Club Captain Andrew Clarkson has left the club and returned to Chester-le-Street Town. 

After making 67 appearances (41 as a sub) and scoring 15 goals for The Hoops, Big Clarky has decided to move down the A167 to Chester-le-Street Town. The Cestrians have started the season well under Steve Bowey and will look to use Clarky’s experience to help with their push for the play-offs. First joining Birtley in the 2015/16 season, Andrew went on to make 14 appearances (2 as a sub) and scoring six goals before leaving to join Chester-le-Street in the October.  

Clarky made his Birtley Town debut on 8th August 2015 in a 1-0 defeat away at Billingham Town, before firing his first goals in the green and white hoops in a 9-0 home win against Stokesley SC. He notched his first hat-trick in a 3-1 home win against Brandon United a few weeks later and leaves the club having scored the consolation goal in a 4-1 home defeat to Bishop Auckland, exactly eight years and one month since his first.

On the biggest stage in the club’s history, Clarky stepped up to score penalties in both the semi-final win against Horden CW and play-off final against Billingham Town. The celebrations after those games will live long in the memory of Clarky and everyone connected to the club. Andrew ultimately playing a key role in ensuring the club reached Northern League Division one for the first time. 

Andrew Clarkson celebrates our play-off final win and promotion to Northern league One.

Clarky had a departing message for the club before leaving: “I want to thank everyone connected to the club before I left. In my time at Birtley I have always reminded the players just how lucky they are to be involved to be playing for Birtley Town. The club is unrecognisable from a few years ago and that is down to the hard work of the volunteers and committee members. I am leaving with a heavy heart and for no other reason than I need to be playing football as I head towards my mid 30’s. I have left on great terms with all of the players and management. I have spoken to Paul Beat and Scott Brown about my decision and they were both brilliant. It has always been a pleasure to play for the club. I will still be coming down to watch whenever I can.”

Chairman Paul Beat added “I’ve said for years that to build a club, you have got to bring in good people, both on and off the pitch. Positive, proactive, respectful and good personalities. The big man epitomises all of those things and he’s been a pleasure to work with since the day we eventually got him back to the club. Clarky knocked me back three times I think it was then eventually came in and has been first class since day one.”

“It’s easy to talk about how much of a character, and a positive person he is around the club and other players etc. but what I don’t want to be overlooked is the player. He’s more than just a target man and he scored some good and important goals in his time here.”
“I know we’ll see Clarky around the club in the coming months when he can make it. Until then I wish you all the best at CLS big man, see you in The Hanlon soon.” 💚🤍⚽️

Manager’s Paul Bryson and Paul Foster were quick to praise Clarky: “He has been brilliant for us. I just want to thank him for his attitude, commitment and what a figure he has been in the changing rooms. He has been influential on and off the field. He was a key member of the squad that won promotion, we wish him the very best at Chester-le-Street.” 

Clarky celebrates promotion with Paul Foster

Clarkson ended his spell with Birtley by scoring a consolation goal in the 4-1 defeat to Bishop Auckland on Tuesday night. Everyone at the club would like thank Andrew for his effort and commitment during his time at the club and we wish him well on his return to Chester-le-Street Town.