Meet the best team this coach ever managed

Easington player Barry Jones (stripes), in action.

Easington player Barry Jones (stripes), in action.

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A former headteacher has penned a book about his memories of an all-conquering football team.

Alan White was in his first year in teaching when he got to coach Easington Secondary Modern’s under-16 football side. The team was so good, it reached the finals of the ESFA National Individual Schools’ Under-16 Championships two years running.

The winning squad with its trophies.

The winning squad with its trophies.

“I felt compelled to celebrate the lads’ extraordinary achievements,” said Alan, who subsequently became head of Manor College in Hartlepool in 1995 and retired in 2011.

“The story is even more remarkable because the school was already joint holders of the trophy having drawn in the final in 1975,” said Alan.

“That team featured two boys who went on to play for Sunderland (Alan Brown) and Newcastle (Stuart Robinson).”

He added: “Four boys played in both campaigns – they are the only boys in the history of the ESFA to have two winners medals.

I have coached hundreds of children during my career but the best team was my first. Easington has produced many exceptional players since 1975 but no team has managed to travel so far in the National Cup

Alan White

“I have coached hundreds of children during my career but the best team was my first.

“Easington has produced many exceptional players since 1975 but no team has managed to travel so far in the National Cup.”

The 1975-76 team beat Heathfield, Gateshead, 5-4. They then defeated Willington High School, Wallsend, 4-3, Morton School, Carlisle, 3-1 and the Yorkshire champions St Bede’s RC School, Bradford, 2-1.

They conquered the champions of Clwyd and Wales, Ysgol Rhwabon, 2-1, and Wilson Marriage School, Essex, 3-2 in a replay at Easington Colliery Welfare in front of 4,000 spectators.

A huge crowd for the semi-final replay at Easington CWs ground where an Essex player has just scored an own goal.

A huge crowd for the semi-final replay at Easington CWs ground where an Essex player has just scored an own goal.

The final – against King Edward VII, Coalville Upper School, from Leicestershire, in front of 7,000 people – was a 1-1 draw with Coalville equalising in the last of five minutes injury time.

The book, at £10, is available from Atkinson Print in Church Street, Hartlepool, or Easingon Village newsagents.

Goalmouth action from an Easington game.

Goalmouth action from an Easington game.