Graham Fenton ‘privileged and excited’ to be South Shields manager

Graham Fenton won the FA Vase with North Shields
Graham Fenton won the FA Vase with North Shields

New South Shields manager Graham Fenton says he is ‘privileged’ to be part of the club – and is determined to bring success to the town.

Fenton was appointed as joint manager alongside Lee Picton after the surprise sacking of former boss Jon King at the weekend.

Lee Picton and Graham Fenton work together

Lee Picton and Graham Fenton work together

Fenton had led North Shields to FA Vase glory last year, as well as guiding them to the top of the Northern League Division One table.

But he said he jumped at the chance of crossing the Tyne to be part of the Mariners’ ambitious plans to move up through the divisions – and maybe one day even get into the Football League.

He said: ““Once I spoke to Lee on Sunday about it, it was something that appealed to me.

“When you see what’s happening at the club over the last couple of months, and the playing staff that’s coming in from higher level, and the ambition of the club, it’s really exciting.

“I’m privileged to be asked to be part of it.”

The football club has been transformed, both on and off the pitch, since businessman Geoff Thompson took over as chairman.

On the pitch, the team won the Division Two title and have made a strong start to the new campaign.

The fans have flocked to the new-look Mariners Park, with more than 1,400 there on Saturday to watch Shields play Whitley Bay.

And Fenton, who famously scored twice for Blackburn Rovers against Newcastle in 1996 to help deny his boyhood team the Premier League title during his professional career, says the ambition and potential of the club excites him.

He added: “I’ve only had a brief chat with Geoff but we will sit down and talk. The main remit is to try and progress through the leagues.

“I had to think about it as I’d had a great time at North Shields. I had to weigh up my own ambitions but I decided relatively quickly that it was something I wanted.

“I want to manage as high up as I can. The first four and a half years of management have gone pretty well but I don’t want to set any targets and say I want to be at this level, or that level.

“However, it’s obviously a fantastic opportunity for me and Lee.

“As a player and a manager you want to perform in front of those big crowds. When I started at North Shields we were averaging 110 and it grew to around 350-400.

“That figure here is even bigger and I hope that we can bring them more success.”