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George McLaughlin steps down as kitman

George McLaughlin has decided to step down as South Shields kitman for health reasons.

But supporters need not fear – he is not planning to stop being a regular face at games any time soon!

George, 70, joined the club initially to offer first-aid support in 2014, while the club’s physiotherapist Andrew Morris took a break for work reasons.

He went on to become a hugely popular figure among players, staff and supporters alike, providing a genial presence at matches and a friendly face which is now synonymous with the club.

George suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, a condition which has prompted him to step back from his kitman duties.

However, he still intends to attend every match at 1st Cloud Arena as a key part of the club’s mascot experience team.

George said: “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, and I’m still enjoying it now. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done and I wish I had done it years and years ago.

“I’ve made friends with so many people here. Football has been my life for as long as I can remember, and South Shields is in my blood now.

“Now is the right time to step back from my kitman duties, but I still love the role I have now and certainly have no intention of walking away from that any time soon.

“I’m part of a big family at South Shields – you don’t get rid of me that easily!”

George cites the Wembley weekend of 2017 and Warren Byrne’s remarkable goal at Tow Law Town a year earlier as two of his favourite memories as kitman – even if the former resulted in a serious knee injury after he famously slipped on the Wembley steps!

No victory over the last nine years has been complete without George’s iconic fist pumps – an action he may now continue on the sidelines rather than the pitch.

Thank you for all your efforts as kitman, George, and for your continued enthusiasm for all things SSFC.

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Aug 31, 2023

Big presence at the games and always smiling. Take it easy George

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