The Football Association have given the go-ahead to a new competition in memory of a North East amateur who died during a game.
Stephen Carey – who had an undiagnosed heart condition – played football for several of the region’s clubs, but collapsed on the pitch while playing for Alnmouth FC in July 2012.
Now the Stephen Carey Memorial Cup – a new pre-season fixture for the North Northumberland League – has been ratified by the FA, meaning it can kick off for the first time this Friday.
Following the 21-year-old’s death, his friends, fellow players and managers set up the Stephen Carey Fund, which is raising money to install public access defibrillators throughout the region, as well as improving first aid training.
So far the group has provided free FA approved first aid training for football clubs within the North Northumberland league, installed two defibrillators – the first in Shilbottle and the second in Alnwick – and has just ordered a third defibrillator, which will be installed in the Alnmouth area.
The new fixture will see the North Northumberland league champions face off against the winners of the Bilclough Cup in a match at St James’ Park in Alnwick.
But the game will only ever be contested by teams who will play within the North Northumberland League for the forthcoming season.
So, should a team who was either the league champions or winners of the Bilclough Cup no longer be registered, then the runners-up will take their place.
This season that means the match will see Red Row Welfare, who for much of the season hung on the coat tails of Newbiggin AFC in Division 1, represent the league.
While Shilbottle CW, who beat Tweedmouth Rangers to secure the Bilclough Cup, represent the knock-out format.
Kick off at St James’ Park will be at 6.30pm this Friday, with the gates opening at 5.30pm. Tickets, available on the gates, will be £2 for adults and £1 for concessions, with all proceed being split evenly between The Stephen Carey Fund and FA Benevolent Fund.