An exhibition of the history of Stanley United, three times Northern League champions, will be staged just 100 yards from the much-loved former hill top ground tomorrow (Saturday, May 14).

It coincides with the launch of former Northern League chairman Mike Amos’s book on the wind-blown village above Crook – and, in particular, the team they nicknamed the Nops.

The book’s called Prairie stories, a nod to the Little House on the Prairie – the affectionate name for United’s unique changing room, tea hut and storm shelter where both players and spectators would desperately seek sanctuary. It’s pictured on the cover.

Founded in 1890, United customarily punched way above their weight. Among players recalled in the book are former Arsenal and Liverpool favourite Geoff Strong, Tommy Cummings who signed for Burnley and won England B honours and former Bishop Auckland star and amateur international Bob Thursby, who swears that the one season at Stanley was the happiest of football life.

Prairie stories also recalls former local MP and Northern League president the Rt Hon Ernest Armstrong, a combative United centre half with questionable eyesight. It probably explained a shocking tackle on a referee.

Tom and Ernest both attended a United reunion in 1992, the former two hours late after going to the “wrong” Stanley. This one’s a mile-and-a-half above Crook.

“The book’s by no means entirely about the football club, but that’s much the longest chapter” said Mike, who’ll be signing copies. “In general it’s a microcosm of how a former North-East mining community has changed over the years. It would be great to see familiar faces on Saturday.”

The Little House was burned down by arsonists; very little of the ground’s infrastructure remains and the last Stanley United team folded in 2003.

Curated by the Durham Amateur Football Trust, the exhibition at Stanley Crook village hall  features many old photographs of the club plus other memorabilia and runs from 11am-2pm on Saturday. Free light refreshments – including Bovril to warm the cockles – will be served.

Football fans might also want to head a couple of miles west to Tow Law Town, where the final of the Alan Britton Cup – a Crook and District League competition – kicks off between Barnard Castle and Stanhope at 2pm. Still time to be home for the FA Cup final.

*Prairie stories, evocatively illustrated over 170 large pages, costs £12 plus £3 50 postage. Those unable to attend the DAFT exhibition can get details on