WEARSIDE LEAGUE KICKS OFF

A NEW season kicks off tomorrow (Saturday, August 12), with changes in both the league and cup competitions

Of last seasons teams Red House WMC, Workington Reserves, Herrington CW and Wallsend Town have all resigned, and the remaining clubs will all play in the new season in a single division.

The league also lost its sponsorship at the end of last season and is currently actively seeking a new one for the new season.

The league has existed since 1890 and has some of the most prestigious trophies in all sport. The league has teams in four counties Durham, North Riding of Yorkshire, Northumberland and Cumbria and are currently members of the football pyramid feeding eligible teams into the Northern League.

Last seasons champions, Nissan, do not start the campaign until Wednesday, following the factory being closed for holidays.

There will be changes at the helm this time around, as manager Stan Fenwick has moved "upstairs" to more of an overseeing role, with coach Gavin Liddle assuming the mantle of manager.

The works team have lost the services of centre-forward Mickey Taylor, who has moved on to Chester-le-Street, and Liddle has stated his desire to blood more younger players for the sake of continuity of the team.

Cleadon SC also miss the start of the season as a consequence of their pitch being unavailable because of cricket.

Peter Quinn has been busy recruiting players, having lost a number of players from last season to other clubs.

Birtley Town entertain Annfield Plain who have lost their last two friendlies at Consett and at home to Brandon United. Last seasons leading goalscorer Jason Mumford missed both games through flu, but he is expected to be available on Saturday.

Dave Foster was substituted on Wednesday with a pulled hamstring as a precautionary measure but he is also expected to be fit.

League debuts will be given to Gareth Slaven and Neil Lowden who have joined the Plainsmen from Stanley United, and manager Kevin Drinkell will probably sign a debutant goalkeeper, who made an impressive debut in midweek. Of last seasons squad Brian Cator will be missing.

Birtley manager Tom Marron, has a largely young squad, which will benefit from the experience gained last season.

Wayne Allon, has joined the club, after experience as a junior with both Middlesbrough and Hartlepool, and along with Paul Atkinson, the ex-Sunderland and Port Vale player, is expected to provide that little bit of experience which all teams need.

Boldon CA play hosts to Stokesley SC, who finished runners up in last seasons second division and are expected to give a good account of themselves this season.

Boldon manager Davie Jones, is another who hopes to give some of the juniors a chance in the coming season, but he has added Mark Robinson from Red House and Stephen Garthwaite from Jarrow to last seasons squad. Lee Compton will be missing after he joined Simonside SC.

Ferryhill Athletic start the campaign with a stiff test against established first division opposition in the shape of Ryhope CW.

The pre-season games for Ryhope CW have gone very well, but the plans of manager Les Shaw were thrown into dissaray when David Ashplant broke his leg in a pre-season friendly against Brandon United, and he will miss most of the early part of the season.

Stand-in goalkeeper Kevin McKitterick will also be missing as he has decided to pursue a career as a referee.

Ferryhill Athletic manager Jimmy OSullivan expects to be able to choose from a full strength squad and is hopeful of introducing a number of new players recruited from local leagues to improve last seasons squad which have largely remained loyal to the club.

Two teams who played in last seasons second division, Simonside SC and Whitburn meet at Monkton Stadium, Jarrow.