South Shields FC History
The history of Shields mark one is blurred. Reports in the local Gazette suggest that the South Shields Association Football team’s first recorded result was a 2-1 win in September 1889 against Gateshead Albion, though mention was made of three games the previous season. South Shields Athletic formed in 1897 to play in the Northern Alliance, but folded in 1902.
South Shields Adelaide, nicknamed the Laddies, were formed in 1899 by Jack Inskip, and after joining the Northern Alliance, moved to the North Eastern League in 1908 – 09, becoming a limited company. Adelaide was dropped from the name in 1905 and in 1913 the club unsuccessfully applied to the football league polling no votes.
In 1919 they contested the post war Victory Shield alongside Newcastle, Sunderland and others, and joined the extended Football League division two in 1919 – 20 amassing 28 club votes. The first game was a 1-0 defeat at Fulham watched by 20,000 and, though big crowds were commonplace at Shields’ Horsley Hill Ground, success proved elusive.
The biggest recorded home crowd was in 1926 – 27 when 24,348 turned out for an FA Cup quarter final with Swansea Town, though the Welsh underdogs from Division Three (South) spoiled the party.
Relegation came the following season, and after two Division Three (North) seasons the club folded in 1930 despite finishing seventh, and was taken over in its entirety by Gateshead. That was it until 1936 – 37 when, with financial support from the Shields Gazette, the team reformed in the North Eastern League and enjoyed immediate success in both league and Durham Challenge Cup before war broke out.
Gates to watch the club often exceeded 10,000. The record at Simonside Hall (the club’s home from 1951) is thought to be 18,000 for the 1957 – 58 FA Cup tie with York City, though the figure 21,000 has also been reported. Numerous great FA Cup days included the 4-1 defeat at QPR in 1970, and the 10 goal feat by Chris Marron – claimed as an FA Cup record – in the 13-0 win over Radcliffe Welfare in 1947.
Enforced moves resulted from the folding of the North Eastern League in 1957-58, the Midland League in 1959-60, the Northern Counties League in 1961-62, the re-formed North Eastern League in 1963-64 and the North Regional League in 1967-68. The Northern Premier League was next stop, and although the League didn’t fold this time, the club did, in 1974. Its demise was common knowledge before the event, and even though the club reached the FA Trophy semi-final – losing 3-0 on aggregate to a Morecambe side it had beaten 6-0 and 7-1 in the League – only 1,117 bothered to watch the home leg.
The club in its present form was born that year, a phoenix from the ashes, after a second defection to Gateshead by the town’s Northern Premier League club, and the sale of Simonside Hall, given to the club by supporters. The reformed club, under chairman Martin Ford, was based at the council’s Jack Clark Park, and began a 17 year crusade for a home of its own. After two title winning seasons in the Northern Alliance, and a run to the quarter finals of the FA Vase, Shields joined the Wearside League. Ultimately it fell to chairman John Rundle and his family to provide the holy grail of a new ground at Filtrona Park, which was generously re-developed and first used by the club in 1992.
The first time a team ran out at Filtrona was an emotional day for every follower of the club, in particular for President Dick Butler who died in September 1996. South Shields mark three celebrated its 25th birthday in the summer of 1999 but the party didn’t last too long. After an opening day draw with mighty Bedlington raised hopes, the season turned sour and the Mariners entered the new century marooned at the bottom of the first division. This was set against one of the season’s more disturbing stories as chairman John Rundle publicly threatened to fold the club if relegation followed. This wasn’t the way the old millennium was meant to end. Despite relegation in 1999 – 2000 the chairman happily changed his mind.
However, John Rundle did announce on 4th Feb 2006 that the club was to fold; local people were incensed that a club like South Shields was going to the wall, and after a meeting with Rundle, decided to take the club on. Vice Chairman Gary Crutwell, secretary Phillip Reay, assistant secretary Dick Bailey and Brinley Griffiths now run the club.
Against the odds, and the deduction of six league points which were incurred from the previous management team, new manager Mick Taylor, assisted by his brother Joe, brought in new players and fought off the threat of relegation, keeping South Shields status in the Northern League secure after beating Penrith 2-1 in the last game of the season. Club President the Rt. Hon David Miliband called in to wish the club well.
During the 2006 / 2007 season the Taylor brothers resigned due to work commitments, leaving the club in a healthy position. Mr. Gary Steadman was promoted from player coach to manager with Mr. Tony Gibson, a previous South Shields FC manager, coming in as his assistant. Despite leading the division for most of the season, South Shields FC ended up in fourth position and just missed out on promotion.
The 2007 / 2008 season brought more changes, Tony Gibson retiring due to personal reasons and Mr Justin Perry coming in to assist the manager. Mr Gary Crutwell was appointed chairman. The Mariners had an excellent season, finishing in 2nd place and gaining promotion to the 1st division of the Northern League. The success of the team on the pitch saw an increase in the number of fans coming to watch the team and resulted in the reformation of the South Shields Supporters Association.
The 2008 / 2009 was a season to stabilise the club in the first division and to that aim they were successful finishing 19th, gaining valuable experience in a more competitive league. In 2009 / 2010 the club had a great start and were 3rd in the table at Christmas, but unfortunately due to a lengthy break and harsh winter conditions they finished the season in 11th place. However, the team put together a great run in the League Cup, winning the final against Ashington on penalties. The first silverware the club has ever won in the Northern League.
PLAYING STAFF (incomplete)
Highly rated goalkeeper formerly with Jarrow Roofing and Chester-le-Street Town.
Vastly experienced keeper who has also played for Hartlepool Utd, Washington, Hebburn Town and Jarrow Roofing.
24-year-old centre back who signed in August 2010 after spending five years in the USA. Commanding defender who played professionally with Wilmington Hammerheads in the third tier of the US game.
Strong in the air and a big physical presence at the heart of defence. Signed from neighbours Jarrow Roofing.
Ex-Darlington youth player who is comfortable at left back or in the centre of midfield. Previous clubs: Hebburn Town, Gateshead College and North Georgia.
A long-serving player, T previously played for Birtley Town.
Signed from Newcastle Benfield during the summer. Northern League top scorer with 39 league goals for Bedlington Terriers last season.
Youth international for Guadeloupe. Pacy right-sided player who was previously at Blyth Spartans and French club Chauny.
Prolific striker and ex-winner of the Unibond Premier Goldon Boot. Formerly with Dunston, Blue Star and Gateshead.
Tall forward previously with Sunderland Nissan and Washington.
Long serving Mariner. Powerful forward who is excellent in the air.