THE son of a well-loved former Darlington and Hartlepool United manager is hoping to oversee his own bit of glory on the big stage, without a football in sight.

The late Cyril Knowles, one of the finest full-backs in Tottenham’s proud history, will always be remembered fondly for transforming the fortunes at both North-East clubs during his managerial career.

Now Julian Knowles, still touched by the memories people have of his father, is leading his own team – the juniors at Thirsk & Northallerton Golf Club – into battle in Portugal next month.

Team captain Joe Hay, 17, Richard Fawcett, 18, Julian Czechowska, 17, Ben Collinson, 16, Hope Williams, 14 and Jamie Skinner, 13, all form part of the squad along with Julian’s children, Izabella 14, and Oscar, 11.

They are currently raising funds to help their bid for glory in the final of the Junior Team Golf Home Nations Inter-Club Championship, which will be held in the Algarve between February 15-21.

It will see Thirsk & Northallerton compete against Bramshaw, Windlesham (both England), Cruden Bay, Haggs Castle (both Scotland), Wrexham, Pyle & Kenfig (both Wales) and Muskerry (Ireland) at the beautiful Morgado complex.

Julian said: “We entered into the competition late last year. We played a regional event and then the Northern Final which we won, so we progressed to the England Final at Mannings Heath.

“We came third in the England final and received an invite for the last place in Portugal, where it will be aired on Sky Sports Golf later in the year.

“We are taking a squad of eight with us, and we are trying to raise funds towards the cost of the trip, we have a Go Fund Me page, and will be holding an auction and team event at Thirsk before we leave.

“I personally have two children going, Izabella plays off a 15 handicap and my son Oscar plays off 15. They, along with others in the team, are involved with Yorkshire Golf. Ben Collinson is also the Under-16s England Hockey captain.”

Oscar said: “I’m looking forward to being part of the team in Portugal. I have been part of the team for four years and this is the biggest event we have played in. I hope I play well especially if I’m being filmed! I hope I win my first match – so my dad can’t drop me for the next round!”

Julian and the rest of the committee and its members at Thirsk & Northallerton are extremely delighted with how the youngsters have conducted themselves while representing the North Yorkshire club.

“We are very proud of being a family friendly club who in recent years have seen a real progression in the quality of juniors who have become members, and we have started to build on the success that we have achieved over the last couple of years,” said the 43-year-old.

“We have always been well supported by the club and other members, in particular the recently retired club professional Rob Garner.

“We have junior members from eight to 18 and are always looking for new boys and girls to join.

“We have now been joined by two new pros at the club in Bradley Rowntree and Josh Fox, who have some great ideas for our juniors in the coming years. I really can see this junior section going from strength to strength in the future.

“As JLO I’m delighted that this bunch will get a chance to play on this sort of stage in front of the TV cameras, they are a dedicated bunch and they are all keen to do well when the competition starts.

“It’s going to be a proper send off for Richard (club champion) and Joe as they leave us to join the adult ranks, and it’s fitting that it should end with this type of event. We are hoping as a squad to thoroughly enjoy the experience but also to show that we can compete with the best in the British Isles.”

Julian was only 14 when his dad, Cyril, died aged 47. He lost his battle in August 1991 having been diagnosed with a brain tumour in the February, during a football season when he had put Hartlepool on track for promotion to the old Third Division. The previous season he had memorably guided Pools clear of relegation when they appeared a lost cause.

It was a similar story when he was at Darlington, guiding Quakers to promotion and then keeping them in the third tier and he remains the only manager to achieve that feat.

“It’s hard to believe that even now, nearly 30 years later, people seem to be so positive about him, and the stories that are spoken about him offers my own children an insight into their grandad. It’s wonderful,” said Julian.

“My dad played golf, loved the game and played off three when he was playing football, too much time on his hands!

“When my dad was the manager at Hartlepool we lived in the Stokesley area, so I was lucky enough to be a junior member here at Thirsk myself for a couple of years and then came back to it when I brought my own kids down to a taster session here.”

Julian was only a schoolboy when Cyril passed away, but he still holds great memories from his time visiting the Victoria Ground as it was then.

“I remember the Spurs game in the League Cup against Hartlepool with Gazza warming up on the touchline with all the ballboys,” said Julian, whose dad played for England and won the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup with Tottenham, and played for Middlesbrough before moving to White Hart Lane in 1964.

“I remember seeing Rob McKinnon scoring one if not two very similar goals, cutting in from left-back to rifle home at Hartlepool.

“I also always remember the training sessions with the old man, tough even to watch, he wasn’t afraid to say what he thought.

“His sides were always strong and physical teams, very much like how he played the game – and I remember him blasting the players from the touchline when I used to go along and watch. All great memories.”

Anyone wishing to help with Thirsk & Northallerton’s trip to the grand final in Portugal should visit the Go Fund Me page at