Former Manchester United and England defender Gary Pallister was at Mariners Park on Sunday to hand over the prize for Warren Byrne’s Budweiser Dream Goal.
Gary presented the club with a cheque for £50,000 on behalf of Budweiser after Warren selected South Shields as the non-league club of his choice.
Warren’s incredible goal against Tow Law Town in April gained worldwide attention, and the 33-year-old beat off competition from thousands of other non-league players to be selected as Dream Goal winner.
His strike was analysed on TV by former England internationals Jamie Carragher and Jamie Redknapp, and also shown by broadcasters across the globe.
Part of Warren’s reward for winning the Dream Goal prize was a £50,000 grant for the non-league club of his choice, and on Sunday, former defender Pallister – who also represented Middlesbrough during his playing days – was on hand to present the money to the Mariners.
It is now expected to be spent on ground improvements this summer, with the club having already invested in a new drainage system for its pitch at Mariners Park, and also planning to erect a new stand and make other improvements.
Warren’s goal at Tow Law was one of 31 he scored during the season, which ended with Shields being crowned champions of Ebac Northern League Division Two.
However, it is one strike in particular that he will always be remembered for.
He said: “There has been a lot of attention, and I think my wife is sick of hearing about it now!
“The publicity has been good for myself and brilliant for the club as well.
“It was great to meet Gary, who played for the club I support, Middlesbrough.
“He seems like a very nice bloke and it was fantastic that he was able to come down, visit the club and hand over the cheque.
Warren met Gary and showed him round Mariners Park before the cheque was handed over.
Gary – who won four Premier League titles and three FA Cups in his playing days – was at the ground to present the cheque as Budweiser’s designated ‘FA Cup legend’.
He was hugely impressed with Byrne’s strike against Tow Law, which saw him flick the ball up with his right foot, hook it over his head and then volley into the opposite corner with his left foot.
The former defender said: “It was a stunning goal.
“To win a competition like this, you have to do something a bit special, and Warren certainly did that.
“He’s a thoroughly deserved winner, and a great guy to boot.
“I’m sure the money will help the club a great deal, and it’s great to see the improvements which are being made.
“I played in the Northern League at the start of my career with Billingham Town, and I know how difficult it can be to keep clubs at this level going.
“I’m very impressed with the facilities at Mariners Park, and hopefully after the promotion last season, the club can go on to bigger and better things.”
Watch out for a video interview with both Warren and Gary on Monday.
Matthew Wade says he is relishing a new challenge after joining South Shields from Blyth Spartans.
The midfielder brought a three-year spell at his hometown club to an end to move to Mariners Park.
In the video above, the 24-year-old discusses why he chose to make the switch, and what it was about Shields which convinced him to join.
He also talks about linking up again with assistant manager Lee Picton, his aims for the future with the Mariners, his drop down to the Northern League and how he feels the club is moving in the “right direction”.
VIDEO: Daniel Prince. STILL IMAGE: Peter Talbot.
The club is delighted to confirm the signing of midfielder Matthew Wade.
The 24-year-old has opted to leave hometown club Blyth Spartans after being a regular at Croft Park for the last three seasons.
After taking time to consider his options, the former Washington and West Allotment Celtic man has decided that his future lies at Mariners Park.
Matty was part of the Blyth side which reached the third round of the FA Cup in the 2014-15 campaign.
Last season, meanwhile, they finished second in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division on 99 points, and were also runners-up in the Northumberland Senior Cup.
He decided to leave Croft Park with a heavy heart, but is enthused by the new challenge ahead with the Mariners, with whom he will again link up with assistant manager Lee Picton, who was No.2 at Blyth last term.
“I was looking for a new challenge after being with Blyth for three seasons, and this seems like a very good fit.
“A couple of other clubs were onto me and I’ve had a lot of interest, but it was the project of Shields which swung it in their favour.
“Everything about the club is going in the right direction, and when I’ve spoken to Jon and Lee about the way they want to play football and their plans, it has sounded really exciting and it suits me.”
Wade is dropping down two divisions to join Shields, but insists he has no trepidation about playing Northern League football.
He added: “I think the Northern League is a really good standard, so for me there’s not much difference moving down.
“There are really good quality players in the Northern League, so it will be a good challenge.
“To get promotion is definitely the challenge here after speaking to Jon and Lee.
“It’s very exciting, especially with the town and everyone getting involved, and the crowds going up. It’s really exciting times here, and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
A video interview with Matty will be available to view later on Saturday.
You will be able to watch Matty and his new South Shields team-mates at all 21 home games in Ebac Northern League Division One next term by purchasing a season ticket. They cost £99 for adults, £70 for concessions and £25 for under-16s. To book, call 0191 454 7800 or pop into Mariners Park.
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGES: Peter Talbot.