Skip to content

I Was There.

I was there.

Saturday May 9th 2015.

Wembley Stadium.

Parking less than 150 yards from the stand.

North Shields FC v Glossop North End.

Like most kids I was obsessed with football. Football and facts. Imagine a pre Google world. 1969. You got your facts from books borrowed from the library. The Guinness book of Records or the Rothmans FA Year Book with maybe an introduction from Jimmy Hill.

So there I am studying the numbers.

My team had finished mid-table, Division Four. It would be over 50 years before I experienced the glory days.

And there in black and white. FA Amateur Cup final North Shields 2 Sutton United 1. Attendance 47,500.

1969 was a momentous year, The Beatles played for the last time, Ford launched the Capri and Lulu won Eurovision. The first Concorde flew, Raleigh released their “Chopper” bicycle, and Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon

But I had no idea where North Shields was.

I grew up and never saw Shields mentioned again. Then as Crimewatch thought they had found me again I moved further North. Always further North. And North Shields appeared, like fate. A place of sanctuary. A wild place full of “characters”. And as the century changed I integrated.

Fast forward to 2015.

And North Shields is coming alive. So I go to a few games. I know nobody except one man, who it turns out is the assistant manager’s dad and I’ve bought his brother’s house.

Fast forward 10 years same assistant manager but not same house. Got to keep moving. Still NE29 though.

Back 10 years.

OMG Shields might make Wembley again.

And so it was, and so with a scarf for her to wear a hotel booked just outside London for after the game and close by parking, very close, we started the long drive down. No 6.30am beers for us on a lively coach, but then again no photos of an unconscious supporter asleep for the entire game in the sunshine due to a reaction to lager, probably.

Parking up at 1pm something, a minibus of supporters from Glossop North End gave us some gentle banter as we walk the wrong way down Wembley Way to find the Shields allocated pub. Packed and almost impossible to get served with standing outside and I bump into the only man I know, the assistant manager’s dad.

Following the lead of others it was easier to go across the road to the offie than even try to get into the bar let alone get served.

Then back to the ground. Sunshine, left half of one side of the ground, the entire population of Shields and to the right probably the same from Glossop North End.

Singing , cheering, chanting and then the players are on the pitch ànd the game is on.

Now 10 years later the detail becomes a bit hazy as to what went on and when but a goal from North Shields substitute Adam Forster six minutes into the first half of extra time ended Glossups’ hopes of completing a league, cup and Vase treble, and it was an outcome that had looked unlikely for much of the afternoon.

Glossop had enjoyed the better of a goalless first half, and took the lead ten minutes into the second half with a goal from Tom Bailey.

But eleven minutes from the end of normal time, Shields prolific leading scorer Gareth Bainbridge headed home an equaliser, and after Forster put North Shields ahead, Glossop suffered another blow when they were reduced to ten men after skipper Dave Young had to leave the field after sustaining a head injury and having used all their substitutes

Glossop kicked off defending the goal at the end where their noisy army of supporters were congregated, and began well, enjoying the best of the opening exchanges, with the majority of the opening 15 minutes being played in the North Shields half.

The first clear chance of the game arrived on 13 minutes, when Martin Parker set full back Michael Bowler off on a storming run down the right wing. The full back then arrowed a fine cross into the box on to the head of Kieran Lugsden, who met the ball well but directed it straight into the arms of North Shields keeper and ex work colleague Christopher Bannon.

After a brief foray up the left wing by North Shields’ James Lucock, which won a corner that was gathered by Hall at the second attempt, Glossop created another chance from the right wing on 18 minutes, with Kieran Lugsden again involved.

This time, a deep hanging cross from Lee Blackshaw was met by Lugsden on the edge of the box, and his looping header had the keeper anxiously scrambling back towards goal before landing on the roof of the net.

It had been a good start from the Glossup, and it was the midway point of the half that North Shields began to threaten, with the lively Lucock usually involved.

But Glossop had nothing more than crosses to deal with.

It wasn’t long before Glossop were back at the other end putting the North Shields defence under the cosh, and after Lee Blackshaw won a corner, Shields keeper Bannon put his side under pressure with a weak punch that placed the ball straight into the path of Dave Young, but the Glossop skipper scooped his shot over the bar from eight yards.

Three minutes from half time there was action at both ends, with first Glossop creating another chance, when Eddie Moran’s cross to the back of the area was nodded down by Tom Bailey towards Sam Hare, but a combination of the striker’s head and shoulder diverted the ball straight into the arms of the keeper.

Play immediately swung to the other end, and Greg Hall in the Glossop goal was tested for the first time, getting down well to make a smart save from North Shields leading scorer Gareth Bainbridge.

The last action of the half was at the Glossop end, when Russell conceded a free kick on the right wing, but Michael McKeown’s curling free kick into the box was confidently gathered by Greg Hall.

