Young footballers are still winners, even though they’re runners-up

Hebburn Town Juniors Blues Barca Under 8s at the final.
Hebburn Town Juniors Blues Barca Under 8s at the final.

They made it through to Wembley – but just missed out on the top title.

Hebburn Town Juniors Blues Barca under-8s won a place in the final game of the Indesit Mini Soccer North East Regional Tournament to take on 12 other champion sides from across the country.

Hebburn Town Juniors Blues Barca Under 8s at the final.

Hebburn Town Juniors Blues Barca Under 8s at the final.

But the seven youngsters, who have played together since they were in the club’s tots squad, missed out on lifting the top trophy, after having three of the goals they scored during the last match disallowed.

The final score against North London Academy was 7-2.

The trip to London saw them play on pitches near Wembley Stadium and take a tour of the national ground.

Manager Steve Richardson said: “We gave an excellent account of ourselves, but our opposition deserved to win the final – all credit to them.

For me their biggest achievement is sticking together throughout the winning, losing and drawing of games.

Manager Steve Richardson

“However, our boys were outstanding from start to finish. They cried at the final whistle and nothing could console them. They stayed respectful though and everyone shook hands.

“They are just so passionate about the game and full of belief in themselves, to lose never entered their heads.

“However at the presentation the presenter said ‘lads there is no losers in this final – you were second.’

“That’s second out of 142 entrants from the whole of the UK – or in other words, the second- best team in the UK.

“This perked the lads up and they all realised what they had just achieved – they tuned their focus to their Wembley tour and they were all happy again.

“They are all very good friends as well as fantastic footballers who all have their own strengths and abilities – more importantly though they are very respectful young lads who play the game with a passion and a fairness beyond their years.”

The team - Harry Richardson, Marc Forster, Nathan Salkeld, Maddox Evitt, Toby Winton, Alex Douglas and Ryan Taylor - have added their cup to a host of others, including eight tournament wins and five other runners-up titles.

Steve added: “For me their biggest achievement is sticking together throughout the winning, losing and drawing of games.

“Hebburn Town Juniors is about developing players as people first and the players second.

“The club have been very supportive and I have to say a huge thanks to Steve Rutherford who is the chairman and the executive committee for helping us to arrange the trip to Wembley.

“All the children’s parents have been fantastic in supporting the team, and for me a successful children’s grassroots team needs a successful parents team.”