Ever anxious to claim firsts for the Ebac Northern League, we note that one of West Auckland’s scorers at Thornaby on Tuesday night was the magnificently named James Xydias.
Is he the first player in the league’s 129-year history to have a surname beginning with the letter x? Has anyone lower down the alphabetical pecking order ever appeared?
A run down the current Northern League registrations website reveals any amount of Youngs, Luke Younger at Billingham Synthonia but not, yet, a Youngest. It may only be a matter of time.
Remarkably, Ryton and Crawcrook Albion also list Paul van Zandvliet, though it’s likely purists would insist that his surname begins with a v, whichever is the lower case.
The registrations website also discloses that the two clubs with most players signed on are Penrith with 70 and Durham City with 71 (or thereabouts.) They’re respectively bottom of the first and second divisions – clearly still working on the right permutation.
All that’s as naught, of course, compared to York City who in 1908-09 – their first Northern League season – registered no fewer than 746 players.
They played just 18, finished second bottom of the 12-club league – just above Langley Park. The following season, perhaps with fewer resources, they finished bottom – below Grangetown Athletic – and left for the Yorkshire Combination.
Though subsequently celebrated, City remain a mere footnote in Northern League history. Not even X marks the spot.