Well known football scout Jim Nichol is on the threshold of completing a unique half century of unstinting service.
The 77-year-old ex-miner, who lives in Wansbeck, is in his 49th year of voluntary community sports and working for Carlisle United.
He has two local under-16s from the Wansbeck area who have signed for the Cumbria-based club – Reece Crate from Ashington and Ben Culling from Bedlington.
“The lads have been on a six weeks trial and have done well, and hopefully the pair can go on and win a scholarship on leaving school,” said Jim, who doesn’t receive any monetary rewards for his talent spotting.
“My aim is to give young lads a start in life at a good club.”
Crate and Culling take Nichol’s total number of signings for professional clubs to 75.
He added: “It’s the first rung on a very hard ladder to climb, so good luck to them.”
Nichol has also recommended 34 players to clubs who then signed for other professional outfits, including Darren Fletcher, ex-Manchester United and now with West Bromwich Albion, and Tottenham and England midfielder Andros Townsend.