Whatever happened to Johnny Edgar, we asked by way of tail end titillation on Tuesday. He is alive and well and still a little embittered.

Though he'd played in every round before the 1951 Amateur Cup final, was even on the team picture in the Wembley programme, Bishop Auckland said that their 20-year-old outside right was injured and would have to miss the big one.

Johnny insists that he wasn't injured at all, although he was awfully hurt. His place had summarily been taken, he says, by a player with "connections" in the town - and thereby hangs a little mystery.

Lol Degnan had reported seeing him a few days back, sitting on a school wall in Darlington; Doug Hawman met him on the day the last column appeared.

Finally, unannounced, Johnny strolled into this office on Wednesday morning, his football memorabilia held together by an old wooden clothes peg, his photograph taken by the mirrored windows outside. Reflective mood, see....

"The day after the cup final they told me that I was better and asked me to play for them in a League game on the Wednesday.

"I told them to get stuffed. I said I'd never be better for Bishop Auckland and I never kicked a ball for them again.

"The players were a good set of lads. The problem at Bishop Auckland was the bloody committee, the ones who ruined my dream."

His father had played for Hearts and Scotland in the days (says Johnny) when eight or nine teams had half a chance of winning the Scottish League and not the "ridiculous two horse race there is today."

David Edgar subsequently signed for Aldershot Town (where Johnny was born on December 1 1930) and for Darlington, where he remained.

His son, it soon became clear, was a chip off a pretty cultured block. At 19 he was playing for the British Army against the Belgians - even the menu card's among his souvenirs - his National Service periodically interrupted by ever more urgent telegrams from Sunderland manager Bill Murray, seeking the youngster's signature.

"My father had warned me against professional football, said that a broken leg could end your career just like that, told me to go to college and get a good job instead. In those days you did as your father told you."

There are letters from Durham FA, too, in the senior County side at 19 and instructed to bring his own "botts, shin pads, soap and towel" - probably, bottom line, it meant boots - and to make his own way to an away match. "Players don't know they're born these days," he says.

He'd signed for Bishops as a 19-year-old, in the same fast emerging side as Jimmy Nimmins, Benny Edwards and the Consett iron moulder Jimmy Nimmins. Bill "Tash" White, whose death we recorded just three weeks ago, was the goalkeeper.

In the semi-final they'd beaten Bromley, at Leeds, been given "a little bit extra" for their troubles. On the homeward journey, says Johnny - warming to his theme - the committee loaded enough whisky to fill a cupboard.

"Took about eight of them to carry it, never offered us any, said we'd have to play football again soon. I don't suppose it cost them owt, either."

In the final they played Pegasus, formed just two years earlier from Oxford and Cambridge students, before the first 100,000 crowd for an amateur match. On the previous day, the Echo had reported that the Bishops players were "all fit and in good heart".

The following morning, however, we observed without explanation that whilst Pegasus would be at full strength "Bishop Auckland are without their outside right, J Edgar (injured)."

His replacement would be John Taylor, normally an inside forward or half back. It was, said the Echo, the only possible weak link.

The Bishops - "reported to be the fastest team in northern amateur circles" - had been hauled to London behind the Mallard, the world's fastest steam engine. The Echo wondered if it might be an omen.

The night before the final the team had gone to the Victoria Palace to see The Crazy Gang - a reference not to the Kingsway committee but to Bud Flanagan and his boys.

Bishop Auckland lost, Johnny Edgar joined Ferryhill Athletic ("they knew how to look after players there") and in 1954-55 made 12 Football League appearances, without scoring, for Darlington.

He'd also become a teacher, worked at Sugar Hill primary in Newton Aycliffe, led the girls netball team to a cup and league double.

"There was hell on, a fella taking the girls netball, but it's a good game once you get to know it."

He still lives in Darlington, believes modern footballers are absurdly overpaid, has no regrets about turning down Sunderland. "My only regret is that Amateur Cup final," says Johnny.

"Whatever the outcome of the match, I still think I was robbed."

Left winger Davy Edgar's finest hour in the hooped shirts of Darlington may have been on May 1 1934, at Old Trafford.

It was also the night that Barnard Castle beat Cleveland Bridge 5-0 in the final at Feethams of the Darlington Hospitals and Queen's Nursing Cup and that by winning the Thirsk and District League, the mighty Sowerby St Oswald's collected their fifth trophy of the season.

"One gets tired of presenting cups to Sowerby" observed league president Dr W G McArthur, somewhat invidiously, before suggesting that they join another league. Darlington, struggling all season, played Stockport County in the final of the new Third Division Challenge Cup, Manchester City returning to triumph on the other side of the city after beating Portsmouth in the FA Cup final.

Paying £249, a 4,640 crowd saw Stockport take a two-goal lead, Quakers level but trailed 3-2 with four minutes left. Best headed another equaliser, Cassidy scored a spectacular winner with the game's last kick.

"It was a sheer delight to the happy band of 100 supporters who had made the long and tedious journey to Manchester," said the Echo.

Manchester United had finished 20th in the second division; neutrals reckoned it the best game seen at Old Trafford all season. Tired and emotional, Davy Edgar and his team mates arrived back at Bank Top at five o'clock next morning.

The search for the region's most attractive cricket ground - and, perhaps, the most humdrum - has thus far produced just one nomination. Masham, suggests Paul Dobson from Bishop Auckland.

We were last there in June 1997, Diocese of Durham against Diocese of Bradford in the Church Times Cricket Cup. It was St Boniface's Day, the patron saint of lost causes; Durham came second yet again.

Paul, not much of a cricket man, played footy at Masham against a team from the Black Sheep Brewery, Cricket and football pitches adjoined.

To make certain ("as you do") he re-visited Black Sheep last month. "It looked perfect - a tranquil setting with the river, the church and the brewery beyond the boundary. Just like an English cricket ground should be."

So improbable we'd to double determine it, the lesbians' football festival has now taken place in Newcastle. There was even a streaker - it was Exhibition Park, after all.

Last year, apparently, there were complaints about too much rough stuff. "Not surprising, really" says Tyneside listings magazine The Crack. "Most lesbians would rival Ray (sic) Keane for commitment, competitiveness and desire to win."

This year they were required to be a little more ladylike, even to wear shirts. "The standard of dress was very high," adds The Crack.

Winners, The Crackers; runners up The Stragglers. Player of the Tournament: Lady Caroline Mary from Camp Vamps.

Put to the sword last season - their first in the Northern Echo sponsored Darlington Sunday Invitation League - the Falchion amassed just one point. Peter Harris, the top scorer, managed three. They were all own goals.

Much rejoicing last weekend, therefore, when the leading edge lads recorded their first ever league win - 6-1 against fellow pub team, Hogans.

Three days earlier, they'd seen the same lot off in the league cup.

Landlord Mark Tutin joined the celebrations. "It was a very heavy day," he says.

Harold Shipman keeps fit, works out regularly, is into aerobics and weight training. "He's a highly intelligent man and comes into the gym like everyone else," says Graeme Clark, a PE instructor at Frankland Prison in Durham where the mass killer is held.

Clark's also assistant manager of Blyth Spartans, four pages devoted to him in the Non-League Magazine. The former GP, he insists, is "just another inmate".

"You liken it to a butcher who's cutting meat all day. After a while you get used to cutting the meat up and it doesn't bother you any more."

The famous football personality who made his managerial debut in Middlesbrough's 7-2 win over Chelsea on December 16 1978 (Backtrack, September 11) was Danny Blanchflower. He lasted 32 matches at Stamford Bridge, won five, drew eight and lost 19.

Another from Martin Birtle in Billingham: in Ron Greenwood's 55 matches as England manager he used only three goalkeepers....

Their identities, should we survive tomorrow's 16 mile sponsored walk, next Tuesday.