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Chester le Street Schools' District Football


For many years, 'Chester Boys' have had a fearsome reputation, with many boys representing their Chester le Street School with great talent and pride. 





Scott Flint (Seasons 1974-76)

I remember going on tour during which we had a game of ten tin bowling and watched Blackpool play on the Saturday. My biggest (and worst) memory of the trip was a game played in torrential conditions - freezing cold and sleet. I can't remember who we played against but it could have been Rotherham (we definitely played Rotherham on the trip as I won a trophy from Rotherham Boys, which I had for many years afterwards. Anyway, the conditions were so bad that I remember most of the lads were in tears after the game - definitely the worst conditions I have ever played in

We has a great team as I remember and, although we didn't win anything, we always played good, attacking football and that is something which was followed through into the Waldridge team that contained a number of the district lads. I remember a few of the players in the first district team I played in a year young (season 1992-93).  Angus and Hoggy were two that I remember as being really good. In my year, the likes of Michael Dawson, David Lee and John Coffer were all great players

I have very fond memories of my time at Red Rose, particularly playing for the school team and taking part in the cross countries. I had some great friends there, mainly John Anderson and Ian Corner and was sorry not to have gone to secondary school in Chester-le-Street as I eventually lost contact with my friends from Red Rose. I blame John, Ian and Mr Baker for being a Newcastle United fan in the first place as I arrived from Africa, aged 7, and without much of a clue about English football - I seem to remember I had a Liverpool strip

Scott is pictured in the 1991-92 team as an under 10 (back row, 4th from left) and in the 1992-93 team (front row with the ball)




Peter Ward (Seasons 1974-76)

My first memory is the silk gold strip with black trim - it reminded me of Wolves and I always used to think I was a player for them. I also remember having meals after every district game with the team.


I played for two years and I remember the trial games at St Cuthbert's school in Chester le Street. After I was selected I remember our trips to Manchester and staying at the Rudyard Hotel along the A6 in Stockport.. (I used to pass the hotel every day on my way to training when I was at Stockport County FC). I remember we went on trips around Manchester City and Stockport County's grounds too. 

Playing Career

Huddersfield Town   1986-1989

Rochdale   1989-1991  (reached 5th Round of the FA Cup)

Stockport County   1991-1995   (captain & four Wembley appearances)

Wrexham   1995-1999   (Captain & reached quarter final of the FA Cup)

Assistant manager at Stockport County  (2006-2009 & 2010-2011)

Assitant Manager at Motherwell  (2009-2010)

Craig Liddle (Seasons 1981 - 83)

Being picked for the district team was a huge honour for any budding footballer and I was lucky enough to play two seasons for Chester-le-Street Boys and I loved every minute of it.

In the first season, I played in the same side as Tommy Johnson, who I later went on to play against in a premier league fixture for Middlesbrough against Aston Villa. In my second year, I was given the honour of captaining the side. Both of these teams were made up of some very talented players and I am still in touch with a few of them today.

One of the main memories for me was the trip to Manchester in the Easter holidays. Looking back, it was the first overnight stay in a hotel for an away game in my career, although there have been plenty more to follow but they weren't as much fun. On my two visits, we watched a Stockport County game on the Friday evening, played a game on the Saturday morning and watched another game in the afternoon, one of which was at Leeds United. One or two of the parents would come along with the teachers and I would say it was a special time for anyone who went on these trips whether you were a player, teacher or parent.

Training would usually take place at Chester-le-Street Youth Centre with Mr Baker and Mr Meek and most of the games were played at Pelton County Junior school although we played some at Lumley. I also remember that the strip we played in was a bright orange colour with black trim.

Another thing I remember was that we were presented with a badge, which I think is still in my mam's house somewhere and I also remember how proud we were when your name appeared in a little fixture book at the start of the season to say who had represented the district team the season before

Playing Career

Aston Villa - three seasons

Blyth Spartans - three seasons

Middlesbrough - five seasons

Darlington - eight seasons making 327 appearances for the club including leading the side out at Wembley in the 2000 Division three play off final

Academy Director and first team manager at Darlington

Sunderland Academy Development Coach

Todd Lumsden Season 1987 - 89

It was a massive honour to be selected for the district team especially as I played two years for the team. Mr Colwell was my football teacher at Ouston and I was one of the few who played for the school team when I was in Year 4.

