South Shields FC Chairman Geoff Thompson has provided the following update for season ticket holders.

Last month, we received the news that the 2020-21 Pitching In Northern Premier League season had been brought to a premature end. It is news we had been anticipating but that did not make it any less disappointing or frustrating.

One of the most regrettable aspects of the season was the fact we were unable to play in front of the volume of crowds we have grown accustomed to over the last six years. There have of course been far greater issues for the world to deal with during the last 12 months, but it was upsetting to see 1st Cloud Arena so sparsely filled on those occasions we were able to host games, with non season ticket holders and indeed many season ticket holders not able to attend matches due to the restrictions in place.

Planning for the 2021-22 campaign has already begun and you will have no doubt seen the exciting plans we have for the development of the ground. We have no reason not to believe that next season will start with us playing in front of much larger crowds, which is a tantalising prospect we are planning for with great excitement.

We would like to begin selling season tickets in the near future but firstly, we need to address the issue of season tickets from the 2020-21 campaign.

Almost 600 supporters purchased a season ticket during the early months of the pandemic, a figure which would have grown further had we not been forced to curtail sales based on the crowd restrictions we were aware were going to be enforced.

I’d like to express a personal, heartfelt thanks to every single supporter who parted with their money in that time of great uncertainty. The unwavering support you, and indeed our entire fanbase, has shown over the last year has been humbling and strengthened our desire to improve your matchday experience and continue to provide a club you can all be proud of.

Your loyalty, commitment, patience and understanding have been a great help to us and there simply aren’t the words to express our gratitude to you.

Many of our season ticket holders were only eligible to attend two league games in the 2020-21 season, and we were simply unable to fulfil our commitment to have you attend 21 home league matches as we had planned. Because of that, any season ticket holder who would like to claim a full refund can do so, with no questions asked. We fully appreciate the financial challenges many people are currently facing.

However, if you are in a position to waive your refund, it goes without saying that it would be massively appreciated by the club. We would ensure you know just how much you are appreciated. Your name would feature on a ‘Mariners wall of appreciation’ which will take pride of place inside the bar we plan to install within the new main stand at 1st Cloud Arena. You would be guaranteed the highest priority status any season ticket holder has ever benefitted from at South Shields FC, placed at the front of the queue at every opportunity. You would receive invitations to an exclusive pre-season – or, potentially, mid-season if restrictions still apply – party and activities at 1st Cloud Arena.

Just as importantly, keeping your money in the club would go a long way to helping ensure the first-team squad remains as strong as it possibly can be next season. Our revenues have been decimated during the pandemic while our outgoings have continued, providing us with a whole host of challenges, but the support we have received from our supporters and shareholders so far has been simply incredible. That is one of the many reasons we believe there are greatly exciting times ahead, and why we are committed with our ground development plans to making your matchday experience better than it has ever been.

We are asking season ticket holders to inform us if they would like to apply for a refund by Friday, April 2nd so that we can plan our financial future and budget for next season with greater confidence. Anyone who would like to apply for a refund can send an email to info@southshieldsfc.co.uk or call us on 0191 454 7800 on weekdays between 9am and 5pm. Any season ticket holder who does not get in touch with us will be assumed to be waiving their refund. Those who purchased season tickets as part of our Tickets To The Future scheme should note that these tickets will be distributed to worthy recipients when restrictions on crowd numbers are fully lifted.

We appreciate that sponsors will also have questions following the curtailment of the season. Our business development manager, Colin Docherty, will be contacting them all individually as soon as possible to discuss the situation. If any sponsor would like to speak to Colin before he gets in touch, please contact him via email at colin.docherty@southshieldsfc.co.uk.

Thank you for your continued remarkable support and I look forward to seeing you back at 1st Cloud Arena soon.

Geoff Thompson
Chairman

If you waive your refund, you will receive:

  • Priority for ordering 2021-22 season tickets and cup match tickets throughout that campaign
  • Priority to attend league games in the 2021-22 season in the event the number of season ticket holders is greater than the number of fans we are allowed to admit (should you renew your season ticket)
  • Your name featured on a special ‘Mariners wall of appreciation’ in a new bar which will be built within the planned new stand at 1st Cloud Arena to recognise your incredible commitment
  • Invite to an exclusive pre-season event with first-team players and staff (this may be during the season should restrictions be in place during pre-season)
  • Entry onto our Bring a Friend scheme, granting you three match tickets to be utilised at designated games during the 2021-22 season to allow you to introduce your friends to the club and help build our fanbase

To clarify the point about match ticket priority, it would work in this way:

  1. 2021-22 season ticket holders who did not claim a refund for 2020-21
  2. 2021-22 season ticket holders
  3. 2020-21 season ticket holders who did not claim a refund, but did not renew their season ticket for 2021-22
  4. General sale

Other priority levels may be added below number 3 over the course of the next 12 months.

To claim a refund, please get in touch with us in one of the following ways:

  • Send an email to info@southshieldsfc.co.uk and include your phone number to allow us to respond and process your refund
  • Call 0191 454 7800 during office hours (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)
  • Please ensure you get in touch with us by 3pm on Friday, April 2nd if you would like to claim a refund. If we do not hear from you by then, we will assume you have waived your refund

Information on 2021-22 season tickets will be released once the above process has been completed. Thank you for your continued support, patience and understanding, and we look forward to welcoming you back to 1st Cloud Arena soon.

Dear all,

Firstly I hope you are all safe and well and managing to adhere to the lockdown measures. Stay safe, stay at home and protect the NHS.

Hopefully we will see some relaxation of the lockdown in the coming weeks and months and we will all be able to return to some normality.

I thought I’d give you all an update on matters relating to the football club.

Given the lockdown there is very little activity presently taking place at the club.

Despite this, we are preparing the pitch for next season with contractors on site improving the drainage and slitting the pitch for treatment, followed by the application of 90 tonnes of sand and seeding. All of this will ensure the Mariners Park surface is in tip-top condition when we return.

We are also moving the dugouts to the opposite side of the pitch, lowering them into the ground by about 0.5m and increasing their size to a 12 person bench.

In addition we are installing a new turnstile unit near the Metro underpass to allow access to the ground from that location, near the 3G pitch.

Our planning application for further ground improvements is still pending but we remain in contact with STMBC and hope to have a decision soon. If successful this will allow the erection of our new stand to seat approaching 1,000 fans with a better view and more comfort!

As many of you may know, we have challenged the FA and the NPL regarding their decision to null and void the 2019-20 season. We have a strong legal argument and have appointed a leading QC and law firm to support us. There is an important principle at stake here regarding the integrity of the football pyramid and we intend to fight the decision to the end. We are supported by hundreds of clubs and thousands of fans with this endeavour. I will keep you posted on progress.

I want to take this opportunity to thank fans and sponsors for their incredible ongoing support. As you may know we have sold an incredible 500+ season tickets, we have sponsors renewing their support and we have had a great take up on a number of initiatives, including our ‘Tickets To The Future’, our merchandise offers and our Sunday lunch service.

Our Foundation and its work with the Harton and Westoe Miners Welfare has also been affected by the lockdown but the management are ensuring the Foundation is ready to return with a full programme of activities when it is safe to do so. Maintenance at the Welfare site continues and works are planned to improve it further.

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support and involvement. All of this proves what a great community club we are building and I’m truly humbled and proud to be part of it.

Please take care of yourself and your family, and I hope to see you back at Mariners Park soon.

Very best wishes,
Geoff.