The squad lined up before the game against Whitley Bay DFC. Standing are Mickey Donkin, David Simpson, Mark Muers, Craig Charlton, Brian Marley, Chris Dixon. Sitting from left to right are Anthony Yates, Dave Gourlay, Mark Middlemiss, David Staples and Davinder Sangha.

14th June 2008

Season review.

A disturbing pre-season for Sassco meant that by the start of the competitive games, the team and squad were in no way set. I was quite smug at the back end of the 2007-2008/ Season because we seemed to have a set team with regular players. We also gained a new sponsor in MJS Claims and produced two sets of new shirts, a long sleeve version and short sleeve version.

The July 2007 team. Only four players remained as regulars at the end of the season.However, pre-season was below average. An opening game was played on the excellent artificial turf at Gateshead – it was a 4-4 draw against Whitley Bay, a game where we hurriedly raced into a 3-1 lead just before half time. Craig Charlton scored a hat-trick After this, it was a narrow 3-2 win over Washington Colliery on the much less forgiving turf at Sandhills. This game saw “guest” appearances from Danny Hall and Gash Brazier, but this was worrying because it was quite clear we couldn’t get a regular side out. Then it was back to Shildon AFC, where we received our usual lesson, but did see Jon Wardle get a goal to reduce the deficit to 2-1 in the opening half. A narrow defeat against Blackhall was followed by a poor loss against Lambton. Things were looking foreboding. Players were missing and we had to keep calling on “guest stars”. A thumping win over Monkwearmouth CFC was probably the highlight and this seemed to contain a full side with Dave Graham (hand picked by Mark Middlemiss), who made his debut against Blackhall, filling the centre midfield role. Ed Morrison, our youngest player, also came in for this game.

Andy FarrerBut this all came crashing down with an opening day disaster. By this time, Stephen Lewis, Mickey Donkin, Craig Charlton and Anthony Yates had all left the team. Subsequently, Dean Matthews left and David Staples retired. A new team was slowly forming combined with some veterans from 2005. Brian Marley also became a non-regular. Jon Wardle, luckily not playing for his morning team on that day, came in as the threadbare squad was easily outgunned by one of the Division favourites, Fulwell Blue Bell in the opener. Ironically, we were to play them again, away, a week later. I feared the worst and duly adopted an overly defensive 4-5-1 system with Andy Swinhoe, who was now confirmed as a regular after his bad injury back in the Summer of 2006 limiting his appearances, foraging alone in attack and Tim Gillespie as the holding ultra-defensive midfielder. Three debuts appeared in the game, with Jason Amour making a return from the 2005 season. Also, Anth Pearson did the same. Jamie Wilson, a recommendation from Washington Colliery’s Mickey Walker, was roped in as centre half and Simon Mulvaney, sourced from Mark Middlemiss, came into midfield (both debuts). Being up against it, Sassco sprung into life. A goalless first half was contrasted by Swinhoe striking two breakway goals to put Sassco 2-0 up. Ed Morrison then missed two glaring chances, as tiredness set in and Fulwell fired in two late goals.

Dave GrahamThe 2-2 draw was a huge boost to the team. Fulwell didn’t really drop any more all season until they’d been crowned as Division Champions. The confidence was good for Sassco and, more importantly, confidence in the system. By now, the squad was getting stronger and stronger. The addition of a contingent from Whitley Bay Deaf FC, Andy Reay and Andrew Farrer (both recommended by Whitley Bay’s Darren O’Dowd) saw the team, back to 4-4-2, lose against Mountain Daisy, but nearly grabbing an equaliser as Dixon fired in a late blocked shot from a corner. After this we spent ninety minutes blitzing Usworth 8-2. A full squad saw Dave Graham making his first competitive start (after two friendlies). Andy Reay was firing in the goals, while Swinhoe was calmly added more to his tally from the flanks. This was hampered by an injury to Jason Amour who failed to return to the side.

Yet, a downturn occurred. After a miserable 3-1 away win to the Cavalier, a depleted squad was heavily beaten away in the County Cup (with Mickey Walker and Michael Pearson making appearance)s, before we suffered two disastrous results. Park View came back with a 4-6 win at our place and dumped us out of one of the many cups. And Usworth, who we’d hammered 8-2 in September, secured a 4-1 win.

Simon MulvaneyPressure was mounting and a big game against Premier Town End Farm was in the reckoning. In the event, prior to the game, we all relaxed and realised that we should be here to enjoy events and not get worked up by them. Also, due to lack of numbers, Richard Purvis and the ageing Alan Douglas came in from Whitley Bay Deaf FC for their solitary appearances. Gav Brown also came in as a left winger. The calmer atmosphere saw our first ever win against a Premier team (albeit a weakened one). The 4-1 win over Town End saw another upturn in performances. We narrowly lost 2-1 to a strong Blue House side (conceding a late penalty) with Chris Hodgson making his only appearance and Gav Kershaw back in goal. And then a remarkable 5-5 draw away to Mountain Daisy – a game in which we gave away a 3-1 lead, but seeing Mark Middlemiss have a superb game and David Simpson, playing outfield, scoring an overhead kick without leaving the floor. It was actually a depleted team at the time. Gav Kershaw made a second appearance, while Mickey Walker returned to the fold. We then suffered a 2-1 setback away to a strong Hylton CW team, with another late penalty and also a memorable solitary appearance by John Amouzoudi (and not for footballing reasons).

After this, we hit peak form with an 8-1 destruction of Park View, with Andy Reay unfortunately leaving after this game (to the Northern Alliance), but Mark McDermont coming in as a regular left back after having so many tryouts since Brian Marley left. The other game prior to Christmas was 6-0 away win in a rain soaked pitched to Cauld Lad. Josh Lay and Mark Cresswell (another “veteran” from 2005) both came into the squad. We were all looking forward to a critical clash against an on-form Seaham team, which was inexplicably called off by an unconvincing referee.

McDermont and CresswellChristmas came to early for us. The peak was shattered with a poor away Cup day against Hall Farm. A depleted team saw Leigh Wilcox making his only appearance. After this, we laboured during a 1-0 win against Cambridge, with Gourlay’s late strike saving us. This was followed by humiliation again at Usworth in a tight pitch with an error strewn 4-1 defeat. An expected win over Cavalier was a struggle. 2-1 down at half time, before Cresswell liberated the side with two goals in an eventual 4-2 turnaround. Despite this, the squad was settled at a total of 15 players (including me). From time to time, we called on Anth Pearson when the numbers were short and actually pulling out a squad each week wasn’t really a problem, but consistency was. All the deaf lads had departed by now, but everyone appreciated the crucial role they played in steadying the side when we were lacking in numbers.

Also, at this time, we radically changed the structure of the team. Brian Watson, initially sourced to try and find us a permanent Team Sec. volunteered for the role himself and did superb in taking a great deal of pressure off me in terms of League Meetings, referee confirmations, etc. Mark Muers also volunteered to become the Treasurer and in strict Stalinist style, kept his little black book of who’s paid and who hasn’t. Very effective.

The poor form was levelled out with a superb, however difficult, performance at home to CW. Leading 1-0 then 3-2, the team succumbed to a late goal, but Sassco’s goal came from old fashioned driving at the defence from the wings and players beating opponents. Swinhoe fired in two goals, one whilst on the wing and the other when in attack. Cresswell scored the goal of the game by driving through the heart of the team, beating three players to strike the equaliser at 2-2. Simpson pulled off the save of the match in the last seconds to keep the score at 3-3.

After this, we went on a bit of a hit and miss run of results as most players tend to be on and off. Tim Gillespie and Chris Dixon tended to miss quite a few games, while Mark Middlemiss was rarely seen. Dave Graham was also on and off. We tended to defeat most of the weaker teams; 2-1 away to Park View, with Dixon scoring both goals and 3-1 at home to Cauld Lad (with me as left back all game!), but suffered away to Seaham The George by 3-2 with them scoring a late winner. The highlight was probably a 2-0 home win over the same team two weeks later. It was a superb competent performance with goals either side of the half.

I’d say this was our final highlight of the Season. By this time, Michael Pearson had made a return as a pseudo-regular along with Jamie Wilson (who was last seen in the 4-1 defeat at home to Usworth) as the side, short on numbers, tended to settle down. Our 2-0 win over Seaham was followed with a narrow 2-1 win over Park View in a newly formed Subsidiary Cup. Ed Morrison returned for this one and scored our all important equaliser just prior to half time. After this we suffered a poor 4-2 away defeat against Cambridge in the League. A midweek hammering off Rubiheat (in the Sub Cup) occurred as well as a poor away defeat to Blue House in the League, which effectively ended our hopes of a top four finish.

The Sub Cup put us in against Cauld Lad again and on a fine Saturday afternoon, we walloped them 5-0 with me as left back again, which disturbed the opposing Mickey Donkin quite a bit. The next game (and final game) in the Sub Cup was a 4-0 walloping at Mountain Daisy, a game which summed up our season. Excellent football, shading it in terms of chances, but errors at the back. Two horrendous clangers from Muers and Jamie ended the game for Sassco before the half time whistle.

Jamie WilsonIt was the same for the final day of the Season. A League tie against Hylton CW. I really didn’t expect anything and was happy to have eleven players there. We struggled badly and there were ringers galore in our side and Hylton CW’s. A win would have put us into fourth and on reflection, I was disappointed we didn’t get it. Again, we played some superb football, went 1-0 up with a Dave Gourlay strike. Conceded an easy one in the second, went further behind, before levelling out and seeing Cresswell fire in an excellent equaliser.

To conclude; it was another below par season. We really need to be up there, but lack of a regular line up didn’t help. All the new lads who came in did exceptionally well and were highly rated by anyone who played against them. Lucky for us, none were tapped up as it was common knowledge that our players came from Whitley Bay, Hartlepool, Ashington, Newcastle, Shildon and God knows where else. Certainly shows commitment and as Mickey Pearson said about Sassco, “it’s in the blood.” A bonus to the end of the season was the level of requests we had from players wanting to sign on. The certain return was Stephen Lewis and more will obviously come along. We also managed to get a new sponsor in so we’ll be in blue for next season. Our final game as such was a midweek friendly against Washington Colliery. After being a goal down, we impressed the locals with some scintillating football and probably some of the best goals we’ve seen all season. We also played Redhouse FC, the Champions, a few days later and after several superb opportunities squandered, they scored two in the last five minutes.

Dave Gourlay was voted as our Player of the Season, while Swinhoe topped the goal scoring charts with 20 goals.

So, just like the end of last season, things are looking up. No one seems to have left the team as of this moment, which is in a contrast to last season. On top of that, we’ve managed to obtain a new sponsor in iKobo, a United States based money transfer company. This has led to a new shirt being produced. We have a good programme of friendly games against teams from outside our League and commence our massive pre-season session in June. It’s going to be a long hot Summer.

14th June 2008

Latest News.

Player of the Season Dave Gourlay.
Leading Goalscorer, Andy Swinhoe.

The votes have come in and David Gourlay is Player of the Season again with 45% of the vote (nominated 10 times). Dave Graham came in a close second with 36% from 8 nominations. 22 people voted and their choice is shown below. Dave Gourlay won it last season with 35% followed by Brian Marley on 24%.

Andy Swinhoe is our Leading Goalscorer this season. We also count the goals in Pre-season games as well. All the details of goalscorers and appearances since our start on the 8th July 2007 are available at the bottom of the fixtures page.

Click here to see a full list of the appearances and goalscorers from 7th July 2007 to 10th May 2008

Trophies will be arranged for both Dave Gourlay and Andy Swinhoe.

Player of the Season Final Result
Dave Gourlay
Dave Graham
Dave Simpson
Chris Dixon
Simon Mulvaney
Man of the Match Awards Final Result
Player Number of Awards
David Gourlay
David Graham
Mark Cresswell
Chris Dixon
Marc McDermont
Dave Simpson
Jamie Wilson
Edward Morrison
Andy Swinhoe
Mark Middlemiss
Andy Reay
Tim Gillespie
Andrew Farrer
Jon Wardle
Mark Muers
Player of the Season Voting Details
Player Voted for
Dave Simpson Dave Graham
Mark Muers Dave Graham
Chris Dixon Dave Gourlay
Mark Cresswell Simon Mulvaney
Marc McDermont Dave Gourlay
Andy Swinhoe Dave Graham
Josh Lay Dave Graham
Tim Gillespie Dave Simpson
Dave Gourlay Dave Graham
Jamie Wilson Dave Gourlay
Dave Graham Chris Dixon
Simon Mulvaney Dave Gourlay
Andy Reay Dave Gourlay
Andy Farrer Dave Gourlay
Gavin Brown Dave Gourlay
Ed Morrison Dave Gourlay
Michael Pearson Dave Graham
Davinder Sangha Dave Gourlay
Gavin Kershaw Dave Graham
Anthony Pearson Dave Simpson
Mark Middlemiss Dave Graham
Brian Watson Dave Gourlay

17th May 2008

Redhouse FC 2 0.

Two goals in the last five minutes avoids the dreaded toss of a coin decider.

Grant Foster and Neil Richardson appealing to the referee.

Our regular Cup game against the newly crowned Champions, Redhouse FC. I initiated it last season as wind up telling the Catfish, that considering he won bugger all at the end of 2007, he’d have the chance in the Cup game we had arranged at the end of last season. In that game we lost 5-2, but Catfish was, and still is, haunted by the fact that Emu and Donkin grabbed our goals, and that Tommy Bell was tackled twice and outpaced by me during the game. Everyone’s forgot that Bell scored two goals and only remembers his humiliation.

We were short (again) for this one. Like last season, I wasn’t too bothered and expected to start. However, Cressy (Big Cressy) arrived earlier than expected so I was on the bench. We were missing Si Mulvaney, Chris Dixon, Dave Graham, Tim Gillespie, Michael Pearson and Mark Cresswell for this one, so it wasn’t going to be easy at all. Even the normal optimistic Emu said I had to come on once we were 4-0 down. Jamie was in, with cap in hand after Emu had Emued him on Wednesday. He sneaked into the changing rooms and did look at anyone directly for the duration we were taking the piss out of him.

Dean Wardle, Swinhoe, Lewis and Gourlay.

We actually kept it tight. The midfield quartet of Gourlay, McConville, Nellie and Cressy did really well, considering that they’d barely played together. The highlight of the game was a superb performance by our back three of Ed, Muers and Jamie. I can’t really add Macca to that because he had a clanger of a game. Even Spong was outwitting him in the first half and he rarely remained goalside and barely made a successful pass. His heading was good though as he nodded clear on many occasions. Simma was a legend as always and made some excellent grabs and saves during the first half. Criminally, we didn’t take our chances. Lewis has a scorcher of a chance (shown on the video) and Swinhoe had a couple of good ones. Nellie had a superb long range strike near the end of the half that we all thought went in. It probably did considering the crap way we put the nets up. Catfish kept Tommy Bell off to the sidelines most of the game due to rumours that I was likely to come on as well. Whenever I bent over to tie my shoe laces, they kept hauling Bell off in the roll on, roll off sub situation. Nelly spent this half (and the next) moaning.

John Hunt and Tommy Bell looked dishevelled. Swinhoe with Gash,

Half time talk was to keep the same and that we shouldn’t ruin the second half. We kept to it, but late on, as Redhouse FC were gaining more and more of the ball, they scored. Now, before anyone waffles on, it wasn’t my fault. Dave Gourlay had been poleaxed by Iggy with five minutes remaining and had to come off. I came on for him, but the goal came from a quick one two on our right hand side. I think Mini Middlemiss finished it off. Disaster really and very disappointing. As we pressed, John Butler, who’d caused problems all game, fired in the second. Catfish was nervously pacing on the sidelines and had his axe sharpened with Grant and Spong being the main to fall to his wrath until the goals went in. Also, unknown to him, I decided on a coin toss to decide the winner (just like they did in the Euro ’68 Semi Final). I really was desperate to see Gourlay and Grant in the middle of the field deciding head or tails.

I actually got quite a bit frustrated in the game and was admonished by Swinhoe in the changing rooms for not giving encouragement. He was mistaken. I didn’t really complain about any of the clear cut missed chances and gave encouragement and joked about it until the fourth missed chance where I slammed my Lucozade bottle on the floor where it remains embedded to this day.

That’s it then for this season. Technically, the last two games will be classed as 2008-2009 games according to our records, but it was a good way to end the season. I’m sure Redhouse FC, The Champions, will be marginally surprised at our performance with a bit of depleted side and had we put the chances away when 0-0, it could have been a different outcome. I personally am very happy by still feeling disappointed about not getting anything (which is a good sign). I’m sure even Catfish is considering a loan deal to take Emu over to the Dark Side next season. I did see him scribbling away in his little black book looking for potential players to grab like he always does.

Downhill Complex
AGUK Challenge Trophy
Redhouse FC 2 0 Dave Simpson, Marc McDermont, Mark Muers, Jamie Wilson, Ed Morrison, Lee Cresswell, Neil Richardson, Dave Gourlay* (Davinder Sangha), Paul McConville, Stephen Lewis, Andy Swinhoe

16th May 2008

Reay, Farrer, Douglas and Purvis win a National Cup.

Whitley Bay, winners of the National Deaf League Cup.

Andy Farrer, Andy Reay, Alan Douglas and Richard Purvis, all who played for us this past season have won a National Cup within the Deaf League. Great achievement. Pictures are located below.

Andy Farrer heads the ball away. Andy Reay on the ball.
Reay celebrates with team mates at the final whistle. WBDFC 2 Thames Valley 1.

15th May 2008

Latest News.

New sponsor:

Delighted to announce that the new sponsor has been confirmed. It was quick one week turnaround from initial contact to the actual agreement.

iKobo was a company used by myself for making payments overseas for the equipment we tend to get from India, Pakistan and China. Normally it’s a costly and difficult process in using Western Union or an expensive bank transfer.

iKobo is the easiest method I’ve used, so I’m delighted they’ve agreed to sponsor us for the 2008 – 2009 season. More information can be found on their website, which is now heavily linked from this website.

The deal involves heavy promotion on our website with adverts and links as you can see above.

This also means that we’ll be getting a new shirt with the new sponsors logo on. As you can see, Emu is modelling the new Adidas shirt for us (as he always does). The shirts will be numbered in the same manner as the previous Milltech and MJS shirts. We will have around 11 long sleeve shirts and around 6 short sleeve ones. It will be white shorts and blue socks. These, hopefully should be printed and ready for our friendly on the 22nd June.

The white short sleeve shirt will be classed as our away tops and will also have the iKobo logo printed over the existing one. We should also be producing some standard match balls as well based on the iKobo logo.

14th May 2008

Washington Colliery 3 5.

Scintillating football for a change.

Cresswell scored the penalty equaliser.

Not many wisecracks or innuendo in the report today about our game. Just a bit too much football this past week for it.

After about thirty seconds, I thought we were in for a bit of an arse kicking away to Washington Colliery in our regular pre-season event. We looked like a bunch of skip rats, hastily put together and struggling in all areas. Our multi-million pound signing, Tony Burnhope, failed to show, but apart from that we were almost full strength. Pearson, Tim and Middlemiss weren’t there and Jamie was playing for the opponents.

Stephen Lewis was making his first appearance in a Sassco 11-a-side shirt since our chaotic pre-season last Summer. As Tony wasn’t there, he went straight in up front alongside Swinhoe. This season it’s more of an advanced role for him.

Dave Graham strikes a free-kick.

Within minutes we were 1-0 down. A bit dubious. Most thought it was off side, but we weren’t goalside and the referee didn’t really look too confident. So, a kick up the arse duly delivered as we went on to produce some of our most breathtaking football all season. Simple passing and possession was the order of the day. Dave Graham was felled in the box and Cresswell rammed home the penalty. We were back on even keel. Then, Emu sauntered up the field, took a few touches and shattered the cross bar as the ball hit the line and then came out. The returning ball was nodded home by Cresswell. About a few minutes later, after some more superb stuff, Swinhoe volleyed home the goal of the first half.

The only bad point of the half was Dave Graham being Mortal Kombat style finished off by Mark Wallis just prior to the half ending so we weren’t too pleased. The injury doesn’t look too good at all.

Second half saw a few odd flourishes here and there but nothing like the first. By this time, Gav Kershaw replaced Simma in goal. They clawed one back after some comedy defending, but again, Emu rolled his ample weight up the field and struck another long distance shot which equalled Swinhoe’s superb effort. This one went straight in. But at 4-2 we let them back in again. Poor marking (probably tiredness and laziness) saw it narrowed to 4-3.

Swinhoe, Graham, Lewis in action against Jamie.

But then Emu, yes, action packed Emu, took a ball which went out of their area in a corner kick, lashed it back in and saw Lewis get on to the end of it. Emu had an eventful game. His defending was truly shite. I’ve seen corpses with more life than him in some of his movement. And when he did move he spent most of the time heading clear the crap slices he made a few seconds earlier. A few comedy moments. Macca made an arse of himself by keeling over with no challenge. He also then said that he’s been up and down the field all day. True, he goes up the field, loses the ball and then has to hurtle back to rectify his cock up. Cressy got booted around a bit. Dave Gourlay had a tete-a-tete with one of their chaps. Nothing much else really.

Afterwards, a good few of us enjoyed Washington’s hospitality and to add another nail in the coffin, won the music quiz they had on. As one of theirs said, “You beat our team and now take our money.” However, Emu and Cressy decided to go on their own and only managed third place.

Albany Park
Pre-season friendly
Washington Colliery FC 3 5 Mark Cresswell 2 (1 pen), Mark Muers, Andy Swinhoe, Stephen Lewis Dave Simpson (Gavin Kershaw), Marc McDermont, Mark Muers, Chris Dixon, Ed Morrison, Dave Graham (Neil Richardson), Dave Gourlay, Simon Mulvaney, Mark Cresswell, Stephen Lewis, Andy Swinhoe.

10th May 2008

Hylton CW 2 2.

Both teams “ring” in the changes.

A very tired end of season run in. We were drastically short. The missing list was quite scary:

  • Mark Middlemiss
  • Tim Gillespie
  • Anth Pearson
  • Jamie Wilson
  • Simon Mulvaney
  • Dave Graham
  • Michael Pearson

So, basically everyone! I roped in Gav Kershaw and had Simma outfield. Mickey Pearson cried off around an hour before kick off and that was exceptionally frustrating. When I ask someone to play football, I really expect them there and other reasons should not be coming into it. Considering we had only eleven made it even more bad for the team.

However, he did give Ed Morrison a lift there and was there for the opening half to give some moral support (and to watch an expected hammering). It was only Dave Gourlay’s resourcefulness which led to Sassco getting a player who’d just been sleeping in a skip. Cold water splashed in the face did the trick. Muers, also originally a missing player, turned up before kick off as we had twelve players including me. Dave Graham and Mickey Walker along with Bri Marley and Jon Wardle were all unavailable.

I know we had problems, but so did the draw specialists, Hylton CW. It was ringers galore as both teams were struggling in the last day. The heat was quite intense, but ironically we seemed to cope amazingly well. We were spraying the ball about well and definitely played the better football throughout the game. We had the majority of chances in the first half and saw two of them from Swinhoe go amiss. Near the end of the half, Dave Gourlay broke free inside the box and curled a superb shot to make it 1-0. It was tad bit disputed, because most saw that the ball went out of play, but our linesman didn’t give it because he wasn’t 100%. Hylton CW weren’t too pleased about it, but then again, I did give the okay for their superstars to be on the field of play, so stop whinging.

We really dominated in the opening half which made it more the frustrating when we we conceded one early in the second. It was poor marking which irritated me as the referee failed to give offside. I’ve told the team to constantly remain goalside. It was getting worse when we went 2-1 down with a superb looping shot which went over Gav Kershaw.

We came back from this and weathered a brief bit of pressure. Swinhoe also shaved the post in one of our many attacks.

Changes had to be made. I took our Hendonite off, pushed Macca into the middle with Gourlay and put the Piltdown Man on the right. Instantly we scored to make it 2-2. A superb strike from Cresswell. Swinhoe should have made it 3-2 with around four minutes remaining, but lack of composure saw him allow the goalkeeper to smother it.

A disorganised end to the season, but surprisingly some excellent football on show despite the hastily put together side. Season’s ended, but we will be having a busy programme of friendlies lined up. I’m one for Summer Football and will be taking advantage of the excellent weather.

For some weird reason, they voted Macca as their Man-of-the-match. Baffles me how. He could barely pass from A to B let alone C. He told me that they were saying, “He’s torturing us,” when I pointed out that it was actually our lot who were saying that about him.

Billy Hard Sports Complex
League Division 1
Hylton CW 2 2 Dave Gourlay, Mark Cresswell Gavin Kershaw, Dave Simpson, Chris Dixon, Mark Muers, Ed Morrison, Davinder Sangha, Dave Gourlay, Mark McDermont*, Mark Cresswell, Andy Swinhoe.

3rd May 2008

Mountain Daisy 4 0.

Errors at the back and lack of composure up front.

Pearson to Emu
Anth Pearson makes simple pass inside to Dunston.

Emu to Pearson
Who, being a nonce, decides to pass it back, instead of getting it forward.

Pearson sold short
The pass being crap and too short, is intercepted by the Mountain Daisy player.

Emu arsehole. Pearson in tears.
Who races on towards goal, reducing Pearson to tears and making Dunston look like a nob-head.

A tumultuous week for me in terms of football. My head’s been up my own backside for most of it. Firstly, due to contractual reasons, I was forced to call on Emu for the 6-a-side, which meant we suffered a defeat. I sent a hundred and one texts out to confirm the midweek game away to Hylton CW, which although was cancelled early, meant another hundred and one texts. I forgot to text Dave Gourlay which meant he was stuck at Billy Hardy slagging me off. Then it was Thursday football, another defeat, despite Emu somehow bagging two goals and, at the end of it, too much football.

