By Sean Mulligan – Head of Media
North Shields secured the signing of Goalkeeper Finn Hodgson on Saturday who is excited to pull on the shirt and get started in the Northern Premier League East Division.
Hodgson was the third signing of the summer for Marc Nash who is looking to strengthen the squad with more depth.
The goalkeeper joins us from West Allotment Celtic which was always a highly anticipated fixture between the two sides in the Northern League and when asked about the games Finn said,
“North Shields was always a game that had me excited even when we would play them in friendlies when Allotment was in the second division. Knowing the history of North Shields as a big club in the area you always knew there was going to be a massive turnout for the games and these games lead to me having good games. Last season playing North Shields first and last game of the season you tell the buzz around the club from start to finish, the game at Allotment where Shields got the presented the trophy showed the level of support this club has.”
North Shields FC runs through the Hodgson blood with Finns great grandfather an avid North Shields supporter who lived right next to Appleby Park and watched all of North Shields’ games, how proud will you be wearing the North Shields badge?
“Coming into senior football there was only one club I want to play for at some point and that was North Shields and being able to do that will make me incredibly proud. I know my Great-Grandad will be looking down with a smile from cheek to cheek knowing I signed for North Shields (on his what would have been his Birthday made it even more special), as an avid North Shields fan, my dad always recalled fond memories of going to the games with his grandad notably the FA cup First Round game back in 1982 at Appleby Park, knowing that next season I’ll be wearing the North Shields badge next season will make my whole family really proud.”
You made your senior debut in football for West Allotment at just 16 after coming through the ranks of Cramlington Juniors and New Hartley Juniors – How grateful are you for West Allotment giving you the chance of your senior debut?
“The chance West Allotment took on me at 16 I am so grateful for allowing me to develop and learn my craft in senior football. From Benno, Gatey and Woody who gave me debut to Jay, Gary and Rizza in the end all management have been nothing but first class in helping me develop into the Goalkeeper I am today. I leave Allotment with many great memories and leave some great friends as well, I’ll sure be along to support the lads in there 2nd season back in Northern League Division 1 no doubt they’ll smash it.”
North Shields are known for having the perfect blend of talented youngsters and equally talented experiences players, how do you see yourself fitting into the squad?
“Going into my 6th season in senior football at 21 I am unsure which category I fit in…But ultimately I do feel that my experience for my age will help me fit into the squad well having experienced of different ups and downs with West Allotment. Knowing a few of the lads will help me fit into the squad, but the welcome I have had already I have no doubt that I will fit right in as the lads are a great group of lads.”
Being a goalkeeper it is often a position with lots of pressure as some days you might need to make one save and others you are called into non stop action, what would you say are your biggest strengths as a goalkeeper and as a teammate?
“As a Goalkeeper I would I try to model myself as a modern day goalkeeper. I like to play with a high line allowing me sweep behind, I am comfortable with the ball at my feet. But always would pride myself on my shot-stopping. As a teammate my best qualities is my reliability as I will always give 100% no matter the situation.”
Looking to this coming 2022-23 season, North Shields enter the Pitching In Northern Premier League 1st Division for the first time in 52 years what are your ambitions for the team?
” Next year I believe Shields should look to continue to use the momentum around the club and look to finish as high up the table as possible, obviously the standard will increase. But the squad we have I have no doubt we can finish right up there. It would also be great to go on a bit of a run in the cups as they are always memories that I look back fondly on. Looking from afar last season the following in FA Vase run was exceptional so something like that would be fantastic to give the fans something to shout about.”
As an individual, do you have any personal targets you have for the upcoming season?
” This year I will look to settle into the squad as quickly as possible building good relationships with the defence. I would also like to continue the excellent defensive record North Shields had last year and with the defence mostly unchanged I don’t see why we can’t do this. Finally I would love the build a good relationship with the fans as coming from a family of North Shields fans I want to make the Shields fans as proud of me as I will be of wearing the shirt.”
Finally, you are Chairman for the day, you get to create your very own football team. You have overall say in everything that happens. What would be your Starting XI, Formation, Manager, Stadium?
Starting XI: GK- Manuel Neuer, RWB- Gee Baltazar, CB- Michael Scott, CB- Virgil Van Dijk, CB- Joe Shepherd, LWB- Robbie Christie, CM- Gilberto Chapim, CM- Jordan Henderson, AM- Mikel Thompson, ST- Matty Hayton, ST- Ross Stewart,
Substitutes: Callum Larmouth, Paul Van-Zandvliet, Jermaine Defoe
Manager: Michael Cairns
Stadium: The Morgue (Obviously)