South Shields FC went global yesterday – as they did what they do best in front of the BBC cameras.
The Mariners defeated Bridlington Town 3-1 to make it 40 wins from their last 41 games, and progress in the FA Cup.
BBC Sport selected the match as its tie of the round, and brought the kick-off time forward to 12.30pm so they could stream it live across their online platforms.
As well as those watching around the world, a crowd of more than 1,400 was at Mariners Park to see Shields make it through to the first qualifying round with goals from Luke Sullivan, Matty Pattison and Gavin Cogdon.
Supporter Gordon Lindsay says the exposure given to the club – and non-league as a whole – can only be positive.
He said: “I think it’s great that the BBC brought the game to an audience that might never have thought twice about watching non-league.
I think it’s great that the BBC brought the game to an audience that might never have thought twice about watching non-leagueGordon Lindsay
“It can only be good for South Shields and non-league in general.
“If only 10 per cent of those watching decide to visit their local club because of what they saw at Mariners Park, the whole of non-league will be better for it.”
Fellow Shields fan Mark Burns said: “It was a great day, made even better by the presence of the BBC cameras.
“I think it’s fantastic that they’re showing a big interest in the lower leagues and the fact they chose to come to Mariners Park makes it even better.
“It made me proud to be a Mariner.”
During and after the game, the club received messages from supporters around the world, including Mexico, Afghanistan, France, Cyprus and Ireland, as fans took advantage of the live stream.
Malcolm Brown tweeted: “Watching Shields on the phone by my pool – who would have thought it? Riviera Mariners.”
Emily Wheeler added: “Great to see South Shields FC on the BBC’s FA Cup coverage. Despite being in Bristol, I’m at Mariners Park in spirit! Up the Mariners.”
Thomas Smith said: “Feels so weird watching South Shields FC on TV. Hopefully it’s not the last time the Mariners will be on.”
Nick Higney posted: “Watching live on the BBC from Wraysbury, Berks. Get in there Shields!”
Graham Thompson tweeted: “Watching South Shields FC on BBC Sport in my touchline seat at Donegal Golf Club.”
Shields will find out their next opponents at lunchtime tomorrow, when the draw for the first qualifying round is made.