League steps up the search for new sponsors

THE biggest senior football league in Northumberland is seeking additional sponsors.

With 48 member clubs across three divisions, and also encompassing teams from Durham and Cumberland, the 123-year-old Northern Football Alliance is keen to find partners who would like to support the local grassroots game.

League Secretary Derek Booth said: “All sponsorship monies which the league receives are given to the member clubs in various forms, such as deductions from league and cup fees, deductions from personal accident insurance premiums and so on, so you really can give a big helping hand to the game, clubs and players in the North East and Cumbria.

“The league is a non-profit organisation and officers and officials are voluntary and do not receive any remuneration.

“We hold a prestigious Sportsman’s Dinner in October each year at which a well-recognised ex-footballer is the main speaker.

“Ex-Wales international and current national assistant manger John Hartson was the speaker last year and we have got Paul Merson lined up to be the main speaker this year.

“Any sponsors will feature prominently and I hope that people will consider supporting the Northern Football Alliance League.”

The Alliance is operated by four directors of a holding company and a management committee of 20, which includes eight club representatives. If anyone requires further information, they can contact Mr Booth via his email at defcderekb@hotmail.com or call him on 07758 666855.

l The Northern Alliance has been drawn away to the Cheshire County League in the FA Inter-League Cup Preliminary Round.

Its management committee has approached three sides to provide the players for the competition – Amble United, Carlisle City and Heaton Stannington.

The FA Inter-League Cup is a competition for footballers who have never had a professional contract, giving the winners the opportunity to represent England in the UEFA Regions Cup.

l Clubs seeking to apply for membership of the Northern Football Alliance for season 2013/14 are reminded that application forms are now available from Mr Booth. Fully-completed forms must be returned before March 31.

l Talking back to match officials will now hit some sides harder in the pocket after the FA introduced a new fines system.

As part of the Respect campaign which aims to promote good behaviour, Alliance Premier Division clubs, who sit at Step 7 of the National League System, will have to pay £75 if they accrue 15 sanctions for dissent, £150 for 20 sanctions and 25 will be dealt with a charge under FA Rule E20.

One Alliance side has been hit with a £75 fine this season and another warned after reaching 10 cautions.

l Have you played, officiated or been an administrator in the Northern Football Alliance? Have you got any great memories or funny stories from your time in the league? The league is planning to do a book for its 125th anniversary in 2015 and it is asking those involved over the years to get in touch with some anecdotes.

If you, or anyone that you know, would like to contribute a story, email press officer Jon Tait at the following address – jonmarktait@aol.com