Horden is back on the football map. Barely 18 months after Horden Colliery Welfare were kicked out of their Welfare Park home, the village’s new team made its first appearance on Saturday in a pre-season friendly.
The game, a lively 4-4 draw with Felling Magpies, represented a debut outing for the new Horden Community Welfare FC, a club formed by local enthusiasts after the original Colliery Welfare club was absorbed into Darlington Reserves part way through last season. Darlo reserves will continue in the Wearside League, while the new Horden club is looking forward to its inaugural season in the Durham Alliance.
More importantly, it brings football back to the historic Welfare Park ground, a high-quality facility, steeped in history, that was in danger of going to waste in the absence of a senior team in Horden. It took a group of local enthusiasts to resurrect the idea of a football club in the heart of this coastal village. After negotiations with the Parish Council, the club picked up the keys to the ground on July 14. A week of frantic spring cleaning had it looking smart for its first public engagement. And, happily, there was a decent turn-out on a drizzly Saturday afternoon to welcome the new team into action.
The new Horden club is firmly rooted in its community. There’s a sense that players, committee and supporters go back a long way. During the first half, it wasn’t unusual to see a home player trot over to take a throw-in and pause for a quick chat with a mate watching the game. Horden’s subs, not anticipating much action in the opening 45 minutes, spent much of their warm-up chatting to their marras; once the second half started one of them, Nathan Daniels, got the biggest cheer of the afternoon when he floated in a beauty from a good 25 yards.
Community spirit goes beyond the team and the touchlines, though. So far, 25 backers have pledged small monthly contributions to club funds. It might only be the odd fiver here and there, but it helps to pay the bills and maintains a connection between the players and the village. Local businesses – minicabs and carpets, gas and electric fitters, car dealers and the local rugby club – have also joined in to help get the team onto the pitch. Horden heroes of the past are also helping out: Brian Honour, local lad and Hartlepool Utd stalwart, is bringing an All-Star Pools XI along on August 27 for a showcase afternoon.
Just two weeks after the first training session, the performance was understandably inconsistent. An impressive first half brought two goals from Peter Crawford; Daniels’ strike made it 3-0. But then Felling, an established Northern Alliance team, began to play. Shaky marking allowed two close-range finishes, a penalty tied the scores and when a neatly converted one-on-one put the Magpies in front it looked as though the excitement might be wearing off all too quickly. A late Robbie Renwick free kick, curled into the top corner, earned a draw on a day when Horden’s football lovers were the real winners.
July 22, 2017
Welfare Park, Horden, England
Horden CW 4 Felling Magpies 4
Att: 100 (head count)