Welcome once more to the members newsletter, I hope it finds you in good health.
Unfortunately we have to bring you the sad news of the passing of some members recently. Club member Bill Conroy sadly passed away last weekend, our thoughts are with his wife Margaret and his friends and family at this sad time for them.
The weekend before we received the sad news of the passing of long standing club member, supporter and former gateman Gordon Wilson. A popular figure who followed the club home and away, Gordon will be much missed by his fellow supporters.
So, the season is over and it’s fair to say it’s been a very successful one, both on and off the pitch. Off the pitch we’ve made lots of new friends throughout the league, we’ve had an absolute ball on the road and we’ve discovered that we never, ever want to go to Pickering on a Tuesday night again.
I dare say I won’t have been the only one who wondered what would happen to our home attendances after Mike Ashley waved goodbye to St James’ Park but as it turned out we needn’t have worried at all. Over the season we ended up with the 4th highest average attendance in the league and to be honest, you’d struggle to put a sheet of paper between us and the 2nd placed club. We also frequently appeared in the top six attendances at our level in the country.
On the pitch I guess most of us started the season saying just stay up, but we set Dean and Andy a target of 10th and we finished 8th with the 2 clubs above us only 2 points ahead of us, so a very successful season where we have surprised a lot of people. After a slow start as we settled into our new division we’ve ended up massively exceeding expectations.
Off the pitch we’re making plans for improvements around the ground. We’re bidding for money from a few funds one of which has already been successful, so in the coming weeks you will see the existing pitch surround being replaced by a nice new shiny one with an infill, which is a requirement to play at the next level.
We will also be renovating and upgrading a few key areas in the changing rooms.
The season doesn’t stay finished for long though before the next one is around the corner and this week we have announced the pre-season friendlies, which include a rather special away day. We’ll be running a coach to that so keep an eye out for it as it will sell out quickly.
Saturday 1st July – Newcastle Benfield (Away)
Saturday 8th July – Wallington (Home)
Wednesday 12th July – Percy Main (Home)
Saturday 15th July – Droylsden (Away)
Wednesday 19th July – Blyth Town (Away)
Friday 21st July – Dunston (Home)
Whilst the 1st team’s season was finished we’ve had the pleasure of watching Heaton Stannington A’s 5 game unbeaten run in which saw then finish 6th in the league. Some very accomplished performances from a very youthful A team culminated in the 7-1 demolition of Newcastle Independent Cabrito to leap frog them on the last day of the season.
Like the 1st team there was a settling in period for Russ’s lads and a few bumps along the way but it’s been a pleasure watching them gel as a team and develop as players when I can as the season has gone on.
In the North East Non League Show’s end of season awards we were up for the Best Club on the Pitch, Best Club Off the Pitch and the Most Surprising Club awards and we won not 1, not 2 but all 3 of them. Which I guess goes to show the esteem we are held in the non league scene round these parts.
Heaton Stannington Juniors
Hopefully you will have all seen the news that our new Heaton Stannington Juniors section have partnered with Urban Green and agreed to make Paddy Freeman’s Park the home of all the Junior teams. Below is a photo of Juniors head honcho Neil and you can see how excited he is to have signed on the doted line.
This is a very exciting development for us and obviously a crucial step on the ladder for the Juniors. Urban Green are working with GMS who look after our pitch at Grounsell Park to improve the pitches at Paddy Freemans and there will be a lot of work going into the changing rooms also.
Another exciting piece of news on the Juniors front is the announcement of the dates of the open sessions in early June. These are open sessions and not trials. So tell your children and grandchildren to grab their shinpads and come along on the dates below.
Anyone who would be interested in becoming a coach at the club please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Family Fun Day
Following on from the very successful Coronation Day, our wonderful events team will once again be putting on a summer family fun day on the 1st July. I hear there will be a bouncy castle again, so I’ll be down early in case they need someone to safety test that. These days are always popular so come along and treat yourself to a hotdog.
And on that note another newsletter is over and I shall await the inevitable “you forgot to mention…” email(s) in the morning.
Hopefully see you all soon and thank you to everyone who has played a part in running or supporting the club this season.