Blair Adams has committed his long-term future to South Shields by signing a new contract which keeps him at Mariners Park until the summer of 2022, with an option for a further year.
The left-back has proved to be a hugely popular figure on and off the pitch since joining his hometown club following his departure from Hartlepool United in the summer of 2018.
Supporters can now look forward to seeing the 28-year-old in claret and blue for at least the next two seasons after he put pen to paper on a new deal.
Adams – who has made 74 appearances and scored six goals for the Mariners – has expressed his happiness after extending his stay with the club.
He said: “I’m delighted to have signed a new contract.
“I’ve made no secret of how much I’ve enjoyed it here since the moment I signed.
“I feel so comfortable and valued at this club and I think I’ve played some of my best football of recent years here, which has shown how much I’ve enjoyed it.
“We’ve only been in talks about the new contract for a few weeks so it has come around pretty quickly.
“I’m happy to have that security behind me and I’m looking forward to the next two or three years.”
Adams also coaches four times a week with the club’s Futures Academy at Mortimer Community College as he helps to develop the next generation of footballers.
The former Sunderland, Coventry City and Notts County player was not short of suitors when he joined Shields in 2018, but now looks back on his decision to sign as one of the best he has made.
He added: “The club has definitely lived up to and exceeded any expectations I had.
“I knew it was ambitious before I came in and I thoroughly enjoyed last season, although it was a massive disappointment to just miss out on promotion.
“This season has been another great one to be involved in and our goal is to win the league this time, so hopefully we can achieve that.
“There are also excellent plans for the club moving forward and I want to be a part of that.
“It has definitely surpassed expectations so far and that’s one of the biggest reasons I’m so excited to have signed a new contract.
“The club is so ambitious and has an exciting future, and I’m excited to see how big it can be.”
South Shields joint manager Graham Fenton said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have Blair at the club for at least the next two years and possibly longer.
“He has been absolutely magnificent from the moment he stepped through the door here.
“He shows real professionalism and leadership in and around the dressing room and during games, and we’re very lucky to have him on board with us.”
A blistering start set the tone for a comfortable victory for South Shields as they saw off Stourbridge to seal their place in the first round of the Buildbase FA Trophy for the first time on Tuesday.
The Mariners found themselves 3-0 up inside the first 11 minutes as goals from Jon Shaw, Jason Gilchrist and Blair Adams put the Glassboys to the sword.
Robert Briggs made it 4-0 from the penalty spot before half-time and although Stourbridge produced a spirited second half display, they were unable to find a way past Myles Boney in the Shields goal.
Stourbridge forced a replay in the original third qualifying round fixture a week earlier with a stoppage time equaliser, but this time they had no answer and it was the Mariners who booked a first round tie at home to Southport on Saturday, December 14.
Shields looked like a team on a mission from the first whistle and took the lead in just the fourth minute.
Nathan Lowe picked out Craig Baxter on the inside-right of the box and his clipped cross was headed in by captain Shaw at the back post as he notched his fifth goal of the season.
Less than two minutes later the hosts doubled their lead after some scintillating build-up play which concluded as Shaw ran in behind on the right of the area and squared the ball for Gilchrist to slide in from close range as he got in front of his marker.
The tie appeared as good as over when Adams sprinted beyond the defence on the left and fired past Stourbridge goalkeeper Charlie Price, with the Mariners swarming all over their opponents as they made their dominance on the ball count.
A strong penalty appeal for a challenge on Baxter was turned down and Shields went close again as Gilchrist played in Lowe on the left and his drilled effort across goal went narrowly past the post and a stretching Shaw.
Midway through the first half, the Mariners hit the crossbar in their search for a fourth as Hunter motored in behind and fired in a cross which Briggs fired against the woodwork.
Ten minutes before half-time, goal number four did arrive as Gilchrist was tripped in the area and Briggs successfully converted from the spot.
Lowe went close to adding his name to the scoresheet two minutes into the second half but his whipped cross from the left dropped just past Price’s post.
Briggs dinked an effort not far over from distance and also had a terrific 25 yard shot saved by Price, while at the other end Anthony Dwyer drilled against the post from the edge of the area.
The visitors hit the woodwork again seven minutes before the end as Alex Nicholls found Andre Landell and he struck the crossbar, but the Mariners saw out the game with a clean sheet to book their place in round one.
They are back in action on Saturday when they welcome third-placed Warrington Town to Mariners Park for an important league game.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney, Hunter, Adams (Charlton 25), Turnbull, Morse, Brown, Baxter, Briggs, Gilchrist, Lowe (Jenkins 77), Shaw (c) (Alli 57). Subs not used: Coombe, Wade, Hodgson, Odelusi.
Goals: Shaw (4), Gilchrist (6), Adams (11), Briggs (pen 36).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.
South Shields captain Jon Shaw is set for a spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
The defender was forced off at half-time of Tuesday’s game against Ashton United at Mariners Park and the injury continues to be assessed, but he will certainly miss Saturday’s match against Hyde United and Monday’s trip to Scarborough Athletic.
Also missing from the weekend’s action will be midfielder Luke Daly, who suffered a knee injury in Tuesday’s game. The injury will be further assessed next week.
David Foley (groin) and Blair Adams (groin) have also been ruled out of the Hyde match, while Craig Baxter will miss both of the weekend fixtures as he continues his recovery from a hernia operation.
Adam Thurston is a doubt for Saturday’s game, with a decision on his availability set to be made on the morning of the match.