"YOU'RE not drinking enough beer," were the words that led to a highly successful local football club in Darlington moving premises, finding a new playing field, and eventually folding.

Stan Summers, now 80 and a former player and manager with Northend who played in the Darlington District League, recalled: "I was an employee of Darlington Forge and played for the Forge Social Club football team, which was managed by former Darlington player Jim Scarborough.

"The Forge closed down in 1967 so we formed a new team called Northend because most of the lads lived in the North end of Darlington. We started in the local leagues and we were very successful, winning every league we played in, along with a plethora of cups. We ran the club from the Northend CIU Club.

The Northern Echo: One of the first team photographs of Northend, who in 1967, replaced the Forge SC football team.Back L-R Jack?, (looked after the baths and changing rooms), Trevor Heseltine, Dave Burdon, John Ripley, Stan Summers, Brian Hughes, Sid Chambers, Alan

One of the first team photographs of Northend, who in 1967, replaced the Forge SC football team.Back L-R Jack?, (looked after the baths and changing rooms), Trevor Heseltine, Dave Burdon, John Ripley, Stan Summers, Brian Hughes, Sid Chambers, Alan Williamson, Geoff Wright. Front L-R Ted Butcher, Billy Kipling, David Hughes, John Legg, Richard Copeland

"As well as being one of the original Northend players I later managed the club, and we were so successful that we ran a reserve side. In the 1969-70 season, both the first team and the reserves won their leagues and their league cups.

The Northern Echo: The Northend team that drew 3-3  at Shildon BR in the semi-final of the Durham Amateur Cup in March 1970.Back Row L-R  Todd, Jarvey, Raine, Boyle, Ripley, Wood, Mr S.Summers (manager).  Front L-R  Walker, Miller, Hughes, Clark, Trees and Chapman.

The Northend team that drew 3-3 at Shildon BR in the semi-final of the Durham Amateur Cup in March 1970.Back Row L-R Todd, Jarvey, Raine, Boyle, Ripley, Wood, Mr S.Summers (manager). Front L-R Walker, Miller, Hughes, Clark, Trees and Chapman.

"Also that season, the first team reached the semi-finals of the Durham Amateur Cup, where we played Shildon BR away. We gained a 3-3 draw, and for the replay at home, at the old Forge Ground at Thompson Street East, we drew a crowd of 800 or 1,000 who saw us win 2-1. We were the first football club from Darlington to reach the Durham Amateur Cup Final.

"In the final, we met Hartlepool Welfare Boys Club at the Victoria Ground in Hartlepool but lost 4-1.

"I was building a good, strong side at first team level which could have played in a higher league, but just before the end of the next season, 1970-71, the committee of Northend CIU said that our lads weren't drinking enough beer in their club, and we would have to leave.

"There was an uproar at first. The story was covered in both the local and national papers and also on the local TV channels.

"Fortunately, since the age of 18, I had been a member of Northgate CIU, so along with Trevor Heseltine, I approached them to see if we could run the club from there. They not only agreed, but we got a new ground at Croft.

"However, the ground at Croft was eventually our undoing. It was not really good enough, and not only did it stop us moving into a higher league, but it was next to the River Tees, where the ball often ended up.

"Some of our players did not enjoy playing there and drifted away, which was really disappointing because as the manager, I had attracted some of the best players in Darlington, players like John Robson, the best centre forward in town who had been at Sunderland when Ian McColl was manager.

"John Chapman was another good player, who in the early days I built the team around. He stayed for some time, but as our best players left, people became dispirited and the club folded in the 1980s."

WE were saddened to learn of the passing of Alan Courtney, at the age of 74. Alan loved his football and cricket, and was a devoted husband to Marjorie, a loving father of Alyson and son-in-law Michael, and a treasured grandfather to Chloe and Evie. A former detective sergeant in Durham constabulary, you'd often bump into Alan at local cricket matches and in 2012 he was at Wembley to watch West Auckland play Dunston in the FA Vase Final. In his capacity as vice chairman of Spennymoor Town, he played a pivotal role in saving senior football in the town. After the demise of Spennymoor United and the rise of Spennymoor Town, the club were evicted from the Brewery Field by the council. However Alan, with the help of his brother George, managed to negotiate a five year lease with the council. He was also a steady medium pace bowler for Tudhoe, and at one point in his cricketing career enjoyed a season at Crook Town.