This meant my plans for Saturday were a bit late. We’re seeing the season out so I’m not as frantic as I usually am. I knew we were missing a few. Tim, Marky and Mickey Pearson all cried off. Tim’s excuse is that he’s getting married. You’re wasting your time as it’ll all end in tears mate. So with Tiger Tim missing, I kept with 4-4-2 as Macca still clearly can’t fill his boots.

Football injury to testicles.

We were at Quarry View against Mountain Daisy. It’s the first time I’ve been there and it seems to be an outstanding venue. But, in the searing heat, we dropped a good few clangers with about a minute on the clock. It was in the Sub League Cup and I’d given up on it when we were walloped by Rubiheat. True, I started it by saying we had a good chance. It took a Dave Graham wonder goal to break down the schizophrenic Park View (who seem to beat everyone apart from us) and then I just wanted to humiliate Mickey Donkin (again) in our 5-0 bludgeoning of them. Mountain Daisy were a different proposition. I won’t describe the opener, but will let the photos at the top do the talking. It safe to say that Emu is rapidly becoming the donut / village idiot of the team. I would have ditched him years ago, but he’s on one of them long contracts I drew up without reading the small print.

Then, Macca being a spacca, gave away a corner when he had loads of time. After the second attempt (the first corner being headed away), they were 2-0 up. Macca implored me to slag someone else off at the end of the game, but being docile that he is, I only remember his clangers and would have forgot had he not reminded me at the end of the game.

A true disaster, but then the team drove on. We actually performed really well but missed around four or five gilt edged chances in the opening half. Dixon, up front, skied one. Gourlay, after getting the ball caught under his feet, recovered but then ballooned it. Cressy missed some good ones by firing wide, and our Man-of-the-match, Dave Graham came close with some long distance drives. I was preparing to give a good talk at half time dwelling on the positives, but it was then when the normally impeccable Jamie Wilson got caught in possession and we were 3-0 down. I did warn him minutes before, saying they were “on to him,” as he was caught out.

Half time came and went. No major changes, but not many chances in the second half. Both centre halves dropped a clanger when they weren’t goalside of a solitary striker and saw the ball loop over Simma’s head. Poor show all around. Finishing was diabolical and defence was laughable.

Dave Gourlay's not happy. Macca's shite.

Anth P signalled me to come on and when this happens it usually ends in tears. But, I gave Emu a rollicking, pushed Jamie up front and Dixon back and we didn’t concede any more goals. frustration crept in to the game. Si got in on the act and started to lash out later on in the game. I think his opponent was slagging off his bright orange Nike clogs. He got a caution for his worries. Dave Graham also had plenty to say to the referee, Steve Watson, and got himself booked as well. It was harsh as he was apparently fouled before they scored their fourth goal. Jamie also threatened to descend into tourettes again.

Being honest, my pre-match team talk wasn’t too inspiring. I was just happy to get there with 11 or 12 players. Swinhoe cried off with Man Flu beforehand, but the lack of team talk didn’t tell Emu or Jamie to drop a bollock when in defence. It proves my theory that we’re lacking in bite against the stronger team as we always seem to be doing. Not many positives at all. Ed had a good game. Dave Graham was easily our best player, while Cressy did his part.

Quarry View
Subsidiary League
Mountain Daisy 4 0 Dave Simpson, Anthony Pearson (Davinder Sangha), Marc McDermont, Mark Muers, Dave Graham*, Ed Morrison, Chris Dixon, Dave Gourlay, Simon Mulvaney, Mark Cresswell, Jamie Wilson.

26th April 2008 5 Mickey Donkin 0.

Sangha at left back, Gourlay, Tim, Cressy and Macca score, Donkin destroyed.

Dave Gourlay celebrates his free-kick. Jamie Wilson's in the background.

I’ve got to say that during my management career since 2002, I’ve dropped many a bollock (Emu in goal for a while, asking Ed Cook to do a warm up, convincing Stubba he’s a good centre half and pairing Cola Boy with the Tash – which is like asking Pete Doherty and Victor Meldrew to control the midfield). Today I fully admitted that this could have been another one of those. We went to 4-4-2 and partnering Swinhoe up front was…Muers. Jaws dropped in the changing room and I’m sure Swinhoe was tempted to walk out. Nevertheless, it was point proven, as when Muers went up front he was, and generally proved, how shite he was up there for ninety minutes. “It’s the first and last time,” I told him when he ballooned a perfect chance near the end of the game. The other reason why everyone was on alert was that I was there as left back. This meant Jamie and Pearson were busy arguing over who was going to be the left central defender – apparently to carry me all game.

But, as I’ve done before (especially on the Tuesday’s) I’ve proved my critics (all ten players for Sassco today) wrong and was Giacinto Facchetti (look it up) like in my performance today. I spent all game isolated because Cressy didn’t have a clue which is left or right. It was classed as “Donkin Day” again and poor Mickey has lost three out of three this season against us. Baffles me how he gets ninety minutes each time we play them. I’ve seen more potent piss stains than him.

A dream team on show, Mickey Pearson, Andy Swinhoe, Davinder Sangha and Dave Simpson.

The game itself saw Sassco, with Cresswell on the left and Macca on the right, make many forays into the Cauld Lad half, but they decided to stay there. The pressure on the full backs and defence was quite a bit, but we all coped. A perfect free kick from Dave Gourlay put us 1-0 ahead and then Cressy fired one shot stopped by Joe Walters in goal, only to see Tiger Tim Gillespie, who spent Wednesday circling Sunderland so he didn’t have to play Rubiheat, ram home the rebound. We then had countless chances and most fell down due to poor passing in the box, when I was screaming for people to shoot.

Second half saw Cauld Lad up their attacking a little bit. But once we weathered around fifteen minutes of pressure, Mickey Pearson picked out a pin point pass to Macca on the right hand side and he wandered into the box to fire a goal in at a tight angle. No one cheered so we thought it went wide, as they usually do. It was lucky he scored because I had a paragraph or two ready to slag him off today. He injured himself early on (by keeping hold of the ball too long) and was a bit of a limping (or is that limp wrist) passenger in the first. Also, everyone was screaming at me to do something when he was down and injured, to which I correctly replied, “Do I look like a fucking physio.” Our medical man is Chris Dixon, but he’s always ill or injured. After this, Cresswell scored two goals. The first he fired at the keeper and then slotted in his rebound and finally he managed to take a shot without hitting the goalkeeper to make it 5-0.

Overall, against any stronger team, we’d have been walloped. Both wingers did nothing to come back when they lost the ball. Muers was crap in attack. It was like watching a baldy Bond villain wallowing about in attack with a touch like a baby elephant. He’s simply out of date as an attacker

Highlight of the game was Ed Morrison at right back who gained our Man-of-the-match award – truly outstanding, patient and very calm.

Downhill Complex
Subsidiary League 5 Dave Gourlay, Mark McDermont, Tim Gillespie, Mark Cresswell (2)
Mickey Donkin 0 Dave Simpson, Davinder Sangha, Marc McDermont, Mark Muers, Mickey Pearson, Ed Morrison*, Andy Swinhoe, Dave Gourlay, Tim Gillespie, Mark Cresswell, Jamie Wilson.

23rd April 2008

Rubiheat 5 1.

Simma outfield, Si up front = chaotic game.

Wednesday games are always a bit of a bummer. The last one we had was, I think, back in the 2005 Season. It’s especially bad considering that half of our squad usually needs a passport to get into Sunderland. Dave Graham, Mark Middlemiss to name a few. Dixon, Jamie and Tim were unable to make it to this one, mainly down to work. Dave Gourlay and Cresswell had a pressing twenty minutes of football to take care off in a 5-a-side League (I wouldn’t get out of bed for anything less than twenty-seven minutes), so I to call on reinforcements. To be honest, had it been an important game and if we were gunning for the top positions in the League, I would have demanded everyone be there (unless working). We do have our last League game away To Hylton CW, next Wednesday and I will be demanding a full side. But in this case, out of the hat popped Gavin Kershaw, who keeps complaining that I’ve never played him against any minging teams. That meant Simma was outfield. Pearson and Emu were centre half, but with no Tim, I gave Si the mouthwatering option of in front of the defence or on the left wing. He chose the defence, but his original position was up front where I eventually put him when we switched to 4-4-2. For the last two games, 4-5-1 simply hasn’t seemed to be working. Let’s not forget that our powerhouse performances this season have all come from 4-5-1, but it’s definitely lost it’s way. Once we went 1-0 in the Sub League Cup against the vastly superior Rubiheat, I changed it back to 4-4-2 with Si Mulvaney up front. However, thinking about it, I just think it’s missed chances against the teams at our level and a failure to track back in our defeats against the strongest.

The opening goal was really poor. Pearson apparently shouted for the ball, but Simma steamed in and headed it clear to their player instead. Mickey Pearson takes up the story, “I openly admit the first goal was a mix up between me and Simma, which shouldn’t have happened. But there was no need for him to come across my path to head the ball when I had a free header.” To be honest I think the whole back line was quite shaken at this time as I saw them shite themselves when they heard Gav K shouting “Keepers!” at the top of his voice. Normally it’s pleasantly quiet back there.

Ironically, I had to leave before the half ended. I could have waited until half time, but I deliberately left Emu with the task of making any changes, which became easier for him when Tim, travelling from God knows where, was going to be way too late. We had no subs, but I still asked everyone to make sure they bombarded Emu with requests and demands that they play in certain positions. Mickey Pearson told me that him and Dave Graham did most of the half time talking, which means that Emu’s management skills, just like his captaincy is rancid and putrid. Second half saw Sassco making no impact at all (that’s what I heard). Emu blamed most of the team when he dropped the kit off after the game and Mickey Pearson did the same. Si, up front was ineffective, while Swinhoe, despite reducing the arrears with a much needed goal (we were 2-0 down at the time), struggled. Most criticism was levelled at Ed, who failed to track back, leaving poor Simma under immense pressure. The only ones who seemed to come out with any praise were Gav Kershaw and also Dave Graham. Pearson also hobbled off late in the game and everyone else seemed to be on their last legs.

Pearson continues with his assessment, “Basically we sat too deep at the back for most of the game. Their second goal proved this. For most of the entire game we didn’t track runners, which is normally a problem. We allowed their centre midfielders and number 12 (a striker who dropped off) far too much space. Gav Kershaw actually made a few good saves and couldn’t really do anything about the goals.” Emu was also lavishing praise on Gav as well by saying he was calling for the ball, coming for it at the right time and easily gathering in any loose corners. Not surprising with Emu at the heart of your defence. But we’re really only saying all this about Gav Kershaw because we’d be desperate for him to turn up again for another good kicking in the near future.

Forgot to mention that Marky Mark made a return. He spent the majority of the pre-match dropping hints about the fact that he won the National Army Cup Final down Aldershot. During the game, he was heard mumbling, “I’m too good for this shite. I really should be the Captain as well.” amongst other ludicrous claims.

So, Simon up front, Simma as right back. A bit chaotic, but as the team’s going nowhere, it’s a good time to experiment. The strike force hasn’t been firing on all cylinders recently, so there is a strong rumour going around that Emu might be playing centre forward in the much anticipated “Donkin Day” this Saturday.

Final word has to be the amount of texts from all the players (even the normally silent Swinhoe) and anonymous threatening phone calls I got after the game saying I’d be “seen to” if I ever put Emu in charge again. I even had one text from Phil McNerney calling me a “prick” and he hasn’t played since 2004. However, I think he just sent it anyway and it had nothing to do with the game.

Stannington Grove
Subsidiary League
Rubiheat 5 1 Andy Swinhoe Gavin Kershaw, Dave Simpson, Simon Mulvaney, Marc McDermont, Mark Muers, Anthony Pearson, Mickey Pearson, Ed Morrison, Andy Swinhoe, Mark Middlemiss, Dave Graham*.

19th April 2008

Cambridge FC 4 2.

Game of two halves with the second dominated by “tourettes syndrome”.

The North East Aircraft Museum had some sort of event on so we had to pass through a military check point. The lad asked if I was going to the show, but I said football instead where he kept a tighter than usual grip on his plastic gun and gave me that incredulous look that he assumed that Asians Don’t Play Football. I got through without looking too shifty and was glad he didn’t find that semtex I’d nestled into the boot next to the spare air freshner and water bottles. All the players arrived in dribs and drabs. Cressy showed up in his cobbled together car and was immediately dropped from the side as he didn’t bring his subs or his fine which he’s owed me for quite a while. I suggested to him not to bother with the kit and get himself a pint from the Three Horse Shoes. Lucky for us, his “pimp” Macca, turned up with £20 which he owed him. This was quickly swiped by our Tax Collector, Emu, who took the subs and also the £8 he owed out of it. I had to give Digga the bad news that he was benched as I told him beforehand that he’s starting “unless Cressy miraculously brings his subs and his £8.”

The squad was full. Mickey Pearson made a late night u-turn as he originally retired again. Dave Gourlay also made a show considering he was sniffing about with illness from our waste of time 6-a-side in the pouring and freezing rain on Thursday. Only Dave Graham and Mark Middlemiss were missing, but we dropped a bit of a bollock against the Cambridge. They’ve never defeated us in three seasons until now and it was a game where we did have the odd few chance to get back into it. Mickey Pearson, who scrambled in the opening goal in the first minute, said that “it was a game of two halves.” Probably true, but it’s more about Sassco simply not finishing their chances when they have them. I counted three major strikes on goal in the second half, when we’d suffered a 2-1 set back. Cressy had one, Swinhoe had one and so did Gourlay. All were wide, albeit agonizingly. The first half we seemed to be in reasonable control. The opening goal made us more comfortable, but as the game neared the end of the first, we didn’t really take advantage of what dominance we had.

Second half saw the Traitor come on for them as he tends to just turn up and get a game at the expense of everyone else. But he changed it in a few chaotic minutes for us. A poor corner wasn’t dealt with and that bloke from Dad’s Army nodded it in with no pressure on him. Moments later, a long throw in caused panic and Simpson managed to claw the ball into his arms – but the referee, in his infinite wisdom, declared the goal was good. I think some of their lads at the end said it wasn’t over the line and Macca, who spent most of the game wallowing in the mud and making a fool of himself, said the same. 2-1 and we were up against it. They were now controlling it, but Cressy broke clear on the left hand side, just as I was contemplating switching to 4-4-2, and got tackled late. Penalty! And there was me, cursing our luck saying we’d miss it before we took it. Cressy didn’t let the team down and he had the balls to take it. 2-2. It was then that we lost the game. The opponents were given too much time on the ball and Tyson struck a curling shot way beyond Simma to make it 3-2. They scored from a very quick free-kick not too long after, when all our muppets were switched off and arguing with the referee.

The game then seemed to open up quite a bit and we gained the three major chances as mentioned earlier. Jamie and Mickey P also came close, but that’s why we lose games. We don’t take our chances and despite playing good football and coping with most teams, we won’t win if we don’t score. I had to switch things around a bit. Dixon came on for Ed Morrison and ended up in centre half position as Emu literally bust his gut. Pearson was decent in the centre midfield role until a minute into the game after he scored. He then spent the rest of it watching the helicopters in the NEAM Event. Jamie showed some quite deft touches as he left the Cambridge players on their backsides a good few times. It was balanced out though, because Macca spent most of his time on his arse as well.

Just going off on a tangent here, but we’ve just about arranged two away games in the Summer against Northern League Shildon AFC and West Auckland FC (both probably mid July). Should be fun.

Our next event is this Wednesday at 6pm at Hill View. Definitely struggling for a side for Wednesday but hopefully we can muster around eleven players together. Will let everyone know as soon as possible. Essentially, everyone will have to travel to the game from work to be there for a 6:00pm (or thereabouts) kick off.

That’s it then. We won’t really have any chance of a top four finish now in my opinion, but we don’t really deserve it. Not much else to say really about today apart from the number of helicopters flying overhead. I though we were in the middle of “Apocalypse Now” on occasions. But I did notice that most of the players on our side seemed to burst into simultaneous tourettes syndrome near the end of the second half. The words, “f**k off”, “c**t” and “f**k off you wanker” being the most popular ones.

League Division 1
Cambridge FC 4 2
Mickey Pearson, Mark Cresswell (pen) Dave Simpson, Simon Mulvaney, Jamie Wilson, Marc McDermont, Tim Gillespie, Mark Muers (Anthony Pearson), Mickey Pearson, Dave Gourlay*, Mark Cresswell, Ed Morrison (Chris Dixon), Andy Swinhoe.

12th April 2008

Cambridge v

Waterlogged pitch – game cancelled.

Pitch was a tad bit waterlogged. Colin Holmes, Secretary of the Cambridge was aware of this last night, but none of us could get in touch with the referee. An inspection before the game announced the obvious. We had a little kick around on the pitch itself, but as you can see in the picture, we haven’t really done the grass any favours for Cambridge’s next game.

We play in the Subsidiary League away to Mountain Daisy next week. I daresay that the cancelled game will be added to either the 3rd or the 10th May as both teams don’t have any games on that day

5th April 2008 2 Park View 1.

Mickey Pearson, Ed Morrison and Bri Marley all return to a depleted squad.

Michael Pearson returned an emphatic, “No! Fuck off, I’m busy.” when I crawlingly texted to see if he’d be available for our rapidly depleting squad. This was on Friday and slowly but surely the seed of Sassco spread like a virus through his veins and eventually he relented with a reluctant confirmation late on Friday and early on Saturday that he’d definitely be there. Due to his high wages, he was sponsored by Happy Shopper for this game.

The SMS system was going through a wobbler considering the amount of requests made. We were hampered by the fact that no more players are allowed to be signed on, but I haven’t got a problem with that as I’d prefer to get some non-regulars back into action. We were missing a good few. Dixon was “away” somewhere. Tim was working. Jamie is currently fighting with his physio to avoid crutches. Macca was also working as well but said he might be available for the second half. In addition to Mickey Pearson, in came Ed Morrison after I pestered him with giving me a “yes” or a “no”. Bri Marley also said he’d be available after work – but I didn’t expect him to turn up. I also demanded an early appearance from everyone with one of my threatening texts. Everyone bar two (with excuses) turned up on time.

We kicked off with a full twelve with Pearson slotting in at centre half, Ed at right wing. Marky Mark was also making his first show since the away defeat to Seaham The George. He had a very good game as public transport seems to be doing the world of good for him. Pearson was in for a difficult task as he hadn’t played for four weeks and also that he’d be getting Emu out of the shit during the game (like Jamie has been doing in the last few weeks). Emu had decided to talk to me again after I ditched the poor sap midweek in order to win the Cup on the 6-a-side (yes another plug for me).

The weather wasn’t as bad as everyone expected as we had bits of a blizzard interspaced with sunshine. Wasn’t too bright on the pitch. We looked out of sorts. We really didn’t do much with the ball and seemed to either dwell on it too much or waste a quick pass. I was screaming at the back line to launch it clear while players on the pitch wanted it played short. I’ve really got to stop swearing. I made a pledge early season that I was going to stop, but when you have Emu and Cressy on the pitch, it’s shittingly difficult. One incident had be frothing at the mouth. It led to a speculative shot which looped over Simma to give Park View a 1-0 lead. We didn’t respond quick enough. Park View then hit the post and saw the ball come out between a mass of their players and just as a second goal seemed likely, it was somehow cleared. I’s say that was our bad point in the game. We did manage to start penetrating a bit more. After a good few saves by their ‘keeper, along with a glorious chance which flew over the bar from Cressy, as well as one tipped over from Ed’s chances. The aforementioned, Ed Morrison, stole in behind and after chipping the ball high over the ‘keeper, rammed it into the back of the empty net. Ironically, he did his calf in and had to come off. Coincidentally, Bri Bob Marley (nicknamed because he looks like him) had turned up, pumped full of himself and came on in the second when I changed it from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2.

Second half we dominated. Bri Marley got himself a yellow card after the referee said he didn’t like the look in his eye. We were getting frustrated at this point, but lucky for us, a few strange errors from Simma were the only chances that Park View gained. We were eventually liberated by a stunning top corner drive from Dave Graham midway in the second. After this we had more chances with a good few goalmouth scrambles. Park View’s ‘keeper was excellent. He saved an almost certain goal from Dave Graham before the goal came. Cressy also missed an open goal when set up by Swinhoe.

At the other end, hero of the hour was Spice Boy Mickey Pearson. A long ball over the top saw the defence caught cold. Their man was one on one with Simma, when in came Mickey Pearson (also known as Super Pea now to Emu) to tackle the player. The score was kept at 2-1 and we gained an important win.

Cressy, always one to complain when I slag him off, has some more ammunition now because he didn’t pay me his £8 fine and also buggered off without taking the nets down or putting them up. He’ll be doing two out of the three next week. Disciplining him’s getting to be a pain in the backside and the feelers are out for a more compliant replacement.

Downhill Complex
Subsidiary League Competition 2
Ed Morrison, Dave Graham
Park View 1 Dave Simpson, Simon Mulvaney, Mark Muers, Mickey Pearson, Dave Gourlay, Dave Graham*, Anthony Pearson, Mark Cresswell, Ed Morrison (Brian Marley), Andy Swinhoe, Mark Middlemiss.

22nd March 2008

League Division 1Blue House 5 1.

Shocking set-piece defending and poor finishing.

Click here to give your opinion on this report as well as any other Sassco related subject.

Any thoughts of a late surge were firmly put back in their place as the team suffered a hangover and a 5-1 defeat.

Struggled to get there as well today. Poxy Garmin SatNav isn’t a patch on TomTom and sent me on a wild goose chase. Worse was for Simma as he had a picturesque journey through Herrington with Bri Watson and Swinhoe. Biggest problem was actually getting Cressy to put white shorts on instead of the minging off white efforts he’s always clamming to get on. Another problem was that he kept on pestering Jamie as he’s try to get away with one of Jamie’s good looking mates. No, not Mickey Walker, but someone called Laura Coburn (I think). He’s also refusing to give out her MSN address to Macca who was sniffing around – so, Laura Bird, if you’re reading this, Macca’s MSN is and, if you are as good looking as he claims you are, mine is We’re both better than Cressy will ever be. Although today, Macca could barely kick shit off a step (to quote the legendary Tash) and Cressy did get his goal and his usual picture in the paper.

First half was quite below average. We conceded almost immediately, when Pearson, in as left half (as I always save him to play against the decent teams) committed a nonchalant foul. Defensively, we seemed impotent as the ball was fired in and we were a goal down. We started a good fight back and did have quite a few chances. Disappointingly, we didn’t take advantage of anything. Cressy failed to put pressure on their right back and he had enough space and time to pick out one of their players. The resulting melee led to another goal. Even with this setback, we created chances. Emu came very close as his lay off from a corner squirmed agonizingly wide. Swinhoe’s standing bicycle kick saw the keeper stretch to tip it over. Dave Graham, with a clear shot at goal launched it high.

So many chances and at half time, with the wind against us, we had it all to do. Cressy was switched to attack in the second and secured an excellent goal. His all round play in the second was very good, but we simply couldn’t take any more chances. From one of our corner kicks, they sent the ball long and Macca, who had a crap game, was outpaced by their centre forward. Poor Macca now realises that there’s no way that he’ll ever be able to fill Tiger Tim’s boots.

At 3-1 it was well and truly over. John Cairns had time and space in the box to make it 4-1 and late on, Pea, comfortably taking the ball out of the box after we’d won it, lost it to their player who went on to score. I was on at this late stage. I came on for an injured Dave Graham, who, if going by his shooting, won’t have many kills and Iraq and Afghanistan neither.

A poor show all around. We really have to look at it and say we were let down by defence and attack. The amount of good chances we had weren’t put away and every dead ball at the back looked as if Blue House were going to score. Once again, we gave away goals and found it too difficult to get back into it.

Also, at the end, some players were imploring the referee to blow the whistle due to the bad conditions. This is a very bad and, dare I say, shitty attitude. Come rain, sun, sleet or fucking nuclear holocaust, I expect all the be there and fight for the 90 minutes. This game could have been easily lost 3-1 or 2-1 rather than a 5-1 walloping. At the end of the season, everyone will see this for what it is – a kicking. Need to have a 90 minute attitude. Remember, it really doesn’t take a lot to score a goal sometimes.

Good bunch of lads as well are Blue House. A good, hard and fair game with both teams doing their bit. Good referee as well.

Hill View
League Division 1
Blue House 5 1
Mark Cresswell Dave Simpson, Simon Mulvaney, Mark Muers, Jamie Wilson, Dave Gourlay, Dave Graham (Davinder Sangha), Anthony Pearson, Mark Cresswell, Chris Dixon*, Andy Swinhoe, Marc McDermont.

15th March 2008

League Division 2 Seaham The George 0.

Reasonably comprehensive win over our closest challengers.

Some charver had taken away and probably cooked the dead fox we found last week, so no half time munchies for the boys. Also, no water neither. I did explain that I couldn’t fit anything else into the car and we definitely need a water carrier. This left most quite parched (including me).

I approached this game against Seaham with some trepidation. We’d been soundly overwhelmed in the first half of our away game against them, but made a comeback in the second before cruelly conceding a third late on. This time I explained to the team that there were no real excuses. We were reasonably full-strength with me and Pearson missing out (Pea was at the SAFC game), but in coming Dave Graham and Chris Dixon.

It started a little bit late. But once we did kick off, Seaham were constantly bickering at the referee. It didn’t help them much when we opened the scoring. Cresswell, supposedly on the left hand side, cut inside the box on the right and maneuvered himself to take a perfect left foot strike. We were surprisingly comfortable for the majority of the half. Simma didn’t really make any major saves and the only scary moment was a Muers Moment, when he megged himself to allow their player to strike the ball with some venom. It crashed out off the inside of the bar and it was quite obvious that the luck was with us for a change. One of the Seaham lads was constantly on at our sidelines, challenging Nellie and co. to a fight every other minute. Best one was when he taunted big Cressy, saying what’s he doing on the sidelines. Quite obvious really – he plays for another team.

