Tributes to Mariners stalwart who was a 'huge part' of South Shields FC
Tributes have been paid today to South Shields Football Club’s vice-president Richard Bailey who has died at the age of 86.
A former school teacher, Mr Bailey first started watching South Shields play in 1945 and was a massive part of the club for the rest of his life.
A spokesman for the club today said: “It is with huge sadness that we announce the passing of club vice-president Richard Bailey.
“Richard was a huge part of our club and will be sorely missed by everyone at Mariners Park.”
Mr Bailey was also involved in junior football with the local Whiteleas Juniors/St Hilda’s Juniors, and also with Stanhope Road School X1.
A supporter of the Mariners for all his adult life, he became a member of the committee in 1992.
He went on to hold a number of roles before being named as a vice-president in recognition of his many years of service to the club .
As recently as last season, Mr Bailey continued to be a regular presence at Mariners Park on matchdays and non-matchdays, carrying out a number of duties including cleaning the dressing rooms and guarding the corridors to ensure the matchday operation ran smoothly.
His efforts were recognised in 2017 when he won the prestigious BBC North East and Cumbria’s Unsung Sporting Hero award.
Mr Bailey narrowly missed out on winning the national Unsung Sporting Hero award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show.
The spokesman added: “Richard was much-loved by everyone connected to South Shields Football Club, who will fondly remember his warmness, kindness and welcoming nature, as well as the tales of yesteryear he would take great pleasure in telling.
“Richard was part of the club's committee from 1992 until his passing, and was one of the small team of volunteers who helped ensure the Mariners survived an extremely tough two-year spell in Peterlee.
“Without people like Richard, the club simply would not be here today.
“He will always be remembered as a South Shields FC legend and we are going to miss him hugely.
Our thoughts are with Richard's family and friends at this very difficult time.”