Permit Monsieur Salut one last cry of encouragement to Shildon AFC as they seek to end a 75-year wait and lift the Northern League championship trophy tonight.
Without EasyJet tickets from Nice to Newcastle, however many mates might have picked me up there for the 21-minute, 15-mile drive to Bedlington (is it really £44 by taxi as one online quote suggested?), I remain stuck in the Mediterranean sunshine. It’s tough, but someone has to be there.
All the stern instructions from Mike Amos, chairman of the league, fellow Shildon Lad and award-winning North-eastern journalist, backed up by one of his sons, Owen, have failed. The offers of bed, pint and pie were appreciated but not enough to get me to NE22 5DP [thanks Dave Collop, former Terriers secretary but rooting for Shildon, for correcting the version I had], postcode of Bedlington Terriers’ ground in Doctor Pit Welfare Park.
As well as assorted Amoses, our own Pete Sixsmith will be there. I shall rely on his updates and a full account to follow.
Remember: Shildon – one of the many County Durham towns and villages with a big contingent of Sunderland supporters (Sixer used to manage Shildon Sunderland Supporters FC and, I believe, occasionally played in goal for them) – will win the Northern League title for the first time since 1940 if they beat the Terriers tonight.
As every schoolboy ought to now, Sunderland’s last top-flight championship was four years earlier. What a sight for sore eyes is this final table for the old First Division …
Sixer owes it to his old mate, to Salut! Sunderland and to the world to ensure his texts bring smiles to all Shildon-favouring faces.
Following the piece I published here and at Salut! and Salut! North yesterday, there has been a great response – see the comments at https://safc.blog/2015/04/before-sunderland-there-was-shildon-tomorrow-at-bedlington-theres-shildon-again/. I have received “good luck” messages galore, though the Boro-supporting Harry Pearson, who wrote the brilliant NE football book The Far Corner says he has mixed feelings, a soft spot for Shildon but with parents from Marske (Marske Utd win the league if Shildon don’t).
There’s little more to say except Ha’way Shildon, just as Ha’way Sunderland on Saturday.
But if you strayed here hoping to read only about Sunderland AFC, get yourself along to https://safc.blog/2015/04/the-sunderland-vs-southampton-guess-the-score-after-hull-pile-on-pressure/ and Guess the Score when SAFC, fighting for their Premier League lives, face Southampton.