Football fans from opposite ends of the pyramid united in friendship recently at the Railway Club, in Stretford.

The link between non-league Bishop Auckland and Manchester United goes back to 1958 when, in the wake of the Munich air crash that killed eight United players, the North East side stepped in to help.

Bishop Auckland loaned United three players - Derek Lewin, Bob Hardisty and Warren Bradley - to help fulfil their fixtures.

Bradley, who also went on to be a teacher at Lostock School, in Stretford, later became the only Englishman to win amateur and full international caps in the same season.

Inspired by those events, the play 'Bishop United' was written by Roy Cavanagh, Carl Abbott and Steve Newcomb, broadcast live on Durham local station Bishop FM and over the internet on a podcast and later performed in front of a specially invited audience at Heritage Park, in Bishop Auckland.

And last week the play had its first airing in Manchester in front of an audience of more than 100 at the Railway, with the generous support of landlady, Jackie Cosgrave.

The visit to Manchester came about after a group of United fans visited Bishop Auckland for a match in January to strengthen the bond between the clubs.

And the radio play’s performance was hugely successful with both sets of fans in attendance the night before United’s FA Cup final victory over neighbours Manchester City.

Newcomb, who travelled down with the performers and Bishop Auckland fans, said: “It’s a great honour to be in Manchester to be honest.

“I know all the lads and lasses that take part were thrilled to be here.

“I did think they uplifted their performance on the night - it was a fantastic performance.

“And to see an appreciative audience like we had in Manchester was such a lift for us all.

“It really does help to tie the bond between the Manchester United fans and the Bishop Auckland fans, especially after what they did earlier this year the Man United fans when they came up to Heritage Park.

“That was fantastic and is still talked about today, and we look forward to them coming back again next year.

“These bonds are so important, and it was emotional on the night.”

As part of the respect between the two clubs’ fans, United supporter, Sean Kelly, gifted everyone who made the trip from the North East a special collage of the entwined history as a keepsake.