I remember playing most of the district matches at Pelton County School. Parents would bring food to eat after the game - my mam once brought a corned beef pie to one of the games and David Hewson (St Benets) sat with it on his knee and ate the lot! I remember one game at Pelton where the referee had to stop the game to speak to an unruly parent and ask her to calm down - it was my mam! Weekly training was at Park View on the sandy astro turf and inside when the weather was too bad.


The trip to Manchester at Easter is always remembered. One of the teachers organised a sweep before we played a game on the first goal scorer. The bus driver pulled my name out of the hat. Fortunately for me, I scored a free kick - I say fortunately as that was the first goal and he gave me the money to spend on the trip! The trips away were great fun and gave us a chance to play against teams and players we wouldn't normally play against. Even at that age, it was good personal development to be away from the safety of you own home even though you didn't think it at the time

We had a lot of good players in my district team and we wondered at the time how many would go on to realise their potential. One thing I would say to younger players is that ability alone will only get you so far. You have to have dedication, good attitude, application and a desire to go with ability if you want to play football to a good level. I was never the most talented of players but I worked hard and have enjoyed my professional career. However, some say that it is coming to an end now that I have reached 30 - but I still feel that I have a few years left in the tank!

Playing Career

Left school at 17 - 1 year YT and one year professional at Oxford United - short spells in Northern Ireland on loan at Ards and in Wales at Barry Town - while at Barry Town, played against Dynamo Kiev in a Champions League qualifying match

Stirling Albion - Scottish 1st Division - 1 year

Albion Rovers - Scottish 3rd Division - four years at the club - missed out on promotion two years running on the last day of the season - captain

Hamilton Accies - Scottish 2nd Division - two years at the club - promoted to 1st Division

Raith Rovers - now into fourth season - captain

Ross Lumsden  1986-87

The district team was the first organised representative team I was chosen for and it was a shock but also a nice surprise to be called up to play. I joined the team later in the season after being spotted playing for my school team, Ouston. Some of the boys in the team that season were Steve Howard, Neil Maughan, Graham Stokoe, Ian Proctor, Nick Newby, Daniel Hutchinson, Peter Snowball and Paul Robinson. I remember being very shy and found it difficult going into a team where I hardly knew anyone and where they were friends from having played most of the season together. This is the time the football bug hit me and prompted me to go on and play for other club teams as I grew up.

I do remember going to Manchester on tour which was probably the first trip away from home without my parents. Scary for a ten year old kid! The orange strips Chester Boys always used to wear bring back happy memories and also the conducted tour of Manchester United to visit the ground and the trophy cupboard - they have a few more trophies now than they had then! In a way, I think back to it as a big step in me becoming a footballer and being a team player which has gone on to continually help me throughout, not only in my football but in life in general.

Playing Career                                               

After school, played for Chester-le-Street Town and Blyth Spartans

Performances for Blyth won a scholarship to America in 2000

Played four years for Lynn University in Florida

Won the NCAA National Championship in 2003                                                  

Player of the Year for NCAA Div. 2   

Colin Harrison (Season 1980 - 81)

Having just seen the website about Chester-le-Street primary school football, all the fantastic memories came flooding back. I can't believe it was season 1980-81 when I was part of the district team and can you believe it - I am still playing for Grange Villa FC as I approach my 38th birthday!. When I was looking at Pelton Roseberry's championship winning team in 1980, I was gutted to find that I wasn't on it - I must have been absent that day! However, I still remember winning the league, the League Cup and finishing runners up in the C B Watson Cup and I still have the trophies!!

My main memory from the Easter tour to Manchester was beating Macclesfield 8 - 0. I was the first person ever to score a hat trick ..........I have the trophy for that too!!


I still have certificates and programmes from some of those games. I can remember playing Hyde, Macclesfield and Stockport. I also have programmes from the Stockport County v York City match that we went to on the Friday night and the Leeds v Southampton match on the Saturday

I also remember scoring the winner in a 2 - 1 away win at Bradford but I can't remember what competition that was in although it wasn't a stay-over.

