Barrie Smith Farewell Match: South Shields vs Dunston
Club legend Barrie Smith is expected to pull on the South Shields shirt for one last time as the Mariners take on Dunston on Saturday.
The pre-season friendly is a farewell match for Smith, who played over 300 times for the club in a memorable nine-year spell before retiring this summer.
It will be an opportunity for South Shields supporters to show their appreciation to one of the club’s most popular and loyal players in recent memory.
Smith joined the club from Morpeth Town in 2010 and little did he know then just the kind of love affair which was about to embrace him.
He is expecting to be “emotional” when he takes to the Mariners Park pitch for one last time in Saturday’s 3pm kick-off.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to stepping out onto the pitch for one last time.
“I can’t wait to show my appreciation to the fans, my former team-mates, the management and everyone at the club.
“They deserve that for everything they’ve done for me while I’ve been at the club.
“I’m probably going to be emotional but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Smith has seen the good – indeed, very good – and bad – indeed, very bad – over the last nine years.
A relegation campaign, frustrating injuries and an enforced two-year move to Peterlee were the worst of them.
But there is no doubt Smith will look back on his time at South Shields with a huge smile on his face.
Alongside those bad times, Smith also experienced – and was a huge part of – some of the best moments in the club’s history.
Three promotion campaigns were among the high points, along with six trophy wins.
And who could forget that incredible day at Wembley Stadium?
Smith was introduced as a substitute in the second half as Shields cantered to victory in the FA Vase final, and the reception he received upon taking to the field demonstrated just how highly he was valued by all connected to the club.
A versatile player, Smith was equally at home in the centre of midfield or at right-back and his tenacious style of play endeared him to all who watched him.
He played 323 times for the club and scored 20 goals, but the statistics do not even scratch the surface of Smith’s South Shields story.
Saturday’s game is Shields’ penultimate pre-season friendly and they go into it off the back of a 4-3 win at neighbours Hebburn Town on Tuesday.
Joint manager Lee Picton said: “Our aim is to give a performance that is deserving of such a special occasion as this.
“If all of our players can wear the shirt with as much pride as Barrie Smith did, we won’t go far wrong.
“We’d also like to give a really strong home performance for our faithful fans, who again have supported us so well both home and away over pre-season.”
Admission – which can be paid at the turnstiles – is £6 for adults, £4 for students and over-65s, and £2 for under-16s.
Please come along and show your appreciation to Barrie while supporting the team in their final pre-season friendly of the summer.