The season may have one game left to go, but whatever happens at Wembley, this has been a campaign to remember for South Shields FC.
With three trophies already secured, and the FA Vase final still to come, the Mariners’ players and staff can be rightly proud of their achievements.
Their success was recognised at the players’ presentation evening, held on Sunday at Mariners Park.
Usually, the night is held after the final game of the season, but because holiday commitments meant many of the players may have been unable to make a later date, it was held this week.
All of the players, of course, deserve huge recognition for their achievements. It has been a true squad effort.
However difficult it was to select winners in each of the five categories at the awards night, though, there could only be one winner in each.
The evening started with a video recognising Shields’ success this season, featuring many of the best goals and moments along the way.
The awards were then kicked off with the top goalscorer prize. David Foley won it, with 33 goals to his name so far, three clear of Carl Finnigan and Gavin Cogdon. Nobody will be complaining, though, if Carl or Gavin grab a hat-trick at Wembley to take that award from David! He was unfortunately unable to make it to the presentation night to collect his award.
Next up was the Supporters’ Player of the Year award, which was decided by an online vote.
Almost 800 votes were cast in what was an extremely hotly-contested category, and the winner was Jon Shaw, with 27% of the votes. Second was David Foley with 22%, with Julio Arca third on 11%. Jon was presented with his award by Eddie Rutherford, of the SSFC Members’ Club committee (picture below).
There were plenty of laughs after that in what was a brief interlude to the awards. Some of the best Mariners TV outtakes from the season were played on the big screen, provoking much hilarity.
It was then back down to business, and the Young Player of the Year award.
The winner was defender Dillon Morse as he received recognition for his excellent debut campaign at Mariners Park. Since joining from Blyth Spartans last summer, the 22-year-old has grown in stature to become a key player at the heart of the Shields defence, with 39 appearances so far. He is pictured below collecting the award from SSFC secretary Philip Reay.
The Players’ Player of the Year award was the next to be handed out. A video was played, with each player naming their winner and a reason for their selection. It proved to be a tight battle between Shaw and Foley, but ultimately Shaw won out, collecting his second prize of the evening with nine votes. It has been a superb season for the 33-year-old, who switched from centre-forward to centre-back in October and went on to be part of the most watertight defence in the Northern League. He is pictured below collecting the award from SSFC secretary Philip Reay.
The final award of the evening saw Julio Arca add his name to the roll of honour as the South Shields FC Player of the Season, sponsored by Shaun Matthias. It has been a terrific campaign for the midfielder, who has rarely been out of form, and has been particularly influential in the Mariners’ run to the FA Vase final. He is pictured below collecting the award from SSFC secretary Philip Reay.
The club would like to thank all players and staff for their efforts throughout the season, and wish them all the very best of luck at Wembley on Sunday.
The full list of award winners:
Top Goalscorer: David Foley
Supporters’ Player of the Year: Jon Shaw
Young Player of the Year: Dillon Morse
Players’ Player of the Year: Jon Shaw
Player of the Season: Julio Arca
Pictures by Kevin Wilson.