Joe Dixon’s

Football Memories



I started off in the 1984/1985 season as coach at Eppleton CW in the Wearside League. This was my second season there and the manager was Tony Lynch. He had first approached me to coach under him in the 1982/1983 season when he was manager of Seaham Red Star who were playing in the Wearside League. I was thoroughly enjoying my time with him and learnt quite a bit from Tony. He was very knowledgeable, enthusiastic and was determined to be successful. However when I was approached in early November 1984 by Norman Kelly and Ivan Arthur, from Dawdon CW who played in the same league, to join them in a role that gave me a lot more responsibility I was pleased to accept.

Although the official position was team coach I also did all the team talks and tactics. Team selection was a joint effort. Ivan was still officially team manager but team selection involved Ivan, Norman and myself. In any club this would never work but at Dawdon it did, as I knew it would. I’d known Norman and Ivan from the 1979/1980 season when I helped out as a player and a bit of coaching and we were always on the same wavelength. Throughout the 4 seasons I was there, there were no disagreements or fallouts. There were plenty of discussions but as we were all pulling in the same direction it was a pleasure to be at Dawdon CW.

A gentleman I must mention is Ralph Pigg the Club Secretary. He was Norman’s dad and to me he was like a father figure and certainly the heart of the club. It was simple, if you knew him you liked him. When he sadly passed away several years ago the service, which was in the church in Dawdon just a very short distance from the Green Drive ground, was absolutely packed. It seemed that every one associated with football in the Seaham area, and beyond, were there to show their respect. A fitting tribute to a lovely man.

Mid Season Team

        Back from left  :- Joe Dixon, Chris Cain, Stuart Hannaby, Kevin Hope, Paul Morse, John                                 Haswell, Alfie Bell and Mick Haswell
Front from left :- Ian Stamp, Alan Thompson, Dave Grose, Ray Craggs, Dave Regan and

                               Ged Parkinson

Mascot          :- David Price


Injuries and work committments throughout the season meant from game to game we could never play a settled side and for most of the season we had disappointing results. In fact one cup game we beat Usher Moor 2-1 but had to forfeit the tie because we'd unknowingly played a recent signing without realising he had to have been signed for 14 days or more to be legible. It was an honest mistake because we could have played him under another name and no one would have known.

However things brightened up in the League Cup. We had got a bye into the second round and our away game against Clarke Chapman, on 29 Dec. '84, saw one of our best performances in a convincing 3-0 win.
Stuart Hannaby (2) and Dave Grose (1) were the goal scorers.

The 3rd round (quarter final) was against a strong Easington CW side at home on the 5th April and there were 6 changes to the side from the previous round. Dave Grose was now playing in New Zealand and injuries and work committments meant that we only had 10 fit players available. So I had to play and, to their credit, the rest of the team seemed determined to carry me and do my share of the work. As a result they all worked their socks off and it was another outstanding League cup performance. We won 2-0 and
Stuart Hannaby and Malcolm Guy were the goal scorers.

With a shortage of players it was a relief to be able to sign
Micky Whitfield ex Horden CW and Clive Knapper ex Murton CW. In addition Nigel and Ian Glegorn were now available to play having signed and played for us at Xmas time courtesy of Seaham Red Stars manager Larry Philips.

The semi-final was against Blue Star, who had won this cup 4 times in the last 5 seasons and were on the way to winning the League this season, on their home ground on 24th April. As I was away in Sheffield on a course from work I was unable to be at the game so I did as much preparation as I could before I went on the course. They rose to the occasion with a magnificent performance winning 2-1 with 2 goals from
Nigel Gleghorn, and the winner, coming just 5 minutes from time, was a tremendous individual effort.

The final was against, of all teams, Eppleton CW who had beaten Whickham FC, after extra time, 2-0.

A few weeks before the semi-final I was in a telephone conversation, with my good friend Tony Lynch, and we talked about the possibility of playing each other in the final. As we had to beat Blue Star in the semi's and Eppleton had to beat Whickham we were probably the only two people who thought it was possible.

