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8 years ago

Originally hailing from Hexham and having lived in such tourist attractions (!) as flats in Wallsend, Longbenton and Bensham, like many life-long Toon fans I had to reluctantly leave God’s country due to work and study commitments.

My profession with disabled children has taken me across the Pennines to Lancaster where I currently reside and have done for the last 5 years. Despite getting home to St James’ as often as I can and travelling to many away games, my local team has become, and continues to be, Lancaster City.

“All very well” you may say “but where does the Toon connection come in?” well, this week the club exclusively revealed that their new manager will be a certain Mr Darren Peacock. I’m sure you all know Peacock’s Toon history (signed by Keegan in 94, played more than 100 games, was part of the famous (infamous?) ‘so close’ team of 96 and scored the opening goal of the superb ‘Howay 5-0’ victory over Fergie’s red mob) but not many will be aware of his new club.

I’ve been going to see Lancaster City on a regular basis for the last four seasons, they currently play in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier and with two games of a stop-start season to go sit 13th. They perhaps missed their best chance of promotion in recent times when losing the play off final at home to Colwyn Bay in 2010 in monsoon weather on an unplayable pitch (picture the mackems in 99 but worse!). The pitch was so bad that the penalty spot had to swept clear by a brush in order for Colwyn to convert a last minute penalty!

Since then Lancaster have finished 7th and 6th respectively and so just missed out on the play-off places. Until this season though they have done well in the numerous cups competed for at this level, reaching several quarter and semi finals and winning their first trophy for 10 years in 2011 (the President’s cup) beating defending champions Belpher Town 3-1 in the final.

Like most things football that begin as a bit of a laugh I soon became hooked and remember claiming the 3-3 draw against FC United of Manchester (scoring twice in the last 7 minutes) as the best football match I’d ever paid to see. A bold claim indeed considering I was at the Tino Barca game as well as the 4-3 at Elland Road in Dec 2001.

Their home games are at the Giant Axe just round the corner from the train station and the average attendance last season was a claimed 232 (although I’m certain I never saw it that full!).

If you’re ever in the area, come along and get behind the lads, support a Toon old boy and enjoy some real non-league football.

The Merchants pub just up the road does a cracking pint of ale, hopefully see you in!


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