South Shields FC enjoy first taste of Wembley ahead of FA Vase final

From left to right, South Shields secretary Philip Reay, joint manager Graham Fenton, director Stephanie Smith, chairman Geoff Thompson and managing director Michael Orr at Wembley.

From left to right, South Shields secretary Philip Reay, joint manager Graham Fenton, director Stephanie Smith, chairman Geoff Thompson and managing director Michael Orr at Wembley.

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South Shields FC have had their first taste of Wembley – with the appetite whetted for the biggest day in the club’s history.

A five-strong team from the club visited the national stadium yesterday to get the ball rolling on plans for the FA Vase final on May 21.

When you walk down Wembley Way and start looking at the scale of the stadium, it’s just amazing

Geoff Thompson

Chairman Geoff Thompson, managing director Michael Orr, joint manager Graham Fenton, secretary Philip Reay and director Stephanie Smith were given a tour of the stadium before meeting with FA bosses.

For Mr Thompson, it brought it home just what an incredible occasion it is going to be.

He said: “When you walk down Wembley Way and start looking at the scale of the stadium, it’s just amazing.

“It was fantastic to then get into the stadium and have a look around.

“We got on the pitch and it was great to imagine what it will be like for the fans and players. It’s going to be incredible.

“It was a really special day for all of us.”

This will be Shields’ first-ever match at Wembley, and they will come up against Cleethorpes Town in the final.

More than 9,000 Mariners supporters have already snapped up tickets, a month-and-a-half before the final.

Cleethorpes have sold about 1,500 tickets so far.

The Shields contingent met with some of their Cleethorpes counterparts at Wembley, as well as a host of representatives from the Football Association.

The plans for May 21 will now continue at pace, with the Mariners given plenty to think about ahead of the big day.

Mr Thompson added: “We came away from Wembley with a long list of things to discuss before we come back down to London again for the final.

“There was a detailed checklist for us and there are a lot of things for us to consider, but it’s all positive and about making the experience as memorable as possible for our supporters.”