Former Sunderland and Middlesbrough star Julio Arca returns to South Shields as new manager

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The appointment was confirmed on Thursday evening as the former Black Cats star replaces former Sunderland team-mate Kevin Phillips.

South Shields have confirmed the appointment of former Sunderland and Middlesbrough star Julio Arca as their new manager.

Arca returns to 1st Cloud Arena five years after ending his hugely successful playing career by captaining the Mariners to the Northern Premier League North Division title. That was one of three promotions secured in three seasons while Arca patrolled Shields’ midfield.

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He also skippered the team to FA Vase glory at Wembley as the Mariners won a historic quadruple of trophies in 2016-17. The Argentinean is now set for his first spell in management as he rejoins a club he represented with distinction between 2015 and 2018.

Arca said: “It’s great to be back at the club after so many years. I firmly believe this is the right time for me to come back for a different challenge, and I’m very excited about it. The club has grown so fast, and this is a fantastic opportunity for me to become a manager for the first time, especially with the platform we have here.

Julio Arca and Geoff Thompson (photo South Shields FC)Julio Arca and Geoff Thompson (photo South Shields FC)
Julio Arca and Geoff Thompson (photo South Shields FC) | South Shields FC

“There is a lot of work to do between now and the start of pre-season but I’m very hungry to get started and help the club continue to progress. I like to compete. I’m not a person who is happy to sit in mid-table, and that’s why we need to get the right things done at the beginning. I will do the best I can to put South Shields in a great position next season.”

Prior to his time with Shields, Arca established himself as a favourite with Sunderland and Middlesbrough in the Premier League. He started his career in his native Argentina with Argentinos Juniors and won the Under-20 World Cup with his national side. After retiring from professional football in 2013, Arca took his coaching badges and was part of the Academy coaching set-up at Sunderland.

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He has been coaching for the last decade, but made a surprising return to the pitch in 2015 when he was coaxed out of retirement by then-Shields manager Jon King. What followed was a glittering, talismanic three-year spell which featured six trophies, three promotions, 120 appearances and countless memories.

South Shields chairman Geoff Thompson said: “We are thrilled to welcome Julio back to the club and to provide him with his first opportunity as a manager. He was one of the main catalysts behind the growth of the club between 2015 and 2018, both on and off the pitch, and I’m very confident that many of the qualities he demonstrated in that time will translate excellently to his new role.

“It’s a hugely exciting time for the club and with Julio now installed, we are ready to finalise our plans for the season ahead in National League North. I’m sure our fans will be just as delighted as we are to welcome such an important figure in the history of our club back to 1st Cloud Arena.”

Further announcements regarding the make-up of Arca’s coaching staff will be made in the coming days.

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