West Auckland Town Football Club known as “West” have a unique history as they are double world cup winners. The Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy, dubbed football’s first World Cup, was initiated by businessman, tea merchant and sporting enthusiast Sir Thomas Lipton, who wished to see a competition between the leading football clubs of Europe. The football associations of Italy, Germany and Switzerland duly complied, the Football Association of England refused to nominate a club. A lowly amateur club from the Northern League called West Auckland were entered, although it has never been clear why. One plausible explanation is that Sir Lipton had a trusted employee with close links to the Northern league. But the explanation popular in the town is that Lipton wanted to send an invitation to “Woolwich Arsenal” and the instruction to his secretary was to contact “WA” West Auckland were therefore contacted by mistake. Recent research has suggested, however, that West Auckland were the intended recipient of the invitation but it is still not known why. But nevertheless, “West” made the trip to Turin in the summer of 1909, with many players paying out of their own pocket to do so, they beat Stuttgarter Sportfreunde of Germany 2-0 on April 11th and then next day they beat FC Winterthur of Switzerland to take the trophy that still features on the club’s badge today. In 1911 “West” were invited back to the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy as holders; they played Swiss side FC Zürich winning 2-0 to set up a final with Italian giants Juventus, after they had beat local rivals FC Torino. On April 17th 1911 “West” beat the future 32 time Serie A winners 6-1 to earn the second star we see on the badge today. For the 100 year anniversary of the first World Cup, in 2009, “West” once again travelled to Turin to play Juventus in a friendly match. Juventus Under 20’s won 7-1.
A Captain’s Tale DVD available from club shop staring Dennis Waterman and Tim Healy, the 90 minute drama tell the story how a group of miners from West Auckland won the cup.