South Shields FC fans back owner over possibility of new £10m stadium

South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson revealed the possibility of a new stadium to the Gazette yesterday.
South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson revealed the possibility of a new stadium to the Gazette yesterday.

South Shields FC supporters have backed owner Geoff Thompson after he revealed the possibility of a new £10million stadium for the club.

Mr Thompson told the Gazette yesterday that, though ‘Plan A’ was to continue to redevelop Mariners Park, the club is working with South Tyneside Council to identify possible sites for a new ground.

A crowd of about 3,500 is expected at Mariners Park. Image by Peter Talbot.

A crowd of about 3,500 is expected at Mariners Park. Image by Peter Talbot.

Fans commenting on the Gazette’s Facebook page backed Mr Thompson – who took control of the club in 2015 – to make the right decision, whatever that may be.

South Shields FC fans’ page posted: “Very exciting! Geoff is a very successful businessman and sure he’ll think long and hard before making a decision like this.

“It’s so exciting that someone has taken hold of the club like this and is so eager to take it forward and has fantastic ambitions.

“Hopefully more and more people get behind him just like the 1000+ who turn up every week!!! Come on the Mariners!”

South Shields FC are hoping for a first-ever appearance at Wembley. Image by Peter Talbot.

South Shields FC are hoping for a first-ever appearance at Wembley. Image by Peter Talbot.

Tony ‘Foz’ Foster added: “Good to see a local club doing well with great support.

“Be brilliant to see them in the National league or even higher in the future, from a Boldon Colliery lad. Howay South Shields.”

Chris Whalen said: “Geoff is a positive bloke who is willing to put his money where his mouth is which he has already done. Let’s support him and the team.”

Leigh Shotton wrote: “We love you Geoff and keep up the good work and progress. Up The Mariners.”

South Shields fans queued from early in the morning for tickets at Mariners Park. Picture by Tim Hines.

South Shields fans queued from early in the morning for tickets at Mariners Park. Picture by Tim Hines.

Some pointed to the collapse of Darlington FC after moving into a 25,000 seater ground in 2003.

However, others cited current Football League clubs as positive examples for the Mariners to follow.

Mark Heslop posted: “Why do people keep talking about Darlington?

“What about the success stories of Fleetwood Town or Burton Albion?

Margaret Rose and Graham Soderlund with their daughter Kimmie.

Margaret Rose and Graham Soderlund with their daughter Kimmie.

“It is great to see people have ambition for the club.

“It is good for the town and puts South Shields on the map...up the Mariners.”

The Gazette ran an online poll yesterday, asking people where they felt the club’s long-term future should lie.

Almost half of those who took part – 41% – believe the club’s future lies at Temple Park, South Shields.

Gypsies Green Stadium was the choice of 36% of people who voted and 15% believe the Mariners should stay at their current home.

Some 8%, meanwhile, believe “somewhere else” is a better option.

Graham Soderlund with daughter Kimmie.

Graham Soderlund with daughter Kimmie.

Colin Makepeace said: “I’d go Temple Park.

“It’s mainly unused, with plenty of space for parking and good road links. For me it’s the best choice.”

Mark Bloxham added: “Mariners Park. Good transport links and scope to expand. Could even change the name of the Metro station.”

Nick Jordan posted: “Got to be near a Metro station if you want larger numbers. That transport link is key.”

Andy Ford said: “Gypsies Green.”

Mark Thomas wrote: “Close to good transport hubs.”

Derek Wilson posted: “Can be Temple Park or somewhere similar, close to centre of Shields or not to far off.”

Meanwhile, anticipation has stepped up for South Shields FC supporters after the first tickets for their two-legged FA Vase semi-final went on sale.

The Mariners will reach Wembley should they overcome Coleshill Town over the two games.

Yesterday, season ticket holders and club sponsors were given their chance to snap up tickets for both legs.

The tickets will be available to club members from today, too, while all those still unsold will go on general sale tomorrow.

Some supporters queued at the club’s Mariners Park ground from early yesterday morning ahead of the tickets going on sale at 9am.

Margaret Rose was delighted after securing tickets for herself, partner Graham Soderlund and their daughter Kimmie, 10.

She said: “Graham and I went to the ground at 6.45am to give ourselves the best possible chance.

“We were actually meant to go there for about 5am, but we slept in!

“We really wanted a ticket as there are only 300 available for the away game.

“We weren’t sure if we were guaranteed a ticket, because even though we’re season ticket holders, we have such a massive following so couldn’t take anything for granted.

“Because of that, getting there early was our only option to secure the tickets.

“We were over the moon to get them and can’t wait for the semi-final.

“It was worth waiting in the cold for them.”

The away tie will take place on Saturday, March 11, with the return match a week later at Mariners Park.

Tickets for both legs cost £8 for adults, £6 for over-65s and students, and £4 for under-16s.

They can be bought by season ticket holders, club sponsors and members today between 9am and 5pm, by calling 0191 454 7800 or visiting the ground.

From tomorrow, remaining tickets will be on general sale by the same methods between 9am and 8pm.

In the last round, the Mariners Park record attendance was smashed as Shields defeated Newport Pagnell Town 6-1.

The game was played in front of a crowd of 3,161.