South Shields step-up striker hunt after key man departs for pastures new
South Shields will look to step up their hunt for new strikers after the shock news that Carl Finnigan has left the club.
The highly-experienced striker has decided to leave the Mariners after three successful seasons due to work commitments.
Finnigan has instead signed for Northern League Division One side Whickham, where he will join former Mariners team-mate Matty Pattison.
It is a huge blow for Shields, with Finnigan one of their stand-out players over the last few seasons, and with Gavin Cogdon and Connor Bell having been released this month, it leaves the club light on attackers.
South Shields joint manager Graham Fenton said: "This is a very sad day for us at the football club.
"Carl has been a brilliant servant to us on and off the pitch over the last three years and we are very sorry to see him leave.
"We offered him a new deal as we very much wanted him to stay, but ultimately he has been given a work opportunity which he cannot turn down, so we can't stand in his way.
"He leaves on the best possible terms and we would like to thank him for his huge contribution during his time here.
"We're sure he will continue to be a success both on and off the football pitch in the years ahead."
Finnigan scored 72 goals in 115 appearances for the Mariners, and he played a part in two promotion campaigns and five trophy wins.
Finnigan was also the first player in history to score for South Shields at Wembley Stadium, having netted the opening goal in the final of the FA Vase in 2017.
The 32-year-old said: "It is with a very heavy heart that I have decided to end my time with South Shields FC.
"I have been given many memories that will live with me for the rest of my life, most notably the quadruple trophy-winning season, including winning the FA Vase, scoring at Wembley and that amazing winning run we put together.
"I want to personally thank Lee Picton and Graham Fenton for constantly demanding the most professional environment to train and play in, which allowed me personally to thrive.
"The decision has been made to allow myself to explore a new opportunity and start a fresh career away from football that will help my life move on after football."
Better news for the Mariners came in the form of defender Dillon Morse signing a new two-year contract.
The highly-rated defender has attracted interest from elsewhere, but has pledged his future to Shields.
He said: “The three years I’ve been here have been brilliant for me personally and us as a team, and I’m delighted to commit my future here.
“I have already made a lot of great memories with the lads and now we look forward to next season, where we will hopefully create lots more of those memories."