Dillon Morse signs new three-year deal at South Shields as Jason Gilchrist departs
Dillon Morse has signed a new contract which will keep him at South Shields until 2024, the club has announced.
The defender has been one of the Mariners' most consistent performers since joining in the summer of 2016 and is a firm favourite with players, staff and fans alike.
Formerly of Blyth Spartans, Gateshead and Carlisle United, the 26-year-old has made South Shields his home and is now eager to repay the club's faith.
Morse - who is just three games short of reaching the mark of 200 appearances for the Mariners - said: "I'm delighted to have signed a new deal with this fantastic club.
"During such uncertain times, for them to have offered me a three-year contract is a massive show of faith and something I'm hugely appreciative of.
"Now I need to repay that faith with my performances on the pitch over the next three years."
Morse was a key part of Shields' quadruple-winning squad of 2016-17 and was also a near ever-present in the club's title success the following season in the Northern Premier League North Division - one of five trophies he has won with the Mariners.
He added: "This is a family club and I love everything about it, on and off the pitch.
"The players, staff and everyone who works behind the scenes are such a tight-knit group and the fans are brilliant too.
"We're all pulling in the same direction and that makes it extra-special when you achieve success.
"I had been to a few clubs before I came here but I've never been at a club which has had this sort of connection and this sort of tight-knit group.
"Everyone who comes into the club always gets that same bug straightaway and feels the difference.
"I wouldn't want to be anywhere else and my ambition is to stay as long as I possibly can."
Shields manager Graham Fenton was thrilled to tie down a player he has worked closely with for the last five seasons.
He said: "We have already seen Dillon's growth and quality, and in this next period we really need to see his leadership skills develop and thrive. We're looking forward to watching that happen.
"He is an absolutely fantastic character to have around the dressing room and great to work with.
"All the lads love him to bits and on top of that he is a tremendous defender.
"Dillon epitomises the type of character we need in our squad and embodies the core values of the club."
Meanwhile, Shields have confirmed Jason Gilchrist will leave 1st Cloud Arena upon the expiration of his contract on June 30.
Gilchrist joined the Mariners in the summer of 2019 and scored 30 goals across two pandemic-affected campaigns.
Fenton added: "We made Jason an offer to stay and he said he had really enjoyed his time at the club, and that he would have had no hesitation in signing an extension if we were located in the North West.
"Because of family commitments, he has decided his future lies elsewhere and closer to the North West.
"We would like to thank Jason for his efforts in the time he was with us and wish him all the best for the future."