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:

Alan Shearer

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.

Southampton158 appearances, 43 goals

Blackburn Rovers172 appearances, 131 goals

Newcastle United404 appearances, 206 goals

England63 appearances, 30 goals

Steven Taylor

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! Steven played for Newcastle for 14 seasons before being released on 3 June 2016.

On 1 August 2016, Steven signed for Major League Soccer club Portland Timbers, making his debut later that month in a 3–1 loss to Seattle Sounders. The Timbers and Steven mutually agreed to part ways on 15 December 2016. He subsequently signed for Ipswich Town on the 25 January 2017 after a brief trial. During his second game for Ipswich he was injured in a 1-0 win away at Aston Villa with a serious hamstring injury leaving him out for many weeks.

On 25 July 2017, Steven joined League One side Peterborough United, signing a two-year deal.

On 10 July 2018, Steven joined Australian A-League side Wellington Phoenix

Wycombe Wanderers (on loan) – 6 appearances, 0 goals

Newcastle United268 appearances, 15 goals

Portland Timbers9 appearances, 1 goal

Ipswich Town3 appearances, 0 goals

Peterborough United – 51 appearances, 4 goals

Wellington FC27 appearances, 2 goal (up to Nov 2019)

Andy Sinton

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 United104 appearances, 15 goals

Brentford182 appearances, 34 goals

Queens Park Rangers191 appearances, 25 goals

Sheffield Wednesday80 appearances, 3 goals

Tottenham Hotspur100 appearances, 7 goals

Wolverhampton Wanderers – 81 appearances, 3 goals

England12 appearances, 0 goals

Graham Fenton

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.

Aston Villa38 appearances, 3 goals

West Bromwich Albion (on loan) – 7 appearances, 3 goals

Blackburn Rovers30 appearance, 7 goals

Leceister City47 appearances, 5 goals

Walsall (on loan) – 9 appearance, 1 goal

Stoke City7 appearances, 1 goal

St Mirren29 appearances, 2 goals

Blackpool19 appearances, 5 goals

Darlington (on loan) – 6 appearances, 1 goal

Jack Colback

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.

Sunderland136 appearances, 5 goals

Ipswich Town (on loan) – 54 appearances, 5 goals

Newcastle United102 appearances, 5 goals

Nottingham Forest (on loan) – 55 appearances, 4 goals

Tommy Widdrington

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 has the rare distinction of having played on all 92 league grounds.

Wigan Athletic (on loan) – 8 appearances, 0 goals

Southampton  – 91 appearances, 3 goals

Grimsby Town107 appearances, 8 goals

Port Vale95 appearances, 8 goals

Hartlepool United61 appearances, 5 goals

Macclesfield Town68 appearances, 0 goals

Bobby Howe

Born Stephen Robert Howe on the 6th November 1973, in Cramlington he joined Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest from Cramlington Juniors playing from 1990 to 1998. He made his Premier League debut in a 4-3 defeat away at Bolton Wanderers on 26th September 1993 and went on to making just 9 League, 2 Europa League and 1 League Cup appearances for Forest. 1997 saw him join Ipswich Town on a short loan and in 1998 he left Forest to join Swindon Town for a £30,000 fee, where he made his last league appearance in 2002.

Nottingham Forest12 appearances, 2 goals

Ipswich Town (on loan) – 3 appearances, 0 goals

Swindon Town72 appearances, 6 goals

Ben Pringle

Ben played for both Wallsend Boys Club and Cramlington Juniors, before joining the youth system at West Bromwich Albion. After being released by WBA, he joined Non League sides Newcastle Blue Star and then Morpeth Town, before joining Ilkeston Town.

In July 2009 he moved to Derby County on a one-year deal, making his Derby debut as an 80th-minute substitute against Peterborough United on 8 August 2009 before making his full debut in the following game in a League Cup 2–1 loss to Rotherham United. Ben signed an extension to his Derby deal to take him through to the end of the 2010–11 season and was also named the club’s Young Player of the Season. He was handed his first League start in the final game of the 2009–10 season against Cardiff City in a 2–0 win and earned the supporter’s Man of the Match award. In March 2011, Pringle joined then League Two outfit Torquay United on a months loan but spent just 19 days of the loan at Torquay, playing five games, before returning to Derby to fight for a place in the Derby first team rather than remain at Plainmoor. On 3 June 2011, he made the move to Rotherham United on a free transfer, signing a two-year contract. He made his first team debut for Rotherham at home to Oxford United on 6 August 2011, and scored his first goal for the club in a 2–1 win over Crewe Alexandra on 16 August. His goals and assists during the 2013–14 season helped Rotherham reach the League One playoff final. Ben played in the final, and after a 2–2 draw, Rotherham earned promotion after beating Leyton Orient 4–3 on penalties to earn a second successive promotion. At the end of the 2013–14 season, Ben was voted in the 2013–14 Football League One PFA Team of the Year.

