South Shields FC’s title winners were at the Town Hall tonight after being invited to a civic reception.
Led by chairman Geoff Thompson and manager Jon King, the victorious players took the Northern League Division Two trophy with them as their achievement was celebrated.
Recognition like this makes all of the hard work over the season worthwhileJon King
The players were joined by the backroom staff, board and committee of the club, who will compete in Division One of the Northern League next season.
They were met at the Town Hall by the new Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Couns Alan and Moira Smith.
The Mariners were then invited inside the building, on Westoe Road, where the civic reception took place.
Jon King, the club’s manager, said: “It is great that the council has given us this sort of recognition after what has been a very good season for us.
“The lads had all been really looking forward to it, and realise this is not something that comes along very often.
“Recognition like this makes all of the hard work over the season worthwhile, and further underlines that the town is behind what we’re trying to do. It was a nice reward.”
Shields won the title by a big margin, ending the campaign on 107 points, 13 clear of second place.
The success came in their first season since returning to their home ground, Mariners Park, after a two-year spell playing in Peterlee.
Crowds regularly topped 1,000, with the ground record broken when 1,827 watched Shields defeat neighbours Hebburn Town in April.
Former Sunderland and Middlesbrough player Julio Arca was one of the stars of the show, pulling the strings in midfield, while striker Warren Byrne scored 31 times, including one goal which has been viewed more than 3.5million times online and was named as Budweiser’s ‘Dream Goal’ at the weekend.
Mr King added: “As well as the players, it was very good for those behind the scenes at the club to enjoy a night like that, particularly those who helped it survive during the dark years in Peterlee, and those who have really helped us push on over the last 12 months.
“On a personal note, with myself and my family all being from South Shields originally, it was an honour to lead my football team into the Town Hall.”
The Mayor said: “It was a privilege to welcome members of South Shields FC and The Mariners in to the Town Hall.
“The Mayoress and I were delighted to be able to congratulate the club and the players on winning the Northern League Division Two title last season. It was a pleasure to meet everyone associated with the club and to wish them good luck for the future on behalf of the people of South Tyneside.”