Alf Ramsey Knew My Grandfather, the smash-hit play about West Auckland football club, the team comprised of Durham miners who won the first World Cup in 1909, is to be performed at Darlington’s prestigious Civic Theatre in aid of the Darlington FC Youth Team which has played such a vital role in the survival of the club.
Shaun Campbell and Doug Embleton, spokespeople for the project, believe the play and other high profile events can raise significant funds for the Darlington FC youth team.
Shaun explained: “The youth team has been so integral to our current playing squad, particularly during this season, perhaps the most turbulent and dramatic in the club’s 128 year history. The ongoing survival of the youth team is vital for the future of the club.
“The fundraising will be achieved via a series of highly entertaining shows in Darlington this summer, involving Alf Ramsey Knew My Grandfather, a celebrity night and other activities.”
Doug Embleton, a lifelong Darlo fan, added: “The response of football fans throughout the North East and beyond to the Save Darlington FC cause has been overwhelmingly generous but we are calling on the people of Darlington and of the North East to give that extra support to the Youth Team. Alf Ramsey Knew My Grandfather is a fantastic way to involve fans and people who want to help but who don’t necessarily come along to football matches.
“Craig Liddle’s work with the youth team has been inspirational. However, the youth team funding from the Football League will be discontinued from July 1 as The Quakers will by then have completed two years in The Blue Square Premier League.
“It is therefore both timely and fitting that the play will also run in July. All fans know just how dear the Youth Team is to Craig’s heart. It is a privilege to help this continue.”
Alf Ramsey Knew My Grandfather was written by Tyneside-based Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood, whose national and international stageplay hits include Dirty Dusting, Maggie’s End, Son of Samurai and Waiting For Gateaux. They have recently recorded a radio sitcom with the BBC and two of their sketches were performed at the recent Sunday For Sammy concerts at Newcastle City Hall.
Shaun continued: “Ed and Trevor not only agreed to give us the play, they also agreed to produce it, which means they have been able to call on original cast members as well as Sky Television’s Jeff Stelling.”
Doug added: “We are appealing to people to buy tickets as soon as possible. It’s a play for all ages so we are hoping families will come along together.”
The show, which played to sell out audiences at Durham’s 550-seat Gala Theatre to celebrate the centenary of the team’s historic victory, later transferred to Newcastle’s 1200-seat Theatre Royal where it received standing ovations.
Trevor Wood said: “We are delighted to be able to help. Alf Ramsey Knew My Grandfather is about the men and women of West Auckland involved in the first world cup in 1909 in Turin, Italy.
“Like the Darlington fans and players it’s a true story of characters overcoming seemingly impossible odds. While its central theme is football it really is about friendship, solidarity and community. The families had to pawn their belongings to pay for the trip to Italy and the lads didn’t know whether they had jobs to return to.”
Alf Ramsey Knew My Grandfather will run at Darlington Civic Theatre from Tuesday, July 24, until Friday 27 (including a Thursday matinee). Tickets cost £20 and £15 (concessions/under 16s). All tickets for the Thursday matinee cost £10.
As a kick-off to the week’s performances, there will be a “Celebrity Night” at the theatre on Monday 23 July. Details will be announced later.
Contact the box office on 01325 486555.
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