Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

In the Name of the Father, Gareth Is Going for Glory

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

In the Name of the Father, Gareth Is Going for Glory

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Brown Sports Writer

BRIAN BAINBRIDGE would have loved this, today.

Proudly taking his seat at Wembley alongside wife Diane, and watching their son Gareth play for North Shields in the FA Vase Final.

Then bawling at him if he misses a chance.

As if; Gareth Bainbridge doesn't miss many. More than 100 goals in two years a Robin, and 16 in this season's Vase.

Alas, his father Brian died in February.

Gareth didn't tell his team-mates, and played the next day. Shields lost.

But a son moved on and now, thanks to this, today, and a goal in the semi-final win over Highworth Town that put a smile back on Diane's face, a family can too.

So for the Bainbridges, this afternoon against Glossop North End is about more than a mere game of football.

And yet, for Gareth, come 3pm, that is all it is about. That, and winning.

"This is something my dad would have absolutely loved," he said.

"It hasn't been a good time at home but I'm so proud of my family, and the way they've come through the last few months, the way they've supported me.

"When I score, when I play and when I win, I see how much they enjoy it.

"When he died, if I hadn't have played he would have knacked me. He'd have hated me missing a game for him.

"I also didn't want to put any pressure on anybody, have anyone acting any differently. It was a massive game, and obviously the wrong result.

"He wouldn't be happy about that, either!

"But I'm glad I played, it helped me move on. Then the goal in the

semi-final gave us something else, something that said 'We're going to carry on, things are going to be all right.'.

"Plus it made up for having had such a terrible, terrible game! It's probably the worst I'd played in a Shields shirt!" As manager of a home that tends to adults with learning disabilities, Bainbridge loves his job.

But football is his release, and Wembley the pinnacle.

"It's just an amazing time to be at the club, an unbelievable feeling that you don't want to end," he said.

"We're going to be playing at the home of football, and you hear foreigners get a buzz about playing there. …

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