Another December day is upon us and with it, the penultimate installment of our SSFC Advent Calendar feature.
Throughout the first 24 days of the month we are attempting to spread a bit of festive cheer, and today’s feature is started with a video message from manager Graham Fenton, which can be found in the tweet below.
It's the penultimate day of the #SSFCAdventCalendar! Allow Graham Fenton to introduce Day 2️⃣3️⃣ for you.
— South Shields FC (@SouthShieldsFC) December 23, 2020
Over the first 24 days of December, you will be able to enter a range of competitions to win prizes courtesy of the club and several of its sponsors.
The latest item up for grabs is a season ticket for the 2021-22 campaign.
To enter this competition, supporters must wait until four questions have been asked, with the fourth to be published on Christmas Eve. Supporters will have until 9am the following day to submit all of their four answers together via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first question was: Which club did Lee Picton twice win the FA Vase with as a player?
The second question was: The tagline of SSFC Foundation is Creating Incredible what?
Today’s question is: Who scored our first league goal of this season?
Remember, don’t submit your answers until the fourth question has been published on Christmas Eve.
We’d like to thank club sponsor One More Than Two Brew for providing a special hamper for us to give away as part of our Advent Calendar. Congratulations to winner Andy Gardner and thank you to all who entered the competition.
We are also currently highlighting our sixth and final charity of the month, the If U Care Share Foundation.
The charity provides prevention, intervention training & support of those affected by suicide.
Over the month, donations have also been encouraged towards the club’s charitable Foundation, which works with hundreds of children each week and does such fantastic work within our community.
To support the Foundation with a donation, please click here.
Thank you for your continued support and keep an eye out for Day Twenty-Four tomorrow!
Lee Picton has been promoted to the role of Chief Executive and Graham Fenton will take sole charge of the first-team as part of a management restructure at South Shields Football Club.
Lee begins his new role with immediate effect, with Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup match at Cheltenham Town to be the final match led by the joint management team.
Jon Shaw becomes Joint Assistant Manager alongside Brian Smith while Keith Finnigan will now operate in his specialist area of finance.
The day-to-day running of the club will be the responsibility of Lee as positive changes are made to facilitate further growth and development at 1st Cloud Arena.
Keith now has an expanded remit after agreeing to join the board of the club’s main shirt sponsor, Business Energy Claims, while he also continues to lead a separate property development business.
It was therefore deemed appropriate to narrow his role at the football club, but he will have a pivotal position supporting Lee and club Chairman Geoff Thompson by providing the timely and accurate financial reporting essential for any successful business.
Mr Thompson said: “As part of our ongoing development, we have reviewed our structure and put in place what we feel is the most appropriate management team to move the club forwards.
“I firmly believe Lee is the perfect candidate for this new role and am delighted he has accepted it.
“His expertise, extraordinary knowledge of the game and strong experience of the club and all who work within it are invaluable assets to us and I’m hugely excited to see how South Shields FC will continue to develop in his image.
“I’m equally delighted that Graham has agreed to become Manager, ably assisted by Jon Shaw, Brian Smith and the rest of our outstanding coaching team.
“Graham and Lee have achieved incredible success over the last four years as Joint Managers and I have full confidence that the positive work and upward trajectory will be maintained by our new management team.
“Jon will be a tremendous addition to that as he steps up from his Academy duties and continues his impressive development as a coach, alongside his playing responsibilities.
“Keith Finnigan will remain a key and valued figure operating in his specialist area of finance. His contribution to the club over the last three-and-a-half years has been invaluable and I can’t stress enough how important he is within our management team.
“I’m hugely enthused about the future at the club as we look to further our progression with an excellent team behind the scenes both in football and non-football roles all pushing in the same direction to deliver success for our town, our magnificent supporters and our loyal sponsors.
“I firmly believe that the years ahead will be very bright and these changes make me even more confident that will be the case.”
Chief Executive Lee Picton said: “Working alongside Graham over the last four seasons as Joint First-Team Managers has been an absolute pleasure and privilege.
“As everyone knows our partnership has been a longstanding one, and although I now move on from it with a heavy heart, I take away with me a multitude of incredible memories and experiences of managing the team together, that I will cherish forever.
“The support Graham has given to me during our time working alongside each other at the club thus far has been fantastic, and I greatly look forward to hopefully many more years of working together but now just in slightly different roles.
“Being asked to take on the role of Chief Executive at our fantastic football club is such an exciting prospect and challenge for me.
