Carl Finnigan leaves South Shields
Carl Finnigan has played his final game for South Shields.
Despite a huge willingness from all parties for Finnigan’s spell at Mariners Park to stretch into a fourth season, the striker has ultimately decided to leave because of work commitments.
He leaves with a record of 72 goals in 115 appearances for the Mariners, and he played a part in two promotion campaigns and five trophy wins.
Finnigan was also the first player in history to score for South Shields at Wembley Stadium, having netted the opening goal in the final of the FA Vase in 2017.
He departs with the best wishes of everyone at the club, safe in the knowledge that he and his family will forever be welcome at Mariners Park.
South Shields joint manager Graham Fenton said: “This is a very sad day for us at the football club.
“Carl has been a brilliant servant to us on and off the pitch over the last three years and we are very sorry to see him leave.
“We offered him a new deal as we very much wanted him to stay, but ultimately he has been given a work opportunity which he cannot turn down, so we can’t stand in his way.
“He leaves on the best possible terms and we would like to thank him for his huge contribution during his time here.
“We’re sure he will continue to be a success both on and off the football pitch in the years ahead.”
Finnigan established himself as a key part of the club after joining in 2016, also regularly taking on a coaching role in SSFC Foundation’s training camps.
He was also one of the club’s Project EFL ambassadors and was part of several school visits last season.
The 32-year-old has expressed his sadness after making the difficult decision to leave Mariners Park.
He said: “It is with a very heavy heart that I have decided to end my time with South Shields FC.
“I consider myself very lucky to have been a part of the club’s growth and hope to watch the continued progress as a supporter moving forward.
“I have been given many memories that will live with me for the rest of my life, most notably the quadruple trophy-winning season, including winning the FA Vase, scoring at Wembley and that amazing winning run we put together.
“I want to personally thank Lee Picton and Graham Fenton for constantly demanding the most professional environment to train and play in, which allowed me personally to thrive.
“Football aside, they’re great people and I hope they continue to get full backing in moving the club forwards.
“Andy Morris will have a lot more free time now I’m gone. I owe him a lot, particularly after he retrieved my tongue and brought me back to consciousness.
“Phil Naisbett and Brian Smith have been a pleasure to work with and not forgetting George McLaughlin and his matchday sweets!
“I can’t forget little Jak Lewis, a great kid who epitomises what the club is all about and also Keith Finnigan, David Mitchell and every volunteer who works hard behind the scenes to keep the club running smoothly.
“A huge thanks also to the lads. None of those memories would have been possible without such a great set of guys with an abundance of ability.
“I hope you all kick on this season and gain promotion as champions, led by a captain, top player and even better guy in Shawsy!
“Lastly, the fans have been PHENOMENAL.
“Your support has gone from strength to strength and I know every staff member and player at the club appreciates how vital you all are in helping the club to progress.
“I have been lucky to receive a lot of personal support during my time playing and for that I am immensely grateful.
“It will be easy to keep up to date, with Dan ‘the media man’ in charge of publicising the club.
“The amount of work that guy puts in is second to none, making sure the club’s achievements reach a global audience.
“Along with the assistance of top snappers Kev Wilson and Peter Talbot you guys have captured these memories to hold onto.
“My time with the Foundation has been exceptionally rewarding.
“Steve Camm is doing amazing work with the help of Nathan Kew, Zak Turner-Cooke and Blair Adams to give local kids the opportunity to play and learn in a fun but professional environment.
“The kids themselves have always been fantastic to work with and I hope to see some of them progress through the academy system to the first-team.
“The decision has been made to allow myself to explore a new opportunity and start a fresh career away from football that will help my life move on after football.
“I will continue to play football for Whickham FC, who through the vision of Neil Wilson, have ambitions to develop and grow as a club and I will work hard to assist them in this journey, alongside my new career.
“Thanks for the memories.
“‘We had a striker called….’