Second half saw the game open up quite a bit. By now, Seaham had gained two cautions for incessant complaints, swearwords, etc. It took them off their game. Some, including Tony Burnhope, tried to calm them down, but all in vain. Seaham were simply playing into Sassco’s hands and failed to muster any decent chances in the second half. Both Muers and Jamie were truly rock solid at the back and snuffed out any threats. We awarded Jamie Man of the Match, down to his excellent play which was calm and assured. Macca and Si Mulvaney at either side got into the action, with Macca making a 60 yard run before ballooning it as we’d expect. It was during the second when were really had some good chances. Some of them were cut out by last minute tackles, but on one stage, Cressy broke clear and rammed it home from a tight angle. This means that Macca has to clean Cressy’s boots for tomorrow as they both had a pre-match bet. Cressy took his goals very well and looked a real threat all game. He did spend quite a bit of it winding their biggest player up which is typical Cressy. For once I’ll be positive about his performance and won’t mention the one clanger he skied in the first half and the fact that he’s got a gambling problem.

With around ten or fifteen minutes left, there was no way back for Seaham. All our players did themselves proud. Tim, in particular was quite busy in front of the defence and both DG’s in the centre are quite unstoppable sometimes. Swinhoe had a half decent game as the lone striker a brought a lot of players into the game. However this was at a cost to his own as he scuffed some good chances, otherwise he’d be on the score sheet. We played out the rest of the game and grabbed three impressive points in one of the most comprehensive wins we’ve had for quite a while. And this is more the better considering we’ve lost quite a few regular players over the last few weeks, but the form has improved.

The only worrying moment at the end was some more suspected dog shit on Dixon’s shoe. We remember that he struggled to regain form for a good few years as it affected him and the team quite a bit.

Downhill Complex
League Division 1 2
Mark Cresswell 2
Seaham The George 0 Dave Simpson, Simon Mulvaney, Mark Muers, Jamie Wilson*, Dave Gourlay, Dave Graham, Tim Gillespie, Mark Cresswell, Chris Dixon, Andy Swinhoe, Marc McDermont.

8th March 2008

League Division 3 The Cauld Lad 1.

“Donkin Day” ends in Mickey Donkin taking our boots away to clean.

A very problematic week. Andy Farrer announced that he’d be a non-regular from now on. Dixon, Marky and Dave Graham were all unavailable. We were due to get Steve Farquhar in after Nigel Kirkham announced he was also unavailable. I then found out that Farquhar had signed on for the Cauld Lad but hadn’t played a game. Therefore, we only had 11 and that included me. The look on the players faces as they stepped in the changing rooms and saw me in full kit didn’t bode well. Dave Gourlay didn’t even look me in the eye.

The other issue was that we were facing Cauld Lad. Now, we walloped them last time, but since then, we’ve had a dip in form and they were coming back off an amazing 2-1 win over Fulwell Blue Bell. Not good. Also, Mickey Donkin was playing for them and it was a question of; was it “Donkin Day” or would Mickey resort to his age old role of being Emu’s bitch.

Then another bad sign. We also discovered a dead fox next to our sitting area. Normally the pong tends to come off Emu, but this one looked a bit festered, despite still having some meaty bits in case Swinhoe got a bit peckish.

The line up then. Back four I placed myself as left back and shuffled Pea to right wing instead of moving Si up there. Up front, Cressy remained there after his heroics last week and Swinhoe was left wing. Macca and Gourlay were in centre mid in contrast to the missing Dave Graham and Mark Middlemiss who were there last week. Emu and Jamie were both centre half while the ever dependable Simma was in goal. The wind was playing up quite heavily and I really feared the conditions because we struggled badly in the last game for one half. For this one, we had an unusual half. The back four were rarely troubled apart from a Paul McClusky free-kick and also a stunning save by Simma from the older Cresswell. By this time, we were 1-0 up. A punt from Emu, which he claimed was a pass (yeah right…), was latched on to by Pearson who crossed in for Mark Cresswell. A great start, but Cressy had a very strange day. He had countless chances and wasted most of them by either:

  1. scuffing them.
  2. skying them.
  3. trying to walk them in.
  4. blaming the bobble on the pitch.
  5. blaming the ball.
  6. blaming the time of month.
  7. blaming me.
  8. blaming his boy.

1-0 at half time with the wind against us in the second half. Not good.

By this time, I was in full pessimist mode, lamenting to Jamie that it’s going to be 1-1, that taxes are going to go up and so on. I’d pushed Cressy to the left at half time and Swinhoe up front. We seemed to be getting caught offside by an over-zealous (but decent) referee. He sent one of the Cauld Lad players off for swearing at him and had cautioned both Cresswell and McDermont. Eventually, Gourlay (I think) pulling out wide, centred for Cresswell who finally got a second. So, not bad as it was around 2 chances out of 10 – what a ratio. Moments later, Swinhoe put one away which was 1 chance out of 1. We dominated, but then momentarily switched off. Chances came and went – Gourlay saw his shot saved by Kev Mc, and then they scored from a diving header. The game ended not too long after and the only downside is a possible fracture or break in Jamie’s arm. We’ll find out soon and hope it’s only bruising.

A good win and a very above average performance which was only hampered by the amount of chances we (I mean Cressy) missed. At the back, Jamie and Emu were 100% commanding, which was obvious considering that I was barking at them all game. Pea was moved back in the defence, switching with Si, just before the half. Reasoning was that we needed possession in the second half based on the wind, and that Si was more comfortable at this than Pea. But as said, it was all good. Also, the fact that I was on for ninety minutes for the first time since our friendly against Whitley Bay back in the heat of Summer, and that we also won at the same time means that I may well keep my place in the side.

At the end of the game, Mickey Donkin and Paul McClusky agreed to take Muers’ and my own boots back home to clean. Gentle scrubbing motion and no detergent please lads.

Downhill Complex
League Division 1 3
Mark Cresswell 2, Andy Swinhoe
The Cauld Lad 1 Dave Simpson, Simon Mulvaney, Mark Muers, Jamie Wilson, Dave Gourlay, Anthony Pearson, Tim Gillespie, Mark Cresswell, Davinder Sangha, Andy Swinhoe, Marc McDermont.

1st March 2008

League Division 1Seaham The George 3 2.

Everyone’s gutted.

Anyone who knows me understands me to be a pessimist at heart. I’m the one who expects half the team to turn up, the kit to go pink in the wash and also my car not to start after a game. Playing Seaham was one of those days. They are our near rivals. Cameron had invested heavily in his team, but then got shunted upstairs as the role of Technical Director due to an internal power struggle. You can see him during games wandering around, Bill Shankly style, waiting to take the reigns again. This actually nearly happened to me, but then I told everyone that Emu would then be next in line, which quickly quelled any dissent.

We were suffering player shortages. Dixon peaked with his two goals last week and quickly announced that he’s never going to play for Sassco again. He said he will be taking early retirement (that is – until his return next week). Gourlay was out on the lash in some foreign climes (Edinburgh I think). Josh has now become a non-regular due to work and Andy Farrer is still injured. Cresswell was the same, but luckily decided to get himself on in the second half. So, prior to all this, with all the shortages, In came Nigel Kirkham, who initially was due to play back in the Summer. Ideally, I was going to add him to the line up with about fifteen or twenty minutes to go as he would be listening to my words of wisdom on our rapidly deteriorating bench while sipping tea. But Gav Brown did a dirty drop out on the day and he was hastily drafted in to start. We also had Dave Graham and Mark Middlemiss travelling up from a morning 11-a-side. On top of that, the wind was blowing heavily, so it wasn’t really the best of preparations.

We suffered badly in the opening half. A lost ball down their left hand side saw Tony Burnhope (once heavily touted to join Sassco) nod in the opener, while Pea and Muers were standing left and right of him. None of them actually stood in front of him goalside where he’d have more of a struggle if they were. Not long after this, a corner kick saw one of their lads completely free and unmarked to head it in to make it 2-0. A poor start. Worryingly, this was early on and we looked disjointed. They had further chances including one saved by Simma, but by then, we’d found our feet. Right at the death of the half, Swinhoe latched on to a lost ball and fired in, only to see a deflection off their player, take all the power out.

The second then. During the first, Cressy announced he wanted to get on. I assumed he was still heavily injured, but he wanted on. That combined with the wind in our favour turned the game. I’m never one to blame the conditions, but you could see the change in the second as Seaham really struggled with the conditions, just like we did in the first. Cressy, playing up front, managed to evade some scything tackles and fired in a goal at a tight angle from the right hand side. We pressured for most of the half, but slowly we were running out of steam. Both Dave Graham and Mark Middlemiss were now slowing down. Marky had a glazed look in his eyes for the last twenty. However, good work from Dave Graham led to the second goal. Again, it was the right hand side where Davey evaded one tackle only to be put out of stride by another. He kept going, but the referee belatedly blew the whistle for the earlier challenge and Cressy dispatched the equaliser from the spot. By now, Cressy was causing no ends of problems for Seaham, but unfortunately, everyone else’s energy seemed to ebb away.

After all the hard work, we gave it away. Their number 4 evaded a few challenges before putting a wicked ball across the face of goal. Somehow, Muers ping ponged the ball off one of their players and it was 3-2. This was with around three minutes remaining. We really didn’t have the strength to fight back for it now. Sassco did what I asked, they won the second half, but the killer touch and lack of fitness cost us. Also, missing Dixon, Gourlay and Cressy (for the first half) from last weeks game meant it was a tall order against a strong team. Bitterly disappointed with Gav Brown dropping out on the day, thus changing the look of the team. Nigel Kirkham seemed to get into the swing of things late in the first, but it wasn’t the ideal game to come in to.

Some weird and wonderful results today. Park View hammered Blue House 4-2 away and our next opponents, Cauld Lad, defeated Fulwell Blue Bell 2-1 away. It’s going to be a difficult game next week against Cauld Lad.

Ryhope Rec.
League Division 1
Seaham The George 3 2
Mark Cresswell 2 (1 pen) Dave Simpson, Simon Mulvaney, Mark Muers, Jamie Wilson, Dave Graham, Anthony Pearson, Tim Gillespie, Nigel Kirkham (Mark Cresswell), Mark Middlemiss, Andy Swinhoe, Marc McDermont.

23rd February 2008

League Division 1Park View 1 2.

Dixon, the man, the myth, the miracle, grabs both goals in a superb performance.

I was making the observation that one of the last times we played on this pitch, Dixon fired in a hat-trick within about ten minutes, destroying our opponents on the day in an eventual 8-3 victory. That was back in the heady days of 2003 when we boasted a dream team of Wardle, Jiff Dickinson, Phil McNerney, Greenwell and, err, Muers amongst others. Yet not long after this thrilling display, he stepped in some dog shit at Ryhope and has been hit and miss since.

Today, he came back here and conquered, subsequently saving Sassco the headache of having to compensate for the misfiring, ballooned shots from Cresswell’s.

We were spectacularly depleted. Gav Brown, Andy Farrer, Dave Graham, Mark Middlemiss and Josh Lay were all missing from the squad, which meant a second consecutive showing for Anth Pearson and also Jamie Wilson drafted back in for his first game since October 2007. I expected a decent performance after the last game and we certainly got it in the first half.

Some exceptional simple passing leading to a number of chances. Anth Pearson nodded on to the Crossbar, Swinhoe missed a good follow up, Cressy’s shots were getting closer. Dave Gourlay saw the ball smothered by the ‘keeper as he tried to round him. But it was work form Cresswell and Pearson on the left hand side which saw Dixon’s quiff latch on to the ball and then into the back of the net. Truly unstoppable. I expected more, but they didn’t come. We kept making unenforced errors which led to the some close shaves. Simma pulled us out of the mire on some occasions. Most were clearly things we could have dealt with. A simple stray pass results in a corner against us against a massive Park View team. The second goal did come in the second half. A looping effort from Dixon which saw the keeper stranded. 2-0 and two from Dixon. Definitely need to test his piss after the games from now on as something was definitely amiss.

It was then when we took our foot off the pedal and nearly gave it away. Jamie and Muers leapt for high ball with Jamie claiming it. At the sidelines I was yelling at one of the to drop. But Muers being Muers also jumped for it saying he was in front of Jamie (Cressy later stated that it was his gut which was in front of Jamie). So, you know what happened next – both missed it and their player had a clear run on goal. 2-1 and I expected a cave in. It nearly happened, but we seemed to ride it out. Main problem was players not clearing at the back and waiting for bounce. At the other end we had loads of chances. Cressy was now ballooning the shots despite having time. Digga had a great free-kick at their ‘keeper and some of the shots were generally weak. The midfield was Gourlay, McDermont and Tim holding. They coped well. Macca had a very good game and was probably unfortunate not to score. Gourlay seemed to get plenty of space in a packed middle. Tim didn’t get picked on today and even managed to sky a Muers style shot when through on goal.

Anth Pearson also had a decent game. His touch let him down in the attacking third now and then, but he attacked more in the second half. Swinhoe struggled a bit, but that was quite obvious because he was isolated in the 4-5-1. Normally with Dave Graham in the side, we seemed to attack more. And looking at this game from the sidelines, there was a huge space between Swinhoe and everybody else. He was on his last man as instructed, but we didn’t have the legs to chase him up.

At the back, it was precarious at times. People weren’t getting goalside or man to man. Jamie had a great game coming back from a long time off, while Muers was reasonably commanding. Sometimes we over elaborate. At the back and the front, when at times a boot through the ball is needed. Si was comfortable at right back despite overhitting some passes with his obscenely expensive football boots.

Silksworth Sports Complex
League Division 1
Park View 1 3
Chris Dixon 2 Dave Simpson, Simon Mulvaney, Mark Muers, Jamie Wilson, Chris Dixon*, Anthony Pearson, Tim Gillespie, Mark Cresswell, Dave Gourlay, Andy Swinhoe, Marc McDermont.

16th February 2008

League Division 3 Hylton CW 3.

Stubborn performance as a weary Swinhoe grabs two goals.

A surprisingly good performance against a strong side, despite being a “backs to the wall” situation for large portions of the game. We had a squad scare early on with both Andy Farrer and Gavin Brown being unavailable, then Marc McDermont missing not long before the kick off time. We were okay though. Poor Anth Pearson, still begging to play against a mingin team, was forced in at left back against one of the stronger sides. Butterman’s troops suffered a heavy cup defeat last week, albeit with a weakened side, but this week seemed full strength.

We actually opened the scoring in the game. Catching them on the break, Marky Mark raced in and his shot struck the post. Swinhoe was on hand to scoop the ball into the back of the near empty net. Hylton CW pressured and an eventual equaliser came from a penalty “conceded” by Dixon. He was adamant he hadn’t but Chris Martin fired in the equaliser. The second goal was a well worked goal. No one put any pressure on their side from the middle of the park, which resulted in the crossbar being rattled and Hylton CW on hand for the reply. By this time, poor Marky Mark was literally shedding blood for the cause as a swung arm (probably accidental) caught him on the hooter which, as it gushed blood, means I have to go to fifty degrees with shit loads of pre-wash to get his lifeblood off it. Marky had a superb game, just like his second half against the Cavalier. He drove at the opposition defence as public transport seems to have done him the world of good.

By now (in the second half) we were struggling physically, Swinhoe was on his last legs and told me to be ready to come on. I was pretty shocked that he even dared contemplate it. For the second, we seemed to actually up a gear a bit. Swin was on the last man, while Cressy was farmed out wide. It seemed to be a better combination and the level of chances we had in the second increased. Got to be honest though and say that CW definitely had the lions share of the chances. We kept giving deadball situations away and they were causing havoc on their right hand side against poor Anth Pearson, who actually had a solid game, being one of our more taller players.

It was a breakaway which gained us the equaliser. Cressy, almost the same as last week against the Cavalier, picked the ball up just outside the half and proceeded to beat at least three men before firing through their ‘keeper. A major strike at the heart of their defence who easily coped with anything in the air, but struggled when the ball was down. Not long after this, we gained some breathing space. I can’t exactly remember who it was (Cressy, Marky or Dave Graham), but the resultant pass saw Swinhoe fire in at the target to get it to 3-2. We used the ball wisely and tried to take advantage of the immense pace from Cressy, Swinhoe and Marky Mark. There were a number of times when a long, split ball was cut out by their defence. We were also caught offside quite a bit (well, Cressy was).

We were on the up. We had opportunities. Most of the time, we didn’t really get the ball forward when we should have. We held on to it too much. Cressy fired in a cross directly to Tommy McHenry in their goal. We had at least two clear in the box. Dave Graham almost reached the ball before the aforementioned Henry in a another opportunity. And then Marky ballooned it wide when the keeper was out of position. All the chances were squandered against a good side and we were punished for it. Their right winger outsmarted both Tiger Tim and Anth P (I’m sure all three were playing “tig”), to pop the ball onto the head of Chris Martin as he headed their equaliser. There were a good few minutes left and right at the death, Simma pulled off the “Save of the Century” as he palmed away a header just prior to the whistle blowing. An act which earned him the Man-of-the-Match award.

So, quite a good result for us. We lost narrowly 2-1 in our last game against CW, but ironically, we played better on that day. While today, we were up against it and were a bit more clinical. Everyone actually played very well. The defence coped well against a very tall side, while both Dave Graham and Gourlay battled for the ninety minutes. Tim was being picked on again because they don’t like his posh sort round these parts, but held his role well, and both wingers, plus the attackers, produced the goods when needed.

Cressy’s been demanding that there are more photos of him on the site so he can show off to the lasses. I’ve tried my best, but most are of him holding his heads in his hands or loitering with hands on hips.

Downhill Complex
League Division 1 3 Mark Cresswell, Andy Swinhoe 2
Hylton CW 3 Dave Simpson*, Simon Mulvaney, Mark Muers, Chris Dixon, Anthony Pearson, Tim Gillespie, Mark Cresswell, Dave Gourlay, Andy Swinhoe, Mark Middlemiss, Dave Graham.

9th February 2008| back to top

League Division 4 The Cavalier 2.

Pulsating second half comeback.

As everyone trudged off at half time, I was ready to echo my words from last week – “rubbish.”

We took the lead from Dave Gourlay, but scary defending saw the team, which is suffering a major meltdown, concede a very poor equaliser. We had chances to clear, but failed to do so. It was even worse when Cavalier took the lead. The backline stopped, claiming offside, and could only watch as the Cavalier striker made no mistake. Time and time again I’ve told them to get goalside, get deep and use their skill and ability to win the ball back – not the referee’s whistle.

For the team I had the formation as 4-4-2. It was the same side as was in the debacle against Usworth, but Dave Graham was back and popped into midfield as Anth Pearson wasn’t there. Tim and Mark Middlemiss were on the bench as we had a full team out there for the first time since before the Winter Break. 4-4-2 completely failed. Gourlay and Graham were struggling to get back and forth and despite having Swinhoe and Cressy – both lethal marksman, they simply didn’t perform together. So it had to be back to 4-5-1 with players shuffling around. The main change was that Mark Middlemiss was on the right while Tim was holding. Swinhoe came off and Macca was due off as well, but Andy Farrer signalled an injury. For the first half, I had Emu on the wing. He was diabolical, so immediately shifted back in as centre half. I didn’t really have to scream and shout at the players at the interval – they did it themselves. Sassco knew they were playing shockingly bad football and the second half needed a massive turnaround.

The second half was a transformation. 4-5-1 worked. Both DG’s were liberated as Tim was doing all the dirty work. We played some great short passing, patient stuff. Most of it was at the back and didn’t really cause many problems for the Cavalier who were content to leave us at it, but it boosted our confidence up and we tended to quicken the passing the closer we got to their area. We had some cracking chances. Dave Graham missed an open goal as he sliced it wide, but soon after stuck a stunning shot which cannoned off the crossbar and post. I had my head in my hands for a prolonged period and expected the sucker punch from Cavalier as they’d done so well in the first. But then up popped Cresswell, now featuring as a lone forward. He picked up the ball from the third of the field and beat two or three men (including one who’d gone in hard on him moments earlier) before lashing it through the ‘keeper to make it 2-2. I urged everyone to pressurise the Cavalier as this was definitely our time, and from kick off, we won it back again and Cressy struck a clean shot to make it 3-2. Excellent stuff. We had a good few chances after this. The scariest one was when, I think it was Cressy or Dave Graham, struck the post (or was it their lad clearing the ball) and the rebound from Gav Brown was cleared off the line. Immediately at the other end, Cavalier had a free-kick from Muer’s dwelling on the ball too much and giving away a foul (disputed, but should have been cleared earlier). We packed our own goalmouth and Simma palmed the ball away from a well struck free kick. A break on at the other end saw Marky Mark clean through. He ran from deep so probably wasn’t offside, but then just as we expected the miss, he somehow scooped the ball into the back of the net as he was tackled. 4-2 and a great second half.

It’s quite obvious that the form of the team has dipped considerably. We’ve peaked early in our two games before Christmas and need to get things back on track. Positives were an excellent second half, including an almost full squad. It was good to see everyone back, even if Dave Graham and Si Mulvaney looked like they were dressed for a Village People tribute act when they turned up. A very strong and difficult game next week against Hylton CW at home. We’re in 5th position as it stands and based on the mediocre performances, anything higher than that would be a bonus. Also, Cressy and Macca need to get the £2 subs to me or Muers before next weeks game.

Downhill Complex
League Division 1 4 Mark Cresswell 2, Dave Gourlay, Mark Middlemiss
The Cavalier 2 Dave Simpson, Simon Mulvaney, Mark Muers, Marc McDermont, Chris Dixon, Andy Farrer (Tim Gillespie), Gavin Brown, Mark Cresswell, Dave Gourlay*, Andy Swinhoe (Mark Middlemiss), Dave Graham.

19th January 2008| back to top

League Division 1Usworth FC 4 1.

Complete and utter rubbish.

No other words for it other than “rubbish.”

Once again, Sassco wilt under a bit of pressure. We knew we were climbing the table, but like last year, in January, we failed miserably and succumbed to a heavy defeat.

Ironically, Simma and Swin were due to miss this one. I was squabbling around for a goalkeeper and was resigned to the fact that Emu would be in between the sticks (Gav Kershaw’s fractured his foot). However, about sixish last night, just when I was scribbling a few random swearwords to direct at Emu when in goal, Simma and Swinhoe confirmed that they’d be there. After it, they probably wish they hadn’t. Not much positive to say about today. I nearly got stuck in a tree when retrieving a ball and came on for Gav Brown late in the second. We were 4-0 down at the time and eventually did get a consolation. It was too late and this time we didn’t even deserve that.

Looking back at it, it’s quite clear that we are going to struggle when we miss a few players. Saying that, the squad we had today was well and truly good enough. The system was probably flawed. We were missing three key midfielder’s, Mark Middlemiss, Dave Graham and Tim Gillespie, but I still decided to play 4-5-1. However, we seemed to give the goals away. I can’t remember Simma having to make any other saves apart from the goals conceded, but Usworth were clinical in taking their chances. We were left chasing the game after conceding the first one, which was a long ball from the right hand side after we’d had the better of the first ten minutes. The Usworth player had time to side step our defender (can’t remember who it was) and score. 1-0, but all wasn’t lost until Macca pushed a player from behind in a very dangerous area just outside the box. The free kick was blasted with some force to make it 2-0. At this time I’d already decided to change it to 4-4-2 for the second half and expected a good comeback at 2-0 down. But as three minutes were remaining on the clock, Digga decided to dwell on the ball too much and saw it stolen before ending up in the back of the net. Truly criminal. I hope you’re thinking about it on the long journey back home in your working man’s sports car

By far, the worst performance from Sassco for a good while. We just can’t seem to cope with Usworth. They’d beaten us 4-1 in the League in our home game. Once the opener went in, we looked deflated and didn’t really create anything. Second half saw an up in our performance, but their first chance in the second led to another goal. Macca got his first goal for Sassco as he replaced Gav Brown on the wing (I was on as left back), but generally everything was bad, really bad.

The players seem to have lost all confidence in the system. Swinhoe, who thrived in the 4-5-1 setup seems to be a pale shadow of himself. Cresswell struggled all game. Despite having the ball at his feet, he kept getting tackled and frustrated. Si and Gourlay were centre midfield and did okay on the ball, but the balance wasn’t there. Digga, apart from his mistake, played quite well. I’ll have to adapt the team to the system from now on. When the missing lads are all there, 4-5-1 is the way to go, but when one or two are missing, we need to adapt and get back to 4-4-2. It’s good we can play both ways though. Now that we have two strikers in Cresswell and Swinhoe, the 4-4-2 is probably more ideal. Remember that I was forced into 4-5-1 as we only had Swinhoe as an attacker. Today in the first, I had a left winger on the left wing and a left winger on the right – not good, reeks of Steve McLaren’s bong eyed pegs in bong eyed wholes. This is no fluke result. As mentioned Usworth beat us 4-1 at home in what I’d call our last low point.

Just have to write it off and plug away next week. The missing players should be back and are likely to jump straight in the side.

League Division 1

Usworth FC 4 1
Marc McDermont Dave Simpson, Anthony Pearson, Simon Mulvaney, Mark Muers, Marc McDermont, Chris Dixon, Andy Farrer, Gavin Brown (Davinder Sangha), Mark Cresswell, Dave Gourlay, Andy Swinhoe

12th January 2008| back to top

League Division 1 Cambridge Hotel 0.

Dave Gourlay’s late strike settles an insipid performance from Sassco.

Changes in the team structure led to Muers hounding the players for their £2 subs. It’s Pizza night for him every Saturday now that he’s the Team Treasurer. Brian Watson also came in as Team Secretary for his first view of Sassco. I was slightly worried that the referee would query the pitch. Ironically, Redhouse FC’s pitch was horrendously unplayable. All you could see was a massive brown patch all over the pitch. Look at the photo above and you can see the Redhouse pitch in the background. Our’s was okay. It was definitely going to cut up, but it was playable.

