After 10 weeks without it, proper football is finally back… sort of. Tomorrow see’s Spartans make the annual trip to North Tyneside to face a new look North Shields side, who’ve recently been relegated from the Pitching In Premier East back to the Northern League due to ground grading issues.
This summer saw longtime manager Marc Nash depart the club. In his place comes Daniel Iredale, someone I know nout about but he has a UEFA B qualification, which they don’t exactly just give away so he clearly knows a thing or two about football. Previously he’s managed Cullercoats FC.
On the player side of things, Shields have kept some of last season’s squad with former Spartan Connor Oliver remaining club captain. Also remaining are Northern League stalwarts Regan Patterson, Paul Van Zandvliet, Tom Bexton and Stephen Forster. Former Spartan and longtime Shields player Adam Forster was offered a deal by Shields in the summer, but I’ve ne idea if he’s accepted said offer.
Former Spartans under 19’s Callum Elliott, Dan Turner, Jack Walker and Tom McIntyre are also signed up with Shields ahead of the new season.
Joining Shields this summer has been former Hartlepool United hot prospect Jack Leonard, Northern League veteran Kyle Downey, TyneMet product Ben Gaffney, fomer Hebburn and Ashington man Luke Salmon as well as former Spartan Wayne Phillips… though he’s already left the club for an unknown reason.
Shields have already got one pre-season game under their belts, losing 4-2 to Blyth Town at home on Tuesday night, which admittedly sounded like a comfortable win for Town so some of the Shields lads will be looking to bounce back and try and stake a claim for a place in the team.
As for Spartans, we’ll likely see debuts for Harrison Clark and JJ Hooper at some points throughout the afternoon. As for trialists, we don’t know a great deal at the moment in all honesty, other than that former under 19 Evan Fogarty is training with the lads. Hopefully by tomorrow we’ll know a lot more about the lads we’ve got training with us.
Been told by North Shields that the bar at the ground is open for 12pm! Which is good news for those of us who are used to watching Spartans half cut. The clubhouse at the ground is small but canny enough. As for pubs nearby… I mean you’ve got the Chirton Social Club at the top of the road but that’s about it.
If you’re travelling up on public transport, 308/309 to Whitley Bay and then the Metty to Meadow Well, then a 5 min walk or so to the ground. Just watch out for the locals on your walk up, they bite.
If you’re driving up, you’ll likely find plenty of parking spaces around the ground but for the love of god make sure you lock up, and that all valuables are out of sight. The locals like shiny things.
Admission is £4 for adults, £2 for concessions and £1 for kids (ne idea what the age ranges are) and it’s cash only on the gate.
See you’s all tomorrow!