The 2006/2007 season was a one to savour for the fans as the team reached the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. On the way there they defeated Unibond League sides Stocksbridge Park Steels and North Ferriby United before meeting neighbours Blyth Spartans in an epic 3rd Qualifying Round tie. In front of 2,023 fans at Hillheads Blyth, who were three divisions higher than Whitley, earned a replay when a last minute goal gave them a 2-2 draw and in the return at Croft Park two early goals from Mark Sheeran and Phil Bell put the Bay on the way to a famous victory in front of 1,700 supporters. Bay’s run came to end at Gainsborough Trinity where they went down 2-0.
In the FA Vase Bay reached the last 32, and after a long journey to Gloucestershire, were beaten by a late goal at Slimbridge. However it was to be the league where Bay took the honours. On the final day of the season a 3-1 win at Durham City and Sunderland Nissan slipping up at home to Billingham Synthonia gave Bay the Arngrove Northern League title on goal difference from Billingham Town.
The honours didn’t end there as ‘keeper Terry Burke was named Northern League Player of the Year and Lee Kerr won the inaugural Bob Moreland Trophy for the Young Player of the Year. Lee also picked up the prestigious Radio Newcastle Player of the Year and manager Ian Chandler took the Manager of the Year award. As the only club to score more than 100 league goals their brand of exciting attacking play was a joy to watch.
The 2007/08 season has got off to a good start when the club won the Cleator Cup beating Newcastle Benfield in the league’s annual curtain raiser between the League Champions and League Cup Winners. Another successful season followed and although Whitley failed to retain the league championship, they just missed out on the runners-up spot when Consett won their final game of the season. However the main focus of the season came in the FA Vase when they reached the semi-final stage having beaten the holders and hot favourites Truro City 3-0 on their own pitch after a 46o mile journey to Cornwall. Another long trip in the quarter-finals took them to Hungerford Town and a Paul Robinson goal set up a two legged semi-final tie with Lowestoft Town.
Disaster struck in the first leg at Lowestoft where a 4-0 win for the ‘Trawlermen’ made them firm favourites, but in a fantastic second leg the Bay just failed to pull it back despite taking a 3-0 lead after just 24 minutes. Both legs were played in front of over 2000 spectators. Off the field Lee Kerr was again presented with the Bob Moreland Trophy and Paul Robinson was voted as runner-up for the Northern League Player of the Year and long serving secretary Derek Breakwell was presented with the Arthur Clark Memorial Trophy for his services to the Northern League. Whitley also reached the semi-final of the Northumberland Senior Cup only to lose in extra time to a strong Newcastle United Reserve side.
2008/09 was a season Bay fans will never forget. The FA Vase once again took centre stage with Manchester side Abbey Hey being Whitleys’ first opponents. The visitors went 2-0 up and only a late equaliser from Chris Moore took the game to extra time where Bay ran out 5-2 winners. Victories over Penrith, Bootle, Stratford and Biggleswade Town took Whitley into the semi-final where they were once again paired with Lowestoft. Bay had home advantage in the 1st leg and a crowd of 2,947 saw goals from Paul Chow and Lee Kerr give them a 2-1 lead. In the 2nd leg 2,250 fans saw Bay’s lead wiped out inside 3 minutes but an equaliser from Leon Ryan and a superb display from the whole team saw Whitley become the first North East side to reach the new Wembley where their opponents were Glossop North End from the North West Counties League. What an occasion it was! With 12,212 fans in the stadium, goals from Lee Kerr and Paul Chow brought the FA Vase back to Whitley Bay for the 2nd time inÂ seven years.
during the FA Vase Final between Glossop North End and Whitley Bay at Wembley Stadium on May 10, 2009 in London, England.
After a tight opening to the game Whitley nearly took the lead in spectacular fashion when Adam Johnston hit a 50 yard plus effort from well inside his own half which Glossop keeper Matt Cooper did very well to turn on to his crossbar. Just 5 minutes later Nick Bailey rattled Whitley’s woodwork with a great strike from just outside the area.
On 36 minutes Lee Kerr opened the scoring, having created space on the edge of the area he clinically smashed the ball to the keeper’s nearside to send Bay fans wild. And just minutes before half time Paul Chow and Adam Johnston broke following a Glossop attack and after excellent work Chow calmly finished to claim his 40th goal of the season. Whitley started the second half brightly and had several chances to put the tie beyond Glossop, and although Glossop pushed Whitley hard in the last 10 minutes Bay held on to claim an excellent and well deserved victory.
2009/10 was yet another memorable season with Whitley fighting on four fronts for honours. Despite fixture congestion counting against them, they won the Northumberland Senior Cup at St James Park, defeating Ashington 2-1. Whitley had previously beaten a strong Newcastle United Reserve side in the Semi-Final. The Bay reached the semi final of the League Cup but went down 2-1 to South Shields. For a third successive season, they finished 3rd in the league despite a backlog of fixtures due to the severe winter weather.
But once again Wembley beckoned when after victories over Alsager Town, Boldmere St Michaels, Poole Town, Chertsey Town and Shildon, an epic two legged semi final against Barwell saw Whitley come from 3-1 down with five minutes left in the first leg to draw 3-3. Then in the return leg, a near 3,000 crowd witnessed a sensational finish when Paul Robinson’s diving header in stoppage time won the game and the tie amid ecstatic scenes at Hillheads. And so Whitley Bay reached the FA Vase Final for the third time and for the second successive season.
This time Bay’s opponents were Wroxham from the Eastern Counties League. The thousands of fans who made the trip from the north east to Wembley were celebrating after only 21 seconds when Paul Chow took advantage of hesitation in the Wroxham defence to score the fastest goal ever seen in a Wembley Final, a record that remains to this day. Although Wroxham got an equaliser, Whitley’s lead was soon restored when a Richard Hodgson free kick was turned into his own net by a Wroxham defender. Lee Kerr’s spectacular effort after just 50 seconds of the second half ensured the Vase would be coming back to Whitley Bay for a record equalling third time. Further goals from Adam Johnston, Paul Robinson and Josh Gillies completed the 6-1 victory, the highest score in the history of the FA Vase Final. Paul Chow was also named Man of the Match.