Club History

Although officially founded in 1910, Heaton Stannington were in existence by 1903 and playing at Miller’s Lane on the site of the current Fossway. The club name originates from its links with the Stannington Avenue area of Heaton. In 1903-04 they finished fifth in division 2 of the Newcastle and District Amateur League. In December 1904, they resigned from the league with the reserves also appearing to have resigned from the Northern Amateur League (NAL) and there is no further record of the team until 1910. This suggests that they might have folded and then reformed nearly six years later.

The summer of 1910 saw Heaton Stannington field a cricket team. The next football match played by the Stan appears to have been on 24th September 1910 when they were beaten 4-1 by Sandyford. From at least 1913, home games were taking place at Paddy Freeman’s Park. The club played friendly matches until joining the Tyneside Minor League in1913 and NAL Division Two in 1914. The club were elected to membership of the Northumberland FA (NFA) on 10 September 1914, just over a month after the start of the First World War. The Stan stopped playing until 1919 as at a NFA emergency meeting on 24 November 1914 it was announced that the club were unable to take part in a Minor cup replay ‘on account of not being able to raise a team as so many of their members had joined the army.’

The club spent the next 19 years in NAL Division One and gained their first trophies in 1934 and 1936 when they won the Tynemouth Infirmary Minor Cup and NAL Challenge Cup respectively. The first glory season came in 1936-37 when the club won NAL Division One, were Northumberland Amateur Cup winners and NAL Challenge Cup runners up. The reserves were also NAL Division Two runners up. For one season, 1938-39, the Stan participated in the Tyneside League and were runners up. By the 1930s the team were playing at the Coast Road ground. In October 1935, they started playing at Newton Park in High Heaton on the site of a recently filled-in quarry. In 2007, the ground was renamed Grounsell Park in honour of the service given, both on and off the pitch, by Bob Grounsell. One of the most memorable matches played there took place in July 2012 when Heaton Stannington were beaten 4-0 by the Gabon national side. This warm-up match for the Olympics included an appearance by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The club were elected to the Northern League in 1939. They only managed one season in the league before it was suspended for the duration of the Second World War. The league restarted in 1945 but Heaton Stannington were elected, until 1946, as a non-playing member as their ground was being used by the military. After 5 consecutive bottom three finishes, the club resigned at the end of the 1951-52 season and joined the Northern Alliance until 1956. The next 16 seasons included involvement in the NAL (1956-59), North Eastern League (1959-60) and the Northern Combination (1960-72). In 1972 the club stepped up to the Wearside League and remained there for ten years. They were forced to resign from the league in 1982 for financial reasons due to the club trustees, who had formed a limited company in 1968, putting the annual rent up from £400 to £1500. The company then tried to build a supermarket on the ground but the planning application was defeated. In 1983 the High Court ruled that the ground belonged to the football club and the company had to relinquish ownership.

The team played in the Tyneside Amateur League (TAL) during 1982-83 as Heaton United. Back as Heaton Stannington, they won the TAL in 1983-84 which was only their second league title up to this point. The next 2 seasons were spent back in the NAL where they were champions in 1985-86 as well as wining the Northumberland Minor Cup and the C&E Injections Service Shield. For the next 27 years the club were in the Northern Alliance, which became a 3-tier league in 1988 and saw the Stan placed in the Premier Division. After two relegations to Division One, the Stan achieved stability by spending 9 seasons in the Premier Division. The club won their highest level league trophy when they became Champions in 2012. In 2012-13, they achieved the treble by not only retaining the title but by also winning the Northern Alliance League Cup and the Northumberland Senior Benevolent Bowl.

From 1911 to the financial crisis of 1982, the club had a competitive reserve team. It played much of the inter war years in the North Eastern Amateur League before rejoining the NAL on and off for nearly fifty years but with a five-year spell in the 1960s, including two runners up spots, in the TAL. The club had an ‘A’ and ‘B’ team for 2016-17 before these teams reverted back to their previous name of Newcastle Chemfica. A reserve side was re-established in 2019 and they play in the Northern Alliance 4th tier development league. In their 1st season, 19-20, they reached the final of the Neville Cowey Cup, the 4th tier cup, but it was not played due to covid.

For season 2013-14, after a gap of 61 years, the Stan returned to the Northern League. They were in the promotion race throughout the season and finished fifth. In their second season back, they finished ninth and qualified for the FA Cup for the first time in 39 years. Season 2015-16 saw the Stan again finish ninth and they also reached the semi-final of the Northumberland Senior Cup against Blyth Spartans. In the league there was a memorable 3-2 home win over champions South Shields. In 2016-17, the Stan surprised many by just missing out on promotion in the 2nd last game of the season, coming fourth after winning 11 games in a row starting in January. In 2017-18 & 2018-19 they were again in the promotion race until the second last match, ending 5th and 4th respectively. Due to covid, last season was declared null & void with the Stan still challenging for promotion in 5th place after 28 games.

Since the club gained promotion to the Northern League, improvements have been made to Grounsell Park including floodlights, a stand and a new terracing. These complement the existing facilities which include a bar serving real ale with the club being voted CAMRA Tyneside club of 2018 and 2020. Much of the recent success is a result of the commitment and work of manager Derek Thompson along with the support of an increasingly large band of volunteers.