In the 1890’s Consett and the surrounding area’s where a bustling hive of Industry with the Steel Works and the local mines. The men worked hard but also played hard too. The Football Leagues were just finding their feet and the North was the place to be.
Most of the villages in the area had a football team of sorts but few could boast of having two and both being members of the Northern League, Leadgate was a village who definitely could. The main contender was Leadgate Park who’s ground could be found off Durham Road, Leadgate and the next was Leadgate Exiles, a Roman Catholic football team who played at The Brooms.
As you can imagine there was very little love lost between the two sides. The feelings held by the two teams become all to clear on the afternoon of Saturday 25th October 1890 when they met in the second round of the Durham Challenge Cup. The tensions were running high throughout the entire match and continued well into the evening culminated into a full blown riot. The police had to be called but unfortunately the first two officers who arrived were set upon. They managed to get one man into handcuffs but unfortunately his friends intervened forcing the officers to the ground. The man, still handcuffed, made his escape.
Another man picked up a large stick and then proceeded to smash the Pub windows on Front Street, Leadgate the officers went to arrest him but he hammered one of them over the head then ran off at high speed in the direction of Dipton followed by the two officers who were not able to catch him.
Word was sent to Consett and within half an hour another 5 police officers turned up. They stated that the village was in an uproar with people openly fighting in the streets and alley ways. They eventually managed to calm the crowds and two arrests were made.
The Leadgate Exiles who were said to have been around since the late 1870’s were disbanded soon after 1899. However Leadgate Park who had also been around from the 1870’s, played on in the Northern League until after the War. They then became professional in 1919 with their last season being 1925 when they also disbanded.
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