Cambridge were the opponents. I expected a win, but unlike last season where we gained two memorable wins, this time, Cambridge didn’t seem to be as strong. We did get the win, but it was a late one and I seem to remember holding my head in my hands for the last twenty minutes. We were eventually liberated by Dave Gourlay’s late, late strike which gained an enormous cheer from our sidelines as we constantly pressed in the latter stages. Cambridge gave us a few scares, but on the balance of player, we deserved it. Despite the win, this wasn’t really good enough. The team was virtually full-strength with only Dave Graham dropping out due to injury. Against my better nature, I stuck to the 4-4-2 from the second half of the last game. We’re lucky we got away with it. It’s going to be back to 4-5-1 next week, as we really didn’t get out of the blocks for this one.

Saying that, as mentioned, we were the better side overall. We had lots of chances, but squandered most with poorly hit shots and balls flying wide. We just couldn’t keep hold of the ball well enough as well. Countless times we won it and then lost it within the next move. First half saw opportunities missed and at 0-0, it wasn’t really a pleasant start to our League campaign in 2008.

I made two changes early in the second half. Farrer came on for Dixon, while Bri Marley replaced Josh Lay on the left wing. It was probably a coincidence, but the team looked more likely to score in the second. We were camped in their half and most of the shots went wide. Lack of composure was the main cause.

With around two minutes remaining, Dave Gourlay turned inside the box and lashed in the only goal of the game. A great goal to settle a dull game – watched for the first time by our new Team Secretary.

Great on Barry Poulton, the referee. When some of the Cambridge lads were whinging about the Sassco ball, he had a quick bounce, said it was fine and continued the game. Well done.

Away to Usworth next week at Plesseys (Sunderland Aircraft Museum). There’s no referee arranged for it at the moment.

A note about the website. It ALWAYS get’s updated within two or three hours of the game, so press CTRL and F5 to refresh and update the page if you keep on seeing the old one.

Downhill Complex
League Division 1 1 Dave Gourlay
Cambridge Hotel 0 Dave Simpson, Simon Mulvaney, Mark Muers, Marc McDermont, Chris Dixon (Andy Farrer), Tim Gillespie, Mark Middlemiss, Mark Cresswell, Josh Lay (Brian Marley), Dave Gourlay, Andy Swinhoe.

9th January 2008 | back to top

Latest news.

Brian Watson – new Team Secretary.
Brian Watson, Born 8th September 1971 in Lanark (Scotland), he moved away from Scotland when he was 2 as his father was in the army and he had to go where he was posted. Moved to Germany then back to England and a place called Tidworth in Wiltshire. Then back out to Cyprus for 6 years. Back to England and a village called Bishops Itchington NR Southam,Leamington Spa. Stayed their until he left school and then moved for the final time to Sunderland. His father wanted to move back to where he was born, as Brian puts it, “just a little homesick I guess.”

Moved to Sunderland in 1988 and worked at Homeworthy’s furniture until made redundant recently. Married to Linda, with two children, Paul 13 and Linzi 11.

In 2003 Brian started his own football club called Downhill Wolves u-9’s. They participated in the Russell Foster Youth League and finished 4th top in the small-sided league (7-a-side).

The following season they were playing 11-a-side and finished mid table and in the final season finished 5th from bottom. Unfortunately it all ended on a sour note as work load finally got the better of Brian, as he was the Secretary/Manager.Physio/Coach, etc. (sounds familiar). The Wolves were going to be called the Sassco Wolves, but Brian couldn’t find anyone suitable to take over as manager (and that includes Mickey Donkin – who couldn’t handle the pressure), and so the project was finally over in 2007.

Since then he’s been enjoying the lie-ins, sometimes playing cricket for Wearmouth Colliery Welfare and watching soccer am. It’s good to have him on board. An internal appointment, in my opinion, wouldn’t have worked out so getting someone from outside the team who knows what’s involved in amateur football is a great appointment. Brian will be the main contact between the team and League as well as Durham FA and Sunderland Council.

Mark Muers – new Treasurer.
Mark Muers has agreed to become the new Treasurer. All money will now be collected by Muers, who will keep a record of in’s and out’s. Muers will be responsible for paying the referee out of the £2 subs which come in (and not from his own pocket). Any shortages will be made up by myself, or from a float from previous subs, but with a full squad, this will be rare.

In both cases, when Brian or Mark are unavailable, then Davinder Sangha will temporarily take over the duties.

5th January 2008| back to top

Express PCs Challenge CupHall Farm 4 2.

Poor first half – strong second half.

4-0 down at half time? Christmas was well and truly over.

I enjoyed the winter break. Not having the hassle of ringing around and getting the kit in order – I might get used to it. For our first game back, it was cup game against higher division Hall Farm. They’d been having some mixed results, but having experienced the Premier myself, it was clear that this was our toughest game for quite a while.

Player shortages reared it’s ugly head again. From a full squad in the two games before Christmas, to a threadbare team. Dixon and Gourlay were suffering from “Man Flu” and I was classed as the only sub. However, Andy Farrer, due to make a return, dropped out an hour before kick off. A few desperate texts (Jon Wardle, Gav Kershaw, Richard Purvis and a few others) weren’t successful, but it was too short notice. Yet, Tim, obviously horrified at the prospect of me at left back, managed to get one of his friends in. Leigh Wilcox. Not the easiest start. He made a few very useful tackles and no doubt would fit in well if called upon again.

So, 4-0 down. Team was not too different from the ones before Christmas, but critically, Dave G was missing and the midfield duo was Dave Graham and Mark Middlemiss. In defence at centre half I had to shuffle Marc McDermont in there. Not his correct position, but as we were short, there were no other candidates. The four goals were disappointing. Two were almost identical, with a player running from the left hand side of the pitch evading several challenges. The latter two were more dead ball situations. We looked weak on almost every corner, but that wasn’t surprising as we didn’t have two of our bigger players. We tried to get back into on several occasions. Cressy, clear on, shot wide. Josh Lay couldn’t get the ball to his right foot and we had two or three goalmouth clearances. We were getting back into it at 2-0 down, but a mistake by Leigh Wilcox gave them a third. After the fourth, we had a brilliant free-kick from Muers which shattered the crossbar and it wasn’t followed up .

Second half was back to basics. I pushed Cressy up front and Mark out wide. It seemed to work quite well. The factors in our favour were that Hall Farm would take their foot off the pedal and we had nothing to lose. Cressy hit the crossbar and the return was nodded in by Swinhoe. Cressy then scored a superb goal. He should have added the third, but their ‘keeper made a superb save.

So, a defeat in the cup which on reflection, we had a good second half in. Need to get straight back into it against our next League opponents next week.

Thompson Park
Challenge Cup

Hall Farm 4 2
Andy Swinhoe, Mark Cresswell Dave Simpson, Simon Mulvaney, Mark Muers, Marc McDermont, Tim Gillespie, Leigh Wilcox, Mark Middlemiss, Mark Cresswell, Josh Lay, Dave Graham, Andy Swinhoe.

15th December 2007 | back to top v Seaham The George – abandoned.

Referee decides to:

a) Go shopping with his £10
b) To the match with his £10
c) To the pub to get a few pints with his £10
d) Home to put his feet up thinking that was the easiest £10 he’s ever earned.

Let’s cut to the chase.

If the policy of having to pay referees their money if a game is called off was ended – this game would have been played. Mr. Dobson went home with £10 in his pocket.

I’m quite sick and always have been vocal about the arrogance of some referees. Raymond Dobson is a good referee. However, that’s only on the pitch. The pitch was and still is perfectly playable. The League Sec. had made an announcement that an early pitch inspection would occur as the forecast wasn’t good. Well the sun was shining and it wasn’t overcast. With our games on the afternoon, the pitches would be fine. Keith Brazier passed the pitch fit at around 11:00am and all the texts went out confirming the game would be okay.

Once we got there, got changed and were making their way on the pitch, up jogs the referee wearing some pit boots claiming it was unplayable and hopping around waiting for his money. He didn’t seem interested in anything else. Now, this was after Keith had come into the changing room saying it was fine. I told Mr. Dobson that Keith said it was fine. “I don’t care what he says…” was all he could stump up with. All he was interested in was his £10. Yes! Fucking £10. No wonder he abandoned it. Had he got nothing, he would have played it. Put it this way, he heard about the bad weather and all-in-all expected it to be off. He probably arranged some shopping or a trip to the match – it’d be great to find out if anyone knows or spotted him. So when he saw the pitch was okay, despite a bit of minor snow at the far end, he came up with an idea to abandon it. Yet, wearing hiking boots, how can he check the pitch? Anyone knows once you run on it, it get’s soft. I wear hiking boots during the winter and all the pitches feel very firm – BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT HIKING BOOTS DO. Wear your normal soft ground boots, then they press in.So his checking of the pitch wasn’t done in the correct manner.

Regardless of this – once it was abandoned, we were on it having a training kick about. It was perfect. was totally furious. I’ve had games called off in the past for correct reasons so I know the score. But I’ve never seen the pitch look so good. The opposition seemed okay with it. Keith Brazier, appointed by the WCFL was happy with it – so why Dobson said “I don’t care what he thinks,” means that he is ignoring the opinion of a WCFL Board Member as well as a fully fledged referee. Now, Keith Brazier’s done our 6-a-side in the Winter and wouldn’t hesitate to cancel the games if the astroturf is hard, so his assessment of the pitch is a good opinion. Most importantly, he didn’t have to gain anything by it. Raymond Dobson got his £10 for it. Also, the ground staff at the complex were okay with it. Everyone within half a fucking mile were okay with the bastard pitch, but the fucking referee wasn’t. Obviously this has really pissed me off. The amount it takes to arrange a game to have one person (instead of person I was going to say something else) call it off fucks me over big style (as you can see).

I’m going to make a formal complaint to the WCFL and Durham County FA. Most of all, I want my £10 back. I haven’t got a problem with a referee deciding to cancel a game, but this wasn’t one of them. As mentioned, I’m quite open in complaining about referee’s off the pitch and their arrogance, and this just proves it. What needs to be done is for the payments to be stopped if a game is abandoned. No one is going to return the cash to me or Cameron for organising everything. No one’s going to pay for the petrol to Tim, Mark and Dave Graham from travelling from Newcastle, Bedlington or Hartlepool.

Let’s see what happens.

Team would have been: Dave Simpson, Simon Mulvaney, Mark Muers, Marc McDermont, Tim Gillespie, Chris Dixon, Mark Middlemiss Josh Lay, Dave Graham (Mark Cresswell), Dave Gourlay, Andy Swinhoe.

8th December 2007 | back to top

League Division 1The Cauld Lad 0 6.

First clean sheet.

Being the pessimist that I always am, I took in several factors.

Firstly, we were missing both Andy Reay and Gavin Brown – Andy having joined a Northern Alliance team, while Gav tends to suffer travel problems if Andy Farrer or Reay are missing. Secondly, we were playing Mickey Donkin’s lot. Danny Defty and both McClusky’s were there so I was worried that they’d be geeing the team up to try and get a good performance. This was dubbed “Donkin Day.” It was a battle between Mickey Donkin and Mark Muers. It would be interesting to see who emerged as who’s bitch at the end of the game. Finally, the conditions were shocking. The pitch was slick and the conditions were cold and wet. Mistakes could have levelled the teams out. Everyone was soaked at the end.

The main factor in our favour was that the side was almost unchanged. Only Mark Middlemiss came in for Andy Reay, apart from that, the team was identical to last week – a rarity for Sassco this season. We also had Mark Cresswell making his debut for the team. All the team had the nice all-weather coats on as well. Perfect timing.

The opening salvos were fairly even with the ball spinning up and down the field. We got the opening goal. With the conditions, Dave Graham hit a low ball which went through and under the “unfortunate” Kev McClusky. 1-0 and we relaxed a bit. We put quite a bit of pressure on Cauld Lad by constantly running at them when they had the ball. One such occasion saw a mistake in a backpass and Swinhoe latched on to it to make it 2-0 with his 14th goal of the season (including one in a friendly). We visibly relaxed and played some great football. From a corner, Josh Lay’s bullet header hit the back of the net in a packed box and just before the half ended, Dave Gourlay hit one with some power which spun out of Kev’s parrying block to make it 4-0.

A very comfortable half. Even with the shocking conditions, we were getting the ball down and playing it easy. The option was always there to get it forward quickly and to rely on Swinhoe’s pace, but it was quite rare that we were put under any such pressure and had time to take the ball out of defence. The whole back line (identical to last week) were very comfortable. Simma in goal was slowly freezing to death and the only action he had in the second half was a few easy grabs and a punch out from a wide ball (plus Bri Marley playing crossbar challenge with him on the sidelines). Mark Cresswell came in for his Sassco return and, within moments, hit a low shot which McClusky failed to reach. 5-0 now and another heavy win. Our last breakaway was when a long ball saw Swinhoe chip the ball over McClusky from around 30 to 40 yards out. Both were running for the ball and Kev was well out of his area making the decision for Swinhoe quite easy as he scored his 15th goal of the season.

So a very good win. Conditions were dire, but the good win meant at least we didn’t feel miserable after it. That’s our second consecutive League win and it seems that we do quite a bit of damage to the weaker sides. Hopefully the team will keep together for the near future as when we do have our strongest side, we obviously do very well. Attitude is a big part of it. We treat every opponent with full respect.

It’s a big game next week. We’re home to Seaham George who have been getting great wins since they signed a few of the Park View lads. The two recent games for Sassco have been straightforward, but this one is going to be as difficult as our two games against Blue House and Hylton CW.

For anyone interested. Kit was washed at 40 degrees with a pre-wash as well as a super rinse. Came out dogs bollocks. You could eat your dinner off it.

Thompson Park
League Division 1

The Cauld Lad 0 6
Dave Graham, Andy Swinhoe (2), Josh Lay, Mark Cresswell, Dave Gourlay Dave Simpson, Simon Mulvaney, Mark Muers, Marc McDermont, Tim Gillespie, Chris Dixon, Mark Middlemiss (Mark Cresswell), Josh Lay, Dave Graham, Dave Gourlay, Andy Swinhoe.

4th December 2007 | back to top

Latest news.

All weather coat.
I’ve got 14, black, all weather coats. They’re manufactured by Jako. I’m just getting the badges printed on to them. Ideally I’d want every player to get themselves some black Adidas bottoms (with three stripes). It’s something I’d look into getting, but it’s difficult with sizing so players should probably get their own.

Please note that these will only be given to the 14 regular players who are there each week. If a player becomes non-regular (due to work, etc.) then I’d expect the jacket back.

Andy Reay leaves.
Andy’s joining Gateshead Rutherford in the Northern Alliance for Saturday. Obviously it’s a bit of a blow, but travel problems were one of the main reasons. We wish him luck as he’s been one hell of an asset to the team and would welcome him back. I’ve spoke to Gav Brown and Andy Farrer and they will both be still remaining. However, Gav Brown will have transport problems if Andy Farrer is unavailable. Farrer should be fit for our final game this year against Seaham on the 15th December.

New signings, Marc McDermont and Mark Cresswell.
With Andy leaving, Mark Cresswell’s agreed, in principal, to join the side. He asked last week, but the squad seemed full. Now with Andy Reay leaving, there’s a slot for him. Cressy played for us back in 2005 before joining Town End Farm.

We’ve already got Marc McDermont in the side now in a left back role, so the squad is changing again. Hopefully both Cressy and McDermont will be regulars available each week as we seem to be having a few too many “one hit wonders” especially in the last few weeks.

1st December 2007 | back to top

League Division 8 Park View FC 1.

Dominating performance from start to finish.

An exceptional and important win considering that this was our first League victory since our 3-1 success away to the Cavalier back in September. Park View were a pale shadow of the side which defeated us 6-4 in the Cup not too long ago, but our performance was mind blowing at times. We kept at it from start to finish and it was a culmination of our decent performances recently.

We were actually fortunate that a few familiar faces were back. Andy Reay and Gav Brown were returning, but Mark Middlemiss, both Pearson’s, Jamie Wilson, Mickey Walker, John Amouzoudi and Andy Farrer were missing. I was expecting to be the only sub, but Dave Graham made another consecutive appearance, as I originally thought he’d be away. Marc McDermont came in for his debut as an adaptable left back player. Still, I was alone in the changing rooms at 1:20pm and expected the succession of texts with drop outs. However, nothing came and everyone was in by about 1:30pm. Emu was a bit cautious as his balls had been bleeding because the numpty had been shaving them and cut them. He assured everyone that they’d be okay as he was using a Winnie the Pooh plaster on them.

Everyone was ready and raring to go. The feeling was that we had a good side out there and therefore eventually got the handsome win. We can speculate, but I think we’d have won regardless. We’ve been performing really well for the last few games. Results haven’t gone our way, but we had been playing strong teams and all the negative results were settled by penalties in the second half. For this one, not too long after kick off, Dave Graham scored a well taken shot from outside the area to make it 1-0. This settled the team. Si Mulvaney was, reluctantly, playing right back, Originally I’d pencilled him in a centre midfield, but with Dave Graham making an appearance, he was shuffled into a right back position. It went well. At full back he seemed to have plenty of time on the ball and successfully sprayed it about. Dave Graham hit his second from a quick corner with Dave Gourlay. I was mumbling that “we’ll get nowt off short corners,” just prior to hit hitting the back of the net so there you go. We then took advantage of one of Josh Lay’s obscenely long throws which was nodded on by Muers to Swinhoe who tapped it in. Despite Andy Reay coming back, I elected to keep Swinhoe up there with Andy wide left. Gav Brown was a substitute. It was then Andy Reay who got the goal from the left hand side which was definitely a cross. I know he won’t admit it. Swinhoe then got the best goal of the half when he looped the ball over the ‘keeper. Muers also had one goal scratched off because of someone else pushing.

Second half saw Gav Brown introduced for Josh Lay. Andy Reay switched to the right. I was originally going to take Andy Reay off. It was one of those games when no one could really come off, but Sassco policy has always been to give the players on the sideline a good half. I wouldn’t call upon players if they weren’t good enough. Josh was suffering blisters so he elected to come off making my life easier. Park View pressed more in the second half as I’d expected. We were a bit flat, but soon got into the swing of things. We won a corner and Emu finally got one via a header. Dave Gourlay then got one when he turned outside the box and fired a low shot which was too far for the goalkeeper to reach.

Finally, Dave Graham capped his Man-of-the-match performance with a superb header from a Gavin Brown centre.

Park View grabbed a consolation just after I’d said to Simma that his position is under threat if he conceded one. The goal scoring ended there at 8-1.

So, a fine performance. As mentioned, a culmination of our recent good efforts. McDermont made an excellent full debut as left back and surged ahead in the second half including a 60 yard run. Hopefully our left back problems are going to be solved since Bri Marley left (due to work). On the other side, an initially reluctant Si “I’m not a full back” Mulvaney had a great game at full back and I daresay would admit it himself. Dixon was stuffed in at centre half due to the lack of central players we had and didn’t put a foot wrong. Last week left back, this week centre half. Hint for next week – bring your gloves. Dave Graham as mentioned, was excellent and even Muers got a goal. Andy Reay, farmed out wide, got his return goal and Swinhoe got two, leaving me with a dilemma of who goes where. It’s all good though.

Community North Sports Complex
League Division 1 8 Dave Graham (3), Andy Swinhoe (2), Dave Gourlay, Mark Muers, Andy Reay Swinhoe
Park View 1 Dave Simpson, Simon Mulvaney, Mark Muers, Marc McDermont,Tim Gillespie, Chris Dixon, Andy Reay, Josh Lay (Gavin Brown), Dave Graham, Dave Gourlay, Andy Swinhoe.

24th November 2007 | back to top

Alan Hood Memorial TrophyHylton CW 2 1.

Another second half penalty settles the game.

It was going to be a tough one. Hylton CW are one of the teams who are probably going to be up there alongside Blue Bell and the Blue House when the season concludes. For this one, they were missing a few of the TEF players; signed on, but still cup tied.

We were missing a few again. Jamie Wilson and Mickey Walker were both missing as was new signing, Josh Lay. However, Tim, Dave Gourlay and Chris Dixon were back. Pearson also answered the call. We were short on numbers. The Whitley Bay Deaf contingent are still missing (due back next week), so I managed to get in a recommended player from Ovi and the NIFC team. Jonathan Amouzoudi made his debut as a second half sub at right back.

We were forced to kick off early. The referee decided upon himself as all their players were present it should kick off quick. However, I don’t think many of the Hylton players need to travel from Hartlepool or central Newcastle. Not pleased at all and this is from a team and a person who rarely complains about referees. The game (as it had started) was tough as expected. We were coping quite fine and to be honest, never seemed to be under any pressure in defence. Simma, fresh from his goal last week, flapped at a ball and it was 1-0 to them. Yet, within a matter of minutes, a very long range free-kick from Emu rebounded off the crossbar and Swinhoe (with Si Mulvaney) nodded it in.

1-1 at the break.

Second half saw Jonathan (Jonny) make an appearance replacing Anth P. He had an eventful game. Wailing at the referee – who was very weak, getting away with handballs and having an altercation with their striker. By this time, the game was drifting away from us. We were okay with the ball in the middle but seemed to run out of ideas in the last third. Swinhoe didn’t really have a great deal of support. We did have two good opportunities. One from Swinhoe saved by the keeper and another one from Mark M who delivered a soft shot when everyone stopped thinking he was offside.

We eventually conceded a penalty. A poor throw in wasn’t dealt with. We didn’t win it back and Dixon was adjudged to have made a foul. Their striker dispatched the ball to make it 2-1. It was after this that we had the two good chances, but overall, and in agreement with most of our team, we didn’t really deserve to get anything out of the game. Dave Graham and both Pearson’s are definitely missing next week, but the Whitley Bay lads (both Andy’s and Gav) should definitely be back. Jamie might also be available.

They awarded Dave Gourlay the Man-of-the-match. Notable performances came from Mickey Pearson, Dave Graham and Chris Dixon in particular.

I’ve also purchased 14 all-weather coats. I need to get the badges on (our boy’s lass to hopefully do them) and will only hand them to the 14 regulars we have.

Billy Hardy Centre
Alan Hood Trophy
Hylton CW 2 1
Andy Swinhoe Dave Simpson, Michael Pearson, Mark Muers, Anth Pearson (Jonathan Amouzoudi), Chris Dixon, Dave Graham, Dave Gourlay, Simon Mulvaney, Andy Swinhoe, Tim Gillespie, Mark Middlemiss.

17th November 2007 | back to top

League Division 1Oddfellows Arms 5 5.

Swinhoe gets a hat-trick, but the game is given away.

Genuinely gutted. Had you asked me before the game if I’d have taken a draw, I would have said yes. But, during it and when we were 3-1 up, I was confident of three points.

We started well with a depleted side. This week is the worse I’ve experienced in terms of getting players in. The complete Whitley Bay Deaf contingent was absent. Digga and Gourlay were also missing. Thanks to Anth Pearson, Gav K, Jamie Wilson and Mickey Walker. Also, Swinhoe was back with Dave Graham. Two other players, Shaun Brook and Dean Robinson didn’t bother to turn up despite saying they’d be okay for it. I had to then gamble a bit. I played Simma outfield and got Gav Kershaw back in goal. A move started by Si Mulvaney to Dave Graham saw Swinhoe latch onto the low cross to make it 1-0. We were firing uphill for the first and it was difficult. Oddfellows, also now known as Mountain Daisy, soon got an equaliser with a well taken strike.

We weathered the pressure in the first half and I decided to change it round a little bit. Mark M, playing wide left, was put in the middle with Dave Graham and Si was put out wide. I also switch Pea and Simma around (now left and right). Forgot to mention Josh Lay. He had his belated debut and had a cracking performance on the right hand side. His long throws led to one of our goals. Si’s corner kick in the second half was put in by Simma of all people. An overhead kick at that. He didn’t jump or anything like that – he just stuck his gangly legs over his head and got it in. Swinhoe then made no mistake to make it 3-1.

At this point, we were cruising. However, shocking defending saw a ball over the top and both centre halves completely missing their solitary forward. He made no mistake at 3-2. Soon after, another superb strike saw them level it at 3-3. This was where it got stupid. Swinhoe lashed in his hat-trick (4-3) only to see a loose ball pounced on by Oddfellows (4-4). Then Marky Mark spun in the box and lashed at the ball (5-4), only to see ourselves loose the ball to a throw in and in the dying seconds, land at an Oddfellows player’s feet (5-5).

Silly or what? Both Managers are probably at this moment slagging off their defensive abilities. What can you do? Taking the positives, though, it was another good performance from us. We looked in command, and Swinhoe, despite being isolated, took the game to them and was rewarded with a hat-trick. We also have to take note that we only had one regular in our back four, as well a Gav K in goal. All competent enough, but getting shoved in at the deep end against a decent side is not the best way to gel. 4-5-1 seemed to work again. I think it was just a little lack of composure. 5-5 was probably fair in my opinion because Mountain Daisy (or was it Oddfellows) took what limited chances they have. And if you take your chances, you get results.

Last week I was complaining that we didn’t take our chances and this week complaining that we didn’t clear our lines. Never mind.

The designated referee, Anth Barella, didn’t show. One of their lads did it and did a fine job. Some of the tackles were strong and late, but it’s not easy officiating and he did a cracking job.

Next week see’s us away at Hylton CW in the Billy Hardy Centre. We should have a few faces back – but didn’t I say that last week?

Hylton Road Olympic Stadium
League Division 1
OA Mountain Daisy 5 5 Andy Swinhoe (3), Mark Middlemiss, Dave Simpson Gavin Kershaw, Dave Simpson, Mark Muers, Mickey Walker, Anthony Pearson, Mark Middlemiss, Josh Lay, Dave Graham, Simon Mulvaney, Andy Swinhoe*

3rd November 2007 | back to top

League Division 1 Blue House 2.

