Shotton Colliery FC to mark 50 years since pit closure on new shirt

Coal mining and football used to go hand in hand in Shotton Colliery.

By Patrick Hollis
Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 9:55 am
Shotton Colliery FC are steeped in mining heritage.
Shotton Colliery FC are steeped in mining heritage.

Over the years, Saturday and Sunday teams existed and competed in local leagues.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a large number of players on these sides were coal miners.

2022 is the 50th anniversary of the closure of Shotton Colliery Pit, and the newest Saturday club in the village are making sure they do their part to mark the year.

The new kit.

This has been done in the form of a brand new away kit, blazoned with reminders of Shotton’s industrial past.

For a club that has existed for just two years, Shotton Colliery FC already have plenty to be proud of.

The club was formed by a determined group of volunteers in the early stages of the coronavirus lockdown.

From a standing start, the club thrived quickly and, as soon as they were allowed, fans came to show their support at home games.

Shotton Colliery FC are steeped in mining heritage.

This support has been constant, with home crowds averaging over 100 throughout their second season as a club.

Chairman Gareth Coxon, who has been a part of the club since the very beginning, explained the decisions on the unique shirt.

He said: “We, as a club, didn't see it as just important to mark this event, but that it was absolutely vital and necessary and wouldn't feel right not remembering our heritage.

“What some people may or may not know is we wouldn't have our fantastic communities at all in East Durham if it wasn't for the pits.

“This club is something the miners would have been involved in and enjoyed as much as they are today.

“Our home ground is NCB (National Coal Board) land and was left for the community to use and enjoy and we need to remember for that but also for the fantastic work and sacrifice they made to heat our homes and make the community what it is today”

Gareth was part of a trio who came together to think of the most important elements to go into the shirt.

He continued: “Myself, Alan (Iley) and David (Trenholme) put our heads together at how we could get the most memorable elements in.

“Shotton Colliery Pit Heap was once the largest in the country and was an idea however similar to our badge.

“There is nothing more iconic than the pit wheel, and this is blended into the background of the grey smokey main colour of the shirt.

“This fits well with blocks of blue and blue shorts to represent the pit baths.

“We've also incorporated the dates of 1833-1972 in the strip on the back to showcase how long it was open, granted there was a gap of inactivity in the middle of it all.”

The village is commemorating the anniversary of the day the colliery closed.

Gareth added: “Our fantastic Parish Councillors are having a celebration on September 1, the exact day the pit closed so we are hoping to represent there.

“On top of that our closest home game on a Saturday we are aiming to use that day as a celebration of the pit with talks ongoing with local groups and the Parish.”

Gareth was also keen to thank the club's sponsors as well as the Cochrane Family. County Councillor Ivan Cochrane paid out of his own pocket, paying out of his councillors wage for the strips.

He also wanted to thank Windowsmiths and AI plumbing.

The kit will be available to purchase for anyone interested in owning a piece of the village’s history.

“We've had huge interest already and if anyone else would like to get their hands on this collectors item,” Gareth spoke of the popularity the shirt has had since its appearance was first released.

“We are on social media, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram also have an email address of [email protected] or you can contact me, Alan Iley or David Trenholme and we will get you sorted out.”

The inaugural season had the Yakkas (nicknamed so for the rich coal mining history of the village) starting in the Wearside League Division Two.

As far as first seasons in existence go, the Yakkas couldn’t have asked for better.

The club finished second, winning 13 of 16 matches during a campaign that was badly affected by Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions.

This was enough to get promoted to the first division, and to round things off the club won the Durham County Minor Cup, sealing a near perfect double.

The following campaign was one of stability for the Yakkas, and a season which showed they could more than cope with a higher division.