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Monday 21st April 2014 ko 15.00

Northern League Division One

SPENNYMOOR TOWN 4 (Graydon 13 Capper Taylor 80 90p)

TEAM NORTHUMBRIA 1 (Sayer 85)

Att 627

Entry £6

Programme £1

Badge SOLD OUT

If there was one ground that convinced me to attend the last day of the hop it was the Brewery Field. It has always been the home of football in Spennymoor right from when the first club Spennymoor United was formed in 1904, and took over the lease from Tudhoe Rugby Club. The ground used to belong to B. P. Junor’s ‘Tower Brewery’, hence the name ‘The Brewery Field’

The club worked its way up through the North-Eastern League, the Northern League, and into the Northern Premier League, via the Northern Counties East League in 1993. Like local rivals Bishop Auckland  the desire for elevation was at least in part a reaction to the Northern League’s reluctance to join the Non-League Pyramid. And the club would probably have still have been competing in the Northern Premier League but for one carelessly discarded cigarette behind a fruit machine…

The Christmas Eve 2003 fire in the uninsured Brewery Field Social Club eventually bankrupted the club. With a major income stream gone the owner walked away in 2005 and by April the club were unable to fulfil their fixtures. This left the Unibond League in a quandary and they eventually decided to expunge Spennymoor from the season’s records. That was harsh on leaders Workington who lost 6 points and with it top spot. They appealed and the league were forced to publish two league tables, one with Spennymoor United’s record included, and one with it expunged and postpone the end of season play-offs. Eventually the original decision stood, Hyde United won the league, and Workington were promoted via the play-offs.

It wasn’t over for football in Spennymoor. Northern League Division Two side Evenwood Town, whose Welfare Ground was bedevilled by vandalism were moved into the Brewery Field for the next season, their kit changed to Spennymoor black and white stripes and renamed Spennymoor Town. Since 2005 the club has twice unsuccessfully applied to the FA to change the club’s name to Spennymoor United. The move has certainly worked for them, the club won the FA Vase last season, my report and pictures here, and they’re riding high in the Northern League, with either they or Celtic Nation likely to do something not seen in the Northern League for some time (if at all?), two consecutive champions both seeking and achieving promotion.

Certainly on this warm Monday they had far too much for a limited Team Northumbria side who looked a long way from the team that gave Whitley Bay such a good game in a poorly executed hop game back in October, report here. 4-0 would have been fair, although Ben Sayer’s chip was a fine consolation, but as the game wound down I found myself pondering a conundrum, and that was what exactly had Spennymoor done differently because it was a hop game?

The programmes sold out well before kick-off, and the idiot that abused Notts Senior League organiser Rob Hornby at Keyworth missed out to the hilarity of those within earshot. Perhaps that person would like to reflect that if he’d bought a ticket he would have got a programme, and another hopper had a spare, but was sufficiently disgusted by his antics to say nothing.

The badges numbered single figures in stocks, and the burger van ran out of much of its stocks. Leaving aside my thoughts on the burger van in general. They can be read here; I left wondering whether the club maximised their opportunity, if nothing else on the next groundhop there’ll be a queue at the badge stall for Spennymoor badges, much as I like Terry and Andy, I’d rather the money went to the club.

Mind you, if all that’s available is a Spennymoor United or an Evenwood Town badge, I wonder who’d buy?