Celtic, Marseille and Southampton head to South Shields for pre-season tournament

Mariners Park
Mariners Park

South Shields will host Celtic, Olympique Marseille and Southampton in a prestigious pre-season tournament next month.

The three teams, along with Shields, will compete in a friendly competition at Mariners Park between Friday, July 27 and Sunday, July 29.

In a huge coup for the club, with three of the most recognisable clubs in European football will be visiting Mariners Park.

South Shields chairman Geoff Thompson said: "We are delighted to reveal details of the South Shields FC International Tournament.

"To attract clubs of the size of Celtic, Marseille and Southampton to Mariners Park is a massive coup for the club and I'm sure it will generate a lot of excitement with our supporters.

"It promises to be a festival of football as we make new friends from clubs we would once never have even dreamt of coming up against.

"We also look forward to welcoming supporters of each of the three clubs to Mariners Park, where there is sure to be a friendly atmosphere which all of the family will enjoy.

"It's not every day that clubs of this stature come to Mariners Park so we're sure our own fans will also make the most of it.

"We're confident it will a memorable weekend for all connected with the club."

The tournament will get underway on July 27, when Scottish giants Celtic take on French side Marseille in a 7.30pm kick-off.

Shields will pit their wits against Southampton at 3pm the following day, before the tournament draws to a close with a third place play-off at 1pm on July 29, and a final at 5pm the same day.

Celtic, Marseille and Southampton will each be bringing their Under-23s side to participate in the tournament.

Joint Shields manager Lee Picton said: "The tournament at Mariners Park will provide a really high level of tactical and physical test for the squad, which will be vital in order to prepare us for the challenges that lie ahead next season.

"We will be looking at quite a high number of new players within our squad and it will be really interesting for myself and Graham (Fenton) to see how they, along with our returning players of course, deal with those challenges."

Shields have also confirmed two other pre-season games. Blyth Spartans will visit Mariners Park for a 3pm kick-off on Saturday, July 21, while Shields are away to Cleethorpes Town on Saturday, August 11.

The Mariners had hoped to host Sunderland also, but that plan may be scuppered after the Black Cats announced a friendly against Darlington.