Northern Football Alliance

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While researching the Hebburn Argyle and Jarrow football clubs I amassed quite a lot of information relating to the Northern Alliance, the league to which both clubs were originally affiliated. I have placed this information on this site as it may be of value to others with an interest in the history of this competition.

The Northern Alliance is still in operation today; its website is here.

The following records have been put together from newspaper accounts, and from the minute book of the Northern Alliance covering the period 1935-1958 which is held in the Tyne and Wear Archives. The published tables prior to WW1 are somewhat unreliable; where discrepancies have arisen I have cross-checked them as far as possible with the alternative sources available, and I believe that any residual errors are minor ones.

The Records

Season 1890-1891

The Northern Alliance was established in July 1890, with the following seven clubs in membership: Bishop Auckland, Birtley, Elswick Rangers, Gateshead N.E.R., Rendel, Sunderland 'A' and Whitburn. The Secretary of the league was Tom Watson. Such a limited competition provided insufficient fixtures to occupy a whole season, and consequently the members also engaged, as before the formation of the League, in 'ordinary' (i.e. friendly) matches and Cup/Shield tournaments.


The Annual Meeting of the Northern Alliance was held in the Northumberland Restaurant, Clayton Street, Newcastle, on Thursday 14th May, 1891. Mr. A. Wardroper (President) was in the chair.
Mr. Thomas Watson (Secretary) presented his report, and complimented the clubs on the harmonious manner in which the Alliance had been carried out, there being only one protest during the season. He suggested that in view of the increased interest in the Alliance the membership should be raised from the present seven clubs to ten.
Sunderland 'A' were declared the winners of the Alliance championship, having scored 20 points out of a maximum 24 and were presented with gold badges.
Mr. A. Murray (Hon Treasurer) submitted his report and advised that a balance would be carried over to the following season.

A further meeting of the Alliance was held at the Clock Restaurant, Newcastle, on Wednesday 3rd June to discuss arrangements for the forthcoming season. Bishop Auckland had not sent word whether they would play or not, and Birtley were unable to raise a team, so these two were struck out of the membership. This left five continuing members: Elswick Rangers, Gateshead N.E.R., Rendel, Sunderland 'A' and Whitburn. Five applications had been received from membership, from Mickley, Shankhouse, Southwick, Sunderland Olympic and Willington Athletic, all of whom were admitted, increasing membership to ten clubs.
The following officers were elected: President, Mr. J Wardropper; Treasurer, Mr. A. Murray; and Secretary, Mr. Tom Watson.

Season 1891-1892


The Annual Meeting of the Northern Alliance was held at Mr. W. Liddle's, Clock Restaurant, Clayton Street, Newcastle, on Wednesday 1st June, 1892. Mr. J. Conqueror (Southwick) presided.
Mr. T. Watson gave his report and congratulated the clubs on the success of the competition. he suggested the number of clubs should be raised to 12. The report was adopted.
Owing to an accident to the Treasurer, Mr. Alec Murray (Newcastle Albion), the financial report was not presented.
It was agreed that the number of affiliated clubs should be increased to 12, and the following were elected:- Ashington, Blyth, Gateshead North-Eastern, Mickley, Newcastle East End 'A', Rendel, Seaham Harbour, Shankhouse, Southwick, Sunderland 'A', Whitburn and Willington Athletic.
The following officers were elected:- Mr Thomas Watson, Sunderland, president; Mr. J. Conqueror, secretary; Mr. A. Murray, treasurer.

Season 1892-1893


The Annual General Meeting of the Northern Alliance was held at Yielder's Cafe on Friday, 2nd June 1893, when the following clubs were represented:- Southwick, Newcastle United, Gateshead N.E.R., Shankhouse, Rendel, Blyth, Ashington and Whitburn. The secretary's and treasurer's reports were read, and being considered satisfactory were adopted. Letters of resignation were read from Mickley and Seaham Harbour, and fresh applications were received from Trafalgar, Esh True Blues, Hebburn Argyle, Leadgate Park, Leadgate Exiles, Gateshead, and Dipton Wanderers.
On the motion of W.W. Dalrymple (Willington Athletic), seconded by Mr Golding (Newcastle United), the number of clubs were reduced from 12 to 10. As Ashington and Whitburn were at the bottom of the Alliance they retired, and a vote took place, when Hebburn Argyle and Dipton Wanderers were elected to the vacancies. The champions of the Alliance were declared to be Sunderland A.
Mr. T. Watson was re-elected president, Mr. A. Murray was re-elected treasurer, and Mr. Conqueror was re-elected secretary.

The AGM report makes no mention of the fact that several fixtures could not be completed because Rendel had been suspended by the Northumberland F.A. early in April. Their offence was to refuse to play Shankhouse at Blyth in the final of the Northumberland Senior Cup, on the grounds that the venue was not fit for such a match. The last table to be published in the main Newcastle newspapers was dated 11th April 1893. The table below is based on this, to which the results of 5 further games have been added. This leaves 16 fixtures unaccounted for.

