Hebburn Town striker Paul Chow urged everyone connected with the club to “make the town proud” as they prepare for life back in the Northern League’s top tier.
The three-times FA Vase winner helped the Hornets secure promotion on the final day of the Northern League season with a home win over Chester-le-Street Town.
Manager Scott Oliver has wasted little time in getting his summer transfer business underway and there have been several notable additions.
South Shields trio Graeme Armstrong, Louis Storey and Luke Sullivan and Chow’s former Whitley Bay team-mate Lee Kerr are amongst the names added to the Hornets squad.
More new faces are set to follow and Chow believes that the club can look forward to a bright future.
He said “I remember meeting with Scott this time last year and he said our aim was promotion.
“I was pleased to help him get that and now we are looking forward to the future.
“Things have progressed off-the-pitch as much as they have on it and it’s exciting times here.
“There is a buzz about the place and we have seen what South Shields have achieved in a short space of time.
“I am not saying that Hebburn Town can do that yet but we have a model to follow.
“You can see the numbers coming in through the gate and we need to have a good run this year and keep those supporters coming back.
“The players have a responsibility, just as the owners and management team have, to make the town proud of their football club.”
Chow cited the example of Stockton Town as reason for Hebburn to go into the new season with optimism.
The Anchors secured a top six finish in their first season in Division One and made it to the FA Vase Final, only to be beaten by Hellenic League champions Thatcham Town.
However, Michael Dunwell’s side have shown that the gap between the two Northern League divisions can be bridged and Chow is confident that Hebburn can follow their lead.
“When you see what Stockton did, it shows with the right investment, the right players, the right structure, you can make the step up to Division One,” he said.
“It’s a big step to make but there is nothing for us to be scared of in there.
“We have Division One experience and we have brought in players with experience too.
“It will be tough but we are confident we can make an impact and help this club go from strength to strength.”
There was one negative in a largely positive season for football on South Tyneside. Jarrow Roofing owner Richie McLoughlin took the difficult decision to fold the club after they were relegated from Northern League Division One.
That brought an end to three decades of service as he took them from Sunday League outfit to a staple of the Northern League.
Chow had three separate spells with Roofing earlier in his career and he believes that McLoughlin deserves credit for what he has done for football on South Tyneside.
“With South Shields getting three promotions on the bounce, Hebburn promoted and Jarrow FC having a great first season, it’s a great time for the area,” said Chow.
“I live in Hebburn and you get people stopping you to chat about football when you are doing the school run.
“But it is sad to see what has happened at Roofing.
“Richie gave me my Northern League debut 20 years ago and I had three pretty successful spells working for him at the club.
“He never managed to win Northern League titles but he got to the semi-finals of the FA Vase and has had some top players playing for him.
“He had a good go and it’s sad to see him walk away.
“He has made the decision and he will be a big miss because he has done so much for the area and for his club.”