March 15 2017

I blame Oscar Wilde, he who in 1895 wrote The Importance of Being Earnest. There’s been confusion ever since.

Why else would tonight’s Stockton Town programme talk, on the cover and elsewhere, of the Earnest Armstrong Cup semi-final?

Whilst doubtless he had his earnest moments – NW Durham MP, government minister, deputy Speaker of the House of Commons – the Northern League president from 1981-96 was a wholly engaging and generally easy going chap.

Few football-related speeches would pass without his joke about the chap on the Roker End at Sunderland – the uncovered end – who didn’t want to get his best cap wet.

Brooks Mileson, whose memory is perpetuated in the naming of the Northern League Challenge Cup, had similar problems. Despite massive publicity when Gretna reached great heights, half the country still thought he was called Miles Brookson.

The crowd’s 193, the score after 90 minutes 2-2, the result a penalties win over Durham City. Stockton meet Northallerton Townn in the Ernest (sic) Armstrong Cup final. Spellchecks will be in operation.

*Ryan Sessegnon, who scored twice for Fulham against Newcastle at the weekend. had become on August 20 last year the first player born in the 21st century to score in the Football League or Premiership. He was just 16 years and 93 days old – but still, as Neil McKay points out, an oldie compared to Kelvin Thear of Tow Law.

Born on July 18 2000, young Mr Thear was just 50 days past his 16th when he scored at Durham City on September 6. Like Ryan Sessegnon, he’s continued to score. Like Ryan, he’s tgipped for great things.

*Many will recall that Bishop Auckland were formed in the 1880s by Oxbridge theology students studying for the priesthood at Auckland Castle. The famous Two Blues, of course, are those of Oxford and Cambridge.

None – not even former club chairman Steve Newcomb, who marks our card –  can remember a serving Bishop of Durham attending a match. It’ll happen this weekend when the Rt Rev Paul Butler will be a guest at Heritage Park – the bishop watching the Bishops.

Though the Rt Rev Tom Wright, the previous bishop but two, was once a guest at the annual league diunner, Church of England clergy tend to be more into their cricket. Can anyone bring to mind a previous example of a bishop gracing the Northern League?

Dv, the blog returns tomorrow.

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