Northern Alliance final table 1892-93

(incomplete) Final Table 1892-3

Season 1893-1894


The Annual General Meeting of the Northern Alliance was held at the Express Hotel, Westgate Road, Newcastle, on Friday 15th June 1894. The following clubs were represented:- Blyth, Shankhouse, Sunderland A, Southwick, Rendel, Hebburn Argyle, Dipton Wanderers, Newcastle United and Gateshead N.E.R. Mr. T. Watson (Sunderland) occupied the chair.
Mr. Conqueror, secretary, read his report and congratulated the clubs on the very good results of the Alliance, and suggested the number of clubs should be increased to twelve. The two lowest clubs, Southwick and Dipton Wanderers, retired, according to rule, but were applying for re-election. The secretary's report was unanimously adopted and it was agreed to increase the number of clubs from ten to twelve.
Applications for admission were received from Dipton Wanderers, Southwick, Leadgate Exiles, Swalwell, Axwell Rovers, Wallsend Celtic, Leadgate Park, Jarrow, Newcastle Albion, Bill Quay Albion, Birtley and Trafalgar. Mr. Golding (Newcastle United), moved the re-election of Southwick and Dipton Wanderers. Mr. R. Bennett (Gateshead N.E.R.) seconded, and it was carried unanimously. Representatives from the majority of the new applicants attended, and urged the claims of their respective clubs, and the following clubs were elected to the two vacant positions:- Trafalgar and Jarrow.
Mr. Watson was unanimously re-elected president, Mr. Murray was unanimously re-elected treasurer, and Mr. J. Conqueror was also unanimously re-elected secretary.
A sub-committee consisting of Messrs. J. Conqueror (Southwick), J. Ridley (Blyth), and W. Golding (Newcastle) were appointed for the purposes of arranging a monthly list of referees &c.
A motion was proposed by the representative of the Rendel club that all players in Alliance matches should be purely amateur, but this motion was lost. It was however decided that Sunderland A and Newcastle United A must not play more than two league players in any match.
To give interest to the competition Mr. Watson proposed that a cup should be provided for the winning club. He was certain that some of the principal clubs would play matches to provide funds to obtain the trophy. Mr. Golding said Newcastle United A would also play any of the district clubs for the same purpose on a Saturday. It was decided that the matter of the provision of a cup should be left over.

Northern Alliance final table 1893-94

Final Table 1893-4

Season 1894-1895

Northern Alliance final table 1894-95

Final Table 1894-5

No sooner had Sunderland A won the championship than a protest was lodged by Blyth; they claimed that Sunderland had taken an unfair advantage by using more Football League players than permitted under Alliance rules. A meeting of the Northern Alliance committee was held at the Express Hotel, Newcastle, on 14-5-1895. Mr Jonathan Ridley, representing Blyth, claimed that Sunderland A had fielded three League players for their match against Willington Athletic on Easter Monday. Mr Tom Watson for Sunderland repudiated the charge. The matter was put to the vote and the protest was dismissed. Sunderland remained champions on goal average.

Season 1895-1896

During this season the Northern Alliance comprised two divisions; Division 1 was the "old" Alliance, and Division 2 was a competition for the reserve sides of the non-Football League clubs. Two teams, Shankhouse and Axwell Rovers, withdrew from Division 2 in mid-season. Their goals for and against were deducted from the clubs which had played them, and all clubs were assumed to have gained maximum points from them.

Northern Alliance Division 1 final table 1895-96

Division 1 Final Table 1895-6

Northern Alliance Division 2 final table 1895-96

Division 2 Final Table 1895-6

Season 1896-1897

Northern Alliance final table 1896-97

Final Table 1896-7

Hebburn Argyle

Hebburn Argyle - Northern Alliance Champions 1896-97

Season 1897-1898


The Annual Meeting of the Northern Alliance was held in the Hotel Metropole, Newcastle, on Saturday 11th June, 1898. Mr. R. Campbell (President) was in the chair. He congratulated Newcastle United A on winning the Championship.

A number of proposed Rule changes were brought forward and voted upon;
A motion proposed by South Shields to amend rule 2 to increase the number of clubs in the Alliance to 16 was defeated.
A motion proposed by Gateshead N.E.R. to amend rule 2 to reduce the number of clubs in the Alliance to 12 was defeated.
A motion proposed by Rendel and Gateshead N.E.R. to amend rule 7 to require a deciding match to be played when there is a tie on points for championship runners-up, rather than using goal average, and to require all players taking part in such a match to have played at least three Alliance matches during the season was carried.
A motion proposed by Newcastle United defining a "League player" as one who has played at least three First or Second division league matches during the season was carried.
A motion proposed by Hebburn Argyle setting the minimum admission charge at Alliance matches to 4d was carried.

The four bottom clubs - Rendel, Sunderland A, Blyth and Birtley retired, and there were applications for admission from Leadgate Exiles and Mickley. Rendel, Sunderland A, Blyth and Birtley were re-elected.

The secretary, Mr. J. Conqueror, read his report. Just prior to the start of the season Southwick had been obliged to resign, but Wallsend Park Villa had been admitted in their place and the Alliance had operated throughout the season with a full complement of 14 clubs. Newcastle United A had won the championship with the best-ever record; played 26, won 21, lost 2, drawn 3, goals for 73, goals against 23, for a total of 45 points. He congratulated Jarrow who had finished as runners-up; during the season there had been keen competition between the two, and out of 33 Saturdays Newcastle had been top 26 times and Jarrow 7 times.
There had been only five protests lodged, of which three had been dismissed. 634 players had been registered, an increase of 43 on the previous season.

The treasurer, Mr. Murray, was not able to give such a favourable report; the season had commenced with an adverse balance of £9 11s 7½d; expenditure had been £19 18s 11½d, leaving a balance of £6 7s 4½d, however overdue subscriptions amounted to £20 12s 6d. He hoped that clubs would respect their obligations. The report was accepted.

The following officers were elected: Mr. R. Campbell was re-elected president; Mr. A. Murray, treasurer; Mr. J. Conqueror, hon, sec.; emergency committee, Mr. R. S. Johnson, Mr. J. T. Patten, Mr. R. Robson, Mr. D. Morrison and Mr. R. Bennett, together with the president and secretary; auditors, Mr. R. Hobson and Mr. Geo. Wardle.

The last table to be published in the main Newcastle newspapers was dated 11th April 1898. The table below appeared in the "Northern Gossip" Football Guide, and is reproduced with thanks to Bob Wray.

