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Mariners enjoy open-top bus celebrations at summer parade

The club enjoyed a day to remember on Saturday when it led the South Tyneside summer parade on an open-top bus.

The Mariners were invited by South Tyneside Council to lead from the front in the annual parade in recognition of their achievement of winning four trophies in the 2016-17 season.

Thousands of people lined the streets on a glorious day in South Shields, with the Mariners heading from the Town Hall to Bents Park via Fowler Street, King Street, Ocean Road and Sea Road.

They were granted a superb reception for their entire journey, and afterwards, players and officials spoke of their pride and amazement.

SSFC chairman Geoff Thompson said: “I was absolutely gobsmacked by the amount of people that were there.

“I didn’t know what to expect really, but there must have been 30,000, maybe 40,000 people along the way.

“It was an incredible turnout and an amazing occasion. Shocked is the word I’d use. It was absolutely incredible.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but that certainly surpassed anything I could ever have imagined.

“It was great for the club and great for the lads, and great for the town.

“If we could get 5% of those people along to a few home games next season, we’d be delighted. It was an absolutely amazing day.”

Joint manager Graham Fenton said: “I can’t believe how many people turned out.

“When we turned onto King Street and Ocean Road, it was unbelievable to see the amount of people there.

“With the amount of South Shields scarves and shirts that were on display, you can tell the level of passion there is in the community for the football club.

“We just hope we can give them another good season now.”

Midfielder Julio Arca said: “It was fantastic to see so many people turn out. We enjoyed every minute of it.

“Not many of us¬†expected to see that many people, but that shows how much the club is growing.

“What we did last season was fantastic and that’s how you get people interested in turning up.

“The support we’ve been getting over the last two years has been fantastic, and it’s good to see the fanbase and club growing.

“We need to carry on doing our thing on the pitch and the club can keep growing.”

Striker Carl Finnigan said: “It was phenomenal from start to finish.

“The crowds were all the way from the Town Hall to Bents Park, so it was a fantastic day and everyone enjoyed it.

“It was nice to be able to celebrate with everyone and get the trophies out on show.

“The numbers were unbelievable. You expect to turn a corner and for it to be quieter, but it just kept getting busier and busier the closer we got to the seafront.”

The club would like to thank South Tyneside Council for kindly inviting us to lead the parade.

Keep an eye on the club’s YouTube page for videos from the day, while a full gallery of almost 200 photographs captured by Peter Talbot will be added to the club’s Flickr page on Monday.

The main image attached to this article was captured by Kev Wilson.