South Shields FC smashed their ground attendance record on Tuesday – and hopes are high that crowds will continue to grow.
A massive gate of 1,827 saw Shields defeat neighbours Hebburn Town 2-0 to move to within a win of the Northern League Division Two title.
The previous record crowd at Mariners Park, 1,500, was recorded in 1995, and this was Shields’ sixth attendance of 1,000 or more this season.
They have already secured promotion to Division One of the Northern League, and midfielder Julio Arca – formerly of Sunderland and Middlesbrough – has been left in awe of the support.
He said: “It was an excellent crowd, again.
“What can you say? The fans have been great all season, at home and away.
The support we get is incredible, and it’s going to keep growing I’m sure if the club keeps doing wellJulio Arca
“The support we get is incredible, and it’s going to keep growing I’m sure if the club keeps doing well.”
As a former Premier League star, Arca is well-used to big crowds, having played in front of attendances regularly above 40,000 at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.
However, after dropping down to semi-professional football by joining 10th tier club Shields this season, he never expected the fanbase would prove so large.
He added: “I knew that South Shields was a big town and I knew the expectations of the club, but I never expected to see this many people coming to games so soon.
“As long as we keep winning and playing well, I’m sure more fans will keep coming, and next season there will probably be more people coming to the games.”