Club legend Leepaul Scroggins has been appointed as manager of South Shields Reserves.
Leepaul will be assisted by fellow Mariners favourite David Graham as the reserves prepare for next season’s Wearside League campaign.
Coach Christopher Reay will also be part of the backroom team as part of a reshuffle following the resignation of Kevin Bolam and his staff at the end of the last campaign.
Leepaul, 35, has taken on his first management position, having played 211 times for the Mariners so far, scoring 62 goals and winning seven trophies across two spells.
He suffered a broken leg midway through last season, and is open-minded about a return to playing for Shields in the future.
He said: “This is a new challenge for me, and one I’m very excited about.
“I didn’t expect to go into management at such an early age, but this was something I couldn’t turn down.
“My leg is healing very slowly, and this gives me an opportunity to stay part of this club and take my first steps into management.
“Regarding whether I’ll play for the reserves too, we’ll wait and see how my leg continues to heal and where I am in a few months.
“At the moment, I’m just fully focussed on managing the reserves and getting a squad together.
“Playing for the first-team again is potentially still an option for me, when I get fit enough again.
“That’s why I needed people I can trust in my backroom team, so I know that if I am called up for first-team duties, they will be able to deputise.”
Leepaul is now determined to deliver success with the reserves, and will continue to discuss plans with first-team joint managers Graham Fenton and Lee Picton as a squad is finalised.
He added: “Throughout my time as a player, I’ve had a fierce determination to win, and that will be no different as a manager.
“I want us to have a successful season in the Wearside League and I’ll be more determined to win than ever.
“I’ve discussed the plans with Lee and Graham, and the first year is going to be a challenge.
“We’ll have some players from the new academy and will mix that with more experienced players to hopefully have a successful season.
“We’ve started to put the feelers out there. Hopefully a lot of people will want to come on board and play for us.
“I’m delighted to have Davey as my assistant. He played for the club for many years and is well-respected within the club and town. It was a no-brainer to bring him on board.”
David scored 53 goals in 191 appearances for the Mariners, and is third in the club’s Northern League goalscorers list, behind Leepaul and Stephen Ramsey. He played for Shields between 2003 and 2011.
He said: “This wasn’t something which was on my radar until I got the call from Leepaul last week.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity for both of us.
“I played for the club for many years and have a lot of great memories here, so to get back involved is brilliant.
“We’re best friends off the pitch as well and have a great understanding, so it will be great to work alongside Leepaul.”
The club would like to place on record its thanks to Kevin Bolam and his coaching team for their superb efforts with the reserves last season.
The reserves are looking for sponsorship as they embark on their Wearside League campaign. Anyone who would be interested in backing the team can call 0191 454 7800 and ask for Alisha Henry on weekdays between 9am and 5pm, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org