Warren Byrne is set to leave South Shields by mutual consent following the completion of his loan move at Seaham Red Star.
The striker, who scored 31 times last season as the Mariners won Northern League Division Two, trained with Shields on Thursday after his spell at Seaham ended.
Following discussions afterwards, both parties decided it was in the best interests of all concerned for Warren’s contract to be mutually terminated to allow him to gain regular playing time elsewhere.
Warren will go down in club folklore for his incredible 2015-16 campaign, during which he helped fire the Mariners to promotion, scoring some spectacular goals along the way.
The most memorable was the remarkable strike at Tow Law Town at April which saw the 34-year-old win international recognition and numerous awards, including the Budweiser Dream Goal prize.
It was a season Warren considers the best of his long and successful career.
After the mutual agreement to part company with the club was made, he said: “At my age, you just want to be playing as much as you can really.
“I’m realistic enough to know that we have five or six forwards already and I was going to find it difficult to break into the team. That’s football.
“What happened last season, not just for myself but for the club, was incredible.
“They are memories I will keep for the rest of my life. It was the best year of my career.
“The crowds the club gets, for Northern League level, are ridiculous.
“I just hope the club goes onto bigger and better things, which they’re looking to do.
“Everything is in place for that to happen and I’ll be backing them to do that from afar.
“I wish everyone at the club and the supporters all the best for the future.”
Warren added: “I’m hoping to get back to watch a few games, especially when I finish playing.
“I’ll definitely be back at some stage to watch games – hopefully I’ll get the VIP treatment!”
South Shields joint manager Lee Picton said: “Warren came and trained with us again on Thursday after his loan spell at Seaham.
“We had a constructive, amicable conversation afterwards about how we move forward.
“It was just felt that with the depth of quality we already have in the squad, we would struggle to give Warren the game time he was looking for.
“Considering the stage of his career he is at, he just wants to play.
“We wish Warren very well moving forwards and thank him for all of his efforts and goals.”
It goes without saying that Warren will always be welcome back at Mariners Park with his family, and everyone at the club wishes him all the very best for the future.
Thanks for the memories, Wazza.
South Shields ended 2016 on a high as another two goals from David Foley helped them to a 4-1 win over Penrith at Mariners Park.
Foley’s brace was added to by second half goals from Carl Finnigan and Julio Arca as the Mariners made it 17 victories from their last 18 games in all competitions.
It is also nine consecutive wins for Shields, who move into the New Year still five points behind Northern League Division One leaders North Shields, who battled to a 2-1 triumph at Newcastle Benfield on Boxing Day.
That result had put the pressure on the Mariners, but they were always in control against their Cumbrian opponents.
A strong wind affected the game, and almost handed Shields the opening goal when a Robert Briggs free-kick was blown onto the crossbar.
Foley was denied by goalkeeper Stuart Dixon after he did well to narrow the angle, before he beat him soon after with a superb strike from 20 yards, which went in off the post.
Shields rarely conceded possession as they looked to make the most of having the wind at their backs, but in the end the conditions did not prove to be to their benefit.
It made breaking through the Penrith back-line more difficult, but they almost made it 2-0 when Arca showed great composure to pick out Michael Richardson just inside the box, and his shot through a sea of bodies was excellently kept out by the feet of Dixon.
Penrith’s forays forward were rare, but Jon Shaw did well to block an effort from Andrew Murray-Jones after he turned in the area.
At the other end, Dixon saved an effort from distance by Foley, and the hosts were unable to add to their lead before half-time in front of a Mariners Park crowd of 1,222.
It took them less than a minute in the second half to make it 2-0 as Richardson drove through the centre and found Wayne Phillips on the inside-left of the box, who hit a ball across goal which Finnigan diverted in.
The Mariners nearly extended their advantage further almost immediately as some good probing play led to an eventual shot from Briggs which went over.
Foley sealed the points soon after as he stole the ball in the centre of the park, ran through on goal and beat Dixon to score his sixth goal in two games.
Penrith pulled a goal back as Grant Davidson headed in, but less than a minute later, Shields had a penalty after a handball.
Arca sent Dixon the wrong way from the spot and with that, there was no way back for the visitors.
Gavin Cogdon played the final half-hour on his comeback from a groin injury, but the Mariners were just unable to extend their lead.
Foley had several attempts for a third hat-trick of the season, the most spectacular of which came when he beat his man with some brilliant skill on the inside-right of the box before shooting just wide with the outside of his right foot.
Foley also hit one just wide from the edge of the box, while at the other end, Liam Connell was called into action as he made an impressive stop from substitute Shaun Gardner.
Alex Nicholson and Foley linked up well on the right in the second half, and one good piece of play between the pair led to another effort which went not far wide from Foley.
A well-worked free-kick routine shortly afterwards saw Briggs pull the ball across for Arca on the edge of the box, and his shot was destined for the bottom corner before Dixon palmed it behind.
Dixon did well to keep out further efforts from Foley and Nicholson in the closing stages as Shields aimed for goal number five, which just would not arrive.
The Mariners are now not in action until Monday, January 2, when they host Jarrow Roofing in a 1pm kick-off in the Durham Challenge Cup.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Nicholson, Callaghan, Shaw, Baxter, Arca (c), Briggs, Phillips (Holden 77), Finnigan (Cogdon 60), Richardson (Stephenson 55), Foley. Subs not used: Morse, Ramsey.
Goals: Foley (12, 49), Finnigan (46), Arca (pen 58).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Peter Talbot.
South Shields FC would like to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas.
To all of our magnificent supporters, volunteers, sponsors, players, staff members, youth team representatives, acquaintances, opponents and friends…thank you for everything you do for us, and we hope you and your families have a wonderful day.
We hope to see you all at Mariners Park on Boxing Day as we take on Penrith from 2pm.