John Burn

The club was saddened to hear of the death of former goalkeeper John Burn at the weekend, at the age of 85.

John played for the club between 1956 and 1962, when South Shields was recognised as one of the finest non-league clubs in the country.

john burn 2

He also represented Marsden Cricket Club as a player before going on to a variety of roles at the club.

John – who even played for Shields on his wedding day – played for South Shields Ex Schoolboys FC between 1945 and 1948, before going on to play for Chelsea, Chesterfield, Carlisle United and South Shields.

During his time with the Mariners, where John ended his football career, Shields enjoyed some terrific days, particularly in the FA Cup.

One match at Simonside Hall attracted an attendance of 20,000, while among the most famous games were a 5-0 FA Cup victory over Crewe Alexandra in 1958 and a 2-1 FA Cup win against Chesterfield a year later.

In the picture below, John is fourth left on the back row.

SSFC team photo 1

Bob Wray, who supported the club in that period and remains with Shields as a committee member, paid tribute to one of the Mariners’ finest stoppers.

Bob said: “John was an outstanding goalkeeper, who I had the pleasure of watching on many occasions during the club’s time at Simonside Hall.

“He was a former Football League player as well, having played for the likes of Chelsea and Carlisle United.

“He is very well-remembered, and I was saddened to hear the news of his death.

“He is without a doubt one of the finest players to have played for South Shields, and in terms of goalkeepers, he is up there with two other greats – Archie Wilson and Bert Garrow.

“John played for Shields when they were one of the best non-league clubs in the country, and was a great favourite for the six years he was there.

“He was involved in some great games at Simonside Hall, especially some of the club’s exploits in the FA Cup.

“There were some marvellous games, including a 5-0 win over Crewe Alexandra and some terrific matches against York City.

“I’m sure people will remember him with great affection.”

The club’s thoughts are with John’s family and friends.