Nothing foul about this

Alnwick Town are top of the league – as part of an initiative to give foul language the boot.

The Ebac Northern League’s Secret Shopper scheme, chiefly targeted at giving offensive behaviour in grassroots football the red card, has gone public for the first time.

Based on around 150 anonymous visits so far this season, the league has just published a table of all 46 of its clubs, detailing those who’ve performed almost impeccably and others where concerns remain.

And Alnwick Town – ironically bottom of Division Two – are currently leading the way in the Secret Shopper league, topping the table as the best-behaved club.

Club chairman Tom McKie said: “I’m really pleased and I hope we can continue to be top for the rest of the season.

“It is a credit to everyone involved with the club.”

The Northern League appointed a 17-strong Secret Shopper panel to visit matches and report on the behaviour of both teams.

They mark out of five in each of four categories – players’ language, technical area language, technical area discipline and spectator behaviour.

The Secret Shopper league was compiled on November 26 and each team’s score in the table is the average out of five across all four categories.

Table-topping Alnwick scored 4.60, followed by Team Northumbria with 4.57.

At the other end, West Auckland and Spennymoor Town – who are both flying high in Division One – are at the bottom of the Secret Shopper table, with marks of 3.25 and 3.32 respectively.

Morpeth Town are in a lowly position, with a score of 3.39.

League chairman Mike Amos described Alnwick’s performance as a ‘fantastic achievement’.

All clubs have been made aware of their position in the table, and of any concerns.

The initiative, to run until the end of the season, has attracted national attention and is running in tandem with the FA’s own Use Your Head scheme.