Northern Alliance final table 1897-98

Final Table 1897-8

Season 1898-1899

Northern Alliance final table 1898-99

Final Table 1898-9

Season 1899-1900


The annual meeting of the Northern Alliance competition was held in the Metropole Hotel, Newcastle, on Saturday1, Mr. Murray (the President) was in the chair. The members present included Mr. R. Glass (Secretary), Mr. D. Morrison (Jarrow), Mr. Johnstone (Willington Athletic), Mr. Robson (Shankhouse), Mr. Milne (Newcastle United A), Mr. Brown (Hebburn Argyle), Mr. Watson (Sunderland A), Mr. Robson (Middlesbro A), Mr. Allen (St Peters), Mr. Harrison (Gateshead), Mr. Harrison (South Shields), Messrs. Crute and Brydon (Stanley), Mr. Ross (Leadgate), Mr. Knox (Birtley), and Messrs. Walker and Laverick (Wallsend).

The Secretary (Mr. Glass) in his annual report said the interest in their competition was well maintained throughout the season, although he had to admit that the gates had diminished in some quarters to an alarming extent. He attributed this state of affairs to the admission fee. People could not be expected to pay 4d. to see their matches, when, within practically a stone's throw, First League games could be seen for 6d. The fight for championship honours produced as great tussle between Newcastle United A and Willington Athletic, the latter eventually obtaining the verdict by two clear points. The Cup thus found a new resting place. To the new clubs - Leadgate Park and Middlesbro' - praise was due for their position in the table at the close of the season. had been the most disappointing club from the Alliance point of view, for they descended from premier position to that of ninth. Of the remaining clubs nothing further need be said. They had done about as well as usual. In the ranks of their clubs were many players of sterling merit, and if evidence of this fact were needed, they had it in the fact that during last season First League men were supplied to Newcastle United, Sunderland, Everton and Sheffield United. Without exception, all these recruits to brighter honours had done well. He congratulated the meeting on the financial position of the Alliance during the past year. For the first time in the history of the Alliance, for some years at least, had the receipts practically covered the expenditure. This was due, in no small measure, to the proceeds of the benefit match played at South Shields, when a sum of £9 10s. 1d. was cleared. This match, although fairly successful from a financial point of view, was simply a fiasco so far as football was concerned. This was a great pity, as it was not to be expected that the public would attend games of this sort for so poor an exhibition. He thought that they would agree with him in saying that they had seen the last of Northern Alliance inter-county matches. This was to be regretted, as an annual fixture of such importance, entered into for mutual benefit, ought to have proved a great attraction to the public. He proposed as an alternative to fix an annual match with the Northern League, to be played alternately in each other's territory. Such a match ought to prove an interesting encounter, and would doubtless receive the support of the public, if the best players in both combinations were selected to take the field. Another match (sic) which showed a lack of care on the part of club secretaries was the fact that no less than four clubs had points deducted for playing ineligible players. By force of circumstances Hebburn Argyle and Birtley were unable to complete their fixtures. To remedy this, he proposed that no game should be allowed to be fixed for the last two Saturdays of the season. During the year, 688 players were registered, and 23 transferred. Regarding the dissatisfaction that had sometimes been felt at the decisions of the committee, he appealed to the clubs to take any decisions against them in a sportsmanlike fashion. (Applause)
Mr. Ross (Leadgate) moved, and Mr. Brown (Hebburn) seconded the adoption of the report, which was carried unanimously.

The Chairman (Mr. Murray) presented the annual financial statement, which showed on an income of £44 13s. 7d., a balance in hand of £1 18s. When the arrears were paid in there would be a balance of £3 9s. 6d. There was, however, and outstanding amount for medals of £17 1s., but he trusted a proposed increase of subscriptions would soon remedy this.
Mr. Morrison moved, and Mr. Johnstone seconded, the adoption of the report, which was carried.

After some discussion regarding the arrears owing by some of the clubs, it was resolved to give the clubs concerned the period of one week in which to pay their indebtedness.

As to the item on the agenda "Election of clubs," the Chairman suggested that they should first of all consider the proposals to alter the rules fixing the composition of the Alliance. There were two proposals, one from the Newcastle United, that the Alliance should consist of 16 clubs, and one from Jarrow, that it should consist of 12 clubs.
The Secretary announced that the clubs applying for admission to the Alliance were Mickley, Prudhoe, Morpeth Harriers, Annfield Plain Celtic, Thornaby and Consett Swifts.
Mr. Milne (Newcastle United) moved, and Mr. Crate (Stanley) seconded, that the Alliance should consist of 16 clubs. Their reason was that it would tend to all the clubs in the competition having full dates throughout the season.
Mr. Ross, Mr. Morrison and Mr. Johnstone the proposition. Even with 14 clubs they were unable to find time to play cup ties &c.
Mr. Robson said four additional Alliance matches would always be of advantage, especially at holiday times, when friendly fixtures were at a discount.
The proposal of Mr. Milne was lost by seven votes against five.
The Jarrow proposal that the Alliance should consist of 12 clubs was withdrawn.
The Alliance for the coming year will thus consist of 14 clubs as in 1889-90.

The representatives of St. Peter's and Shankhouse, the two retiring clubs, were then called in, and both on the score of old association, pleaded for re-admission.
The representatives of the Mickley club (a new applicant), stated that they had a properly enclosed ground, and that they closed the season with a balance of £38.
Prudhoe claimed consideration on their healthy condition, and on the fact that they had won the Tyneside League very easily. The representatives said they had an unlimited scope of good and steady players, and he felt sure they would make a good show in the Alliance. They had a good ground and pavilion.
The Morpeth Harriers' representative said they had a strong team, which had only been defeated three times last season. They were, besides, the Northumberland Senior Cup finalists. Their field was a few minutes from the station.
Annfield Plain Celtic applied for admission for the fifth time. The representative said the club had good accommodation midway between Stanley and Leadgate.
Thornaby's representative said they had a fair good team, a good ground, a capital railway service, and a large population. If admitted, they would do all they possibly could to beat every club in the Alliance. They were the winners of the Cleveland Amateur Cup last season. If the application was favourably received, the team would be run on professional lines.
The Consett Swifts' representative said they had a good ground, and good accommodation for players. The club was well supported in Consett.

