Print this page

ESFA / Durham Under 13 Festival of Football 2003

Grey College (University of Durham) was used as the residential base for the visiting associations with the matches being played at either the University's Graham Sports Centre or Racecourse Ground.

This year 6 residential Associations Allerdale, Bradford, Huddersfield (taking part in the Festival for the first time), Leeds, Luton and Vale of White Horse, complimented Carlisle and 5 local Associations as participants in the 12th Durham Festival of Football. Grey College of the University of Durham, with its magnificent, elevated view of the historic cathedral, provided the residential base.

The Opening Ceremony took place in Fountains Hall, Grey College with Mr Geoff Wainwright (DCSFA Chairman and Festival Secretary), welcoming Mr Dennis Fulton (ESFA Chairman); Mr George Courtney (FIFA Delegate); Mr Simon Barker (PFA); Mr Jody Craddock (Sunderland AFC) residential staff; boys and parents. Certificates were presented to all boys, commemorating their attendance and the evening culminated in a most enjoyable football forum during which all present were both informed and entertained.

First day football highlights centred round substantial wins for Sunderland 'B' and Carlisle with draws for Luton, Derwentside, Huddersfield, Sunderland 'A', Leeds and Bishop Auckland. In all 28 goals were scored on the first day with the Leeds and Bishop Auckland keepers maintaining a 'clean sheet' apiece.

By the end of play on day two, there were 5 fewer goals. Vale of White Horse and Allerdale recorded sound victories in their matches, whilst a thrilling 3-2 win for Bradford against a stylish Bishop Auckland squad enthused spectators. Sunderland 'A' beat Leeds and Luton defeated Hartlepool.

Later that evening, Officials, staff, referees and visitors were guests of Durham County Council who provided a Civic Reception and Welcome. Thanks must be expressed to Vice Chairman Councillor Fenwick (father of Terry Fenwick) - for a memorable evening. At the same time, at the nearby Graham Sports Centre, John Shippen and Alan Johnston, accompanied by Alan Baker and Michael McCarthy, staged a 5-a-side tournament. This was competitive yet friendly and played in a sportsman-like fashion. It was won by Huddersfield with Allerdale as runners-up. Earlier in the day Bradford, Vale of White Horse and Huddersfield had visited South Shields and Mr Nicky Peverill, Middlesborough Academy Coach, had presented coaching sessions for Leeds, Allerdale and Luton. Residents also took the opportunity, during the day, to view the PFA's video outlining the highs, lows and temptations facing young footballers, as they set out towards a career in the professional game.

Day three saw 35 goals in total, with comprehensive wins for Vale of White Horse and Allerdale; whilst the remaining games were once more settled by odd goals with Bradford beating Sunderland 2-1 and 4-3 winners Luton over Darlington were noteworthy matches. Nicky Peverill concluded his coaching sessions with Bradford and Vale of White Horse. Allerdale visited the Metro Centre whilst Luton and Leeds visited South Shields. A visit to Wet 'n' Wild complimented the football activity for everyone in the evening.

On the final day Vale of White Horse, Bradford, Huddersfield and Sunderland 'B' concluded their Festival programme with wins. Leeds drew with Hartlepool as did Luton and Bishop Auckland.

Many referees were once again delighted to assist - some refereeing two matches in a day! Sincere thanks must go to these men and woman - Ms Lynn Briggs, for their invaluable support, not only during the Festival but throughout the season as well.

It's difficult often for some to comprehend, but there are no trophies or even points to be won in Festival Football. Each game is an end in itself- a learning experience where boys contest their football skill against others, playing in a competitive yet sportsmanlike manner - becoming just that little bit better and perhaps wiser after the event. Socialising, making friends and seeing that the Game means as much to other boys as it does to them. I trust that staff attending the Festival had their 'faith' reaffirmed and that some adults, new to this experience, hopefully, 'saw the light'. Nevertheless, statistics showed that during the 25 games played, there were 106 goals scored with goalkeepers maintaining 9 clean sheets. 230 boys were given the opportunity to express themselves in a safe, free and friendly environment, demonstrating their skills and talents against others of like-mind, taking from their experience a taste of true Festival spirit.

Derwentside, maintaining a fine tradition of sportsmanship and fair play in this small Association, won the 'Fair play' Award, after having been runners up in the previous six years.

Boys were fully appreciative of the time and effort spent by everyone in making the Festival a success - the Allerdale captains presented a formal 'Vote of Thanks' after lunch on the final day.

A Festival like this needs an enormous amount of planning, co-operation and support. In conclusion we thank the following for their assistance, time and encouragement: school staff accompanying teams; parents; Festival referees; staff at Grey College, the Racecourse, Maiden Castle and the Graham Sports Centre; Durham County Council; PFA and DCSFA Festival Committee.