Month: December 2019

Chairman’s Christmas Message

This time last year I said the Club was in transition and that we were rebuilding on and off the pitch . Well what a difference a year makes! Whilst we are not getting carried away, and we know that no one ever gets promoted at Christmas,  we are certainly in the mix and that’s down to our Management Team of Dan, Mark and Matty, our players obviously, our sponsors  and also down to a lot of people who go unnoticed at the Club but without them I know we wouldn’t be in this position 
We’ve invested heavily into our First Team and we are prepared to strengthen the squad after Christmas but only if someone comes along who we believe can improve it. Some hard decisions have had to be made along the way but they were made in the best interests of the Club and team and I think we are now realising the benefits. What’s  really pleasing is still seeing young players like Brandon Mallaburn, Matty Bateman, Jack Naylor being part of the squad and getting game time. We forget that Jack Vaulks, Aidan Heywood, Dom Curl and Aaron Duell  are still only young but what careers they have in front of them and hopefully progressing through the Leagues with Shildon AFC. Ben Reay, came through Shildon Development Centre and has been selected for England Schoolboys which is a fantastic achievement and we look forward to playing our part in his future development as does David Trotter, Manager of Witton Park who Ben plays for on a Sunday. 
Our Manager, Dan Moore deserves a special mention. I was in agreement with him when he decided to retire this season allowing him to concentrate on developing as a Manager. On reflection I should have encouraged him to keep playing because he has been a revelation since he put back on his boots and it’s like signing the best Centre Half in the League who’s a leader on the pitch as well. He’s also found the time to do some more FA badges as well which will hold him and the team in good stead 
I’ve said previously that an Academy is important to the Club moving forward, you can see the introduction of young players into the First Team, our Development Centre is moving forward under Andrew Finch and I will have some exciting news for you in the New Year about a partnership we have signed up to which gives the First Team a training base but more importantly access to a post 16 Academy and a Junior set up with 200 players attached to it which when combined with our Development Centre gives us  over 350 kids associated with the Club. This I believe is the future of our Club moving forward 
The community remains massive to me as does our partnership with Livin who not only are Club sponsors but help give us greater reach into the community.
We’ve held two hugely successful Holiday courses which are free for the kids and we plan to continue to do this. We’ve also as a whole Club made a donation recently to Shildon Alive to their Food Bank and I would like to thank our supporters and Players who have all contributed to this. 
We are now partnering with Hays Travel and Livin in providing opportunities to go and gain a career in the Travel industry. Anyone who applies through the Club will be guaranteed an interview which is absolutely fantastic 
We want to take this Club onto to play at a level that it’s never played at in over 125 years. That will mean  investment in our facilities, our whole Club  structure and our playing squad. I will speak more about this at a later date other than to promote our 12th man appeal where supporters can give as much or as little as they want and I will ringfence the monies for our Manager to go and improve  our squad for this season and next season. Should anyone be interested in this please contact me directly. It’s really important and gives you the chance to directly help. It is after all your Club and I’m just running things for you 
Being Chairman of Shildon AFC is never dull, there are lots of challenges but I think we are getting there, lots of positives have come out of this year such as a memorable night at the Stadium of Light when we won the Durham Challenge Cup. I now want us to create some history and get this Club promoted. I hope we can achieve this in 2020! 
Have a lovely Christmas everyone and here’s to a successful New Year 

Peter Sixsmith Column v NORTH SHIELDS

A warm welcome to North Shields, one of several Tyneside clubs in Division One of our league and one who are, like us, there and thereabouts in the table. I hope their journey through the Tunnel, along to the A194(M) and down the A1(M) went well and that they stopped to admire the sheer architectural beauty of the new Amazon warehouse at Integra 61, near Bowburn.

All those things you instantly want will be stored there and it will be staffed by men and women on low to zero hours contracts who will walk miles and will have to carry bottles in their pockets if they need the toilet. Aaah, the wonders of the modern gig economy – and all done by paying the barest of bare minimum tax.

