Former Manchester United and England defender Gary Pallister was at Mariners Park on Sunday to hand over the prize for Warren Byrne’s Budweiser Dream Goal.
Gary presented the club with a cheque for £50,000 on behalf of Budweiser after Warren selected South Shields as the non-league club of his choice.
Warren’s incredible goal against Tow Law Town in April gained worldwide attention, and the 33-year-old beat off competition from thousands of other non-league players to be selected as Dream Goal winner.
His strike was analysed on TV by former England internationals Jamie Carragher and Jamie Redknapp, and also shown by broadcasters across the globe.
Part of Warren’s reward for winning the Dream Goal prize was a £50,000 grant for the non-league club of his choice, and on Sunday, former defender Pallister – who also represented Middlesbrough during his playing days – was on hand to present the money to the Mariners.
It is now expected to be spent on ground improvements this summer, with the club having already invested in a new drainage system for its pitch at Mariners Park, and also planning to erect a new stand and make other improvements.
Warren’s goal at Tow Law was one of 31 he scored during the season, which ended with Shields being crowned champions of Ebac Northern League Division Two.
However, it is one strike in particular that he will always be remembered for.
He said: “There has been a lot of attention, and I think my wife is sick of hearing about it now!
“The publicity has been good for myself and brilliant for the club as well.
“It was great to meet Gary, who played for the club I support, Middlesbrough.
“He seems like a very nice bloke and it was fantastic that he was able to come down, visit the club and hand over the cheque.
Warren met Gary and showed him round Mariners Park before the cheque was handed over.
Gary – who won four Premier League titles and three FA Cups in his playing days – was at the ground to present the cheque as Budweiser’s designated ‘FA Cup legend’.
He was hugely impressed with Byrne’s strike against Tow Law, which saw him flick the ball up with his right foot, hook it over his head and then volley into the opposite corner with his left foot.
The former defender said: “It was a stunning goal.
“To win a competition like this, you have to do something a bit special, and Warren certainly did that.
“He’s a thoroughly deserved winner, and a great guy to boot.
“I’m sure the money will help the club a great deal, and it’s great to see the improvements which are being made.
“I played in the Northern League at the start of my career with Billingham Town, and I know how difficult it can be to keep clubs at this level going.
“I’m very impressed with the facilities at Mariners Park, and hopefully after the promotion last season, the club can go on to bigger and better things.”
Watch out for a video interview with both Warren and Gary on Monday.