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Getting to know Saturday opponents South Shields

5 November 2020

This Saturday Cheltenham Town and South Shields meet for the first time in the FA Cup first round.

Though the match is being played behind closed doors it will be a historic first meeting for both clubs as fourth tier Cheltenham face up to a South Shields outfit currently competing in the seventh tier of the English football pyramid.

Ahead of Saturday's meeting we've pulled together a background look at this weekend's opposition who will be dreaming of an FA Cup Football League scalp to add to their ever growing list of recent achievements.

Their history

Formed in 1974, South Shields are now playing at the highest level in their history having worked their way through the levels. Before the current club was formed there had been two previous clubs: Gateshead AFC and Gateshead United, who dissolved before the South Shields that remains today.

They started off in the Wearside League before in the mid-90s breaking into the highly competitive Northern League structure.

They won promotion into Northern League One in their first season at that level during the 1995/96 campaign, though were relegated at the start of the millennium, only to make it back into the top tier of the Northern League in 2008, eventually dropping a league again however in 2013.

From that point onwards though it's been an upward trajectory. In 2016 they were Northern League Division Two champions and they repeated the same success the following season, winning the Northern League ahead of Morpeth Town and North Shields to earn promotion to the Northern Premier League Division One North for the first time.

They made it a hat-trick of promotions when they won the Northern Premier League Division One North title at the first time of asking to make it into the Northern Premier where they've remained since the 2018/19 campaign.

In 2017 they won the FA Vase at Wembley, defeating Cleethorpes Town 4-0 on Non-League Finals Day live on BT Sport.

A lengthy run saw them beat Esh Winning, Runcorn Linnets, Marske United, Staveley Miners Welfare, Morpeth Town, Team Solent, Newport Pagnell Town and then Coleshill Town in the semi-finals ahead of their big day out under the arch, captained by former Sunderland and Middlesbrough favourite, Julio Arca (pictured).

This season

After nine matches in the Northern Premier League they sit 6th in the division, missing out on a play-off spot currently because of goal difference.

They head into Saturday's game on a good run of form. They're unbeaten in five in all competitions and haven't conceded a goal in any of those matches.

They've enjoyed notable league wins this season over FC United of Manchester, Gainsborough Trinity and Lancashire based Bamber Bridge.

In the FA Trophy they have made it through to the first round proper after a win over Colne last Saturday.

Last season

The influence covid-19 had in causing the abandonment of the 2019/20 season for non-league football had a major impact on South Shields.

They were expected to continue their progress in gaining another promotion up into the National League North for the first time in their history, only for the season to be abandoned when they led the Northern Premier League table by 12 points having played 33 games.

Last season also saw them reach the first round proper of the FA Trophy for the first time where after a replay they exited the competition against National League North Southport having defeated Stalybridge Celtic, AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Stourbridge previously.

Their run to this year's FA Cup first round

Since South Shields formed in 1974, this is the furthest they have got in the competition as they enter the first round proper for the first time.

To get there they won on penalties at league rivals Warrington Town in the first qualifying round and then eased past another fellow Northern Premier League side in Ashton United in the second qualifying round.

Then came the first of two cup upsets. Firstly in the third qualifying round it went to penalties again as they beat National League North outfit Southport, and then in the fourth qualifying round they overcame National League FC Halifax Town to book a first round spot.

Home ground

South Shields play at the 1st Cloud Arena which has a capacity of 3,250.

They've been based at the ground since 1992 though ownership issues did see them play elsewhere for a small period a few years ago.

It has a 3G facility adjacent to it and has also previously been called home by the Sunderland Ladies team.

And to finish...

  • Former MP and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband is in position as an Honorary President of South Shields. He also previously served as vice-chairman on the board at Sunderland
  • Jade Thirlwall, a member of the hugely popular pop group Little Mix, also serves as an Honorary President of the club
  • Argentinean midfielder Julio Arca, who spent 13 years with Middlesbrough and Sunderland spent the final part of his career with South Shields, helping them win three promotions and the FA Vase

Find out more about the players and management team that we will be facing on Saturday in our match preview here on the club website on Friday.

You can watch Saturday's game online by purchasing an iFollow match pass for £10. Subscribe online to watch the full 90 minutes online.

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