We were well beaten 3-1 in October when we visited Ralph Gardner Park on a night where it rained heavily – as it did on Tuesday of this week, causing an attractive home game with Billingham Town to be postponed. This was the second relatively late postponement in a couple of weeks and although there was a downpour at 5.00p.m., I wonder about the reasons for calling off games at such short notice.

I strolled up Adelaide Bank to Elm Road and was turning the corner to walk down Thornhill Gardens when I saw that there were no floodlights on. I reached for my phone, looked at the Twitter page and saw it had been called off at 6.30.

Now, you may say “More fool you for not checking” and I accept that that is a fair comment, but there had not been a great deal of rain during the day, Monday had been dry and windy, so I assumed that the game would be on. However, referees have to take into consideration whether the ball will run freely, whether the pitch will cut up badly and whether there is any danger to the players from the state of the pitch.

To which I would say, “There is always danger to players, whatever the state of the pitch;” every time you step over that white line you are in danger from a misplaced tackle, a malicious hack, a coming together of heads or an opponents mum with a brolly who may batter you over the head with it. I am loath to criticise Health and Safety because we need it – Grenfell Tower being a case in point – but sometimes  referees need do to think carefully and take account of the work that has gone into preparing a game by volunteers.

So, I walked briskly home (I don’t do running), started the trusty Mazda and popped over to Newton Aycliffe for their game against Guisborough. As I parked up in Moore Lane, the lights were on. By the time I got out of the car and it had locked itself, the lights were off. Texts were received informing me of that and I subsequently discovered that the match referee had called it off at 6.45.

So, it was back home, open a couple of beers – Thwaites Lancaster Bomber and Marston Pedigree – and half watch an entertaining game between Chelsea and Valencia while cursing the weather, the refs and life in general.

Billingham Town did not have to travel far, Guisborough Town a little more, but imagine if this happens if ourselves or Newton Aycliffe are promoted and a team from South Yorkshire (Stocksbridge Park Steels) made the journey, arrived in plenty of time and found that a reluctant ref called the game off when the pitch was probably playable. An evening wasted for them, a large coach and frustration with a capital F.

It was also a shame because we were unable to build on two excellent results in the previous seven days. I was not at Northallerton due to work commitments (“Ho, Ho, Ho”) but I did see that tremendous win over Hebburn Town. They came as promotion favourites and left whipped and cowering as we turned in the best performance of the season by a country mile.

It was a fine team performance, with the defence looking solid, the midfield busy and the forwards a constant distraction to a ponderous Hornets defence. But special mention should go to the admirable Billy Greulich-Smith, whose hat trick consisted of a quick reaction to some sloppy defending, a well-placed shot while under pressure and a header straight out of the Niall Quinn book of towering headers which was perfectly executed and perfectly placed. Matty Robson’s goal would have graced the Maracana in Rio, the Bernabeu in Madrid or Brunton Park in Carlisle, let alone Dean Street on a chilly December night.

Today’s game is an important one for both teams. Both are on excellent runs; we have taken maximum points from the last five games; Shields have two less. Both have strong playing staffs with the visitors having the relative cornucopia of players on North Tyneside to choose from. It should be a good game and I hope that the referee is not adverse to a little water coming above his laces line.

It’s not been a good week for me as the other SAFC are close to total implosion and a new government which is the antithesis of my believes and principles is elected. I look forward to hearing of a vital win while I am Ho,ho,hoing in Newcastle.

Up The Railwaymen

FIXTURE CHANGE | Billingham Town

It has been agreed between the two clubs that the game against Billingham Town will now be played at Dean Street on Tuesday 10th December, Kick Off 7:30pm.

This means that after the Northallerton game on Saturday, the remaining 4 games of 2019 will all be at home.

December 10th – Billingham Town
December 14th – North Shields
December 21st – Bishop Auckland
December 26th – Newton Aycliffe (1pm Kick Off)

The away game will now take place on Saturday 18th January 2020.