THERE is “guarded optimism” among supporters of South Shields FC that the club’s temporary move outside the borough will prove a success.
Diehard fans twice made the journey to Peterlee for the club’s “home” games in the opening week of the season.
The move to the Eden Lane sports facility has been forced on the club, after it was left homeless when the lease on Filtrona Park – the club’s home for the past 20 years – expired.
And supporters made the 40-mile round-trip with an element of trepidation.
The Mariners’ opening Northern League Division Two fixture ended all square, with a 2-2 draw with Northallerton Town, before losing 3-2 to Esh Winning on Tuesday.
It means the Mariners are still looking for a victory at their new ‘home’, but Bob Wray, the secretary of South Shields FC Supporters’ Association, said he was pleased with the new venue, but made it clear that the top priority remains finding a home within South Tyneside before the start of next season.
He said: “It was our first out-of-town experience, so to speak, and I think there’s room for guarded optimism.
“I’m sure that things will settle down through the course of the season.
“I can’t say how many exactly made the journey by car and by bus, but there were quite a few regulars in evidence at the game.
“It only takes 25 minutes to reach the facility and it is easy to get to.
“It’s also a really nice facility, too, with not just a football field, but also other top-class sports facilities.
“We were a victim of unfortunate circumstances, but we are making the best of the situation and fully intend to be back in South Tyneside next season.”
Talks are ongoing with South Tyneside Council over two potential unnamed sites for the club to move to next year.