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This title provides the first definitive story of how football arrived in the Hotbed of the North East and Tyneside. It includes many previously unpublished and vintage illustrations of the Pioneers of the North. It features introduction by Alan Shearer OBE; Review coverage in local and national press and football media. The North East of England has long been recognised as a Hotbed of Football with both Newcastle United and Sunderland providing the English game with some of the finest ever line-ups and most celebrated players in football's history, as well as arguably the country's most passionate supporters. Pioneers of the North is a comprehensive account of how football developed and took a grip on the very life and soul of the region, on Tyneside in particular but also in Northumberland as well as neighbouring County Durham. Related in detail is the social and sporting background, the origins of football and its growth from Berwick in the north to Darlington and Middlesbrough in the south. The book has a principle focus on the important embryonic clubs of Tyneside in the late 1870s; Tyne Association and Newcastle Rangers and thereafter switches to the development of Newcastle United from their pioneering clubs, Stanley and Newcastle East End, as well as Newcastle West End, great rivals during the period from 1881 to 1893 when Newcastle United joined the Football League. Other significant clubs which took a non-league route in development are examined notably Shankhouse Black Watch as well as forgotten pioneer teams such as Rendel and Elswick Leather Works, all to figure in FA Cup action during the Victorian years. Personalities and celebrated names to generate what has now become that Hotbed of Football are explored, as are notable points in development and many of the famous matches of the Victorian era. The book is well illustrated with many rare archive photographs, as well as location plans of several of the now lost pioneering football sites of the distant past.