Thursday 13 July 2023

012 redheugh park gateshead


Date of First Visit: 9th FEBRUARY 1970



NEWCASTLE UNITED XI 2 (McGovern 2)  (2nd goal assisted by  'Fink'!)






Situated in the 'Teams' area of Gatesheed, Redheugh Park started oot as a greyhoond stadium before South Shields Adelaide F.C. moved there, 'lock stock and barrel' in 1930, and changed their name tih Gateshead F.C.

The reason they moved was simple. It was because of low crowds at their Horsley Hill groond in 'Shields', but!---the move did'nt work because of one reason.

As St. James' Park was little ower a mile away across the Tyne, fans stayed loyal tih the Toon, rather than follow their 'instant' new club from the 'Teams' that had suddenly appeared on their doorstep!. (old habits die hard!)


In todays world, it's easy tih see why it did'nt work. Lets take a hypothetical look at what could happen nuw.

Because of poor gates, Michael Knighton, the former Carlisle United chairman, (him of 'space invaders' fame!) decides tih buy a futbaall club and relocate it to Brough Park Greyhoond Stadium in the 'East End' of Newcastle, coz he believes that Tyneside is big enough tih support two League teams, and he renames the club 'Newcastle East End F.C.'!.

Question: Would the good folk of Byker, Heaton and Waalker, desert the 'Black 'n' Whites' tih follow their 'new club'???.

Answer: NEE WAY!---of course they would'nt!. But!---that's exactly what the Sooth Shields board thought would happen at Gatesheed.

It did'nt!---and they struggled on for thirty years on low crowds, before they were finally kicked oot the League in 1960, after failin' tih gain re-election when they finished third bottom of the old Fourth Division.

(In them days, the bottom fower teams had tih apply, 'cap in hand' to the other clubs, for re-election!)

(The bottom two teams, on the other hand, who were Oldham and Hartlepools, were BOTH! re-elected!)

Apparently---Tyneside was too far 'NORF' to travel for wor 'southern based cousins', so poor old Gatesheed 'got the chop'!, which everybody at the time agreed, was the biggest travesty of justice in the history of the Futbaall League!.

It was even rumoured at the time, that Newcastle had voted against them, coz they did'nt want any competition!, which is hard tih believe, as on one day in March 1952 for example, anly 484 'hardy souls' torned up for a League match against Accrington Stanley!.

(Newcastle's average gate for that season was 50,766!)


Anyway!---before yih start cryin' in yer beer!, and to avoid borin' the 'pants off yih', aall change the subject an' tell yih aboot the match!, which torned oot tih be one of the last ever tih be played at Redheugh Park.


Redheugh Park waz a canny little groond and  with three sides covered it actually had more cover than St. James’ at that time! (Anly the aad West Stand and The Leazes End were covered back then!)

Behind the goal closest to ‘The Teams’ area of Gatesheed someone had had spay painted---‘TERRACE END RAZOR GANG’ in huge letters on the back of the terrace wall which was not the most welcomin’ sign for visitin’ supporters, but the groond was in a rough part of toon

The Newcastle team that neet included a mixture of forst team and reserve players, and ah remember (for good reason!) that Geoff Allen was playin' on the wing.

Gatesheed, who were then in the Northern Premier League, scored forst after five minutes when 'one' Arthur Lumsdon converted a penalty.

The Toon hit back after 18 minutes when Phil McGovern, a £15,000 signin' from Albion Rovers, headed a tremendous equaliser.

Durin' the second half, ah was sittin' on a waall behind the scoreboard end goal, next tih the old greyhoond track, when the baall was booted high into the air towards the corner flag.

It was headin' straight for iz, so ah decided tih try an' catch it, but ah was dazzled by the floodlights as the baall came doon.

Ah kept mee 'mincers' on the baall, and even though ah was half blinded, ah managed tih catch it! (nearly faallin’ backwards ower the waall in the process!)

A'd actually touched the match baall!---ah was in a complete daze and just sat there for a few seconds, rooted tih the spot with the baall in mee hands, when!---Geoff Allen came chargin' ower and started wavin’ hiz arms aboot and screamin' arriz, tih give 'im the baall, sharpish, so that he could tek a quick corner!.

Geoff waz ‘ruddy faced’ tih start with and he went bright red with anger az AH! waz the one who waz haadin’ the game up, az far az he waz concerned!

After a’d stopped shakin’, ah quickly hoyed the baall to him (before HE! hoyed ME! off the waall!) and he took the corner kick. He centred it intih the box and it went straight tih Phil McGovern, who rifled the baall into the net for the winnin' goal!.


Ah was on 'cloud nine', as ah felt that by touchin' the baall, a'd somehow contributed towards the victory!??.


Believe you me---ah went yhem a 'VERY HAPPY CHAPPY!' that neet!


Later on that year, some 'Toe-Rags' burnt the aad wooden main stand doon, but Gatesheed were'nt covered by any insurance and they could'nt afford tih rebuild it, and tragically the club folded.

Redheugh Park was left tih the mercy of the local 'unofficial' demolition squad, who preceded tih smash up what was left of the stand, and it was in a sorry state by the time the 'official' demolition squad finally moved in with their bulldozers and razed it tih the groond!.

A very sorry endin', if ever there was one!.


On a brighter note, Gatesheed reformed in the mid-seventies and moved in tih the Youth Stadium (later renamed, The International Stadium) on the other side of the town, where amazingly, for the second time in their history, they joined forces with the 'Sand-Dancers' from Sooth Shields, who were forced tih re-locate the eight miles alang the Tyne, once again?.

('Shields' had been hoyed oot of their Simonside Hall groond tih mek way for a bloody hoosin' estate!)

They formed a new club caaled, Gateshead United F.C.

(A definate case of de'ja' vu, if ever there was one!)



'Five a side' pitches were built on top of the aad Redheugh Park in the 'early nineties', when 'PITZ SUPER SOCCER' built a sports club on the site, so at least futbaall iz still played there!.


As John McEnroe would nee doubt say:




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