Below is the outstanding team that played in the final and was the same team that played in the second half of the semi final. Players not mentioned but were part of the squad include
Alan Thompson (GK), Paul Morse, Kevin Hope, Steve Rutherford and Stuart Thubron. All of these, I know, would have done a great job for me and wouldn't have let the team down.

The substitutes that day were very unlucky not to be selected. Team selection was definitely a big problem but both
Stuart Hannaby and Ray Moon were just recovering from injury having missed the previous couple of games. Stuart's injury was picked up just before half time in the semi final. The win would normally justify the team selection but deep down I know we would have won if either or both had been selected. Did any of them complain? No. They gave tremendous encouragement throughout the game as you would expect from two great players.

This was a great team performance. We started off very confidently and took the lead after just 7 mins with a diving header from Malcolm Guy. It could have been more as we created a number of chances but later in the half Eppleton came a lot more into the game and with about 2 mins left Mick Donald, Eppletons centre forward headed in superbly from a free kick.

The second half saw us off to a great start with a great
Clive Knapper header from an Ian Stamp corner kick. From then on we dominated play and the match was sewn up by a Micky Whitfield goal 15 mins from full time.

It must be said that Eppleton were very unfortunate to have played 4 games to our 1 in the week leading up to the final. It showed in the second half when, understandably, they tired a bit. I'm not sure what squad Tony Lynch had to spread the load that week but it would still have meant some players being involved in at least 3 of the games.

In defence Sean McKenna wasn't too busy during the game and couldn't be faulted for their goal. His highlight was a great save in a 1 on 1 situation resulting from a rare Chris Cain mistake. For the rest of the game Chris marshalled and organised the defence to perfection. Ged Parkinson was as reliable as ever at right back and Ian Gleghorn's performance was very pleasing although he said after the game that he was disappointed with his own performance. Clive Knapper probably felt guilty about their goal but he more than made up for it with a cracking header to score our second goal. Overall Clive restricted Mick Donald, probably Eppletons best player, to just the one chance and it was unfortunate for us that Mick's header was spot on.

We certainly won the midfield battle. Thanks to the 100% performances of our central midfielders
Bobby Hall and Alfie Bell. Our wide midfielders, Ian Stamp and Malcolm Guy caused Eppletons defence all kinds of problems. Malcolm's early diving header gave us the lead and Ian's accurate corner kick was headed in for the lead again.

Up front
Micky Whitfield, with his great skills, continually made life difficult for Eppletons defence and was rewarded with a goal, although not a classic, it was one that effectively killed the game off. Partnering Micky was Nigel Gleghorn whose sheer presence in the side was enough to ensure Eppletons defence was a bundle of nerves. Actually, by his normal high standards, it wasn't one of Nigels best games but he was still probably the main reason why we won.

Thanks fella's for some great memories.


Below are two reports of the final. A proud day for Dawdon CW.

Above is the team photograph and report printed from the Sunderland Echo on the 27th June 1985. I was on holiday when the photo was taken and I was a bit disappointed my name was omitted.


The photos below are courtesy of Alfie Bell, and show him with Chris Cain holding and being presented with the Wearside League Cup. These pictures capture the great atmosphere and joy on this very proud day for the club, its players and supporters.


I bumped into Freddie Browell, the Eppleton CW Secretary, sometime after the Wearside League Cup Final and he started off by asking me if I knew the reason why Dawdon CW had home advantage in that game. I didn't so he told me, with a smile on his face, it was because Blue Star won the toss. He knew this would puzzle me so he went on to explain what happened. Apparently at a Wearside League meeting, prior to the semi finals being played, the League Secretary was so convinced of which teams would go through to the final that he took the liberty of arranging for the Blue Star and Whickham Secretaries to spin up to see which of them would have home advantage in the final. Obviously Blue Star won the toss. As Blue Star lost 2-1 to us and Whickham lost to Eppleton we got the home tie. I know they were the two top teams in the league but it was very disrespectful of the League Secretary to have such a low opinion of our clubs. What a plonker. But Freddie and I still had a good laugh about it.


Below are two reports of the final. A proud day for Dawdon CW.

Dawdon C.W. 1984 / 1985 Season