The voting by ballot resulted as follows:- St. Peters 7; Shankhouse 6; Thornaby 4; Morpeth Harriers 3; Annfield Plain 2; Consett Swifts 1; Mickley 1; and Prudhoe 0. The two retiring clubs were thus re-elected, and the combination of the Alliance remains unchanged.

1. The date of the AGM was 9th June

Northern Alliance final table 1899-1900

Final Table 1899-1900

Season 1900-1901


The Annual Meeting of the Northern Alliance was held in the Hotel Metropole, Newcastle, on Saturday 1st June, 1901. Mr. A. Murray (President) was in the chair.

Mr R. Glass (Hon. Secretary), in presenting the annual report, said the Northern Alliance had had another successful season notwithstanding the defection of two clubs (Birtley and St. Peter's Albion), who after commencing the season with them, were compelled, for various reasons, to retire. They had been fortunate in getting two strong teams, Thornaby and Morpeth Harriers, to take their place and they had done remarkably well in escaping from the bottom positions.
He congratulated the champions, Newcastle United A, and runners-up, Sunderland A.
During the season 734 players had been registered and 20 transferred.

Mr. D. Morrison, treasurer, said that income during the year was £47 10s 6d, and expenditure £43 6s 9d. Every club had paid its subscription, which was a record.

Mr. Bell (South Shields) moved that Rule 2 should read, "The Alliance shall consist of not more than 14 clubs." The motion was carried.

The retiring clubs, Shankhouse and Stanley, and the new applicants, Ashington, Consett Town Swifts, Prudhoe, Seghill, Chester-le-Street and Mickley, put their respective cases for election. It was moved by Mr. Geoff Milne that the Alliance should consist of 14 clubs, however an amendment was tabled by South Shields reducing this to 12 clubs on the grounds of economy, specifically travelling expenses. After discussion voting was eight for the amendment and seven against. All eight applicants were therefore advised that their applications had been unsuccessful1.

The following officials were elected:- Mr. Murray was re-elected President; Mr. R. Glass was re-elected secretary; Mr. D. Morrison was re-elected treasurer; and Messrs. Bell and Paton were elected auditors.

1. Notwithstanding this decision, when the 1901-2 campaign began the Alliance once more comprised 14 clubs.
Shankhouse had been re-elected, and Prudhoe elected to membership.

Northern Alliance final table 1900-01

Final Table 1900-1

Season 1901-02


The annual meeting of the Northern Alliance was held at the Hotel Metropole on Saturday afternoon (7th June) before a large attendance. Mr. A. Murray presided. The Secretary, Mr. R. Glass, in presenting the report for the past season, stated that the season had been a successful one. The fixtures had been more than usually upset through cup ties, and at one time it seemed impossible to complete the list, but fortunately the full compliment of games had been got through. Newcastle United A were again champions with only one defeat, and that at the hands of Leadgate Park. The record for Newcastle during the past two seasons had been remarkable. Credit was due to the runners-up, Sunderland A, who for the second season in succession occupied that position. Of the other teams, perhaps Morpeth Harriers and Shankhouse might be singled out for special mention, as they had certainly shown improved form. Sympathy was extended to the wooden-spoonists, South Shields, who had had such a struggle with adversity. The sphere of their operations as a body would appear, judging from the number of players who had been drafted into League clubs, to be the hunting ground of the poacher. Clubs could not live without support of the public, and in East Northumberland there were signs of the old interest reviving, and he hoped that such would continue. The sole reason of drooping interest was not that Alliance football had deteriorated, but that the First League games were more attractive to hundreds of Alliance supporters.

Mr. D. Morrison, treasurer, in submitting his annual statement, complimented the body on its healthy financial position. The income during the season had been £56 7s 8d, and the expenditure £43 19s 1d, the balance in hand for the season being £14 8s 7d as against a balance of £4 3s 9d. The treasurer's report was unanimously adopted.

In reply to a question from the Chairman, Mr. Milne, of the Newcastle United club, stated that although they had gone over to the Northern League, they still intended to run a Northern Alliance team also. Why this course had been taken was that it would give them a chance of playing a number of their men who would otherwise be idle.

Some discussion followed on the matter, and then Mr. Frank Watt, of the Newcastle team, offered a few remarks on the subject. He stated that they need have no fear as to the strength of the intended Alliance team, and a new ground had been taken in order that all the games might be got through. On the motion of Mr. Morrison, the Newcastle team were refused admission by nine votes to one.

Mr. F. Watt gave notice of appeal to the Council of the Football Association on the matter.

South Shields and Jarrow were re-elected, and for the three vacant positions caused by the retirement of Newcastle United A, Sunderland A and Middlesbrough A, the following teams applied for admission:- Stanley, Darlington St. Hilda's, Consett Town Swifts, Annfield Plain Celtic, Ashington and Mickley.

After a few remarks from the representatives of these clubs regarding their financial position, etc., a vote was taken, and resulted as follows: Mickley 13, Ashington 10, Consett 7, Stanley 7 and Annfield Plain Celtic 1. On a second vote being taken for the third position, Consett were elected by 8 votes to 4.

The election of officers for the coming season was then proceeded with, and resulted as follows:- President, Mr. A. Murray (re-elected); secretary, Mr. R. Glass (re-elected; treasurer, Mr. D. Morrison (re-elected); auditors, Messrs. Bell and walker; emergency committee, Messrs. T. Bell, A. A. Robertson, W. Robson, W. Walker and F. Collinson.

