Meet Sandy – South Shields FC’s newly-named mascot.
The sailor-themed furry friend will make his first appearance at a Mariners game on Sunday for what is arguably the biggest occasion in the club’s history.
Sandy is making his way down to Wembley to cheer Shields on against Cleethorpes Town in the final of the FA Vase.
The club asked supporters to send in suggestions for the mascot’s name, and received hundreds of responses, ranging from Captain Cookson to the Mighty Mariner.
However, most appeared to agree that Sandy should be part of his name, so the choice was narrowed down to Sandy, Sandy the Sanddancer, Sandy Dancer and Sandy The Sailor.
With well over 500 votes cast, Sandy came out on top with more than 35% of the vote. It was certainly a discussion which provoked plenty of responses on the Gazette’s Facebook page.
I vote Sanddancer or Sandy for short. So many votes for this it has to beTracy Bone
Tracy Bone wrote: “I vote Sanddancer or Sandy for short. So many votes for this it has to be. He needs a little dance to learn so everyone can do it in the stands and at home for support. Maybe the ‘walk like an Egyptian’ or something daft like that.”
John Carey posted: “Come on, it has got to be Sandy, hasn’t it?”
Fiona Jeneson said: “Sandy... it’s a no brainer!!”
Nicola McIntosh added: “Captain Sandy: by Hannah McIntosh, age nine x”
Kelly Mordle, meanwhile, recalled memories of her grandfather.
She wrote: “My granddad was South Shields through and through.
“He kept diaries of all the fixtures dating right back to the 1940s.
“His last entry was on the back of a hospital menu before he died.
“He’d be so chuffed and proud to see how well South Shields have done. I wish he was here to see it (though I know he’ll not be missing it).
“I’d love to see the mascot named after him.....Maurice (pronounced Morris).”
Up to 15,000 South Shields supporters are set to make their way down to Wembley for what is the club’s first-ever game at the national stadium.
Fans can wave the team off on their journey when their coach leaves Mariners Park at about 10.15am tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the club received another message of support yesterday – by top referee Mark Clattenburg.
He posted on Twitter: “Let’s hope South Shields follow on the great tradition of non-league North East clubs lifting the FA Vase.”