It is with huge sadness that we announce the passing of club vice-president Richard Bailey at the age of 86.

Richard was a huge part of our club and will be sorely missed by everyone at Mariners Park.

A popular former school teacher, Richard first started watching South Shields play in 1945 and was a massive part of the club for the rest of his life.

He was involved in junior football with the local Whiteleas Juniors/St Hilda’s Juniors, and also with Stanhope Road School X1, where he was a member of the teaching staff.

A supporter of the Mariners for all his adult life, he became a member of the committee in 1992.

He went on to hold a number of roles before being named as a vice-president in recognition of his many years of endeavour.

As recently as last season, Richard continued to be a regular presence at Mariners Park on matchdays and non-matchdays, carrying out a number of duties including cleaning the dressing rooms and guarding the corridors to ensure the matchday operation ran smoothly.

His incredible efforts were recognised in 2017 when he won the prestigious BBC North East and Cumbria’s Unsung Sporting Hero award.

Richard narrowly missed out on winning the national Unsung Sporting Hero award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show.

He was much-loved by everyone connected to South Shields Football Club, who will fondly remember his warmness, kindness and welcoming nature, as well as the tales of yesteryear he would take great pleasure in telling.

Richard was part of the club’s committee from 1992 until his passing, and was one of the small team of volunteers who helped ensure the Mariners survived an extremely tough two-year spell in Peterlee.

Without people like Richard, the club simply would not be here today.

He will always be remembered as a South Shields FC legend and we are going to miss him hugely.

Our thoughts are with Richard’s family and friends at this very difficult time.

Rest in peace, Richard.

Club stalwart Richard Bailey narrowly missed out on the national Unsung Sporting Hero award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show on Sunday.

Richard attended the high-profile ceremony in Liverpool as the winner of the BBC North East and Cumbria’s Unsung Sporting Hero award for 2017.

He was nominated for his outstanding service to South Shields FC, with his connection with the club stretching back to 1945, when his father took him to his first game.

Richard has since held numerous roles, from supporter to committee member, and now to vice-president.

He still helps out every game at Mariners Park, cleaning the dressing rooms and manning the corridors to ensure the matchday operation goes smoothly.

Since winning the North East award, Richard has appeared on regional news show Look North, and has admitted he was taken aback to receive such recognition.

Richard said: “I find it all very emotional – I’m just overwhelmed by it.

“Getting personal recognition has never really bothered me – I just do what needs to be done – but this is a real honour.

“What I do is the simplest thing in the world to me, but every day spent at this football club has been a pleasure.

“I find the whole thing very exciting, but at the same time very emotional.”

Richard was unfortunate to miss out on the national award and everyone at the club is so proud to be associated with him.

Club stalwart Richard Bailey is set to attend the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show on Sunday.

Richard was invited to the high-profile ceremony in Liverpool as the winner of the BBC North East and Cumbria’s Unsung Sporting Hero award for 2017.

He is in contention to win the national Unsung Sporting Hero award, which would be quite some achievement.

He was nominated for his outstanding service to South Shields FC, with his connection with the club stretching back to 1945, when his father took him to his first game.

Richard has since held numerous roles, from supporter to committee member, and now to vice-president.

He still helps out every game at Mariners Park, cleaning the dressing rooms and manning the corridors to ensure the matchday operation goes smoothly.

Since winning the North East award, Richard has appeared on regional news show Look North, and has admitted he was taken aback to receive such recognition.

Richard said: “I find it all very emotional – I’m just overwhelmed by it.

“Getting personal recognition has never really bothered me – I just do what needs to be done – but this is a real honour.

“What I do is the simplest thing in the world to me, but every day spent at this football club has been a pleasure.

“I find the whole thing very exciting, but at the same time very emotional.”

Good luck, Richard – we’re all behind you!