Ex-Newcastle United and Sunderland legends back South Shields FC as hundreds sign up to new fan ownership model

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Newcastle United and Sunderland favourites Alan Shearer and Julio Arca have signalled their support for South Shields FC - as it takes its first steps on the path to fan ownership.

The club, which plays in the seventh tier of English football in the Northern Premier League, has made shares available to purchase and has received a stunning response so far, with more than 400 individuals snapping up in excess of £200,000 worth of shares.

Every pound raised through the purchase of shares will remain within the club and be reinvested in its mission to reach the Football League.

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The target is an initial figure of £250,000 and with more than a month to go until the campaign closes, the Mariners are well on track to reach and perhaps surpass it.

South Shields FC players celebrate. Picture by Kev Wilson.South Shields FC players celebrate. Picture by Kev Wilson.
South Shields FC players celebrate. Picture by Kev Wilson.

Shearer and Arca - once rivals on the pitch with Newcastle United and Sunderland respectively - are united in their backing for the club, which is owned by Geoff Thompson.

They have both appeared in a promotional video to highlight the vision of the Mariners and their admiration for the work the club has done in its community.

In the video – which you can watch above – Newcastle's all-time leading goalscorer Shearer said: "We are a hard-working bunch in the North East and for many, football is the release.

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"From the Premier League to non-league and grassroots, we like our clubs to represent us and be at the centre of our communities.

"I'm full of admiration for the way South Shields have become so central to theirs, and this is such an exciting chance to be part of it."

Former Sunderland and Middlesbrough midfielder Arca played for South Shields between 2015 and 2018 in a period of staggering success for the club which included three promotions and six trophy wins.

Arca has since returned to his native Argentina but continues to track the progress of the Mariners.

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In the video, he added: "The three years I spent with South Shields were fantastic.

"We managed to win different competitions and playing in the final at Wembley was one of the best things that has happened to me.

"I got the chance to meet some great people who have spent many hours to get the club where it is now, and it's great to see the club doing well."

The funding round is being hosted on investment platform Seedrs.

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The club has ambitions of reaching the Football League and the vision of Mr Thompson is for new shareholders to be at the centre of that journey.

He said: "Everyone at South Shields FC is highly motivated to deliver a Football League club for the people of South Tyneside.

“We understand it may take some time to achieve this, but that’s why this project is so important.

“Receiving investment from our fans will help us greatly in our mission to become a sustainable, thriving club on a rise up the football pyramid.

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“I have long believed that there should be an element of fan ownership at the club and I feel this is the right time to begin that process.

“I firmly believe we can drive this club to the Football League too with the help of our supporters and new shareholders.”

To find out more visit www.seedrs.com/southshieldsfc