The Millfield picnic tables are one of the most popular viewing spots from which to take in the action – probably something to do with the proximity of the Hut bar and the club’s pitchside alcohol licence
For the 2021/22 season the club will be increasing the number of tables to seven from the current four to accommodate more supporters who would like to watch the game from that spot whilst sitting and enjoying a cooling beverage – and we will be naming each table in honour of a past Crook Town legend with an engraved name plate on each table.
And we want the Black and Amber supporters to help us pick the seven Legends to name the tables after.
Club Historian Michael Manuel has created a shortlist for supporters to pick from – the only stipulation the Club made was that the players must be from living memory (i.e. players that supporters could have seen play) so all nominees are from post World War Two. (Michael tried to give us a shortlist of 120 names but we’ve managed to get him to whittle it down to 22 past players)
So for the month of May the club are asking supporters to cast their votes for who they would like to see the tables named after.
And here are the 22 short listed players, along with a short biography to help you decide even if you didn’t see them play – in Michael Manuel’s words ‘I had a list of a hundred over the last 7 decades, but I’ve picked players you would put 2 pairs of socks on, long-johns and enough jumpers to look like Mr. Blobby on the coldest of days, even with a bout of flu, to watch play for Crook Town. You can worry about the cold on Sunday’
Roy Allen – Not with the club long, but in the 2005-06 season we couldn’t wait to hear the FA Vase draw on a Monday lunch time. Roy was the missing link in a good team in a most exciting season. Injury prone at this time of his career, he was nursed through the season by our able manager Alan Oliver and first class Physio Jimmy Vipond. The most memorable goal he scored was the winning goal at Arnold Town in front or 500 travelling Crook fans. 38 appearances, 29 goals.
Eddie Appleby – A professional “Foot Runner” specialising in sprint handicaps, Eddie joined Crook in the 1951-52 season, a season of great change at the club. Crowds of 5,000+ were regular, 9,000 v Spennymoor in the FA Cup, then 10,000+ v Pegasus, the Amateur Cup holders, 14,000 in the replay with Eddie scoring the only goal of the game with the Oxford University ground having to be used to accommodate the 14,000 crowd. Over 17,000 as the gates were broken down for the 4th round v Walton & Hersham. One of his highlights was scoring at Wembley, a County Cup winner 54-55, Durham Benevolent Bowl winner 1954-55. 210 appearances, scoring 65 goals. On a visit to Crook in 2010 he was proudly wearing his well looked after blazer with Crook badge that had been presented to him by the club in 1954. His sister said he wore it on all special occasions.
Allan Brown – A whole hearted player who joined Crook for the 1960-61 season. Loved nothing better than charging into to the opposition box daring defenders to tackle, we were all shouting “penalty” before a tackle was made. Twice an Amateur Cup winner scoring the winning goal in the 1964 Amateur Cup Final and a League Cup winner 60-61. League winner 62-63. He scored the winning goal in the first round of FA Cup v Carlisle United. On semi-final day v Barnet he got married in the morning then played in the afternoon, we won, just as well! 337 appearances, 17 goals.
Tony Butterfield – A class player who was always two moves ahead of the opposition. Tony made his first appearance for the club at 16 and became a regular in 1970. A chance to join Southampton was turned down and he had spells with Blyth and Bishop Auckland. Tony was a member of the side in the memorable seasons from 1976 to 1980. Very few players throughout the world in any class of football have the distinction of scoring a hat-trick of penalties in a 90 minute game, 28th March 1970 in a 5-2 win v Ferryhill on the Millfield. 361 appearances for the club scoring 58 goals, a good return for a full back. A good golfer and cricketer.
Frank Clark – A youngster at Crook starting on an amazing career. Only 38 appearances, taking over from Crook legend Bert Steward who’s career was cut short through injury. He played in all the rounds of the Amateur Cup but missed games through Youth duties. Played in 2 Youth Internationals and once for the England Amateur team v Holland in his time with Crook. Frank’s professional career is well documented and it was said in 1962, when he made the decision to play for Crook instead of going on tour with the England youth team ” If a player plays for his club instead of touring with the England Youth team, it speaks well about his loyalty and augers well for any professional club for whom he plays” and so it turned out. The club is proud to have a ex-player who is a First Division, League Cup and European Cup winner.
