North Shields ready for return to division one

North Shields FC players and fans celebrate winning the Northern League Division 2 title last season.
North Shields FC players and fans celebrate winning the Northern League Division 2 title last season.

After a break of a quarter of a century, North Shields Football Club are marking their return to the Northern League Division One with a game against Crook Town on August 9.

The club almost went to the wall in 1992 after debts were left unchecked, with a handful of people being appointed to ensure the club’s survival.

And the continuation of the Robins was only assured after the Wearside League accepted them two weeks after the season had started.

Chairman Alan Matthews, who is celebrating 20 years in the role said: “They were dark days.

“No one knew where the future was and if that brave decision hadn’t been made there may not be a senior club in the town today and it if there was it certainly wouldn’t have the history behind it of the club originally founded in 1896. We are indebted to the Wearside league for that decision.”

North Shields romped home with the Northern League Division Two title last season and won by a clear ten points, accumulating 100 points.

Alan said: “We owe our management team of Graham Fenton and Andrew Bowman a great deal, they’ve put together a fantastic squad and the players gave their all.

“They really are a tremendous and tight-knit group and we’ve improved the squad this summer.

“I’ll be disappointed if we don’t finish in the top half and my head says an eighth spot would be a fantastic first season back.”

The club’s success off the park has also been noted throughout the local scene with gates increasing four-fold.

“It’s fantastic to see the ground on a match day,” said Alan. “We have various flags and banners on show and the fans are stood in unison enjoying the game and enjoying the craic.

“They’ve been instrumental in our progress and we’re hoping to reward them soon with news on a new clubhouse.”

The club currently has a planning application submitted to North Tyneside Council for a new clubhouse on ground adjacent to the stadium, sited on the old Ralph Gardner School playing fields.

The club are offering discounted admission to the Crook game with the 3-2-1 voucher printed in the News Guardian. They are also continuing their policy of letting all children accompanied by an adult into the games free of charge.