GRAHAM Fenton is the new manager of North Shields Football Club.
Previous incumbent Anthony Woodhouse had indicated to the club his intention to step down some weeks ago but he agreed to stay in charge until the end of the season or until a new manager was appointed.
Andy Bowman, assistant to Woodhouse, will continue as Fenton’s deputy.
Bowman said: “I’ve enjoyed every second working with Woody, nobody saw like I did the time and effort he put in on the pitch and he obviously will be a big miss around the place.
“All at the club would like to thank Anthony for his tremendous service and we all wish him well in the future.
“I’m looking forward to working with Graham again and know he will do well for the club.
“His passion is second to none and his wealth of experience will be helpful and well received.”
Fenton, who has played at the top level of the game for the likes of Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa, Leicester City and St Mirren, was coach at Blyth Spartans some years ago and, for part of last season, was assisting Woodhouse and Bowman as part of the Robins management team.
Woodhouse’s first game in the player-manager role at Shields was at Whitehaven on November 1, 2008, where he led his side to a 1-0 victory.
He notched two goals that campaign, at Guisborough Town and at home to Team Northumbria, guiding the club to 15th position and safety at the end of the season.
The Robins progressed under Woodhouse to finish sixth in 2009-10 then fourth in 2010-11, agonisingly missing out on promotion by the narrowest of margins despite a long unbeaten run only to falter at the final hurdle.
This season the Shieldsmen were one of the promotion favourites at the turn of the year and put together a magnificent 25 match unbeaten stretch on their travels.
But home form again disappointed and recently the side has slipped out of contention with Woodhouse feeling that it was in the best interests of the club for him to part company.
North Shields have four fixtures remaining and Fenton will commence his duties at Esh Winning midweek then at Northallerton Town on Saturday, 3pm.
Woodhouse turned our for his side at centre-half on Good Friday at West Allotment Celtic, but injury curtailed his time on the pitch to just eight minutes.
Shields were severely depleted through injuries and unavailability for this clash after a strength-sapping cup tie at Bedlington Terriers less than 40 hours earlier.
Allotment spurned several opportunities in the first half before Shaun Reid headed the hosts in front in the 52nd minute.
Andy Hay fired over as the Robins strove to an equaliser in a low key game, but in stoppage time Gary Day was on target and Celtic claimed the points.
Meanwhile the Shieldsmen had beaten Brandon United, Darlington RA and Newcastle Benfield to reach the quarter-finals of the Brooks Mileson Memorial Northern League Cup but their stimulating run came to an end at Bedlington.
Two first half goals secured the Terriers’ passage but the Robins roused their supporters and rocked the opposition with an inspiring and determined exhibition after the break.
With left back Danny Patterson prominent in surges down the flank, the Tynesiders went close through Keith Douglas and Dean Holmes, but former Robins keeper Craig Pickering made crucial saves.
The following side represented North Shields at the Dr Pit Welfare Park: Michael Robinson, Kevin Hughes, Danny Patterson, Mark Rasmussen, Danny Bowlt, Paul Dunn, James Luccock, Adam Forster, Andy Hay, Keith Douglas (captain), Dean Holmes. Subs: Andy Wright, John Grey, Mark Sheeran with Adam Rowntree and Anthony Woodhouse unused.