Events to be held this Monday
15 January ~ The FA Amateur Cup – the leading trophy for non-League clubs between 1894 and 1974 – is returning to the north-east for the last time, and fans are being invited to see it. Northern League clubs won the cup 23 times, and so to mark the league's 125th anniversary, the trophy has been released from the FA's vaults at Wembley for a valedictory tour of the region. The trophy will arrive at Crook Town's Millfield ground on the morning of Monday January 20. Members of the public are welcome to attend.
Players from four Northern League clubs who lifted the cup between 1950 and 1969 will also be there. The oldest is goalkeeper Jack Snowdon, 89, who helped Willington to a 4-0 win over Bishop Auckland at Wembley in 1950. He still lives in Willington.
Players and officials will then head for Durham, where the County Council is hosting a civic lunch to mark the 125th anniversary. After the lunch, both the FA Amateur Cup and the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy – West Auckland's World Cup – will go to the National Football Museum in Manchester, as part of a Northern League exhibition. It's being opened at noon on Thursday January 23 by Gary Pallister, who began his career in the Northern League with Billingham Town.
The exhibition will run until April 30, and coincides with a Northern League exhibition in the museum atrium by Homes of Football photographer Stuart Roy Clarke.
Northern League chairman Mike Amos said: "The Northern League and the FA Amateur Cup were for many years synonymous. There'd be crowds of up to 100,000 at the finals and 10,000 thronging the streets to welcome them home. The trophy is now quite fragile and the FA gesture to let it return one more time to the region that became its second home is very much appreciated. It will almost certainly never be here again."
The public are welcome at Crook between 9.30am and 11.30am on Monday, to reminisce with former players and be photographed with the cup. The Durham Amateur Football Trust will stage an Amateur Cup exhibition and show newsreel film of finals from 1935. Free refreshments will be served.