Wearside Football League

The Wearside Football League is a non-league football competition based in northern England. It consists of three divisions which sits at steps 7 to 9 (or levels 11 to 13) of the National League System and is a feeder to the Northern League Division Two.

Wearside Football League
Wearside League new logo.jpg
Organising bodyCounty Palatine of Durham Durham County Football Association
North Riding of Yorkshire North Riding County Football Association
Number of teams37
Level on pyramidLevels 11 and 12
Feeder toNorthern League
Promotion toNorthern League Division Two
League cup(s)Monkwearmouth Charity Cup
Shipowners' Charity Cup
League Challenge Cup

Founded in 1892, the Wearside League's level has fluctuated in its history, though it has typically sat below the Northern League. The league's high point was probably during the 1960s and 70s after several teams from the defunct North Eastern League joined it; Wearside League teams won the FA Vase in 1978 and 1981. With the restructuring of the National League System in the early 2000s its place at step 7 became fully established, helped by a merger with the Durham Alliance Combination League in 2017.[1] The league has expanded and contracted its number of divisions over the years, and as of 2021-22 consists of three divisions.

Although centred on Wearside and County Durham, the league has contained teams from Tyneside as well, with some geographical overlap with the Northern Football Alliance at the leagues' borders. Teams from Northern Cumbria and North Yorkshire also compete in the league. The league also operates three cup competitions: the Monkwearmouth Charity Cup and the Shipowners' Charity Cup, both of which have been contested since the 1890s, and the League Challenge Cup, which came into being in the 1930s.


The Wearside League came into being in 1892 at the instigation of Charles Kirtley, secretary of Sunderland Swifts. In June 1892, a letter written by Kirtley was published in the Sunderland Daily Post and The Herald in which he stated that he had been asked by several club secretaries about the possibility of forming an organisation to play home-and-home matches, so as to find out which was the best amateur team.[2] A similar letter was published in the Sunderland Daily Echo. At a meeting soon afterwards at the Central Coffee Tavern, eleven clubs agreed to form a league, which commenced playing later that year.

During the early years of the league most teams were extremely hard-up, and the league's archive records that one early club had no pitch but instead played on the sands by Sunderland Docks, and another had to play with an old rugby ball as they could not afford an association football ball. By the 20th century, however, the league was better off and was even able to organise matches to benefit local charities during World War I. After the Great War, the league was dominated for many years by colliery welfare teams – in the 1930s every league title was won by a pit team and the mining clubs continued to dominate right through to the 1970s, although an increasing number began to experience financial difficulties from the 1950s onwards due to shrinking workforces at the mines.

In 1964 the North Eastern League was disbanded and a number of its former teams joined the Wearside League. Around this time the team of the 24th Signal Regiment spent one season in the league but then had to withdraw as most of their players were posted overseas. In 1978 Blue Star became the first Wearside League club to reach the final of the FA Vase, and went on to win the trophy, the start of a run of success which would ultimately see them progress much higher up the non-league ranks. Three years later Whickham repeated the feat and also soon moved up to higher leagues. More recently, clubs such as Darlington Railway Athletic, North Shields, Newton Aycliffe, Ryhope Colliery Welfare and Willington have successfully moved up to the Northern League.

Member clubs for 2022–23 seasonEdit

First Division

  • Annfield Plain
  • Darlington Railway Athletic
  • Darlington Town
  • Durham City
  • Durham Corinthians
  • Durham United
  • Farrington Detached
  • FC Hartlepool
  • Gateshead Leam Rangers
  • Norton And Stockton Ancients Youth
  • Richmond Town
  • Shildon AFC Reserves
  • Shotton Colliery
  • Silksworth Colliery Welfare
  • South Moor
  • Windscale
  • Wolviston

Second Division

  • Belmont United
  • Billingham Town Reserves
  • Birtley Town Development
  • Bishop Auckland Reserves
  • Coxhoe Athletic
  • Feryhill Athletic
  • Hartlepool Pools Youth Seniors
  • Hetton Town
  • Hylton Colliery Welfare
  • Polton
  • Wearmouth CW
  • West Auckland Tunns
  • Wynard Village

Third Division

  • Barnard Castle
  • Billingham Synthonia Reserves
  • Chester Le Street United Reserves
  • Consett Reserves
  • Deerness Valley
  • Gateshead Leam Rangers Reserves
  • Hilda Park
  • New Durham AFC
  • Roseberry Park
  • Sunderland RCA Reserves
  • Wear United
  • Wynard Village Reserves

Past championsEdit

This is a list of champions since World War II.

Season Champions
1945–46 Birtley Town
1946–47 Seaham Colliery Welfare
1947–48 Easington Colliery Welfare
1948–49 Easington Colliery Welfare
1949–50 South Hetton
1950–51 Sunderland 'A'
1951–52 Sunderland 'A'
1952–53 Boldon Community Association
1953–54 Shotton Colliery Welfare
1954–55 Boldon Community Association
1955–56 Shotton Colliery Welfare
1956–57 Shotton Colliery Welfare
1957–58 Silksworth Colliery Welfare
1958–59 Langley Park Colliery Welfare
1959–60 Murton Colliery Welfare
1960–61 Shotton Colliery Welfare
1961–62 Ryhope Colliery Welfare
1962–63 Ryhope Colliery Welfare
1963–64 Ryhope Colliery Welfare
1964–65 Horden Colliery Welfare
1965–66 Ryhope Colliery Welfare
1966–67 Reyrolle
1967–68 Horden Colliery Welfare
1968–69 Darlington Reserves
1969–70 Horden Colliery Welfare
1970–71 Horden Colliery Welfare
1971–72 Horden Colliery Welfare
1972–73 Horden Colliery Welfare
1973–74 Blue Star Welfare
1974–75 Boldon Community Association
1975–76 Blue Star Welfare
1976–77 South Shields
1977–78 Whickham
1978–79 Wallsend Town
1979–80 Hartlepool United Reserves
1980–81 Chester-le-Street Town
1981–82 Seaham Colliery Welfare Red Star
1982–83 Blue Star
1983–84 Blue Star
1984–85 Blue Star
1985–86 Coundon TT
1986–87 Annfield Plain
1987–88 Whickham
1988–89 Dunston Federation Brewery
1989–90 Dunston Federation Brewery
1990–91 Eppleton Colliery Welfare
1991–92 Eppleton Colliery Welfare
1992–93 South Shields
1993–94 Hartlepool Town
1994–95 South Shields
1995–96 Marske United
1996–97 Boldon Community Association
1997–98 Annfield Plain
1998–99 North Shields Athletic
1999–2000 Nissan
2000–01 Nissan
2001–02 North Shields
2002–03 Birtley Town
2003–04 North Shields
2004–05 Darlington Railway Athletic
2005–06 Whitehaven
2006–07 Birtley Town
2007–08 New Marske Sports Club
2008–09 Newton Aycliffe
2009–10 Scarborough Town
2010–11 Ryhope Colliery Welfare
2011–12 Ryhope Colliery Welfare
2012–13 Stockton Town
2013–14 Stockton Town
2014–15 Stockton Town
2015–16 Stockton Town
2016–17 Jarrow
2017–18 Redcar Athletic
2018-19 Hebburn Town Reserves
2019-20 Season expunged due to Covid-19 pandemic
2020-21 Boldon Community Association
2021-22 Darlington Town


  1. ^ "Merger of leagues to build better future for Saturday adult football". Durham FA. 17 December 2017. Retrieved 17 December 2017.
  2. ^ "League History". Wearside Football League. Retrieved 14 July 2007.

External linksEdit