Defender Tom Broadbent signs for Mariners

Defender Tom Broadbent signs for Mariners

Imposing defender Tom Broadbent is the club’s latest summer signing after putting pen to paper ahead of the first day of pre-season training.

Manager Kevin Phillips has described the 30-year-old’s arrival as a “massive coup” for the Mariners, who return to training on Thursday morning.

Broadbent has somewhat of a unique football background, having spent time in the academies of Southampton, Portsmouth and Bournemouth before a six-year stint in the Army.

He had previously played first-team football for Bognor Regis Town, Chichester City, Pagham and Selsey, with Broadbent going on to represent the Army in the sport.

The defender began playing semi-professional football with the likes of Farnborough, Petersfield Town and Hayes and Yeading United – who he captained – before leaving the Army to begin a career in professional football.

He spent one-and-a-half years with Bristol Rovers and two-and-a-half years at Swindon Town – making 68 Football League appearances in the process – and had a stint in the National League with Eastleigh last season.

After moving to his partner’s native North East this summer, Broadbent has now been attracted by the project at 1st Cloud Arena as his football journey continues.

The centre-back said: “I’m buzzing to be here.

“This is a club with great ambition and a big project, with the aim of getting promoted again and again, and I’m excited to be part of it.

“All the foundations are set and we just have to go out and do the business now.

“After meeting the management, I could see the ambition is there from everyone at the club.

“I looked at the signings the club had already made – I’ve played with and against some of them – so that played a big part and showed the ambition of the club.

“Now I’m just really looking forward to getting going.”

South Shields manager Kevin Phillips said: “This is another brilliant addition and we’re delighted to welcome Tom to South Shields.

“To attract a player of his calibre and playing pedigree is a massive coup for us as a club and we’re so pleased he has decided to join our journey as we strive to achieve promotion this season.

“I’d like to again thank (chairman) Geoff Thompson and everyone involved at the club for their backing to bring in such an important player.

“Tom clearly has good leadership qualities, which were developed during six years in the Army, and has exactly what we’re looking for in terms of that.

“He also brings lots of other qualities with his defensive abilities and the way he is able to influence the game in both boxes.

“Tom will be a massive player for us and I’m sure our fans will be very excited when they see him play.”