South Shields manager Jon King has paid tribute to the club’s fans and committee as a potentially record crowd prepares to pack into Mariners Park on Boxing Day.
The Northern League Division Two record attendance of 1,412 – set by Shields last month – is expected to be smashed for the game against Hebburn Town.
More than 1,300 tickets have been sold – a figure which does not include season ticket holders or club pass holders – while there will be cash turnstiles in operation.
Should it beat the weather, the match will be Shields’ last of a remarkable 2015, which has seen them return to Mariners Park following the takeover of Geoff Thompson and then make a stunning start to the season.
They are on a run of 20 wins in a row, but King has deflected much of the praise onto those behind the scenes for their hard work.
He said: “This has been a massive year for the club, and it feels like a world away from where we were 12 months ago in Peterlee.
The players and the management get a lot of plaudits for the results, but without the people behind the scenes and the fans, we wouldn’t be able to do it.Jon King
“The club only seems to be going up and up, and it’s my job to make sure it keeps going that way on the pitch.
“I can’t thank the board enough. They have been fantastic and very supportive with everything we have asked for.
“I’d like to thank everyone involved, including all of the people behind the scenes who might not always be recognised.
“Without those people, we couldn’t have done what we have so far.
“The players and the management get a lot of plaudits for the results, but without the people behind the scenes and the fans, we wouldn’t be able to do it. It’s a big effort from everyone.”
On the Boxing Day derby, King added: “It’s incredible to see how many tickets have been sold, and we just have to hope the game goes ahead.
“It will be a great occasion and one we have all been very much looking forward to.
“Derby games are always special, but this one will have a different feel to it to normal, I’m sure.”
Shields will be without the injured Lewis Galpin and Lewis Teasdale for the 3pm kick-off, but hope to welcome back Leepaul Scroggins, Adam Sakr, Scott Pocklington and Stephen Ramsey.
There will be a cash turnstile in operation ahead of the game. Admission prices are £5 for adults, £3 for students and over-65s, and £1 for under-16s.
If the match is postponed, all tickets will be automatically transferred to the rearranged date.