19th April 2017

Congratulations to South Shields who have finally fulfilled what looked their likely destiny all season, which was to lift the Northern League Division 1 title. Whether their 33 match winning run is a record or not, it’s still amazingly impressive.

Whenever a team is promoted to the first division there is speculation as to whether they will be able to cut it at the highest Northern League level as, admittedly, it’s a big jump.

No-one really saw this as a problem for Shields when they came up from Division 2 last season. With with the talents of Peter Jamieson (GK), Alex Nicholson, Louis Storey, Darren Lough, Michael Richardson, Julio Arca, David Foley and Gavin Cogden in their ranks, amongst others, they are a match for any non-league side.

I think it is obvious that these players, providing they are up for the additional travel involved in playing a league higher, will be fine moving up a level. Most of them have played professionally and were close to making it at the very highest level.

I expect Shields to go close to promotion again next season in the Northern Premier First Division. The sky is the limit for them if their backers stick around. The interesting time will be when they don’t get promoted, what will the reaction be at that point.

But for now, congratulations and let the good times roll.

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