A little bit of Northern League history may be made at the Birtley v Tow Law match on Tuesday evening – the Lawyers’ first goal, if indeed they score at all, will be the club’s 6,000th in the league. They’d be only the second club to reach that milestone.
Their first came on September 22 1894 in a 2-2 draw before “a large company” at South Bank. It was the Lawyers’ league debut on the fourth Saturday of the season but, sadly, the scorer isn’t recorded.
With a break in membership from 1900-1920, they’ve now played 3.171 games, won 1,304, drawn 601 and lost 1,266. Should they win 20-0 on Tuesday, an outcome which some may suppose improbable, they’ll have a positive all-time goal difference,
The highest number of goals scored – with thanks once again to that remarkable stats man Keith Greener of Chester-le-Street – is, perhaps unsurprisingly, Bishop Auckland’s 6,517 in 2,883 games and with a positive goal difference of getting on 2,000.
Shildon are third (2,897 games, 5,740 goals), followed in the top ten by Willington (2,817/5,012), West Auckland (2,811/4,836), Billingham Synthonia (2,589/4,781), Crook Town (2,553/4,780), Durham City (2,235/3,974), Whitley Bay (1,803/3,501), Consett (1,875/3,401) and Ashington (1,851/3,371.)
After all those games, Crook have a positive goal difference of precisely four. Willington’s is minus 1,012, West Auckland’s minus 707.
There may, however, be a slight problem for Tow Law on Tuesday – which is that I plan to be there. “If you’re going we won’t score if we play all night,” opines Lawyers’ secretary Steve Moralee, the familiar theory that the former league chairman is a universal jinx.
Six thousand-to-one shot, there may be more of all this tomorrow.