Appeal for memorabilia from Washington youth football team

A local history group is appealing for help to fill in the gaps in the story of a much-loved youth football team.

Friday, 13th August 2021, 6:13 pm

The Washington History Society would like to find any photographs, newspaper reports or memorabilia relating to the Washington New Town under-18s.

One of the founders of the team, former teacher John Suggett, has written an article about the team, based on the comprehensive records he has from its foundation in 1978 until 1983.

Despite this, much of what he has written is based on memory and records for seasons after 1983 are proving hard to find.

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Joe Allon, seen here scoring a late winner for Hartlepool at Darlington in 1997, was a product of Washington New Town under-18s.

John says: “It relies upon memories of things which happened over 40 years ago and can’t be confirmed, because some of those involved with the beginnings of the club are deceased and others unable to be contacted.

“Anyone able to clarify facts, correct mistakes, or add information is invited to contact the History Society.”

However, the society is yet to find any team or action photographs, or press reports from games in the North Durham Youth League and the many junior cup competitions they took part in.

Their most famous player was Joe Allon who went on to have a professional career with Hartlepool United, Newcastle, Chelsea and other Football League clubs.

Washington went on to have a very decent side.

Initially the team played on the Washington Welfare pitch, although they didn’t have changing facilities. No one seemed to mind. They received more help as time went by and things became better. The team reached several cup finals.

Players’ names which may jog memories include Martin Shotton, Stewart Armstrong, Kevin McCormack, Stephen Common and Gary Heads.

The chair of the History Society, Ged Parker, said “This team was an important link for many players after they left school teams before joining the many adult leagues in the area.

“Though the 1980s isn't that long ago it appears that photographs were not taken during games and at end of season celebrations. The society will be delighted to hear from any ex-players with stories and photographs from that era.”

Anyone who might be able to help should email the society at [email protected] or call 07736 010203.

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