Managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton told of their pride after adding a FIFTH trophy in two years to their collection as South Shields won the Evo-Stik North Division title last night.
The Mariners’ 4-0 victory at Radcliffe was enough to secure the club’s third successive league championship.
It was a second in as many years under the partnership of Picton and Fenton, who also won three further cups last season.
Picton paid tribute to all involved at the club after last night’s win. He said: “We’re immensely proud. It’s a culmination of so much work from everyone behind the scenes, from the cleaners to Gary Crutwell and the ground staff, through to the dressing room, all the committee, myself and Graham.
“To be able to win the title in style is a fantastic feeling, and a reward for all the hard work put in by everyone at the club.”
After a tough season, Fenton believes it was ultimately the quality of the players which won Shields the title.
He said: “Our quality has ultimately got us over the line. We’ve talked about mental strength and physical capacity recently, and I think our lads have been really mentally tough.
“When we’ve had to dig in, we’ve done it well. When we’ve had the chance to play, we’ve played some magnificent stuff.
“We’ve scored lots of goals and not conceded too many. The lads deserve a massive ‘well done’ this season.”
Shields are on 97 points, and with two games to go, starting with a home match against Kendal Town tomorrow, their sights are set on reaching 100.
Picton added: “The target has always been 100 points. We set that a long time ago, almost at the beginning of the season. We’re within touching distance of that now.”
“I think we deserve to finish on 100-plus points, and that’s certainly the aim going into the final two games of the season.
“To be able to celebrate winning the title in front of our own fans for the final two games of the season will be really special for us.”
Shields, whose marksmen against Radcliffe were Gavin Cogdon, Michael Richardson and two-goal sub Graeme Armstrong, host Colne on Saturday.