Bell thrilled with Shields run
By Daniel Prince
Assistant manager Lee Bell says the camaraderie among the players at South Shields is behind the team’s stunning run of form.
The Mariners made it six wins in a row in all competitions on Tuesday when they beat Northallerton Town 5-3 at Peterlee, despite playing 80 minutes with 10 men after Chris Feasey’s sending off.
The team spirit in the Shields camp is clear for all to see, and Bell feels it is the main reason behind their run of results, which has lifted them to third in Ebac Northern League Division Two.
He said: “I think since I have come to the club, the big thing to notice is the dressing room.
“The resilience in the dressing room was shown out there against Northallerton – everybody is in it for everybody.
“We don’t have anyone in that changing room that is doing it just for themselves. It is all about the team ethic, and it’s fantastic.
“They all work hard and they all move and work together. It’s brilliant.
“Even the lads on the bench are boosting the lads on the pitch – nobody is willing someone to have a bad game, and that’s what’s nice about the team.
“Everyone wants the lads on the pitch to do well, because off the pitch they are all mates. That’s what we’ve got going this year.”
Bell has taken charge of the team for the last three games – wins over Brandon United, Chester-le-Street Town and Northallerton – with manager Jon King on holiday.
And he had a message for the returning manager, who will be back for Saturday’s game against Heaton Stannington at Peterlee.
Bell joked: “What’s even better is that Jon King is not here!
“To be fair to Kingy, he brings something different. Ah, that’s the word – noise!
“I’m not missing his van, and I’m not missing his crack.
“Just to add one in there, he let James Talbot go in the summer, and Tally has come back to really bite him on the backside!
“He’s been scoring nearly every week! The lad is doing well, so it’s a disgrace that Kingy did let him go, I think.”
Bell’s words were, of course, said in jest, but are another sign of the spirit which exists at Shields this season.
That was further underlined with the celebrations which greeted the Mariners’ fourth and fifth goals against Northallerton, which were scored late in the game.
Bell said: “I was in amongst it with them! I think I burst about 50 yards when I came out of that dugout!
“The whole team deserved it, and hopefully we’ll go on and on and on.
“With Whitley Bay coming up in the Vase, if we can continue this run, I think this year we’re going to be a very, very difficult team to beat.
“I think it doesn’t matter who we play – we’ve got to go into every game believing we can win.
“I think the belief isn’t just there, it’s clear to see, from the fans through to the players. The fans are now expecting that.
“If you had said to a Shields fan at the beginning of the season we’re going to be sitting in the top five, winning six on the bounce, they definitely wouldn’t have believed it.
“Things are going extremely well at the moment.”