Votes of thanks concluded the meeting, and the members afterwards partook of tea provided by the Newcastle United club.

The last table to be published in the main Newcastle newspapers was dated 26th April 1902, when there were still 11 fixtures to be played. At the time Jarrow and South Shields were occupying the bottom two positions, and from the report above it is clear that this had not changed by the end of the season.

Northern Alliance final table 1901-1902

League Table 1901-1902 (incomplete)

Notwithstanding their re-election, both the Jarrow and South Shields clubs were disbanded before the start of the 1902-03 season. Thornaby withdrew also, and the three vacancies were filled by Annfield Plain Celtic, Dudley Wanderers and Stanley.

Season 1902-1903

Northern Alliance final table 1902-03

Final Table 1902-3

Season 1903-1904

Northern Alliance final table 1903-04

Final Table 1903-4

Consett Swifts and Dudley Wanderers retired in accordance with the rules, and applications for membership were received from Blaydon, North Shields Athletic and Hylton Rovers (applying under the name of Shields Town). Both Dudley Wanderers and Consett Swifts were re-elected.

Season 1904-1905


The Northern Alliance Annual General meeting was held in the Co-operative Hall, Willington Quay on Saturday 5th June. Mr. R. Glass, secretary, presented his report. He regretted that the table was in a poor state; 2 fixtures had not been completed, and Burradon had resigned late in the season. Willington Athletic were the champions, and Dudley Wanderers and Consett Swifts were at the bottom of the table again.
The Appeals Committee had met once, when Wallsend had successfully appealed against a fine of 10s for failing to play Consett.
Mr D. Morrison, treasurer, gave his financial statement. Total income, including a carry-forward of £26 0s 6d, had been £85 6s 1d. Expenditure had been £58 15s 3d, leaving a balance of £26 10s 10d. The report was accepted.
Three vacancies had arisen in the League due to the defection of Burradon and the retirement of Consett Swifts and Dudley Wanderers. There were seven applicants: Consett Swifts, Walker Parish, Bensham Villa, Newcastle East End, Blackhill St Mary's, Berwick Rangers and Dipton. Consett Swifts, Walker Parish and Newcastle East End were elected.
The following officers were elected: President; A. Murray (Newcastle), re-elected: secretary; R. Glass, re-elected: treasurer D. Morrison, re-elected: auditors; Messrs. W. Walker and R. Robson, re-elected: emergency committee; R. Robson, W. Walker, J. Bennett, J.W. Wright: appeals committee; J. Ridley (Blyth), W. Tiffin (Newcastle), W.G.F. Thompson (Medomsley).

Season 1905-1906


A fearful three-cornered row broke out at the end of this season between the Northern Alliance, the Tyneside League and the Northumberland FA. The cause of the row was an application by the Tyneside League for permission to increase their membership. Approval was given, but it then emerged that the new members would be coming from the Northern Alliance. The permission was hastily withdrawn at the next Northumberland FA Council meeting at the instigation of Mr. R. Glass, secretary of the Alliance.

Matters came to a head on 30th April 1906 at an acrimonious meeting in the Empress Hotel, Westgate Road, Newcastle. Representatives of all 16 Alliance clubs were present. The Chairman, Alex Murray, called for a free expression of views, and he was not to be disappointed. The Consett Swifts representative complained that the North-West Durham clubs had known nothing of what was going on, and he felt that they had been treated unfairly. In reply, Tom Bell of North Shields Athletic stated that they had not yet made an application to join the Tyneside League, but the felt that the time was right for the mid-Tyne clubs to join a league which was not as expensive as the Alliance. At this point the Chairman, showing a remarkable lack of impartiality, said he objected to the way the clubs had gone about their business without thinking of the other league members. David Morrison of Jarrow said it would be impossible for clubs on the Tyne to continue as before; he cited examples of matches where the gate takings had been no more than a guinea, of which they had to pay the referee 10 shillings, on top of other overheads. The discussion became very heated, with the representative from Stanley, Mr Bennett, maintaining that the claimed difficulties with travel to North West Durham was nothing more than "a lame excuse".

The meeting broke up with eight clubs re-stating their intention to resign from the League - Gateshead, Hebburn Argyle, Jarrow, Newcastle East End, North Shields Athletic, Walker and Willington. However, Hebburn Argyle later switched allegiance to the newly-formed North Eastern League. This fragmented the solidarity of the mid-Tyne Alliance clubs, and their threatened switch to the Tyneside League did not materialise.

Northern Alliance final table 1905-06

Final Table 1905-6

Season 1906-1907


The annual meeting of the Northern Alliance was held on Saturday 1st June 1907 at Gregg's Cafe, North Shields. There was a full attendance of representatives. Mr. A. Murray, of Newcastle, presided.

The Secretary congratulated the champions, North Shields, and the medal winners, Wallsend. He was pleased that the rumours that North Shields might be about to leave the Alliance were untrue. He observed that the cry that too many young men were watching the game rather than taking part did not apply to this district; during the past season 900 players had been registered by the Alliance.

The Financial Statement revealed that income for the year had amounted to £55 5s 3d, including a balance from the previous year of £10 14s 9d. Expenditure had been £52 9s 7d, leaving a balance of £2 16s 8d.

North Shields Athletic proposed that the number of clubs in the Alliance be increased from 13 to 15. Annfield Plain Celtic proposed that it should be increased to 16. On a show of hands the former proposal was adopted 1.

