EBAC Northern League club Heaton Stannington have announced the death on 15 November of a club great: John ‘Jack’ Earnshaw.
Jack, who was 95, passed away peacefully in hospital and his funeral service was on Thursday 24 November at the Central Methodist Church in Blyth followed by a cremation at Whitley Bay crematorium.
Earnshaw was a right fullback but could also play on the left. He joined the Stan on leaving the Royal Air Force in 1946 where he had gained a distinguished war record which he later wrote a book about. He had previously played for South Shields ex-schoolboys along with Stan Mortenson.
Jack captained Heaton Stannington in the Northern League from 1946 to 1949 and when interviewed last year he stated that he had never received any travelling expenses. Jack described the Stan as the only truly amateur team in the Northern League in the late 1940s at a time when Bishop Auckland, for example, were paying £5 a week.
During Jack’s time at the club, Newton Park (as Grounsell Park was known as then) had a stand and clubhouse. Jack’s wife Edith used to help make the players’ teass. He also captained the Northumberland County team and played for the North of England against the South of England at Chester in a selection match for the England amateur side although only southern players were eventually selected.
By 1950 Jack had moved on to play for Blyth Spartans and then captained Shankhouse. He finished off his footballing career with Crook and Willington. Although he attracted interest from a number of first division clubs while at Heaton Stannington he decided not to turn professional and, in the time of the maximum wage for footballers, remained a colliery accountant.
Jack visited Grounsell Park last season for the match against Hebburn Town on Saturday 17 October 2015. This coincided with the week of the 80th anniversary of the first match at Grounsell Park on 12 October 1935. Jack was the guest of honour and was warmly welcomed by everyone and was given the hospitality that the club is well known for. As a result of his visit to the club, most people at Grounsell Park have great memories of his visit and feel privileged to have met him.
Source: www.northernleague.org (Kevin Mochrie)