My friend departed to try and get help from his mates, leaving me with a water hose to try and keep the concrete from setting. My friend returned after about one hour alone without any help promised. I desperately wanted to watch my old team at Wembley, but never got he chance to watch TV that day. As we toiled to get the 9 cubic yards of concrete into place which we managed about midnight with torch lights. I often wonder when looking back how we completed that job, it was the hardest days work I ever attempted. If anyone has a copy of that Final I would be grateful for a copy or where I might purchase a copy.

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  8. In answer to Anon you may be correct in your statement that it was the 1959 Northern League Challenge Cup Final that Crook Town lost to West Auckland Anon, after fifty odd years things sometimes get confused. Also Bill Jeffs from Teesside had a fitness trial before the Cup final and was ruled out and replaced by a Derek Carr from Belper who was stationed with the RAF at Basingstoke and had only played two previous games for Crook Town, instead of George Masters who was the expected replacement for Bill Jeffs. The selection committee at that time was a ten strong body with a Chairman for a casting vote, so you can imagine the arguments when selecting a team, especially for a Wembly Cup Final. Incidently another local Boy Ken Williamson appeared in the official team photograph for Crook when in fact he was not in the official Wembly party, but was on hand when the photograph was taken as some players were absent, including Arnold Coates who appeared as an inset, Bill Jeffs made the photograph in his day clothes while Ken was in the Crook strip. On the Stockton Ancients history front I remember a 8ft x 4ft team phtograph on the wall of the Board Room in the Stockton Victoria Ground of the 1899 Stockton Ancients English Amateur Cup winning team, after some decorating this photograph disappeared and was never seen again. This piece of Stockton History was very important and if anyone in the new Stockton Ancients knows where this photograph is I would love a copy as My Grandfather Tom (Fanny) Lakey was member of that very successful team.

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  9. In season 1958-59 Consett won the Durham Challenge Cup & they were in the Midland League, I think you mean the Northern League Cup when West Auckland beat Crook Town & West Auckland finished runners up in the league to Crook. Bill Jeffs did not play at Wembley that season I’ve already named the forward line above the defence was Ray Snowball, Derek Gardener, Steward, Carr, Colin Bainbridge & Ray Wilkie.

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  10. Bobby Hardisty was not the Manager of Crook Town in the early part of 1959 season when I was in the team Anon, but was the Manager later in the season when I returned to Crook Town to play for them, five days after they had won the Amateur Cup at Wembley, this was the Final of the Durham County Cup held at Shildon’s ground, against West Auckland Town. I had been playing some mid week Durham County Cup matches for Crook Town while still at Stockton FC, as I was not cup tied, they also asked me to play in the FA Cup for them as I had missed Stocktons exit match that season from the FA Cup, but Stockton FC refused to allow me to play as it was a Saturday match. Crook Town lost the Final of the Durham Cup 7-1 to West Auckland that day and being the only change from the Wembly cup winning team it looked bad for me. Bobby Hardisty was giving me a pep talk in the dressing room at half time and I am afraid I lost my temper and told him the problem was that the whole team were on a downer after the heights of the Wembly win, I do not think he was very impressed with anyone that day. Local Boy Bill Jeffs was in that team and used to give me a lift to the matches, Bill was one of the hardest working wing halves I have ever played with, his shirt always seemed to be a deeper colour than the rest of the team due to the sweat. I still keep in touch with Jimmy Mcmillan as we played together in Army football and and our wives were great friends in Malvern in Worcestershire. Jimmy lives in Kibblesworth were he retired from the Durham County Council as Chief Planning officer.

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  11. The other two forwards who played at Wembley for Crook Town in 1959 with Arnold Coates, Seamus O’Connell & Jimmy McMillan were Keating & Tracey. Was Bob Hardisty the manager at Crook when you were there Benny? Seamus O’Connell’s First Division Championship winners medal(now the Premiership)& three F.A.Amateur Cup winners medals will never be equaled, Seamus is now eighty years old gone January. Ken Williamson also played for Darlington in the Football League, 13 games scoring 3 goals, Bill Harburn played in the same Crook Town team as Ken that won the Northern League Championship in season 1952-53. The period we are referring to Benny the Northern League teams Bishop Auckland, Crook Town, Willington, West Auckland & Spennymoor, their grounds were packed to the rafters when they had home Amateur Cup ties against the likes of Wimbledon, Barnet,
    Wealdstone & Hendon to name a few.

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  12. Talking about Seamus O’Connell Anon, I played alongside him at inside right and he was inside left with my good friend Jimmy McMillan at outside left and Arnold Coates at outside right in 1959 Crook Town team in the early part of the season. It was always understood that Seamus did not claim any expenses for his services, I think being from a very rich family he could reamain the true amateur footballer, whereas most of us were Shamateurs. The latest update I had on Seamus from friends is that he is not too healthy at present, and opened a Restaurant in Spain with not too successful a result. He now requires operations to both knees and my information that there is some sort of trust being set up to help him pay for the operations he requires. Anyone who can help in this edevour would, I am sure, be a welcome addition to the people organizing this effort. I have no details of any address that is involved, but I think the Sports Editor of the Northern Echo might have some information on the subject. I will contact my good friend Jimmy McMillan who incidently holds the record for the number of Amateur Cup winners medal at four. I am sure if he were playing for the Boro today he would be an outstanding player, the best Amateur I ever saw or played with.

