North Shields FC
North Shields Football Club is a football club based in North Shields, Tyne and Wear, England. They have reached the 1st round of the FA Cup twice in their history: in 1933–34 and 1982–83. Following their promotion from Northern League Division Two, they currently compete in Northern League Division One. They also won the FA Amateur Cup at Wembley in 1969, beating Sutton United. In the 2014–15 season, North Shields repeated their 1969 success by defeating Glossop North End at Wembley in the final of the FA Vase.
North Shields Athletic 1896–1915
The club was formed in 1896 as North Shields Athletic playing initially in the South Shields and District League. They subsequently became members of the Northern Combination and were runners-up of this league in the 1900–01 season. The club moved to the Appleby Park ground at Hawkey's Lane, North Shields around 1900.
After eight seasons as a Northern Combination club, in 1904 North Shields Athletic joined the Northern Alliance. They soon were successful, winning the league for two successive seasons in 1906–07 and 1907–08. Following this the team were admitted to the North Eastern League and North Shields Athletic remained members until 1914–15 when competition was suspended owing to the First World War. At least two players, Alan Grenyer and Harry Chambers went on to play for the full England team after starting their careers with North Shields Athletic.
Preston Colliery 1919–1928
After the First World War the club emerged as Preston Colliery and upon resumption of football played the 1919–20 season in the Tyneside League. The following season they competed in the Northern Alliance and from 1921 they were re-admitted to the North Eastern League. Success proved elusive for the Preston Colliery team and after a next to bottom finish to the 1927–28 campaign they were relegated to Division 2 (which had been formed a few seasons earlier by absorbing the clubs' previous league, the Northern Alliance).
North Shields 1928–1992
The club became North Shields F.C. at the start of the 1928–29 season and were immediately divisional champions and promoted back to Division 1 of the North Eastern League where they remained playing (except for a seven-year suspension of the league caused by the Second World War) until 1958.
North Shields achieved their best to date performance in the FA Cup in reaching the second round proper in 1933–34 (this feat was not equalled for forty-nine years). In the first round Shields defeated Midland League Scarborough 3–0 at Appleby Park. They were drawn away in the next round to local rivals Football League Third Division North club Gateshead who won the tie, 1–0.
A few years prior to the war-time cessation, in 1936 the club saw their record attendance at Appleby Park of 12,800 in a local derby match against South Shields. In 1944–45 following the post war resumption of the league Shields won the league cup. Shortly afterwards in 1949–50 the team won the North Eastern League championship, achieved a second-placed finish in 1951–52 and took the League Cup winners crown again five years later. That season, 1956–57, was to be temporarily their penultimate as members of the North Eastern League as that league disbanded after the 1957–58 campaign.
The disbandment was caused by the withdrawal of Football League clubs' reserve teams - a fate that also befell the Midland League. The remaining teams from both leagues combined into a single Midland League. North Shields were runners-up of this grouping in 1959–60 (by three points to Peterborough United who were elected to the Football League for the following season).
This league arrangement was short-lived and from 1960 the north-eastern teams organised themselves into a ten-team Northern Counties League. North Shields were champions of this league in its inaugural 1960–61 season. The league was renamed the North Eastern League in 1962 but only survived a further two seasons.
Upon the folding of that league, North Shields joined the Northern League from the 1964–65 campaign and shortly thereafter achieved success. A year after joining they were runners-up and three years later with former Scotland defender Frank Brennan as manager North Shields recorded a unique quadruple in 1968–69 of league winners, league cup winners, FA Amateur Cup winners and joint winners of the Anglo Italian Amateur Cup (after an aggregate draw over two legs against Italian Amateur cup winners Almas).
The FA Amateur Cup was the highest ranked nationwide cup competition for amateur clubs and in the 1968–69 final North Shields beat Isthmian League club Sutton United in front of 47,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium. Shields were a goal down after only four minutes but won 2–1 with second half strikes from Richie Hall and Brian Joicey, both laid on by substitute Tommy Orrick a local shipyard worker.
North Shields continued in the Northern League until 1989, winning the league cup in 1971–72 and were league runners-up in 1983–84. "The Robins" achieved their best post-war FA Cup performance in 1982 progressing for the second time in their history to the second round proper. They won 1-0 at fourth division League club Halifax Town in the first round, Bede McCaffrey scoring the all important goal. It was Shields first (and only to date) FA Cup victory over a Football League club. Third division league club Walsall were the visitors to Appleby Park in the second round and left with a 3–0 victory.
