The club’s players and staff have been treated to a civic reception at South Shields Town Hall to mark the achievements of the 2016-17 season.

After the Mariners won four trophies, including the FA Vase at Wembley, South Tyneside Council granted the club a civic reception for the second year in a row.

SSFC civic reception 2SSFC players, staff and committee members attended, and met the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Councillor Olive Punchion and Mrs Mary French, as well as the leader of South Tyneside Council, Coun Iain Malcolm, and other councillors and executives.

Every representative from the club was presented with a commemorative glass to mark the historic season.

Speaking at the reception, SSFC chairman Geoff Thompson said: “I’d like to thank the Mayor, Iain and everybody involved at the council on behalf of the club for recognising what we’ve achieved over the last two years.

“I’m incredibly proud of the lads and what they’ve achieved this season, as well as our managers, Lee Picton and Graham Fenton, and everyone behind the scenes.

SSFC civic reception Arca“We had an unbelievable season, beyond my wildest dreams.

“When I got involved a couple of years ago, it was really just about bringing the club back to its home town, and trying to help the committee get the club back to where it belonged.

“It seems like a lifetime ago in some respects, but it’s only just over two years.

“I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved, and my thanks go to everyone for an incredible season.”

Mr Thompson added: “I’d like to think we’ve put South Shields back on the footballing map.

“It’s great to see what the club has done, in terms of the effect it has on people in the town.

“I’m sure that for the lads playing on the pitch, it’s even more so.

“We’ve got a lot of ambition for the football club.

SSFC civic reception Geoff“We’ve got to be grounded and sensible, but there’s absolutely no reason why a town like South Shields can’t have a Football League team, and that’s our objective.

“There’s a long way to go and we’re on an exciting journey.

“We’ve got a great team who can help us along that way, and I’m just really excited about what the future holds for the club as well.”

Coun Malcolm told those present: “We’d like to show our appreciation, give our thanks and offer our congratulations to South Shields Football Club for another tremendous season.

“We all know that South Shields FC has had a very long and varied history, and a challenging history.

“Like all success stories, you need a fairy Godmother, or in this case a fairy Godfather, in this case Geoff.

“He comes from South Shields – a Whiteleas guy done well – and decided that he really wanted to help the club and give them that financial support, and the commitment they need to plan for the future.

“He has a passion and commitment to South Shields, because he hails from the borough, and we, and in particular South Shields Football Club, are very lucky to have him.

“The group of people who really deserve praise, which I think is he most important group who deserve it, are the guys on the committee who kept that dream alive.

SSFC civic reception managers“They went through so many challenges, trials and tribulations, and times when there must have been only 20 or 30 people cheering the team on, and that committee, through their love of South Shields Football Club, passion for the game and commitment to South Shields, were determined that the club was going to survive.

“Because of the commitment and love they displayed for the club, Geoff was prepared to put his support behind them.

“Those guys didn’t come once to South Tyneside Council and ask for a penny, not that we could give them any.

“They did it themselves, and that’s a real testament to strength.

“Many congratulations, well done the Mariners.”

Images by Peter Talbot.