Football is finally coming home in South Shields this summer – and an ambitious business boss is calling on fans to pitch in to ensure his grounds for optimism lead to a brighter future.
South Shields Football Club will kick off a bright new era in July now a deal has been struck to return the Mariners to the town after two years of playing away in Peterlee, County Durham.
We want to give the town a club to be proud off both on and off the pitchGeoff Thompson
Geoff Thompson, chief executive of North Tyneside-based energy consultancy firm Utilitywise, has vowed to give South Shields a club to be proud of, both on and off the pitch, after buying the side’s former Filtrona Park home and leasing it back to the Northern League outfit.
The ground will be known as Mariners Park, and Darlington will be the club’s first visitors there for a pre-season friendly on Saturday, July 11.
Mr Thompson, now installed as the club’s chairman, said: “It is really exciting.
“We want to give the town a club to be proud of, both on and off the pitch.
“This is a great facility, and we are investing in the infastructure. We want the community to be involved. We want their backing.
“We want the fans to come down and support the team.”
The stadium already has a capacity of 1,500, but Mr Thompson hopes victory on the pitch will help a field of dreams become a reality for the club, founded in its current incarnation in 1974.
He added: “I am from South Shields, and it is amazing to be involved.
“Our ambition down the line is to have a 5,000-seater stadium, but we have got to make sure we get success on the pitch to make that happen.”