The Story of Cramlington Juniors FC
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: