Martin Smith will join South Shields on July 1st, after his contract with Hartlepool United expires.

As he prepares to join the Mariners’ ranks for the 2022-23 season, we take a closer look at the 26-year-old midfielder.

  • Martin Smith was born on October 2nd, 1995 in Sunderland
  • He joined Sunderland AFC’s Academy as a six-year-old and remained with the Black Cats until 2016, although he missed out on a senior appearance
  • Smith gained first-team experience in the latter stages of his time with Sunderland with short loan spells at Gateshead and Carlisle United
  • He signed for Scottish Premiership side Kilmarnock in 2016 and made 10 top-flight appearances in his time north of the border
  • The midfielder was then lured by another top division club, Northern Ireland’s Coleraine, where he played between 2017 and 2018
  • Smith won the Irish Cup during his year with Coleraine, coming on as a substitute in the 3-1 victory over Cliftonville in the final
  • Coleraine were also runners-up in the NIFL Premiership in Smith’s time at the club, securing a place in the Europa League
  • Smith earned a switch to English League Two side Swindon Town in 2018 after a successful trial period
  • Another trial led to a two-year stay with Salford City between 2019 and 2021, as Smith continued to build his experience in the Football League
  • Smith had a loan spell at Chorley in the National League during his time at Salford, and he spent the second half of the 2020-21 season with Chesterfield
  • Another move to the Football League was secured by Smith in the summer of 2021 as he returned to the North East with Hartlepool
  • After making 15 appearances for Pools in 2021-22, it was announced Smith’s contract would not be renewed and he now joins South Shields as he begins a new challenge

Martin Smith is to become the club’s second signing of the summer.

We are delighted to welcome the former Sunderland, Kilmarnock and Hartlepool United midfielder to 1st Cloud Arena as our summer recruitment drive is accelerated.

Smith came through the ranks at Sunderland and spent short loan spells with Gateshead and Carlisle United before joining Scottish Premiership side Kilmarnock in 2016.

As well as participating in Scotland’s top flight, the 26-year-old also played at the highest level in Northern Ireland with Coleraine and has since had stints with Swindon Town, Salford City, Chorley, Chesterfield and Hartlepool, who he represented in League Two last season.

He will join Shields on July 1st, after his contract with Hartlepool expires.

Smith said: “I’m really excited to join the club and can’t wait to get going and meet all the lads.

“Everyone knows what we’re trying to build here so I’m very focused and looking forward to the season.

“The way the gaffer wants the team to play, what the club is building on and off the pitch and where we want to get to is exciting.

“We’re all focused on next season and we’re going to attack the goals we have for the year ahead.”

Sunderland-born Smith won the Irish Cup during his time with Coleraine and made 15 appearances for Hartlepool last season as the newly-promoted side finished 17th in League Two.

As a North East-based player, he says he has kept a close eye on the Mariners’ progress over recent years, which has whetted his appetite for the challenge ahead.

Smith added: “I can’t wait to be a part of the club’s progress, because so much has been put in place and built for the future.

“The club clearly wants to reach a higher level in the pyramid but all we can focus on is the here and now and achieving our goal of promotion next season.

“I’ve played for some great clubs and I’m looking to bring the experience and quality I have to this team and show what I’m about to the fans.

“I’ve been here more than a few times to watch games and the support in the stands is first class.

“It’s vitally important that they come in their numbers every week and support us home and away, because we really do appreciate it.”

South Shields manager Kevin Phillips said: “We’re delighted to add Martin to the squad.

“He is a fantastic footballer and a brilliant professional who we feel will fit very well into our group.

“It’s clear how eager he is to get going here and how much hunger he has to help us achieve our goals.

“Martin has a great passion for the game, conducts himself in an excellent way and will be a really valued member of the squad next season.”

You can purchase a season ticket to watch Martin and his new team-mates in every home league game of the 2022-23 campaign by clicking here.