During the late 1970s the whole structure of Non-League football was changing. North Shields had been an amateur club however in 1974 the Football Association had abolished the distinction between amateur and professional players. 1979 saw the creation of the Alliance Premier League at the head of a national pyramid structure with, from 1987, automatic promotion to the Football League. The Northern League remained outside of the pyramid structure and gradually lost its status to the Northern Premier League which was a direct feeder league to the Alliance. Indeed, the Northern Counties East League which was founded in 1982 to be part of the pyramid structure (and a feeder to the Northern Premier League) was becoming an alternative rival to the independent Northern League.
North Shields stepped into the integrated leagues in 1989 joining the Premier Division of the Northern Counties East League. Shields immediately made their mark with runners-up position in 1989-90 and again in 1990–91. These achievements were surpassed over the 1991–92 season with the winning of the Northern Counties East League championship and cup double. Under the managership of Colin Richardson the Robins claimed the number one spot (finishing 24 points clear over runners up Sutton Town) and the prize of promotion up the non-league pyramid to the second tier of the Northern Premier League.
But behind the scenes all was not well, with Director Chris Wynne claiming repayment of £98,000 debt. The club under financial administration set about selling its Appleby Park ground to settle the debt and fund a ground-sharing arrangement with Whitley Bay. However, insufficient funds were realised for the latter and with no ground on which to play Shields' membership of the Northern Premier League was terminated. It looked like the end of North Shields FC until a new company North Shields (1992) Ltd was formed with local councillors, business leaders and a couple members of Geordie folk rock band Lindisfarne supporting it.
North Shields FC 1992–
(North Shields Athletic 1995–1999)
Despite it being a couple of weeks after the start of competition North Shields were accepted into the Division 2 of the Wearside League - a drop of 5 levels down the football pyramid. Former player Dave Callaghan became the manager and put a new team together.
The clubs stay at this level was short-lived, earning promotion - as 1992–93 division 2 runners-up - to division 1 of the Wearside league. Initially the club played at their Appleby Park ground but after a few months relocated to St John's Green, Percy Main and thence for a couple of years from 1993–94 on to Swallow Sports Ground, Wallsend. Thereafter the club relocated back to North Shields to the Ralph Gardner Park which has since been developed into a 1,500 capacity stadium.
For four years in the late nineties (1995 to 1999) the club adopted the name of their forerunners, North Shields Athletic and under this name were Wearside League champions in 1998–99. The club name reverted to North Shields FC in 1999 and success continued with Wearside League runners-up and two league championships in the four seasons to 2003–04.
Following these successes the club rejoined, after a 15-year absence, the Northern League at division 2 level. The Team endured a run of lower table finishes until Anthony Woodhouse arrived as player-manager in 2009 from local rivals Whitley Bay. In his second full season the club finished 4th. After a series of top eight finishes he was replaced in April 2012 by former Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa player Graham Fenton.
Two years later in 2014 North Shields F.C. clinched promotion to the Northern League First Division by winning the Northern League Second Division Championship - clinching the title with a 3–1 win at rivals South Shields. A then record attendance at their current ground of 1,312 was established at the Good Friday game in their final home game of the season against West Allotment Celtic - who were also promoted that season. Shields received the trophy after a 3–0 win.
Shields scored 141 goals, with a goal difference of +108 and 100 points. Gareth Bainbridge was the leading scorer with 55 goals, 47 of these in the league, a total greater than any other Northern League player. He was rewarded with the Northern League Player of the Year Award for 2013–14.
Success on a national level followed the next season when "the Robins" won the 2014–15 FA Vase beating champions of the North West Counties League, Glossop North End. The final took place at Wembley Stadium and similar to the North Shields Amateur Cup triumph 46 years previously they came from a goal down to win 2-1 (after extra time) with Gareth Bainbridge and Adam Forster scoring. Along the way, a new attendance record of 1,500 was established at the Shields' Ralph Gardner Park stadium at the semi-final second leg match against Highworth Town in which the Shields triumphed 2–0. They also finished 4th in the Northern League First Division and only five points behind champions Marske United.
