Pete Sixsmith finds chinks of light in what others see as a dark season for the North East. He may find another if the Mags still contrive to go down. ..
At professional level, we would all agree that the North East has had a miserable season. On a scale of miserable it can only be surpassed by the misery exuded by MPs who have been told to pay back their swimming pool, horse manure and broken toilet seats allowances.
Three Premier League clubs struggling, Hartlepool only safe because Northampton imploded and Darlington in administration and probably liquidation. Not a great record for the self styled “Hotbed of Football”. Arthur Appleton will be rotating in his grave!
However, away from the big leagues, the region has actually done quite well. Durham City won Unibond North at the first attempt and Newcastle Blue Star went up from the same league via the play offs. Blyth Spartans made it to the 3rd round of the FA Cup before bowing out to Blackburn Rovers Reserves and stayed in Blue Square North for a third successive season.
But the real plaudits should be reserved for Gateshead and Whitley Bay who succeeded beyond their wildest expectations. Both teams completed their seasons at the weekend and I was fortunate enough to see them in between the game at Bolton