Nortel forced to resign from Amateur League

Nortel players before the 2010 Border Regiment Cup final against Dromara Village. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Nortel players before the 2010 Border Regiment Cup final against Dromara Village. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
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Nortel - one of the most successful clubs of the 1980s and 1990s - have been forced to resign from the Northern Amateur League.

The Factory Club last term had finished a creditable seventh place in the Premier Division but this season, the trickle of players leaving turned into a flood - they played seven league matches, losing all seven, scoring just three goals and conceding 43.

Club official and former manager Ricky Beggs, who led them to back to back league titles in the mid-90s, said: “It’s heartbreaking - Premier League team going out of business.

“Between the end of last season and now, we’ve lost around 30 players, a mass exodus.

“The facilities are as good as any, but there’s nowhere for us to go.

“I’ve spoken to at least eight prospective managers, some have been interested only to find that they cannot bring the players they need - the timing is wrong.

“We would have needed to get a few across the line and then build on it, but players aren’t interested when you’re getting beaten 12 and 14-0.

“Personally, I had three years in charge of the Seconds and then managed the first team for some 16-17 years.

“A few of us have tried, but we just couldn’t get players in.

“There is not the same club loyalty there used to be.

“We were going to ask the league for a month’s grace, but it would have been no good, it would have been just pushing the problem down the line.”

The club was formed as Standard Telephones & Cables (STC) in 1964 by workers in the company’s newly open factory in Monkstown.

The name was changed to Northern Telecom and then eventually to Nortel.

Honours included, Division 1A (1983), Premier Section (1996, 97), Division 1B (1988,) Division 2A (1969), Clarence Cup (1974, 1986), Border Cup (1983, 1986, 1991, 1999.

Nortel held the unique distinction of being the winners of the last senior adult trophy to be won in the previous millennium in the whole of the United Kingdom, after victory in the Border Cup four days short of the 21st century.

Yet is this really the last we’ll hear of Nortel? Hopefully not, for as Beggs concluded: “There is a chance that we might resurrect something during the summer, get someone in and apply again for the Amateur League - but then will players want to come and play in Division 2C?

“Hopefully, this time next year, we’re talking about Nortel back up and running again.”