Crook Town Football Club have offered life membership to two of their outstanding players from yesteryear, writes JOHN PHELAN.

Jimmy McMillan and Derek Gardner starred for Crook in of the 1950s and 1960s and their long service is to be honoured.

Jimmy made a record 505 club appearances and won a record four FA Amateur Cup winners medals while Derek was the captain of the 1962 FA Amateur Cup winning team and made a club record seven England amateur international appearances.

Former officials and committee members Brian Humphreys and Ronnie James are also given life memberships as is life long supporter and former committee member Michael Manuel.

Michael has greatly assisted in the writing of the book, the story of Crook Town Football Club, which will be on sale in the next two to three weeks.

Jimmy has written the forward for the 200-page book which has nearly 100 photographs including a photograph of the controversial disallowed Crook goal in the 1959-60 semi-final against Kingstonian at St James' Park, Newcastle. Crook lost the game 2-1.

The book is priced £4.99 and anyone wishing to pay by cheque should make it payable to The Friends of Crook Town Football Club.

Durham Alliance League

The League start their fixtures on the August 18, with 16 teams competing in the coming season.

Four new teams have joined the league with South Shields Simonside rejoining after a spell in the Wearside League and secretary, Bob Gray is looking forward to the challenge.

Birtley St. Josephs have reformed and returned Durham Allaince. Birtley St. Josephs were formed in 1934 and played in the Gateshead and District League before joining the Washington Amateur League in 1949 which is now known as the Durham Alliance League.

At one time they were one of the longest-serving teams in the league before they folded in 1986.

The third new team, Wylam Vale Celtic is a team newly formed and will draw their young players from the Tyne Dale District.

The fourth new team joining the league is British Home Doors (BHD) Windows from Washington who played in the Tyne and Wear Palace League on Sundays.

Whitehill are looking forward to the season starting. Tony Embleton, their new manager, is relishing the new challenge and expects to win honours as he did when playing for New Durham from 1987 to 89.

Herrington CW is still looking for a secretary to deal with their administration only. Anyone interested should get in touch with Kevin Pounder on (0191) 5673921. If Kevin is lucky enough to get a secretary, he will be left to manage the team as Herrington will be looking for honours this coming season.

Hartlepool Boys Welfare who finished second in the league last season are looking to improve their position. Secretary since 1977, Alan Hughs, has passed the job onto Mick Burns. Eddy Willis will manage the team with Jeff Cooper his assistant. Also supporting the committee will be Jan Burns who does a lot for the Welfare and is another valuable assistant.

Washington Westwood, champions of the league for the past three seasons, have ambitions to match Washington Mechanics' feat who won the league five seasons running, 1955-56 to 1960-61.

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Auckland & District EBAC Youth League

After losing to local rivals Crook Town in a title play-off last season, Bishop Auckland juniors are confident of making another strong bid for the championship this season.

Eight of last season's team are still eligible to play in the under-18 league, and five new players have been added. More will be signed before the start of the season next month.

Manager Jackie Foster has had his lads training twice a week for the past month. Training sessions at Bishop Auckland College have been switched from Tuesdays and Thursdays to Mondays and Wednesdays (6.45). Lawrence Bryan, son of secretary Joe Bryan, assists with the coaching.

"We have had a lot of requests for friendly matches, but unfortunately there are few grounds available at present," said Bryan senior.

The Bishops lads will play away to Gateshead Redheugh Boys Club on Wednesday, August 8 and at Trimdon against the newly-formed Trimdon United Juniors on Saturday, August 11