Football, SPORT

Wise Men and WAG’S


We are told that “wise men travelled from afar”, but until now we have not known a great deal about them. We can now reveal that there were two (modern day) wise men, and their names were John and Tony. This is their story…

If the thought of about 5,000 fans making a round trip of more than 500 miles to be amongst the estimated 16,700 spectators at this years FA Vase final seems a little daunting, spare a thought for John Oxenham. The sixty year old, a member of Spennymoor’s highly respected Clem’s Fish Restaurant family, originally came from Hartlepool (Teesside) but moved to Spennymoor as a two year old. He emigrated about twelve years ago, due to work commitments – to Moscow, but on Friday (May 3) he happily flew 1,800 miles to watch his home town team play at Wembley, and will fly back to Russia on Sunday. John admits that he only returns to England a few times a year for “special occasions”, but adds “A trip to the home of English football with my home town team certainly falls into that category”. John still follows The Moors through his good mate Billy Beasley, on the official Twitter feed, as well as through the club’s website. He thinks the Wembley trip can be put down to the hard work of Manager Jason Ainsley and the players, and isn’t afraid to say so: “Reaching Wembley is an exciting day out for the fans. It is an outstanding achievement by Jason Ainsely, the club manager, and the boys, and will be remembered for a long time”, he insists.

But another lifelong Moors supporter has travelled even further! Tony Wilson, 58, grew up on York Hill Estate in Tudhoe Grange and has flown more than 3,400 miles from Dubai to watch his heroes play at Wembley in the FA Carlsberg Vase final. Tony left the area to work in the oil rig industry, and has worked all round the world – including spending the last 14 years in Dubai. He regularly attended Spennymoor Town matches in the 1970s and 80s with his friend Peter Maddison. When Spennymoor gained their quarter-final win over West Midlands side Gornal Athletic, he vowed to return for the cup final if they got there. And he has kept his promise. His friend Peter, 56, remembers: “We used to knock about together and we’ve always kept in touch.“He’s a big Spennymoor and Sunderland Football Club fan and he’s kept in touch with them from afar via the internet. “We used to go and watch Spennymoor and he’s from the town so it’s in his blood.” Mr Wilson flew into London on Wednesday (May 1) and will fly back to Dubai on Sunday (May 5).

Mike Rowcroft, a director of Spennymoor Town, said: “We’ve had requests for tickets from Spennymoor fans from right across the country, but the level of support shown by these two men is absolutely incredible.”

When you think of WAG’s (players Wives And Girlfriends, it’s normally women like Victoria (Beckham) and Colleen (Rooney) that come to mind most easily, but Spennymoor Town’s WAG’s are going to enjoy broadly similar perks, though not on such a lavish scale perhaps, courtesy of a Fishburn company, Javelin Engineering. Thanks to the generosity of two directors of the company, Martyn Wallbank and Trevor Brown, the girls, who had expected to have to pay their own expenses when they travelled to London in support of The Moors, are going to enjoy a free stay in the capital. They already knew that Football Association rules meant they could not submit a claim via Spennymoor Town for their costs. Martyn and Trevor have donated £1,500 to cover the WAG’s bill. Martyn said: “Spennymoor’s achievement in reaching the FA Vase final is fabulous. When we heard about some of the FA rules regarding expenses, we just wanted to do our bit”. They also thoughtfully added the hope that Spennymoor came home with some additional silverware. Suzanne Cogden, wife of Town striker Gavin, Eve Park, 21 year old girlfriend of Chris Lawther, and Aimee Biglin, Lewis Dodds’ gf, are amongst those to benefit from the act of generosity. Suzanne hailed it as “a lovely gesture”; Eve said: “We’re really grateful; it’s a nice surprise, and we’re really looking forward to it.” and 28 year old Aimee said: “The girls were planning to book themselves into various hotels, but this means we can all be together.” 

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