My Matchday - Federation Park

Newcastle Benfield Bay Plastics 1v0 Sunderland Nissan
Arngrove Northern League Cup Final
May 7th 2007
att. 304

(Revisiting Ground no.88 -1st visit Dunston Fed 1v3 Newcastle United XI,9th September 2002,Friendly)

I’ve been meaning to revisit Federation Park and do a feature on the home of ‘The Fed’ all season, so with the club playing hosts to this seasons Northern League Cup Final it was the ideal opportunity to see how the ground has developed since my last visit,and to see the battle for silverware in a classic Tyne v Wear clash as Newcastle Benfield Bay Plastics faced Sunderland Nissan.
Dunston Federation Brewery Football Club have played at Federation Park since 1986 after the club acquired the land from Gateshead Council and approaching the neighbouring local brewery to back the club with sponsorship and help with the clubs growth,they willingly agreed and renaming the club and ground after the brewery that gave us such beverage delights as LCL Pils Lager and the hangover phenomenon which is ‘Fed Special’
The clubs humble beginnings began back in 1975 when a group of workers at a factory on the Team Valley Trading Estate formed a football team and played in the Newcastle City Amateur League,after a good start the club set up base at the Bay Horse pub in Whickham under the title of Whickham Sports FC playing in the Northern Amateur League on a public park in Dunston,the club then decided to move closer to their pitch and set up new headquarters at the Mechanics Club in Dunston,so changing their name to Dunston Mechanics FC,joining the Northern Combination League in 1982.
With the new ground and the backing of the brewery behind them the club made rapid progress,winning the league and cup double in their first season and taking the step up into the Wearside League,where they enjoyed four successful seasons becoming champions twice along with winning the League Cup.
In the 1991-92 season the club took the next step up the football pyramid when they joined the Northern League Second Division,winning promotion in only their second season along with a quarter final appearance in the FA Vase.The Fed established themselves as one of the top clubs in the ANL and this came to a pinnacle in the 2003-04 season when the club won it’s first League title and cup double,and better still the same feat was also achieved by the Fed the following season.
Dunston is in the west end of Gateshead next to the world famous Metrocentre,Federation Park lies in between the residential and industrial parts of Dunston,access is gained via two entrances in the corners behind both goals,the main entrance has the clubhouse,changing rooms and ‘The Kabin’snack bar,where there is also a picnic type seating area,behind the opposite goal is an open standing area which has a lawn which spectators can use to have a lie down and watch the game at their leisure.
When I last visited the Fed the ‘Paul Gascoigne Stand’wasn’t built.this is a neat little stand which has a mixture of 120 brown bench and flip red seats,it also houses the PA System,Gazza is of course a famous son of Dunston and the club was proud to name their main stand after him,I always thought that the Geordie football genius had put his hand in his pocket and financed this stand,but when I enquired if this was the case I was surprised to find out he didn’t put a penny towards it,so Gazza still owes the club big time.
Adjacent to the main stand is ‘The Shed’ which mirrors in it’s appearance,but this is a standing terrace which has the dugouts in front of it and is a popular viewing area for Fed fans.
The pitch was in immaculate condition and worthy to host a cup final,Benfield were appearing in the League Cup final for the first time and the majority of the crowd (about 99.95%) were either supporters or lending their support to the team in all Blue,their opponents Nissan were coming off the back of the dissapointment of losing out on the league title on the last day of the season,they only needed a home win over Billingham Synners but lost 2-1,hence handing the title to Whitley Bay,so a win in the League Cup would be some consolation to what’s been a very good season for them.
The match was a tense encounter with Benfield showing the initiative early on with a couple of good chances,but as the game went on it was the defences that came out on top and the possibility of a stalemate and extra time loomed (which was no good to me as I had a date with Spiderman3 at the Metrocentre Odeon with the breadknife and kids at 3.15) it took the one piece of class in the game to clinch it as Benfield captain Alu Bangura struck a sweet free kick from the edge of the box to clinch the cup for the Tyneside club,on the final whistle the Benfield players celebrated as if they won the FA Cup,many congratulations to them on winning their first piece of silverware.

1 comment:

Pieman said...

Smid - as I said before, Nigel Maitland, Ian Scott and I were made extremely welcome by the Dunston Fed. officials on our visit some years back. They went out of their way to look after us.

I caught up with them again at an FA Cup reply at Cammel Laird a couple of seasons back. A very well run club.