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The First World Cup

The First World Cup trophy

The story of the trophy is an interesting and important piece of football history. It is with great pride that the people of Durham County recall that it was West Auckland Football Club who represented Great Britain in the inaugural “World Cup” competition during the Easter of 1909 and won it.

This competition was organised in Torino, Italy, by the British industrial Sir Thomas Lipton, and involved clubs from Italy, England, Switzerland and Germany.

The trophy was presented to the winners by Sir Thomas Lipton, a Millionaire with business interests in Britain and Italy. The original invitation was offered to the English Football Association, who was asked to nominate a team, but they declined. Sir Thomas Lipton insisted that Great Britain be represented. As to how West Auckland was chosen is open to speculation, but the following explanation is probably the most credible.             

An employee of Sir Thomas Lipton happened to have been a referee in the Northern League and it is, therefore, thought likely that he was instrumental in finding a substitute team form the league, i.e., West Auckland Town.  

The team predominantly made up of coal miners, struggled to raise the money necessary to make the trip to Italy, and some even pawned their own possessions in order to do so. Their determination paid off as they beat Stuttgart, of Germany, 2-0 on the way to beating F.C Winterhouse, of Switzerland, 2-0 (scorers, Bob Jones and Jock Jones,) in the final at the Turin Stadium, on April 12 1909. So the first world cup had been won by a team of relatively unknown amateurs who had to finance the excursion themselves.

1909 World Cup - Participants:

Torino XI (Italy)

Stuttgarter Sportfreunde (Germany)

West Auckland FC (England)

FC Winterthur (Switzerland)

Semi-finals (April 11 1909)

Stuttgarter Sportfreunde. 0 - 2  West Auckland (Goals, Whittington 10, Dickinson 88 pen)

Torino XI 1 - 2  FC Winterthur (Goals - F.Berardo 13; Lang 25, 55 pen)

Third Place Match (April  12 1909)

Torino XI  2 - 1 Stuttgarter Sportfreunde, (De Bernardi 35, Zuffi II 75; Kipp 15)

Final (April  12 1909)

West Auckland 2 - 0 FC Winterthur (Goals (R.Jones 6pen, J.Jones 8)

West Auckland Team :

 Jimmy Dickinson, Rob Gill, Jack Greenwell, Rob Jones, Tom Gill, Charlie "Dirty" Hogg, Ben Whittingham, Douglas Crawford, Bob Guthrie, Alf "tot" Gubbins, Jock Jones, David "Ticer" Thomas, Tucker Gill,  M S C (Sidney) Barron - Secretary.


The First World Cup

West Auckland Defend their world cup Title in 1911

Italy was again the venue, and as reigning champions, West Auckland was invited back to defend their trophy. They beat Red Star, of Switzerland, 2-0 in the way to the final, where they beat Juventus, of Italy 6-1 on April 17 1911 (Scorers, Bob "Drol" Moor - 2, Fred Dun - 2, Andy Appledby, Joe Rewcastle.)  As Sir Thomas had stipulated that if a winning team won the trophy in consecutive tournaments they would be entitled to keep it. West Auckland FC had etched their name in the annals of soccer history as the first outright winners of the “World Cup”.  

1911 Participants

Juventus FBC (Italy)

FC Zürich (Switzerland)

West Auckland FC (England)

FC Torino (Italy)

West Auckland World Cup winning Team

Semi-finals (April ??? 1911)

FC Zürich 0 - 2 West Auckland

Juventus FBC  bt  FC Torino

Third Place Match

FC Torino  2 -1 FC Zürich

Final (April 17 1911)

Juventus  FBC 1-6  West Auckland

West Auckland Team,   - J Robinson, Tom Wilson, Charlie Cassidy, Andy "Chips" Appleby, Michael Alderson, Bob "Drol" Moore, Fred Dunn, Joes Recastle, Bob Jones, Bob Guthrie, Charlie "Dirty" Hogg, T Riley, John Warick

Officials - M S C Barron, E Meek, W Nolli, R Hodgson, R Chamberlain.

On this occasion, the celebrations upon returning home were short lived. Because of the financial problems the tour had caused, the club had to find £40 quickly. As their only asset was the trophy, an arrangement was made with Mrs. Lanchester, the landlady of the Wheatsheaf Hotel which served as a head quarters of the club. The agreement involved a loan of £40 by Mrs. Lanchester to the club, with the trophy as security, which she could retain until the money was returned.

It remained in her possession for almost 50 years when in 1960 officials of the club managed to track her down living in Liverpool. She obviously still had her faculties as she drove a hard bargain before handing over the trophy in return for £100.

Upon its return the trophy was put on Display in the Eden arms public house, which was the home of the club secretary Mr. Syd Douthwaite. It remained on show and it was only when the Jules Rimmit Trophy was stolen in 1966 that Mr. Douthwaite began to lock it away.  

In January 1994 the trophy, which was then being held in the West Auckland workingmen’s club, was stolen. Despite the best efforts of the police, and the offer of a substantial reward the trophy has not been recovered. Fortunate the loss was covered by CornHill Insurance, and the manufacture of a replica trophy was possible. To this end MR. John Harrison, of Finlays jewellers was contacted, he knew of a Sheffield silversmith, Mr. Jack Spencer, who has now completed the task of producing a superb replica, working only from photographs and videos.  This replica gas kindly been sponsored by C.T.G (Liptons) and will again be kept in the lounge area of the Workmen's club, in a specially constructed cabinet sponsored by Mr. Bill Moody of Rushlift Mechanical Handling ltd.

