Meet our first Project EFL ambassadors – coming to a school near you soon!

First-team players Carl Finnigan, Blair Adams, Ursene Mouanda and Daniel Wright are to help lead a new programme which will see the club visit schools across the borough on a regular basis.

Our aim is to be a community-based, sustainable Football League-ready club by 2023.

It’s an ambitious target encapsulated by Project EFL, which we are hoping the community will get behind in the weeks, months and years ahead.

At the centre of our ambitions is our fanbase, which we are hoping to grow by forging partnerships with schools.

We are on the lookout for our fans of the future and are currently focusing on the ‘class of 2023’.

The club will soon be visiting primary schools across South Tyneside, and during our visits the players will hand out free match tickets to pupils in Year 5 and Year 6, who will be of age to be our 12th man by the time we are hopefully Football League-ready in 2023.

The schools programme is being led by the club in conjunction with our charitable foundation, and will be launched on Monday, November 12 when we visit Westoe Crown Primary School, before we visit St Bede’s RC Primary and Nursery School two days later.

The club is also pleased to announce an exciting partnership with The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, which is based in Market Place, South Shields.

The two organisations are set to work together to introduce a literacy project for young people based on a matchday experience.

Of those Year 5 and Year 6 pupils who receive free match tickets, each school will select 10 children to form a guard of honour for the two teams on matchday.

Five of those 10 will be chosen to take part in a media workshop delivered by The Word, where they will record and capture their matchday experience.

South Shields FC Foundation Manager Steve Camm said: “We are all really excited about the opportunity to grow the work we do in schools.

“It’s great as a club for us to be able to put something back into our community, in fact it’s one of the underlying principles behind both Project EFL and the Foundation.

“The Word is an amazing facility and we are delighted to have been able to put something together collectively that will create not only a fantastic matchday experience but also a great learning opportunity for young people.”

Tania Robinson, Head of Marketing and Culture at The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, said: “We are delighted to be working with South Shields Football Club as we are always looking for new ways to celebrate the written word.

“This project, which gives young fans and their families the chance to commentate on the match, write a report and then film in The Word’s media studio, is part of our wider programme of work, sponsored by Mirabaud, to engage with young people in the borough.

“Football commentaries and reports bring matches to life for those who weren’t lucky enough to be there – they tell a story and that’s what we celebrate at The Word.

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming the fans and their families and showing them the varied and fascinating facilities The Word has to offer.”

All children who receive free match tickets will also be given the opportunity to take part in the club’s Matchday Play Park – a supervised football session – which takes place between 1.30pm and 2.30pm on the day of every Saturday match at Mariners Park.

The club’s Halloween party on Friday, October 26 will now be a free event.

Music will be provided by popular 70s and 80s tribute band Groovy Street, and there will also be a hot buffet.

The event will get underway at 7.30pm in the marquee at Mariners Park and all are welcome to attend free of charge.

All funds raised on nights such as this are reinvested into the club and SSFC Foundation, and towards the overarching Project EFL.

Fancy dress is optional but recommended, and there will be a prize for the best dressed.

If you intend to come along, please collect a free ticket in advance from Mariners Park. This can be done from behind the bar on non-matchdays or at Saturday’s game against Gainsborough Trinity.

Please support the event and back the club!

South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson has called on the community to get behind his ‘project’ to take the club to the Football League.

The Mariners have enjoyed tremendous success since Mr Thompson took over as chairman in the summer of 2015.

Three consecutive promotions have been won, and Shields are plotting three more to take them to the promised land of the Football League.

The club has today launched Project EFL – and is calling on businesses and the public to get behind it.

South Shields has not had a Football League club since 1930, but Mr Thompson firmly believes the Mariners have the potential to get there.

He said: “This is a tremendously exciting time for the club after a period of almost unparalleled success.

“We are now looking to take the next step in our journey and want the community to feel like they are a huge part of things.

“They are absolutely central to our ambitions, because without the support of both the business community and general public, we will not get to where we want to be.

“To talk about reaching the Football League as a ‘dream’ would be incorrect, because it implies that we don’t fully believe we can get there.

“We absolutely do believe we can, and hope many others in South Tyneside and beyond share that belief and ambition.

“Every decision we make at the club – on and off the field – will now be made with Project EFL in mind.

“We want to grow our fanbase and network of sponsors to help us achieve what would be an incredible thing for the town.”

The club will be encouraging businesses and supporters to get behind Project EFL by displaying the project’s logo wherever they can.

Everyone can back Project EFL. Every penny spent at Mariners Park will go towards the project.

As well as their ambition to reach the Football League, the Mariners are focused on being a community club which caters for all.

More than 250 youngsters are involved with the club’s charitable arm – South Shields FC Foundation – which runs the club’s junior teams.

The Foundation encourages a multi-sport experience for young people as well as activities and events which promote learning, team-work and making new friends.

The club also launched an Academy last summer, catering for talented players aged between 16 and 19 in conjunction with Sunderland College. The students combine football training with their studies.

This year, the South Shields FC Futures Academy was also kicked-off for children aged between 11 and 16, in partnership with Mortimer Community College.

The club’s ambition is to help secure its future success by developing its own players.

At the heart of everything is the ambition for the first-team to reach the Football League and bring the football glory days back to South Tyneside.

Mr Thompson insists a team effort is needed to get there.

He added: “We have a tremendous team of staff at the club who are all working towards our targets and delivering our ambitions.

“We can’t do it alone, though, and we want people to feel engaged enough to get behind this.

“Imagine how brilliant it would be to reach the Football League.

“It’s certainly possible. Please get behind us and help us create history.”