Rutherford College retired according to the rules, and there was discussion as to whether both Jarrow and Newcastle East End should also retire. It was resolved that they should remain in membership. Rutherford College were then unanimously re-elected.
This meant there were two vacancies for which eight applications had been received. A vote was taken with the following outcome: Kingston Villa 8; South Shields Adelaide 7; Blyth Spartans 6,; Blaydon United 3; Bedlington United 2; Sunderland West End 0; Leadgate Exiles 0; Consett Swifts 0. The two former were thus elected.

Annfield Plain proposed that By-law 4 should be changed to charge 4d admission instead of 3d. On a vote the proposal was defeated.

The following officials were elected:- President, Mr. A. Murray, Newcastle; secretary, Mr. R. Glass; treasurer, Mr. G. T. Easten, Rutherford College; auditors, Messrs. Walker and Russell.
Emergency Committee:- Messrs. T. W. Bell, G. T. Easten, J. Lishman, W. Walker.
Appeals Committee:- Messrs. J. Glover, Darlington; J. Ridley, W. Tiffin.

1. Notwithstanding this decision, when the 1907-8 campaign began the Alliance had increased to 16 clubs and Blyth Spartans had been elected to membership.

Northern Alliance final table 1906-07

Final Table 1906-7

Season 1907-1908

Northern Alliance final table 1907-08

Final Table 1907-8

Season 1908-1909


The annual Meeting of the Northern Alliance was held in the King's Head Hotel, Blyth, on Saturday 5th June, 1909. Mr. R. S. Johnson, of Wallsend, presided over a good attendance of club representatives.

Mr Glass presented the following report:-
It gives me pleasure, in producing my tenth annual report, to announce that the past season has been the most successful in the history of the Northern Alliance, which has now seen 19 seasons. Many people thought that the severance of North Shields Athletic, South Shields Adelaide, and Wallsend Park Villa would prove the undoing of our body, but, as I prognosticated at the last annual meeting, the reverse has been the case, for never since the organisation was formed has there been such keen rivalry. The contesting teams were so evenly matched that it was not until well into April that Blyth Spartans were assured of the championship. The performance of the Spartans is, indeed, a splendid one, and they undoubtedly deserve the honours. The success of the Spartans must be more to Mr. Jonathan Ridley, their estimable secretary, than anyone else, as it was always his ambition when the old Blyth club were with us and in their heyday to gain the proud position held by the Spartans. Now that his wish is gratified I trust some other club will wrest the championship from them next season, for it is only by the honours going round that increased interest is added to the competition. Too much praise cannot be given Byker East End, Blaydon United, and Bedlington United, who for a first season have more than fulfilled expectations. To Byker we must offer our congratulations in attaining the position of runners-up in their initial season, a performance I do not remember ever having been equalled. Mickley also hold a higher position than is their wont, and Newcastle East End have improved beyond recognition. Some of our older clubs, such as Willington and Morpeth, have shown poor form, and in consequence appear in a lowly position on the chart of merit. Our work both on the field and in committee has passed with scarcely a jar, and it does seem a pity that one club alone should be responsible for the incomplete nature of the table. It certainly looks badly for a tournament of some standing to close the season with an unfulfilled match, and I trust we have seen the last table with an incomplete record.

That our class of football has not deteriorated has again been demonstrated when we have met North-Eastern League clubs in Cup-Ties, for success has invariably been ours, and on more than one occasion in no uncertain manner, as our opponents can testify. It is pleasing to note there has not been so much objection to referees as formerly. On looking through the Referee List, I find that no less than 33 officials have not had an opportunity to show their capabilities. This, surely, is not as it ought to be, for if a man is good enough to be placed upon the list, he should at least have a trial. Once again I have to complain of the number of players signed who have never taken part in a single match. There are hundreds of them, and this causes a great amount of unnecessary work. Judging by the number of players signed by some of the clubs, it would appear that no enquiry was made regarding them at all. If such a state of affairs is again in evidence a system of charging for each registration form will perforce have to be instituted.

I am pleased to say that the benefit match, Champions v Rest of Alliance, played at Blyth on April 17th, was a great success, financially and otherwise. For this we are greatly indebted to Blyth Spartans, and also to the players and officials of the other clubs who did their utmost to make the match a success. Personally, I think an endeavour should be made to make this fixture an annual one, for it is both a benefit to the Alliance and the players taking part.

I think I have said all that is necessary concerning the doings of last season, and in conclusion I beg to thank all the Club secretaries for their assistance; and to Mr. R. S. Johnson your President, I am greatly indebted for his willing help. When I tell you he has not missed a single meeting you will, I am sure, appreciate his work.

On the motion of the Chairman the report was unanimously adopted without any comment concerning it.

The Treasurer's report, read by Mr. C. Bell, in the unavoidable absence of Mr. G. T. Easten, showed receipts amount to £65 6s. 5d., including £11 1s. from the benefit match at Blyth for the Alliance funds. The balance in hand totalled £15 11s. 5d. The report was adopted, and a letter was read from Mr. Easten resigning his position as Treasurer.

On the motion of the Byker representative the resignation was accepted with regret.

Mr. J. W. Wright, one of the auditors, called attention to the Gateshead club, and suggested that clubs should not be allowed to go on fulfilling their tournament fixtures right up to the end of the season while indebted financially to the Alliance. It was stated on behalf of the Gateshead club that it was not intended to seek re-admission to the Alliance. The club intended to seek affiliation with a minor competition.

With regard to the tournament clubs, Gateshead Town dropped out, and in addition to Kingston Villa, obliged to retire owing to their position in the Alliance, applications were made by Jarrow Caledonians, Leadgate Park, Craghead United, Birtley, Consett Swifts and Dipton United for the two vacancies1.

The voting resulted as follows:- Elected - Kingston Villa, 12; Jarrow Caledonians, 12; Birtley, 10; Not elected - Consett Swifts, 3; Leadgate Park, 1; Dipton United, 1; Craghead United, 0.