A tremendous performance which was settled by a late penalty.

Major problems off and on the field before this tricky game against Blue House. Firstly, we were short in personnel. Dixon, Gourlay, Simpson and Swinhoe were missing. Jamie didn’t turn up. I first erroneously and being my paranoid self suspected he’d signed for a different team (in another League) who were trying to tap him up, but subsequently found out that his grandfather was ill in hospital and he couldn’t get in touch with me. Hope everything goes well. Emu was gutted as I was going to get him on at right wing. So in a way, Jamie not being there saved us from utter humiliation as I’m sure that Emu would have had an absolute clanger on the wing and that I’d spend all game shouting at him. So on the pitch we had to face Blue House, a team who are well on form and look likely promotion candidates. They’d hammered their last few opponents, so it was definite backs to the wall time. I’d sent emails and texts out with game tactics, but Si said his battery ran out before he got to the end of it.

With our win last week, I kept the same philosophy. We’re here mainly to enjoy it. I told all the team to relax and enjoy the game. Battle hard to win the ball back and not to get complacent. We also had two more debuts straight in at the deep end. Chris Hodgson and Richard Purvis. Chris was from Tim’s five a side and Richard from Whitley Bay Deaf FC.

It was a superb performance. I’ve said in the last two games, we shouldn’t concentrate on the result, but look at the performance. We had several chances in the first half and two or three weeks back, I’d be screaming and shouting. Not now. Some you put away, some you don’t. The good thing was that I don’t think Blue House expected a tenacious battle. They got it and we seemed to win every second ball. When we played it through, we had the chances. At the other end, Gav Kershaw was back in goal and didn’t disappoint. He had a cracking game in between the sticks and was very commanding. Muers and Farrer were outstanding in centre half. Chris was superb at right back and Richard Purvis, a natural left back, was excellent.

In midfield, Tim was doing the holding role brilliantly and seems to have cemented his natural role in the team (after two years). He was ably supported by Si and Mark. Both had their work cut out for them and both combined well. On the left, Gav Brown, after his great debut last week, had a good performance. Young Anth P, who only turned up to chill out on the bench with me, was thrown in at the deep end (again) on the right wing. Andy Reay was a lone body up front.

After the first half stalemate in which we probably had the better chances, the second half saw the game drifting away from us. We struggled to win the second ball and a disputed ball out (it was definitely in) saw our side freeze and Blue House put the ball in the net at the second attempt. Si was whinging at me that it was out, but the whole ball had to be out. Despite the set back, I told everyone to relax and within minutes, Anth Pearson side stepped two players to pass to Reay who’s rocket shot was unstoppable. 1-1 and everything to play for. We had some further minor chances, but several were called offside despite the player on the ball being onside. Eventually, we started tiring. Blue House’s dead ball situations were causing problems and it seemed the only likely chance of a goal. They got it from a penalty. Si collided with one of their players heading out of the box and they made no mistake in putting the penalty away. 2-1 and the scoring ended there.

Great show from a makeshift team and it proves that if we have the right attitude, then we’ll do well. Last week proved it and this week did the same. At least we’re enjoying our football now – which is what it’s all about. It should have been a draw based on our chances in the first and theirs in the second, but there you go. Some you win and some you lose. This reminded me heavily of the game v Jolly Potter last season where we lost it in the dying minutes.

No game next week due to SAFC v Newcastle. Also (need to confirm it) I think both Andy’s, Gav and Richard are missing for our next two games.

Community North Sports Complex
League Division 1 1 Andy Reay
Blue House 2 Gavin Kerhsaw, Chris Hodgson, Mark Muers, Andy Farrer, Chris Hodgson, Anthony Pearson, Mark Middlemiss, Tim Gillespie, Gavin Brown, Simon Mulvaney, Andy Reay

27th October 2007 | back to top

Express PCs Challenge 4 Town End Farm FC 1.

An upturn in fortunes with a depleted side.

Not a totally unexpected result. I was thinking positive all week – as were all the team. We’d had some genuinely poor results and performances and we really wanted to get it back on track. I told all the team during the week to be positive and start enjoying the football. A minor spanner in the works was Staples announcing his retirement. As one of the main players since we started back in 2002, it was a blow. But it wasn’t to join any other team (not yet anyway unless the Butterman gets his greasy fingers on him) and it was just a lack of interest. He’ll be a big miss and I’m sure one day he’ll get the urge and make an inevitable return.

Town End Farm (known as Heritage last season) have always beaten us. The team’s not as good as they were in their past seasons, but with Gav Dorwood, Kirk Hardy and Daz Snowball, all very accomplished in the Tuesday League, it wasn’t going to be very easy. To top it off, they also had Barry Cook and our own ex, Keith Mouat and bloody Anth Langan of all people. However, for this one, they only had ten men, something we nearly had. We were bare bones initially, but then Simon Mulvaney said he was going to struggle due to work. No matter as I knew this on Friday night. Then Jamie Wilson apparently got a good kicking sometime on Friday night. Another one missing. We were down to ten men. I didn’t get any confirmation off Swin neither so it was panic stations. But Sassco’s resourcefulness came through. Two Whitley Bay players answered the call from Andy Farrer, so we had twelve including me. Eventually, Bri Marley also came along moments after kick off. My thanks go to Andy Farrer, Dave Gourlay, Tim Gillespie, Chris Dixon and Mark Middlemiss who all actively tried to get players in.

So, we were just happy to start the game. The weather was excellent and the pitch was to perfection (not if you saw Dave Gourlay’s shooting though). It was perfect enough to see Anth Langan, of all people, lose the ball to Andy Reay who made no mistake. Not long after this, several deflections in the box saw Swinhoe’s shot squirm into the back of the net. Not bad. Not bad at all. We were 2-0 up and comfortable and calm as Town End came back at us. They had chances, but we seemed to have quite a few ourselves. There were plenty of goals in this game. Dave Gourlay’s shots were a bit askew, but the passing and, more importantly, the closing down was exceptional. It’s one thing I asked for and got. When we lost the ball in advance positions, we seemed to drop back in groups and hunted the ball down. Tim was in front of the defence and was tenacious enough at winning the ball back. It was a good combination with him and Mark as both were good battlers. Andy Farrer was also back and was superb. He seemed to win every header and probably shaded the Man-of-the-match award over Tim. Up front, Andy Reay was fighting a lone battle and could have actually took on his opposing defender when one on one. Despite this, he held the ball up well. Gavin had a superb debut. A natural left winger (which placed Swinhoe on the right) he had many chances and his passing was fantastic. Unfortunately, when he broke clear, we didn’t have enough men in the box. Alan Douglas, again making a debut, also played exceptionally well. He normally plays centre half, but I shifted him as right back as Muers and Farrer had the experience. Farrer technically and Muers in terms or knowledge of the opponents.

Town End being Town End got a goal back in the first to make it 2-1. A ball over the top on the flanks saw Barry Cook finish it superbly over an advancing Simpson. Simma did well in this one. He clawed plenty of shots out of the air and made not mistakes at all. Very confident for the defence.

At half-time, I dwelled on the positives and said that we should ignore the end result and enjoy the performance. We did. After a few scares, Dave Gourlay combined with Reay and Gavin to make it 3-1. Mark Middlemiss confirmed the result with a superbly taken first time shot to make it 4-1. He also hit the bar (or was it the post?) as well. We were resilient in the second. Digga made some great moves as left back – namely the one where he gave himself a “wedgy” when kicking thin air as the ball went out for a goal kick.

A great game. A good positive outcome. Good on all fronts as with the resourcefulness of players. The good battling qualities after some poor results and a good day all in all. Difficult next week though. We’re home against Blue House. Simma, Bri and Swin are missing and so are Dave Gourlay and Chris Dixon. I’m sure we’ll get a team out and I’m sure the performance will be a good one as well. Well done lads. It’s good to get a win…see you next week.

Community North Sports Complex
Challenge Cup 4 Andy Reay, Andy Swinhoe, Mark Middlemiss, Dave Gourlay
Town End Farm FC 1 Dave Simpson, Alan Douglas, Andy Farrer*, Gav Brown (Davinder Sangha), Mark Muers, Chris Dixon, Mark Middlemiss, Tim Gillespie, Dave Gourlay, Andy Reay, Andy Swinhoe

24th October 2007 | back to top

Latest news.

David Staples leaves.
Staples has left the team having been there since 2002. He explained that his heart wasn’t really in it anymore and this combined with a season ticket means that he won’t be available from now on.

Possible new signings.
We’re looking for a left sided player and could obtain one from Whitley Bay Deaf FC. More information on this to be posted as soon as possible. We’re looking to get this player in for this weekend’s cup encounter against Town End Farm (Heritage). We’re also hoping to get Dave Graham and Jason Amour back from injury.

Positive attitudes.
The last three defeats have all been down to a lack of hard work off the ball and players getting uptight with each other. Hopefully we’ll have a more positive attitude from now and try to enjoy playing instead of turning up and not enjoying it. We’ve got some good League games coming up, most of them away games, so it should be a good run. We’re also due to play at a top quality venue in the Billy Hardy Centre as well as we’ve been draw away to Hylton CW in the next round of the Cup.

Let’s try and enjoy it for a change.

20th October 2007 | back to top

League Division 1 Usworth FC 4.

Humiliation and a definite low point (yes..another one) for Sassco.

It’s safe to say we’ve had a fair few low points since Sassco 11-a-side sprung into life back in 2002. This was definitely one of them. I’ve (and probably most of the players) have been formulating excuses for the past few weeks (the three defeats). For example, 4-5-1 was wrong, correct players not available, players playing out of position, kit was wrong, pitch too hard, underestimating our opponents…

All bollocks.

We’re simply not interested and probably just crap. Dave Gourlay said it well as we stumbled to a 4-1 home defeat, “we’ve got the best website, the best kit, but the crappiest team.” Can’t really argue. My team talks have been quite similar in the last few weeks. I’ve always said we really need to snap at our opponents heels when we lose the ball. This hasn’t been happening. I’ve also always said to the defence and full backs to watch out for the long ball over the top. Two goals last week and one this week was the same. The really embarrassing thing about this week was that even the opponents were surprised. One of the Usworth lads, walking out of the complex, said “you hammered us last time!” Correct, but our attitude truly stinks. The backs to the wall attitude we had when we lost all our players and gained the superb away result against Fulwell seems to have well and truly gone. Now, losing Dave Graham was a huge blow, but if we really can’t cope without one player, then we’re in major trouble. Players come and go, players get injured, so we need to cope.

I think it’s all about attitude. The majority are there, in my opinion, just for a game of football. There’s no forward thinking about points, cup competitions and so on. On the other side, our opponents tend to be fighting as a team. Every team we’ve played against have made it difficult when we had the ball. We’ve rarely done that this season, apart from Fulwell away. Players don’t seem to get back behind the ball when we lose and it’s not about fitness, it’s just the fact that they don’t want to. I’ll be quite straight and say I want players who will fight tooth and nail for the cause and nothing else is accepted.

The game today was similar to Park View and Oddfellows. We went 2-0 down. The first one was a laughable ball over the top on the right hand side. Out defence decided to call offside (I’ve never asked them to do this), and the player finished well. The second was a bit of a joke. We had enough back, but one player (can’t remember who it was) collided with Simma, after he’d made a save and the opposing player slotted into an empty net.

My half time talk was one of my better ones. I spoke about the positives. We’d done really well in the last fifteen minutes of the half, and just needed to “want” it more. It looked that in the second. Andy Reay scored a superb goal and we were on the up. However, it was a fatal five minutes. From their kick off, Andy Reay pressured and won a corner. The corner was good, but no one was in the zone which I asked players to get into. From the loose ball, they played it forward. We seemed to get plenty of people back, but being thick, they all congregated in the top part of the pitch leaving Usworth’s left sided player free to make it 3-1. The fourth was just an inevitable one. We had plenty of chances in this game. Swinhoe had three perfect ones, Si had a one on one. But then again, I said that last week (and the weeks before).

We had the “Butterman” there on the sidelines, obviously doing his scouting mission for Hylton CW, as we play them in a Cup within a few weeks. His report? “Not much to worry about.” But looking at our recent results, I really don’t think anyone needs to worry. We have Town End in the Cup next week, a Premier team who are now back on the boil after a poor start. It’s not going to be an easy season.

So, there you go. We just don’t want it enough, we’re a bit too crap and we’re quite thick…see you next week.

Community North Sports Complex
League Division 1 1 Andy Reay
Usworth FC 4 Dave Simpson, Mickey Walker (Andy Swinhoe), Mark Muers (Davinder Sangha), Jamie Wilson, Chris Dixon, David Staples (Anthony Pearson), Mark Middlemiss, Tim Gillespie, Dave Gourlay, Simon Mulvaney, Andy Reay

13th October 2007 | back to top 4 Park View 6.

Error strewn game sees Sassco out of another cup.

Coundon & Leeholme's goalkeeper fails to deal with Dave Gourlay's long range free-kick

After the debacle at Coundon, it was back to normal with an opener in the Wearmouth Cup. Park View were the opponents and were flying high. However, looking from my point of view it was an error ridden game with goals conceded which should have been dealt with.

Firstly, we gave some cheap corners away. The opening goal came from a corner and we were already on the back foot. We did get an equaliser within minutes with Jamie Wilson firing in his opening goal after an almighty goalmouth scramble. Yet, after this, it was more conceded. We were shockingly 4-1 down. Another one from a corner, one from a ball over the top and one from a move on the left hand side which should have been dealt with much earlier.

Amazingly, we made another comeback! 4-3 at half time. Andy Reay struck one while Mark Middlemiss fired one in. It was easy. Prior to this Dixon had a great long range effort and Andy Reay had a number of chances.

In the second half I switched to 4-4-2. Si was in attack now, but missed a couple of glorious chances. We had so many opportunities in the game. Their ‘keeper made some good stops and our comeback looked in vain when Tim dithered on the ball and lost it to make it 5-3. Eventually, after more of our chances, it was 6-3, but Andy Reay did get one back in the late stages .Throughout the second half, I wanted the ball long to Andy Reay, who was easily outpacing his marker every time, but the team elected to dally about on the ball and eventually lose it. Sometimes principals need to be discarded and the result should be the be all and end all. We’ve got to look at the fact that some of their goals came from long balls out of defence.

A poor show overall. I wasn’t and still aren’t happy at all. There will be some positional changes for next week and I might go back to the away game against Fulwell for some inspiration. Hopefully Dave Graham will be back sooner rather than later, but even so, with the squad we had (with only Swinhoe missing) we really should have done better. We really struggled to make the pass count in this game and just tended to lose the ball in stupid areas. Both goals from corners originally developed from the ball being kicked out for a throw in. Me and Dave G had our usual slanging match, which nearly resulted him walking off (but it was resolved). It was purely out of frustration, though. I think we both knew that this is a game we should have got something from, but as long as the team makes shocking errors like we did, we won’t get past anyone and deserve the heavy defeats inflicted on ourselves.

Community North Sports Complex
Wearmouth Cup 4 Andy Reay 2, Mark Middlemiss, Jamie Wilson
Park View 6 Dave Simpson, Tim Gillespie (Brian Marley), Mark Muers, Andy Farrer, James Wilson, Chris Dixon, David Staples, Dave Gourlay*, Simon Mulvaney, Andy Reay, Mark Middlemiss

6th October 2007 | back to top

Durham County Minor CupLeeholme and Coundon 11 1.

A long way to travel for a hammering.

Coundon & Leeholme's goalkeeper fails to deal with Dave Gourlay's long range free-kick

What can you say? We were already depleted with Mark M, Dave Graham, Chris Dixon and Staples all out. On the day, Tim Gillespie and Brian Marley didn’t show. Tim didn’t get back to me at all with a yes or no, so I wasn’t surprised. But Brian contacted Simma around an hour before I was due to get him, saying that he had to go to work. I’m confused. Surely you can’t get “called” into work. You’d be on standby or on call which he should have told me about. Needless to say, I won’t communicate anything about next week to both of them. If they contact me by Tuesday about their availability then it’s okay. However, any later than I’ll just assume they won’t be there and they’ll be replaced by regular players. I’ve got no criticism of people working at all, but I need to form a regular squad who are available each Saturday unless injured.

Thanks to Mickey Walker, Mark Muers, Dave Gourlay, Mickey Pearson, Andy Farrer and Simon Mulvaney, all offering lifts to people down there. It’s much appreciated.

Mickey Pearson's last game was 8-2 in favour of ourselves.

I opted for a defensive attitude due to the lack of regular players, which backfired in spectacular fashion. However, one of my key requests was that players get tight and snap at the heels of their opponents to pressure them. It just didn’t happen. Jamie lost the ball in the opening minute and they pushed on to score. That was it. We struggled all game. Simon Mulvaney turned up late and I came off after about ten or fifteen minutes for him. They scored more in the first half and we only managed one from a dead ball situation (in spectacular fashion). The only other highlight was Jamie failing to fire into an empty net. At half time, I told them all not to be frustrated and we are a limited team. The only disappointment in this was that we just didn’t pressurise our esteemed opponents. Leeholme and Coundon apparently won it last season, but two strange things. Firstly, there’s nothing on the internet about them winning it and I was surprised they were in the draw at this early stage.

I don’t want to run over the events in the match because I really can’t be arsed. The synopsis of what happened is that after conceding an early goal, we went on to concede a further four – mainly from the left hand side. Then Dave Gourlay fired in a spectacular free kick from around 35 yards to reduce the deficit. They obviously scored plenty more and the 11-1 result was a bit embarrassing. Some players are clearly not up to it when we’re facing off against stronger opponents. But, then again, we are in the second division of the WCFL, so we can’t really expect much.

I’d say the MoM needs to go to Dave Gourlay again for giving Sassco a very rare highlight in the game. Running close was Andy Farrer. Despite being in the defence, he did excellent to win many headers and made some good challenges. Andy Reay and Andy Swinhoe did as much as they could. Simon Mulvaney really didn’t look to interested when we didn’t have the ball. Everyone else struggled. Simma could have probably punched one or two of the goal opportunities away. Anth Pearson was in an uncomfortable left side role. Jamie got injured and Mickey Walker, good in the air, sometimes failed with his passing. The only good thing to say about Emu was that he managed to replace the rear bumper on his car.

Don’t get frustrated gentlemen. It’s rare we’re going to play teams as strong as this.

Coundon & Leeholme Recreation Ground
Durham County Minor Cup
Coundon & Leeholme YC 11 1 Dave Gourlay Dave Simpson, Anthony Pearson, Mark Muers, Andy Farrer, Davinder Sangha (Simon Mulvaney), Dave Gourlay*, Mickey Pearson, Mickey Walker, Jamie Wilson, Andy Swinhoe, Andy Reay

3rd October 2007 | back to top

Latest news.

Dean Matthews joins Hendon Grange.
Dean’s decided to join Hendon Grange, mainly as a goalkeeper. Obviously he suffered a regular set of injuries with ourselves and consigned himself to being a Non-regular, as age and too many kids took their toll. But we wish him well. Dean was instrumental in getting MJS Claims to sponsor the side so we’re forever grateful and would happily welcome him back when he suffers another inevitable injury with Hendon. He passed on his thanks to the rest of the team and said he genuinely enjoyed his stint with Sassco.

Travel arrangements to Leeholme.
I’ve set up a map to Leeholme with GoogleMap directions. It’s likely that Mark won’t be able to get a minibus, but we seem to be okay with transport down there. Only Staples, Wilson, Swinhoe, Marley and Simpson need transport, so I can get half and probably Muers or someone else the other half. Half the match subs should be paid to anyone taking people, so if Emu’s taking three people, he gets £3.

We need to make sure we’re at the complex for around 12:00pm ready to go. Anyone who travels down there should check the map. The post code DL14 8HY, but this takes you just past the entrance which is located on the map (link above).

29th September 2007 | back to top

League Division 1The Cavalier 1 3.

Unconvincing performance overshadows the first League victory.

Overall, a very poor performance and a flat performance at that. Injuries impacted on the line up. Jamie and Stapes were both out, while Bri Marley was working. There were returns from Tim Gillespie and Mark Middlemiss. Tim drew the short straw and went left back, while Mark was filling the important role in front of the defence. As a player who normally gets the ball and keeps running, it was going to be a test to keep him at the back! I was the only substitute and remarkably, no one got injured. There was incessant rain the night before, but I knew the forecast would improve. It did and the game was played in glorious sunshine, however the pitch was diabolical. All the venue’s we’ve been on so far have been like bowling green’s, but this one certainly wasn’t.

The first half kicked off and it wasn’t convincing at all. We had several chances. Swinhoe’s touch and position was to blame for not getting one in the back of the net and Andy Reay, clear on goal was tackled at the last minute. We also had once disallowed. We did get the goals, but not as I expected. The opener came from Swinhoe from a low corner by Chris Dixon, and the second came from Dave Graham via a Dave Gourlay corner. As a team renowned for wasting corners, it was a welcome relief. I was also additionally smug with myself because I sent a pre-match email to everyone with a diagram of where I wanted the corner kicks to be placed. Over the top? Maybe, but it’s a PowerPoint presentation next time I have a bright idea.

Goals tend to change games. Lucky for us, the one scored by The Cavalier didn’t. After more squandered chances from ourselves, including a mazy run by Reay which concluded with the crossbar being battered and Swinhoe offside for the rebound, Cavalier fired one in. They came close on a few occasions and I really expected them to equalise in the pessimistic manner I’m used to. But with around five minutes remaining, up popped Dave Graham, again, to fire one in from inside the area. 3-1 and the game was secure. This is our first League win, so it pushes us further up the table to 7th position.

As mentioned, we had several chances. The Cavalier ‘keeper palmed Dave Gourlay’s long range effort over the crossbar. Andy Reay cracked the bar soon after. Andy Reay also had a goal disallowed in the first and, despite not grabbing a goal, put himself about a bit. At the back, we were solid. Both Emu and Farrer were strong and dealt with some awkward high balls. Where the team was let down was when we failed to press and close down extensively to stop them playing. We did do it against Usworth, but I suppose on another day, we’d have bagged a a few goals in open play during the first. Mark and Tim did okay on their return, but gave the ball easily away several times. Ironically, Dave Gourlay did the same. Maybe it was the pitch, maybe it was the ball, or maybe they all just had a clanger of a day. One thing’s for sure – we have to cut out the bad passing. It’s a simple pass from A to B which is causing the problems. Almost every time we lost the ball like this, Cavalier broke quickly and we tended to rely on the back two and Simma to pull us out of the mire.

So. A win’s a win, but this wasn’t a spectacular one. Man of the Match was Dave Graham and I suppose the other nearest to it would be Emu and Farrer. As mentioned, both were rock solid in the centre half positions and seem to be getting a good partnership together.

Good show from the Cavalier. A good set of lads who, no doubt, will be a very difficult opponent, later in the season when we play them at home. Also, the referee, Peter Connor, was excellent. It’s people like that who should be running the country. Not the numpty’s who drop the League in it at the last minute.

Silksworth Sports Complex
League Division 1
The Cavalier 1 3 Dave Graham 2, Andy Swinhoe Dave Simpson, Tim Gillespie, Mark Muers, Andy Farrer, Chris Dixon, Mark Middlemiss, Dave Gourlay, Simon Mulvaney, Dave Graham*, Andy Swinhoe, Andy Reay

23rd September 2007 | back to top

Latest news.

Jase Amour out for a while.
The injury he sustained against Usworth is quite bad. It looks like he’ll be out for a good few months. Obviously, age is going to take it’s toll on him again as the “Curse of the Sponsor” strikes back.

Settled squad.
After the pre-season turmoil, it’s quite clear that the squad is now settled. New regular signings, Andy Farrer, Andy Reay, David Graham, Simon Mulvaney, Jamie Wilson (and Jase Amour) have all bedded in, despite only Dave Graham having the comfort of two pre-season games. The rest have all come in at the deep end and most only took half a game to settle in. It’s good to have Andy Swinhoe back in as a regular as well.

The squad number is up to 15 now, but with Jase being injured, it’s 14 for the time being. No more new players will be added in as regulars, but the likes of Mickey Walker, Mickey Pearson and Jon Wardle will no doubt make some appearances during the coming months.

The attitude seems different, even though it’s only a few games in. Last few seasons have seen me being worried about reliability, but the players this season seem a bit more mature. And it’s good that I haven’t fully relied on the 6-a-side for players this time. Both Andy’s come from Whitley Bay Deaf, while Si and Dave Graham are from Mark’s side of the fence. While Jamie’s from Washington Colliery. We’ve still got three Bunker players in (Simma, Bri and Swin) and the rest are the core regulars who have been there since the start or at least for a good few seasons.

Long away day in the County Cup.
Mark Middlemiss is able to provide transport in a mini bus (not a tank) down to Bishop Auckland on the 13th. The kick off in CC games is 1:30pm so we should all be at the complex car park in Downhill at around 12:00pm to travel down together. We can leave all the cars at the complex and come back there afterwards.

Warm tops and polo shirts and team shirts.
Adidas Cosmos brand Sassco shirt for the 2008-2009 season.I’m looking to get some warm, waterproof tops for the team. These should be worn when arriving for every game. Ideally I want the team to purchase their own black, three stripe, Adidas bottoms as well. For me, purchasing bottoms is more inconvenient as the company I get the tops from tends to do one size only.

I’ve got some more grey polo shirts for the Regular squad only. I’m trying to get the ones back from the players who left as well.

I’ve also managed to obtain some Adidas Cosmos type jersey’s in red. This is mainly in preparation for next season. The price was quite good so I’ve decided to get them in now. The shirt is shown with the existing sponsor details on (as it will be printed), but this all depends on if the sponsor renews for next season (which they hopefully will). This will replace the red Milltech jersey we will be using as our current second shirt.

