West Stanley FC’s story needs telling

A BID to reveal the untold story of West Stanley FC has prompted die-hard football fanatics to launch an appeal for memorabilia.

Bishop Auckland FC

A BID to reveal the untold story of West Stanley FC has prompted die-hard football fanatics to launch an appeal for memorabilia.

Members of the Durham Amateur Football Trust (DAFT) are searching for photos, video clips and match mementos for a special exhibition taking place this Autumn.

The organisation’s current material focuses on the FA Cup triumphs of North East teams Bishop Auckland, Crook Town, Willington and West Auckland.

In total those four teams clinched trophy wins in more than 15 FA Amateur Cup Finals during less than two decades in the 1940s and 1950s.

But there is no information available on the West Stanley team and now members of the amateur Trust are frantically searching for historical items.

The only surviving photo of the County Durham outfit dates back to 1909 and was discovered by the grand-daughter of the team’s goalkeeper, John Gill.

Last night Geoff Wood, trust treasurer, said it was important young footballers knew of the local history surrounding their clubs.

He said: “We’ve got a lot of memorabilia for West Auckland, Crook Town, Willington and Crook because they all reached Wembley for the FA Amateur Cup finals – but we’ve got nothing for West Stanley.

“The organisation started around two-and-a-half years ago to bring to people’s attention just how important football was, and still is.

“It’s mainly amateur football because we focus on football before it went professional in 1974.

“You used to get four-figure crowds to these games and it was so important for small teams.”

Records show that West Stanley FC was formed more than a century ago in 1889 and that they were founder members of the North Eastern League in 1906.

The team, who were originally known as the “Oakey’s Lillywhites”, secured their highest league position in 1950, when they ended the season as runners-up to North Shields.

The club first entered the FA Cup in 1905, but their greatest success came in 1919, when they defeated Gillingham 3–1, before crashing out against Tottenham Hotspur. They eventually folded in 1959.

Last night Dick Longstaff, the Trust’s executive committee secretary, said: “We’ve been putting exhibitions on for years but someone from Stanley asked us to do something and we don’t really have anything.

The Football Trust would like any material on West Stanley or Annfield Plain. Anyone who can help should call Stanley library on (01207) 232128.

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