The following were elected as officers for the coming season:- President, Mr. R. S. Johnson; secretary, Mr. R. Glass; treasurer, Mr. J. W. Wright; auditors, Messrs. C. Bell and J. Ridley; emergency committee, Messrs. J. Ridley, C. Bell, J. Lennox and J. Norton; appeals committee, Messrs. W. Tiflin, J. Glover and J. Patten.

In thanking the clubs for his re-election the Chairman urged that something should be done in future to prevent clubs dropping out of the competition without paying their fees. But for Blyth Spartans last season, he said, the Alliance would have been in a precarious position.

Mr. Ridley introduced the question of vice-presidents of the Alliance, and said the Alliance was the only tournament of its kind which, so far as he knew, had no vice-presidents. He suggested that Mr. Alex Murray, and ex-president of the Alliance, should be elected as a vice-president. There was ready support for the proposal, but the Chairman intimated that the suggestion could not be carried out this year as it involved a change of rules.

A vote of thanks was unanimously accorded Mr. Easten for his past services as treasurer of the Alliance.

It was decided to hold a meeting of representatives at the Express Hotel, Newcastle, on Wednesday night, June 16, for the purposes of arranging next season's fixtures. The committee of the Blyth Spartans club subsequently entertained the representatives to tea, and at this function the tournament medals were presented to the winners and runners-up.

1. There were actually three vacancies due to the mid-season resignation of Jarrow, confirmed by the fact that three clubs were elected.
2. Byker East End apparently changed their name to Newcastle City before the start of the following season.

Northern Alliance final table 1908-09

Final Table 1908-9

Season 1909-1910

Northern Alliance final table 1909-10

Final Table 1909-10

Season 1910-1911

Northern Alliance final table 1910-11

Final Table 1910-11

Season 1911-1912

Northern Alliance final table 1911-12

Final Table 1911-12

Season 1912-1913

Northern Alliance final table 1912-13

Final Table 1912-13

Season 1913-1914

Northern Alliance final table 1913-14

Final Table 1913-14

Season 1914-1915

Northern Alliance final table 1914-15

Final Table 1914-15

Seasons 1915-1916 - 1918-1919

After the completion of the 1914-15 season the Northern Alliance announced that it would be ceasing operations until the end of the war. Following the Armistice in November 1918 moves were made to resuscitate the competition for the 1919-1920 season. An AGM was held on 17th May 1919.


The annual meeting of the Northern Alliance was held on Saturday night at the Roma Cafe, Grainger Street, Newcastle. Mr. R. S. Johnson presided.

The following old clubs notified their intention of continuing their membership: Annfield Plain, Bedlington, Mickley, Newbiggin Athletic, Spen Black and White, and Willington Athletic.

It was decided that the competition for 1919-20 should consist of 16 clubs.

Applications were received from Newburn, Seaton Delaval, Birtley, Walker Celtic, Felling Colliery, Chopwell Institute, Close Works, Prudhoe Castle and Consett Celtic. Having heard the statements of these representatives it was decided that they should be admitted to membership.

The chairman announced that there was still one vacancy, but no action was to be taken as to the 16th club until the meeting for the making of fixtures. In welcoming the new clubs he trusted they would do their best to maintain the reputation of the Alliance, which was one of the best in the country.

The fixture meeting was fixed for June 14, following the annual meeting of the N.F.A. in Newcastle.

It was decided that the management of the league be vested in the old committee:- Messrs J Norton, T W Bell, W J Read, R Humble, J W Wright, and R S Johnson. Mr R S Johnson was elected chairman, Mt Humble as treasurer and Mr Wright as secretary.

It was decided that the old sum of £8 8s. be fixed as the entrance fee.

A letter was read from Mr J W Kirkwood, Secretary of the Newcastle and District Society of Association Referees, requesting that the referees in the Alliance should in the future be paid 12s 6d. plus third class travelling expenses.

It was stated by the secretary that the former fee was 7s. 6d. plus travelling expenses. It had been reduced to 5s. but it was the intention to return to 7s. 6d.

On a vote being taken it was unanimously decided that the old fee of 7s. 6d plus travelling expenses be paid.

At the fixture list meeting on 14th June there were four applicants for the last vacancy - Allhusen Works, Hebburn Colliery, Lintz Institute and Clara Vale. Allhusen's application was not accepted as they were already members of the Tyneside League, and after a close vote Hebburn Colliery were successful.

The full line-up as announced* was as follows:
Annfield Plain : Birtley : Bedlington United : Chopwell : Close Works : Consett : Felling : Hebburn Colliery : Mickley : Newbiggin : Newburn : Prudhoe Castle : Seaton Delaval : Spen Black & White : Walker Celtic : Willington Athletic

* By the time the season started some changes had taken place; Bedlington and Willington Athletic had been replaced by Lintz Institute and Preston Colliery.

Season 1920-1921


The annual meeting of the Northern Alliance was held at the Bridge End Hotel, Newcastle1, Mr. R. S. Johnson presiding.

Mr. J. W. Marsh, the secretary, presented the 26th annual report which stated that the standard of play at the beginning of the season was exceptionally good, and it was maintained during the cup-tie period, when a falling-off is usually noticeable, as far as league games are concerned.

The Alliance had ever been the hunting ground for English League clubs, when requiring young players; and to such a extent were the more prominent clubs of the previous season deprived of their talent that Annfield Plain, Mickley and Walker Celtic, in particular, had to field practically new teams. The registration of players during the season had been exceptionally heavy, the average per club being over 60.

The financial statement showed an income of £136 2s 8d, and an expenditure of £100 7s 1d, leaving a balance of £35 15s 7d.

