The yearning to play a good standard of football is a mania within the North East of England.
No man who plays football should be so stubborn, so conceited, so arrogant or so accomplished that he should not constantly strive to improve his game. He may not care to admit this to others; he may pretend that mediocrity is more than enough for him. This man is telling a white lie and he knows it. He wants desperately to play at the highest standard possible.
Cramlington Juniors Football Club attempts to provide the opportunities relevant to this criteria and was a fundamental vision held by the founder members of the club.
In 1973 Father Cass, a local Catholic Priest, keen to maintain strong links with the community was busy going about his usual work of looking to provide organised activities for youngsters within the locality. At the same time two local men, Tommy Orrick and Bob Leask, had a vision to form a local Junior Football Club. Discussions took place with Father Cass, his pupils, Tommy & Bob and Cramlington Juniors were born.
Hard work, good organisation, an abundance of humour, coupled with Tommy’s tremendous experience within the game (former Wembley Amateur Cup Winner) provided the youngsters with a sense of belonging. About this time the Club appointed its first Chairman Eddie Conway. Eddie was to serve the club well until he left in 1982.
Following friendly matches, using various facilities, discussions took place with the relevant authorities and the Club managed to attain a base to operate from – Ann Welfare – still to this day the home of Cramlington Juniors Football Club.
Team managers were appointed, for the ever increasing number of teams now operating through the Northumberland Football Association and competing within the Northumberland Association of Boys Clubs – Junior Football Competitions – the Club grew and quickly gained a very good reputation.
Numerous contacts and associations were formed within the local football scene, however it was the arrival of Jimmy Snowdon, an influential and charismatic man who was to eventually proceed with imaginative plans to expand and develop the Club into what it is today.
Assisted by Ken Sinton (father of Andy) and several colleagues, the Club entered an exciting phase with Jimmy Snowdon becoming Chairman in 1982, and after steady progress, David Laws as Secretary formed an almost telepathic understanding with the Chairman to provide a platform for the Club to make massive progress during the 1980`s.
Following excursions abroad, the Club formed superb relations with clubs in Holland & Switzerland. Participation in international tournaments on the Isle of Wight, and in Ayr, for the Scotland Cup, were great experiences for players and management alike. Indeed, success at these tournaments became a feature of the Club and recognition within the wider game became apparent.
Progress now became the operative word and following strenuous fundraising activity 1988 was to become a remembered year with the opening of a clubhouse, where players, families, sponsors and guests were to form a superb atmosphere and prove the social side of sport to be as strong as ever.
The temporary clubhouse was only the beginning and following discussions with parents of the players, a panel of representatives was established to attempt to turn the facilities into a modern, upmarket permanent facility. This dream became a reality when the current Clubhouse opened on November 14th 1996, with old boys Alan Shearer, Graham Fenton and Tommy Widdrington in attendance.
The late 90s saw an increased participation with the advent of a Northumberland Football Association licensed indoor mini-soccer centre at Astley High School for U8s &U9s, controlled by the Clubs own fully qualified coaching staff.
Prior to the 2001/02 it was agreed that the Club would adopt to a corporate colour strip across all age groups, instead of teams wearing different colours. It was agreed that a distinctive Red and White hoped shirt, white shorts and white socks would be worn by all teams.
2004 saw further improvements to the club infrastructure with the refurbishment of the old changing rooms which meant the club could boast, 6 changing rooms of a high standard for the youngsters and officials to change in. The static goals were replaced with mobile goals at Ann Welfare and further pitches were made available for our use at Kramel school.
Sadly Monday October 24th 2005 saw our founder Father Cass pass away.
In 2006/07, through the help of The Banks Community Fund, we embarked on an extension to the changing facilites to provide storage for the goals and training equipment.
2009 saw the club set up the CJ Development Centre to aimed at providing a quality coaching structure for U5 & U6 players prior to their introduction into mini soccer via our U7s teams. This has proven to be very successful with a number of players from the Development Centre progressing on to professional club academies.
Many former players have gone on to play professionally, some of our more famous ‘old boys’ can be read about below:[/image_with_text]
Alan Shearer is one of the best known names in English football. He retired from the game as Newcastle United’s greatest goalscorer of all-time.