I still keep in touch with a number of lads from school and also from the district team such as Scott Belcher, Craig Liddle, Mick McAdam and Anthony Clayton.

Barry Fleming (Seasons 1977-79)

Memories, even today, are very vivid when it comes to remembering playing for the district and school team. One very painful memory of playing for the district team was a match we played at Pelton School and the weather was so bitterly cold with snow on the pitch that, afterwards, the dressing room was full of players who were literally crying - it was a painful memory. Another painful memory was losing in the Harrison Cup semi final at Lumley School.

However, most memories were happy ones. I was lucky to play for two seasons and I do remember an outstanding performance in beating Bishop Auckland 6 - 1 away. The Manchester tour was also a happy memory as it was an occasion when my relatives were able to make the short trip from Bury to meet up and see me play - my Uncle Wilf played for Bury in the 1920's. I remember that one of the teams we played was Stretford. Sharing a room with Ian Day (Ouston) on the Manchester tour was a culture shock - he was as mad as a hatter!


Barry was head and shoulders above other boys at this age.

School memories are also very clear in my mind. I was a pupil at Birtley East and two teachers who gave a lot of time up to organise football were Mr Bob Everett and Mr Dave Colling. My earliest memory was, when I was an infant, I was ordered to go and see Mr Everett. The only picture I had of Mr Everett was of him wielding the cane so I was in a state of panic when I made my way to his classroom. I was told to sit down and then, to my amazement, he told me that I was to play in a football tournament at Ouston - me an infant playing against 11 year olds! My memory of the strip at the time was that the socks were thick and woolly and the shin pads were really bulky with cane stuffed in them for protection. I still have the plaque to prove that we won!

I often meet lads I played with and against all those years ago and playing for the school and district gave me the opportunity to mature as a person.

Playing Career

Darlington - one season

Hartlepool - two seasons

Ryhope CA (Northern League)

Whickham (Northern League)

Manager - Birtley Town, Esh Winning, Washington, Ryton - leading each of these Northern League teams to promotion

Michael McAdam (Seasons 1980 - 82)

I can’t put my finger exactly on why – but despite playing football ever since my school days, it is those days at junior school which stick in the mind and were without doubt my favourite times. I can remember most games, the scores, how the games panned out, key incidents, controversy. From senior school onwards it all gets patchy. 

I remember the nerves that were present in the ‘district trials’ – but I thank my lucky stars that I did enough. I played two seasons for Chester-le-Street Boys and it was an honour to be skipper in my final year.

The memories that I have are brilliant. They range from the awe that you felt as a member of the team ‘a year early’ – looking back I recall the reputation at junior school level of “Chas” (Paul Chambers), and “Acky” (David Atkinson) – I was lucky enough to play a few seasons with Acky later in life for Whitehill FC at Pub level. He still is a cracking fella.  

As most others have stated, the Easter tour was absolutely top drawer – brilliant. I’ll not repeat all that they have said…but it’s all true. The thrill of your first ever trip away without the parents can’t be beaten – and the fact that it was a football feast – playing, watching, touring – the complete works. Tremendous! 


Despite all of the cracking memories on the pitch - in two good seasons - there are little daft flashbacks that stand out. One thing that tickles me was that on an Easter tour - Tommy Johnson, Paul Simpson, Gary Bowyer and myself, all signed each other’s autograph books. The theory was that we’d inevitably drift apart after junior school and should any of us make it big in life the autographs would be a decent keepsake. Tommy’s career needs no explaining – a brilliant result, I’m chuffed to bits for him. Gary made it at youth level at Forest and floated round the lower leagues. (He is subject of a quiz question because the father / son combination played a league game for Hereford United in 1990), and is now still involved in the game – coaching at Blackburn I believe. What of Simma and myself I hear you say!! Well let’s just say I sometimes see him at Birtley Baths with the kids or at Chester Park – but hey not to worry, we weren’t bad players in those days!!  

