Former Hartlepool headteacher writes tribute to schoolboy football heroes
A former headteacher has put pen to paper once again in tribute to the best school football team he ever coached.
The amazing Easington Secondary Modern team of the 1970s is back in the spotlight thanks to Alan White who was tasked with leading them more than 40 years ago.
Alan, a former Hartlepool school head, loved it especially as it was one of his first jobs in the profession.
The journey that followed led to Easington’s under-16s becoming the only County Durham team ever to be crowned national champions two years in a row, 1975 and 1976.
Alan originally produced a 70-page read on the lads who did Easington proud. It sold out with the £1,000 proceeds going to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
Now comes an extended 35,000-word version. It went on sale on December 16 and this time, Alan is raising money to help develop junior sport in Easington and Murton.
He said: “The first book only told half the story. We now have a complete account which covers all of the events and games from what was a golden period in the history of school football in Easington and County Durham.”
The new book concludes with a section about a reunion last March.
“There are team photos from 1974-6 and from the reunion enabling readers to make ‘then and now’ comparisons,” said Alan, who subsequently became head of Manor College in Hartlepool in 1995 and retired in 2011.
He added: “The first book was written to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1976 triumph and was exclusively about my 1975-6 team. However, in reality, it only told half the story. The boys of 1974-5 had an equally compelling story to tell.”
The team featured talented youngsters who went on to excel in the game, including Alan Brown who played for Sunderland.
The book pays tribute to the two teachers who managed the 1974-5 team; the late Eddie Moore and Stan Gelson whose experience in 1974/1975, helped Alan the following year, he said.
The two finals were played in front of crowds of more than 5,000 people.
Easington’s reputation grew so much that their Essex rivals in one key game made a 430-mile round trip to watch them play at Rhiwabon near Chester! “I still find that fact truly amazing,” said Alan.
He added: “The book focuses on what many seasoned observers believe to be the best schoolboy forward line they had ever seen: Alan Brown, Stuart Robinson and John Defty were simply magnificent during 1974-5 and between them scored dozens of goals. “
The new book has been produced by Atkinson Print in Hartlepool and is on sale from Atkinson Print and from Easington Village Post Office at £15.