‘Doing our best to bring the Vase to Shields’

Graham Fenton, manager at North Shields FC. Picture by Ian Warde.
Graham Fenton, manager at North Shields FC. Picture by Ian Warde.

Ahead of their trip to Wembley, North Shields’ management team has been reflecting on an amazing season.

Just one season after being promoted back to the Northern League Premier Division, the Robins have been challenging for the league title while making it to the FA Vase final.

Manager Graham Fenton, who has Wembley experience having been part of the Aston Villa side that beat Manchester United 3-1 in the 1994 League Cup Final, said: “We did a bit of goal-setting at the start of the season after winning promotion – the minimum we wanted was tenth in the league and perhaps a decent run in one of the cups.

“We’ve certainly surpassed that. It’s been a long rebuild for the club with a lot of blood sweat and tears and it’s great credit to those who have kept the name of North Shields going.

“I’ve never worked with a better set of players, the spirit skill and camaraderie is just brilliant. We know Glossop will be very difficult opponents and having been there before are probably slight favourites but we’ll be giving our all.”

Assistant manager and long-serving player Andy Bowman said: “I couldn’t be more proud of taking my local town team to Wembley. For it to become a reality is mind-boggling. Looking back and playing in the Wearside League there’s always fond memories – and I did relish that hat-trick against Newcastle United – but this surpasses everything.

“I’m so chuffed for everyone involved particularly those who have kept faith

On a personal note to have my wife, two children, and parents watching is something that will stay with me forever.”

The third member of the ‘team’ coach Brian Smith added: “It’s amazing how the Club has transformed since I was initially involved seven years ago with the likes of Anthony Woodhouse, Robbie Livermore and Bowsa.

“There were about 70 people turning up and look at it now. We always knew that a little bit of success would bring the crowds flooding back like the old days.

“The last two years have brought a whole community together – that’s what impresses me most. As for Wembley well there is no better place to go whether as a player manager, physio, committee man or supporter. We are all looking forward to it and doing our best to bring the Vase to Shields.”