June 2015, saw Ben signed for Fulham on a two-year contract, but limited game time saw him join Ipswich Town on an initial one-month loan in  February 2016 before he signed for Preston North End on a three-year contract in July 2016. In Jan 2018 Ben joined Oldham Athletic on loan for the remainder of the season. Then in August 2018, he joined Grimsby Town on a season-long loan, however, that loan was cut short, with Ben joining League 2 rivals Tranmere Rovers on loan in 22 January 2019.

He was released by Preston at the end of the 2018–19 season.

In September 2019, Ben joined Gillingham on a contract intended to run until the end of the season.

Derby County20 appearances, 0 goals

Torquay United (on loan) – 5 appearances, 0 goals

Rotherham United147 appearances, 19 goals

Fulham15 appearances, 2 goals

Ipswich Town (on loan) – 10 appearances, 2 goals

Preston North End10 appearances, 0 goals

Oldham Atheltic (on loan) – 13 appearances, 1 goals

Grimsby Town (on loan) – 15 appearances, 0 goals

Tranmere Rovers (on loan) – 13 appearances, 0 goals

Gillingham5 appearances, 0 goals (up to 14.11.2019)

James Brown

Born in Cramlington, James joined Hartlepool United’s youth set-up from Cramlington Juniors. He had joined too late to go through the Youth Scholarship system and was subsequently offered a temporary deal. He was part of the successful Hartlepool under 19s side that won the Dallas Cup XXV in 2004 and was included on the substitutes bench for Hartlepool’s match against Bournemouth on the last day of the 2004–05 season. He was expected to play a part in the Hartlepool’s 2005–06 campaign and participated regularly during pre-season. However, during pre-season, he ruptured his cruciate ligament against Hibernian and missed the majority of the subsequent season.

On 11th April 2006 James made his comeback and debut for the club, coming off the bench in the 84th minute in a 2-0 defeat away to Colchester. He scored his first Hartlepool goal in the 1–1 draw with Port Vale at Victoria Park in a game that saw Hartlepool relegated to League 2. James’s finishing earned him his first professional contract with the club in 2006. James  left Hartlepool in May 2012 joining Gateshead.

Hartlepool United191 appearances, 45 goals

Graeme Owens

Born in Cramlington, Graeme joined the Middlesbrough Academy from Cramlington Juniors becoming a member of Middlesbrough’s FA Youth Cup winning side of 2004 at the age of 15.

After good performances for the reserve team, he was included in the first team squad for the trip to Bristol City in the FA Cup, and although he didn’t make the final sixteen, manager Gareth Southgate suggested he was one to watch for the future. Graeme made his full debut in the League Cup against Tottenham Hotspur during the 2007–08 season.

In 2008, he spent a short spell on loan at Chesterfield where he played four league games.

On 8 January 2009, he signed for Championship club Blackpool on loan initially for one month, but with an option to extend it until the end of the season. He made his debut for the Seasiders as an 83rd-minute substitute in a 2–1 defeat at Coventry City. In June 2009 Graeme joined Scottish Premier League side Kilmarnock on a two-year deal. After failing to make an impact at Kilmarnock, he was released in January 2011 before joining Airdrieonians on 3 March 2011. He was released by the club in May 2012.

Middlesbrough1 appearance, 0 goals

Chesterfield (on loan) – 4 appearances, 0 goals

Blackpool (on loan) – 8 appearances, 0 goals

Kilmarnock  – 7 appearances, 0 goals

Airdrieonians35 appearances, 8 goals

Stuart Nicholson

Stuart joined the West Bromwich Albion youth set up from Cramlington Juniors at the same time as Ben Pringle. Stuart, made his debut for West Brom on 17 January 2006, coming on as an extra-time substitute in a 3–2 FA Cup defeat away at Reading. He made his Premiership debut four days later in the 1–0 loss against Sunderland at The Hawthorns. He won the West Brom Young Player of the Year award for 2005–06 and earned the nickname “The Knife” for his sharpness in front of goal. He was given a place in the first team squad for the 2006-07 season, and marked his first start with a goal against Leyton Orient on 24 August in the first round of the League Cup.

