Saturday 19th January 2008 ko 15.00
Northern League Division One
JARROW ROOFING BOLDON COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION 4 (J Gibson 3 Tate 43 Hutchinson 70 Logan 74)
TOW LAW TOWN 0
So if I were to tell you I watched Jarrow Roofing FC back in the day presumably you’d assume that I was visiting Jarrow? And let’s face it, 99 times out of a 100 that logic would be correct, but Jarrow Roofing never did quite fit in. The fact of the matter is that 13 years ago I was heading to Boldon Colliery near Sunderland, and yes and it may be only 3-and-a-half miles between the two places but the distance between the two wasn’t a matter of semantics.
The club was founded in 1987 by Richie McLoughlin owner of Jarrow Roofing Ltd and McLoughlin’s drive and wealth helped them find a base at Boldon Colliery Association in 1991 and turn what was once a disused bowling green into a Step 5 compliant ground. He used steelwork left over from his building projects, and the floodlighting poles came from a colliery he’d worked at. The odd part of the arrangement was that Boldon Colliery Association have their own football club in the Wearside League at the site. Boldon C.A.’s ground is at diagonals to Jarrow Roofing’s, and you can see it in the background of one of my photos!
The club worked their way up through the Tyneside Amateur League, the Wearside League and into the Northern League in 1996. But having Boldon C.A. as near neighbours was odd; I turned up around 2pm just as Boldon C.A. were about to kick off. I could have easily watched a half then walked over for the other game, but I’m not the type for half measures.
That hints at McLoughlin’s ambitions for the club. He didn’t just own the club, he managed them too, and an example of it was in 2014/15. He signed Paul Chow a legend amongst Northern League goalscorers, but the even more intriguing was the signing of West Auckland’s John Campbell.
His story starts with an oh-so-close apprenticeship at Newcastle United, with the Toon having a choice of two young strikers to take on but they opted to take on Andy Carroll instead. Short stints at Newcastle Benfield, Bedlington Terriers, and then- National League Fremier Darlington FC followed but he really found his feet playing for West Auckland scoring 80 goals in three seasons. He signed for Jarrow Roofing but after 24 goals in 19 games he found himself being offered a short-term deal at League 2 Oxford United.
He only made 3 appearances, scoring once before spending the rest of the 2014/15 season on loan at Torquay United, then in the National League Premier. He was then released, so where would a proven full-time forward end up? The National League or the upper levels of the Northern Premier League would have been my guess but he ended up back at Jarrow Roofing which shows remarkable ambition on their part. In the 2015-16 season Roofing finished 7th in the Northern League’s top flight, but the end for them wasn’t long in coming.
The way to look at it was that Roofing’s ambitions were inextricably linked to those of Richie McLoughlin. I’d look at it in a similar but not exact way as the story of Rushden & Diamonds and Max Griggs. Here though there was no club before McLoughlin and not even a phoenix club afterwards when he pulled the plug at the end of the 2017/18 season. Jarrow Roofing BCA completely ceased to exist, which is remarkable given that 1,100 had watched their 2005 FA Vase semi-final versus Didcot Town . From all of that to nothing, and it seems there was no talk of someone else taking on the club either, clearly McLoughlin was Jarrow Roofing BCA FC and vice versa with no room for anything else.
The ground does still exist, but much to my surprise Boldon BCA haven’t moved in, they just play the occasional friendly there. I do wonder if Northern League football ever becomes on the agenda whether the temptation to make the shortest of moves will become irresistible. Other than that Boldon Shack FC do use the ground for South Shields Sunday League fixtures, but that does seem to leave a well-appointed ground crying out for an ambitious tenant. Will someone take the place on?