Football teams have been around in Bedlington since the
early 1900s. The present club was formed in 1949 under
the name of Bedlington Mechanics joining the Northern Combination
League. The first honour of the new era was the Northumberland
Minor Cup in season 1953/54 and they followed this up with
their only Northern Combination title in 1954/55. During
these years they changed their name from Mechanics to Colliery
Town and then as Bedlington Colliery Welfare they joined
the Northern Alliance League in 1955/56.
They spent 8 seasons in this league before disbanding at
the end of the 1962/63 season. During this spell they won
their first Northern Alliance League Cup. During this period
they played their home games at West Sleekburn A
Pit. In 1965 the club re-formed as Bedlington Colliery Welfare
and moved to Milnes Park staying there three seasons before
moving to the present location of Dr. Pit Welfare Park.
In the 1966/67 season the club did the double
in the Northern Alliance League and in 1969/70 won their
third League Cup final. At the end of the 1970/71 season
they had to leave the Northern Alliance and played in a
number of minor local leagues until season 1979/80. For
this season they joined the Tyneside Amateur League under
the name of Bedlington United and in 1980/81 were re-admitted
to the Northern Alliance League.
They won their fourth Northern Alliance League Cup in season
1981/82 and in the next season were elected as founder members
of the Northern League 2nd Division winning promotion to
the 1st Division in season 1984/85 as division runners-up.
In their first season in the 1st division they finished
runners-up but sadly in the next season they were relegated
back to the 2nd division. The club spluttered along in the
next few seasons and early in 1993 faced the real prospect
of going out of business as they were marooned at the bottom
of the 2nd division and had their fixtures suspended by
the league for a month. Bedlington stalwart Billy Ward with
almost 40 years at the helm approached local businessmen
Dave and Keith Perry and asked them to mount a rescue operation.
What happened next is the stuff dreams are made of.
With extinction ruled out the Terriers as they had been
renamed stormed back and in the very next season won the
2nd division title. Sadly, Billy Ward had departed this
world and missed this renaissance although his memory still
burns bright at the club. Consolidation followed and gradually
the tide turned. In 1996/97 the club marched to St. James
Park and picked up the NFA Senior Cup beating Morpeth Town
2 - 0 in the final. The same season saw them win the Northern
League Cup by defeating Billingham Synthonia 3 - 0 in the
final. In season 1997/98 it got even better as the Terriers
ran away with the 1st Division title by a clear 12 points
scoring 120 goals in only 38 games. They completed the season
by retaining the NFA Senior Cup defeating Blyth Spartans
2 - 1 in the final at St. James Park.
The 1998/99 season was Bedlingtons 50th year since
the club was formed and what a season it was. It started
with a Cleator Cup win over Dunston Fed and continued with
a march to the second round proper of the F.A. Cup after
defeating Colchester United of the Football League Division
Two 4 - 1 in round one before finally falling away at Scunthorpe
where the Woof Woof Terriers chant was born.
The league title was retained this time with 26 points to
spare, 128 goals and 101 points. The other story of the
season was the F.A. Carlsberg Vase where the Terriers marched
all the way to Wembley Stadium for a day in the clubs
history never to be forgotten. A last minute goal from opponents
Tiverton Town denied them the trophy but with an open top
bus ride to follow on the return, 1998/99 was the year that
Bedlington Terriers put themselves firmly on the footballing
The 1999/2000 season started with the retention of the
Cleator Cup with a 1 - 0 win over Dunston Fed. It ended
with the retention of the league title for the third consecutive
year and although no other success was forthcoming two semi-finals
in the League Cup and NFA Senior Cup and a quarter-final
appearance in the F.A. Carlsberg Vase meant another great
Season 2000/2001 started on a bad note with a 1-0 defeat
in the Cleator Cup at home against Dunston Fed. However,
things quickly improved and a great run in the F.A. Challenge
Cup ended in the last qualifying round with a defeat against
Conference side Morecambe 3 - 1 at home with the prize of
a place in the 1st round proper only 90 minutes away. With
the side playing well the Holy Grail that is
the F.A. Carlsberg Vase loomed large. Once again a great
run ensued and although ultimately the run ended in disappointment,
the achievement of reaching the semi-final was a marvellous
effort and the team did ultimately go a round further than
the previous year. The players still went on to retain the
league championship again and also defeat Marske United
in the league cup final. Bedlington also faced Newcastle
United Reserves at Croft Park in September (the final being
held over from the 2000/1 season) but went down 3-1 to a
strong Newcastle team..
