South Shields captain Jon Shaw gives supporters his thoughts as part of his latest website blog.
Hello everyone. What an eventful first week of the season it has been.
I’m sure after the way we ended pre-season there will have been an uncertainty around how we were going to start.
On Saturday against Witton Albion I thought we thoroughly deserved the win, and although it took us until late in the game, you fans that have been here over the last few years will remember many a match when we have worn our opponents down by having the lion’s share of possession and scored goals late on.
Credit to Witton, because they came with a game plan and worked extremely hard.
I’m sure it’s a plan we will see again this season, but we showed signs we are getting back to our best and it was a great start in front of a fantastic attendance!
Tuesday at Farsley Celtic was a different game altogether. We started the game quite brightly and then came the turning point.
Browny went in to a tackle and the referee deemed it a red card, and then within two minutes Finners was sent off for a lunge and although he didn’t catch the player, the referee sent him off too.
I just want to say that those two players are great lads and characters and are going to be so important in our season.
Against Witton last week when one of our players was in trouble, they were the first on the scene to battle for a team-mate.
They will no doubt hurt after the result, but they were out there in the stand in the second half supporting the lads, not sulking or feeling sorry for themselves.
With this I hope the fans that travelled saw something that may have answered questions about us, about our character, and about the fight and togetherness in the squad.
Those nine lads on the pitch and subs that came on were outstanding to a man, and we had some tired lads on the bus on the way home.
They gave everything and although we came out of the game with no points, the pride in the effort they gave will hopefully inspire whoever pulls the shirt on and bring us together for the hard season ahead.
From a personal point of view, I wasn’t ready for the first game of the season due a recurrence of the injury that kept me out of the Cleethorpes game.
It was so hard to be sat in the stand watching the lads go through that on Tuesday and not being able to help.
I did a bit of work before the game and am hoping the injury is behind me in time to try and get myself involved in this weekend’s games.
Read the rest of Jon’s column in Saturday’s matchday programme.
South Shields captain Jon Shaw keeps supporters updated in his second website blog.
The World Cup started out entertaining and hasn’t let up. There have been great games and exciting performances. This English side is playing a brand of football that we can all be proud of and regardless of the result against Croatia, the future looks bright. With the emergence of this confident, fearless mentality from a highly-organised, young bunch of players, I found myself gutted we lost but proud of what I’d watched even if there was still an element of ‘nearly’ again. England were led by Gareth Southgate, who nobody really expected to be a success, and who knows what it’s like to be a player in those situations. He has worked extremely hard to take the pressure off the players to the outside world, but I’m sure he puts high demands on them in training camps when they’re together. I would imagine everyone is pleased for Gareth after his own disappointment in 96, but what a way to come back. Following them are the Under-20s and Under-18s teams that have had great success over their last few tournaments and now people are looking forward to watching rather than expecting disappointment. France and Mbappe look the team that will win it but it should hopefully be a great final.
Back to us. It’s always good getting everyone back together, seeing everyone and getting kitted out in the new training kit and having a catch up on your summers. My rehab over the first week of pre-season was spent with Andy Morris trying to make sure I was prepared for the high intensity and demands of training and making sure I wouldn’t break down. One day shy of four weeks to the day of the op I trained fully with the lads to make myself available for selection for the first pre-season game which was my aim, so I’m really happy with how it all went and can’t thank Andy enough for his help with designing strengthening programmes and sessions to get me where I need to be.
The management, Lee and Graham haven’t let up in their work with behind the scenes preparations and have come to the players with new ideas to make us better as individuals and as a team to deal with the step up in standard, which the lads have immediately bought into. There’s a great work ethic in the group. Training has still been fun with the footballs incorporated almost all of the time, combined with the fitness work we will need as we aim to continue our recent run of success. To be honest, as you often hear now players don’t really let their fitness go too much and we’ve great lads with the right work ethic like Matty Pattison who was training with the youth team to make sure he stayed fit, and the rest of the squad have done their work. It’s noticeable and everyone looks sharp and ready to go.
The group has got slightly bigger again with the addition of Josh Gillies, who I’m a massive fan of. Josh was a fantastic young player at Gateshead when we were there and secured himself a move to league football. He has great awareness and ability on the ball, and with his ability with deliveries into the box and finishing, Josh is a great addition to the squad who the fans here will immediately take to. We’ve also had a number of the young players from the academy training and a few trialists which you expect in pre-season, and the standard has been fantastic so I’m sure there will be a few more names added to the squad in time for the start of the season.
