How the club started

Wideopen Juniors started in 1987. Ron Cappocci, John Stephenson, Albert Trick, Norman Robson, and Rob Atkinson were the founding members. The club actually started off as a Cubs team! John Stephenson managed this team for 2 years. But then they would not have anywhere to play football, and so he tried to enter them into the N.A.B.C league as an U1O's team. Unfortunately, there was no U1O's league so they had to play in the U11's. That was the only team at that time but then another man came forward and said he had some U15's players who were on the side-line of another club. The next season Wideopen had all possible age groups.
Many of John's comments in those early days still stand true today: "To set up a junior football team you need volunteers, a good squad of players, coaches, pitches, money (from fund raising, sponsors etc.), insurances, and strips. It's a huge task. Setting it up was not quite as hard because we had the teams. It was extremely time consuming, and there was so much demand that by the 2nd season Wideopen had all the teams possible which meant it would take even more time.
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"Wideopen’s first strips were white. There was a vote and white came out on top because apparently white make the players look bigger and so have the psychological advantage! I was not actually in favour of that colour.
"Eventually everyone was sick of the colour white as it was hard to get the stains out of it. So we decided to go for a coloured strip."
John Stephenson added, "When joining the club I first wanted to be more of a coach, but somebody had to do the Secretary's job. It just came around, and it was necessary to have one. I also took care of advertising, sorting out the pitches at the start and at the end of the season, training facilities. Even problems that coaches have, quite often come to me. It's amazing how many phone calls the secretary actually receives throughout the season."

Wide open to offers of help!
(from the 'Evening Chronicle' May 30 1987)

'A man determined to make sure that Tyneside youngsters get a kick out of soccer today issued an urgent appeal for help.
John Stephenson, secretary of Wideopen and District Juniors - a new club hoping to operate in the Northumberland Association of Boys' Clubs League - said: "The whole idea is to give the kids an interest in sport and to keep them off the streets.
"We need about 800 to get things under way and while we have received a couple of offers of help, the response has not been all that good.
"There is no football for juniors in the Wideopen area. We intend to start with a team for Under 11s and Under 15s, eventually catering for all age groups from Under 11s to Under 16s and any more offers of help through donations would be a godsend."
Newcastle Blue Star's former QPR and Berwick striker Peter Davidson, and John Robson of Armstrong's Hardware in Wideopen have come forward willing to help as Stephenson bids to attract youngsters from Hazlerigg, Dinnington, Seaton Burn, Dudley and Wideopen.
"We will train at Lockey Park, Wideopen, on Thursdays between 6.00 and 8.00 p.m. and on Sundays between 10.00 and noon. Anybody is welcome to come along."

Peter Davidson of Atlas Van Hire
Peter Davidson
News Story from the Evening Chronicle
An open letter in the 'Evening Chronicle' from Councillor Muriel Green.
'Wideopen and District Junior Football Club has just finished another successful season.
In five years, the club has grown from one team to nine, for all ages up to 18, gathered from a five-mile radius.
Three aspects of their achievements, from which we can all learn, were particularly evident at the annual presentation evening.
The first is a belief in active participation in sport for all young people who are interested in fitness and fun and hope that won't stop at the ripe old age of 18.
Second is the obvious readiness of so many over 18s in the community.
Lastly, is a recognition that the most important award the club won was as most sporting team.
All credit to everyone involved and every success for the future.'
The Development of our Facilities
 
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