Another memory concerned an up-coming Harrison Trophy Quarter Final clash away at Kelloe. In those days – before the Wembley dreams of present - the Harrison Trophy was “The Trophy”, and we’d heard that Kelloe would be a really tough tie. It was a mid-week game and disaster struck. My school teacher at St Cuthberts (Mr McAdam – no relation – but a top man), pulled me to one side and broke my heart. Apparently I was not allowed to play. The Kelloe match clashed with my school play and the Cuthbert’s headmaster would not budge. No amount of pleas would work. I was made to retain my role in the school play. I was gutted. I’m sure you players reading this were all the same - at that age football was everything. Kelloe was a memory for the other Chester Boys squad to savour. Between scenes of the play, Mr McAdam returned to school and his broad grin said it all – Tommy Johnson had scored both in a 2-0 win. Brilliant! The semi final would be something for me to look forward to instead. (Incidentally I still remember the solo that I sang in that school play – if I see you out and about in a pub, if you buy me a Carling Cold I may give you a rendition!)  

Like others, the friendships from those days were great. I still bump into plenty of lads who have represented Chester Boys – Craig Liddle, Paul Chambers (Chas), Colin Harrison, David Morson, Ian Bush, Ross Preston, Barry Fleming etc. It was a cracking era – I’m not sure when the presentation of a Chester Boys kit bag to each player became a regular occurrence – but when mine was handed over I felt 10 feet tall. Thank you again Mr Baker and Mr Meek.

Playing Career (don’t laugh!! Camaraderie exists in many a dressing room whatever level)


Willington FC, Chester-le-Street Plough FC, Heaton Stannington, Whitehill FC


Birtley Vigo FC,  Kimblesworth Cricket Club FC, Washington Biddick Inn, Birtley Vigo FC, Gateshead Allerdene, Birtley Vigo FC (for about 17 years off and on – I just couldn’t resist keep going back there!)

Philip Lightburn (Seasons 1977 - 78)

Junior school football was my most enjoyable time playing football. Getting picked for the district team was a great honour.  We had some good players in my year representing the team – John Glassey, Alan Herbert (by far the hardest tackler I’ve played against!), Ian Bush and Peter Martin to name just a few – however we didn’t seem to click as a team as we should have, never reaching the standards we were capable of. I remember training in the Chester YC – put through our paces by Mr Baker and Mr Meek. I still have vivid memories of the trip to Manchester, ground tours at Sheff Wed on the way down, Man Utd when we got there – watching Stockport on the Friday night, Man City on the Saturday and we also fitted in 2 games against local teams – all in three days – what a trip!

I played for Barley Mow from 1976 to 1978 – my first memories are playing in the League Cup Final 2nd leg against Newker as a second year pupil. I scored on the night in a 1-1 draw to claim a 6-3 ( I think!) win on aggregate. One of my best mates, Tommy Barrett, played for Newker in that game and I still like to mention it now and again over a pint or two!

The Barley Mow team of 1977-1978 was just fantastic to captain and play in. Superbly managed by Mr Meek and Mr Ford (Clough and Taylor weren’t a patch on these two!) - we had a great season. Our great rivals that season were Pelton Roseberry – the games against them were so tight and competitive but were played in a fantastic spirit. I remember the bank at Barley Mow being full of people who had come to watch the games. No shouting at referees, no parents screaming at kids – just applauding good football from either team that was playing. Why oh why did they get rid of 11 a side?

Philip Lightburn prepares to lead out Barley Mow in the C B Watson Cup final

I remember the season was hotting up around April when we travelled to Pelton Roseberry for a League Cup semi-final. An own goal by our right half Craig Townsend earned Roseberry a 1-0 win . This prompted a crying session from Craig which went on till well into the next day at school. Chance for revenge the week after, though, in the CB Watson Cup Final. We gained a fine goaless draw in the first leg at Pelton. We always fancied our chances against anyone on the tight Barley Mow pitch and we pulled off a 1-0 win with an Ian Muscroft (Mushy) goal in front of a huge crowd. These were two fantastic games played in a great spirit. Against all odds that season we then went on to lift the Ed Harvey Cup with a 2-1 win over Blackfell in the final – I always remember that the Blackfell keeper moved to Barley Mow school about three weeks before that final and they wanted him to play in goal for them against us! How did Messrs Clough and Taylor take this? On your bike boys………..or probably words to that effect.

