CULTURED to a man, Darlington fans have a new flag – unveiled at Blyth Spartans a fortnight back – with the Latin motto “Semper biberint.”

It translates as “always drunk”, they insist, and only a pedant would argue. So here goes.

“Semper” undoubtedly means always, but “biberint” didn’t look right. If anything, say the dictionaries, it’s the third person plural future perfect indicative (no less) of the verb bibo, I drink.

Perhaps they meant biberunt, but that’s “drunk” as a past tense of drink and not as in seven sheets. The amazing thing is that no one in the Quaker cowshed, or at Blyth, appears to have noticed the mistake.

A more accurate Latin version may have been “eberus est” – as in inebriated – and the Romans were certainly fond of their wine.

Richard Jones, one of the flag bearers, offers a classical explanation. “I think we may have had one or two when we made it.”

Out in the Wash, the indomitable John Dawson – 77-year-old retired Hartlepool postman, King of the Ground Hoppers – was at Wisbech last Saturday, ticking off the 294th of the 295 stadia at Steps 1-4 of the FA’s national league system. Actually there are 296, but Guernsey’s out of bounds. The final piece of the jigsaw is Bracknell Town, who have a 3G pitch. “I’m saving it for a rainy day,” says John.

Still with HM Corps of Ground Hoppers, a gentleman at Stockton’s Northern League Cup tie last week acts with both legs to stand on as driver for a group of animal rights activists in, shall we say, another part of the country. Universally among the fraternity, he answers to Veggieburger.

The Daily Mail’s “Answers to correspondents” section has been recalling the longest winning odds in British racing history – the 250-1 at which Equinoctial came home at Kelso on November 21, 1990.

It was trained at Chilton Grange, near Ferryhill, by Norman Miller, who also ran a big roofing business at Birtley.

Equinoctial – “pertaining to a state of equal day and night,” says the Oxford – had form only in the sense that an habitual criminal may be said to have.

In both of its first two races it was 14th out of 14. In the four before the Grant’s Whisky Novices Handicap Hurdle it was twice pulled up, once fell and on the fourth occasion finished 62 lengths behind the winner at Hexham.

Nor did it help that the horse had run straight into a fence at Sedgefield. “He seemed a bit wary,” said Miller, better known in the North-East as a greyhound trainer until gaining a Jockey Club permit in 1989, when 58.

Emmet Street, his first winner, came just five days after the licence arrived.

Several of his workers had had £10 each way on Equinoctial, winning £3,000 apiece. The trainer admitted only to “a small wager” when talking to the Echo after the race.

Equinoctial won twice more, at Sedgefield and at Catterick, but by then the layers had got wise. The best bet was 15-2.

Reported here a couple of weeks back, Barnard Castle Red Well Rangers’ 29-0 defeat to Stanhope won’t be happening again – at least not in the Crook and District League. The newcomers have been chucked out for failing to fulfil at least 75 per cent of their fixtures. Rangers hope to play Sunday football next season.

A Love Supreme, the Sunderland FC fanzine, is marking its 250th edition – not quite as venerable as the Boro’s Fly Me To the Moon but some achievement, nonetheless. Since it launched in 1989, they reckon, the club has had four owners and 25 managerial changes involving 22 people of eight different nationalities. They’ve lost count of the number of players.

Sunderland fans have been casting envious glances towards Northallerton Town – perhaps not so much at the Ebac Northern League second division team as at the stand.

The seats were previously at Roker Park, a gift 20-odd years ago. While many at the Stadium of Light had to be replaced in the summer – faded, as in glory – those at Northallerton remain both comfortable and Roker red.

“Someone mentioned it on Twitter and since then there’ve been hundreds of envious messages in a week.” says Northallerton chairman Peter Young.

So what chance of Sunderland getting their seats back? None, says Peter, they simply wouldn’t stand for it.

….and finally, last week’s column posed the hypothetical question that every man in a cricket team was out first ball and wondered which in the order would be not out.

By common consent it’s No 8, David Williams in Willington first off the mark with the answer.

Following Gordon Banks’s death, Martin Birtle invites readers to name the member of the 22-man England squad in 1966 who won fewest caps and also the last of them to make an international appearance – 11 years after the big event.

Capping it all, the column returns next week.