Club Statement: David Foley
South Shields FC is saddened to announce that David Foley has been forced to leave the club because of work commitments.
Foley, who rejoined the Mariners last September from Spennymoor Town, scored 66 goals in 132 appearances for the club across two spells.
He leaves Mariners Park having contributed hugely to the club’s success since initially joining in the summer of 2015.
He was central to title-winning campaigns in both divisions of the Northern League and a key part of the incredible 2016-17 season, which saw four trophies lifted including the FA Vase on an unforgettable day at Wembley.
Foley scored the final two goals on that afternoon before departing for a year-long stay at Spennymoor, but the pull of his hometown club was too much and he returned last September.
He played an important role as Shields finished second in the Northern Premier League Premier Division last season, and no one will ever forget the remarkable overhead kick he scored against North Ferriby in the FA Trophy a year ago.
The 32-year-old departs Mariners Park for the final time with a heavy heart, and the feeling is mutual from all those inside the club.
He is and always will be a South Shields legend.
Foley has released a statement following his departure, which can be read below.
“First of all I would like to say what a fantastic club this is.
“Unfortunately my time here has come to an end due to work commitments
“My time with Shields has been very special and I’m glad I have had the opportunity twice to help the club grow while making some lifelong memories along the way.
“Who can forget that incredible season when we won everything there was to win, which I finished by scoring two goals at the famous Wembley Stadium with all my family there and half the town. That day made me very proud to be from South Shields.
“A lot of the faces from my day one are still at the club pushing it forwards and keeping the family feel at Mariners alive, including Gary Crutwell, Bob Scott, Dave Fall, George McLaughlin, Dan Prince and Philip Reay just to mention a few. The work you all do is unbelievable and often goes unnoticed in the hectic matchday routine.
“The club is in magnificent hands in Geoff Thompson and is only going one way, which isn’t going to slow down anytime soon. Thank you Geoff for my time at the club – I’ve enjoyed every second.
“Graham and Lee came 10 years too late for me as a player as they are the best coaches I have had in my career and it has been a pleasure learning from and playing for them both.
“I wish them every success in the future, along with Bri Smith, Phil Naisbett and Andy Morris, who is such a valued member of the set-up inside the changing room.
“I know this club will get to where it wants to be which is the Football League, and I will be cheering from the sidelines for this to happen along with all the fantastic fans.
“I couldn’t leave without saying a huge thank you to each and every one of the Mariners faithful who have supported me from day one along with giving me memories I will cherish forever. The roar I heard at Wembley will always put a smile on my face and I thank you for your constant support.
“Finally to my team-mates, who are more than just team-mates…players come and go in the football world but this group is special.
“I don’t think the brotherhood and friendships you make in football happen in any other job. That will to work for your mate next to you to collectively share the same prize at 5pm on a Saturday is a very unique feeling and one that will be missed.
“I have friends for life in this group and I urge everyone to get behind these players and push them over the line this season.
“Some of the lads in the current squad have been a huge part of why the club is where it is today and I wish every one of them all the best on and off the pitch.
“It has been a pleasure.
South Shields joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton have paid tribute to Foley.
In a joint statement, they said: “David contacted us earlier this week to tell us of his decision to call time on his footballing journey with us.
“With a heavy heart, David felt that with other priorities going on in his life he was unable to fully commit to his role as a player at the club.
“With an equally heavy heart, we respected his decision.
“He leaves the club having contributed enormously to our success over the last three or four years.
“He leaves the staff, his fellow players and the fans with some incredible memories of individual brilliance, skill and goals that will cement his legacy at the club for many, many years to come.
“The personal statement he has released shows the measure of the man that he is, and also clearly demonstrates how much the club means to him.
“His feelings towards the club were further demonstrated by the honesty he showed in coming to this decision now.
“It would have been quite easy for him to have continued at the club and gone through the motions knowing that in his heart of hearts, he couldn’t fully commit in the way he would like.
“He deserves massive credit for putting the club first ahead of his own personal gains.
“We’re sure everyone will join us in wishing David all the very best for the future and we dearly hope that he comes to see us on a regular basis at Mariners Park.”