A RARE winner’s medal from the first football World Cup won by West Auckland Football Club has been bought at auction for £5,200 by local businessmen.

The West Auckland team, made up mainly of miners, won the first Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy in 1909.

Beating overwhelming odds, the County Durham team beat Swiss side FC Winterhour 2-0 in the final.

It is thought the players had the medals minted themselves to honour their achievement, but only three are thought to exist.

One owned by club captain Bob Jones belongs to the West Auckland club and one is in the National Football Museum.

The last one was found in a box of football programmes bought at a car boot sale near Newcastle several years ago.

The finder nearly threw the medal away several times.

Local businessmen Rob Hill, a Weardale housing developer, Rob Yorke, of Teescraft, Bishop Auckland, and John Elliott, owner of Ebac, Newton Aycliffe, bought the medal at auction yesterday.

They will give it to the West Auckland club and will ask for it to go on display in West Auckland Workingmen’s Club.

Mr Yorke said: “The money came from us personally because we all felt so passionately that this medal should stay in the area.

“The medal commemorates a part of West Auckland’s history that we are immensely proud of and we did not want to lose it.”

Millionaire Sir Thomas Lipton organised the 1909 World Cup and invited teams from Italy, Switzerland and Germany.

The Football Association declined to send a team and West Auckland went instead for reasons long forgotten.

The club defended the trophy in 1911 when they beat Juventus, of Italy, 6-1.

Stuart Alderson, the club’s general manager, said: “It is brilliant that it has come back to the club.

“It went up fast to about £3,000 and then it reached £5,000 and we got it for £5,200.

“We want to put it on display in the club, but it will have to be properly secured.”