Arnold Coates – Crook supporters were disappointed when Arnold decided to try his hand at pro football with Queen of the South and a supporter wrote a poem ‘Crook Town received a blow when they heard that Coates was turning pro’. Arnold made his debut as a youngster in the 1954 season. Plagued by injury in 58-59 season, physio Mr. Tommy Slack nursed him through to the Amateur Cup final. After 18 months out through injury and some time at Evenwood, a friendly was arranged with Ramars FC on Jan 6th to qualify himself and Don Sparks for the first round of the Amateur Cup. Now supremely fit, he scored vital goals near the end of games when other players were flagging on difficult pitches. Also a good cricketer in the summer months. 74 appearances, 47 goals.
Bobby Davison – A late comer, Bobby was 22 before he took up the game. Played first for the club in the 1945-46 season and a League Cup winner. Bobby rejoined the club in 1951-52 and as captain skippered the team in inspiring fashion in 1952-53 he was a League Championship Winner, 1953-54 Amateur Cup winner and 55-56 County Cup winner. An imposing 6ft 2 inches tall and 13 st 4lb he was a commanding presence around the penalty area. Bobby worked at Marshall Richards and in the summer was a local professional cricketer. 227 appearances 23 goals.
Peter Garbutt – A tireless worker as an inside forward in his first season. 1961-62, an Amateur Cup winning season scoring 14 goals. Peter finished the 62-63 season as a right half, 10 goals including one against Hull City in the FA Cup first round. Peter was captain of the side in the 1963-64 season when an unfortunate injury to John Heatherington saw him move to centre half and he played so well he kept his place and played for England v Italy. Peter joined Carlisle United the following season 1964-65 and played until 1971. 125 appearances 33 goals.
Derek Gardener – Most capped Amateur International for the club, Derek was in the Great Britain squad until he decided to play in the 1962 Amateur Cup replay against Hounslow for Crook instead of a friendly for GB, and he was never chosen by GB again. A League Cup winner 59-60, County Cup winner 60-61, 2 Amateur Cup winner’s medal’s, captain in the 1962 final, sadly a disappointing injury in 1964 stopped a third Wembley final. A classy full-back, 246 appearances, 14 goals. Derek told Michael Maneul he had the ideal National Service, he played twice a week for his regiment, the rest of the time was a top PT instructor and then played for Crook on a Saturday, what could be better!
Charlie Gott – A whole-hearted defender, Charlie captained the club’s successful tour of India in 1976. The tour party were treated as celebrities and Charlie had to deal with the media every day. Because the tour squad included guest players, it was agreed that the squad would line up in a certain order so Charlie could memorise who would be where for the presentation before the game, but footballers being what they are, they all stood in different places to stitch him up. Half a million fans watched the 6 tour games that were played. Charlie was captain in the memorable seasons between 1976 and 1980. 114 appearances 16 goals. (Crook Town must be the only football club to have played on two World class cricket grounds on two different continents, The Oval, England 1958 and Eden Gardens, India in 1976, the first football match played there. Attendance 100, 000!)
Ken Harrison – 81 games and 94 goals! The committee finally got their man, making his debut on 9th Jan 1954. Amazingly, only playing 14 games in the season, 11 of them cup-ties, and scoring 18 goals, 11 of them in the Amateur Cup having missed the 1st round. A hat-trick in the semi-final v Walthamstow Avenue, two more in the first replay final and the all important winner in the second replay v Bishop Auckland, in the longest final ever. Ken played for England v Wales on the 24th of April. In the 1954 – 55 season the County Cup and Benevolent Bowl was won and he scored 2 goals in each game. Two goals that gave him great satisfaction were vs Derby County in the FA Cup 1st round and replay.
John Heatherington – Made his debut for Crook Town on August 26th 1959. A “play-anywhere ” signing, winning a Durham Challenge Cup medal in that season at left half, then the following season a League Cup winner at right half. During the 1961-62 season John made the centre half position his own in 1962, winning a Amateur Cup winners medal. In 1962-63 he played in all but one game, including 2 games in a club trip to Norway, with Crook winning a League Championship. Disaster struck the following season with a serious injury. Returned to the club in 1970 as a team coach. 289 appearances, 4 goals.
Fred Jarrie – Michael’s personal all-time favourite ” Fearless Fred” joined Crook in 1947 when the club were building after the war. The Amateur cup semi-final was lost in 1949 a big disappointment Fred went onto be a League winner in the 1952-53 season and was the keeper for the 1954 Amateur final. Newspaper articles complaining that Fred was not being picked for England were regularly written at the time. 315 appearances.
