Thousands cheer on Shields’ open top bus parade

North Shields FC players and staff celebrate their open top bus parade through the town, cheered on by hundreds of fans. Picture by Ian Warde.

North Shields FC players and staff celebrate their open top bus parade through the town, cheered on by hundreds of fans. Picture by Ian Warde.

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Thousands of fans cheered on North Shields players as they celebrated their FA Vase success in the town.

Fans and residents lined the streets throughout North Shields and Tynemouth last Friday to get a glimpse of the trophy as it was paraded by the Robins staff and players on the open top bus parade.

For two hours, the bus made its way through the town, visiting nearby Tynemouth and the Fish Quay, before a private celebration.

The parade marked the end of an incredible season which Graham Fenton’s squad still have not come down to earth from.

On the 40th anniversary of the Vase, North Shields are in the record books being the first club to win it and the FA Amateur Cup.

That was 46 years ago and seven of the Frank Brennan Braves cheered on Kevin Hughes’ merry men from the Wembley stands and relished the party afterwards.

Many feared the worst at Wembley as the Robins were 1-0 down with ten minutes to go before top scorer Gareth Bainbridge popped up to head home a corner.

Then young substitute Adam Forster won it, six minutes into extra time.

Denver Morris was deservedly named Man of the Match but every one of the squad are real heroes.

Assistant boss Andy Bowman said: “Well this campaign has been truly remarkable.

“We knew from the start that we had to be at our best just to be competitive.

“That 4-4 FA Cup replay with Scarborough Athletic must rank as one of the greatest games anywhere this season, we didn’t lie down even with nine men, a theme that became common.

“At the end of the league season to be only five points off winning the title with magical 3-0 wins at Bishop Auckland and Guisborough, that great away day at Penrith and the ‘double’ over Whitley Bay, what more can you ask.

“The matches just stacked up thanks to that Vase run and Wembley has to be the icing on the cake.

“We felt that this success was not just for ourselves but for North Shields as a town which has been lifted.

“It was humbling being on the bus and watching the folk of Shields bursting with pride.

“A special mention to long serving club secretary David Thompson who is standing down from that role after 20 sterling years to become club honorary vice president.

“I don’t think Dave could have written that script, a ‘Final’ game at Wembley.”