Portrack Shamrocks FC c1950s

t15216Back Row (l-r): J W Farthing, H Haris, E Fingleton, C Nock, R Roberts, C Callaghan, F King and C Birtch.
Kneeling (l-r): R Robson, R Jones, M Pearson, A Foster and J Cutler.

Photograph and details coutresy of Tom Collins.

12 thoughts on “Portrack Shamrocks FC c1950s

  1. The Coop shop was probably the most depressing I have ever come across. In the early fifties. It was huge and cavernous inside with long counters with nothing very interesting on sale. Reminded me of the stories about shops in Eastern Europe at the height of the Cold War.

    I seemed to be sent there to buy cheese and sugar. The cheese was cut from a big piece. The sugar weighed out into blue bags. The main attraction of the Coop was the “divi” or dividend. One got a coopen with the sale, and every so often, there was a cash payment. I remember my Gran-mother complaining how bad was the “divi” and how it was going down, all the time.

    The Coop’s dated from the Industrial Revolution when food was adulterated and of poor quality. Furthermore the owners of factories would pay part of the wages in food vouchers that could only be used at their own shops. This was the “tommy” system.

    As the food was usually dreadful, this is where the expression “Tommy Rot” comes from, a well known expression of my youth, implying a rubbishy, unbelievable story

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    • I played a season or so on Synthonias Belasis ground and believe Anon is correct. Benny is correct about Shamrocks ground, it was a bit rough to say the least, though they were always a good team. A good player who played for them and Synthonia in the fifties was Mick Walsh.

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      • A look at the Billingham Sythonia website shows that Mick Walsh played 54 games for the Synners scoring 36 goals in the process. An excellent scoring record in any standard of football.

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  2. Were was the photograph taken as this was not the Shamrocks ground… I remember playing one game on the Shamrocks ground and spent most of the game making sure I did not fall into a pothole… I worked with Henry Harris who was a boilermaker at Head Wrightsons Stockton Forge. Jackie Cutler lived near me in Hawthorne Road Primrose Hill. Jackie was a very tricky outside left who interested quite a few Football League Clubs during his career. A great pity the club folded up as I believe the Stockton FC club has recently had to close its doors also. Two very good Football clubs no more.

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    • It is Norton & Stockton Ancients who have withdrawn from the Northern League, but they will still be running women & youth teams, the original Stockton F.C. joined forces with Norton C.C.T. but had no say in the running of the club.

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    • Ronnie Roberts the goalkeeper was a welder in the Head Wrightson’s Bridgeyard, Thornaby, & is the cousin of Keith Roberts who was the lead guitarist in The Crestas.

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  3. Freddie King in this photo is the father of Peter & Graham who both played in Norton & Stockton Ancient’s team that won the Northern League Cup.

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  4. I would guess that JW. Farthing on the left, was the owner of a grocer’s shop on Portrack Lane between Lumley and Lenord Streets. As a young kid of about 10 years old, I never liked going there. The shop was always packed full of customers, mainly women, and Farthing would always serve these first as their time was more important than mine. Effectively one lost about five places and one could be waiting half an hour to get served.

    As I grew up I got more chance of getting served properly.

    Presumably Farthing’s prices were the lowest in Portrack and was the reason for the popularity of the shop, but I also think he was what was called a “big Catholic” and supporter of the Labour party which would have helped with many customers. The name Shamrock for this football tends to support what I am saying about his significant was religion in the old days.

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    • One other possible reason for Farthings being so popular was that he allowed some of his customers credit, which the Co-op on the corner of Nicholson Street wouldn’t. As I remember he had a daughter, Jennifer, who would be in her 50s now.

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      • I remember Willie Farthing and Jennifer. In the mid sixties I think someone called Bunny worked in the shop. If you wanted breakfast cereal they would use a long pole to knock it off a high shelf.

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