Former captain Scroggins and Wightman agree returns to South Shields

Leepaul Scroggins, left, and Jonny Wightman have both made more than 140 appearances for South Shields, and are now returning to the club.
Leepaul Scroggins, left, and Jonny Wightman have both made more than 140 appearances for South Shields, and are now returning to the club.

South Shields have begun planning for life back at Filtrona Park after two players agreed returns to the club.

Leepaul Scroggins and Jonny Wightman have accepted deals with the Mariners.

When I heard about this new challenge, I got that buzz again, so I’m looking forward for the season to start.

Leepaul Scroggins, South Shields

They will join from Shildon and Dunston respectively, with the duo departing clubs which finished in the top six of last season’s Northern League Division One.

Their challenge next term will be to lead Shields to promotion from the second tier, and midfielder Scroggins, 33, who lives in the town, has been persuaded to put off retirement plans to do so.

The former Mariners captain, who scored 53 goals in 143 appearances in his first spell at the club, said: “I left Shields in 2011 to sign for Whitley Bay, as I felt it was the right time to move on, but now the time is right for me to come back.

“The town is buzzing, and there are big expectations.

“It will be nice to finish my career here, and hopefully I’ll be able to help the club get back into the First Division.

“I’ve been thinking about retiring for the last two years, and I really was going to retire this year, but I spoke to (vice-chairman) Gary Crutwell and (manager) Jon King, and I think I owe South Shields another year or two to see if I can help them back into the First Division.

“When I heard about this new challenge, I got that buzz again, so I’m looking forward for the season to start.”

Scroggins scored against Ashington for Shields in the 2010 League Cup final, and last season was part of the Shildon side which finished second in the Northern League and won both the League Cup and Durham Challenge Cup.

He added: “Last year was a great year for me, and it was a big decision for me to leave Shildon, but as I said, I had been ready to retire.

“Another pull of returning to Shields was the fact my family and friends will be able to come to watch the games, as Shildon was quite a long way away.

“My dad still travelled week-in, week-out to come and watch me play there, but it will be nice for him to come here.

“When I was here the first time, we were getting 300 to 500 people watching us every week, and I’m confident if we get a good team together, we’ll get great support.

“The club wants to be back in the First Division again, and that’s where it belongs.”