We are saddened to have learned of the passing of former South Shields player Billy Thompson at the age of 79.

Billy was a hugely popular member of the Mariners’ team in the 1960s and 1970s, and was part of the side which played in the famous FA Cup third round tie against Queens Park Rangers in 1970.

The attacking full-back also represented the club in the Northern Premier League and among his career highlights was facing the legendary Stanley Matthews when South Shields took on Port Vale in 1966.

The majority of Billy’s career was spent with the Mariners, and his outstanding service for the club was recognised in 1971 when he was awarded a testimonial match at Simonside Hall.

The editorial from the match programme for Billy’s testimonial said he “achieved a standard of consistency that few others have reached” and described him as the “perfect clubman”.

Our thoughts are with Billy’s family and friends at this sad time.