Earlier today, an individual claiming to represent South Shields Football Club was featured on LBC Radio and expressed reprehensible views about the Black Lives Matter movement.

After an internal investigation, we are certain that this disgusting individual is in no way connected to the Club and wish to distance ourselves completely from the comments made as they in no way represent our views or beliefs.

We stand in complete solidarity with the Black Lives Matter initiative and the charge to make the world a place which is free of oppression based on the colour of someone’s skin, and a place which provides equal opportunities for all.

We also condemn the abhorrent comments made on LBC by the caller, who referred to himself as James, about a banner which was flown over the Etihad Stadium ahead of Manchester City’s game against Burnley on Monday.

The caller also falsely claimed to have had a conversation with our joint manager, Graham Fenton, about the topic. This is completely fabricated and simply untrue. The false allegation both enrage and appall Graham and everyone at the Club. Graham is a real advocate of diversity and equality, and would never be associated with such views or comments as those made by the caller.

We are inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all those battling to rid the world of racism and discrimination of all kinds.

The Club prides itself on its welcoming environment, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexuality, and condemns the comments made on LBC Radio today. Discrimination has no place at South Shields Football Club and – this should go without saying – racists have no place at our Club or in wider society.

It is particularly disappointing that LBC Radio decided to feature this abhorrent individual on one of their shows today without any attempt at validating whether he was indeed connected to the Club. We are demanding a full apology from the radio station and are seriously considering our legal options.

South Shields joint manager Graham Fenton added:

“I am absolutely disgusted that this unknown person to our great Club claims to have had a call with myself regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I can assure everyone that no such conversation with this person or any other person for that matter has taken place.

“I wholeheartedly support the Black Lives Matter movement and really hope this initiative ends the oppression and social injustices that have affected black lives for far too long.

“If anyone has any information on the identity of this person I would encourage you to get in touch with our Club to let us know who he is so we can take the appropriate action.

“Black Lives really do matter!”

It is with great disappointment that the club can confirm a legal challenge relating to the decision to null and void the 2019-20 season from step 3 to 7 of the non-league system has been unsuccessful.

The club submitted an appeal on behalf of hundreds of supportive clubs across the country which shared its view that the original decision was flawed and taken without due consultation.

An arbitration hearing has now been held before a panel and although the judgement insisted it was “impossible not to feel sympathy for South Shields” and similarly affected clubs, the claim was dismissed.

The club is grateful for all the support it received from a significant number of other clubs in making its legal challenge.

The process was very time consuming and expensive and the outcome is clearly hugely disappointing.

Our legal options have now been exhausted which is a huge disappointment to not just South Shields FC, but the hundreds of other clubs which supported the campaign and saw their own hopes dashed by this decision.

South Shields FC would once again like to thank all of them for their support and wish all clubs well for what continues to be a difficult period.

The club would also like to thank all of its own fans for the way they continue to show their support in these difficult times. We are hugely looking forward to the day we are able to safely welcome them all back to Mariners Park. Our preparations for next season continue.

The full details of the hearing can be read by clicking here.

South Shields FC can now confirm its list of retained players following the premature conclusion to the 2019-20 season.

A total of 18 senior players are currently under contract for the 2020-21 season after a number of new deals were signed, and it is hoped that number will rise in the coming days and potentially weeks.

The following senior players were already under contract for the 2020-21 campaign prior to the conclusion of last season and remain so: Blair Adams, Dillon Morse, Nathan Lowe, Callum Ross, Sam Hodgson, Darius Osei.

The following players have signed new deals or will remain at Mariners Park after the option to extend their current contract was invoked: Ross Coombe, Craig Baxter, Gary Brown, Jon Shaw, Robert Briggs, Luke Daly, Josh Gillies, Will Jenkins, Arron Thompson, Phil Turnbull, Wouter Verstraaten, Jason Gilchrist.

The club remains in discussions with Lee Mason about an extension to his contract and the outcome of those talks will be communicated as soon as possible.

Myles Boney, Jordan Hunter and Bali Mumba were all on loan with South Shields when the coronavirus pandemic forced an early end to the 2019-20 season. Those loan deals have now expired and the club is not currently in a position to discuss the future of any of those players, all of whom impressed greatly during their time here. We will communicate further in due course but take this opportunity to thank all three for their tremendous professionalism and contribution in 2019-20.

The following players have been released following the expiration of their contracts: Kieran Charlton, George Lindo, Callum Guy, Millenic Alli, Sefton Gonzales.

Kieran and George both joined the club’s Academy ahead of last season and Kieran went on to make an impression at first-team level in 14 appearances.

Callum departs after a three-year spell at Mariners Park which has included 15 senior appearances and three goals. He is another graduate of the club’s Academy and was part of the side which won national silverware in 2019 in the Northern League Under-19 Alliance League Cup.

Millenic made 13 appearances after signing for Shields last summer while Sefton – a December 2019 arrival – scored five goals in 13 appearances and provided a real standout moment in January’s win over Mickleover Sports with a vital goal scored with an overhead kick, before following that with a backflip in celebration.

We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to all players who are leaving us ahead of the 2020-21 season. We wish each of them all the very best for their future.

We hope all players, staff, volunteers, sponsors and of course supporters are continuing to stay safe and healthy during these unprecedented times.