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Who was the best footballer from Bedlington or surrounding

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Having left Bedlington when I was 16 there is a lot I miss about the town and the life I had there. Football was such a massive part of life, from NUFC to Saturday semi-pro and Sunday pub games. I remember seeing some great players, at school, club and pub level and have always wondered who were considered the true greats? There are no restrictions on age only that they should be from our area.

I will nominate 3, one a schoolmate, one a childhood hero and one I just loved watching play.

First, Darren McClean. A lovely little midfielder with speed, vision and close control that left many good players bamboozled. 
Next, Ross Dixon. My kids memory remembers him scoring for fun at the Terriers, and he always came over to speak to us.
Finally, Tommy Notcher Dawson. A marauding forward in the SuperMac mould for the Station Club.

OK, let me know who the true greats are and why.

 

 

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Brian O'Neil of Burnley was known as 'The Bedlington Terrier' and played in the late sixties. He went on to play at Southampton in the early 70's. If you played local football in the early 70's there was always a chance you would get picked up by Burnley.

Jimmy Anderson from Ashington was manager of the club around that time. Anderson had joined the club around 1947.

There was also a Bill Dodd from Bedlington who was one of a number of North East players to go to Turf Moor in the 1950's.

 

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Brian was good mates with my brother in law and he would always pay him a visit on the Friday night before Match day when his team were playing against Newcastle. Never forgets where he comes from and still keeps in touch with his old mates.

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When I was at St bede's senior  in 63 our headmaster  was so proud his ex pupil Brian  O'Neil was coming to play for Burnley  reserve's he encouraged  us to go. 2 of us did & we were in his good books awhile. Later I was in the Army near Southampton  & Brian was with them. Terrific player. Underated by Alf Ramsey. Funny thing was I was working in an office  in Newcastle recently and met a guy from Burnley who told me Brian was very well thought of down their. Can vaguely remember him playing  at our school when I was at the juniors.  Greatest player from our area. Sir Bobby Charlton without a dought

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Couldn't name 'the best' but another Bedlington lad, lived in Hirst Villas, that played professionally was John Brodie :- born 8 September 1947 who played as a full-back for Whitley Bay, Carlisle United, Bradford Park Avenue,Port Vale, and Northwich Victoria.

Played for Whitley Bay, before joining Carlisle United in 1967. The "Cumbrians" finished tenth and 12th in the Second Division in 1967–68 and1968–69 under the stewardship of first Tim Ward and then Bob Stokoe.  He then joined Bradford Park Avenue, who went on to be relegated out of the Football League in 1969–70 after finishing bottom of the Fourth Division. He was signed by Port Vale manager Gordon Lee for a £250 fee in January 1971. He became a regular in the team, building a reputation for his "hard tackling and reliability". However during a 3–1 defeat to Huddersfield Town at Leeds Road on 8 March he went into a "ruthless tackle" only to come out with a red card and a broken leg. He recovered by January 1976, and played 12 games at the end of the 1975–76 season before re-breaking his leg in a 3–0 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion at the Withdean Stadium on 10 April. He managed to play three games in the 1976–77 season, but after breaking the same leg for a third time he decided to retire in April 1978. He was given a testimonial game for Port Vale in August 1979, in what turned out to be a goalless draw with Everton.

 

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To the best of my knowledge the only person from Bedlington to play for Newcastle United was Bill Thompson. He lived behind the Terrier's football pitch (I think it was Lily Avenue). He attended the Whitley Memorial School and played for East Northumberland and was signed up by Newcastle United Juniors in 1955 and his first game for the senior team was in 1960. He played at centre half for the Newcastle United first team for 10 years and was in the England under 23 squad but could not not play any games due to injury. Hid brother Jimmy played for Bedlington Dr Pit Welfare.

Bill Thompson.jpg

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Derek Jefferson, lived near the Terrier pub, went to the Whitley Memorial then the Station Modern and was an imposing Centre Half. From school he went to Ipswich Town and then to Wolves.  

Derek Jefferson
Personal information
Full name Derek Dave Jefferson
Date of birth 5 September 1948 (age 68)
Place of birth MorpethNorthumberland.
Playing position Centre back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1966–1972 Ipswich Town 166 (1)
1972–1976 Wolverhampton Wanderers 42 (0)
1976 Boston Minutemen 10 (1)
1976 Washington Diplomats 11 (0)
1976 → Sheffield Wednesday (loan) 5 (0)
1976–1978 Hereford United 39 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
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Well this was a blast from the past. Plum forgot that I actually  worked with Big Bill Thompson  at Wilkinson  Sword during the 70s at the time magpies were on the 74 cup run. Real Quiet  Bill and I suppose he didn't  like talking about his time as he must have had many wanting  to ask him same old questions.  He was a real tough player though. Hope he is still around and in good health. 

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My only claim to football fame was a Sunday afternoon in Green Lane, Stobhil - early 60's -l when i got one past Wor Jackie (Milburn)! He was a really nice guy who kicked a ball around on the cenral green area with the local kids whenever he got the opportunity.

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Stuart and Malcolm used to play football with Trevor Finnigan on the  slopes of West Lea green he was a very good footballer as he was always the one to play with the big lads he did go on to play professional football for Blackpool, another local lad was Joe Lees who signed for Port Vale and you had Brian O Neil who played for Burnley and Southampton.I remember Bill Thompson playing Centre Half for NUFC as the North-East used to be a hotbed for football. Of course you got the Charlton brothers from Ashington along with Jackie Milburn and there was a lad from Stakeford who played for WBA  also did a Bedlington lad play goalkeeper for NUFC so we nearly have a full team of Northumberland lads who would be able to give anyone a game.