The referee duly ended the first half after two minutes of stoppage time, and the Glossop players left the pitch knowing that they had certainly enjoyed the better possession and created some good chances in the opening 45 minutes.

Shields had rarely threatened in the first half, but came out of the blocks quickly after the restart, and almost opened the scoring four minutes in.

Denver Morris played the ball infield to Ben Richardson, who sidestepped Eddie Moran and unleashed a cracking 25 yarder that beat Hall and rebounded off the cross bar.

Three minutes later, Hall was in action once more, the same combination of Morris setting up Richardson for a shot that Hall did well to palm over at full stretch.

But Glossop well and truly delivered a knockout blow to the bright start made by Shields, when they took the lead on 55 minutes.

A corner played deep into the box found Kieran Lugsden in space, and when he drilled in a low cross across the six yard box that was begging to buried, Tom Bailey obliged by sliding in at the far post to steer the ball into the net from close range.

It was a goal that not surprisingly was celebrated wildly by the players in front of their jubilant supporters, and was just exactly what was needed after the lively start to the half that North Shields had made. Shields were silent and the feelings started to grow that this wouldn’t be 1969 again.

On the hour both sides made their first substitutions, with North Shields somewhat surprisingly withdrawing Lucock who had looked lively in the first half, and Glossop bringing on Danny White for Eddie Moran.

A few minutes later, Glossop made their second substitution when Sam Grimshaw was introduced for Lee Blackshaw, and his first touch of the ball was a curling cross into the box that Tom Bailey just failed to connect with at full stretch.

But with ten minutes to go, Glossop were stunned when Shields drew level with a goal from scorer Gareth Bainbridge.

The goal came from a corner conceded by Greg Hall when he fumbled a shot, and when the corner was delivered, Bainbridge timed his late run perfectly to place a header into the far corner of the net and record his 18th goal in the FA Vase this season.

It was a stunning blow that hadn’t looked on the cards, and Glossop manager Chris Willcock responded by bringing on Sam Hind for Sam Hare.

The NE29 army were in full voice and Glossop looked like they had caught a cold.

A minute from the end of normal time, a mazy run from Hind set up Bailey for a shot that was deflected for a corner, and when the kick came in, only desperate defending kept Glossop at bay before the ball was hacked clear

Five added minutes of stoppage time at the end of the 90, both sides had flurries of action in the opposition half, the nearest to a goal being an effort from Sam Hind that flew wide of the far post

Tom Bailey had the first effort for Glossop after the restart, firing well over the bar three minutes into the additional half hour.

It was noticeable that several Shields players were struggling with cramp in the early stages of extra time, but took the lead in the 96th minute.

A good break down the right from the lively Morris caught out the Glossop defence, and his low cross evaded attackers and defenders alike before landing in the path of substitute Adam Forster, who went for accuracy over power in directing a shot across Hall into the far corner of the net.

Glossop responded with an effort from Kieran Lugsden that the keeper gathered at the second attempt, and a few minutes later Lugsden was yellow carded for a challenge that was later than the 317 bus to Wallsend. The half ended with more problems for Glossop as skipper Dave Young needed lengthy treatment after a clash of heads, and after briefly returning to the action, was led off at half time for further medical examination.

Although Young attempted to return to the action, he was stopped from doing so by the medical team on the sidelines, to his obvious displeasure.

With Glossop having used all three substitutions, they had to chase the game with ten men and Shields were content to defend deep, the pace of the game dipped noticeably in the second half of extra time, as both teams dropped almost to walking pace at times.

Chances were few and far between, but one last desperate throw of the dice from Glossop saw keeper Greg Hall join the attack in stoppage time, but his and his team mates efforts were in vain, and the referee ended the game moments later.

For Shields, it was an afternoon we will never forget, and as well as picking up the cup, lively right sided midfielder Denver Morris was voted man of the match for a fine all round display.

North Shields line up: Chris Bannon, John Grey, Michael McKeown, John Parker, Kevin Hughes, Denver Morris, Gareth Bainbridge (Kieran Wrightson 107), Ben Richardson, Dean Holmes (Adam Forster 69), James Lucock (Ryan Carr 59), Stuart Donnison.

Subs not used: Curtis Coppen, Mark Lancaster.

The minibus gang were gracious in defeat but me and her were in a haze. As we left the ground a white hatchback roared past and as we followed it went from one side of the road to the other. It was clear that the female passenger was grabbing the wheel and the guy wasn’t happy. I said to her I’m just going to wait here for a few minutes because that isn’t going to end well.

A few minutes later we continued and around the corner was a couple in full flow besides a wrecked white hatchback buried in a fence.

The night was beer a band somewhere in Bedfordshire and a slow drive back.

I am so glad I went and it is so sad to see the pitiful state the club is in now less than 10 years later due to mismanagement. Maybe one day it will come again. Maybe.

I never would have thought back in 1969 that for the briefest of time my childhood team would be top of all 92 teams. And for now we are still in the top 20.

The First Lord of North Shields

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *