…TO CHEERING CROWDS AND CIVIC RECEPTION
There were no sad faces to be seen anywhere, as crowds never before witnessed in Spennymoor, even on the annual Town Gala Day, lined the streets to welcome home the heroes of Spennymoor Town FC, winners of the FA Carlsberg Vase, in what will almost certainly be its last staging at Wembley Stadium. For a club that regularly attracts an average attendance of about 320 for home games, the welcoming throng even made the 4,500+ Wembley supporters seem outnumbered. Everywhere, fans, many of them wearing the familiar black and white of the club strip, lined the streets to welcome their team – and their beautiful new silverware, and it could pose a very welcome problem for the club if they all decide to attend home fixtures next season.
The tour of the district on an open topped bus had started at the club’s Brewery Field home, and made its way through Tudhoe, Low Spennymoor, Kirk Merrington, Middlestone Moor and Binchester on route to Byers Green. On the return leg of its journey the people of Binchester and Middlestone Moor had a second opportunity to greet them, as they travelled via Whitworth Terrace, High Street, Oxford Road, King Street and Cheapside on their way to a Civic Reception.
Outside the entrance to Spennymoor Town Hall, no more than a few metres from the Wembley Club Shop kindly donated by Spennymoor Town Council, Mayor George Tolley was waiting to greet and congratulate the victorious team members, on behalf of a town that was simply overwhelmed by the occasion.
Media was in evidence everywhere: and their presence was not confined to photographers, although there were more of those than you could shake a lens cap at. Just to my left, outside the town hall, a television news reporter was recording his contribution ready for transmission later that day, and Bishop FM was represented by former Spennynews reporter Pauline Fothergill.
Ex Spennymoor United captain Dave Curry was present in the town centre, accompanied by a trio of lovely young ladies from Tudhoe Cricket Club – where, amazingly, play was stopped, not by rain, but so that players and spectators could applaud the team as they passed the ground!
Gavin Cogden, scorer of The Moors opening goal, commented: “Scoring at Wembley capped it all for me, but I wasn’t expecting anything like today. It brings home the reality of what we’ve achieved and how much it means to the town.” Manager Jason Ainsley was equally amazed: “I’ve never know so many people turn out to congratulate a team on winning a cup,” he observed.
Of course, when the cup in question is the “Holy Grail” of minor league football, that does tend to make a little bit of difference. Many members of Spennymoor Town Council have strong links with the club, and Mayor Tolley summed things up when he said: “I always wanted to go to Wembley with my home town club, and now I’ve done it. It’s absolutely unbelievable to see so many people waving flags and scarves.”
On display along with the coveted Vase, was the J. R. Cleator Cup won by The Moors at the start of the season. With two more cup finals awaiting them – The Durham Challenge Cup and Northern League Cup – it’s little wonder the whole town is held firmly in the grip of football fever.
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