Rugby's Glory Days and the Restart of School Soccer, albeit it briefly

by a correspondent

Rugby, 1968, by pupils of the Comprehensive School that emerged from GGS for Boys , courtesy of
teacher Robert Best

In 1949 GGS was a Rugby school. Only later was it realised that this had not always been so - indeed this website drew attention to the sequence of things and how short were the 'glory days'. They did not have the use of the school field: only later were classes allowed to use it wearing gym shoes. The timetable did not include double sessions or whole afternoons devoted to 'Games'. With regard to teams it is worth noting that the intake was limited to 60 boys.

The 52 Caprian magazine report (below) is almost a potted history. The teams led by Norman Wiseman and Fred Rodgers were outstanding with some exceptional people involved: and those younger players, Dick Davies and Billy Deighton, duly fulfilled their potential in the First XV. Sadly, he was right about the juniors: there were some useful players and some late developers but teams did not reach the previous standards. Wiseman, Rodgers and Davies were each in turn Captain of School, Captain of Rugby and County players: the sequence ended with those less promising players in lower school. The playing record for 51-52 shows how the team started by playing against second teams from such as Morpeth and RGS and went on to compete with First XVs. Practices and matches took place at Gateshead Fell or North Durham.

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The 52 Caprian mentions soccer in 51 and 52.

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The 52 magazine is a surprise because it is thought that a small group based on Form 5T played some games against other schools but it seems that was an informal
The magazine does not show any teacher-in-charge nor does it name the writer of the report.The reference to "only 13 players" suggests that the team was not well established nor well known: had they used the notice boards or school assembly news might have spread beyond one corner of the school.

The soccer team in 53-54 was thought of as a new beginning. Mr Brown had given his blessing and Mr Ridley agreed to be Master-in-Charge. There was no home ground but there was a full fixture list, playing against the City Schools (Heaton,Rutherford,St Cuthbert's etc) and travelling to Blaydon,Hookergate,Stanley,Chester-le-Street, Sunderland etc Later Mr Tindle took an interest in the team.
A lot of boys enjoyed school soccer in the several seasons that are recalled. Hogan and Rowe, Scribbens and David Simpson were 'stalwarts' (as they say) and Peter Scott made an outstanding contribution: he must have played over 50 matches in school colours. There were some very good individual players but the team's results were never very impressive:. It is worth noting that during this spell soccer was confined to the Senior XI...there was no school soccer played by those below 5th Form.
Recruitment from the rugby teams spread the available talent rather thinly. It did not help the rugby teams to flourish!

(There are photos of the 53-54, 54-55 and 55-56 in the Team Photos section. After that, it would seem there was no football for the rest of the decade, unless you know different)