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  13. In 1959 the great Seamus O’Connell played for Crook Town along with other top amateur players, they won the F.A. Amateur Cup, Northern League Championship & were Northern League Cup runners up. Seamus could score goals in any level of football, he made his English Football League debut for Middlesbrough on Boxing Day 1953, scoring in a 3-2 win against Newcastle Utd. He joined Chelsea in August 1954 & scored a hat-trick on his debut (one of only two Chelsea players to do this) against Manchester Utd in October 1954, although his side still lost 6-5. The season was still a success for Seamus & Chelsea as he scored eight goals in eleven league games & helped the club win their first league championship.
    Seamus remained with Chelsea for another season before returning to the amateur game & ended his time at Chelsea with 12 goals from 17 games. He was a three time winner of the F.A. Amateur Cup, two with Bishop Auckland in 1955 & 1956 and Crook Town in 1959. He won four caps for England amateurs. He used to travel to matches from his family’s cattle farming business in Carlisle (I don’t think Stockton F.C. could have paid his expences, never mind paying him twice as much). Well known local players who appear in photos of Crook Town successful teams on their website are Ken Williamson, Bill Harburn, Bill Jeffs, Frank Storr, Donny Heath, Terry Turnbull & Eric Young.

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  14. Regarding the comment about expenses. I was involved with Norton and Stockton Ancients fron the early 70’s ( then Norton CCT ) until the middle nineties and I can confirm that this team including managment received no expenses of any kind. See Tommy Smith’s earlier comments. During my time with Norton the club provided an unpaid opportunity for local players and managers to experience Northern League football.

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  15. The closest Stockton F.C. got to joining the Football League was season 1950-51 when they were a professional club, when they attracted an average crowd of 3,003 for home games & just failed with their Football League application. As far as paying players the word amateur has been deleted by the F.A. they are all players.

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  16. I would be very surprised Anon if any of these successful Stockton players were not being paid EXPENSES as it was termed in my time. I remember Stockton offering to double the expenses Crook Town were allowing me, it caused me to miss out on an Amateur Cup winners medal that year 1959, but expenses came in very handy to a newly married youngster. It is good to see the Stockton Ancients being restored to their righful position in the non league area of English football. Stockton was always a hotbed of talent and I have often wondered why on earth they never attained Football league status when teams such as Darlingtom and Hartlepool United have always been in the Football League set up. The nearest they got to Football league status would be when they played in the Midland League as an Amateur Team in the late fifties and early sixties. Maybe this new set up can do the trick by eventually getting League status, I wonder if this is their eventual goal?

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  17. Norton & Stockton Ancients went top of the Northern League Division One on Friday night with a victory over Billingham Town 3-0, so I think Richard Scott’s true amateur status will be long gone now with all the ex full-time professionals in their team which recently beat the F.A. Vase winners of the last two years Whitley Bay at Hillshead, Northumberland.

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  18. Its good to see Norton & Stockton Ancients are through to the FA Vase Quarter-Final, but are drawn away again to the winners of Willand Rovers or Barwell. Another local team, Marske United, could also get through if they win their replay at home to Whitehawk (Surrey).

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  19. CONGRATULATIONS to Norton & Stockton Ancients for their promotions from the Northern League Division 2, if Marske United get a result at Horden C.W. on Wednesday Norton & Stockton Ancients will be champions for the first time in their history. Could this be a return to the glory days of Stockton F.C. at the Victoria Ground.

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  20. The good old days, a young team and manager playing for the love of the game, going into a journey unknown as first season in the northern league, but enjoyed every minute of it, yes not a penny paid to the players the only money that exchanged hands was for the fines put on the players for not sticking to the rules, Richard Scott even made me pay for a cup of tea.

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  21. Graeme & Peter King are the sons of Freddy King, the old Portrack Shamrocks player, & Peter Graham”s father is Eddie who played for Whitby Town & Head Wrightsons. Regarding teams that are unpaid or poorly paid, they are only nurseries for the better Northern League teams.

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  22. Names as follows – back row standing David Topp, Alan Williamson,Stephen Bates,Shaun Heald,Mick Seddon,Colin Richardson,Lou Christie,Graeme King, Manager Tommy Smith. Front row Peter King,Carl Paylor,Jimmy Horton,John Morning, Peter Graham and Geoff Brooks. Norton and Stockton Ancients 2-1 victory over Whitby Town in the Northern League Challenge Cup in 82/83 season was the biggest upset in the competitions history. Peter Graham and Colin Richardson scored for Norton.

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  23. I can name about four of these players – Bottom row far left is Peter King and top row second right is brother Graham. The two people on the top row far left are Dave Topp and Phil Davison.

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    • I know this has taken a while ago, but we where true amateurs. I captained Norton on the night of our historic win and not only was I not paid, I used to get a bus from Hartlepool to train and play home games at a cost of 2 pounds, I would also like to add that Lou Christie was a hero on that night. I am second on the bottom left.

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