Billingham and its surrounding districts, situated about 3 miles to the north of the River Tees have always had a strong
Sunderland following. Indeed, the area once belonged to County Durham before some politician invented Cleveland and the
Teesside conurbation got bigger and smoggier.
However, tradition in many families remains strong and other more recent native County Durhamers have moved into the area
to find work.
There wasn’t an official supporter’s branch formed however until the weeks leading up to the play-off final in 1998.
Many people were looking out for ways to get to the match and the first meeting was held in the Billingham Arms Hotel,
mainly to organise this transport.
After the disappointment of the final, many supporters elected to carry the meetings on and the second was held a
month later in the Travellers Rest public house in Hartlepool when over 70 supporters attended. A committee was
elected and the Billingham & District Branch became the 25th official SAFC Supporters Association branch.
Over the next few years the branch grew from strength to strength boasting over 160 members by the middle of 1999. A
branch newsletter aptly called "The A19" was produced and meetings were held on a monthly basis.
Many successful functions have taken place including Barbecues, a Pig Racing night, Christmas parties, Promotion
parties, a TWR night, a trip to the Sunderland Greyhound track, a number of full branch away trips, a Stadium tour
and various quiz and games nights.
A number of ex-players and football celebrities have been invited to take part in our popular football talk-ins,
these include Eric Gates, Rob Mason, Chris Turner, Jimmy Montgomery, Jimmy McNab, Richie Pitt and George Tyson.
The branch has also raised well over £6000 for various charities since its inception in 1998. The beneficiaries
have included a local Cystic Fibrosis charity, the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust, the British Heart Foundation and
the British Altzeimers Society. Most of the charity monies have been raised via supporters taking part in our now
annual Red ‘n’ White March to the Stadium of Light. Over 50 members make the 32-mile trek each April and this has
proved massively enjoyable and successful. This years march will be to the Spurs home game and the charities
chosen are the Butterwick Children’s Hospice and the Ash Trees special school in Billingham.
There are now over 300 season ticket holders in the Billingham area alone so scope for increasing membership
is constantly growing, and the smoggies certainly know that we are here.