Fenton praises players as they head to Wembley final

John Parker challenges in the air in North Shields' FA Vase semi final second leg win over Highworth Town. Picture by Ian Warde.
John Parker challenges in the air in North Shields' FA Vase semi final second leg win over Highworth Town. Picture by Ian Warde.

North Shields boss Graham Fenton has told his players to enjoy the opportunity of playing at Wembley but has reminded them the season is far from over.

The Robins booked their place at the home of English football with a 3-0 aggregate win over Highworth Town on Saturday.

But as players and fans continue celebrating the trip to London on May 9, Fenton has warned his players to keep their feet on the ground.

He has urged his players to remain focused as North Shields are one of the teams still in with a shot of winning the Northern League Division One – just one season after winning promotion.

Fenton said: “I’m really delighted for the lads – what a great bunch who never lie down.

“It is just brilliant too for the fans and for all the hard work the committee has done.

“You can’t beat a Wembley weekend. However, the players need to remain focussed and perform on the day, despite the fact we’ve league games to play and we’re still in with a shout for the title.”

Assistant manager Andy Bowman added: “It’s the best day of my life so far.

“All the players are here for the right reasons. I’ve been at Shields for some years and to believe we are now at Wembley, well it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.”

Club president and Newcastle United legend Malcolm Macdonald added: “It will be such a brilliant experience for our players. Hopefully we can come back with the cup.”

Fans are still coming to terms with a trip to Wembley.

One said: “The progress we have made is beyond what anyone expected, both on and off the pitch. The players have a will to win and the squad assembled are proud not just to be playing for North Shields but also Graham and his management team and it’s a match made in heaven.”

And the run to Wembley has also had a boost off the pitch.

Commercial director Mark Scott said: “When I joined the club six years ago I knew the potential was there.

“We’ve worked hard and grasped that and turned it into reality. From being a club that with no real prospects we’ve become the team of North Tyneside and we hope to keep that mantle.

“The club will progress further if the town’s people want it and it’s clear to me they do.

“Our priority’s are to maintain a playing budget to bring the best local players to NE29 and off the park we want to build a stadium and facilities the town can once again be proud of.”