RAY HANKIN, his name often prefixed by "big", "burly" or "boisterous" - and by one or two other b-words, besides - recalls the occasion upon which he and the opposing captain were summoned to see referee Tom Fitzharris in his dressing room.

"He was standing there with a towel round his midriffand a big gold medallion round his neck. I just thought 'Aye, aye, " he says, a little enigmatically.

It was November 19 1989, Guisborough Town v Bury in the FA Cup first round, the match played at Ayresome park. Fitzharris, Bolton boy, instructed the skippers that they had to wear armbands.

What happened next is remembered yet, was raised in parliament and was again recalled on Wednesday evening when Guisborough celebrated their 1,000th Northern League match.

Hankin, now 55, insists that he'd never worn an armband in his life, that the club had none and that he had to wear a wrist band on his upper arm. "It was very uncomfortable, too tight, so I put it in the back of the goal and he booked me."

The combative striker then received a second yellow for the manner in which it is alleged that he shown his displeasure. "I didn't call him anything. I wish I had done now, " he says.

His mate John Hope, the former Newcastle United, Sheffield United and Darlington goalkeeper, is inclined to believe him. "Knowing Ray, I'm sure he just said 'Thank you very much', " he says.

The non-league side had trailed to a second minute goal, dominated the game until the skipper's 37th minute sending off, lost 1-0.

Richard Holt, the local Tory MP, raised the issue in the Commons - during a debate on football identity cards. claiming beneath the cloak of parliamentary privilege that Guisborough had been "cheated by a biased referee" and that Fitzharris should have been "hounded out of the ground."

The House rose; Holt turned to the Speaker. "Before you do as the silly referee did on Saturday by giving the red card to the captain of Guisborough so that ten amateurs had to play against 11 professionals, I will resume my seat."

RAY HANKIN was born in Wallsend, played for the celebrated Wa llsend Boys Club, began his Football League career with Leeds United, won three England under-23 caps, moved to Burnley, played for Vancouver Whitecaps, scored once in 21 appearances for Middlesbrough and was shown the door at Peterborough after five red cards in 18 months.

He pleads mitigation. ""I just wanted to win football matches. I don't think I could be faulted for that. I may have once or twice overstepped the mark but it was never malicious or anything.

"I was never nasty. I was just brought up to be a winner."

After leaving the professional game, he helped Whitby Town to the FA Cup first round before moving over the moors to Guisborough. "I had some fabulous times there, fantastic players and great people behind the scenes, " he says.

"Mike Hodgson, the manager, could be a bit volatile but there was nothing wrong with that. It's what football is meant to be about."

He managed Northallerton Town, became youth team manager at Darlington and in February 1992 succeeded Frank Gray as club manager - though the brief tenure is omitted from Frank Tweddle's club history.

"We were bottom of the league. The chairman, a little builder feller" - he means Dick Corden, who subsequently also became chairman of Guisborough Town - "said they'd review the situation at the end if the season."

Quakers remained bottom of the third division; Corden duly reviewed the situation and brought in Billy McEwan. "The players really gave it everything, " says Hankin. "I suppose they just weren't good enough."

THREE years ago he was made redundant as a football in the community officer at Newcastle United, took the club to an industrial tribunal, settled hours before the hearing.

He now lives in the Tyne Valley, works with adults with special needs - "I really enjoy it, I always wanted to give something back" - retains his interest in football but would be reluctant to return to the pro game.

"There are too many people in the game I don't trust, people I've worked for and worked with who I just couldn't deal with any more.

"The Newcastle business left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, to be honest. There are too many good people who can't make a living out of the game and too many bad people who do."

John Hope, now in Stockton, helped him at Darlington and was on one occasion his best man. "Ray's an absolutely marvellous man, a person who'd do anything for you, " he says.

"When we were at Darlington, I once saw him have someone by the throat, but that was just passion. He was a great guy to have on your side.

"Mind, if I'd known how long the marriage was going to last, I wouldn't have taken all that trouble over the speech."

Long-serving Guisborough Town secretary Keith Smeltzer agrees. "To my mind, Ray Hankin was the best signing we ever made.

He was a good player who brought so much to the team.

It was a pleasure to be associated with him."

So what of Tom Fitzharris's only heats hearts club band?

"I was about 15 yards away, it certainly looked like he said something, " admits Keith.

"Clearly I was never cut out to be a lip reader, was I?"

GUISBOROUGH'S first Northern League game was a 2-0 win against West Auckland on August 17 1985.

They'd earlier spent a somewhat disoriented season in the Midland League and were a Northern Alliance side when reaching the FA Vase final at Wembley in 1980.

The milestone was marked by a presentation to new club president and local MP Tom Blenkinsop, himself a local league footballer with Marton and Nunthorpe until a couple of years ago.

He's considered trying for the House of Commons team, the problem that they play on Tuesday mornings. "I'm on the Treasury select committee and it also meets n Tuesday mornings.

"I guess there are those who would consider it more important."

He'll be back today - and Town may have their biggest gate for ages - when the Communications Workers' Union stages a march from town centre to football ground in protest at the planned closure of the Royal Mail local delivery office in Guisborough.

Town play Consett, the game dedicated to the cause. "The whole town is galvanised into opposition, " says Tom.

"Petitions have gone to every local business and local shop ad people are queuing up to signn them."

They'll be hoping for success similar to the football team.

On Wednesday they thrashed local rivals Stokesley 6-0.