Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Kids Are All Right. but Not Adults; Pitch Row Sees Ban for First Team

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Kids Are All Right. but Not Adults; Pitch Row Sees Ban for First Team

Article excerpt

Byline: NEIL McKAY

0789 906 8450 neil.mckay@ncjmedia.co.uk SOCCER mums can be seen in their droves on Sunday mornings on the terraces of Durham City football club.

The club runs 22 teams - boys and girls - and they play seven days a week thanks to an artificial pitch at their Esh Group Stadium.

The first team - which plays in the Evostick League and whose players are strictly part-time - play their home games at the same modern ground at Belmont, one of the city's suburbs - on Saturday afternoon.

But the synthetic pitch is now causing huge problems for the Citizens, as they are known to their fans.

Instead of encouraging Durham, the FA banned them from playing in their own cup competition at home due to the artificial pitch.

That ban led to the club's shirt sponsor pulling out in 2009 and the team being told it would not be able to use its plastic pitch, installed in 2007, if it won promotion to the Blue Square North, the second division of the Football Conference.

The withdrawal of sponsorship meant the mass desertion of the football club's first team.

While Durham City's junior players continued to enjoy their Sunday morning games, the first team was having a disastrous time.

Forced to sign students from a local Sixth Form college to replace the senior first-team players, they endured a season of heavy losses, including once 11-0 at King's Lynn.

The team won only two games during the 2009-10 season and were relegated back to the Evostick League One.

Last season was more successful - the club comfortably avoided a second successive relegation - but chairman Austin Carney, from Houghton-le-Spring, insists the club is a huge success story.

"We received an awful lot of publicity during that long, long losing run when we had to play untried youngsters. …

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