The FA confirmed that the third to sixth tiers of non-league would have their seasons declared null and void, meaning Shields will not be able to secure their destined promotion
Runaway Northern Premier League leaders South Shields are threatening legal action after their season was ruled null and void.
The Mariners looked certain to win promotion into football’s sixth tier after opening up a 12 point lead over closest rivals FC United of Manchester who they beat 5-3 in front of a crowd of 3,274 before the league was halted a fortnight ago.
The club had invested thousands of pounds into a promotion push this season only for their hopes to be shattered by circumstances beyond their control.
Chairman Geoff Thompson has vowed to appeal and, if necessary, go to court.
“South Shields will be writing to the FA in the strongest possible terms and will seek an appeal or will take legal action,” he said.
“Whatever the outcome following this appalling decision, the club will continue as before.”
South Tyneside-based Shields were once members of the Football League and in 1921 actually led Division Two ahead of such established names as Leicester, Leeds and Nottingham Forest.
They were eventually replaced by neighbours Gateshead but today’s directors have aspirations to regain their place.
“There is no denying this decision has a huge financial impact,” added Thompson.
“We have invested heavily this year in a host of areas and the loss of promotion will also affect some of our revenue assumptions for next season.
“My message to all South Shields fans and sponsors is ‘Sorry. It is a huge disappointment and we’ve all been badly let down.”
Fans took to social media to echo their chairman’s anger.
“Absolutely gutted,” said one. “Being stuck in this division for another season doesn’t excite me at all.”
Another tweeted: “Disgrace. It’s an absolute joke. All that hard work now for nothing.”