Cup fever grips South Shields as more than 3,000 set to cheer on Mariners

A crowd of over 3,000 is expected at Mariners Park tomorrow. Image by Peter Talbot.
A crowd of over 3,000 is expected at Mariners Park tomorrow. Image by Peter Talbot.

Cup fever has again taken hold in South Shields – as over 3,000 fans look set to cheer on the town’s football team this weekend.

The Mariners are taking on York City in the third qualifying round of the FA Cup tomorrow.

We’ve once again been blown away by the support of our fans this week

Rachel Sarginson

Home tickets are on course to sell-out for the game, meaning a crowd of more than 3,000 is expected at Mariners Park.

It comes less than five months after about 15,000 supporters followed the team to Wembley for the greatest day in the club’s history, as they beat Cleethorpes Town 4-0 in the final of the FA Vase.

It’s clear that the Mariners’ exploits are continuing to delight the town’s football fraternity.

Rachel Sarginson, the club’s operations director, said: “We’ve once again been blown away by the support of our fans this week.

“The club experienced huge demand for tickets last season during the FA Vase run, but nothing quite as busy as this week.

“The number of people coming to the ground for tickets and calling us up has been incredible, and we can’t thank everyone enough for their support.

“It’s sure to be a fantastic atmosphere, and we can’t wait for the game now.”

Shields beat Darlington 3-0 in the last round of the competition to reach the third qualifying round for the first time since 1997.

The club has never been beyond this stage since reforming in 1974.

The Mariners will go into tomorrow’s game as underdogs, as York play in the National League North, which is two divisions higher than the level Shields play at.

However, Shields also had to overcome a two-division gap to defeat Darlington.

The other headline-grabbing moment of the club’s FA Cup run came in August, when their tie against Bridlington Town at Mariners Park was broadcast live by the BBC.

The club enjoyed an average home crowd of 1,250 last season, but this season their gates have been regularly over 1,500.

Last Saturday’s game against Clitheroe attracted an attendance of 1,726.