CAPITALISING on a unique link with the north-east has proved a valuable lockdown lifeline for Hanwell Town as The Geordies continue to live up to their name.

The Pitching In Isthmian League South Central Division outfit are nicknamed in honour of the Newcastle-based men who formed the club in 1920 and promptly kitted the team out in black and white stripes.

Just over a century on, a curtailed league season has not stopped Hanwell celebrating their heritage and a range of crossover merchandise has proved a hit with the notoriously passionate Magpies faithful.

“We are sending orders to Newcastle every other day, it’s just taken off,” said Elsa Jones, Hanwell’s head of marketing.

“We have been creating new products especially for them and it’s great to have that revenue coming in while we can’t play.

“We have done up a Newcastle Brown Ale t-shirt with Hanwell wording, dog bandanas, replica shirts – we’ve had messages saying people will wear our shirts to St James’ Park when they go back, which is crazy.”

Ealing Times:

REPRESENTING: Harry the dog with his Hanwell Town bandana next to the Millennium Bridge

Town striker Gareth Chendlik is the latest to embrace the connection, with his challenge of running 100km in March to raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation well underway.

“The Newcastle fans have done so much for us, so we felt we needed to do something for them,” Jones said.

“As well as Gareth’s run, we are planning a Geordie Day for next season. We’ll combine it with Newcastle playing in London and reduce the entry price for anyone wearing a black and white shirt!”

While continuing to link two distant communities, Jones is also looking to ensure Hanwell’s local support can pick up where it left off when action resumes.

The 19-year-old was responsible for a popular season ticket offer last season and runs the club’s active social media accounts to help keep supporters informed and in touch during lockdown.

“We’ve started a new online club shop and every Saturday people come down to collect their orders or just to interact with people,” she said.

“Some of the players have started coming down and it’s so exciting to see people not from the same household!

“Last season, we did a half-price season ticket for any season ticket holders at Premier League or EFL clubs and our crowds grew 22%.

“We have already sold 65 season tickets for next season – a few years ago, we wouldn’t sell more than 10 – and our average attendance has gone up to around 200.

“We are a bus journey from Brentford and QPR or a train from Tottenham and Chelsea, so we are doing well to get those crowds and we want to keep those people.”

Ealing Times:

KEY FIGURE: Elsa Jones (centre) has played a key role in boosting Hanwell's crowds through innovative season ticket ideas

The Geordies are one of 228 Trident League clubs being supported by Pitching In, a grassroots sport investment programme established by Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain.

In addition to financial support, the initiative places a focus on the importance of volunteers at non-league level – a role Jones has thrown herself into in recent years.

“I started running the gate when I was 14 and I’ve been involved with all sorts since then,” said Jones, who won a national award for her efforts last year.

“As an only child, it has been great to mix with so many different characters through the football club and it has been really valuable for life advice.

“It took me a few years to properly dive in and now I make decisions on things which have been the same for 20 years, like the season ticket offer – we’d have never done that before.

“You wonder about the future of these clubs if the younger generation don’t get involved – I would encourage anyone to do so.”

Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. The programme includes a flagship partnership with The Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues - collectively known as The Trident League, as well as a partnership with the UK sports charity SportsAid. For more details see: