Wearside Echoes: Are you on the ball?

FUN TIMES: Ryhope Grammar Football Team 1950'Back row: man in suit- unknown, Hughes, ?berry, Fairley, Warren, Baty, Reed, man in suit-unknown,'Ffront row: Lawson, Spink or Salt?, Leslie, Curry, A Burridge, Lowerson, unknown
FUN TIMES: Ryhope Grammar Football Team 1950'Back row: man in suit- unknown, Hughes, ?berry, Fairley, Warren, Baty, Reed, man in suit-unknown,'Ffront row: Lawson, Spink or Salt?, Leslie, Curry, A Burridge, Lowerson, unknown
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WEARSIDE Echoes readers are being challenged to prove they are “on the ball” by adding names to faces in this line-up of sporty pictures.

MYSTERY surrounds a battered but treasured photo of shipyard worker and football enthusiast George Wilson Cook in the 1920s – as his family have no idea which team he played with.

“My great-grandfather is in the middle row, second from right,” said Marc Scott. “The photo was given to me by my maternal grandmother, George’s daughter Kitty Hodgson, who is now 80.

“She has no idea what the date or name of the team is and would be thrilled if readers recognised anyone in the picture, or could even name the team. It appears to date from the 1920s.”

Southwick-born George worked as a holder-upper at Doxford’s shipyard throughout his working life, but obviously enjoyed the odd game of football during his leisure hours.

“He lived in Shakespeare Street, Southwick, with his wife Charlotte and nine children. The children all attended St. Hilda’s school,” said Marc.

“Sadly, he died suddenly of a heart attack in Southwick Club in 1953, where he was head of the committee, and left a young family.”

Former soccer enthusiast turned shipyard worker William Bambough, of East Boldon, provided the photo of Hylton Road Senior School’s football team in 1951-52.

“I found the picture a few days ago and it brought back many good memories. I think we won the Cochrane Cup that year, named after the Sunderland manager Johnny Cochrane.

“I haven’t really kept in touch with any of the boys, but it was certainly an enjoyable time. I was about 14 when this was taken and left school the next year, to serve my time as an electrician.”

Other pictures featured here include Ryhope Grammar Football Team in 1950, which was provided by Seaburn man Ray Burridge, and two pictures of the St Joseph’s team – one taken in 1962, the other a year or two before.

“I’m the goalie and in the 1962 picture you can see the jersey my mother knitted me. I wore it for school as well as football, as those were hard times,” recalls former shipyard worker Colin Watson.

“The team used to wear a mixture of whatever strips they could find, that’s why there are all types of socks and shorts. I saw a boy borrow a pair of football boots just to play for the school once.”

Hylton Road Playing Fields provided the practice ground for St Joseph’s, and the team once made it to the finals of the Catholic Cup – just being pipped at the post by St Aiden’s.

“It had to be really bad weather for a game to be abandoned,” said Colin, of Humbledon. “We played in rain, snow and even on an icy frozen pitch. If the ball hit you then, you really knew it!”

Also pictured are the lads of Redby Juniors, who won the crown of Town Champions in 1951.

“We became champions after winning a play-off 2-1 against Havelock at Marsden School,” recalls Tony Coates, whose parents took this picture with their Brownie Reflex camera.

“The referee was the politician Ernest Armstrong, in full referee kit! Stiff boots over the ankle and heavy wet leather caseballs were the norm those days.”

* If you can recognise the team shipyard worker George Wilson Cook played with contact Marc Scott on 07954 896382. Information on the other teams should be sent to: Sarah Stoner, Sunderland Echo, Pennywell, Sunderland, SR4 9ER.