All the previous shirts we’ve had in the last six years are being sold off and this will reflect in the Accounts section once sold. So the team will be back in the black as well.

League Standings









1 Oddfellows Arms
2 Fulwell Blue Bell
3 Seaham The George
4 Park View
5 Blue House
6 Cambridge Hotel
7 Usworth
9 The Cavalier FC
10 Cauld Lad

22nd September 2007 | back to top

Alan Hood Memorial 8 Usworth FC 2.

Andy Reay steals the show with four goals.

Within the first minute, Andy Reay, received the ball in the box. He was harried and forced out of the box by the Usworth defenders, but then proceeded to hammer in a superb strike which settled into the right hand side of the goal. This set the precedent of the game and we didn’t really look back in our first competitive win this season.

After the disappointing three opening League games (albeit, disappointed to share the points in the second game), I stuck to the 4-5-1 game plan which worked so well in the aforementioned 2-2 draw away to Fulwell. From now on, the intention is to give every opponent full respect. Something we didn’t against Oddfellows. Dave Graham was back and played a pivotal role in the middle. Also, I elected to have Jamie Wilson as a holding player. Up front, Reay replaced Swinhoe and didn’t disappoint after opening his account last week. While we were still celebrating the excellent opening minute, for his second goal, he beat three defenders to make it 2-0. Not long after this, clear on, he made it three. A hat-trick within fifteen minutes.

The game was plagued by injuries. By this time, Swinhoe was on as Bri Marley looked out of sorts and requested to come off. Minutes after this change, the “Curse of the Sponsor” reared it’s ugly head as Jase Amour was badly injured in a 50-50 tackle. He looks unlikely to feature in the next game, but we did enjoy using bits and pieces out of Digga’s medical bag for the next five minutes or so. So, I had to put Mickey Walker on in Jamie’s position and then pushed Digga, who was originally left wing to right back. Swinhoe was on as a left winger. Confused? Luckily it didn’t affect the performance. One thing with Sassco is that players are okay in most positions. Obviously I try and get them into their best positions, but from time to time, we have to ram a square peg into a round hole. So, despite playing left wing, from one of Dave Gourlay’s corners, Swinhoe, completely unmarked, made it 4-0. The best goal of the game ended the scoring in the opening half. Dave Graham, latched on to one of Usworth’s clearances and volleyed the ball into the back of the net from around 35 yards out.

5-0 at half time and no complaints as we commenced the second half in a game we’d already won. We did give them a bit too much time when they had the ball in their own area, which will haunt us against the stronger sides, but we were 5-0 up and took our foot off the pedal. The second half was played at a slower pace, but Swinhoe, one minute after requesting to come off, was shown an opening and raced through to make it 6-0. Andy Reay then secured his fourth with ease. At 7-0, we completely switched off and allowed them to score two quick goals. They nearly made it three, but this seemed to switch the team back on as Dave Gourlay fired the eighth and final goal into the roof of the net. We could have had more. Andy Reay was in devastating form and should have scored at least two more.

A perfect response. I wasn’t sure about this game at all. Like all teams, every side has new options each season and Usworth could have caused problems. Ironically, it was Mickey and Jamie they were after as the bulk of the Usworth team have played for Washington Colliery, be it in training or actual games. The problem now is how to incorporate Tim, Stapes and Mark. All played well in their last games, so it’s a good selection headache to have. I’ve tentatively said that I’m very happy with the squad and today just proves it. New regular signings, Andy Reay, Jamie Wilson, Andy Farrer, Dave Graham, Simon Mulvaney and “old” Jason Amour have all exceeded expectations.

Community North Sports Complex
Alan Hood Trophy 8 Andy Reay 4, Andy Swinhoe 2, Dave Graham, Dave Gourlay
Usworth FC 2 Dave Simpson, Brian Marley (Andy Swinhoe), Mark Muers, Andy Farrer, James Wilson, Jason Amour (Mickey Walker), Chris Dixon, Dave Graham, Dave Gourlay, Simon Mulvaney, Andy Reay*

17th September 2007 | back to top

Latest news.

Long away trip to Bishop Auckland.

Well, after two years, we’ve been hit with our first long distance away trip in the Durham County Minor Cup. We’ll be playing Coundon and Leeholme YC, who are based 22 miles away in Bishop Auckland. The game takes place on the 6th October. Transport could be a problem, but we should be able to manage. If not, then it could be a mini-bus.

15th September 2007 | back to top

League Division 3 Oddfellows Arms 4.

Another poor first half lets the team down.

I found out afterwards that Oddfellows contained a few of the Jolly Potter lads. So Lesson 1 is don’t go by last season. Every team’s improved and the Oddfellows, known as Lord Seaham last season, are definitely a much stronger opponent this season.

Another poor first half. I elected to avoid a holding midfielder as Tim was absent, but it backfired a bit. I don’t think the formation was the key error, but players backing off and simply not being decisive. Similar to our first home game against Fulwell, we lost it well and truly in the first as within a matter of fifteen to twenty minutes, we were 3-0 down. It’s very difficult to get players to change their attitudes sometimes. If we really want to get into it, we can. Every ball’s winnable and in the first half, I think some of the players gave the opponents too much respect and simply didn’t close down. A lot of the team had a bad day. But it’s a kick up the arse which leaves us feeling “why didn’t we do that in the first?”

The second was altogether different. Just before the end of the first, Simon Mulvaney grabbed a goal back and Ed nearly fired one in, so it was 3-1 at the start of the second. Dixon was on for Ed and moments later Swinhoe and Wilson (injured) were off for two debutantes, Andy Reay and Andrew Farrer. Both came from the Whitley Bay Deaf team and both had great games. The second half was a turnaround. They went 4-1 up, but then Andy Reay clawed it back to 4-2. Great stuff, but when Dave Gourlay fired in a superb free-kick (his second attempt), we were really in it. Oddfellows were hanging on in the end. A series of corner kicks led to clearances and mass panic, but it was too late. We realised who we were playing too late and built up confidence too late.

Positives are that when we do want to play, we can get back into it. It’s a good sign that we nearly made it 4-4 and both Andy Reay and Andy Farrer had very good debuts as centre forward and centre half. Dave Gourlay was Man-of-the-match and scored a superb free-kick, just rewards for a display which saw him drive the team on. Mark Middlemiss, Tim Gillespie and David Staples are all missing next week, but we should have more than enough in terms of players. We’re actually at home against Usworth next week, despite me saying Park View for some reason.

Community North Sports Complex
League Division 1 3 Simon Mulvaney, Dave Gourlay, Andy Reay
Oddfellows Arms 4 Dave Simpson, Brian Marley, Mark Muers, James Wilson (Andy Farrer), Jason Amour, Edward Morrison (Chris Dixon), David Staples, Dave Gourlay*, Simon Mulvaney, Andy Swinhoe (Andy Reay)

14th September 2007 | back to top

Latest news.

Sassco v Oddfellows Arms and team wear.

Hugely confident about the game. The squad is reasonably full strength with only Dave Graham possibly not being there. There’s also a very slim chance that Mark M might not be there, but we have everyone else available. Andy Reay, leading goalscorer for Whitley Bay Deaf FC also comes in to the fold as a possible permanent player.

Fingers crossed that we get another good performance out of the game and hopefully a good result as things are really looking up after the 2-2 draw with Fulwell Blue Bell. The headache of looking for new players is seemingly over, with myself having to turn down new request for regular players in the last week or so.

I’m also trying to obtain some warm, grey zipped tops as well for the team (preferably waterproof). These will be given to every regular player, but will be demanded back if they leave the team. A nominal payment of £5 would also be appreciated (but not demanded) when they are handed. If someone leaves the team, they can get the £5 back as well (if they wish).

I’ll try and get some more of the Polo shirts for the newer players as well. Again, a nominal payment of around £2 is appreciated for these.

8th September 2007 | back to top

League Division 1Fulwell Blue Bell 2 2.

Faith restored with a tremendous and stubborn performance.

A 2-2 scoreline usually means an open attacking game. Ours wasn’t. Getting nervous without both Wardle and Dean Matthews and still without Mark M and Dave Graham, I really feared the worst. Also, players were in short supply. The likes of Mickey Pearson and Danny Hodgson were unavailable and Dixon cried off on the day. As with all things Sassco, everything fell into place. Two debutantes came in; Simon Mulvaney and James Wilson. Simon had played for 34 Signals in the 6-a-side before and also for Sassco 6-a-side for one game. James was playing for Washington Colliery in our recent pre-season game. Also, we managed to dig up a dinosaur in Jase Amour. Now Jase had suffered from the “Curse of the sponsor.” He managed to get the sponsor in from Manpower, then vanished soon after. Watty got it in from Milltech last season and also vanished. And finally, Dean Matthews got one in from MJS and retired – only to come back and get injured.

For the first time in a good few years, I elected to change the formation. I hadn’t changed from 4-4-2 because the last time we changed and chose 3-5-2, we were hammered off Mountain Daisy in the Saturday morning league. Also, Ed Cook taking us on a mountain hike prior to the game didn’t help. But I knew it was necessary. We needed a 4-5-1. We really needed someone to sit in midfield and allow the two other midfielder’s to open up the game. I also left poor Swinhoe up front by himself, but the end result for him was an excellent performance allied with two goals. James Wilson was more than useful in the centre half position. He won all the headers he called for and added much needed stability at the back. We’d been lacking a centre half since Lewis’ absence and this problem looks to have been solved. Simma was back in goal and proved his true worth by clawing away several high balls as well as plucking them out of the sky. Full backs were Bri and Jase, but Bri came off prior to the half replaced by Pearson. Stapes and Ed Morrison were on the flanks.

A 0-0 first half saw Sassco frustrate their opponents. Chances were almost nonexistent for both teams, but Simma made one excellent save. The second half looked to be going the same, but it sprung into life for us when Swinhoe latched on to a poor pass by their centre half to fire in the opener. We still defended heavily with Tim Gillespie having the time of his life. He was booted from pillar to post, but had a massive influence for us in midfield. They were more worried about fouling him sometimes than winning the ball. Shades of “Cola Boy” Simon Keir a few years back. It wasn’t too long after this when Swinhoe scored his second. Two superb strikes as Swinhoe seems to be back to his best. At one stage I looked up and saw four of their players around him – amazing.

Unfortunately we couldn’t keep the lead. Staples had assisted with the second goal, but a groin injuring resulting from it saw him come off and me on. At 2-0 we were wilting. We had two amazing chances to make it 3-1. Both went to Ed who fired at the ‘keeper. Ed had a half decent game, but seemed a bit overawed and not switched on. The lad’s got pace and a good touch so it’s only a matter of time before he becomes outstanding for Sassco. The inevitable goal from Fulwell came when Pearson was convinced the ball was out and stopped. The result was 2-1. With around five minutes left. Their main player squeezed through four of our players to lash in the equaliser at a tight angle. He celebrated with a sort of “Na Na Na-Na Na.” Very strange. A tad bit childish as well. No matter, they were desperate not to lose it so goals make people do funny things.

We survived to late corner kicks to take a share of the points. A massive improvement in performance for us. They didn’t have their best player, “Reggie,” but we didn’t have Mark Middlemiss, Dave Graham, Jon Wardle, Dean Matthews or Mickey Pearson. For the first time in a long time, the team mirrored my image of how we should play. We were all switched on when we lost the ball and played quite defensively. I’ve explained that when you’re playing superior teams, you need to frustrate them and worry about the goals later. I honestly expected a 0-0 or even a narrow defeat and never expected Swinhoe to do his job so stunningly well. We should have had a win, but on reflection, they did try and impose themselves on the game and Simma made some accurate stops. I would have taken a goalless draw before the game so I’ll take a 2-2 one after it. The 4-5-1 worked well for us in every way. It’s the definite way to go against the top teams.

The next few weeks will see Sassco play some “normal” sides. Game which I’d go into thinking we can overcome them. I’ve got to be honest. Losing so many regulars looked like it was going to backfire on me. The three, Lewis, Yates and Donkin were all 100% regulars and good players. But looking at this result and with Mark M and Dave Graham coming back. I’m quite comfortable and faith is well and truly restored. Sassco seem to be adding a bit more steel into the side with more physical players and less of the nimble 6-a-siders. Also, with the website being so big, a lot of players tend to contact us these days so just being insular and looking in the 6-a-side would have been a backward step.

Dave Gourlay said afterwards that the tactics and formation led to the result, but I have to give full credit to the players. From Simma in goal, to Jamie and his great debut. From Tim’s superb holding role to Simon’s strong presence in midfield. And then Gourlay pulling the strings as always does, to a super performance from Swinhoe. The opposing team awarded Man-of-the-match to Si or Muers, but as we normally do, we sort our own out. I’d have to say Tim Gillespie. Swinhoe, Gourlay and James came close, but Tim would probably shave it. All thirteen players did their bit and really put some work in. Well done team.

Thompson Park
League Division 1
Fulwell Blue Bell 2 2
Andy Swinhoe 2 Dave Simpson, Brian Marley (Anthony Pearson), Mark Muers, James Wilson, Jason Amour, Tim Gillespie*, Edward Morrison, David Staples (Davinder Sangha), Dave Gourlay, Simon Mulvaney, Andy Swinhoe

1st September 2007 | back to top

League Division 2 Fulwell Blue Bell 6.

Lack of strength and experience ends a half decent comeback.

A fair few ups and downs during the week. With our well publicised loss of players, I was paranoid that we wouldn’t have enough. Critically, Mark M and Dave Graham were missing for this one. The one game where we definitely needed a physical presence, we were left short. Although by the midweek, we had more than enough players, with the likes of Dean Robinson and Jase Amour also offering their services. A previous report saw me complaining that Sassco were going backwards, but I didn’t mean in time! However, on the morning of the game, I was short again with two dropping out, but just prior to it, everything fell into place and all the selected and expected players turned up. Bri, Swin and Simma were also there despite the controversial involvement I had with their 6-a-side Bunker team on Tuesday (read the 6-a-side League section for more details).

Typical Sassco. It keeps me on my toes though.

Looking at the result afterwards (a 6-2 defeat), it’s quite clear that we need our strongest (as in physical) players at all time. As mentioned, Mark M and David Graham were missing for this one and, in a vain attempt, I tried to get Mickey Pearson and Danny Hodgson in. I really needed experienced players there. I did manage to get Wardle there, mainly to win the headers – which he did brilliantly, but one’s not enough.

We started superbly. Dean Matthews hit straight at the ‘keeper when through on, but we were switched off as they hurtled to the other end of the field and outnumbered us to score within the opening minutes. Even after this, we had our fair share of opportunities and I wasn’t too disheartened. We were getting caught offside on several occasions as well so I was sure one would fall for us. It was then that they then scored a shocking goal when we didn’t deal with the bounce. Gav K also flapped at it in goal, but it wasn’t really his fault. We should have dealt with it outside the area. More despair as another one soon followed – this time from our ex-Yates, as we looked dead and buried. At the other end, Swinhoe missed a glorious one when through on and Dave G nearly scored a free-kick which glanced over the bar.

For the half time talk, I tried to be positive. Making complaints like I did last season never really had a desired effect. I even remained positive when Dave G started to whinge and disagreed with me for some reason about not tightly marking their main player (who was wreaking havoc). Overall I said not to give the opponents too much respect and to close down every opportunity and be on our toes. We did and immediately Dean Matthews bagged a superb goal from pinching the ball off the ‘keeper. After this, Dave G fired in a long distance free-kick which went beyond everyone to make it 3-2. Great work and we were back in it, but unfortunately we lost it from there. Firstly Dean Matthews came off with a bad injury just as he was causing no end of problems and then Staples trudged off not too long afterwards. We conceded a fourth goal because one of their guys was given too much space in the middle without it being closed down. I was screaming at our lads to get tight but could only watch as he spent what seemed an age in deciding where to pass the ball. 4-2 and that was it really. We did have half chances. Ed Morrison had an opportunity with a high ball but was bustled off it. Jon Wardle also cracked a long range effort which the ‘keeper parried over. We, at the other end, also had to deal with a few goalmouth clearances.

So how do I conclude. I really want to take positives out of it. Chances that were missed which were quite clear cut – so we need a little bit of composure. Dave G and Wardle both played very well in the middle of the park with good showings from Dean, Simma (outfield) and also Bri Marley. Digga was centre half and did well to win his fair share of high balls. We’ve also got to look at it in the way that Blue Bell are clearly amongst the best teams within this division. Last season they came close and this season they don’t have the likes of Board Inn, Jolly Potter or Sportsman’s to face (neither do we). There are several weaker teams within the division and with the side we had out, I’m sure we’d have coped much better against any other team for the first game. Where we do fall down is on the physical side of things. I’ve slightly rectified this by attempting to get more experienced non-6-a-siders in (such as Dave Graham and hopefully for next week, Simon Mulvaney). We are also lacking a centre half now while Mickey Pearson and Danny Hodgson can’t make it. After the game there was a discussion about how it went and I don’t think it’s fitness, but more of the team ethic. If you want to get back – you can. If you want to launch into a tackle – you will. Some of us are half-hearted and it seemed that we just didn’t press as much as we could have. Yes everyone was tired, but defending and man-to-man marking isn’t strenuous and never has been. We really need to switch on and start thinking about what we’d do if we lost the ball. Also, again going back to the positives, we didn’t have Mark Middlemiss, Dave Graham or Mickey Pearson, all who were superb in our final pre-season game and would have surely made a difference.

For next week, we’ve lost Wardle, but, as mentioned, I’m looking to get in Simon Mulvaney and possibly someone else. Mark M and Dave Graham are also missing for that one.

I also broke my own swearing ban within minutes of going 1-0 down. F**k! Back to the drawing board.

Community North Sports Complex,
League Division 1 2 Dean Matthews, Dave Gourlay
Fulwell Blue Bell 6 Gav Kershaw, Dave Simpson, Brian Marley, Mark Muers, Chris Dixon, Tim Gillespie (Edward Morrison), David Staples (Davinder Sangha), Jon Wardle*, Andy Swinhoe, Dean Matthews (Anthony Pearson), Dave Gourlay

League Standings









1 Fulwell Blue Bell
2 Blue House
3 Seaham The George
4 Oddfellows Arms
5 Park View
6 Usworth
7 The Cavalier FC
8 Cambridge Hotel
10 Cauld Lad

30th August 2007 | back to top

Opening game preview.

Sassco v Fulwell Blue Bell.

A slightly troubled start to the season. Both Mark Middlemiss and David Graham are missing, so we have a bit of an inexperienced team against a strong Fulwell Blue Bell team who are many people’s favourites to win this Division.

We’ve lost quite a few players mid-season, namely Mickey Donkin, Anthony Yates and also Stephen Lewis just recently. Obviously as regulars, it will impact the squad for the first few games until things settle down. Good luck to all three. Mick and Yates have joined Cauld Lad and Fulwell, while Lewis is as of yet unassigned.

We’ve got a few old and young back in the side now. Anth Pearson, a 2005 non-regular comes in while Gav Kershaw will be in between the sticks due to the player shortages. Simma will be outfield and Wardle also comes in for a game as he hasn’t got one in the morning. Ancient veteran, Dean Matthews, also comes back in due to lack of regulars for this one. Bri Marley could be missing, but Danny Hodgson and Mickey Pearson won’t be able to confirm until closer to the day (both unlikely though). Dean Robinson’s also looking to come back in the fold, but won’t be available until after this week.

The list at the moment reads as: Gavin Kershaw, Andy Swinhoe, David Staples, Dean Matthews, Dave Gourlay, Tim Gillespie, Anthony Pearson, Mark Muers, Ed Morrison, David Simpson, Chris Dixon, Davinder Sangha and Jon Wardle. However, this can change between now and the kick off time.

All in all, everyone’s looking forward to the season and a very difficult and challenging opening game as Fulwell defeated Sassco twice last season.

20th August 2007 | back to top

Pre-season report.

P6 W2 D1 L3.

A very mixed pre-season for Sassco. The stats show two wins, one draw and three losses. In my assessment, the only negative loss was the one against Lambton Village in our fifth game. The others all had positives.

Training was poorly attended. All the regulars were there, but it revealed that the regular line up had been depleted to around 9 or 10 players. The likes of Danny Hodgson and Jimmy couldn’t commit and Lewis was missing. Dean was on holiday. Panic stations! Recruitment was needed, so a lot of the players were asked to look beyond the 6-a-side for possible additions. The current problem with the 6-a-side is, that because the standard is getting better, all the high quality players are already with higher level teams. Also, Mark Middlemiss was the first non-6-a-sider to come into the team so I was open minded about new additions. Nevertheless, Sassco has never been about getting superstars, but good players who can pass the ball and turn up when they say.

Our first game was arranged against Whitley Bay Deaf FC. We played them when they were Newcastle United DFC back in the summer of 2005. Learning from last season’s pre-season mistakes, I called up a huge squad of about 18. As expected, little by little this number whittled down to only 11 players. The result was 4-1 (report further down the page). The day after, which was a Sunday, we managed to get a side out with Danny Hall (Dagmar) and Gash Brazier (Redhouse) guesting for Sassco in a 3-2 win over Washington Colliery at Sandhill Centre’s artificial pitch. Yates scored along with Danny Hall and Stephen Lewis (who was making his first appearance in centre midfield).

The third encounter was an away day to Shildon AFC. As expected, a tough defeat to the tune of 9-1. Most of the key players were there, but only Gourlay and Muers were there from the game in 2005. Jon Wardle, making his solitary pre-season appearance scored Sassco’s goal. Kev McClusky also came in as a regular (outfield), but within a week had obtained a Season Ticket meaning that he’d be unavailable.

After this, it was two games back at Sandhill Centre. A 4-2 defeat against Blackhall Hardwick saw Staples score Sassco’s fastest ever goal. Second half changes affected the performance and we lost 4-2. Charlie got the other goal. This game saw Dave Graham making a useful second half debut alongside the return of Andy Swinhoe. After this game, Dean Matthews announced that he’d be a Non-regular player.

Lambton Village was a disaster. Indecisive defending and shocking finishing led me to announce that the team was going backwards. We were struggling for numbers as well and it didn’t bode well for the future. Charlie had decided to sign for Redhouse FC at this time so wasn’t called on and other players struggled to commit. Yatesy was also on and off. A potential signing, Nigel Kirkham, never emerged and announced that he’d be struggling to play over the next few weeks. Another, Steve Conlin (rated highly by Tommy Bell), fractured his ankle the midweek before our final pre-season game.

The last game against Monkwearmouth CFC was a very good, positive run-out. A return and full game for Dave Graham proved that he’s a very useful centre midfield player. Mickey Pearson also came in for his first pre-season game in the centre of defence. Ed Morrison also made a second half debut and set up a goal as well winning a penalty. Sassco won 10-2 against a depleted side, with Gourlay scoring four goals. After this, Mickey Donkin (who didn’t play) announced he’d be signing for the Cauld Lad. Yatesy’s also left as well.

So, to conclude. A good set of games. Genuinely delighted that we managed a pre-season without playing any of the WCFL teams, despite lots of offers. Pre-season, in my opinion, is about meeting new and different teams from different leagues. We learned a great deal and more importantly, made a good few links with teams that, no doubt, we’ll be playing next pre-season. Accounting was good. Hiring the different pitches cost a considerable amount of money, but a £9.00 deficit was turned into an £11.50 profit with the last game being played on our own grass pitch. As far as the regulars are concerned, we only need to fill in two slots. However, if this isn’t possible, then I’m quite happy to call on the likes of Matthews, Wardle, Hodgson and Pearson if they’d be available.

18th August 2007 | back to top 10 Monkwearmouth CFC 2.

Excellent send off. Even Mark Middlemiss scores (but Muer’s doesn’t).

After a two week siesta, it was back to the grind after our last poor performance. I concluded the last report by saying we were going backwards and it seemed the same on the Friday night before this game. Lack of numbers was rearing it’s ugly head, mainly down to the fact it was a morning kick off. Donkin and Gillespie were missing, but daft Lewis elected to let me know he couldn’t make it as he thought it was 2:00pm. Yet, with all things Sassco, everything seemed to fit into place. Gav Kershaw said he was available once his lass let him play and Swinhoe said he’d be there for a 10:30 kick off. Also, Ed Morrison came in from Downhill for his debut as we were still looking for new additions to the squad. Mickey Pearson was also there and had a superb game at the back, considering he was carrying Emu on his back for most of the game. Dave Graham also came back in for his first full game.

The line up was complete with Digga on the right, Simpson playing outfield at right back. Bri on the left. Dave G and Swinhoe were up front while Dave Graham and Mark were in the middle. Stapes was on the left. Team talk focused on the poor finishing in the last game and indecisiveness. Our opponents were much weaker this time and suffered player shortages, but we put on a good performance to run up a record score.

The initial goal came from a Dave Gourlay penalty after Staples was scythed down in the box (flourished with one of his excellent dives). While I was getting the ball from the other pitch, I saw an amazing sight; Emu, racing back to clear of the line. Once I got the ball, I saw Dave Gourlay strike again in the distance to make it 2-0. We finished the superb half with Dave Gourlay getting his hat-trick. Swinhoe should have got one in the net, but Dave Gourlay decided to stop it on the line and allow the referee to blow for offside (thanks Dave).

Second half saw them come back into it, albeit slightly. Ed was now on, with Stapes off and Dave Gourlay on the left. Digga was in attack. I demanded a goal from Digga. They had a clear cut chance which they squandered. It wasn’t too long after this that the second half was over as a competition. Dave Graham scored a superb long range effort through a ruck of players to make it 4-0. Dixon then did as I asked and scored along with Swinhoe who, despite the single goal, had a brilliant game as he held the ball up extremely well and won his fair share of headers against his larger opponents. Mark Middlemiss then begged Dave to take the penalty after Ed had been fouled in the box. He did and nearly launched it through the roof of the net. Still, he did get on the scoresheet . Ed Morrison also came into the game well, as superb vision led to a first time pass to allow Dave Gourlay to steal in and score his fourth.

