On Saturday Percy Main Amateurs take on near neighbours North Shields for the 13th running of the Gary Hull Memorial Trophy.
The game at Purvis Park is played in the memory of the Villagers’ former treasurer and committee member, who also contributed in no small manner to grass roots football at both junior and senior level throughout North Tyneside.
Following Main’s Northern Alliance first division championship win and subsequent promotion at the end of last season, allied to North Shields’ superb first season back in the Northern league’s top tier and FA Vase win at Wembley, the game is certain to attract a large crowd and spectators are advised to arrive at the ground in good time and to use public transport where possible due to limited parking at the ground.
The inaugural game in 2003 has proved to be the best attended to date as just over 300 watched a Percy Main XI, with current North Shields coach Brian Smith in the side, go down 3-2 against a Northern Alliance Select XI.
But that attendance is likely to be bettered by some way on Saturday due to the current interest in the town and the form of both teams.
Kick-off is 3pm and admission is £2 (£1 concessions).
A souvenir programme will be produced priced at £1 and it is hoped that the FA Vase will be on display during the course of he afternoon.
Percy Main warmed up for the game with a 3-1 win over Longbenton last weekend in their first friendly played as three 30-minute segments.
Anthony Brown had given the visitors the advantage in the 25th minute against the run of play as the home side were guilty of wasteful finishing in front of goal, while the visitors’ goalkeeper excelled.
Longenton’s lead was not to last, though, as Jorge Bollado levelled in the 47th minute and the same forward struck home a penalty with 20 minutes remaining after Chris Laidlaw had been tripped in the area.
Laidlaw himself hit the goal of the game on 87 minutes to give the scoreline a more of a realistic look.
New signings among the Main line-up included 18-year-old Daniel Nimmins in goal, who produced a breathtaking save during the third period, while the defence was bolstered by James Mobberley and the return of the vastly experienced Tony Browell, a former captain and Player of the Year, who has made over 500 appearances for the club.
Jack Armstrong and Dean Ellis have also been brought in to bolster an already strong looking midfield as competition for places in the starting line-up looks to be keen.
Percy Main and North Shields have met seven times for the trophy with the Robins emerging victorious on all the previous occasions although the game has been decided by penalty kicks twice, 2007 and 2009, while extra time was needed in 2006 as Shields finally prevailed 4-3.
Among the Percy Main squad, Browell, Mobberley, Stewart Wright and last season’s top scorer Dan Sneap have all been on North Shields’ books during recent times.
Match referee Stuart Kyle will officiate in the game for the eighth season running and will be assisted by the ever popular Keith Scoffham and Barry Sweeney, who himself will find this time of year rather poignant as well.
Following the game, Percy Main will host West Allotment on Tuesday, July 28, (6.45pm kick-off) before entertaining Brandon United on Saturday, August 1, (3pm) to round off the pre-season games.