Ian MGraghan – A class defender Ian could have played at a much higher level. Ian signed for the 1991-92 season as the club were building following relegation and were on the brink of extinction. Thanks to the hard work of the committee interest in the club was renewed. Ian made 45 appearances in the 1994-95 promotion season, when 5 local players were regulars in the squad. Ian helped the club to a interesting 6 seasons up to the 99-2000 season. 304 appearances, 4 goals.
Jimmy McMillan – Making 505 appearances for Crook Town Jimmy’s first game was on September 17th 1951 vs Sunderland, an eventful night in the ground’s opening game after pitch improvements and his last game was on December 16th 1968 v Manchester City, another eventful night marking the switch on of the new floodlights. Jimmy was in the side when 17,000+ crammed in to the Millfield and in the side when the first Amateur Cup tie was shown on TV on a Saturday afternoon. One international cap to his name, numerous appearances for Durham County including a game against South Africa, 505 appearances for Crook scoring 94 goals, the only player in history to win 4 Amateur Cup winners medals and a Wembley goal, 2 League Championship medals 58-59, 62-63, 1 League Cup medal 60-61, 2 Durham Challenge Cup wins 54-55, 59-60 and 1 Durham Benevolent Bowl win, in fact most of the time Jimmy was at the club was eventful to say the least.
Keith McNall – Keith’s debut was made on November 8th 1980 v Horden away. ” The baby faced assasin” never looked older than 16, he scored 67 goals in 127 appearances over 4 seasons. Blackburn Rovers were at one time interested but Keith decided to remain local. Played for Crook at a time when Division 1 survival was a priority and his goals per game was top notch. Keith deserved to play at a higher level and went onto join Gateshead.
David Neil – David played his first game for Crook on August 28th in the 1990-91 season when the club were rebuilding after relegation. A consistent wing-back renowned for his great stamina, David played 340 games over 10 seasons scoring 20 goals. Played 39 games in the 94-95 promotion season and was equally at home in Division 1 the following season making 43 appearances. A whole-hearted player who always gave 100 per cent in a Crook Town shirt.
Dennis Pinkney – Mr. Crook Town AFC – making 527 Top Appearances scoring 6 goals. If Crook were ever in trouble Dennis was sent for, even turning out on 2nd sept 2006 32 years after making his debut on 25th Aug 1974. The best playing time for Dennis was during the 1980’s missing only 4 games in the 83-84 and 84-85 seasons, being ever-present in the second. Dennis’s only booking in his Crook Town career came in his last game, when asked why Dennis laughed and with tongue in cheek quipped, “Well he was 30 years younger than me and slightly quicker”.
Ray Snowball – A three time Amateur Cup winner, playing 325 games for the club. Amazingly a third of Ray’s games were clean sheets. His saves near half-time in the 1959 final were brilliant. In 1958-59 season the club did the League and Amateur Cup double. Played for the North v South Amateur international trial and twice for the Amateur Football Association. Another player who should have been capped for England, a 59-60 County Cup winner and a 60-61 League Cup winner.
Bert Steward – Bert’s debut was on August 23rd 1952, an all-round sportsman he was Consett Cricket Club’s opening bat for many years, and who established himself as left back until injury ended his career in 1961, playing 314 games scoring 15 goals. A League winner in 1952-53, Amateur Cup winner in the 1953-54 season and a County Cup and Benevolent Bowl winner in 1954-55. Bert was captain of the side that won the League and Amateur Cup in 1958-59, the County Cup 59-60, the League Cup 60-Roy 61 and the disappointment of losing 2 Amateur Cup semi-finals (57-58 & 60-61)
Ronnie Thompson – The schemer of the attack with skilful foraging and an eye for goal Ronnie is the record scorer for the club with 117 goals in 174 games, the only Crook Town player to score over 100 goals. A local school teacher who had the class & talent to play at a higher level. The five forwards each scored twice in the only time that 10 goals were scored in the 4th round of the Amateur Cup v favourites, Hitchin Town, to win the Trophy. In the unforgettable 1954 Amateur Cup final, he scored Crook’s first ever Wembley goal. Ronnie was also a 1954-55 County Cup and Benevolent Bowl winner scoring twice in both games. Injury curtailed his football but he enjoyed his golf.
Terry Turnbull – “Big T rules the skies” was the banner behind the goal. Terry was something that has deserted the game today, he was a character who related to the crowd, he even got legend status with the crowds on the India tour! In one game v Spennymoor he was left unmarked on the half-way line, ran through and stuck the ball in the net, jumped the fence, grabbed hold of a fan running down the bank (Michael Manuel), trod heavily on his foot and then went back on the field to receive a booking from a grinning referee. 147 appearances 54 goals