South Shields FC chairman reaffirms commitment to The Mariners after playoff heartbreak - and pledges 'root-and-branch' review
Speaking to the Gazette, Mariners chairman Geoff Thompson thanked fans for their support throughout the season and said the club would have to undertake a ‘root-and-branch’ review, with no decisions off the table.
South Shields suffered a penalty shootout defeat to Warrington Town on Tuesday night (April 26), ending their hopes of promotion.
Chairman Geoff Thompson spoke about his disappointment at missing out on promotion, but says he remains committed to the club.
He said: “Last night was clearly massively disappointing for everybody. We’ve had incredible support all season and it’s absolutely devastating to go out like that.
“From a footballing perspective it’s obviously very disappointing. From a financial perspective, I’m fully committed to the club and will continue to be fully committed to it but obviously there is a financial impact of missing out on promotion.
“We’ve made some big investments over the last 12 months and we’re also planning further investment. It’s certainly a setback but financially, it’s not terminal. It’s not easy but we just have to dust ourselves down and go again.”
At the beginning of this season SSFC made the decision to adopt a full-time training model.
Mr Thompson said: “Everything is going to be reviewed, root and branch. We’ll have a meeting at the club over the next 24 hours to kickstart that process and nothing is off the table. We’re going to have to look very coldly and analytically at what we’ve learned this season and where we need to improve.
“We made the decision to move to a full time model in good faith to try and move the club forward, but we’re going to do a real thorough review and we’re not afraid of making big decisions.”
Mr Thompson also recommitted the club's vision to make it to the football league and praised Manager Kevin Phillips.
He said: “It’s difficult to talk ‘project EFL’ given the disappointment of yesterday but it remains a vision and an aspiration. The most important priority now is to refocus and reassess. Beyond that, we’ll keep pushing on. We believe South Tyneside and South Shields can support a football league club and we believe we can be that club, but clearly we’ve got a long way to go to get there.
“We have to be fair to Kevin. He’s come in, inherited a team, made no appointment or permanent signings and he hasn’t had time to put his stamp on things. He’s done a good job and it would be entirely wrong to put any blame on Kevin. What I’m going to do is give him the opportunity and time to succeed.”
The club chairman was also keen to praise fans and encourage them to keep backing the team.
He added: “We’re all saddened by the outcome of the match but we’re so thankful for fans support throughout the season and implore them to continue to back our team, town and borough.”