Former South Shields MP David Miliband has told of how the town’s football club have raised his spirits – from more than 3,000 miles away.
Mr Miliband, who is based in New York in his role as president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, remains the president of South Shields FC.
The Mariners sealed the Northern League Division Two title with a 4-0 win at Crook Town on Saturday, and will lift the trophy following tonight’s match against Willington at their Mariners Park home.
It is an achievement which has warmed the heart of Mr Miliband, who became the club’s president in 2002.
The former Foreign Secretary has kept an eye on the fortunes of the club from afar, and has been impressed with their progress under chairman Geoff Thompson and manager Jon King.
Mr Miliband, who was the MP for South Shields between 2001 and 2013, said: “It has been tough for North East teams in the Premier League this year, so the success of South Shields has been a bright spot.
“The team have cheered up the footballing side of my brain, even at 3,000 miles distance.
“Huge congratulations are due to the management and the players, and winning the championship was the icing on the cake. I’m looking forward to hopefully more success next season.”
Mr Miliband’s involvement in football has also included a spell on the board of Sunderland AFC as vice-chairman and a non-executive director.
He is no longer hands-on at South Shields FC, but retains the title of president.
The team have cheered up the footballing side of my brain, even at 3,000 miles distanceDavid Miliband
The Mariners will play in Northern League Division One next season.