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Bedlington Mechanics FC

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Photo from Paul Reed's dad, John Reed. Paul posted the photo with the following info :- 

Bedlington Mechanics FC

My Dad John Reed was born in December 1928 and was Bedlington Mechanics first goalkeeper when he was aged about 19. After playing a handful of matches He suffered a bad leg injury working underground at the Dr Pit which ended his football career.
At that time the newly formed Mechanics played only in friendlies against teams like the Salvation Army and their home games were played at Westlea in Bedlington.

The car park at the rear of what was Tescos was originally a field where the owner Mr Gibson kept some horses. He was also the owner of a slaughterhouse located under the black bridge near the Bank Top Hotel. Gibson sold the field to Jimmy Millne.

Millne and Sep Kidd were good friends and a 'gentlemens agreement' was made between them whereby Millne would allow the Mechanics to use the field rent free for as long as Sep was involved with the club.

With Sep as the driving force behind the club, the field which was very uneven, was slowly levelled using waste from the Dr Pit, colliery labour and machines and a borrowed council roller. Sep even managed to persuade Newcastle United to donate the leftover grass seed when St James Park pitch was relaid.

A supporters club was formed which was separate from the football club and my parents and Aunt ran weekly bingo nights at the Locke Hall which raised cash which was regularly donated to the club to help with travel costs for away games and also players 'expenses' (brown envelopes). The bingo nights were very well attended with long queues forming outside prior to opening.

Matches at Millne Park drew big crowds with the nearby pit head baths being used for changing rooms.

When Sep Kidd passed away the club formed a new committee and 'personality clashes' emerged between Jimmy Millne and some committee members. The club were now being charged rent for the ground as Sep was no longer involved. When Millne was summoned by letter to attend a committee meeting to discuss rent he gave the committee notice to leave the ground at the end of the current season.

Due to working long shifts Dad withdrew from the fundraising activities and the new committee took over the bingo nights which began to dwindle in numbers as the prize fund was cut which in turn attracted less people and made less money. Dad was also given the Locke Hall at half price by the manager who doubled the rental costs when the committee took over.

The Mechanics moved to the only pitch available at the time which was the colliery welfare ground at Bedlington Station on what is now Bedlington High School. Unfortunately the new location didn't attract the same large crowds as Millne Park and attendances and revenue fell. This started the demise of the club which eventually folded.

** Dad is fairly sure of his facts about the club but can't be precise about dates. He is sure that the Mechanics didn't change their name to Colliery Town or Colliery Welfare and suggests that these names were those of a completely new club as opposed to a name change. The information about matches being played at Bedlington A Pit is reasonably accurate as the Welfare ground at Bedlington Station was used by the A Pit teams.

1950c from John Reed named.jpg

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