Meet our first Project EFL ambassadors – coming to a school near you soon!
First-team players Carl Finnigan, Blair Adams, Ursene Mouanda and Daniel Wright are to help lead a new programme which will see the club visit schools across the borough on a regular basis.
Our aim is to be a community-based, sustainable Football League-ready club by 2023.
It’s an ambitious target encapsulated by Project EFL, which we are hoping the community will get behind in the weeks, months and years ahead.
At the centre of our ambitions is our fanbase, which we are hoping to grow by forging partnerships with schools.
We are on the lookout for our fans of the future and are currently focusing on the ‘class of 2023’.
The club will soon be visiting primary schools across South Tyneside, and during our visits the players will hand out free match tickets to pupils in Year 5 and Year 6, who will be of age to be our 12th man by the time we are hopefully Football League-ready in 2023.
The schools programme is being led by the club in conjunction with our charitable foundation, and will be launched on Monday, November 12 when we visit Westoe Crown Primary School, before we visit St Bede’s RC Primary and Nursery School two days later.
The club is also pleased to announce an exciting partnership with The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, which is based in Market Place, South Shields.
The two organisations are set to work together to introduce a literacy project for young people based on a matchday experience.
Of those Year 5 and Year 6 pupils who receive free match tickets, each school will select 10 children to form a guard of honour for the two teams on matchday.
Five of those 10 will be chosen to take part in a media workshop delivered by The Word, where they will record and capture their matchday experience.
South Shields FC Foundation Manager Steve Camm said: “We are all really excited about the opportunity to grow the work we do in schools.
“It’s great as a club for us to be able to put something back into our community, in fact it’s one of the underlying principles behind both Project EFL and the Foundation.
“The Word is an amazing facility and we are delighted to have been able to put something together collectively that will create not only a fantastic matchday experience but also a great learning opportunity for young people.”
Tania Robinson, Head of Marketing and Culture at The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, said: “We are delighted to be working with South Shields Football Club as we are always looking for new ways to celebrate the written word.
“This project, which gives young fans and their families the chance to commentate on the match, write a report and then film in The Word’s media studio, is part of our wider programme of work, sponsored by Mirabaud, to engage with young people in the borough.
“Football commentaries and reports bring matches to life for those who weren’t lucky enough to be there – they tell a story and that’s what we celebrate at The Word.
“We are very much looking forward to welcoming the fans and their families and showing them the varied and fascinating facilities The Word has to offer.”
All children who receive free match tickets will also be given the opportunity to take part in the club’s Matchday Play Park – a supervised football session – which takes place between 1.30pm and 2.30pm on the day of every Saturday match at Mariners Park.
South Shields hit double figures in a thumping Durham Challenge Cup win over West Auckland Tunns on Tuesday.
Carl Finnigan scored five in an 11-0 win over the Wearside League side at Mariners Park.
Ben Harmison struck two goals while Lee Mason and Daniel Wright also got on the scoresheet, before Michael Colquhoun and Callum Guy capped things off with their first senior goals.
Shields went into the match as heavy favourites and comfortably lived up to that billing.
Finnigan opened the scoring after just three minutes as he flicked the ball home after a ball across the area from Harmison.
He doubled the lead soon after when Wright got in on the left of the area and sent an excellent pass across the face of goal, where Finnigan tapped it in.
Mason had an effort saved and Finnigan smashed a shot from distance against the crossbar as Shields maintained the pressure.
It was 3-0 in the 15th minute as Harmison received the ball on the left of the box before lashing a brilliant effort into the opposite corner.
There were numerous other opportunities before Finnigan completed his hat-trick, curling a wonderful shot into the top corner from 25 yards.
He scored again on the half-hour mark after rounding the goalkeeper and finishing coolly.
Finnigan could have had his fourth before half-time, but his header from a Nathan Lowe cross struck the post.
Lowe was making his debut for the Mariners after signing on Saturday, and was impressive in the centre of midfield.
Mason scored the sixth on 54 minutes after wriggling through a number of challenges before picking out the top corner.
Wright was next on the scoresheet with a terrific effort from the edge of the box which found the roof of the net as he scored his first goal for the club.
Colquhoun scored his first senior goal after converting a penalty late on, before Guy got in on the act by squeezing an effort in off the post.
Both of the academy players were superb after coming on as substitute and pressed their claims well for further first-team calls.
Finnigan and Harmison each scored again in the closing stages from close range as the Mariners completed a resounding victory.
They are back in action on Saturday as they host North Ferriby United in the FA Trophy.
SOUTH SHIELDS: Lister, Biwer (Guy 21), Lough, Brown (Colquhoun 59), Patterson, Ross, Wright, Lowe, Harmison, Finnigan (c), Mason (Scott 55). Subs not used: Armstrong, Judson.
Goals: Finnigan (3, 10, 28, 30, 88), Harmison (15, 90), Mason (54), Wright (67), Colquhoun (pen 81), Guy (86).
WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.
South Shields have completed the signing of midfielder Daniel Wright.
The 20-year-old has agreed a permanent move to the club after enjoying a short spell on loan at Mariners Park last season.
Wright left Sunderland last month and has spent much of pre-season with Shields, his hometown club.
The former England youth international impressed in Saturday’s friendly against Blyth Spartans at Mariners Park, and has now put pen to paper.
He said: “I’m buzzing to have signed and can’t wait to get started.
“I’ve loved pre-season so far.
“The training has been excellent and you can see what the managers are trying to get out of the players.
“The way they want us to play has really caught my eye.
“I got to know the lads really well last season, and my experience here the last time was one of the reasons I wanted to join.
“I hope to start as many games as I can, get no injuries this time, and hopefully score a few goals as well.”
Wright has represented England’s Under-16s, Under-17s and Under-18s.
He made four appearances for Shields after joining on a youth loan from Sunderland in January, before an ankle injury cut his season short.
Joint manager Graham Fenton said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have secured the signing of Dan.
“As soon as we knew he was available, we wanted to get the deal over the line as quickly as possible.
“His performance on Saturday just reiterated what we already knew about him.
“He admitted himself he kind of ran out of steam in the second half, so as with all of the players at this time of year, he probably needs to do a little bit of fitness work.
“With his attitude, we know he’ll get as fit as we need him to be.
“We think that Dan has got that ideal skill-set in the position behind the striker to not only create goals, but score goals as well.”