From Peterlee to Wembley: South Shields FC’s rise to be told on stage in new play

The play will chart the success story of South Shields FC, including their stunning win at Wembley. Picture by Peter Talbot.
The play will chart the success story of South Shields FC, including their stunning win at Wembley. Picture by Peter Talbot.

The worlds of theatre and sport are set to meet in a new play celebrating the remarkable rise of South Shields FC.

Work has begun on a production which will tell the tale of the Mariners’ surge from homeless strugglers to Wembley winners.

Iain Cunningham is writing the play alongside Dale Meeks.

Iain Cunningham is writing the play alongside Dale Meeks.

‘Everywhere We Go’ will be on at the Customs House, in South Shields, next May.

It will coincide with the second anniversary of the most famous day in the club’s history, when Shields beat Cleethorpes Town 4-0 in the final of the FA Vase at Wembley.

The Mariners have also won three successive promotions and three league titles since chairman Geoff Thompson took over in 2015 and returned the club to its Mariners Park home after a two-year exile in Peterlee.

It has been quite some upturn in fortunes – and the story of it will now be told on stage.

It’s going to be an amazing process and I’m really looking forward to working with the club to tell this great story, not only about the epic journey of the football team but also celebrating our beautiful town

Iain Cunningham

The play is being produced by Boyle Yer Stotts Productions and written by the creators of the company, Iain Cunningham and former Emmerdale star Dale Meeks.

Iain said: “Dale and I haven’t written a full-length play for a number of years, so that, in itself, is something that is going to be great fun.

“We have still been working on things and writing but nothing has really grabbed our attention or excited us as much as this story.

“South Shields Football Club united our town.

Dale Meeks is writing the play alongside Iain Cunningham.

Dale Meeks is writing the play alongside Iain Cunningham.

“To be there at Covent Garden when we took over the place, to watch my home town team win at Wembley and hearing 15,000 people singing ‘Stand up if you love South Shields’ is something I will never forget.

“It’s going to be an amazing process and I’m really looking forward to working with the club to tell this great story, not only about the epic journey of the football team but also celebrating our beautiful town.

“It’s certainly going to be a play and occasion people don’t want to miss.”

Dale added: “It’s an honour to be allowed to write such a story which will not only capture the tenacity and resilience of the fabulous Mariners but also embody the spirit of the entire town and people of South Shields in one glorious and hilarious theatrical celebration.”

Ticket details and full information about the dates the play will be performed are to be revealed in due course.

Customs House executive director Ray Spencer said: “Fantasy football swept through South Shields when Geoff Thompson decided to give something back to his community.

“That day last May seemed to be the perfect culmination of a story only 50 witnessed in Peterlee but a journey 15,000 celebrated at Wembley, and that journey continues.

“We should all celebrate the civic pride that was put back in South Shields by a group of part-time non-league footballers who lived a dream.”