The Chairman, in moving the adoption of the report and financial statement, mentioned the effort that had been made on behalf of the family of the late Mr. Harry Elliott, the secretary of the Mickley Club, and said that £193 had come to hand, but there were still some subscription lists out and there were still about £40 to come in from the West Division. He hoped that before the fund closed the sum of £250 would be realised.

The report and financial statement were adopted.

It was decided to grant the Hon. Treasurer, Mr. R. Humble, an honorarium of £5 in recognition of his services.

Preston Colliery and Seaton Delaval, who had entered the North-Eastern League, tendered their resignations which were accepted.

It was decided to have 18 clubs in the competition instead of 16 as last season.

With the resignation of Preston Colliery and Seaton Delaval, and the automatic falling out of the Newbiggin Athletic who were at the bottom of the table, there were five places to fill.

There were fifteen applications for the vacancies as follows:- Crawcrook Albion, Dipton United, Seghill Park Villa, Percy Main Amateurs, Twizell United, Newbiggin Athletic, Backworth United, Hamsterley Colliery, Ouston Rovers, Morpeth Comrades, Hexham Comrades, Smith's Dock, Craghead United, Ashington Reserves and Durham City Reserves.

The following clubs were elected:- Ashington Reserves, Backworth United, Durham City Reserves, Craghead United and Hexham Comrades2.

The meeting then proceeded to consider alterations to rules. It was decided to increase the annual subscription to £5, to be paid in three instalments - £3 on or before October 1, £1 on or before December 1 and £1 on or before February 1.

The proposal to increase the charge for transfer forms from 6d to 1s each was defeated by a very large majority.

A proposal to add three representatives of clubs to the management committee was defeated.

The officials were re-elected as follows:- Mr. R. S. Johnson, President: Messrs T.W. Bell, Jonathan Ridley, W. Stainthorpe and R. Robson, vice-presidents; Mr. J. W. Marsh, secretary; and Mr. R. Humble, treasurer; Messrs W. J. Knox and J. Forster, auditors.

Mr. Jonathan Ridley, president of the Northumberland Football Association, afterwards presented the cup to Chopwell, the winners of the Northern Alliance and Mr. T W. Bell handed over the medals to Chopwell and Seaton Delaval, the latter being the runners-up.

1. The date of the AGM was 11th June 1921.

2. When the new season opened Hexham Comrades had changed their name to Hexham Town.

Northern Alliance final table 1920-21

Final Table 1920-1

Season 1921-1922

Northern Alliance final table 1921-22

Final Table 1921-2

Season 1925-1926


Amid expressions of considerable feeling, both of hope and regret, the old Northern Football Alliance ceased to exist on Saturday2. The 18 clubs of the competition, including the newly-elected Dipton and Seaham Harbour clubs, now go over in a body to the North-Eastern League as its second division.

Mr. T.W. Bell was in the chair at the final meeting of the Alliance, which was held in Newcastle.

Mr. J.W. March, the secretary, in his report stated:- "You have decided to alter your constitution, and I trust that it will be for the betterment of football generally in the district. Most senior leagues have come to realise that by joining forces and providing facilities for conducting the ever-growing business of organisation better results can be obtained than any official, however enthusiastic he may be, can provide in his own home."

The 32nd Annual report referred to the season as one of the most successful in the history of the Alliance.

Mr. J. Norton, the hon. treasurer, presented a statement which showed a balance of £42 7s 6d on the general account and £92 13s 1d on the Challenge Cup account.

Four of the management committee of eight, Mr. Bell, Mr. J. Norton, Mr. J. Stainthorpe and Mr. Chris Bell were elected to the management committee of the North-Eastern League.

1. From the Blaydon Courier, 19th June 1926

2. 12th June 1926

Northern Alliance final table 1925-26

Final Table 1925-6

Seasons 1926-1927 - 1934-1935

During this period the Northern Alliance was merged with the North Eastern League and became, in effect, its Second Division. It did not become an independent entity again until season 1935-6. The League tables covering this period have been published in "Non-League Football Tables 1889-2004", Soccer Books Ltd, ISBN 1-86223-105-2

Season 1935-1936

Northern Alliance final table 1935-36

Final Table 1935-6

Season 1936-1937

Northern Alliance final table 1936-37

Final Table 1936-7

Season 1937-1938

Northern Alliance final table 1937-38

Final Table 1937-8

Season 1938-1939

Northern Alliance final table 1938-39

Final Table 1938-9

Seasons 1940-1941 - 1945-1946

At its AGM following the completion of the 1939-40 season the Northern Alliance was unable to reach a decision on whether to continue during the forthcoming season, and the meeting was adjourned. The meeting was reconvened in the County Hotel, Newcastle on 10th August 1940. Having considered representations from clubs that they were unable to guarantee being able to raise a team it was decided, "that the Northern Football Alliance should suspend its operations during hostilities". All clubs currently in membership would retain their membership, and would be deemed full members "should they so desire whenever we again function". Deposits would be returned to clubs if they desired, upon application.

On 24th May 1946 a meeting was held at the County Hotel, Newcastle with the object of reviving the Northern Alliance. It was attended by 8 clubs who had formerly been members - Alnwick, Amble, Ashington, Newbiggin CW, Cramlington Welfare, Morpeth Town, Newburn and North Shields, together with a number of clubs who wished to apply for membership - Prudhoe East Park, Jarrow, Seaton Burn Welfare, Gosforth and Coxlodge, Shilbottle CW and Blyth Spartans. Lynemouth had also applied but did not attend the meeting. It was agreed to reform the league, and all applicants were accepted into membership.

Ref: Northern Football Alliance: Minutes of General Meetings and Management Committee meetings 1935-1958 - Tyne and Wear Archives cat. no. S.NFA/21

Season 1946-1947

Northern Alliance final table 1946-47

Final Table 1946-7

Season 1947-1948

Northern Alliance final table 1947-48

Final Table 1947-8

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