Success on a regional level followed the next season when "the Robins" won the Northumberland Senior Cup beating Northern Premier League Premier Division, Blyth Spartans AFC. Northumberland Senior Cup final took place at St James Park. There was a lot of build up to the game with favorites and holders Blyth Spartans who play in a higher league than North Shields looking to grab some silverware after missing out on promotion this season. The game ended 4-3 to North Shields adding another piece of silverware to their impressive collection. Goals came from Gary Ormston, 2 impressive goals from Gareth Bainbridge and with the scores at 3-3, Ryan Carr came up with the goods with a thunderbolt into the top corner sparking pandemonium on and off the field. The Robins comfortably wound down the remaining seconds, and Kevin Hughes lifted the cup for the thirteenth time in the club’s history. The game attracted a crowd of 2321 with a healthy contingent from North Shields. They also finished 5th in the Northern League First Division and 24 points behind champions Shildon AFC. Also only 5 points from 3rd place with Morpeth Town AFC and Guisborough Town being level on 77 points.
On Monday 5 September 2016 manager Graham Fenton left the club in order to pursue a role as joint manager at South Shields FC alongside Lee Picton. North Shields FC appointed former West Allotment Celtic FC manager Jon McDonald. Former assistant manager Andy Bowman left the club with immediate effect with coach Brian Smith stepping up as assistant manager. The club brought in former South Shields FC coach Mark Scott.
After losing 5-0 to rivals South Shields FC on Saturday 6 May 2017. Jon McDonald was sacked from his position of manager of North Shields FC. Assistant manager Mark Scott and goalkeeper coach Dale Walker also departed the club with immediate effect. . North Shields have announced that Brian Smith will take over from Jon. Current player Gary Ormston will step up to be assistant manager.
After a mixed start to the 2017/18 Season Manager Brian Smith resigned from his managerial duties on 19th February. The club acted fast and appointed a new coaching team of Manager, Marc Nash, Assistant Manager, Anthony Woodhouse and Coach Chris Moore. It was decided that Wilf Keilty, Andy Gowans & Bob Scott would leave the club with immediate affect with the new coaching team put in place on the 20th February.
Reforming of the club
The twists and turns of North Shields’ traumatic history continued right up to the start of the new 1992/93 season and beyond.
The mishandling of the club over the previous couple of years has been well documented, and culminated in the appointment of an administrator by club director Chris Wynne, who was claiming repayment of a debt of some £98,000. The administrator moved in with the brief of resolving the creditors’ situation, and endeavoring to ensure the continuance of football in North Shields. Wynne’s co-director Vic Halom was removed from his post as general manager of the club and hopes were high that the Robins would soon be put on an even keel.
Certainly the players carried out their part to the full, guided superbly by Colin Richardson, surely one of the finest managers in Northern non-League circles. North Shields gained promotion to the HFS Loans league by storming to the Northern Counties East League Premier Division title, finishing 24 points clear of runners-up Sutton Town. Along the way Shields also collected the League Challenge Cup (beating Armthorpe Welfare FC 5–0 in the final), and the Presidents Cup, whilst additionally reaching the final of the Northumberland Senior Cup.
It became clear that North Shield’s ground, Appleby Park (pictured right), would have to be sold to repay creditors, and the administrators negotiated a ground-sharing agreement with Whitley Bay, which met with the approval of HFS Loans League officials.
The future of North Shields looked bright, as manager Colin Richardson prepared his squad for the challenge of their higher status, winning their first three pre-season friendlies, including a 4–1 demolition of a strong Sunderland AFC side which included several of their FA Cup final line-up.
Suddenly, players and officials were hit by the news that a sudden reduction in the valuation of the Appleby Park site meant that insufficient cash would be released to repay creditors in full, and as a result, the administrators were unable to make the agreed ground-share payment of £35,000 to Whitley Bay. Furthermore, it looked inevitable that North Shields Association Football Club Limited would go into liquidation. A group of interested people attempted to re-negotiate the ground share terms with Whitley Bay without success. With no ground on which to play, North Shields membership of the HFS Loans League was terminated a little over a week before the season got underway, with the Robins scheduled to journey to Workington FC.
