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Page last updated at 07:33 GMT, Wednesday, 29 July 2009 08:33 UK
West Auckland's World Cup Rematch
West Auckland FC in 1909
The team had to pawn personal possessions to fund the trip

Durham non-League club West Auckland Town met Italian side Juventus in a friendly in Turin on August 1.

The trip marked the 100-year anniversary of the club winning the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy, which was later dubbed 'the first World Cup' in Turin in 1909.

The club successfully defended the title two years later with a famous 6-1 victory over Juventus.

A £10,000 donation from the Football Association has enabled the Northern League outfit to make the journey.

Speaking before the trip, FA chairman Lord Triesman: "We are delighted to support West Auckland FC's return to Turin. "It's so important they are able to celebrate the 100th anniversary of their famous match with Juventus.

"This is a wonderful story and it's only right that they will be in Italy to commemorate the remarkable achievement of winning the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy."

How it happened

In April 1909, West Auckland Football Club, a humble pub team of coalminers, became giant-killing world champions in a truly unique tale of courage, self belief and north eastern grit.

A definite answer as to how it came about has been lost over time, but some in the town still recall the story that it was a case of mistaken identity.

Invitations to compete for the trophy were usually reserved for the finest teams from the best footballing nations of the day; England, Germany and Switzerland.

Woolwich Arsenal dominated the football leagues of the 1900s, but it is thought confusion involving the initials of the two teams resulted in the invitation for the 1909 World Cup being offered to the understandably surprised West Auckland FC.

It proved not to be mission impossible for the north easterners, though. They breezed their way through the opening rounds of the competition, punching many leagues above their weight and stunning spectators on both sides of the stadium.

The team had to pawn whatever they could, including furniture and even wedding rings, to make their way to the Italian city of Turin for the final.




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