The 2001/02 season saw yet another excellent FA Cup run,
again to the final qualifying round, going down 2-1 at Conference
side Stalybridge Celtic, however we were not so lucky in
the FA Vase, going out 4-1 at home to Brigg in an early
round. Bedlington managed to regain the Northumberland Senior
Cup with a 2-1 win over West Allotment Celtic and retain
the Albany Northern League Division 1 title for the fifth
By Bedlington standards, the 2002/3 season was a disappointment.
They got a taste of things to come when they lost the traditional
opening game of the season, the Cleator Cup to Durham, this
was followed with early exits in the FA Vase, FA Cup and
League Cup and a runners-up spot to Brandon United in the
League, which had they won, would have been a new record
of six consecutive championships.
The 2003/4 season was slightly disappointing, the team
finished third in the league but went out of the League
Cup, FA Cup and FA Vase early on. They did manage to bring
some silverware home, beating Blyth Spartans 1-0 in the
final of the NFA Senior Cup.
The 2004/5 season brought renewed hope but
after a slightly faltering start and an early FA Cup exit
at the hands of Pickering Town it became apparent changes
were required. The team was tinkered with and rebuilt and
it took a while to settle down. However, despite losing
ground early in the League Championship race the side came
together for a glorious FA Vase run where they played some
of their best football for some time. Shildon, Silsden,
Leamington, Bitton, Enfield and Newbury all fell as the
"Holy Grail" once again came within sight.
But, it was not to be as perennial FA Vase favourites AFC
Sudbury were the opposition in the semi final and after
two epic ties the Terriers suffered the heartache of going
out in a penalty shoot-out. Penalty heartbreak followed
again weeks later as they fell again to Champions Dunston
Federation Brewery in the final of the League Cup.
The 2005/6 season was blighted early on by the resignation
en masse of the Club Chairman and Executive Committee. Despite
this trauma off the pitch, on it the team went from strength
to strength, clocking up an unbeaten run lasting more than
3 months in all competitions. The second half of the season
was more disappointing however, losing on penalties in the
FA Vase 4th Round, again to AFC Sudbury.
Early knockouts in the League Cup and Senior Cup followed
and League form faltered, as the repercussions of the departure
of the Club's administration began to affect all aspects
of the club. Despite struggling to get a team out, the Terriers
showed their fighting spirit to rediscover their form and
clinch runners-up spot behind champions Newcastle Blue Star,
in a tremendous show of spirit in the face of adversity.
A summer of trauma ensued as the club veered on the edge
of extinction, and the eventual departure of the unimaginably
successful management partnership of Keith Perry and Tony
Lowery, until a saviour in the name of Graeme Redpath, a
local businessman, entered the fray, steadied the ship,
and showed the way to a brighter future.
Even a serious arson attack on the Clubhouse, soon after
the takeover, couldn't dent the determination to get Bedlington
Terriers back on track. However, the effects of the summer
of trauma had it's impact on the pitch, as a squad of mainly
teenagers found it difficult to compete against much more
experienced teams. Facing almost certain relegation heading
into April 2007, a stunning finish to the season saw them
lift up to third bottom in the table. With Newcastle Blue
Star heading for the Unibond League, it meant that only
two clubs were relegated and the Terriers were reprieved.
However by Novemeber things had not progressed as hoped
and Tom Wade left the club. A week later it was announced
that the management duo of Perry and Lowery were back to
help the Terriers climb the table once again.
Who knows what will happen in the future,
but as the saying goes, every dog has its day.....