Pre-season always starts with a tough week but it feels like it starts officially tonight and the lads can’t wait to get back on the pitch against Consett. Our opponents are under the new management of a previous team-mate of mine, Chris Moore, and I predict they will try to play a good brand of football which will hopefully make for an entertaining game on our pitch, which looks amazing at the minute thanks to everyone’s hard work at the club. We then have a busy schedule of games and different challenges, starting with Blyth Spartans, who are a league above and gave us a great game last year. Then we take on Hebburn, when we will get to see a few friendly faces who I’m sure will want to come back and beat us whether it’s pre-season or not. That will then bring us to the tournament with Celtic, Marseille and Southampton. What a great event that will be for the club, fans and area to be a part of. Ourselves as players will enjoy the test and hopefully you will all be there to see the amazing talent I’m sure these teams will bring to Mariners Park!
Lastly, I just want to say congratulations on behalf of the whole squad to Phil Turnbull and his partner on the birth of their daughter last weekend. I’m sure he would agree it’s the best feeling in the world. Let’s hope together we’re all celebrating again come the end of the season!
Hope to see you all at the game tonight, enjoy!
In the first of a new series, South Shields captain Jon Shaw speaks to supporters through a website blog. Expect to see Jon’s thoughts in Captain’s Corner throughout the coming season.
Firstly, hi everyone, hope you’re all having a great summer.
The season finished what seems like an age ago and most of the lads will tell you, the first week or two are a nice break and rest to recharge but boredom soon sets in, and on a Saturday afternoon we quickly start to miss the games and that winning feeling at five o’clock.
The summer has been non-stop for me so far. Before the season finished I had a bit of trouble where I played the final two games with a tear in my groin brought on by what I was convinced was – and what it was later diagnosed as – a hernia. It was the third of my career so between me and Andy Morris, we knew if we could control the pain we could get through the season and I wasn’t wanting to miss a minute of a run-in where we could win another title. Although I had to miss two of the games I was happy to be able to play a part of those fantastic moments with the club. As soon as the season finished I was able to see a specialist, who confirmed the hernia and booked my op for June 12. That gave me a few weeks to work hard on my fitness and in the gym so that I didn’t lose too much fitness for the start of pre-season, which I’m hoping I won’t miss more than a week of. I’m recovering well – I’m up and about and starting the rehab process.
Between all this, work has continued at Monkseaton and I also managed to get away for a week’s holiday with our close family and friends to Brac Island, off Croatia, to renew my wedding vows with my wife Victoria, 10 years to the day from the first time round. As most men openly admit, Vic deserves a medal for putting up with the football lifestyle which with me has involved many a house move, pre-seasons and long weekends away travelling. It was a perfect break, lovely hotel, great company, great weather, and for our kids to be there for that kind of day made it extra special.
We’ve now seen the start of the World Cup, which for the first time my kids are really excited about. I had to buy a Barcelona kit for Max (5) because of Messi and a Brazil kit for Jack (8) because of Neymar. Neither are too bothered about England. I’ve also had to explain why Barca don’t play in the World Cup as well! After a relatively routine and slow start, I’m sure most of you watched Ronaldo vs Spain. What an unbelievable standard the game was played at, tactically interesting, individual brilliance from players like Isco and some outrageous goals. Ronaldo seems to have to continue to prove himself and I’m sure he closed a few mouths whilst also making a few jaws drop but surely no one is surprised by him nowadays. I’m not sure the World Cup will produce another game of the same standard, but it’s whet the appetite and set the bar high.
I’ll finish with South Shields. Julio’s retirement is tough for the lads, fans and everyone associated with the club to deal with but he’s always going to be one of the biggest parts of recent history. His ability, attitude and mostly personality will be massively missed. I’m sure he’ll be at Mariners plenty in the near future watching us hopefully continue the success and momentum he helped build. Obviously, with this I was extremely proud to be named captain and as I’ve said before I’m now itching to get back fully fit and go again. The club has already made three great signings from Darlington and they bring lots of experience of success at our current level, which is so valuable. One of those brought in is a former team-mate of mine from Gateshead and local lad, Phil Turnbull. Phil could be the signing of the season. He’ll bring a great passing range and a confidence and ability to have the ball anywhere on the pitch, which suits the way Lee and Graham want us to play, so I’m looking forward to playing with him again albeit from a different perspective than when I played with him before as a striker.
There’s still plenty of summer ahead and an exciting pre-season programme which I’ll talk about next time round. Enjoy the next few weeks of the World Cup.