NORTHERN FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Founded 1889 - second oldest League in the world
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Wednesday, 24 January 2018
31/07/2016 - We'll Meet Again Shildon and Marske must be getting sick of the sight of each other. Jostling for top spot in the league for the last two seasons; squaring up to each other in the league cup at the end of last season; and, for the second season in a row, meeting in the Ebac Northern League’s season opener. The JR Cleator Cup will never be more than an interesting early look when it comes to assessing form for the months ahead. Marske started the better of the two, playing some neat stuff and looking like a well-drilled team. It took Shildon more than 30 minutes before they were up to speed, but by then they were a goal down. In the end Shildon were comfortable 4-1 winners, with their third the pick of the crop, but early season rust was pretty evident, especially on the shooting front, with local houses and the burger trailer at times more in danger than the goals. And apart from the usual suspects on the pitch, there were also the usual suspects present off the pitch too – chairmen past and present and more ground hoppers than you could shake a stick at. Not that we’ve been missing our fix of Northern League footie over what has laughingly been called a summer. Well, actually that’s a bit of a porkie. We have been missing it and the Euros were scant consolation. As some local youngsters banged on the metal at the back of the standing area, one wag chided them with a: “Pack it in, some people are trying to get some sleep.” It wasn’t a great match, but it wasn’t anywhere near that bad either. And Secret Hopper liked a timely tweet after the game: “50 yrs to the day Bobby Moore lifts the World Cup for England @Shildon_AFC 's 'Bobby' Moore lifts the Cleator Cup for The Railwaymen”. I’m not sure this one will go down in the history books, but we’re back up and running. 30/07/2016 - Same again for Shildon It only seems a couple of weeks ago that Shildon were winning the title and lifting the League Cup, while Morpeth were confounding the pundits with their tremendous Vase victory at Wembley. Today sees the traditional season opener – with Shildon taking on Marske in the JR Cleator Cup at Dean Street. Secret Hopper interviewed double winning Shildon manager Gary Forrest to look forward to the season and the challenges ahead. “To win the league title after 10 years of taking over was fantastic and then to get the double was great,” said Gary, but he maintains that the team didn’t get the recognition they deserved for their efforts the season before last. “The lads got to the first round of the FA cup, missed out on the league title in the last game, won the Durham Challenge Cup and the League Cup. But last season they were outstanding to win Shildon’s first league title in 70 years.” But he says there’s been no complacency or hang-over in pre-season. “There’s been a steely determination about their training. How they would react to last season’s success was a concern before pre-season training, but we didn’t want to make too many changes to the squad. Everybody’s totally focussed and they mean business.” Shildon have signed keeper Nick Liversedge from Guisborough and Stephen Capper from Spennymoor and promoted two players from their u18s. And the Gary’s objective remains the same: winning the league. He said: “Some people think we’re only interested in the Vase, but our focus is on the league title, although obviously we’d love a run in the Vase. You can be out of the Vase if you have an off day but you’ve got to be consistent over 42 games to win the league.” He sees their main rivals as Marske, South Shields and Morpeth. “Marske have made some good signings but they were 15 points behind us last season. South Shields are going to be very competitive. With Morpeth, I’ve noticed that teams have found it difficult in the league after they’ve won the Vase, so it will be interesting to see how they do.” And Gary says it will be good to get the first silverware of the new season in today’s Cleator Cup, but then it’ll down to business – trying to repeat as league champions and seeing how far they can go in the Vase. Click on the A Life of Pie photo gallery link below to view the photograph of Ebac Northern League president George Courtney presenting the JR Cleator Cup to Shildon captain Daniel Moore. 29/07/2016 - A Life of Pie by the Secret Hopper Welcome to the new blog for the Ebac Northern League. After many years of the purple prose of Mike Amos, this blog will be looking to replace rather than replicate Mike’s excellent blog which brought colour to the everyday life of the Northern League. It will be a mix of what’s happening in the league and sometimes further afield, along with a flavour of matches throughout the season and profiles of some of the people who make it such a fantastic league. Secret Hopper is also hoping have a team of fellow hoppers who will be feeding into the blog. It will not necessarily be updated daily, but the hope is to have several postings a week. It won’t be open to comments on the site, but any feedback can be sent to: email@example.com We hope you enjoy it.