I am currently working as a Multi Skills coach in Chester-le-Street primary schools and still see the odd picture knocking around of  people I’ve played with or against in the past. It’s also nice to be putting something back into the community that I got out - thanks for the memories.

Gary Mc.Lean (Season 1978 - 79)

Having spoken to a friend who told me about the schools' website, I've looked back through the photographs and I must say that the memories have come flooding back. I still remember many of those games, especially the glorious cup wins playing for Pelton Roseberry and those 64 fantastic goals we scored throughout the season. I'm in my forties now and still playing, although with two young children, Holly and Sam, I have to pick the times when I put the boots on. The Cayman Islands is my home now so I don't often travel back to Grange Villa!

We might be living in the Cayman Islands but Holly and Sam wearing those Newcastle United strips prove that I can't get the north east out of my system!

My dad often talks about those great times and keeps me in touch with what is going on. I thought that I would just drop you a line and say 'hello' and also many thanks for the memories - fantastic, fantastic times! What a team we had! My dad was the only bloke to travel the north east in a Hillman Imp with a football team in the back. You can be sure that I will be passing on to my son, Sam, all the tips I learnt from playing for Roseberry and the district team. One day, he'll be leading out Newcastle and England to glory!

I play for a team on the Cayman Islands called Sunset FC. Each year, we organise a fund raising evening and a round of golf where famous ex-footballers are invited across. In recent years, we have enjoyed the company of Peter Shilton, Sir Geoff Hurst and, this year, Jack Charlton

John Telford (Season 1984 - 85)

Two memories really stand out from the year I played for Chester Boys. I remember that at the end of the previous year, there were trials for selection of the squad for the coming season - I think they were held at St Cuthberts. I had been invited to go along and felt so proud even just to have got that far. However, a couple of weeks before the date of the trials, I had an accident with a plate glass window that required 30 stitches in my arm. I was absolutely desperate to make it to the trials but my parents didn't think it was a great idea! I bugged them until they agreed to let me play although I had to wear what must have been the world's biggest padded bandage - at least that is how it felt at the time. It must have been a hot aummer because I remember the ground being really hard.

I don't remember too much about the games we played that season but I clearly remember going on tour to Manchester. We went to see Swindon Town play and one of the games was played in freezing cold, wild, snowy conditions. Manchester United were in the cup final that year and I think we must have visited Old Trafford because I remember seeing all the scarves and flags out and a bunch of blokes selling memorabilia. I don't think it was one of the better teams that Chester Boys ever had but it was still great to be involved and there are a lot of really good memories from those times.

However, I could probably write a book about Red Rose's season that year. I've still got the league winners and cup medals at my mam's house somewhere. I don't think we lost a game in the league that year. I don't think we even dropped a point but we got knocked out of the county cup against a team from the Gateshead area, I think in the quarter finals - I seem to remember being told that we weren't hard enough!. True enough I'm sure - we were good lads but not really hard cases by any stretch of the imagination.

Paul Talbot (Season 1989-90)

Barley Mow schoolboy, Paul, signed for Newcastle United but didn't make the first team. Joined York City in March 2000 following his release by Newcastle United. Having made six appearances in League Two for the Minsterman, Paul wasn't retained and left Bootham Crescent that summer, signing for hometown club Gateshead.

After two years at the International Stadium, "Tally" made a free transfer switch to Conference side Burton Albion, where he remained until the summer of 2003. His next port of call was Scottish outfit, Queen of the South, and he was in the side who drew 1-1 with a Newcastle XI in July of that year.

Moving on to Spennymoor United in January 2004, Paul later appeared for Newcastle Benfield Saints and Durham City before a second stint at Gateshead followed, on a non-contract basis. That ended in the summer of 2008 when he joined a mini-exodus to Newcastle Blue Star, signing for Bedlington Terriers the following year, following Star's demise.

The 2010/11 season then began with Paul joining Sunderland RCA, only to then take up the offer of a trial at Harrogate Town shortly afterwards, impressing sufficiently to be offered a contract at Wetherby Road

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