SOUTH Shields Football Club are hoping the new year will bring good news for some “Mariners” looking to return to their home port.
The Mariners have been playing their home games at Eden Lane, in Peterlee, since the club’s lease on Filtrona Park ended in the summer of 2013.
Club officials have been in talks over securing a new ground in South Shields since then, and are hopeful good news could be on the horizon.
Club chairman Gary Crutwell said: “The club is hopeful of making an announcement soon regarding the ground situation.
“Discussions are still ongoing regarding getting everything sorted, and getting the team back in the town.
“We are still working with the council regarding this, and hopefully we will be able to say more on the matter in the future.”
Shields, who play in the second tier of the Northern League, have seen their attendances fall as a result of the temporary move to Peterlee.
Some supporters have still regularly made the 40-mile round journey for games, and the club’s average attendance this season, 65, is only bettered by seven of the league’s 22 clubs.
However, the club regularly attracted gates in excess of 200 at Filtrona Park, making their return to the area vital for their future growth.
Mr Crutwell has expressed his gratitude though, to those in Peterlee who have helped the Mariners during their time at Eden Lane, and ensured the club got through a difficult period.
He added: “We have to pay tribute to everyone at Peterlee, and to Peterlee Town Council, for all the help they have given us during our time there.
“Nothing has been too much trouble, and the facility at Eden Lane is an excellent one.
“Recently, the floodlights needed to be repaired, and that was all done by the council for the club at quick speed.
“It is such a shame that there is not a team in Peterlee that will be able to use the ground when we hopefully return to Shields, and fingers crossed a team will be set up in that town to ensure the facility is still regularly used.”
Shields are in their second season at Eden Lane, and finished 17th in Northern League Division Two last term.
This season, they sit 16th, with 16 games to go, while they are in the quarter-final of the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup.