Dunston will bring a number of familiar faces with them to 1st Cloud Arena for Saturday’s pre-season friendly.
The Mariners are set to take on the Pitching In Northern Premier League East side in their final outing before the league opener against Stalybridge Celtic on Saturday, August 13th.
With former South Shields favourites Jon Shaw, Craig Baxter and Phil Turnbull among their ranks, Dunston are sure to provide an excellent test of Kevin Phillips’ team’s credentials.
The trio boast a remarkable amount of experience and all had excellent playing spells at SSFC, with Shaw still a vital part of the club as head of professional development.
The striker-turned-defender joined Shields in the summer of 2016 from Gateshead, having enjoyed an excellent career to that point with the likes of Luton Town, Burton Albion and Sheffield Wednesday.
He quickly found a new home at 1st Cloud Arena and departed the playing staff six years later after 211 appearances, 27 goals, two promotions and five trophy wins.
Shaw is certain to receive an extremely warm welcome on Saturday and the same will surely also be true of Baxter and Turnbull.
Baxter also signed in the summer of 2016 after his time at Gateshead came to an end, and the right-back spent five years in claret and blue.
In that time, he made 201 appearances and, alongside Shaw, was a key cog in the quadruple-winning squad of 2016-17 as well as the second successive promotion sealed the following season.
He also showed his versatility by deputising in midfield and across the defence, and was forever a reliable figure who has continued to demonstrate those qualities since joining Dunston last summer.
Baxter was named the club’s players’ player of the season, manager’s player of the season and committee player of the season in 2021-22.
Turnbull, meanwhile, made the long-awaited move to his hometown club Shields in the summer of 2018 from Darlington.
The midfielder proved to be an always dependable presence during his three years with the Mariners, making 94 appearances.
Turnbull had a long-held ambition to represent Shields and did so with aplomb, proving a hugely popular member of the squad among fellow players and staff alike.
Also among Dunston’s ranks is Ursene Mouanda, who had a shorter spell with Shields in the 2018-19 season, making 28 appearances.
He has since developed well at the UTS Stadium and is an important part of Dunston’s midfield.
We look forward to welcoming all of our former players back to 1st Cloud Arena.
You can purchase a ticket for the match by clicking here. Tickets cost from £6 for adults.
Ursene Mouanda has joined Blyth Spartans on loan for the entirety of the 2019-20 season.
Mouanda, who signed for South Shields a year ago, made 26 appearances last term.
The midfielder will now be given the opportunity to continue his footballing education with Lee Clark’s National League North side.
South Shields joint manager Lee Picton said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for Ursene to get some much-needed experience and game-time at a very good level.
“We will be monitoring his progress throughout the season and he remains very much a South Shields player who we rate very highly.
“We look forward to seeing his development and wish him all the best for his time with Blyth Spartans.”
South Shields players Blair Adams, Daniel Wright and Ursene Mouanda went back to school on Monday as they launched a new programme which will see the club engage more with its youngest supporters.
The trio were joined by SSFC Foundation manager Steve Camm as they visited Westoe Crown Primary School to answer questions from pupils and hand out tickets for Saturday’s game against Mickleover Sports at Mariners Park.
They also presented the school with a signed home shirt which will either be put on display at Westoe Crown or be auctioned to raise school funds.
This was the club’s first school visit and was a particularly poignant one, as avid Shields supporter Jak Fada – who tragically died a year ago at the age of 10 – attended Westoe Crown.
About 180 Year 5 and Year 6 pupils talked with the players for almost an hour as they asked a wide range of questions.
Blair said: “There were some interesting questions and some you really had to think about.
“We covered all areas, from what we’d want to do if we weren’t footballers to the best teams we’ve played against.
“It’s always good to go into places like that and for the children to be able to speak with us.
“We want to try to build our fanbase.
“We all know the targets the club has over the next few years.
“We want to keep pushing up the leagues, and coming in to see the children is the start of us trying to grow our fanbase.”
Each Year 5 and Year 6 pupil at the school received a free ticket for Saturday’s match against Mickleover, as well as one for a parent or guardian.
They have all been invited to take part in the club’s Matchday Play Park, which takes place on the 3G pitch at 1.30pm on the day of each Saturday home game, while 10 of them will walk onto the pitch with the teams ahead of the match and five of them will take part in a literacy project with The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, based on their matchday experience.
Daniel Wright said: “We came along to hand out tickets and talk to the pupils, because it would be great to have a lot more younger people at the games.
“Hopefully it will boost our crowds on Saturdays.
“There were some funny questions which got you thinking and we all really enjoyed it.
“It’s important we get more and more younger fans at the games, because it will build our crowds massively.”
Ursene said: “We came in to have a little talk to the children and try to encourage them to come along to our games.
“I really enjoyed it.
“A lot of the kids were quite sharp and funny, and there were some very good questions.
“I’ve not been in a primary school since I left, so it was good to go back to one and it brought back a lot of memories.
“It’s really important we put on a good performance on Saturday so the children have a good experience and want to come back week after week.”
The club’s second school visit will see them go to St Bede’s RC Primary and Nursery School on Wednesday.
Picture caption: Players Ursene Mouanda, Daniel Wright and Blair Adams present a signed South Shields shirt to Westoe Crown football team captains Jay Brown and Lillie Oliphant, along with PE co-ordinator and Year 6 teacher Kate Bramley.