Dillon Morse and Julio Arca have recreated the picture of their first meeting from 11 years ago…after linking up again as South Shields team-mates.
Dillon and Julio made the news earlier this week after the club circulated a photo of the pair’s first meeting in 2005.
It featured a star-struck Dillon with one of his childhood idols during Julio’s heyday with Sunderland.
Now, of course, they play for the same team at Mariners Park, and the story was featured in the Shields Gazette and on BBC Radio Newcastle, with both players interviewed live on Thursday morning.
After they both completed the Mariners’ final training session ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup trip to Marske United, there was only one thing for it. They recreated the photo.
Defender Dillon, who joined Shields from Blyth Spartans in the summer, said: “My mam was looking through some old photos and found that one of me and Julio.
“I’ve always been a big Sunderland fan, and on that day my dad took me down to get photos with some of the players, including Julio.
“It’s crazy to think that 11 years on we’re in the same team.
“Julio was one of my favourite players, and it’s a proud thing for me and my family that I’m playing in the same team as a Sunderland legend.
“When I got the photo taken with him, I wouldn’t have thought in a million years that one day we’d play alongside each other.”
South Shields Football Club is delighted to announce the signing of highly-rated defender Dillon Morse from Blyth Spartans.
The 21-year-old, also formerly of Carlisle United and Gateshead, made 41 appearances for the Spartans last season as they finished second in the Evo-Stik Premier Division on 99 points.
He also has experience in the Northern League, having had an impressive spell with Newcastle Benfield as a teenager.
The young centre-back has already got plenty of experience under his belt, and felt the move to Mariners Park was too good to turn down.
“After speaking to the chairman and hearing about the project, I didn’t want to miss out on the chance of joining.
“It’s there for everyone to see what the chairman has invested in the club, and for me, this is a perfect time to join.
“The project is huge, and it would have been stupid for me to turn it down. I’m really happy, and just can’t wait to get started now.”
In joining Shields, Dillon links up with former Spartans team-mate Matthew Wade, as well as assistant manager Lee Picton.
And as he explains, Lee’s presence at Mariners Park helped to convince him to make the switch.
He added: “We had a good season at Blyth, and I really appreciated my time there.
“I’m sad to leave, but this was too big an opportunity to turn down.
“The ambition is massive, and I think I can really take the next step in my career with South Shields.
“Lee Picton was very good to work with at Blyth, and was a big part of me joining Shields.
“The way he approaches matchdays and gets the team set up, and his coaching sessions are really good. It’s exciting stuff for South Shields.
“I like to play from the back and get on the ball. It suits me down to the ground the way Lee’s style is, so that was another big factor of me coming here.”
As a youngster, Dillon started in Hartlepool United’s Centre of Excellence, before moving on to Carlisle at the age of 16.
After a two-year scholarship there, he began studying at Gateshead College, at the same time playing in the Northern League with Newcastle Benfield.
His talent quickly caught the eye of scouts, and he was snapped up by Gateshead later that season on a professional deal.
Last season was another important one for the defender’s development as he played regularly for Blyth Spartans, scoring twice in 41 appearances in all competitions, and being named as the club’s Player of the Month for August.
Welcome to the club, Dillon!
You can watch a full interview with Dillon Morse later on Saturday.
*Watch Dillon and his South Shields team-mates in all 21 Ebac Northern League Division One home games next season by purchasing a season ticket! They cost £99 for adults, £70 for concessions and £25 for under-16s. To book, call 0191 454 7800.*