Whisper it quietly, but things might just be getting back to a semblance of normality. As a result, FootyInDurham has tentatively taken the dust covers off the typewriter.
At the height of the second wave of Covid 19 the majority of non-league football was once again abandoned for the season, making it two incomplete campaigns in a row. Unlike the first abandonment, the second occasion saw leagues curtailed rather than voided, and FA restructures will see some clubs elevated which seems fairer.
The Wearside League is one of the few that has continued, resuming when circumstances allowed, although behind the loosest of closed doors. Supporters are not permitted to attend yet the odd photo has appeared on social media due to the open access grounds a number of the clubs call home.
Non-league afficiandos will have noted a ‘new’ name on the fixture lists following the resumption, that new name being Durham Corinthians. This new name was actually a rebrand from Durham United, the Wearside Division One club based at New Ferens Park in Belmont. Having featured Durham United here on FootyInDurham last year, we thought it prudent to speak to those involved and find out about the name change and their hopes for the future. Club chairman John Walters kindly spoke to FootyInDurham to tell us about the recent developments.
Firsty John explained that the senior side was born in 2018 and the hope was a merger with Durham United junior section. This did not pan out as planned and as a result the seniors opted for a new change with the plan to establish their own pathway from youth football to senior. Durham Corinthians have a reserve side in the second tier of the Wearside League and to complicate matters, Durham Sporting u23s in the same division have now changed their name to Durham United FC!
John advised that the new name was chosen based on the Corinthian values of openness, integrity, fair play and sportsmanship. The club will be adopting a blue and black colour scheme which will be launched in the summer alongside a campaign to spread awareness about the name change and the plans for the future. The club will continue to be based at Ferens Park, continuing their claim to the the only club based in the city with Durham City AFC remaining exiled in Willington. Durham FC and AFC Durham might dispute that, but with the set up in place at Ferens Park, aspirations of Northern League football are absolutely realistic for The Corinthians.
When asked about promoting the local football scene, John told us that the Wearside League is potentially expanding to three divisions from next season and that this shows the demand for organised amateur football remains high in the county. FootyInDurham will be doing all we can to promote the county scene as we creep out of lockdowns, and high on our list is a visit to see the Corinthians.
Corinthians hope to become an important part of the community, expanding their reach beyond senior football to promote the wider benefits of the sport. The club are running a disabled footballers coaching course in conjunction with The Academy of Light and are also working closely with If U Care Share, a local suicide prevention charity who’s work is more important than never given what everyone has been through in the last 14 months.