Former Darlington defenders Brown and Hunter join Mariners
South Shields FC is delighted to confirm the signings of former Darlington defenders Gary Brown and Chris Hunter.
Both players left Darlo at the end of last season after long periods of distinguished service for the National League North club.
Brown, 30, who is predominately a centre-back, first joined Darlington in 2012, and later returned after a brief spell at Shildon.
The former Blyth Spartans man helped Quakers to three promotions, the most recent of which came in 2015-16, when the club won the Evo-Stik Premier Division title.
Hunter, also 30, won promotion twice during five years with Darlington and is equally comfortable at right-back or centre-back.
He is now set to get the chance to impress for his hometown club.
The first player to sign on the dotted line was Brown, who is excited about the challenge ahead.
He said: “I’m buzzing to be here.
“It’s a new challenge for me and I’m really looking forward to it.
“The phonecall from Lee Picton and Graham Fenton came really early, as soon as they found out I was available.
“They were really hungry to get me here and the club is a great fit for me.
“It has got a great fanbase, it’s a great club and it’s moving in the right direction.
“I was very excited to come and be part of it.”
Joint manager Graham Fenton, who worked with Brown during his time with Blyth Spartans, is delighted to have him on board.
He said: “Gary is a real competitor.
“He is a top player and person to have in the dressing room.
“He is a leader, winner and someone we feel will really compliment the lads we’ve got here already.
“I worked with him at Blyth Spartans earlier in his career, and he has matured and progressed really well since then. He has got better with age.
“He has won the Evo-Stik League a couple of times in his career so he knows what it’s all about.
“We’re really looking forward to working with him.”
Hunter is equally looking forward to pulling on the claret and blue shirt.
He said: “I’m very pleased to be here.
“I’ve been at Darlo for five years, and it will be nice to come and play for my hometown club eventually.
“All of my friends and family come and watch, so it will be nice to play in front of them here.
“The fans want another promotion and it’s up to the players to do it for them.”
On the capture of Hunter, joint manager Lee Picton said: “Chris is another fantastic signing for the club.
“He’s someone I watched many times when I was at Blyth Spartans, when he was playing for Darlington.
“I know from the players I worked with at Blyth, particularly the forwards, that he was someone they really didn’t like playing against.
“He’s another fantastic competitor and an excellent athlete.
“We feel that Chris will bring that extra level of athleticism that we’re undoubtedly going to need in the next league up.
“He’s also a South Shields lad, and someone who’s desperate to play for his hometown club.
“He’s massively looking forward to the challenge ahead.”