Alan was born in Gosforth on the 13th August 1970, and first showed a real interest in football at the age of six like most kids in the area, playing in the back street or playing on some rough ground.
It wasn’t just a dream for Alan, from the first time he could kick a football he wanted to be a professional footballer. With his heart set on becoming a professional footballer, he was soon demonstrating that he had enough talent to go a long way.
During his boys club years he played for Cramlington Juniors and was a prolific goalscorer. A local scout, Jack Hickson, spotted Alan playing for Cramlington and realised he was something special. It was Jacks’ recommendation that persuaded Southampton to sign Alan on apprenticeship terms at the age of 15 from Cramlington Juniors.
Southampton – 158 appearances, 42 goals
Blackburn Rovers – 171 appearances, 130 goals
Newcastle United – 404 appearances, 206 goals
England – 63 appearances, 30 goals
Steven was born in Greenwich, London on the 23rd January 1986 but moved to Whitley Bay just before his 1st birthday.
Even at a young age Steven was already showing promising signs and joined local boys clubs but couldn’t get a game so he decided to try Cramlington Juniors. Cramlington recognised his potential and Steven was given the opportunity to play and took it with both hands. As luck would have it, an early training session with Cramlington Juniors saw Newcastle United scouts in attendance. John Carver liked what he saw offered Taylor the chance to join the Newcastle United Development Centre. Steven’s talent and dedication saw him progress quickly eventually joined the Newcastle United Academy squad. Steven remains at Newcastle United to this day having become a true ‘local hero’ to the Newcastle United fans and a reminder to all local boys club players of what can be achieved!
Wycombe Wanderers (on loan) – 6 appearances, 0 goals
Newcastle United (up to May 2014) – 228 appearances, 14 goals
Andy was born in Cramlington on the 19th March 1966. As a schoolboy footballer at Cramlington Juniors he represented the England Under 15 team before he signed for Cambridge United upon leaving school, making his debut aged 16 years 228 days in November 1982.
Following successive relegations with Cambridge, Andy was signed by Brentford FC in 1985 for just £25,000. 1989 saw Andy complete a move to QPR for £350,000 and went on to play 160 league games, scoring 22 goals. Andy played for QPR in the first year of the Premiership (1992) before moving to Sheffield Wednesday for a then club record £2.75million in August 1993.
Andy spent two and a half years at Wednesday before returning to London early in 1996, joining Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs clinched the 1999 League Cup, with Andy making a substitute appearance in the final.
He made his last Premiership appearance for Tottenham Hotspur in 1999, before spending three years with Wolverhampton Wanderers before finishing his playing career in non league football.
Andy made his England debut in a 1–1 draw in Poland in November 1991, and went on to acquire 12 caps – including two in Sweden during the 1992 European Championships campaign. His last appearance for his country came in 1993, in the 7–1 rout of San Marino.
Not bad for a lad from Cramlington!
Cambridge United – 93 apperances, 3 goals
Brentford – 149 apperances, 28 goals
Queens Park Rangers – 161 apperances, 22 goals
Sheffield Wednesday – 62 appearnces, 3 goals
Tottenham Hotspur – 83 appearances, 6 goals
Wolverhampton Wanderers – 71 appearances, 3 goals
England – 12 appearances, 0 goals
Graham was born in Whitley Bay on the 22nd May 1974 and was a prolific goalscorer for Cramlington Juniors before joining Aston Villa as a trainee in June 1990 and turning professional in February 1992.
He was loaned out to West Bromwich Albion in January 1994, making his league debut against Leicester City before returning to Villa, and making his club debut in a 0–0 Premiership draw at home to Manchester City in February 1994. In March 1994 he played the full 90 minutes in Villa’s 3–1 victory against Manchester United in the League Cup Final at Wembley.
Graham made his only appearance for the England Under-21s on 15 November 1994 in a 1–0 win against Ireland U-21s at St James Park.
In November 1995, Graham made a £1,500,000 move to the reigning Premiership champions Blackburn Rovers but with Alan Shearer in rich goalscoring form his first team opportunities were limited. He scored seven times for Blackburn, including infamously, two as a late substitute against Newcastle United.
In August 1997 Graham moved to Leicester City for a fee of £1,100,000, scoring on his debut a late substitute in the 2–1 win away to Liverpool.
