When Shildon defeated their local rivals, Bishop Auckland to win the Durham Challenge Cup for the second time in 1925-26 (the first victory coming in 1907-08 as Shildon Athletic) little did they know that it would take another 41 seasons (the intervention of the Second Word War cancelling all competitive football for several years) before they would see their name etched on the cup again.
In the 1971-1972 season, the patient Shildon fans once more celebrated with their players as they proudly held the trophy aloft after overcoming Durham City.
Now another 41 seasons have passed and Shildon are once more in the final, this time against another local rival, Spennymoor Town. If history was written by numbers, then those numbers are surely aligning themselves for the Railwaymen.
The players have given their all this season, reaching heights that no one would have credited them with after a stuttering start to their league and cup campaigns. But if any group of players deserved some reward for their efforts this season, it is surely this group of Dean Street’s finest for many a year.
Gaffer, Gary Forrest, has taken the club from relegation candidates to league and cup challengers and now, on the eve of an historic day, the fans dare to dream!
A new chapter in the history of Shildon Football Club is ready to be written, and this group of players are ready to write it. We wish them every good fortune on the field of play tomorrow as they attempt to turn theirs and our dreams into reality.
The Durham Challenge Cup Final will kick off at 10.45am on Good Friday at Billingham Synthonia’s Central Avenue Stadium. Entry is just £5 and £2 concessions.
Dare to dream with the Railwaymen!