South Shields FC doubles last season’s league attendance record – but homecoming doesn’t go to plan

Members of South Shields' junior teams with, in the back row from left to right, club vice-president Bob Wray and commercial manager Colin Docherty, the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Coun Richard Porthouse and his wife Patricia, Coun Margaret Peacock and Coun Fay Cunningham, far right.
Members of South Shields' junior teams with, in the back row from left to right, club vice-president Bob Wray and commercial manager Colin Docherty, the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Coun Richard Porthouse and his wife Patricia, Coun Margaret Peacock and Coun Fay Cunningham, far right.

A party atmosphere greeted South Shields Football Club’s return to competitive action in the borough on Saturday – despite the homecoming not going to plan on the pitch.

The Mariners played their first league game back at Mariners Park, in Shaftesbury Avenue, after a two-year exile in Peterlee on Saturday.

South Shields hosted Northallerton at the newly refurbished and renamed Mariners Park for the first game of the new season.

South Shields hosted Northallerton at the newly refurbished and renamed Mariners Park for the first game of the new season.

However, Northallerton Town ran out 3-2 victors in front of a bumper crowd of 417, which was double that of the top attendance in the whole of the division last season.

Among those in attendance were the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Richard Porthouse, and Mayoress Patricia Porthouse, as well as members of the football club’s junior teams, who released balloons ahead of kick-off.

Club vice-president Bob Wray said: “On what was a day blessed with great weather, it was fantastic to see a crowd of over 400 at Mariners Park supporting the club.

“It was a really great and pleasant atmosphere, with plenty of colour and excitement at the club’s return to competitive football at the ground.

On what was a day blessed with great weather, it was fantastic to see a crowd of over 400 at Mariners Park supporting the club

Bob Wray

“The club has undergone a huge change, certainly compared to this time last year. This is a new beginning and a new era.

“Unfortunately, the opposition spoiled the party on Saturday, but that’s football.

“It was a great pleasure to welcome the Mayor and Mayoress to the ground to grace the occasion of the opening game of the season.

“As a club, we’d like to thank everyone who attended, and hope to welcome them all back in the not too distant future.”

South Shields forward David Foley curls in a cross in Saturday's game

South Shields forward David Foley curls in a cross in Saturday's game

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Richard Porthouse, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see South Shields 
Football Club back in the borough.

“I was also thrilled to be asked to attend their first match at their former football ground, which is now their official new home.

“I wish the team the best of luck for the rest of the season.”

Members of South Shields FC's junior teams released balloons ahead of kick-off.

Members of South Shields FC's junior teams released balloons ahead of kick-off.