I think we were all pretty good footballers but along came the Broon Ale and larger girths to reduce our fitness even though we still got together to kick around and sweat the Broon Ale out of our system. 

Yours in the Spirit of Cooperation

Malcolm.

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On 2/2/2017 at 13:02, Jr6468 said:

When I was at St bede's senior  in 63 

 @Jr6468 - off the subject of footballers, I'm hoping you can help me with the names St Bede's & St Benet Biscop's so I can attribute some old photos to the correct school.

Were the junior & senior schools both called St Bede's? Was it only when the senior school took over the old Westridge school was the name St. Benet Biscop used? 

I have photos to post in one of the albums and they are of 'senior school' (15 year old's) at Ford Castle in the late 60's and they have been posted as St. Bedes. 

 

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Hi,regarding your questions in relation to St bede's  school.  I left the seniors in summer of 63. I was in the Army during that decade and  to my limited  knowledge the west ridge school was converted to St Bentet Bishop sometime during that period. St bede's  junior  and senior were holding the same names up until then. When I was told about the change I was thinking of what we had to put up with in comparison to west ridge.  We had No football field, metal work class etc.  We had to go to Blyth school to have wood work classes. One good thing we did have at juniors  was an excellent  head master in Mr Gregg. I was pleased for them to have the change. I stand corrected on dates for change. Best I can remember. Regards 

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Posted on the Bedlington remembered Facebook site by Joseph Henderson a player I have never heard of :-  

today in 1908 Joseph Richardson, Newcastle servant born Bedlington. (1929-75, player & trainer)

Right back signed from Blyth Spartans in May 1929 who remained with United as both a player and coach until his death in June 1975 - amassing 46 years of service.

Following the "other" J Richardson (outside right Jimmy) from Croft Park, Joe's senior debut came in a home FA Cup tie against Brighton and Hove Albion in February 1930, taking the number 2 shirt from Alf Maitland.

He then shared right back duties with Jimmy Nelson before finally displacing him in the opening weeks of the 1934-35 season, by which time United were in Division Two.

Recognised by England schoolboys in 1925, Joe would win one full cap for his country, in an unofficial friendly international staged at SJP in December 1939.

When Manchester City duo Eric Brook and Sam Barkas were injured in a car accident en route to Tyneside, Richardson and fellow Magpie Tommy Pearson stood in for England in a 2-1 victory over Scotland.

Remaining at Gallowgate during wartime, Richardson's final first team appearances came in the various competitions the club entered during the 1944-45 campaign.

Thereafter he coached United's apprentices and reserves until his death.

he played 337 games thought he was worth a mention

 

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Just been reminded of a left winger that attended Bedlington Grammar school 1959 to 1964, John Farrington, from Lynemouth.

Born in Lynemouth, Farrington played for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leicester City, Cardiff City and Northampton Town, making over 400 appearances in the Football League. He later became player-manager of AP Leamington.

 

John Farrington.jpg

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Didn't "Fags" Farrington play on the right wing for the Grammar School Intermediates and Middlemiss play on the left. Middlemiss could be sensational and went to Sunderland FC but, surprisingly, didn't make the top grade. Farrington was less showy but more consistent and made the grade in professional football.

Keith Harle

 

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50 minutes ago, Keith Harle said:

Didn't "Fags" Farrington play on the right wing for the Grammar School Intermediates and Middlemiss play on the left. Middlemiss could be sensational and went to Sunderland FC but, surprisingly, didn't make the top grade. Farrington was less showy but more consistent and made the grade in professional football.

Keith Harle

 

Hello Keith - probably 52 years since we last spoke. Hope all is well.

I couldn't remember if Ken (?) Middlemiss made the grade or not - it was Alan Bell (from Lynemouth, now living in Northamptonshire) who reminded me of John Farrington. It is amazing what incidents from the past stick with you but I have never forgotten, I think it was probably the end of term house football matches with me in goal for Aln house, a shot from Faggs that came straight at me, hitting me in the chest, and it took my breath, and me, away! 

Have you seen the  http://www.sempersursum.co.uk/ site ran by Mansel Dinnis ? I think you are on there twice, Class 2A group photo and sixth form photo - small group with you Dennis Nesbitt & Neil Straker.

Eggy 

 

 

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A number of my photos are on Mansel Dinnis's website. The group photos were taken at Bamburgh and Edinburgh on a trip from Bellingham International camp. Bob Charlton is 80 in 5 days time. I've got a couple of colour pics of Bob and Jack in Ashington in 66.  Are you Alan Edger?, Seem to remember the nickname of a fair haired junior team goalkeeper. John Ross was the keeper for the Intermediates.    

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Keith Harle said:

A number of my photos are on Mansel Dinnis's website. The group photos were taken at Bamburgh and Edinburgh on a trip from Bellingham International camp. Bob Charlton is 80 in 5 days time. I've got a couple of colour pics of Bob and Jack in Ashington in 66.  Are you Alan Edger?, Seem to remember the nickname of a fair haired junior team goalkeeper. John Ross was the keeper for the Intermediates.    

 

 

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Yep that's me Keith - Alan Edgar and yes John Ross was number 1 choice for the school teams - he was daft as brush! John was in the 'A' stream and I was in the 'B'. I sent you a message, within this group, with a photo of year 2A and John is on that one.

 

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