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Phil Turnbull joins South Shields from Darlington

South Shields FC is delighted to announce the signing of midfielder Phil Turnbull from Darlington.

Turnbull has long been linked with a move to his hometown club, and the transfer has now become a reality.

The 31-year-old, who spent three years with Darlington, has described his switch to Mariners Park as a dream come true.

Turnbull said: “To sign for my hometown club is a dream, and I’m absolutely delighted to be here.

“Special things are happening at this club and I want to be involved and be a part of that.

“Being from Shields, I’ve always followed the club and playing for them is something I’ve always wanted to do.

“I’m absolutely delighted that it has happened.”

Prior to his spell at Darlington – where he won the Evo-Stik Premier Division title and spent two seasons playing in the National League North – Turnbull had spent seven years at Gateshead.

He established himself as a firm favourite at the International Stadium, and was a key part of the side which progressed through the pyramid and fell just short of a place in the Football League, losing in the National League play-off final to Cambridge United in 2014.

The central midfielder had previously spent time with Hartlepool United, Blyth Spartans and York City.

He will now get the chance to represent his hometown club, realising a long-standing ambition.

Turnbull will be following in the footsteps of dad John, who also played for the Mariners.

He added: “I’m excited. I’ve got that passion again and a new goal.

“There will be lots of people in the crowd that I know, and I want them to walk away saying ‘he’s a good player and they’ve made the right decision to bring him in’.

“I’ll have lots of family and friends here every game.

“There will be that motivation there and personal pride, and I can’t wait.

“It’s a special place and my hometown club, which everyone dreams of playing for. It’s ideal for me.”

Turnbull still lives in the town, and has found it difficult to escape the buzz around the club over the last three years.

He said: “I’ve played for other clubs where if the football club is doing well, the town is thriving, and it seems like that here at the moment.

“Everything is positive about South Shields because the football team is doing so well. Long may that continue.

“Something special is happening here and I want to be on board. The opportunities are limitless.

“When I spoke to the managers, it was clear that the aspirations are massive.

“Everybody knows that the club wants to be in the Football League.

“The chairman has got that ambition, and hopefully I’ll be part of that journey.”

Turnbull was identified as a key target by joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton this summer, and they are pleased to have him on board.

Picton said: “We’re delighted to bring in a player of Phil’s calibre.

“I think what it shows is the ever-growing status of the club, that we’re able to attract a player of Phil’s quality and experience.

“We felt he would be a perfect fit for our style of play, because his main strengths are centred around his great quality and decision-making on the ball.

“He has been captain of Darlington, too, so we’re delighted to bring another leader and strong character into the group.

“This signing hopefully shows a little bit of our intent moving forwards.

“We’re attracting real high-quality players and the club wants to continue to move forwards and retain the ambition to constantly strive for the next level.”