South Shields FC’s players have already fulfilled one life-long dream this year – and on Saturday they are set to realise another.
Less than three months on from the Mariners’ triumph at Wembley Stadium, the BBC cameras are coming to South Tyneside to produce live coverage of their FA Cup tie against Bridlington Town.
The game has been selected as the tie of the round at the preliminary stage of the competition, with the BBC broadcasting live from one match in every round of the FA Cup for the first time this season.
It will be streamed globally across the broadcaster’s digital platforms, including on its website, while there will be regular updates posted on the BBC’s social media accounts.
A big crowd is also expected at Mariners Park, after 1,776 watched Shields’ first home game of the season on Tuesday.
Long-serving player Barrie Smith says playing in front of the BBC cameras on Saturday will be a ‘privilege’.
Hopefully we can turn on the style and impress in front of the camerasBarrie Smith
He said: “To have our game streamed live by the BBC is brilliant for us, and something we didn’t expect to happen.
“As part-time players, things like this aren’t even on your mind.
“We were live on BT Sport in May for the FA Vase final, and to be live on BBC Sport will be another privilege for us.
“It’s a big game for us, because we want to do really well in the FA Cup this season.
“I have no doubt our fans will be out in big numbers again to cheer us on.
“Hopefully we can turn on the style and impress in front of the cameras.”
The last time Shields had one of their matches broadcasted live, they beat Cleethorpes Town at Wembley to win the FA Vase, in front of the BT Sport cameras.
Joint manager Graham Fenton is hoping Saturday’s game will be another huge occasion for the club.
He said: “It’s fantastic news for us that the BBC have decided to come to Mariners Park.
“It might create a bit more of an atmosphere with the cameras being there, and it will give the supporters who haven’t got the opportunity to come to the game, the chance of watching a live stream. We’re delighted to have them here, and hopefully the BBC will be here more and more often over the next few years.”
Kick-off on Saturday at Mariners Park is at 12.30pm, with admission to be paid at the turnstiles.