December 7 2019: Christmas lights

Easington Colliery’s ground has had a £200,000 transformation, dressing rooms and clubhouse impressively refurbished and the floodlights, at long last, on the mains. Previously they’d only generated frustration.

Ever-active club secretary Billy Banks does the guided tour, particularly proud that they now have an office – an office with a computer, even, though that’s chiefly for the use of progamme editor Conor Lamb. Billy and computers are not what they call compatible.

No chance that they haven’t paid the leccy bill, then? “We’ve paid everything,” says club chairman Paul Adamson.

The work was completed in the close season, following the sudden death in June of vice-chairman Les Measor. Today’s the first I’d heard of it. Smashing chap, he was perhaps most familiar in the tea hut, where he served a mean burger.

Les had moved with Billy Banks down from Peterlee Newtown. “Lovely feller, great worker, good friend,” says Bill. Les’s daughters Janice and Sophie are now both on the committee.

Today they’re playing Durham City, thanks to the rain the first home game since November 1. Lights seem to dominate the agenda. Earlier in the season, Durham were leading Easington 1-0 at their temporary home at Willington when the lights failed in the 81st minute. Sod’s law, Easington won the rearranged game 4-0.

The programme also talks of a recent away fixture against Washington, ironically now at Durham’s former New Ferens Park home. The lights were “dreadful”, says Conor – 13 out of 24 bulbs out. “It’s really not good enough, but definitely not Washington’s fault.” The league is thought to be aware of the issue.

No problem with lights today. City, second bottom of the ENL second division, battle hard but go down 4-0.

*For probably the first time in 30 years, my Northern Eco column – the last one – was edited this morning. They excised the phrase “I am redundant”, leaving the mistaken impression that I’d retired.

I haven’t, I’ve been retired which is a very different thing. I’ve been pushed, defenestrated. The bruises are still vivid and they bloody well hurt.