It is with great pride and sincere thanks to the above sponsors that the West Auckland Club again hold the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy.

West Auckland`s  World Cup Stolen

Sir Thomas Lipton

Born in a tenement in Gorbals in 1850, of Irish parents, Tommy Lipton left school at ten and at 15 was in America. He had stowed away in a ship. Initially he worked as a farm labourer in Virginia and South Carolina, later working in a grocer's shop in New York. He

must have absorbed American business flair, for five years later he was back in Glasgow opening what was to be the first shop in an extremely successful retail empire.

In ten years he was a millionaire, acquiring tea estates in Sri Lanka and meat processing factories in America. His business philosophy he summed up as, "Work hard, deal honestly, be enterprising, exercise careful judgement, advertise freely but judiciously."

In the tea business, particularly, he was innovative, selling different tea blends to different countries and using containers to help preserve freshness. It was Lipton who was the first to package tea in small, convenient tins to keep it fresh, preserve the flavour and guarantee that customers received the correct amount of tea. By the turn of the century, tea was a popular beverage on both sides of the Atlantic.

In 1904, two interesting developments happened almost simultaneously that would broaden tea's appeal even more. In New York, a tea and coffee merchant named Thomas Sullivan decided to package loose tea in small, hand-sewn silk bags as an inexpensive and convenient way to distribute tea samples to his customers. To his surprise, his customers brewed the tea in the tea bags rather than removing the contents and so was born the now ubiquitous tea bag.

The Thomas J. Lipton company further improved upon this invention with the introduction of the Flo-Thru Tea Bag in 1952. With four brewing sides, rather than two, boiling water reached the tea more easily, releasing more of the Lipton "BRISK" tea taste.

Lipton's relaxation was sailing and he used his fortune to enter a succession of boats (all named 'Shamrock') in the Americas Cup. In all he raced five times but never won. He was such a good loser however, that America presented him with a gold cup anyway!

Lipton never forgot his native city and on his death he bequeathed to Glasgow his extensive personal collection of newspaper cuttings, photographs and memorabilia, now housed in the Mitchell Library.

There are over 100 large volumes of press cuttings from 1877 until his death. They cover all aspects of his business and social life but particularly concentrate on his five unsuccessful challenges for the America's Cup. There are over 2,000 photographs in 48 volumes, which were preserved in part due to financial aid from Unilever, who now own the Lipton brand.

On his death in London, in 1931, Sir Tommy Lipton left no family, bequeathing his estate to Glasgow. His portrait on his brands of tea had become part of the social fabric of the times. Queen Victoria knighted Lipton, both for his commercial success as well as his philanthropy. During the Spanish-American war and later during WWI, Lipton gave money and services to aid the wounded

A Captains Tale

A TV production company made a film on the world cup back in the 1980`s it was titled "A Captains Tale," staring Dennis Waterman (Arthur Daley's Body guard in hit program Minder). This may be purchased either on Video or DVD, by getting in contact with  West Auckland Town AFC official website  or some copies may be in West Auckland Club,post office, amazon or ebay .

West Auckland Town AFC

The Club was founded in 1893 and played it's first matches in the Auckland and District league. The following year saw "West" move around several local leagues until in 1909 they were elected into the Northern League for the fist time.

     The Famous World Cup exploits which saw "West" win the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy outright after their second trip to Italy in 1911, also caused them extreme financial problems. This resulted in the club being disbanded in 1912 and the World Cup being sold to pay off the debts.  

    Two years later they were back in business and spent the following 20 years moving around local leagues, including a single season in 1919, in the Northern League changing their name to St. Helens United for that season only. In 1934 they were elected to the Northern League, taking the place of Esh Winning and have retained membership ever since.

    The clubs first league honours were gained in 1960, winning the championship by two points from newcomers Whitley Bay. The success was due to a good start to the season and to fine team - work, for which their reputation was beginning to grow.

In 2012 West Auckland AFC,  battled their way through to the Final of the FA Vase, Playing Dunston UTS in London at Wembley Stadium.  Football fever had hit West Auckland and most of the villages headed off to london in cars, coaches and trains to support the team, leaving West Auckland a ghost town. Unfortunately they lost out to Dunston UTS by two goals to nil.

     The same season saw them reach the quarter final stage of the F.A. Amateur Cup drawing 1-1 at home but losing the replay at Hendon 2- 0.

    1961 was probably the best season in the clubs history to date, not only was the Northern League Championship won by 4 points from near neighbour and arch rivals Bishop Auckland, but "west" reached the final of the F.A. Amateur Cup, losing 2-1 to Walthamstow Avenue, their only visit to Wembley.

West Auckland Football team in the FA vase

Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy (1st World Cup): 1909, 11

FA Amateur Cup: R-Up: 1960-61

Northern League: 1959-60, 60-61

Div 2: 1990-91, R-Up: 1997-98

League Cup: 1958-59, 62-63, R-Up: 1948-49, 61-62, 63-64

Durham Challenge Cup: 1964-65

Durham Benevolent Bowl: 1962-63

West Auckland AFC Honours


West Auckland Town AFC, Darlington Road, West Auckland, County Durham DL14 9JD

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