He joined Bristol Rovers on loan in November 2006. The loan was due to last three months, but Stuart was recalled four weeks early by West Brom, before returning to Bristol Rovers for a second loan spell during the same season. He scored a brace on 17 March 2007 against Notts County and followed it up with the winner against Stockport County on 20 March.

In August 2007 he joined Shrewsbury Town on a scheduled season-long loan, however he struggled in front of goal, scoring just once for the Shrews in 14 league appearances.

In January 2008 Nicholson joined Wrexham on a three-month loan deal before he was released that summer by West Brom. Homesick, Stuart returned to the north east appearing for a number of Northern League clubs before emigrating to Australia.

West Bromwich Albion – 10 appearances, 2 goals

Bristol Rovers (on loan) – 25 appearances, 7 goals

Shrewsbury Town (on loan) – 16 appearances, 1 goals

Wrexham (on loan) – 13 appearances, 0 goals

Peter Ramage

Born in Whitley Bay, Peter grew up in Berwick-upon-Tweed, England, but moved back to the area at the age of twelve. As a youngster, he played for Cramlington Juniors before joining the Newcastle United Academy. In March 2003, Peter won the Jackie Milburn Trophy, given each year to the rising star of north-east football. He worked his way through Newcastle’s youth system and captained the Newcastle reserve side before making his breakthrough to the first team squad, making his first team debut as a substitute in Newcastle’s UEFA Cup round-of-16 match second leg against Olympiacos on 16 March 2005. His first league start was at Old Trafford in the 2–1 defeat to Manchester United on 24 April 2005.

He was a first team regular in the 2005–06 season, appearing in twenty-nine games. Peter only made two appearances in the 2007–08 season, when he was hampered by injury and when his Newcastle contract expired at the end of the season he made the decision to move on. He subsequently signed a three-year contract with Championship side Queens Park Rangers on a free transfer.On the opening day of the 2009–10 season, he scored his first professional goal, against Blackpool. In June 2011, Peter signed a new one-year deal at Queens Park Rangers, however in August, he went out on a month-long loan at Crystal Palace, later extended until January 2012.

Feburary 2012 saw him signed for Championship club Birmingham City on an emergency loan until the end of the season at which point he was released by QPR. Peter signed for Crystal Palace in August 2012, a regular throughout the season, he helped them to promotion to the Premier League. He was given a two-year contract extension, but in September 2013, was allowed to join Championship club Barnsley on loan for the season.

After a spell with Indian Super League side the Kerala Blasters, Peter returned to the UK have short stints with both Coventry City and Leyton Orient before moving to the US to play out the remainder of his career with Arizona United

Newcastle United – 69 appearances, 0 goals

Queens Park Rangers – 74 appearances, 2 goals

Crystal Palace67 appearances, 4 goals

Birmingham City (on loan) – 16 appearances, 0 goals

Barnsley (on loan) – 48 appearances, 3 goals

Coventry City4 appearances, 0 goals

Leyton Orient (on loan) – 8 appearances, 0 goals

Martin Taylor

Martin made more than 100 appearances for Rovers, and also spent time on loan at Darlington and Stockport County. While a Blackburn player, he was capped once for the England under-21 team and played on the winning side in the 2002 Football League Cup Final. He moved to Birmingham City in 2004, where he spent six seasons, and played for Norwich City on loan. Unable to force his way into Birmingham’s first team after their return to the Premier League, he joined Watford in January 2010. He quickly established himself in Watford’s first team, starting every league game in the 2010–11 season, but injury disrupted his next season, and he joined Sheffield Wednesday in August 2012. He played infrequently for Wednesday, spent time on loan at Brentford, and was released at the end of the 2013–14 season, and subsequently retired.

Blackburn Rovers – 124 appearances, 6 goals

Darlington FC4 appearances, 0 goals

Stockport County7 appearances, 0 goals

Birmingham City 117 appearances, 3 goals

Norwich City (on loan) – 8 appearances, 1 goals

Watford – 95 appearances, 10 goals

Sheffield Wednesday – 13 appearances, 0 goals

Brentford FC – 6 appearances, 2 goals

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