OF all the places you might expect to find a football pitch in rural Northumberland, the tiny hamlet of Scots Gap would perhaps not cross your mind.

But one of the county’s oldest football clubs who play in the village, Wallington FC, are celebrating success after it was recognised as one of the most popular non-league sides in the country. 

The Northern Alliance Division One side was crowned champions of the virtual Hopper & Son non-league trophy on Saturday after defeating Liverpool-based Marshalls FC.

The competition, set up by a ground hopping father and son from Hampshire, took place over 54 days on Twitter and included 1,438 games over 11 rounds to reduce 1,408 teams down to two. 

Social media spectators were invited to follow a live text commentary and vote in a poll for their favourite team throughout each round, with the side with the most votes advancing through to the next round. 

And despite there only being around 100 homes in Scots Gap, the Greens received 58.7 per cent of the 4,000 votes cast to win the final. 

Chairman Alex Slack said the competition was a great way of raising the profile of Wallington FC and non-league football during the lockdown. 

“I am always trying to find ways to raise our profile in the game and work in the community,” he said. 

“The real success of the story was that it is one guy who has done it all himself and put clubs who would never cross paths together.” 

The Greens received celebrity backing on their route to the final from Toby Flood, of England and Newcastle Falcons, and Corbridge-born Pete Graves, a presenter with Sky Sports. 

But players and staff remained nervous ahead of each game. “Our strategy came to panicking like mad when the games kicked off,” Alex said. “All the teams were really engaged with it, and it was great to see so many involved.”

Spectators were treated to a recent history and starting line ups of both sides as the competition advanced into the last 32. 

The Greens hope to use the experience to invite fellow non-league clubs to Oakford Park in the future.