South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson paid tribute to the club’s supporters after just short of 3,000 cheered the Mariners to one of their greatest victories on Saturday.
Shields beat York City 3-2 in a thrilling FA Cup tie in front of an ecstatic Mariners Park crowd of 2,806.
It was terrific to see the ground so full and the town getting behind the club so wellGeoff Thompson
A dramatic stoppage time winner led to pandemonium around the ground as, for the third time this season, the Mariners overcame opposition from a higher league.
It was an occasion which will live long in the memory.
Mr Thompson said: “It was a fantastic occasion for the club and one we all thoroughly enjoyed.
“It was terrific to see the ground so full and the town getting behind the club so well.
“These are exciting times and it’s great to see the effect our success is having in and around South Shields and South Tyneside.
“It’s great to hear people in and around the town talking about the club, and further afield too.”
Shields are averaging crowds of well over 1,500 this season, and about 15,000 followed the club to Wembley in May to cheer them to victory in the FA Vase final.
Mr Thompson is now looking into how the Mariners can attract even bigger crowds on a regular basis.
He added: “We’ve got to keep thinking about the future, and how we can attract crowds like that week-in, week-out.
“We’ve got plans to develop the ground further, and days like Saturday just reinforce the ambition to make them happen.
“The lads on the pitch, and everyone who works off the pitch at the club, did a great job and I’m so proud of them all.
“There are still areas we can try to improve, though, in order to make supporters’ experiences at games as enjoyable as possible.”
Shields will find out their opponents in the final qualifying round of the competition when the draw is made at 1pm.
Geoff is hoping for another home tie, and although the Mariners could be pitted against strong opposition again, he has full faith in the team.
He said: “Our managers – Lee Picton and Graham Fenton –and all of the support staff around them, are doing a fantastic job, and the dressing room is responding.
“We’ve got great lads playing for us, and you can never pick just one out, because they’re all so brilliant.
“I’m genuinely proud of what the lads are doing and how everyone is responding.
“I always believe in their ability to win any game, and whoever we are drawn against, we will look forward to the occasion with huge relish.”