Civic reception honours achievements of South Shields FC

South Shields FC's players and staff with, from left in the front row, South Tyneside Council chief executive Martin Swales, the Mayoress of South Tyneside, Mary French, the Mayor, Coun Olive Punchion, and the leader of the council, Coun Iain Malcolm. Image by Peter Talbot.
South Shields FC's players and staff with, from left in the front row, South Tyneside Council chief executive Martin Swales, the Mayoress of South Tyneside, Mary French, the Mayor, Coun Olive Punchion, and the leader of the council, Coun Iain Malcolm. Image by Peter Talbot.

Quadruple-winning South Shields FC’s players and staff have been treated to a civic reception after a historic year.

The Mariners won the Northern League, Northern League Cup and Durham Challenge Cup last season, before topping an incredible season off by triumphing in the FA Vase final at Wembley.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Olive Punchion, presents South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson with a memento to mark the club's incredible season. Image by Peter Talbot.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Olive Punchion, presents South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson with a memento to mark the club's incredible season. Image by Peter Talbot.

They were invited to the Town Hall to meet the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Coun Olive Punchion and Mrs Mary French, and the leader of the council, Coun Iain Malcolm.

The reception was attended by Mariners players and staff, including chairman Geoff Thompson, who told of his pride at the achievements of the last year.

He said: “I’d like to thank the Mayor, Iain and everybody involved at the council on behalf of the club for recognising what we’ve achieved over the last two years.

“I’m incredibly proud of the lads and what they’ve achieved this season, as well as our managers, Lee Picton and Graham Fenton, and everyone behind the scenes.

We had an unbelievable season – beyond my wildest dreams

Geoff Thompson

“We had an unbelievable season – beyond my wildest dreams.

“I’d like to think we’ve put South Shields back on the footballing map.

“There’s a long way to go and we’re on an exciting journey.

“We’ve got a great team who can help us along the way, and I’m just really excited about what the future holds for the club as well.”

From left, the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Olive Punchion, and Mayoress Mary French, present South Shields FC joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton with mementos to mark the club's incredible season. Image by Peter Talbot.

From left, the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Olive Punchion, and Mayoress Mary French, present South Shields FC joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton with mementos to mark the club's incredible season. Image by Peter Talbot.

Coun Malcolm, meanwhile, revealed he had been at Wembley as a guest of Mr Thompson to watch the Mariners defeat Cleethorpes Town 4-0.

He told those at the reception: “We’d like to show our appreciation, give our thanks and offer our congratulations to South Shields Football Club for another tremendous season.

“Like all success stories, you need a fairy Godmother, or in this case a fairy Godfather, in this case Geoff.

“He comes from South Shields – a Whiteleas guy done well – and decided that he really wanted to help the club and give them that financial support, and the commitment they needed to plan for the future.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Olive Punchion, presents South Shields FC player Julio Arca with a memento to mark the club's incredible season. Image by Peter Talbot.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Olive Punchion, presents South Shields FC player Julio Arca with a memento to mark the club's incredible season. Image by Peter Talbot.

“He has a passion and commitment to South Shields, because he hails from the borough, and we, and in particular South Shields Football Club, are very lucky to have him.

“I think the most important group of people who deserve praise are the guys on the committee who kept the dream alive.

“They went through so many challenges, trials and tribulations, and times when there must have been only 20 or 30 people cheering the team on, and that committee, through their love of South Shields Football Club, passion for the game and commitment to South Shields, were determined that the club was going to survive.

“Because of the commitment and love they displayed for the club, Geoff was prepared to put his support behind them.”

Back row from left, South Shields FC joint managers Graham Fenton and Lee Picton, with goalkeeper Liam Connell, and front row from left, Mayoress Mary French, South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson and the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Olive Punchion, with the four trophies won by the Mariners this season. Image by Peter Talbot.

Back row from left, South Shields FC joint managers Graham Fenton and Lee Picton, with goalkeeper Liam Connell, and front row from left, Mayoress Mary French, South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson and the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Olive Punchion, with the four trophies won by the Mariners this season. Image by Peter Talbot.

South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson speaks at the civil reception. Image by Peter Talbot.

South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson speaks at the civil reception. Image by Peter Talbot.