South Shields boss has this message with crowd number limited for crunch FA Cup clash

South Shields’ coaches and players are “gutted” that just 300 supporters will be able to attend this weekend’s FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie against FC Halifax Town – according to joint-manager Lee Picton.
South Shields' joint-manager Lee Picton.South Shields' joint-manager Lee Picton.
South Shields' joint-manager Lee Picton.

The National League club will travel to South Tyneside looking to prevent the Mariners securing £9,375 in prize money and a place in Monday’s first round draw.

If Picton and Graham Fenton’s side are successful in their bid to pull off an upset, it would see the name of South Shields return to the first round of the competition for the first time since 1973.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The tie would have attracted a capacity crowd of over 3,200 at the 1st Cloud Arena in normal circumstances – but with Covid-related restrictions in place, just 300 supporters will be in attendance on Saturday afternoon.

Picton admitted that his players would have relished the prospect of going into battle with the backing of over 3,000 supporters as they look to send higher-level opposition out of the competition for the second time this season.

He told The Gazette: “It’s gutting for the players, and for us as coaches, because we know how much we all enjoy playing in front of the crowds and we know the extra energy and impetus it gives us.

“The supporters have been a big part of the progression we have made over the last few years and they will continue to play their part going forwards too.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“But we are equally as gutted for the supporters themselves because we know they are desperate to come and support their club, especially when it’s in big games like we have had recently.

“We can only share their disappointment that they can’t attend in great numbers on Saturday – but we do appreciate the 300 that will be there, and the ones watching live on the stream, and I can assure them that we will all be doing our best to give them what they want.

“In my mind, their absence is definitely a factor in us not picking up as many points as we maybe should have recently.

“But we have come to terms with it, we know this is how it has to be for now, and we will give it our best shot for them on Saturday afternoon.”