South Shields have completed the permanent signing of right-back Jordan Hunter.
Hunter made 39 appearances for the Mariners in a hugely successful loan spell from Sunderland in 2019-20.
The 20-year-old has now committed his long-term future to the club in what is a significant coup for the Mariners.
It was a move the Liverpool FC Academy product was eager to make.
Hunter said: “I enjoyed a great season here on loan from Sunderland last year and while I could have stayed at the Stadium of Light, it was so clear to see that this club shares my ambition to keep on improving.
“I was really flattered to see their desire to make my loan move a permanent one and as soon as the club offered me a three year contract, I couldn’t wait to sign it and help them try and achieve the success we all desire.”
Hunter joined Shields on an initial one-month loan from Sunderland last August.
After an impressive start to life at Mariners Park the loan was quickly extended until the end of the season, and Hunter’s energetic displays on the right flank earned him the affection of fellow players, staff and supporters alike.
He went on to win the club’s Young Player of the Year and Supporters’ Player of the Year awards, further strengthening bonds which had blossomed so well during the campaign.
Hunter is eager to get going again at a club he has grown to love.
He added: “The club is going places and I know that from first hand experience having been here last season.
“There are so many different elements which make it a great place to be.
“The coaching staff are brilliant, as are the players on and off the pitch, and then there are the brilliant fans who we feel so close to.
“My family have always been made to feel so welcome and if they’re happy here, that makes it so much easier for me.
“All the lads are feeling very motivated going into the new season and we want to do even better than last time.
“I just want to fast-forward to the first game of the season now.”
South Shields players at first-team and Academy level have followed in the footsteps of supporters and club officials by donating to the Tickets To The Future initiative.
More than 500 season tickets for the 2020-21 campaign have now been snapped up after a surge in sales over recent days.
Over 80 of those are junior tickets which have been donated back to the club to distribute to deserving children ahead of the season, with the assistance of SSFC Foundation.
Club captain and Head of Professional Development Jon Shaw, centre-back Dillon Morse, goalkeeper Ross Coombe and teenage talents Will Jenkins and Sam Hodgson are among those to have donated tickets to the initiative.
Midfielder Nathan Lowe, meanwhile, donated a child AND adult season ticket, while Academy players Joe Lockey, Joe Ames, Aaron Steavens and Ben Errington all added tickets to the fund, as did Academy graduate Will McCamley, who is now with Huddersfield Town.
Jordan Hunter – who excelled on loan with the Mariners from Sunderland in the 2019-20 campaign – also provided two child season tickets.
He said: “I think everyone knows how much I loved the last season at the club.
“I donated because you can see how much the club means to the town and this initiative will help to get children through the gates who wouldn’t normally get the chance to, and gives them an opportunity to have that enjoyment on a Saturday afternoon.
“It has been great to see so many people get on board with it and hopefully it continues to go from strength to strength, and then next season those young fans can watch the team achieve the promotion we deserved to get this year.”
The Tickets To The Future initiative was kicked off by Shields supporter Jeff Bell, who lives in London. He purchased eight child season tickets for the 2020-21 campaign before donating them back to the club.
Jeff’s wish was for the tickets to be given to deserving children who would not usually have the opportunity to attend games at Mariners Park. The club has committed to working with SSFC Foundation to identify those children.
After Jeff’s generosity was publicised on social media, a host of other figures came forward to donate tickets.
Among them were club officials Bob and Viv Scott, Daniel Prince, Colin Docherty, Kev Wilson and Janet Davies.
One supporter, who wished to remain anonymous, donated 10 junior tickets on Friday and the total amount of donations is expected to exceed 100 in the coming days.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
Those who would like to make a donation of either junior, concession or adult season tickets for the 2020-21 campaign – or indeed buy a season ticket for themselves – can do so in one of two ways.
Please call 0191 454 7800 between 9am and 5pm on weekdays to buy and donate over the phone, or click here to buy online. If you buy online and would like to donate your ticket(s), please follow up your purchase by sending an email signalling your intention to do so to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for the continued outstanding support and we hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy.
The club is delighted to announce that Jordan Hunter’s loan from Sunderland has been extended until the end of the season.
Hunter has performed superbly since joining on loan from the Black Cats in August.
He has scored once in 15 appearances and been a key part of the team’s excellent defensive record so far this season.
Shields fans can now look forward to watching the right-back for the remainder of the campaign.
Joint manager Graham Fenton said: “Everyone at the club is over the moon that we’ve managed to secure an extension of Jordan’s loan until the end of the season.
“It’s safe to say that Jordan’s performances have definitely warranted us acquiring his services for an extended period and I know he has quickly become a fans’ favourite here.
“We would like to thank Sunderland AFC and particularly Kevin Ball for allowing this to happen and we look forward to the relationship between the two clubs developing and flourishing further over the next few years.”