Raydale Cup: A profile of Gretna
The Raydale Cup is set to take place in Gretna this weekend, with South Shields one of four teams taking part in the competition.
The Mariners will play once on Saturday and once on Sunday, with Ayr United, Queen of the South and Gretna also taking part in the competition.
There is expected to be a strong contingent of travelling supporters from Shields, while advance weekend and day tickets are on sale from http://www.gretnafc2008shop.co.uk/raydale-tickets.html while they will also be available on the day.
Now we profile hosts Gretna ahead of the tournament at Raydale Park.
The former club was founded in 1946, and scaled the heights of Scottish football, rising through the divisions under businessman Brooks Mileson in the early 2000s.
They reached the final of the Scottish Cup in 2006, and were only denied the trophy in agonising circumstances, with Hearts beating them on penalties. Reaching the final gained them passage into the UEFA Cup, where they lost in the second qualifying round to Derry City.
After winning promotion to the Scottish Premier League a year later, Gretna began to struggle badly, on and off the pitch.
Mileson fell ill and withdrew his financial support, while debts rose and Gretna finished the season on just 13 points as they were relegated.
Worse was to follow, though, as that summer, Gretna resigned from the Scottish Football League because of their financial situation, and subsequently went out of business.
The former club spent much of its time as part of English football, and won the Northern League in both 1991 and 1992.
Following Gretna’s demise, a new club was set up in 2008, and was accepted into the East of Scotland League. Since 2009, they have played their home games at Raydale Park, which had been the home of the former club.
In 2013, the new club was elected as founder members of the Lowland Football League.
A link between Gretna and Shields comes in the shape of goalkeeper Josh Richardson, who joined the Scottish club after leaving the Mariners at the start of the summer.
On Saturday, Gretna will face Queen of the South, with the winners of that to take on the victors of the South Shields-Ayr United tie on Sunday.
The two losing teams will also take part in the third-place play-off.