The exodus begins as South Shields fans start to head for Wembley

South Shields FC fans Jack and Neeve Burgess wave off the team coach as it leaves Mariners Park this morning, for the FA Vase final at Wembley.
South Shields FC fans Jack and Neeve Burgess wave off the team coach as it leaves Mariners Park this morning, for the FA Vase final at Wembley.

Mariners fans are backing their team to go all the way and emerge victorious at Wembley on Sunday.

South Shields face Cleethorpes Town in the final of the FA Vase tomorrow, with more than 13,000 supporters set to make the trip from South Tyneside.

South Shields fans celebrate getting to Wembley. Pic: Peter Talbot.

South Shields fans celebrate getting to Wembley. Pic: Peter Talbot.

The team were due to leave for London at 10.30am today, stopping off at Aston Villa’s training ground en route.

Winning the game would be the crowning glory for the club, who have already won the Northern League title, the League Cup and the Durham Challenge Cup.

Tomorrow will be the team’s first appearance at the national stadium.

Messages of support have flooded in from fans desperate to see captain Julio Arca climb up the famous Wembley steps to lift the trophy.

South Shields FC FA Vase finalists.

South Shields FC FA Vase finalists.

The Shields Ferry crew have caught also cup fever ahead of this weekend.

The cross-Tyne ferry service, which is based in South Shields, was keen to join with the rest of the borough in wishing the Mariners the best of luck for Sunday.

Crew members, who work for Nexus, took time out from their schedule on Friday to don South Shields FC scarves on board Pride of the Tyne.

And the club’s mascot, Sandy, paid a visit to the ferry landing as the countdown to the big match continues.

South Shields FC supporters celebrate their title win with midfielder Julio Arca. Image by Peter Talbot.

South Shields FC supporters celebrate their title win with midfielder Julio Arca. Image by Peter Talbot.

The passenger information display screen at the South Shields Ferry landing is showing a good luck message for the players.

The message is scrolling on the information display above the entrance to the ferry landing. It reads: ‘Good luck to South Shields FC. FA Vase Final, May 21’.

Shields Ferry Manager, Carol Timlin, said: “All of our crew are fully behind South Shields FC for the big final on Sunday.

“We really hope that they can bring that cup back to the town.

“The Shields Ferry is a massive part of the local community, so it is only fitting that we lend our support to the players ahead of the game.

“Cup fever is sweeping right across the area at the moment.

“It’s a brilliant feel good factor and the club should already be proud of it has achieved.

“We’ll be rooting for the team every step of the way at Wembley.”

Nexus has already arranged for good luck messages to be displayed on the passenger information screens at its Metro stations throughout South Tyneside.A message on the new A194 advertising sign in the town is wishing the team the best of luck, while the club flag will fly from South Shields Town Hall tomorrow.

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said “For our hometown to be playing at the iconic Wembley Stadium as Northern League champions is such a tremendous achievement.

Shields Ferry support for South Shields FC FA Vase final. Ferry crew Phil Smith with mascot Sandy. Back from left Mark Elsy and Nathan Williamson

Shields Ferry support for South Shields FC FA Vase final. Ferry crew Phil Smith with mascot Sandy. Back from left Mark Elsy and Nathan Williamson

“South Shields Football Club has gone from strength to strength and if this season’s hugely successful campaign is anything to go by, it shows that the Mariners are certainly a force to be reckoned with.

“They are fantastic ambassadors for the town and we are extremely excited as we watch their impressive rise through non-league football.

“I’m sure the people of South Tyneside will show great team spirit and join their loyal fan base in rooting for the Mariners.”

South Shields-born comedian Chris Ramsey, star of TV show Hebburn, also gave his backing to the side, saying in a video message: “Just wanted to say a massive good luck to all the fans and especially the team, The Mariners, going down to Wembley for the final of the FA Vase.

“You’re doing everyone proud, smash it, bring back that trophy.”

Shields Ferry support for South Shields FC FA Vase final. Mascot Sandy.

Shields Ferry support for South Shields FC FA Vase final. Mascot Sandy.

Shields Ferry support for South Shields FC FA Vase final. Mascot Sandy.

Shields Ferry support for South Shields FC FA Vase final. Mascot Sandy.