As you will be doubtlessly be aware, the Riverside Lodge in Morpeth has sadly closed its doors for the last time
Clearly, it is a sad event whenever a business ceases trading, but more than anything I wanted to convey huge thanks to the owners, Bill and Liz Durning, and indeed their two sons Shaun and Mark, for the unwavering support they have provided to a host of Sunday League football teams that they allowed to be based from their establishment.
I know that in the scheme of all of their happy customers, appeasing a local football team may not be high on business people’s priorities — it always was at the Lodge — but it is exactly why there is no longer a Morpeth Sunday League in existence anymore.
More ‘Bills and Lizs’ out there would have it going strong for another 50 years, no doubt.
The 2012/2013 season was a case in point. The team had a particularly good season, having won the league and also the League Cup.
On cup final day, Bill and Liz had laid on a lovely breakfast at the Lodge for the whole squad before the final, provided everyone with a cup final tie, and hired a bus for the day to transport the squad to and from the match.
And once the triumphant players returned to the Lodge with the cup, a further fabulous spread was ready and waiting for everyone. This laid the basis for a brilliant party, stretching long into the evening.
This was a cup final, but even the regular Sunday morning post-matches in the Lodge were always met with lovely food provided for both teams, and above all, happy, friendly staff that made playing for the club all the more enjoyable.
On the field, the team was doing well, but off it the Durnings and all the Lodge’s staff were by far and away the best in the league too.
I know these sentiments are echoed by the trail of previous teams over the years that have been based at the Riverside.
On behalf of everyone involved therein, we would all like to say a massive thank you to Bill, Liz, the Durning boys, and, of course, all of the Riverside Lodge staff.
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