Joint managers Lee Picton and Graham Fenton have committed their long-term futures to South Shields by signing new five-year contracts.
The deals will keep the management duo at Mariners Park until the summer of 2023 as they continue to oversee the club’s first-team and 16-19 Academy programme. Picton and Fenton took over the running of the first-team in September 2016, and have since gone on to achieve remarkable success.
Two league titles, two promotions and three further cup wins have been secured, while numerous club records have been broken. Supporters can now look forward to the successful partnership continuing in the years ahead.
Picton said: “We’re delighted that (Chairman) Geoff Thompson, (Managing Director) Keith Finnigan and the club as a whole are willing to show this level of commitment in us. To get the opportunity to build over quite a long period of time with the solid foundations the club has put together over the last three years or so, is an unbelievable opportunity for us and one that we’re absolutely relishing over the next few years.
“There is expectation and pressure at the club, like a lot of clubs, but it’s a good expectation and good pressure. We’d like to think we thrive under that pressure and it keeps us – and everyone – on our toes.
“Each and every day, you recognise how lucky you are to be doing something that you absolutely love doing, and be part of a club that really is going places. I don’t wake up every morning feeling like I’ve got a heavy burden on my shoulders.
“It’s more an excitement to get up and really go at it that day, and try to take small steps forward to help us achieve our longer-term goals.”
Fenton said: “These new contracts are a big commitment from both ourselves and the club. We’re delighted that Geoff and Keith have offered us that length of contract, because it shows huge faith in us.
“We want to be a part of the trajectory the club is going on, which is positive at both first-team and Academy level. We’ve put a lot of work into the first-team and the Academy, and we’re hoping that both sides of the club continue to progress and get better.
“The five-year contract is huge for us to be able to put in the time, effort and commitment to see it through. We don’t know how long it’s going to take us to get to where we need to get to, but we’ll certainly be giving it our best shot over the next five years to progress the club forward.”
Managing Director Keith Finnigan said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have managed to secure Lee and Graham’s services for the next five years, and it is due reward for them. Since I joined the club last year they have been a joy to work with as they show enormous passion and commitment to everything they do and encounter.
“They have brought the club unheralded success on the pitch with the first team, as well as creating an Academy to develop our talent for the future, and off the pitch their experience and insight is invaluable to us all. I think they, and all involved with the club, are proud of what they have achieved so far, and we want them to continue that journey with us to share the culmination of what they are building with us.
“I don’t believe there is a better management team in non-league football at the present time, and we are proud that they are with us for the longer term.”