Jon Shaw has been appointed as captain of South Shields for the 2018-19 season.

The position became vacant after Julio Arca opted to retire from football earlier this month.

Joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton have now handed the armband to Shaw, who was last season’s vice-captain and is preparing for his third campaign with the club.

Shaw said: “I’m very happy and mostly proud to be named captain of a great club with amazing support.

“I’ve got to thank Lee and Graham for the opportunity.

“I have had a fantastic first two years at the club with plenty of success, and hopefully that will continue this year and beyond.

“We’re heading into an exciting season with big tests, but we have got a fantastic bunch of players who have dealt with pressure well, and there is a belief we can have even more success.

“Being captain is something I’ve enjoyed doing every now and again since joining, and now I can’t wait to get back, get started and see what we can achieve next season.”

Shaw joined Shields in the summer of 2016 after leaving National League side Gateshead, who he had served with distinction across three spells.

The 34-year-old started his career with hometown club Sheffield Wednesday and went on to play for the likes of Burton Albion, Rochdale, Luton Town and Gateshead.

Since signing for the Mariners, Shaw has displayed superb leadership qualities, and has been a key part of a team which has won five trophies and two promotions across the last two seasons.

He has also made a successful transition from striker to centre-back, and is looking ahead to his next challenge next season in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

The management team felt Shaw was the ideal candidate to fill Arca’s shoes as captain.

Fenton said: “We’ve offered the captaincy to Jon Shaw.

“We think he’s the natural replacement for Julio after being vice-captain last season.

“Jon’s a great character to have around and sets really high standards for everyone around him, which is what you’re looking for from your captain.

“Jon is more than happy to take the role on.”

Picton, meanwhile, paid tribute to Arca, who established himself as a club legend during his three seasons at Mariners Park.

He said: “You can’t over-estimate the impact Julio has had on this football club in the last three years.

“From our perspective, he has been an absolute privilege to work with, a top player and if it’s even possible, an even better human being.

“It was quite emotional when we took the news from Julio that he was retiring, and it took a little while to process.

“I want to go on record and say that Julio has been an absolutely unbelievable asset for this football club.

“We’re looking at ways a little bit down the line of how we can keep him involved at the club, because his qualities extend way beyond his playing attributes on the pitch.

“We just want to thank Julio for everything that he has done on and off the pitch here at South Shields Football Club, because he has become a true legend of this club and that title is worthy of someone like him.”

Julio Arca has decided to retire from football with immediate effect.

The move brings an end to the 37-year-old’s illustrious career, which included spells at Sunderland and Middlesbrough before a trophy-laden three years with South Shields.

He has opted to retire in order to spend more time with his young family, as the travel, match, and training commitments are becoming more challenging.

The club do remain in discussions with him as to a potential non-playing role.

Arca joined the Mariners in September 2015, and has won three league titles, three promotions and six trophies during his time with the club.

The club would like to thank him for his tremendous service and very much hope to keep his association with the club going forward.

Club chairman Geoff Thompson said: “Julio has been an inspirational figure since joining the club almost three years ago.

“He has played a key role in transforming the club’s fortunes and provided some unforgettable moments, and we cannot thank him enough for his incredible efforts.

“Everyone at the club hoped he would be able to continue his playing career for one more year, but we are fully respectful of his decision, which has been made for family reasons.

“He ends his playing days having won a league title in each of his three seasons here, and departs with his powers undimmed.

“He leaves while at the top having just won a league title as captain, which not many are fortunate enough to say.

“We are in discussions with Julio as to a future role and very much hope we can find a resolution so that he can continue to benefit the club with his expertise in an off the field capacity.

“It goes without saying that he and his family will always be welcome at Mariners Park.”

The club’s end-of-season presentation night was held on Friday at Mariners Park.

The event was hosted in the marquee at the ground, with five awards handed out as the first-team’s achievements in the 2017-18 campaign were celebrated.

Here are the award winners. Pictures by Kev Wilson.

The top goalscorer award went to Carl Finnigan, who netted 25 times in all competitions. He was presented with his award by club vice-president Bob Wray and managing director Keith Finnigan.

The Young Player of the Year award was won by Dillon Morse, who produced such outstanding displays at the back throughout the campaign and also chipped in with nine goals. He was presented with his award by club commercial director David Mitchell and managing director Keith Finnigan.

The winner of the Players’ Player of the Year prize was Robert Briggs, who was consistent throughout the season in midfield and chipped in with many goals and assists. Joint manager Graham Fenton and managing director Keith Finnigan presented him with his award.

The Supporters’ Player of the Year award went to Dillon Morse, who took 22% of the votes in an online poll. The award was presented by committee member Bob Scott and managing director Keith Finnigan.

And finally, the club’s Player of the Year award was won by Julio Arca. Julio couldn’t be there on Friday but Jon Shaw collected the award on his behalf.