“I want to publicly thank Geoff Thompson for his trust in me. I completely appreciate the responsibility that comes with such an important role and I fully intend to give my absolute all in the pursuit of driving the club to yet greater heights, both on and off the pitch, and to build on the tremendous work that Keith Finnigan has carried out and overseen in recent years.
“Undoubtedly, the single biggest thing that fills me with such optimism, hope and motivation in my new role moving forwards, is that our club is awash with great people.
“From our first-team management to our junior section, committee, back office staff, matchday volunteers and incredibly loyal fans and sponsors, we are truly blessed with the people that are tied to our club.
“My job moving forwards is to harness the energy of all these people in the most positive and effective way possible, and if this can be achieved then I truly believe the possibilities for our club are unbelievably exciting.”
First-Team Manager Graham Fenton said: “I’m hugely excited to have been given the responsibility of sole management of the first-team and I’d like to thank Geoff for the faith he has shown in me by giving me this role.
“Myself, Jon and Brian will continue the hard work and will of course be aiming to build on the success that the joint management team has enjoyed over the last four years.
“I know the addition of Jon to the first-team coaching staff will be well-received within the dressing room as he is a much-liked and respected member of the squad and as we all know, has huge knowledge and experience within the game.
“Together with Brian, we are hugely enthused by the prospect of working as a team and feel we will compliment each other exceptionally well.
“I’d like to personally wish Lee well in his new role and I know he will do a fantastic job in progressing the club in other areas.”
Joint Assistant Manager Jon Shaw said: “I want to thank Graham for the opportunity and asking me to join the management team. I can’t wait to get started and help out in any way I can and repay his faith in me to do the job.
“It’s an exciting progression in my career which of course is something I am proud and pleased about but as always my focus will be on the club being successful, and I can’t wait to get started with Graham, Bri, Phil Naisbett, Andy Morris and all the staff and players in continuing that.
“I’m going to miss the 16-19s job but I’m always going to be thankful for the opportunity I had to come over and work alongside and learn from Wess Brown and Jamie Williams. The 16-19s will still be a big part of my job as we’ve told those lads to push for first-team shirts and I’ll no doubt continue being part of their development through watching them play and coaching them.
“I want to thank Lee for the way he has coached and managed me over the last four-and-a-half years as I’ve learned a lot. There’s a part of me that’s sad he won’t be a part of the team now but I’m really happy for him that he’s going to continue here in a role that will no doubt help the club move forward.”
South Shields welcome Colne to 1st Cloud Arena on Saturday as they aim to progress in the Buildbase FA Trophy.
The third qualifying round tie will be played in front of a sold out crowd of 300, with a live stream available to view by clicking here.
Shields know from experience that Colne are not a team to be taken lightly, with the Reds having bridged the one-division gap in an Emirates FA Cup game against the Mariners last season, drawing 0-0 in South Tyneside before prevailing 1-0 in the replay.
Joint manager Fenton is determined to ensure history will not repeat itself in Saturday’s match as Shields look to make progress in another competition, having already made their way to the first round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history.
He said: “Colne have got off to a strong start in their league campaign and have already progressed through one round of this competition.
“We know through bitter experience that they are going to be a tough team to play against and will no doubt cause us some problems, but we’re very confident on the back of three clean sheets in a row that we can deal well with anything they throw at us.
“We created plenty of good situations in Tuesday’s game against FC United of Manchester and we will be looking to be as creative but more clinical against Colne to hopefully get the correct result.”
Colne have former England goalkeeper Chris Kirkland among their coaching staff, while the newest recruit to their playing ranks is ex-Newcastle United favourite Ryan Taylor.
Shields go into the game with a number of doubts over players, with Darius Osei and Jordan Hunter both having missed out on Tuesday’s 1-0 win over FC United of Manchester with calf problems.
Nathan Lowe and Luke Daly remain on the treatment table with knee injuries, and Fenton believes Saturday’s game may prove to be an opportunity for players to stake a claim for a regular starting place.
He added: “There are a lot of tired legs within our squad, which was noticeable on Tuesday, and this may well be an opportunity to give some players who haven’t played as much recently some much-needed game-time.
“We’re confident enough in the squad of players we have assembled to say that whoever we put on the pitch will give a good account of themselves, represent the club in a really positive manner and perform well on the day.”
Kick-off in Saturday’s game is at 3pm and tickets are sold out.
A live stream is available to watch for £5 and can be accessed by clicking here.