Billingham Synthonia Football Club
Nickname The Synners
Ground The PTS Stadium, Central Avenue, Billingham (Capacity: 4,200)
League - Northern League Division Two
Billingham Synthonia F.C. are based in Billingham & were established in 1923, playing first in the Teesside League, and joining the Northern League in 1945. In the 1993-94 season, they reached the Quarter-Finals of the FA Trophy, in a run which included victories over Conference sides Kettering Town and Macclesfield Town. They are currently members of the Northern League Division One. Their nickname is "The Synners" and they play a derby match against Billingham Town. They are known for being the only club in England to be named after an agricultural fertiliser (Synthonia being a contraction of "synthetic ammonia", a product manufactured
by ICI, with whom the club originally had a close connection), and being the only club to go an entire season (1950-51) in the Northern League without conceding a goal at home, a last minute penalty save in the final game by goalkeeper Harry Armstrong
preserving this record.
Famous players - The most famous ex-Synner is Brian Clough, who appeared for the club before he went on National Service. Others include Aidan Davison, a goalkeeper capped 3 times by Northern Ireland, who played for Synthonia during the 1987-88 season, and Northern Ireland winger Terry Cochrane. Bernie Slaven, ex-Middlesbrough and Republic of Ireland striker, played for the club after his retirement from professional football. Another ex-Middlesbrough and Republic of Ireland player, Curtis Fleming, played for Synthonia in 2006-07 season before entering into management with Livingston of the Scottish league.
Grounds Synthonia play at The PTS Stadium, Central Avenue (formerly Central Avenue Stadium until August 2007 when the club secured a ground sponsor). Their ground is also used by the Billingham Athletics club. The stadium was opened on 6 September 1958 by Lord Derby, with the first game ending in a 2-2 draw against Bishop Auckland. In the same year, the stadium was used for an England 'B' international athletics meeting. The stadium's 2,000 capacity cantilever stand was the longest in the country at the time. Previously, the team had played at Belasis Lane, a ground they left in 1958 to make way for a new ICI office block. The Belasis Lane ground saw the first floodlit game in the North of England and the first amateur team to play under lights, when Billingham Synthonia defeated an RAF team 8-4 before an attendance of 3,000. The club's record attendance was 4,200 against Bishop Auckland in 1958. During the 2006-07 season, the club's average home attendance was 110. Some Middlesbrough reserve matches are played at Central Avenue.