North Shields Athletic was originally formed in 1896, and played initially in the South Shields & District league. They progressed through the Northern Combination, Northern Alliance and North Eastern League and became a major force in North East Football, outside the Football League, moving to play at Hawkeys Lane around 1900. At least two players, Alan Grenyer and Harry Chambers went on to play for the full England team after starting their careers with North Shields Athletic.
Preston Colliery F.C. emerged after the Great War becoming North Shields A.F.C. in 1928, and the club won many honours over the years. They enjoyed tremendous local support with a record 12,800 watching the local derby with South Shields in 1936. Shields won the North Eastern League title and numerous cups but their moment of crowning glory came in 1969.
After joining the Northern league they won the F.A. Amateur cup by beating Sutton United in front of 47,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium. Shields were a goal down after only four minutes but won with second half strikes from Richie Hall and Brian Joicey – both laid on by Orrick, a shipyard worker from Byker.
The Club, which also won the Northern League Championship and Challenge Cup that same year, were declared joint holders of the European Amateur Cup the following season when the two teams against Italian side Almas resulted in a level aggregate score.
In 1982 “The Robins” won 1-0 at Halifax Town in the F.A. Cup 1st Round, Bede McCaffrey scoring the all important goal that year. Walsall were the visitors to Appleby Park in the next round and left with a 3-0 victory.
Having moved into the national pyramid by joining the Northern Counties East League, North Shields earned promotion to the Nothern Premier League by winning the title, but financial problems resulted in the club losing the Appleby Park Ground and then reforming to play in the VAUX Wearside League.
Since then “The Robins” have enjoyed considerable success, winning the treble of League, Shipowners Cup and Northumberland Senior Bowl in 1998/99. In 2000/01 they finished runners-up to Nissan but won the Monkwearmouth Cup and the Senior Bowl for the second time. They won the Wearside league by eight points in 2002 and the Monkwearmouth Cup again in 2003.
“The Robins” finally gained promotion back into the Northern League in 2004 and were promoted to Division 1 in 2014 under the guidance of Graham Fenton.
The club won the FA Vase Final in 2015 as the attacking and never-say-die team assembled beat Glossop North End at Wembley 2-1 after extra time after falling behind early in the second half. Bainbridge’s header evened things up and Adam Forster wrote himself into the clubs history with the winner. The team was once more the pride of the town and didn’t the supporters love it!
The following season 2015-6 Shields finished fifth in the league whilst lifting the Northumberland Senior Cup beating Blyth Spartans 4-3 in a thrilling Final at St James Park.
Gary Ormston opened the scoring followed by a Gareth Bainbridge brace with Ryan Carr notching a dramatic last minute winner. Manager Graham Fenton left the club in September 2016 to join South Shields, with Jon McDonald replacing him as manager. McDonald kept North Shields at the top until early April, losing out to South Shields in the title race. North Shields also lost the Senior Cup to Blyth and the League Cup to South Shields after which Jon McDonald left the club.
Shields moved to appoint Assistant Manager, Brian Smith as the new Manager, with Gary Ormston stepping up as Assistant and Andy Gowans joining the coaching set up alongside Wilf Keilty. Brian Smith left the club in February 2018 to be replaced by ex Whitley Bay boss Marc Nash.
Nash brought with him Anthony Woodhouse who was welcomed back to his old stamping ground as assistant.
The duo marked their debut in charge with a sensational 6-5 victory over Jarrow Roofing after the Robins were trailing 5-2 late in the game. With Steve Swinyard coming in as coach the new management team guided the club to a final 8th position as the season closed. This campaign in which Wembley skipper Kevin Hughes made his 300th appearance the side enjoyed a promising mid-season run of results which saw them put pressure on the top three.