I came on for Simma with around fifteen minutes left and dropped an immediate clanger by not dealing with a high ball. I should have headered it, but when an object is falling around fifty metres out of the sky, the last thing I want to do is put my head on it – especially after I blew the ball up. Still, after this Bri Marley bagged a brilliant goal, Emu had a final header saved and Pearson scored a wonderful, deft chip over the ‘keeper. They also scored another in this final stage. Gav Kershaw was half asleep and left a huge gap in his goal area.

Gourlay acting like the arse in the background of another photo. Told you Dave, these pics will come back and haunt you.So to conclude what is likely to be our last pre-season game. I can’t really complain. It was great performance. In particular, Swinhoe played well in attack and Dave Gourlay was clinical. Dave Graham would be my choice for Man-of-the-match as he won everything in the middle. He and Mark M worked well as a combination. Pearson also played exceptionally well at the back, as did Simma. Ed Morrison was a useful addition, but he tends to go to SAFC games so the number of appearances might be limited. Just to update on the squad, both Danny Hodgson and Anthony Yates are working, but they could be available one week on and off. Only time will tell.

Next week, we have a choice if we want a game. The opponents are arranged, but it’s an early kick off. Initial thoughts say it won’t be on because of the problems I had for a morning kick off this week, but if enough players come back to me saying they want it on, then I’ll get it on. Kick off would be 10:30am again at either Gateshead turf or a grass pitch in Washington. I’ll post a Pre-season Report on to the site shortly with my opinions on how our summer sessions went.

Downhill Complex Pitch G
Pre-season friendly 10 Dave Gourlay 4 (1 pen), Andy Swinhoe, Dave Graham, Mark Middlemiss (pen), Chris Dixon, Michael Pearson, Brian Marley
Monkwearmouth CFC 2 Gav Kershaw, Dave Simpson (Davinder Sangha), Brian Marley, Mark Muers, Michael Pearson, David Staples (Edward Morrison), Dave Graham*, Mark Middlemiss, Chris Dixon, Andy Swinhoe, Dave Gourlay

28th July 2007 | back to top

Lambton Village 6 3.

Shocking finishing, poor passing, poor defending, lack of numbers. Sassco going backwards.

We seem to be going backwards and not forwards. The hardcore regulars are there, but time is running out to get a set squad together for the forthcoming campaign. Charlie’s joined Redhouse FC and Dean M’s retired. Today Digga and Staples were missing and we managed to get a side together with Gash guesting for us again. We only had the eleven though – including me. Luckily we didn’t suffer any injuries and only a bit of fatigue due to the heat.

We played Lambton a few years back when we drew 5-5 at Downhill. Most of the team was recognisable from the Cambridge Hotel team in the WCFL. This time, we managed to open the scoring almost immediately. It was a wonderfully worked goal from Gash, but we let them back in it within minutes. What frustrated me was the vast amount of spurned chances in the opening half. Fair enough, defensively we were a bit poor and nervous, but we really should have had quite a few goals. Poor finishing let us down. As mentioned, at the other end, indecisive defending saw Lambton score four goals in quick succession. Most were balls over the top which also resulted in sliced clearances. We soon woke up and Lewis grabbed a goal to make it 4-2 just before the end of the half.

Unfortunately in opening moments of the second half we saw Lambton go ahead by a 5-2 scoreline. We seemed quite poor in the second, but defensively Muers had a great game as he was far more keyed up and came out to steal balls, head clear and provide Sassco with some excellent goal kicks. We started to get back into it. A goal from Gash made it 5-3, but just as we looked on top (including a crossbar hit from Gash), Simma’s poor delivery led to them scoring from distance. I changed it a bit in the second half mainly prompted by some of the players to get Bri on the left and Gash up front, but it didn’t make a huge difference. Chances were created, but poor finishing screwed us up. It was at this moment I started to foam at the mouth again.

This was our last game for a while, so it was a shame it ended on a low. Nevertheless, we should get some regular players recruited for our next friendly and hopefully have a reasonable enough side to press ahead. However, at this moment, any chances of promotion are way, way above us.

Sandhill View Centre
Pre-season friendly 3 Gareth Brazier 2, Stephen Lewis
Lambton Village 6 Dave Simpson, Brian Marley, Mark Muers, Stephen Lewis, Davinder Sangha, Mickey Donkin, Tim Gillespie, Mark Middlemiss, Gareth Brazier*, Andy Swinhoe, Dave Gourlay

27th July 2007 | back to top

Latest News.

Recruitment drive! Players required.
Due to Craig Charlton and David Raeper deciding to sign for Redhouse FC, combined with Dean Matthews becoming an Non-regular, we are actively looking for one or two players to bolster the Regular list.

At the moment, the squad stands at 12 (including myself). Swinhoe’s back as a Regular and Dave Graham looks likely to be as well (although he’s not available this week). So that makes 13. We really need two more players so the number is 15. This means 14 players plus myself as it was last season. I have access to plenty of Non-regular players, with the likes of Mickey Pearson, Danny Hodgson, Jon Wardle, etc. available on certain occasions. Also, there are a vast number of players within the 6-a-side who would also be available. I’ve already sent Gourlay, Tim, Digga and Staples on Europe wide scouting missions to see if they can find any regulars. As mentioned, the 6-a-side is a good source, but perversely, with the standard getting higher it means that most in the 6-a-side already play for higher level teams.

Any new players applying must be good. We’ve no need for any unfit, overweight players (we’ve plenty of them already). They must be able to pass a ball from A to B as well as being very adaptable in all positions on the football field.

21st July 2007 | back to top

Blackhall Hardwick 4 2.

Staples scores Sassco’s fastest goal, timed at 125.40949 seconds.

Well, the 11-a-side bandwagon keeps rolling on. I was worried about a low turnout, but we actually had our biggest side to date with a total of fifteen players. Yates and Coburn, again failed to show despite giving almost 100% guarantees (baffles me why they say they will then they won’t – just say no). Also, “Bunta” Murton was due to make a return, but failed to show (possibly due to higher wages elsewhere). Nevertheless, we had a good solid side and a good run out against a strong team from the Durham Alliance.

Blackhall Hardwick finished second in the Durham Alliance and have had an excellent past few years at a level much higher than us. So, it was with great embarrassment that they became the first victims to concede a Sassco goal in record time. I think it was around 125.40949 seconds according to the official time. Staples stole in on the left unmarked and shin padded the ball into the net. This seemed to wake Blackhall up as this was their first game back in action. After a few close shaves, they scored the deserved equaliser.

In the second, I made all the substitutions and it wasn’t surprising that they went 3-1 up within minutes. Players were struggling to get into their positions, but simple one-twos saw Sassco failing to remain tight on their opponents. Within ten minutes, I made changes again. Notably, getting Dave G back into centre midfield. We grabbed a goal back – this time from Charlie. At 3-2, the game seemed to level out as both teams had good chances, but defensively we didn’t clear our lines and they went 4-2 up and secured the win.

Good run out, as said. Dave Graham was a debutante and soon looked comfortable in the middle. It was in at the deep end against a strong team, but I suppose that’s the best way to do it. Muers had a bit of a nightmare. He failed to track his man and seemed to always go for the ball – which is exactly what the opponents wanted. Needs a kick up the backside for the next game. Notable performances were from Dave Gourlay and Stephen Lewis. Lewis was awarded Man-of-the-match by the opponents and I suppose it could have gone to either of them. Both had solid performances in midfield and defence. Lewis nearly capped his Man-of-the-match award with a goal from a Dean Matthews corner, which was met perfectly. Andy Swinhoe also made a return the team and did reasonably well in attack for the second half. Hopefully he can become a regular again as the regular list seems a bit thin on the ground.

I said in my much listened to (being sarcastic) team talk that if we didn’t learn from last week, we are a bit thick. I’m still not sure which way to go in that. We seemed more switched on and played some decent football, but the core mistakes were losing the ball cheaply and also winning in in a melee, then immediately losing it. We need to be a bit more focused and more calm. Thanks go to Andrew Harrison and also Blackhall. Hopefully they enjoyed the run out. The weather was great as well. Not a drop of rain until after the game. Thanks also to Allan Thompson who answered the call after our referee was unavailable.

For anyone interested in Blackhall’s record from 2006/2007, it’s as follows:

Durham Alliance League Runners Up
Clem Smith Bowl Runners Up
Washington Aged People’s Trophy Winners

From 2005/2006 it’s as follows:

Hartlepool Church League Winners
Memorial Shield Winners
Millennium Shield Winners
Arnold Swift Cup Winners
Bob Waller Cup Winners

Next week’s game could be at Gateshead or Downhill (both artificial turfs). I need to test the full size portable goals first before we decide on Downhill.

Sandhill View Centre
Pre-season friendly 2 David Staples, Craig Charlton
Blackhall Hardwick FC 4 Dave Simpson, Brian Marley, Mark Muers, Stephen Lewis*, Chris Dixon (Dave Graham), Mickey Donkin (Tim Gillespie), Mark Middlemiss, David Staples, Dean Matthews (Andy Swinhoe), Craig Charlton, Dave Gourlay

14th July 2007 | back to top

Shildon AFC 9 1.

Just too difficult.

It’s interesting that the “TomTom Brigade” were all there on time. I actually left after the main convoy to pick up Simma, but got there at the same time as Mark and Tim. Lewis was stuck in no-man’s land. I advised him not to ask any of the locals as they’d probably sacrifice him and nick his alloys. Wardle (yes, Jon Wardle) and Muers were the same. They were lost and, finally, Mickey Donkin somehow managed to get his mini-me car down to Shildon. It wasn’t too difficult to find. The huge imposing stand at the pitch had blue trimmings and the venue was superb. We weren’t at Dean Street, but the pitch surrounded by the athletics tracked convinced some of the youngsters that we were playing in a European Cup match. Most had barely been out of Sunderland let alone to Shildon. Once again, like back in 2005, my thanks go to Shildon AFC for inviting us for a game. As I’ve said before, teams at our level don’t really get an opportunity to play higher level teams and after this one, hopefully it won’t be too long until we’re invited again. I presented one of our Sassco matchballs to the Shildon AFC Secretary prior to the game as well.

From a worryingly threadbare squad, we actually had a decent one. The missing read Yates, Conlin, Coburn, Raeper, Matthews, Charlton, although the latter two made a U-turn and came after all. With the panic, I hastily roped in Kev McClusky and also Jon Wardle. Dixon was missing through injury and Staples, although there, was crocked from his heroics on the past Thursday in the 6-a-side, or 5-a-side thanks to Gash. The aforementioned villain of the piece guested for us again.

To run quickly over the game itself. The class divide was obvious, however, the key thing I noticed was that Shildon AFC were constantly switched on. Whenever we lost the ball in a very advanced position, they were tremendously dangerous. At least two or three goals came from our corners or free-kicks. They secured two goals in the opening half with Gourlay forcing an own goal. Wardle then took advantage of a mix up in their defence to meg the ‘keeper. Wardle was there back in 2005, but only as part of the Technical Staff. He was injured for that game so it’s been a long two year wait for his goal. Back in 2005, the squad was Gavin Kershaw, Keith Mouat, Steve Stubbs, Michael Pearson, Chris Dixon, Jeff Clark, Wayne Greenwell, Mark Sammut, David Staples, Dave Gourlay, Tommy Bell and Mark Muers. Only Muers and Gourlay remained from that line-up, although Digga and Staples would have been playing had they not been injured. So, back to the game. The score was 2-1, but it didn’t last that long. We went in 3-1 at half time and prepared for the onslaught like last time.

The game opened up in the second half. We had more chances, with Lewis and Mark (in the first half) both coming close. By now I’d found Kev McClusky hiding on the bench and hauled him on to the left hand side. Kev Mc’s definitely joining the team now. He had a few touches and even a shot or two. A good useful left sided option. For the duration of the second half, roll on and off was working okay, but eventually, Gash and Donkin were permanent offs due to injury. Gash had a true “gash” on his leg from a tackle and Donkin never really recovered from one of their players standing on his foot. Gash did really well when he came on and it was a shame to see him off earlier than expected.

So what did we learn? Main thing was to be switched on. A lot of times were weren’t goalside but got away with it. It was a lose-lose situation for Sassco. If we did break forward, we struggled to get men in the opposing half. When we did, it soon broke down and we were left chasing back. We were too cautious – which was my mistake, but we were too open last time. The only positives out of the conceded goals is that we did give a few howlers away which surely can be rectified. I won’t mention most of them (I think Dean M thought we were playing against Gala Casino).

Man-of-the-match was difficult, but I think we’ll go for a joint one for a change. Wardle and Lewis. Wardle for his multiple positions and Lewis for a good energetic performance which showed no fear. The half a packet of wine gums at half time kicked in during the second half for him. Also, Dave G came close to it as well.

All-in-all, everyone enjoyed it and understood it as I look at it – a rare opportunity to come face to face with semi-professionals in a professional set up, with no fear about the heavy result or the top quality opponents. Most importantly, from the last three games, I think I’ve settled on the squad and will be getting the new lads tied down to long term contracts as soon as possible.

Sunnydale Leisure Centre, Shildon
Pre-season friendly
Shildon AFC 9 1
Jon Wardle Dave Simpson, Brian Marley, Stephen Lewis*, Kevin McClusky, Gash Brazier, Mark Middlemiss, Craig Charlton, Dave Gourlay, Jon Wardle*, Dean Matthews, Mickey Donkin, Tim Gillespie

11th July 2007 | back to top

Latest News.

League Meeting.
Mark Middlemiss was present at the League Meeting which saw a number of issues resolved.

There are 24 teams this year. 10 in the Premier Division and 14 in the First Division. Two teams volunteered to go up to balance the numbers. They were Board Inn and Cambridge Hotel FC.

The League season starts on the 1st September.

Cup draws.
The cup draws were made. Sassco will feature in the first round of every competition.

Alan Hood Memorial Trophy v Usworth FC

Wearmouth & Hylton Aged Miners Trophy v Park View FC

League Challange Cup v Heritage Trade Frames FC

  • The next rounds will be drawn at the league meetings as per the same format as tonight.
  • League Fees need to be paid by the next meeting, but Sassco have already paid in advance. Any teams not paying by then will not be allowed to play in their first game.
  • Water bottles and a Medical Bag will be given out at the next meeting in August.
  • There is a pitch allocation meeting on the 18 July 2007 and a committee member will be attending. However, from emails to and from the Council Dept. we have already been confirmed on our existing pitch.
  • The next compulsory meeting will be held on the 14th Aug 2007.

9th July 2007 | back to top

Latest News.

Friendly v Shildon AFC at Sunnydale Leisure Centre 14th July.
Saturday 14th July. Kick off is 2:30pm and it will take around 45 minutes to get down there. The Sunnydale Leisure Centre is a full size grass pitch and is to be used due to Dean Street undergoing renovation. Shildon AFC are arranging the venue and charging spectators, so anyone wanting to come down and watch need to be aware of this. We will arrange to leave Sunderland at 12:50pm to make sure we are there in good time and to avoid anyone getting lost.

As everyone is aware, Shildon AFC are a Northern League team. We played them at Dean Street back in 2005, and despite a very good first half, we were blitzed in the second half. After two comfortable games against Whitley Bay DFC and Washington Colliery, we need to be prepared for a huge test.

Friendly v Blackhall Hardwick FC at Sandhill View 21st July.
Saturday 21st July. Kick off is 2:00pm with a 3:30pm finish. We will be arranging a referee so the cost will be £2.50 per person. Both sides will be contributing £30 each towards the cost of the game. Blackhall prefer Sandhill due to travelling costs so we will be there instead of Gateshead.

Blackhall Hardwick FC came 2nd in the Durham Alliance League, so like Shildon AFC, they will be a massively difficult opponent.

For both games, it’s the performance we’re looking at from Sassco – especially in the second half. Both Shildon and Blackhall’s website’s are on the links page.

8th July 2007 | back to top 3 Washington Colliery 2.

Another great first half and another tired second half.

Same again as yesterday. We drew up a good performance and lead in the opening half and nearly squandered it in the second due to injuries and general tiredness. The weather was perfect and the pitch was okay. We were also sporting our short sleeve shirts which will be used during this Summer and when the weather gets warmer next year.

The squad was small again. Out went Staples, Charlie and Muers, but in came Tim and Lewis along with Danny Hall from the Dagmar, and Gash Brazier from Redhouse FC, both guesting as it was a Sunday game. Lewis came in back from the cold with a superb goal, midway in the first half. He was playing centre midfield with Mark Middlemiss, and despite a little bit of over enthusiasm, their energy seemed to work very well. We were camped in Washington’s half and despite their physical advantage, we tried to keep the ball on the floor. Just prior to the half ending, Donkin laid the ball on for Yates who flicked it on for Danny Hall to fire one in.

Second half we grew tired. Injuries to Dixon and Danny didn’t help, but it was good that we managed to score. Yates, clear on, fired in an unstoppable shot. It was after this that Washington came at us. They fired in a couple of goals which our side were certain that they were offside. But without an official referee, we really should have defended deep and played it safe. Despite this, we held on and took our first victory. Man-of-the-match would probably go to Lewis. He had a great game in the centre, but it was an all-round good team effort.

Sandhill was a good venue, but in future, I think we’ll go for spending an extra £10 to use Gateshead’s Field Turf pitch. No training or friendlies on in the horizon. We might have a get together for some basics such as crosses, corner kicks, etc. but that’ll be just prior to the season starting.

Sandhill View Centre
Pre-season friendly 3 Stephen Lewis, Danny Hall, Anthony Yates
Washington Colliery 2 Dave Simpson, Brian Marley, Stephen Lewis*, Chris Dixon, Gash Brazier, Davinder Sangha, Mark Middlemiss, Danny Hall, Dave Gourlay, Anthony Yates, Mickey Donkin, Tim Gillespie

7th July 2007 | back to top

Whitley Bay DFC 4 4.

Charlie notches up a hat-trick.

Bearing last season’s opening friendly in mind, I opted for a large squad and one by one, the numbers dwindled (as expected). But that’s what these games are for – to see who’s going to be there and reliable in the long run. The usual suspects turned up for this opening game in preparation for the 11-a-side season 2007-2008/. Craig Charlton came along as well, having played in a few of the games near the end of last season. As for the drop-outs, the list was scary. Danny Hodgson, Stephen Lewis, Andy Swinhoe, Jimmy Raeper, Shaun Coburn and Tim Gillespie, although Tim was travelling back from London so it was a long shot (and trip). For this game we were donning our new long sleeve shirt (as shown below), although the weather and the venue was superb.

The squad lined up before the game against Whitley Bay DFC. Standing are Mickey Donkin, David Simpson, Mark Muers, Craig Charlton, Brian Marley, Chris Dixon. Sitting from left to right are Anthony Yates, Dave Gourlay, Mark Middlemiss, David Staples and Davinder Sangha.

So, to the game itself. It was quite eventful as are most Sassco games. From Yatesy’s yellow boots, to Simma going off in a huff because his shirt didn’t have a badge on. Then Mark Middlemiss saying he “hated me” during the game. Dave Gourlay getting cautioned, because he was swearing at the lad who apparently kicked him in the 2005 friendly. And to top it off, Mickey Donkin getting through a game unscathed.

Even the referee said Whitley Bay Deaf FC were quite useful. Turning up with a massive squad when we only really had Danny Defty on the sidelines didn’t look promising for us. Danny turned up to watch, but has played for us in the past and did a decent job when we started the roll on/roll off in the second half. The game kicked off and we seemed to dominate the opening stages. However, we let in a soft goal. A through ball wasn’t dealt with and Simma couldn’t do anything to stop it. Both Dixon and Emu probably should have dealt with it. Just prior to this, we had some intensive pressure. Dave Gourlay won a penalty, but saw the ‘keeper make a superb stop. We had a few free-kicks which saw some desperate clearances from Whitley Bay and then, with around five minutes remaining in the half, Craig Charlton hammered the ball past their goalkeeper to make it 1-1. I expected ourselves to settle and re-group for the second half, but stunningly, we went well ahead. Pressure on their back line led to Charlie scoring twice again to make it 3-1. Both superb lobs. He also laid Dave G’s goal on. So, half time at 4-1, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Whitley Bay.

Second half, we got complacent. We had lots of chances, but over elaborated. The pitch was quite small and we elected to deal the extra pass instead of walloping the ball into the back of the net. They grabbed their goals back from mistakes which we all identified. We simply didn’t clear and slowly but surely, they scored one to make it 4-2, another for 4-3 and at the death, a dubious goal which was offside according to the referee, but not the linesman. The score was 4-4. Half expected. We really should be able to keep a lead, but tiredness took it’s toll. Frustration on my behalf as Manager was the numerous spurned chances and silly mistakes which led to their goals. All in all, it was indecisiveness, but with their fitness levels due to the number of subs and our lack of numbers, you can’t have it all.

So to sum up the day. Disappointing drop outs, but Gateshead turf was a brilliant venue. The genuine Field Turf was a joy to play on. I wish every pitch had it and fingers crossed, Downhill will be able to get it soon. Also, thanks to Whitley Bay DFC for providing the referee and taking part in a good competitive game. Finally, thanks to the players. Good loyal turnout and a good performance from Sassco (albeit in the first half).

Gateshead International Stadium
Pre-season friendly 4 Craig Charlton 3, Dave Gourlay.
Whitley Bay DFC 4 Dave Simpson, Brian Marley, Chris Dixon, Mark Muers, Davinder Sangha, Mark Middlemiss, David Staples, Dave Gourlay, Anthony Yates, Mickey Donkin, Craig Charlton*.

6th July 2007 | back to top

Latest News.

Squad news.
It seems that we shouldn’t have any problem in filling the Regular list back up to 14 players. Craig Charlton, Shaun Coburn, Mickey Pearson and Andy Swinhoe are all coming along to the next set of friendly games, so the choice of the final 14 will be based on reliability as well as if the players want to be there every week.

Next League Meeting.
Mark Middlemiss will now be at the meeting as Dean seems to have vanished. Also, he’s now Team Secretary and will share some of the duties which will include League Meetings as well as confirming referees and teams, etc.

Saturday Friendly v Whitley Bay Deaf FC at Gateshead.
Saturday 7th July. Kick off is 2:00pm. The game is to be played at Gateshead Stadium’s artificial turf (click for details). The map is located on the message board. We have to be there prompt as we only have the pitch for 1 hour 30 minutes due to cost (£52.50). We’ll share the costs with Whitley Bay Deaf FC at £26 each. Hopefully they will provide their own referee at no cost. We will also be gaining linesman there as well thanks to Whitley Bay Deaf.

Sunday Friendly v Washington Colliery at Sandhill View.
Sunday 8th July. Kick off is now changed to 12:00pm with a 1:30pm finish. The game has moved from Gateshead and is now at Sandhill Centre’s artificial turf. Like the previous game, we’ll share the costs with Washington Colliery at £21 each as the cost for hiring Sandhill at £42.50 is cheaper than Gateshead. They will be providing one of their team members as a referee at no cost.

Next training sessions.
Likely to be next week (14th July). Probably at around 12:00pm for around a couple of hours. Anyone not there (without a very, very, good excuse) will not be involved in the next game we put on.

25th June 2007 | back to top

Latest News.

Plans for next season.
Due to some key players missing training, we’ve added a few players in with a view to joining permanently. With the two friendlies in the coming weekend, it’s a good way of seeing reliability, ability and general attitude. As with all things Sassco, we want good reliable players who are available every week without having to worry if they are there or not. A lot of players in the past and present tend to moan and whinge and usually come out with statements of leaving the team. When this happens, I make the decision for them and get someone in who wants to play. Complacency seems to have set in to the ones not a training which from past history, needs to be clamped down on. Players not interested will always be replaced immediately.

As mentioned before, I’m loyal to the squad we have, but when anyone starts taking the piss, I’ll replace them with the many players interested in joining Sassco.

The ones who were at training were the ones who I predicted would not be there. The missing three were Dean Matthews, Stephen Lewis and Anthony Yates.

We’ve lost Danny Hodgson and David Raeper mainly as non-regulars now. The likes of Charlie and Swinhoe are probably available from time to time as well. As mentioned before, Mickey Pearson is a non-regular but could become permanent closer in the season. Mickey Donkin is still injured and assures me that we’ll see “a new Mickey Donkin” for the next season. We’ve got a couple of new faces coming into the weekend game. Shaun Coburn from Hylton Castle and also Steve Conlin who doesn’t have a team on the 6-a-side. Another interested player, Nigel Kirkham hasn’t responded to any email, text or call so he won’t be taking part. I’ll look to get Kev McClusky there as an outfielder as well.

25th June 2007 | back to top

Latest News.

Next League Meeting.
Takes place on 10th July at 7:00pm. Dean Matthews has agreed to go, but I also want someone else there. It’s always recommended that two people from the team go. I’ll confirm the second person as soon as possible.

Saturday Friendly v Whitley Bay Deaf FC at Gateshead.
Saturday 7th July. Kick off is 2:00pm. The game is to be played at Gateshead Stadium’s artificial turf (click for details). The map is located on the message board. We have to be there prompt as we only have the pitch for 1 hour 30 minutes due to cost (£52.50). We’ll share the costs with Whitley Bay Deaf FC at £26 each. Hopefully they will provide their own referee at no cost.

Sunday Friendly v Washington Colliery at Gateshead.
Sunday 8th July. Kick off is 11:00am. The game is to be played at Gateshead Stadium’s artificial turf again. Like the previous game, we’ll share the costs with Washington Colliery at £26 each. They will be providing one of their team members as a referee at no cost. Most important aspect is to find out which of our team is available on a Sunday. I remember back in 2005, we had good turnouts at the start, but closer to August we struggled on Sundays.

