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 info@southshieldsfc.co.uk.

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.”

South Shields moved to the top of the BetVictor NPL Premier Division with an impressive 2-0 win over Basford United at Mariners Park on Saturday.

Goals in each half from Jordan Hunter and Josh Gillies were enough to see their Mariners leapfrog five teams – including their opponents – to take their place at the summit.

It was a confident display from Shields in front of their highest crowd of the season to date and sets them up nicely for Tuesday’s game against Gainsborough Trinity at Mariners Park.

The hosts again deployed captain Jon Shaw in a striking role alongside Jordan Annear, who was making his first league start for the club.

Joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton will have been delighted with the way their side opened the game as they made their intentions known from the first whistle.

Hunter – whose loan from Sunderland was extended by a further 28 days earlier in the week – was at the heart of much of their brightest play with impressive surges forward from right-back, and he nearly created the opening goal six minutes in when his low cross almost found Shaw, but a defender just got there first.

Shaw went even closer when Craig Baxter delivered a ball from the left which he directed goalwards with his head, but goalkeeper Kieran Preston tipped his effort away.

Goalkeeper Myles Boney produced a strong performance for the Mariners and he was alert to push a free-kick from 25 yards by Ryan Wilson wide after the left-back tried to catch him out at his near post.

To fall behind at that stage would have been extremely harsh on Shields, who found the breakthrough themselves after 15 minutes.

Adam Thurston and Gillies combined to sweep the ball across to Hunter on the right of the box and he cut onto his left foot before firing a low effort which took a slight deflection and squirmed under the body of Preston as the right-back registered his first goal for the Mariners.

Basford had a decent chance to level 10 minutes before half-time as Wilson got in down the left and pulled it back to Jack Thomas, but he hooked over from a good position.

Shields pressed ahead after that as they searched for a second and it looked like they would get it when Annear powered through on the right of the area, but his scooped pass across the area was just ahead of Shaw.

The Mariners were frustrated again as a Blair Adams cross from the left was sent back across goal by Shaw to Thurston, and he fired the ball against the crossbar as the visitors survived again.

Six minutes into the second half, though, they were breached for a second time.

More enterprising play by Hunter on the right saw him skip past Wilson before sending a low cross into the feet of Annear, whose effort was parried by Preston. The ball broke to the advancing Gillies, who tucked it home from close range for his second goal of the season.

Hunter had visions of another goal when he hit the target from 20 yards soon after, but Preston was equal to his effort. That save came moments after a big penalty appeal following a challenge on Adams was waved away.

Basford put pressure on their hosts in the final half-hour as they tried to find a way back into the game, with Robert Briggs having to block well from Liam Bateman to keep Shields’ lead at two.

Boney then produced a tremendous double save from Matthew Thornhill, first showing superb reactions to stop an effort with his feet before picking himself up to close the angle and push the rebound from the same player wide.

From the resulting corner, another huge chance went begging for the visitors as James Reid’s cross found the head of an unmarked Nat Watson six yards out, but he directed the ball just past the post.

That was as close as Basford got, although Dillon Morse did need to produce a fine block with three minutes remaining to deny Watson.

Shields could have made it three as the clock ticked beyond 90 minutes as Adams forced his way through on the left to get a sight of goal, but he fired narrowly over.

The Mariners held firm to record another clean sheet, though, as they moved to the top of the early league table.

They will hope to stay there when they host Gainsborough Trinity on Tuesday.

SOUTH SHIELDS: Boney, Hunter, Adams, Briggs, Morse, Brown, Thurston (Turnbull 62), Baxter, Annear (Mason 70), Gillies (Alli 90+1), Shaw (c). Subs not used: Wokoma, Charlton.

Goals: Hunter (15), Gillies (51).

Attendance: 1,634.

WORDS: Daniel Prince. IMAGE: Kev Wilson.