West Auckland have a unique history - they are double World Cup winners! In 1909 and 1911 the mining side travelled the lenghty and expensive journey to Italy and beat their club opponents to win the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy, also dubbed football's first World Cup.
The Club was founded in 1893 and played their first matches in the Auckland and District League. The following years saw 'West' move around several local leagues until in 1909 they were elected into the Northern league for the first time.
The famous 'World Cup' exploits which saw 'West' win the Sir Thomas Lipton trophy outright after a second trip to Italy in 1911 also caused them extreme financial problems. This resulted in the club being disbanded in 1912 and the 'World Cup' being sold to pay off debts.
Two years later they were back in business and spent the following 20 years moving around the local leagues including a single season, in 1919, in the Northern League, changing their name to St. Helens Utd, for that season only. In 1934 they were once again elected to the Northern League, taking the place of Esh Winning and have retained membership ever since.
The club's first honours were gained in 1960, winning the League championship by two points from newcomers Whitley Bay. The success was due to a good start to the season and to fine teamwork, for which their reputation was beginning to grow. The same season saw them reach the quarter final stage of the F.A. Amateur Cup drawing 1-1 at home but losing 2-0 at Hendon.
1961 was probably the best season in the Club's history, not only was the Northern League championship won by four points from near neighbours and arch rivals Bishop Auckland, 'West' also reached the final of the F.A. Amateur Cup losing 2-1 to Walthamstow Avenue, on their only visit to Wembley.
For the next 30 years 'West' had very barren times until 1991 when they won the 2nd Division championship gaining promotion to the 1st Division, where they remained for six seasons until relegation in 1996/97. 'West' quickly bounced back in 1997/98 when they finished runners up.
1998/99 was a very exciting season in the Club's history when they reached the 1st Round proper of the F.A. Cup for the third time, (Barnsley 1959 & Stockport 1961) with an away tie against Yeovil Town. After a 2-2 draw at Yeovil and a 1-1 draw at West Auckland, a penalty shoot-out saw Yeovil through. The Club also finished a credible 5th in the League that season as they did also in 1999/2000 and 2005/06.
David Bayles took charge in the summer of 2005 and led the side to 5th place in his first season (2005/06) and then 6th place in the following season. 2007/08 began with an FA Cup run that saw West within minutes of a place in the final qualifying round of the FA Cup before defeat in a replay to Bamber Bridge. After his shock resignation, Lee Ellison had a short lived spell as manager before Phil Owers took over and steadied the side and led them to escape the drop zone.
Owers departed early in the 08/09 season with Brian Fairhurst appointed as the new player manager. However after performances slumped to a worryingly low and 10 games without a win, Ray Gowan came in but even he was unable to arrest the slide and promptly resigned at the end of the campaign.
Exciting news filtered in throughout the summer of 2009. Firstly, West Auckland were able to retain their First Division status due to Sunderland Nissan folding. The Club then received sensational news that, to celebrate their Centenary of winning the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy, Juventus had agreed to a re-match in Italy. Shortly afterwards Hartlepool legend Brian Honour was appointed the new manager in the hot seat.
Brian and his successor Wilf Constantine struggled to get West back on track and both had short lived spells in charge. For the third season in a row, a third manager was appointed - Peter Dixon arrived on Monday 7th December 2009, swapping a promotion push with Crook for a relegation battle. West stunned the Northern League with some superb results and finished the season in a scarcely believable 16th place despite having a -41 goal difference and 5 points from 19 matches when Peter took the reins.
2010/11 saw substantial progress made on and off the field. Peter Dixon’s side broke Club records for their highest ever points tally on the way to finishing in 6th. There were many memorable results including wins over champions Spennymoor Town, runners up Consett and FA Vase treble winners Whitley Bay. They also came close to causing a shock at Conference North high fliers Workington in the FA Cup.
For the 2011/12 season the high profile capture of Michael Rae from Spennymoor highlighted West's ambitions and what a season it was! Although it culminated in a case of so near but so far, West had a quite extraordinary campaign that saw them play at Wembley in the FA Vase Final. However hopes of elusive silverware were dashed in a 2-0 defeat to Dunston. They also finished as runners up in two more competitions, being pipped to the title by Spennymoor and losing 4-1 by Team Northumbria days after their Wembley appearance.
Last season showed how far the team has progressed, now Peter Dixon & Co. will look to go one better this season and lift a trophy.Tweet