Former Ashington boss appointed South Shields assistant manager

South Shields manager Jon King, left, with assistant manager Gary Middleton.
South Shields manager Jon King, left, with assistant manager Gary Middleton.

Former Ashington boss Gary Middleton has been appointed as South Shields’ new assistant manager.

Middleton, who resigned from his post with the Colliers in January and was replaced by former England cricketer Steve Harmison, will work under manager Jon King at Mariners Park.

I’ve had a couple of other offers since leaving Ashington, but this project was something which was exciting and challenging.

Gary Middleton, South Shields assistant manager

King and Middleton are joined on the coaching staff by Mark Scott and Dave Hall, with Shields aiming for promotion from Northern League Division Two next season.

Middleton, who spent three years as West Allotment Celtic’s manager prior to a five-year spell at Ashington, won the FA Vase as Whitley Bay’s captain in 2002.

Ashington finished in the top eight of Northern League Division One in each of his five full seasons in charge, and Middleton is now looking forward to the challenge at Mariners Park.

He said: “Over five years at Ashington, I took them from being a bit of a rollercoaster club to an established top-eight team in Northern League Division One. Last season was the toughest of my managerial career, though, and I just needed to come away and have a rest for a little bit. I got a phonecall from Jon King, and he asked whether I was interested in getting back into the game.

“I wasn’t sure at the time, but Jon has sold me the project of the club and I’m really excited by it. It needed to be the right club for me to get back into the game, and this is it.

“I’ve had a couple of other offers since leaving Ashington, but this project was something which was exciting and challenging.”

King said: “I’m over the moon to have Gary on board.

“He did a fantastic job at Ashington, has got vast experience in the Northern League, and his knowledge of players is second to none.

“The management team is now complete, and I’m delighted with it.

“We’re really looking forward to the new season and getting stuck into it.”