South Shields FC is delighted to announce the signing of South African international midfielder Matty Pattison.
Matty has joined the club from Blyth Spartans after a one-year spell at Croft Park which saw him help the club win the Evo-Stik Premier Division title on 101 points.
The 30-year-old started his career with Newcastle United, playing for the club in the Premier League before a one-and-a-half-year spell with Norwich City.
A six-year spell in South Africa followed, with Matty playing for Mamelodi Sundowns, Engen Santos and Bidvest Wits in the country of his birth.
During that time, he also broke into the South Africa national team’s squad, making five appearances.
He returned to England and joined Gateshead in 2014, spending two years with the Tynesiders before moving onto Blyth last season.
Matty joins the Mariners just three days after they completed a quadruple of trophy wins with victory in the FA Vase final.
He said: “I’m very excited to be here. Once I heard of the interest and came and spoke to those at the club, I was straightaway keen to get signed.
“I’m over the moon it has happened and looking forward to getting started.
“I’ve followed the club a lot over the last couple of years and have got a lot of friends who play for the club and have had a lot of good things to say about it.
“Speaking to the management team and chairman, it’s a club that’s certainly on the up, and they’ve got real vision and ambition.
“That is what really sold it for me in the end.
“It’s not about where they are now, but about where they want to be in the years down the line.
“That really excites me and I’m looking forward to getting my career back on track and really cracking on with things.”
Matty was born in Johannesburg, and moved to England with his family when he was 11, before joining Newcastle’s academy three years later.
After breaking into the first-team squad at St James’s Park in the pre-season of 2004-05, he missed the entire campaign with two knee ligament injuries, which at the time put his career under threat.
However, he bounced back and made a successful professional career for himself before his move to Blyth last summer.
The midfielder is now looking forward to the challenge of living up to the Mariners’ successes of the last year next season.
He added: “It will be very tough to mirror what the club has done this season, because they’ve been brilliant.
“They’re moving up a level and are going to be playing against better players and better opposition, but I’m sure we’ll do very well and that the lads will be looking forward to the challenge.
“As a player, you want to play at the highest level you can and keep challenging yourself.
“I’m sure the whole club, and especially the players here, will be looking forward to that.”
Welcome to the club, Matty!
South Shields FC can confirm that a victory parade which had been planned to mark the club’s achievements this season has been postponed.
After discussions with South Tyneside Council, it has been agreed that, following the tragic events in Manchester this week, now would not be the time for such a celebratory event.
It has instead been postponed with a view to being arranged at a later date.
On behalf of South Shields FC and South Tyneside Council, a spokesman said: “South Tyneside Council and South Shields FC had been working together to prepare a homecoming parade to celebrate South Shields FC’s FA Vase victory at Wembley.
“However, in light of the tragic events in Manchester and devastating consequences on those affected, we believe that this is not the right time to stage a celebratory event.
“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of the victims of this atrocity.”
South Shields enjoyed a dream first trip to Wembley as they defeated Cleethorpes Town 4-0 to win the FA Vase – and seal a historic quadruple.
Roared on by more than 13,000 Mariners supporters on a sunny London day, the Mariners dominated their opponents to provide memories all of those involved with the club will never forget.
They were always in control, but had to wait until late in the first half before Carl Finnigan slotted away a penalty to break the deadlock.
The second goal was also long in coming, but once Dillon Morse’s header found its way over the line with 10 minutes left, the party could get in full flow.
David Foley added the gloss to the scoreline in the latter stages with two strikes as the Mariners ended an almost perfect season in fitting style.
Club captain Leepaul Scroggins and team captain Julio Arca then followed their team-mates up the famous Wembley steps before holding the trophy aloft as the Mariners won the competition for the first time.
With the Northern League Division One title, Northern League Cup and Durham Challenge Cup already in the bag, the Mariners were confident of completing a near-perfect campaign with yet another trophy.
There were few signs of any real Wembley nerves as they set about their business early and took control of possession.
Finnigan – who was handed a start in the attacking positions alongside Foley and Gavin Cogdon – went agonisingly close in the opening exchanges when he diverted an Arca free-kick towards goal, only to see the ball bounce just past the post.
He was a constant threat to the Cleethorpes defence, and went close again when he got in behind, but saw his effort kept out by goalkeeper Liam Higton.
Shields were unable to make their possession count, and almost paid from that on a rare Clee breakaway on 25 minutes.
Brody Robertson got in on the inside-right of the box and sent a low effort across goal which Liam Connell did well to palm behind.
That gave Cleethorpes some encouragement, but apart from looking dangerous from set-pieces, they failed to seriously test the Shields defence again until the second half.
It was the Mariners who managed to get on top, playing their way into a number of promising positions without being able to find the killer touch.
Finnigan had a shot deflected wide and later had a penalty appeal turned down, while Cogdon was a constant menace as he drifted out to wide positions and brought the ball inside.
In one of those situations, he stepped inside and drew a foul from his defender, with the referee showing no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
In Finnigan, Shields had a player with ice-cool nerves ready to become the club’s first goalscorer in London since the great Len Smith netted against Queens Park Rangers in 1970. His 31st goal of the season was calmly registered as he sent Higton the wrong way with a low effort.
The goal was just two minutes before half-time, and in stoppage time, the Mariners so nearly struck again when Cogdon drove in from the left before hitting a low shot which was tipped onto the post by Higton. The ball bounced back into the danger zone, where Cogdon headed it wide.
The main disappointment at the break for Shields was that they did not hold a more comfortable lead, but they almost put that right within four minutes of the restart.
Foley showed his quality as he beat his man 25 yards from goal before unleashing a stunning strike which Higton brilliantly tipped onto the bar.
Higton also denied Cogdon soon after, before Cleethorpes’ best chance of the game arrived.
A through ball played Robertson in on goal and he looked odds-on to find the net, but Alex Nicholson burst across the area and threw his body in the way of the ball to make a tremendous reception and maintain Shields’ lead.
Things became slightly more nervous as the second half progressed, with the Mariners unable to maintain possession in the manner they would have liked.
However, they never appeared in any serious danger of conceding, and Shields’ superior fitness began to show in the latter stages.
Cogdon had a golden chance to kill the game off when he received the ball on the inside-left of the box, but his low drive was beaten away by Higton.
Eventually, though, Shields could relax with 10 minutes left when a free-kick from substitute Robert Briggs found its way to Morse at the back post, and he forced the ball beyond the line with his head before sprinting towards a jubilant Mariners faithful.
The noise was cranked up as the reality of Shields’ imminent achievement began to sink in, and the players responded as they set about making it even more of an afternoon to remember.
Another substitute, Michael Richardson, received the ball in the centre of the park and then played it beyond the Clee defence for Foley, who sprinted in and coolly finished to score his 34th goal of the season.
It was fitting that Foley would get in on the act, and he was not finished yet.
He scored arguably the goal of the day with a minute remaining when he hammered the ball into the bottom corner from 20 yards before a joyous celebration with team-mates and staff.
The Vase was in the bag and with it, arguably the biggest win in the club’s history.
The scenes which followed will live long in the memory as the Mariners enjoyed their day in the sun on the biggest stage of all.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Connell, Nicholson, Lough, Shaw, Morse, Arca (c), Stephenson (Briggs 56), Phillips (Smith 83), Cogdon, Finnigan (Richardson 70), Foley. Subs not used: Storey, Holden.
Goals: Finnigan (pen 43), Morse (80), Foley (85, 89).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. MAIN IMAGE: Peter Talbot.