The postponement of Saturday’s game away to Bamber Bridge means that 2017 – surely the greatest year in the club’s history – is now over for South Shields FC.
It has been a remarkable 12 months, with the club enjoying some of its best days in living memory and backed by crowds the size of which have not been seen for generations.
At the tail-end of the 2016-17 season, the Northern League, Durham Challenge Cup, Northern League Cup and FA Vase were all so memorably won as the Mariners secured an incredible quadruple of trophies.
There was also the (unofficial) world-record breaking run of 32 victories in a row, a Mariners Park ground attendance record of 3,464 and, of course, the momentous day at Wembley as the club won the first national trophy in its history.
The statistics of the year tell their own story.
Lee Picton and Graham Fenton’s side won 51 of their 60 matches, drawing six (one of which ended in a penalty shoot-out victory) and losing just three. The only teams to beat Shields over the year were Colwyn Bay, Hartlepool United and Stafford Rangers.
Across those 60 games, 174 goals were scored – at an average of 2.9 a match – and just 53 were conceded – at just 0.88 goals a game.
Supporters will all have their own opinions on the greatest moment of 2017. There were the memorable FA Vase victories at Morpeth Town and Team Solent, the vital league wins with 10 men at Sunderland RCA and North Shields, the comeback from a 17-point deficit to win the Northern League, the pulsating occasions at Mariners Park as over 3,000 supporters packed in to cheer their team towards Wembley, the victory over Coleshill Town which secured Shields’ place in the FA Vase final, the three cup finals themselves, countless incredible goals, the dramatic FA Cup wins over Darlington and York City. The list could go on and on.
There is no doubt that the fans, too, played a major role in the success of 2017.
At home and away games, their backing was tremendous, and the club would like to say a huge thanks to every single supporter for that. We hope you continue to enjoy following the Mariners in 2018.
Across 29 home games in the last 12 months, 43,091 supporters clicked through the turnstiles at an average of 1,486 a match. Those are remarkable figures and the club would very much like to see them continue to rise in the years ahead.
The club would like to take the opportunity to thank all supporters, volunteers, players, coaching staff, staff members, sponsors and everyone else who has played a part in our remarkable 2017. Here’s hoping there are many more years like it in the future.
We wish everyone great health and happiness heading into 2018.