Sassco organise non-regular football and basketball games in the region and regularly take part in overseas tours.
The Sassco team used to take part competitively in regional leagues such as the Tyne & Wear League and the Wearside Combination Football League, but now no longer take an active role. There are sporadic entrances, such as within the Durham Eleven’s League in 2017 and 2019.
The organisation also arranged a 6-a-side competition, which lasted for over ten years, but now arrange non-regular one-off tournaments, games and overseas tours.
Sassco, the name, was invented by John Hunt to encompass the various projects that the league had: Six A Side Soccer COmpany
About the site
The original site was a simple holding page created using PageMill in 1999. However, with expansion, it changed into a frame based site, with the contents produced in Word.
Eventually in 2004, the site was converted to Dreamweaver and frames were abandoned. The look and feel of the site was re-designed and the elements remain to this day. The site was also widened to increase to 800px wide and eventually 1000px wide to cater for the new monitors. Now the site is responsive on mobile, tablet and desktop.
A radical overhaul was done during the summer of 2009. The site was converted into a content management system website. The core software was the Open Source Joomla software.
Another major update took place in 2012, with the site updated to the new Joomla version, as well as the addition of dedicated YouTube Channels and Facebook pages.
In 2019, the site was converted to a WordPress site and hosted by IONOS.
Sassco 6-a-side took place in Downhill, North Sunderland from 1999 to 2011. The ethos of the competition was to take small sided football seriously. There was a ban on teams with ridiculous names and a strict kit rule was enforced. Added to this, the league provided customised footballs, a fully fledged website which became the focal point of the league and video recorded games which eventually made their way, fully titled, on YouTube, once the technology caught up.
A brief Season 17 was revived with three teams in 2015 and since then, the leagues have been converted to bi-monthly tournaments, held at Washington Leisure centre, as the Downhill Complex was closed. The centre is currently undergoing rennovation and Sassco are taking a tournament there in February 2020.
An 11-a-side team was a spin off from the six-a-side back in 2002. Made up of players exclusively from the 6-a-side leagues, the team had a difficult first season, dogged by financial worries in an expensive league. But a sponsorship deal with EMS Europe helped the funding and eventually the team levelled out with a core squad of some very loyal players. With two seasons behind them and an enforced break in 2004-2005, the team kicked of in the WCFL in August 2005 with the backing of global recruitment giant, Manpower. For 2006-2007, the new revived side, with sponsorship from Milltech (courtesy of Dave Watson) saw some superb results and a very content side who genuinely enjoyed their football.
In the 2007-2008 Season, the sponsor was MJS Claims. The team again finished mid-table in the lower division. In the 2008-2009 Season, the sponsor was iKobo. The team also finished in the top half of the table, but ultimately failed in it’s goal of challenging for promotion.
The side had continued in the WCFL and iKobo became the first 11-a-side sponsor to renew it’s deal with the team. The Bunker UK became the teams’ last sponsor, before the team ceased to operate as a competitive team in 2010 and reverted to being a touring and pre-season team, playing tour games and friendly games. The team is due to play at the Stadium of Light in May 2016 as part of an event organised by Sunderland AFC.
The team also undertook it’s first and ambitious overseas tour in Malta in 2008. It was such a success that another tour took place in Portugal in 2009, and subsequent small-sided (futsal) tours to Spain in 2010, Italy in 2011, Germany in 2012, France in 2013, Denmark in 2014 and the USA in 2015. The next tour is due to take place in Switzerland in 2016.
In 2010, the Sassco Lightning basketball team was also formed and took part in several exhibition games and continues to today.
All the teams and leagues were based at the Community Sports Complex, more commonly known as the Downhill astroturf, located in North Sunderland.
General Manager, December 2014