Training sessions.
Quite disappointed training was cancelled on Saturday due to the shocking weather. It will be back on the 30th, regardless of weather. Other disappointment was the drop outs. All had genuine reasons, but this is why I set up two back-to-back sessions to test the water. Anyone not at the 30th training session will not really feature in the starting line up against Whitley Bay. Got to be strict on this as I would in a normal game. As per last season, anyone missing the game before, would usually start on the bench for the game after (unless we’d been hammered the week before).

13th June 2007 | back to top

Latest News.

Roles within the team.
Looking to delegate a lot of the tasks within the team. As FA Charter Standard, it’s not fit and proper that one person handles most of the aspects of running a team. We are looking for the following roles to be fulfilled.

Role Team Member
Net storage
Someone to take the nets to and from each game. This doesn’t include putting them up. That’s a team job.
** TBN **
Corner flags
To make sure that corner flags are stored and taken to each game.
** TBN **
League meetings
Take place at Redhouse WMC once every few months. If no volunteers then we’ll nominate different people every other month. The person going will have reduced match subscriptions for each game until the next meeting. So, for example, a player goes to the July meeting, he will only pay £1 subs until the next meeting.
Dean Matthews
Team sheets
To be swapped with the opposing team after each game
Mark Muers
Medical kit
Ideally the First Aid people should take the medical kit
Chris Dixon or Mark Muers
Water bottles
To fill and bring to each game. If absent, then players to bring their own.
David Staples
Team kit
The complete kit to be stored and washed before the next game. No one should be taking kit home with them as it’s also used on the 6-a-side.
Davinder Sangha
Getting subscriptions off players
To keep a list of who’s paid and who hasn’t BEFORE the game.
** TBN **
Team finance
Making sure all the League and Council costs are paid and to ensure the team does not go into the red.
Davinder Sangha

It’s crucial we get reliable volunteers for this. The person involved really needs to be a regular. The last thing we want to do is to nominate people and force them to do so, but we will if we have to. If the person nominated fails to agree then he could be removed from the team. If he agrees, but then fails to do what he’s supposed to do, then any fine inflicted on the team because of his inaction will be passed on to him via Durham County FA. There is a possibility that volunteers within the team will be allowed reduced match subscriptions, i.e £1 instead of £2 depending on the importance of each task.

Being part of the team isn’t just turning up to play. It’s also being responsible for a lot of background work. If you don’t wish to contribute, then leaving the team is the best option

13th June 2007 | back to top

Latest News.

No show at the League AGM.
Stephen Lewis agreed to go to the meeting, but couldn’t go as his Uncle was ill in hospital. The result has been a £50 fine from the WCFL.

From now on, Dean Matthews has agreed to go to the meetings (if I’m at the 6-a-side). The next one is in July. If Dean can’t make it, then someone else will be nominated (volunteers are appreciated). For Dean agreeing to go to the meetings, he only pays £1 subscription for every game now.

Cyprus now 2008.
Not enough regular Sassco players can make it, so it’s pushed back to the early 2008. I will get the pricing and make sure that we get definites and not vague agreements.

No new signings.
The striker interested in signing has elected to stay with his existing team so there are no potential signings. Danny Hodgson isn’t 100% for next season. Michael Pearson has agreed to come back as a Regular as such, but that isn’t 100% yet.

7th June 2007 | back to top

Latest News.

New long sleeved shirt.

It’s nearly ready and will be delivered soon. The material is Lycra and it closely matches the design of the Season 2005 Manpower shirt.

The changes on this one include a panel V neck as well as a collar. Numbering is the same as in the 2006 Milltech shirt. The shirt features an FA Charter Badge on the arm.

Cyprus 2007.
It seems as if it’s back on. I didn’t get a very good response by the deadline date, with Lewis, Donkin and Yates seemingly dropping out at the last minute. Also, the two Town End FC players didn’t respond neither. Since then, we have 10 confirmations and should get 11 or 12 by next week. Deposits of around £90 are due immediately and the remainder, probably around £320ish on 1st September. Anyone paying their deposit now and then not in September will lose a large amount of the £90 – possibly all of it. So definites only.

Also, just to clarify. The deposit money in at the moment has not been paid to the tour operator. Once we have 11 or 12 then I will get a final price from the tour operator and inform everyone. Once they’re okay with it, then I will pay the deposits in by credit card. This will add around 2.5% to the total amount due, but what it does is cover us in case anything goes drastically wrong with the tour and we want to get our money back.

3rd May 2007 | back to top

Pre-season News.

I’m open with the date when we should start training. I reckon sometime mid to end of June. We’ll probably use a blank field at the complex like we did last time. The good thing is that we seem to have a set squad so training will be much easier to implement. I’ll need some help with this and I’ll email out the training plan before we start. I am also okay to hire the turf on every other Saturday afternoon to have a training kickabout (i.e one touch, two touch, etc.) if anyone is interested.

The only problem in early friendlies is the lack of 11-a-side goals, even on the artificial pitches. I think only Temple Park and Gateshead have 11-a-side goals on their pitches. Other option is to use Downhill artificial turf, but provide our own “Samba” goals. Probably too expensive to buy, but if we can borrow a set, that would be easier. Other alternative is to use hockey goals.

New signings.
I haven’t actively sought new signings, but the main priority is a prolific striker. Stephen Wilson, ex Redhouse FC and also a former Sassco 6-a-side player, is interested and so is another (as yet unnamed player). It would be good to get someone in, but it’s not critical because a lot of players were making comeback appearances when the regulars were missing at the end of the season.

Retainer list.
I need all players still interested for next season to sign the Retainer List. This has to be signed – I can’t PP any signatures. I’ll probably bring it with me each Tuesday and also when the training starts.

New shirts.
The new short sleeve shirt is currently being printed on in WBEC. Once back, I just need to get the badge and the FA Charter Standard badge sewn on. The long sleeve shirt is going through the first draft stage. It’s in Lycra and the sizing is slightly bigger than the old Manpower shirt, but smaller than the Milltech shirt.

Polo shirts and training gear.
I assume all regular players now have the grey polo shirts (if not, contact me). These really need to be worn to games each Saturday. I’d also probably want them to be used in training as well. I’d like all players to purchase their own black Adidas tracksuit bottoms with three stripes either side. I don’t really want to waste the sponsorship funds on this. Everyone should be able to get their own.

The awards for Player of the Season and Leading Goalscorer are with D&P at the moment and are being engraved.

Cyprus 2007.
David Staples has already paid his £100 towards the trip. The remaining is due by 1st September. There are a few 6-a-side players interested in the trip, namely Danny Hall, Simon “Cola Boy” Keir, Phil McNerney, Gary Tyzack and Paul McClusky. Most of the 11-a-side team have confirmed. Everyone involved in the last game (v Redhouse) said they would definitely being going. I really need definites here. If you can’t make it, but are still saying that you can, then tell me straightaway. We need around 13 minimum to be there, so if anyone who’s said yes drops out by failing to pay the deposit by 1st June, then it’s likely the trip will be off due to lack of numbers.

FA Level 1 Coaching Course.
Sassco, being FA Charter Standard, have access to some low cost training courses put on by DCFA. An FA Level 1 Coaching Course is on 9th and 10th June and costs £20, if anyone involved in the team is interested. Let me know and I’ll email the form to you.

11-a-side 2006-2007 website.
Last season’s site is now located in the Archive section. Simply click on to the Archive icon at the top and then the icon showing Dave G adjusting his hairband.

28th April 2007 | back to top

Season Review.

2006-2007. Click here to see the complete results and statistics from this past season.

And don’t think I spent all day writing this out. It’s been done bit by bit over the last few weeks and just edited in it’s final form as below…

An unusual season in that it was quite normal. The player shortages which plagued last season were nowhere to be seen and when they were, we seemed to cope quite well in calling on players who had played before. We were back close to the complex changing block in a pitch which I found perfectly suitable, although some of the team thought otherwise. It was swapped with Heritage Trade Watson and Gourlay with the new shirt, striking a pose for the sponsor, Milltech.Frames just before the season started. There were no issues in the administration side of things and, most importantly, the squad was full each week with regular players and this even occurred after a set of defeats and a season which I’d class as below average. I decided at the start to make sure that we had a set of 14 “Regular” players. Regular as in being there each week with the only excuses allowed for absence being injury or some other important event. A “Non-regular” is someone who was signed on, but wasn’t there each week due to work, Sunderland games, etc. They were generally called on when some of the original 13 (or 14) were unavailable. I also tended to have an unwritten rule when someone was missing the week before, then they’d start on the bench the following week, unless we’d had a defeat the week before. I didn’t really want to change a winning side, but I made sure this wasn’t set in stone as one thing I didn’t want to do was box myself into a corner in regards to rules. Looking back, this plan did actually tend encourage players to be there every week and we had some games with identical teams to the week before – which is a first. The other slight change was the substitute’s policy. If we had three players on the sidelines, they would make an appearance for at least just under a half. Some players were subbed more than others, but that was mainly due to the fact that there tended to be two or more players competent in the same position. I also tried to avoid subbing the same player twice in two games. So if someone was subbed or came on as a sub in a game, the following week, he was likely to play the whole game, but sometimes this was unavoidable. I’ve always said that the lads on the sidelines aren’t there in case someone gets injured. The system seems to work as we’ve tended to have a full complement of players for every game. The only major let down this season was away to the Dolphin in the cup game when both Jimmy and Lewis dropped the team in it on the day. Ironically, a similar thing happened in our last League game of the season, but some of the non-regulars were called up and we ended up having a full side with two substitutes. That speaks volumes of the squad we had this season.

Mark Middlemiss turns with the ball in our home win over Seaham Leisure in April.That’s not to say that we didn’t lose players during the starting weeks. Jase Amour before the first competitive game. Greenwell after the first friendly. Tommy Wilko after the first few games. Andy Swinhoe injured in his first friendly. Jimmy Raeper vanished after a few games. Tommy Bell rejoined the team, was then working, then transferred (again). They all sort of vanished for a while, but they were immediately replaced and some returned briefly for appearances now and then. Danny Hodgson came back into the side with renewed vigour, while new starters included Mickey Donkin, Brian Marley, Stephen Lewis, Dave “Simma” Simpson and Anthony Yates being ever present all season. In goal, Watty, our number one since 2002, had to retire a few games into the season and was replaced. Firstly by Muers, then Gav Kershaw, who came in for one game, before we settled on Simma, who performed tremendously and was exceptionally tall and agile (something we haven’t had in our ‘keepers). One of the finds of the season was Mark Middlemiss who came in for a “trial” against Redby U18. This was unusual as most if not all tended to come from the 6-a-side. However, he added a huge amount of ball winning abilities in the middle which we’ve notoriously lacked for all our existence and adequately compensated for Tommy Swinhoe trudges off after a bad injury after scoring two goals in the friendly against Easington, the then Champions of the Dunsford League. We beat the 4-2 awayWilko’s absence. Odds on favourite as Player of the Season during the start, but eventual failure to release the ball later in the season negated the good work in winning the ball. Nevertheless, a huge asset to the side. Anthony Yates also came in and moved from a nondescript full back position in his other team’s to cause havoc on the wings and up front being our leading scorer. Unfortunately, the goals dried up at the end of the season and he nearly got caught by Dave Gourlay with 18 goals to Yatesy’s 19. Chances were created, but lack of composure let him down. Donkin was a useful regular addition, but lack of goals in attack, which was his favoured position, saw him farmed out wide on most later occasions as well as full back. He was subbed more times than he really wanted to be. Brian Marley and Stephen Lewis formed left back and centre half. Bri performed superbly and was a strong contender for Player of the Season and came a close second. Lewis started brightly but slowly transformed into the Stubba of the team and struggled to take criticism on most occasions. Defensively though, he was quite strong.

We had some ups and downs. massive dissent was brewing after a poor win over Gala Casino, the weakest team in the league, but all was nipped in the bud and a mini purge occurred. Tommy Wilko vanished after that with work coming in the way. Jimmy Raeper, who vanished earlier in the season came back, but vanished again. Charlie, who threw a wobbler after being subbed against Gala, also returned and made a few positive appearances as a non-regular, including a very good performance in our final League game. Stephen Ramsay also came in for our second game and final League game as a non-regular due to his season ticket with Sunderland AFC. For this season, a lot of our “old guard” came back in for appearances which they enjoyed; Pearson, Deano, Greenwell and Wardle (yes, Wardle) all made appearances as such. Pearson played most of the last few games. There was a brief time when Keith Mouat was due to sign on after dissent in his own side, but he kissed and made up so Dean Matthews came into the fold. We were lacking experienced players so he fit the bill perfectly, but appearances were sporadic as he tended to suffer from injury quite a bit. However, for the final set of games, he came into his own and proved a superb addition to the team.

Lewis holds the ball off in the second game against Lord Seaham For all the regulars, Dixon, Gourlay, Muers, Tim and Staples – they all did well and formed the back bone of the side. Dixon, still unsure of his position, played in several and did well in all. Gourlay and Stapes weighed in with some very important goals and both probably had their best season to date in a Sassco shirt. Gourlay deserved his Player of the Season Award as he seemed to be the only consistent performer, with several goals, especially during the poor games near the end of the season. Muers was rock solid at centre half and was awarded Man-of-the-Match on several occasions by the opposing team. Tim was a unsung success. Rarely losing the ball and quietly performing well in full back, wing or centre mid position when needed. Luckily, I wasn’t needed much this season. After shockingly appearing in most games last season, I had bit part appearances and rare full appearances (two full appearances; one against Dolphin and one in our final “friendly game” against Redhouse FC, as well as a good second half at Board Inn).

Simma's drop goal kick during the heavy defeat away to Sportman's Arms. The standard we were (and are) in is our natural standard. The ability of individuals on the team itself is excellent, but on occasions we simply lacked the aggression needed against some teams. Notably our encounters against Premier sides as well as the second game against Blue Bell and both encounters against Sportsman’s. We reached our peak against Cambridge 7-2 in February and never seemed to regain it. A game which saw Yatesy rampage through the opposition. A series of defeats when 2-0 up (eventual 3-2 losses) were spaced out with less than competent wins over Tavistock and Lord Seaham. We failed miserably in all the cup competitions despite putting a decent effort in. The League form slipped dramatically. At one stage, we were top, but a disastrous New Year run killed off any lingering promotions hopes. A lot of the later defeats were down to silly mistakes at the back and the inability to kill teams off with the amount of good chances we had. A lot of pressure was on Yates as the only scorer, but eventually this eased off with Gourlay and Staples firing in some good goals later in the season. Passing was sometimes poor. We failed to release the ball when we could and tended to do it when we had to. Training over the summer months will be individualised. Last summer it was more of a get together, but this time, we know what the problems are and will have the opportunity to iron them out. The final set of games were reasonably positive. Narrow losses to Jolly Potter (home and away) and then a chaotic game against Redhouse FC for the final game. It was essentially a glorified friendly, but we decided to play against them for a Cup, known as the AGUK Cup. We’ll do this each time we face off against each other.

The outlook for 2007-2008/ is positive. The side is very well balanced and there doesn’t seem to be any great need to add to the side for the summer months, apart from an experienced striker. I always publicly stated that I tend to stay loyal to the regulars in the side, but won’t hesitate to replace them with others if they don’t respond with the same loyalty. This is probably the reason why we aren’t as successful as we want to be sometimes, as the policy is not to bend over backwards for outstanding players and a preference to keep what we have. There were no problem in payments and punctuality as well. League meetings were also adhered to. I for one have never been a fan of league meetings and due to time constraints, would struggle to get there. However, a lot of the new lads, Donkin, Lewis, etc. filled in for the team and had the authority to vote on as and when they needed to. In return they didn’t have to pay subs for a couple of games. Kit and assets are near perfect. We had a full medical kit, while nets were always up and down without any problems. Scotty Hembrough and Mark Middlemiss helped out with some pegs during our mid season vanishing act and finance was perfect. Everything brought and paid for in advance and no complaints about paying subs. Estimated profit was about £68 but we had spent a great deal.

We’ve also lined up some impressive friendlies in the summer. Northern League Shildon AFC as well as ties against a predominantly African side in North Newcastle, another possible game against Whitley Bay Deaf FC and a return game against Easington WMC. More will come along as well.

Sponsorship came in at the end of the season from MJS Claims Ltd. Dean Matthews, like Dave Watson and Jase Amour before him, did his bit for the team and put the idea of sponsorship forward, clearing the way for me to go in and sell the idea of sponsorship to MJS. This goes far towards producing a new shirt, which will be ready soon. A third shirt is also being looked into as a short sleeve version for the brief summer months and also for a projected trip to Cyprus in November 2007. The other bonus for this season is that we are the only team in the WCFL to achieve FA Charter Standard and are proud of this and have used it to promote the team. To be quite frank, FA Charter Standard doesn’t do a great deal for us financially. They only tend to cater for very high end amateur teams and at the other end, kid’s teams. Also, if you are a minority (ethnic or otherwise), you get the cash. The most we really get is free courses in funding, training, etc. I’m not overly critical of this. I’m really proud we’re FA Charter Standard and wouldn’t hesitate in renewing it as and when.

The official team picture taken before the home game against Gala Everything was transparent on the website as well. The reports were straight to the point and there was always something of interest happening to keep everyone involved. The website is genuinely massive. Each month it’s getting bigger and bigger. Despite the lack of success, Sassco, as a team are considerably well known in the region. From the days of having a handful of people on the site each day, it’s expanded into something massive. I constantly bang on about it, but the site gets 10,000 visitors each month. This is unique in our level of football and probably really isn’t fully appreciated by most of the team. There’s always something interesting to read on the site about the team, so it keeps the attention going.

So, the future is very promising. I’ve enjoyed this season, purely because there weren’t really no headaches. Main headache for me is the finances, getting a decent set of regular players and, most importantly, keeping everyone happy and involved in the team. Everyone seems to be on the same wavelength in terms of what we are trying to achieve and there’s no way we want to move from our present level to anything higher. For next season, we’d probably like a bit more success and maybe a berth in the latter stages of one of the cup competitions. Only time will tell if we achieve that.


Davinder Sangha
General Manager, April 2006

28th April 2007 | back to top

Redhouse FC 5 2.

End of season chaos.

I deliberately kept the squad small, but it nearly backfired. Both Digga and Gourlay were missing, but I assumed others would be there. Jimmy Raeper dropped out the night before and I couldn’t get hold of Charlie or Swinhoe. No matter, I was happy to play. Yet, on the day, Yatesy was out shopping with his lass (or his lass was out shopping with Yatesy’s cash card). So I knew we were down. Holly Haldane answered the call and so I was happy to present a full eleven, including me. There were returns from Mark Middlemiss, Stephen Lewis and David Staples.

I told Dean the good news (I’m playing) and the bad news (I’m playing). We were up for a Cup as well. Not your regular trophy, but an “ashes” type trophy between ourselves and Redhouse. It was the old Second Division trophy from the 6-a-side a few years back, which also acted as a pre-season cup for the Tuesday League. Both tournaments were no longer in existence and due to Redhouse’s lack of a trophy this season, it was all to play for.

The AGUK Cup. First winners, Redhouse FC. Everytime Redhouse and Sassco play in the 11-a-side, they'll be playing for this.We were immediately on the back foot. The side was balanced, but at the back it was slightly disjointed. Midfield and forwards tended to struggle. They played a few good passes but seemed to run out of ideas. Redhouse were awarded an early penalty which was harsh on ourselves. A minor handball which sometimes wouldn’t be given was. John Hunt easily hammered the penalty in. Soon after, they went ahead again. It was 3-0 or 4-0 at the break, which also included another penalty for Brian Marley shirt pulling (or is that lifting). A few changes. Dean went in defence, Stapes was off for Yates and Bri pulled out to the left wing. Can’t remember much about the second half. Bit of a blur really. I do remember a “consolation” goal, from Mickey Donkin of all people, who usually only scores against the duffers. They scored another, but Muers, who’d been firing blanks all season and had just celebrated passing his test, scored an easy looping goal. Great stuff. Man of the Match was Lewis who had a great game moving from defence to midfield in the second.

So that’s it. I’ll pop my seasonal report on the site soon. I’ll also put on the full stats, with results, appearances, MoM awards, etc. It was a good season, if not mediocre. We seemed to be okay with a balanced squad and bar one or two games, didn’t really struggle for a side. Even when we did struggle, we got players in who had featured before. Roll on next season. I am looking to add a proven striker to the team, but apart from that we don’t really need any extras.

Downhill Complex, Sunderland
AGUK Challenge Cup
Redhouse FC 6 2
Mickey Donkin, Mark Muers. Dave Simpson, Brian Marley, Stephen Lewis*, Mark Muers, Davinder Sangha, Chris Haldane, Mark Middlemiss, Mickey Donkin, Dean Matthews, Tim Gillespie, David Staples (Anthony Yates).

19th April 2007 | back to top

Latest News.

Sponsor for 2007-2008/ announced.

Delighted to say that after a discussion with Michael Soulsby, Manager of MJS Claims Ltd. they have decided to sponsor 11-a-side for the 2007-2008/ season and a good chance of beyond that. MJS offer an uninsured loss recovery and non-fault management service. They will put their customers back on the road whether they are third part fire & theft or fully comprehensive.

More details of MJS Claims Ltd will be posted on to the site shortly. Many thanks must go to Dean Matthews who initially liaised with MJS Claims and put the idea of football sponsorship forward. Like Dave Watson with Milltech and Jason Amour with Manpower, it’s great to see players from within the team seeking every opportunity to gain funding for the team. Our thanks go to Milltech who have been our current season sponsor. The new shirt and the level of equipment we’ve had would have not been possible without their funding. Also, many thanks to Schiedel Chimney Systems for acting as a backup sponsor in case we couldn’t find one.

16th April 2007 | back to top

Latest News.

Possible pre-season game v Shildon AFC.

After a quick discussion with Shildon AFC’s Secretary, a game has been provisionally booked in for the Saturday 14th July 2007 or Saturday 21st July 2007 at their Northern League Dean Street Stadium.

Back in the Summer of 2005, just prior to our entrance into the WCFL, we were delighted to be invited by Shildon for a friendly at their place.When we played there, we were suitably hammered, despite a really impressive first half. We went 2-0 down, but Dave Gourlay struck back near the end of the half and nearly equalised not too long after. Second half was a different story. We’d played a game on the Saturday which resulted in mass injuries, so this game on the Monday night saw only one limping passenger as a sub. We were eventually beaten 10-1!

The Sassco team on the night was Gavin Kershaw, Keith Mouat, Steve Stubbs, Michael Pearson, Chris Dixon, Jeff Clark (on as a late sub for Dixon), Wayne Greenwell, Mark Sammut, David Staples, Dave Gourlay, Tommy Bell and Mark Muers. Also present was Jon Wardle, despite being injured, performing the role of the cheerleader. The match report is located in our Archive section and can be viewed by clicking here. The original game was played on the 8th August 2005.

13th April 2007 | back to top

Latest News.

New short sleeve shirt. Player of the Season.

New short sleeved shirt.
We’ve just obtained a new short sleeve shirt which will be used mainly during the summer months and also in Cyprus. Our main shirt will still be the new white one (currently in production), but this one is an ideal summer shirt as and when required.

It could make an appearance in our final game of the season, but that all depends on delivery dates as well as badge printing and number printing. The sponsor name is provisional at the moment. More firm details will be given out closer to the time.

Player of the Season.
Just awaiting three or four votes in the Player of the Season Award. It’s likely to be close run thing with both Dave Gourlay and Brian Marley at the top of the list.

26th March 2007 | back to top

Latest News.

Sassco 11-a-side Tour to Cyprus 2007.

Plans are in place for a one week Sassco 11-a-side tour to Cyprus. The flights will be from Newcastle to Larnaca departing November 3rd 2007 & returning November 10th 2007 and the full price is as follows

£395.00 per person

This does include accommodation and transport to and from the airport, etc. but doesn’t include meals. This is also subject to change as we’d most likely try and have everything 100% confirmed a few months before the date. The self catering apartments we’ll be staying at is the Antonis Apartments in Larnaca. The price is based on two people sharing and can be modified for a single if required (I’ll be paying extra – don’t want to risk drawing lots and rooming with Emu or Lewis).

In the one week, we’d get two training sessions (approx 1 hour each) and 4 full games against opponents approved by the Cypriot FA. Despite their national team standing the level of Cypriot football varies considerably. Outside of the league amateur sides are often made up from local businesses such as Bank of Cyprus and Cyprus Airways, along with non-competitive teams.

All matches are arranged by the tour operator’s local UEFA match representative, approved by the Cyprus FA. Games will be overseen by the tour operator. Matches are likely to be played at the Alpha Sports Centre in Larnaca. The quality of the pitches & facilities are of a high standard and well equipped.

The reason for the November trip is that we tend to enjoy a good summer in the UK with football, but by October/November, it gets colder. For Cyprus, last year’s average weather in November was 19 °C with lows of 14 °C and highs of 24 °C. Rainfall is around 0.2 and average humidity is around 80%

This is a definite go-ahead depending on the response I get. A deposit of 30% of the total amount will be requested in the Summer months for those serious. Obviously, the core of the team will be the Sassco 11-a-side, but this is open to anyone else involved in the 6-a-side (past as well as present, fat as well as thin) who would be interested in what could be a once-in-a-lifetime trip. I’ve penciled in a total of 16 people taking part, but that could increase depending on interest. The venues and accommodations could also change depending on the time we fix the 30% payment.

19th March 2007 | back to top

Latest News.

New shirt style.

Not 100% confirmed, but the above is to be the shirt style for the 2007-2008/ season. More details about the shirt logo sponsor will be posted shortly, but the shirt is to be made of breathable lycra material.