Mark Wingett, a television actor from The Bill is aiming to play his part in helping to secure the future of Darlington Football Club’s youth team.
Wingett who played Detective Constable Jim Carver in police drama The Bill for 21 years, will direct Alf Ramsey Knew My Grandfather, at the Civic Theatre, in Darlington, in July.
The proceeds of the play which, tells the story of the West Auckland miners who went to Italy in 1909 and returned with the Lipton Trophy – the first World Cup, are going towards helping Darlington’s youth team.
Darlington FC’s youth squad faces an uncertain future, with the end of the parachute payments that have helped sustain it following the club’s relegation from the Football League in 2010.
A fans’ group is aiming to raise £750,000 to buy the club and secure its long-term future.
Wingett who supports Portsmouth, has previously worked with writers Ed Waugh and Trevor Wood, having appeared in their play, Maggie’s End.
“When I read the script, I thought it was brilliant,” Wingett told the Northern Echo.
“It’s very funny and gripping in places.”
“Knowing this production will be for the benefit of the Darlington youth team was also a major factor in being part of the show.”
“As a Pompey supporter, I know exactly what it’s like having your club on the brink of administration.”
Mr Wood said: “This is a massive coup for us and the people of Darlington. Mark is not only a great actor, he’s also a fantastic director.”
Also appearing in the play will be Sky TV presenter and staunch Hartlepool United supporter, Jeff Stelling.
Mr Stelling said:
“I was happy to get involved with this production, initially because it celebrated North-East football and now as a means to support the Darlington youth team, which has played a vital role in the survival of the club.”
The current West Auckland squad will take on fellow Northern League side Dunston in the FA Vase final, at Wembley, on May 13.