The Raydale Cup is set to take place in Gretna this weekend, with South Shields one of four teams taking part in the competition.
The Mariners will play once on Saturday and once on Sunday, with Ayr United, Queen of the South and Gretna also taking part in the competition.
There is expected to be a strong contingent of travelling supporters from Shields, while advance weekend and day tickets are on sale from http://www.gretnafc2008shop.co.uk/raydale-tickets.html while they will also be available on the day.
Now we profile hosts Gretna ahead of the tournament at Raydale Park.
The former club was founded in 1946, and scaled the heights of Scottish football, rising through the divisions under businessman Brooks Mileson in the early 2000s.
They reached the final of the Scottish Cup in 2006, and were only denied the trophy in agonising circumstances, with Hearts beating them on penalties. Reaching the final gained them passage into the UEFA Cup, where they lost in the second qualifying round to Derry City.
After winning promotion to the Scottish Premier League a year later, Gretna began to struggle badly, on and off the pitch.
Mileson fell ill and withdrew his financial support, while debts rose and Gretna finished the season on just 13 points as they were relegated.
Worse was to follow, though, as that summer, Gretna resigned from the Scottish Football League because of their financial situation, and subsequently went out of business.
The former club spent much of its time as part of English football, and won the Northern League in both 1991 and 1992.
Following Gretna’s demise, a new club was set up in 2008, and was accepted into the East of Scotland League. Since 2009, they have played their home games at Raydale Park, which had been the home of the former club.
In 2013, the new club was elected as founder members of the Lowland Football League.
A link between Gretna and Shields comes in the shape of goalkeeper Josh Richardson, who joined the Scottish club after leaving the Mariners at the start of the summer.
On Saturday, Gretna will face Queen of the South, with the winners of that to take on the victors of the South Shields-Ayr United tie on Sunday.
The two losing teams will also take part in the third-place play-off.
Tickets for the Raydale Cup, in Gretna, are now available to buy.
South Shields will take part in the pre-season event alongside Scottish clubs Ayr United, Queen of the South and Gretna.
The Mariners will play two games across two days on Saturday, July 9, and Sunday, July 10, beginning with a fixture against Ayr at 3.30pm on the opening day. Ahead of that, Gretna will take on Queen of the South at 12pm.
The winner of those matches will then take part in Sunday’s final, with the losers playing a third-place play-off. The final will take place at 3.30pm, with the losing semi-finalists’ game on at 12pm.
A weekend ticket – which will give holders entry to all four games played across the two days – costs £12, while it is £7 for a day ticket.
All children under the age of 16 will be allowed in free of charge if with a paying adult.
Tickets can be bought from http://www.gretnafc2008shop.co.uk/raydale-tickets.html while they will also be available on the day.
The event was first competed for as a pre-season competition in the 1970s, but was revived in its current format three years ago.
Last year, Ayr won the competition, beating Gretna 1-0 in a closely-matched final.
The event will take place at Gretna’s Raydale Park, which is on Dominion Road, Gretna, and has a postcode of DG16 5AP.
Places are available on a supporters’ coach to the event, which will depart Mariners Park at 9am on Saturday, July 9. It will then return the following day, although those who book up will have to source their own accommodation.
A seat on the bus costs £25 per person and is on a first-come, first-served basis. To book a place, pop into Mariners Park or call 0191 454 7800.
IMAGE: Peter Talbot.
The club is pleased to confirm its involvement in the 2016 Raydale Cup.
The pre-season competition is taking place at Gretna’s Raydale Park on July 9 and 10, and will see the Mariners, Gretna, Queen of the South and Ayr United take part.
On Saturday, July 9, Gretna and Queen of the South will go head-to-head at 12pm, before the Mariners take on Scottish Championship (second tier) side Ayr at 3.30pm. If either game ends in a draw, it will go straight to penalties.
On the Sunday, meanwhile, the two winners from the previous day and the two losers will face each other.
The club is planning to run coaches to take supporters to the tournament, with those details to be released in due course.