What a day. What an atmosphere!
And there’s more to come, with an open-top bus parade to welcome home the South Shields heroes.
Thousands went to Wembley to see the lads beat Cleethorpes Town 4-0 to win the FA Vase, but an action-packed trophy-filled season still isn’t over for the all-conquering team.
South Tyneside Council and South Shields FC are working together to arrange a parade for the lads when they arrive back on South Tyneside.
The date, time and route are yet to be finalised but it’s just rewards for a phenomenal effort watched by thousands in the stadium.
Back at home, the club’s home of Mariners Park was packed with fans who watched the game on television. For many, there were tears of joy.
Emotional David Kerr, 70, first watched Shields when he was five. His grandad Harrison Hay took him to the old Simonside Hall ground.
His memory has faded on how that first game ended, but it moulded a love affair with football which never dimmed.
David got his just rewards yesterday for 65 years of devotion. The former sub station worker admitted: “This is the best moment in the club’s history.
“I used to come as a boy and to see them this season, it’s the best.”
Fellow lifelong fan Jim Richardson, 78, and wife Marilyn, 70, donned Shields colours on Final day.
Shields born Jim, who worked in the shipyards and as a sales rep, admitted he’s passionate about his hometown and added: “I am emotional because I have got a heart for Shields. I never fail to try and promote it.
“I tell people what a beautiful coastline we have got. We had friends who came up from Birmingham and they were over the moon when we showed them the area. It is a wonderful place to live.”
Wife Marilyn, who is also Shields born and bred, loved the match and said the team “did brilliantly. It is so emotional because my boys are down there.”
She was referring to her sons Duncan and Paul McGeoch who were at Wembley to watch goals from Carl Finnigan, Dillon Morse and two from David Foley seal a Shields win.
Marilyn might not have predicted the correct score – “I kept saying it was going to be 3-0. In the end, it could have been seven” – but she admitted the whole day had been wonderful.
Shields had even recruited an extra supporter from Germany. Her sons had befriended a Borussia Dortmund supporter on the internet and he travelled to England to support the lads – donning a Shields shirt for the match!
Paul Dixon, 50, originally from Boldon and now in Farringdon, said: “The first 20 minutes could have been two or three for Shields but their keeper had a cracking game. He was unfortunate at the end.”
Paul’s pal Daryl King, 24, from South Shields, said: “They thoroughly deserved the win. What they have done this season has been amazing.”
He didn’t believe any other team could match their record of lifting four trophies in one season.
Tony Walsh, 78, is another lifelong fan and punched the air with delight at the Wembley win.
He watched his first Shields match at Horsley Hill Stadium when he was “10 or 11.”
He remembered the days when Shields used to be a Football League club, but the retired comprehensive school technician said: “Absolutely, this has got to be their biggest achievement.”
Son Paul, 53, said: “The atmosphere has been great” and daughter Clare, 48, added; “I thought we had the upper hand but we needed the second goal.”
Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Olive Punchion said: “What a remarkable achievement! Now I think it’s time for them to bask in the glory of their success and soak up the great atmosphere they’ve brought to the town.”
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck said: “It was fantastic to be at Wembley with the amazing crowds.
“Huge congratulations to Geoff Thompson the team and all the back room staff.
“I’m always proud of Shields but especially proud today.”