It certainly seemed so, with the administrator releasing the playing squad from their contracts. Many of them were very quickly snapped up by other clubs. Former boss Colin Richardson, who had taken over as manager at HFS Loans League First Division club Bridlington Town FC, acquired Ian Mckenzie, Dave Woodcock, Ged Parkinson, Graeme Jones and Justin Robson with Neil Howie becoming the latest to join after having brief spells with Gateshead FC and Blyth Spartans AFC. Steve Pyle joined Blyth Spartans AFC after originally signing for Gateshead FC, Gary Nicholson and Barrie Wardrobe joined Guiseley and Dunston Federation signed Martin Hamilton and Graham Mole.
The end it might have seemed, but a small group of people would not accept that situation and swiftly formed a new company, North Shields FC (1992) Limited, in order to save North Shields. It seemed a tall order, but a new, strong board was assembled. The new chairman was to be Richard Slade, president of the North Shields Chamber of Trade & Commerce. Two members of the Geordie rock band Lindisfarne joined the board, Alan Hull and drummer Ray Laidlaw, who became Press Officer, whilst two North Tyneside Councillors, Frank Lott and David Corkey were ‘signed up’, and at the time the board of the new company was twelve strong.
An approach was made to the Vaux Wearside League, seeking immediate admission to their Second Division, and on Tuesday 1 September, a couple of weeks after the campaign had got underway, North Shields were elected on a majority vote. The club had been given the go-ahead to play at Appleby Park for the time being, whilst the new ground was developed and the first match in the VAUX Wearside League was on Saturday, 19 September. The new manager was Dave Callaghan, a stalwart of North Shields team for the past two years, who was assisted by his twin brother Tommy.
The club were determined that before long the name of North Shields would once again be to the forefront of North East-non league football.
The current North Shields first team squad consist of the following players:
Current backroom staff
As of 20th February 2018
! style="background:#FFF5F5; color:red;" scope="col"; |Name
! style="background:#FFF5F5; color:red;" scope="col"; |Role
| Marc Nash
| Anthony Woodhouse
| Chris Moore
|1st team Coach
| Michael Leigh
North Shields Athletic moved to Appleby Park in 1900 and developed the stadium on Hawkey's Lane into one of the finest non league stadiums in the country. The 1969 Amateur Cup Final Programme notes that "Appleby Park is one of the finest grounds in amateur soccer with accommodation for 15,000, dressing-rooms of Football League standard, and a thriving social club." The ground record attendance was 12,800 watching the local derby with South Shields in 1936. The ground was one of the finest non-league stadiums in the country and disputedly the fourth best in the North East after St James', Roker and Ayresome Park.
The stadium was blighted with subsidence problems having been built on the site of a former colliery and it wasn't uncommon for holes to appear in the pitch, one of which developed during the course of a game and resulted in a home player ending up waist high in a hole!
North Shields played at Appleby Park until 1992 after the club encountered financial difficulties and subsidence at the ground forced the club into selling the land. The stadium was eventually sold to developers and by 1993 the stadium was replaced by new housing. The site is now replaced with a street named after the old stadium, Appleby Park.
St John's Green, Percy Main
The 1992–93 programme records this as being the home ground of the club. This is the current ground of Percy Main FC.
Swallow Sports Ground, Wallsend
The 1993–94 programme records this as being the home ground of the club. The ground was on Kings Road in Wallsend.
Ralph Gardner Park:
After 2 years of playing at various grounds around the Wallsend area the club finally reached an agreement with North Tyneside Council and a new ground known as "Ralph Gardner Park" was built in the Chirton area of North Shields. 2010–11 saw the commencement of a sponsorship deal with local funeral director Daren Persson which has seen the stadium carry his name. The stadium is affectionately known as "The Morgue" to the North Shields "Ultras" supporters. Attendances at "RGP" has been known to pass the 300 mark on occasions.
The ground has covered seating and standing areas. The record attendance for the stadium is 1,500 (the maximum permitted due to health and safety regulations), recorded during the FA Vase semi-final second leg victory against Highworth Town FC on 28 March 2015.
North Shields Football Club and its supporters have been granted an early Christmas present as formal confirmation that a new club house will be built at their Daren Persson Stadium. Building work is set to commence within a matter of weeks as news of a £100,000 Football Foundation Grant and planning approval by North Tyneside Council were received.
The club house is to be built on land adjacent to their stadium on the corner of Silkey’s Lane and West Percy Road servicing their facilities built on the site of the old Ralph Gardner School playing fields.