South Shields FC players go for a drink with their fans and Coronation Street star after game postponed
The Mariners made the three-hour journey to Greater Manchester for their match against Atherton Collieries, only it to be postponed just over an hour before kick-off.
Determined to thank the travelling support - estimated to be more than 200 - players and staff surprised them by popping into the Rope and Anchor pub, in Atherton, where many of the fans were based.
They were given a heroes' welcome and engaged with the supporters over a drink before making the long journey home.
Also in the pub was Coronation Street actor Mikey North - who plays Gary Windass - who posed for pictures with fans including nine-year-old Emma Cook, who was due to be the Mariners' mascot on the day before her birthday, and was presented with a card by the players.
After the game was postponed, South Shields FC tweeted: "The game is off so we're off to meet our fans in the pub!"
The club later added: "It was brilliant to meet some of the fans earlier - thanks for your magnificent support and sorry you didn't have a game to watch!"
Club captain Julio Arca said: "We were very frustrated to travel three hours and not play, and we were disappointed for our fans too, which is why we went to meet them.
"I'm sure they enjoyed having us there and having a drink or two with them. We have fantastic support and it's important to recognise that.
"All we can do is thank them for their support, and hopefully our performance on Tuesday at home against Tadcaster will be good so we can repay them for the time and money they spent to be there on Saturday."
Players, staff and supporters were praised on social media after the get-together.
On Facebook, Danny Hogan posted: "Now this is how football should be. Very easy to see why so many are switching off from watching pro footy where the players just don't care at all."
Ross Cording wrote: "The more I see of this club the more I love it. Whoever is in charge of PR, managers, coaches, chairman, whoever. Class act."
John Michael Weir added: "A proper football team with proper fans."
On Twitter, Atherton Collieries posted: "Proper footballing people. Safe journey home South Shields FC. You're a good bunch."
James Cunliffe, from Atherton, added: "What a fantastic crowd we have had today from the South Shields folk, the club and South Shields should be so proud of you."