Mariners Park: Deal done

South Shields Football Club is delighted to confirm the deal which will see it play its home matches at Mariners Park has been completed.

The club announced last month that a deal had been reached in principle to bring it back to Filtrona Park, in Shaftesbury Avenue, subject to final checks, with the ground to be renamed Mariners Park.

And the purchase, made by new chairman Geoff Thompson, has now been completed, meaning the club’s two-year stay in Peterlee is officially over.

The club has been making improvements to the facilities at Mariners Park prior to the completion of the purchase over recent weeks, and works are now set to continue at pace ahead of the friendly with Darlington on July 11.

New turnstiles will be erected, as will a new fence and new dugouts, while the hard standing and sheltered areas of the stadium will be improved.

In addition, the clubhouse will be refurbished, while over the coming months, the upstairs function rooms at Mariners Park will also be improved.

Mr Thompson said: “I’m delighted that we have completed the deal, and we can now continue to get on with all of the ground improvements.

“It is a relief, because there’s always a risk with any legal process that something unexpected could happen.

“We’re delighted the deal has gone through as planned, as ownership of the facility allows us to make further improvements.

“We got some work done ahead of completion, which was a bit of a risk on our behalf.

“There’s an awful lot of work going on, with various contractors getting on with works.

“A host of volunteers from the club have also put their time in and have been at the ground lending a hand.

“We haven’t got a lot of time before the new season begins, but we will make the initial improvements now, with the complete refurbishment hopefully to be done within the next few months.”

The facility has been purchased from John Rundle, the former chairman of the football club.

Mr Thompson added: “It has taken a long time, and you wouldn’t believe the to-ing and fro-ing which has happened.

“When I first approached John Rundle, it looked like the facility had already been sold.

“It was going to become a container park, as an option was in place with a company, and that would have been a travesty.

“The company decided to withdraw, though, which allowed us to purchase the facility.

“John Rundle has conducted himself very well, and it was great to see we got the deal through.”

Mr Thompson has taken over as the chairman of the Mariners from Gary Crutwell, who has become vice-chairman.

Mr Crutwell said: “I’m over the moon that the deal has now been completed.

“We have spent years trying to purchase a ground, and I’m delighted we’ve finally managed to get that done.

“Now the club can start moving forward, and I’m confident there are exciting times ahead.”