He joined Walsall on loan in March 2000, scoring once against Port Vale, before in August 2000 joining Stoke City on a monthly contract and at the end of the following month signing for St Mirren.
In August 2001 Graham joined Blackpool on a free transfer, before spell on loan with Darlington between September and December 2002.
Graham finished his playing career turning out for local non league team Blyth Spartans.
Aston Villa – 30 appearance, 3 goals
West Bromwich Albion (on loan) – 7 appearances, 3 goals
Blackburn Rovers – 27 appearance, 7 goals
Leceister City – 34 appearances, 3 goals
Walsall (on loan) – 9 appearance, 1 goal
Stoke City – 5 appearances, 1 goal
St Mirren – 26 appearances, 2 goals
Blackpool – 15 appearances, 5 goals
Darlington (on loan) – 6 appearances, 1 goal
Jack is one of the most recent former Cramlington Juniors player to breakthrough in the professional ranks.
Born in Killingworth on 24th October 1989, Jack played for Cramlington from the age of 7 until signing for Sunderland AFC Academy as an U11. He progressed through the Academy to sign a professional contract with Sunderland on 30th May 2008. First team opportunities proved to be elusive for young Jack until he was sent on loan to Ipswich Town during the 2009/10 season where he made 41 appearances, scoring 5 times before returning to Sunderland to make his Premiership debut for Sunderland at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Coming on as a 77min replacement for Steed Malbranque, Jack was booked in the 85th minute and then received a second yellow in injury time in Sunderland’s 2-1 defeat. Not a debut you are likely to forget!
The 2010/11 season saw another loan spell at Ipswich Town before returning to Sunderland to make 13 apperances. 2011 saw Jack really establish himself at Sunderland playing 40 times in each of the next three season.
In June 2014, with his contract at Sunderland now expired, Jack signed for Newcastle United.
Jack has received one cap for the England U20 team when he played in a 2–0 friendly win against Italy at Loftus Road in March 2009.
Sunderland – 135 appearances, 5 goals
Ipswich Town (on loan) – 55 appearances, 5 goals
Born on 1st October 1971 Tommy started his career as a Southampton trainee having followed fellow former Cramlington Juniors player Alan Shearer in joining the south-coast club from the Juniors. He signed his first professional contract with Southampton in May 1990. Tommys first league games came in a short loan spell at Third Division Wigan Athletic at the start of the 1991–92 season before making his Saints debut at Everton on 1 March 1992.
A tough, no-nonsense midfield player, he survived some frantic managerial changes to carve out a respectable Premier League career over a four-year period for Southampton. He was combative and energetic, comfortable in most areas of the pitch. However he didn’t become a regular player until the 1994–95 season, when he made 28 league appearances without scoring as the Saints finished tenth in the league. He made a further 21 appearances in the 1995–96 season, scoring twice, as the Saints narrowly avoided relegation, but still reached the quarter finals of the FA Cup.
July 1996, saw Tommy move to Grimsby Town in a £300,000 transfer to Blundell Park, going on to make 89 apperances, scoring 8 goals before moving to Port Vale at the end of the 1998-99 season.
Vale supporters voted him Player of the Year for the 1999–2000 season and manager Brian Horton appointed Tommy as club-captain for the 2000–01 season. He made just over 80 appearances at Vale Park, before being released at the end of the 2000–01 season.
Initially linked with Colchester United,Tommy instead opted to return to his native North East joining up with Hartlepool United.He was a regular for the club appearing 56 times, before he was released in May 2003.
In July 2003 Tommy made his next port of call Macclesfield Town, and became an indispensable player for Town, acting as their captain for the 2004–05 season. In January 2005, a transfer listed Tommy decided to call it a day at Macclesfield and joined former club Port Vale on a non-contract basis.
Tommy finished his playing carear at non-league Salisbury City in 2010.
Tommy has the rare distinction of having played on all 92 league grounds.
Wigan Athletic (on loan) – 6 appearances, 0 goals
Southhampton – 75 appearances, 3 goals
Grimsby Town – 89 appearances, 8 goals
Port Vale – 88 appearances, 8 goals
Hartlepool United – 56 appearances, 5 goals
Macclesfield Town – 58 appearances, 0 goals