Club legend Barrie Smith is expected to pull on the South Shields shirt for one last time as the Mariners take on Dunston on Saturday.
The pre-season friendly is a farewell match for Smith, who played over 300 times for the club in a memorable nine-year spell before retiring this summer.
It will be an opportunity for South Shields supporters to show their appreciation to one of the club’s most popular and loyal players in recent memory.
Smith joined the club from Morpeth Town in 2010 and little did he know then just the kind of love affair which was about to embrace him.
He is expecting to be “emotional” when he takes to the Mariners Park pitch for one last time in Saturday’s 3pm kick-off.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to stepping out onto the pitch for one last time.
“I can’t wait to show my appreciation to the fans, my former team-mates, the management and everyone at the club.
“They deserve that for everything they’ve done for me while I’ve been at the club.
“I’m probably going to be emotional but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Smith has seen the good – indeed, very good – and bad – indeed, very bad – over the last nine years.
A relegation campaign, frustrating injuries and an enforced two-year move to Peterlee were the worst of them.
But there is no doubt Smith will look back on his time at South Shields with a huge smile on his face.
Alongside those bad times, Smith also experienced – and was a huge part of – some of the best moments in the club’s history.
Three promotion campaigns were among the high points, along with six trophy wins.
And who could forget that incredible day at Wembley Stadium?
Smith was introduced as a substitute in the second half as Shields cantered to victory in the FA Vase final, and the reception he received upon taking to the field demonstrated just how highly he was valued by all connected to the club.
A versatile player, Smith was equally at home in the centre of midfield or at right-back and his tenacious style of play endeared him to all who watched him.
He played 323 times for the club and scored 20 goals, but the statistics do not even scratch the surface of Smith’s South Shields story.
Saturday’s game is Shields’ penultimate pre-season friendly and they go into it off the back of a 4-3 win at neighbours Hebburn Town on Tuesday.
Joint manager Lee Picton said: “Our aim is to give a performance that is deserving of such a special occasion as this.
“If all of our players can wear the shirt with as much pride as Barrie Smith did, we won’t go far wrong.
“We’d also like to give a really strong home performance for our faithful fans, who again have supported us so well both home and away over pre-season.”
Admission – which can be paid at the turnstiles – is £6 for adults, £4 for students and over-65s, and £2 for under-16s.
Please come along and show your appreciation to Barrie while supporting the team in their final pre-season friendly of the summer.
South Shields are to host Northern Premier League East Division side Dunston in a pre-season friendly at Mariners Park.
The match will take place on Saturday, August 3 and will be a farewell game for club legend Barrie Smith, who retired at the end of last season.
Smith is expected to pull on the claret and blue shirt one last time in the match, which will kick-off at 3pm.
South Shields joint manager Graham Fenton said: “Barrie has been a magnificent servant for the club and we are delighted to be hosting a farewell match for him.
“It will be an opportunity for all South Shields supporters to show their appreciation to Barrie for his tireless efforts over the last nine years.
“We’re very much looking forward to the occasion and it is sure to be a very competitive game against a good Dunston side.”
Smith made 323 appearances for the Mariners, scoring 20 times, and won six trophies with the club.
He will also be fondly remembered for staying with Shields during a hugely difficult two-year spell when the club was forced to relocate to Peterlee.
The match will see the Mariners come up against a Dunston side which won promotion from the Northern League last season.
The two sides last met in the semi-final of the Durham Challenge Cup last season, when Shields ran out 3-1 winners.
South Shields Football Club can now confirm its retained list for the 2019-20 season.
Eleven players have left Mariners Park following the expiration of their contracts, including club legend Barrie Smith, who has decided to retire.
Smith departs after a terrific nine-year spell with Shields which saw him play 323 times, score 20 goals and win six trophies.
He will be remembered as a player who never gave anything less than 100% for the cause, had time for everyone and stuck by the club during one of the darkest periods in its history.
Barrie and his family will always be welcome at Mariners Park.
The departures of Connor Bell, Anthony Callaghan, Gavin Cogdon, Carl Finnigan and Ben Harmison were confirmed over recent weeks.
We can now confirm that former academy products Dan Lowther and Karl Ross, as well as three of last season’s contracted Under-19s players – David Allasan, Tom Bexton and Max Cowburn – have also left for pastures now.
The club would like to thank all players who have left us during the summer for their service and wish them well for the future.
Players retained for 2019-20:
New signings so far during the summer of 2019:
Players who have left the club ahead of 2019-20: