West Auckland

West Auckland (1893 – present)

Glory Years

Arguably the club’s most successful spell came in the 1960’s when it twice won the Northern League and the Northern League Cup as well as the Durham Benevolent Bowl and Challenge Cup, and when they reached the FA Amateur Cup Final.

The West Auckland website contains up-to-date fixture information and other news from this historic club.

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The Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy

In 1909 West Auckland were struggling at the bottom of the Northern League – the second oldest league in the world. At the same time the business interests of Sir Thomas Lipton were thriving and, in response to having been made Knight Commander of the Order of the Crown of Italy, he determined that he would sponsor the first ever World Cup for association football in that country.

Perhaps surprisingly, the Football Associations of Britain rejected the opportunity to enter a team and so, for reasons that have stimulated much debate ever since, Sir Thomas Lipton’s secretary invited a team of ‘raggy-arsed’ miners and labourers from West Auckland to take part in the competition.

More surprisingly, West Auckland went on to win the trophy in 1909 and, after dismantling Italian giants Juventus 6-1 in the final in 1911, one of the most improbable victories of all time was completed – under competition rules, West Auckland were allowed to keep the trophy.

Hard Times

Travelling to Italy at this time was not cheap, and much hardship was born by both the club and its players.

At the beginning of the 20th Century in England many mining families would buy furniture as an insurance policy, in case they became sick, or had an accident that meant they were unable to work. Whilst the miners and labourers were away they received no money from their jobs in the pits, and many personal belongings were sold, and much family hardship was endured, by those left behind.

The club also experienced difficulties as a result of the trips to Italy and, on returning to the club’s headquarters at the Wheatsheaf Hotel in 1911, they were forced to hand over the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy as assurance on a loan of £40 from the landlady. The trophy remained with the landlady, then moved to Liverpool, until a village appeal raised £100 to have the trophy retuned home in 1960.