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Meet the two clubs who last night both confirmed their third successive promotions

Last night, we saw two non league clubs promoted from their leagues for the third successive time!

Hereford FC won promotion and the Southern Football League Premier Division title and South Shields won promotion from the Northern Premier League First Division North.


Hereford were founded in 2014 as a phoenix club for Hereford United, and inherited their Edgar Street stadium.

They won 4–1 against Dunkirk in their first league match on 8 August, in front of a crowd of 4,062; this broke the league record attendance of 1,280, and was higher than four attendances that day in Football League One.

Their Midland Football League campaign had started shaky, but they managed to put together a long winning run, which eventually came to an end after 27 wins in a row, in a 1–1 draw at home to Alvechurch on 23 January 2016, and the unbeaten run of 34 games came to an end on 23 February, following a 2–0 loss at home to Highgate United.

Hereford broke their attendance record again in the FA Vase semi-final first leg against Salisbury on 12 March. Hereford won 1–0 in front of a record crowd of 4,683.

On 25 April, Hereford clinched the league title following a 4–0 away win at Coventry Sphinx and were subsequently promoted to the Southern League South and West division.

On 22 May, Hereford lost 4–1 in the FA Vase Final to Morpeth Town at Wembley Stadium.

The season would see the club make their first appearance in both the FA Cup and the FA Trophy. The club went out of the FA Cup at the third qualifying round at Tonbridge Angels and exited the FA Trophy in the preliminary round at Salisbury.

Went on to win promotion to the Southern League Premier.

So what has happened this season?

Hereford notably had runs in the FA Cup and FA Trophy. In the FA Cup, Hereford after beating Godalming Town, Kempston Rovers, Hornchurch and Eastleigh, Hereford were into the first round for the first time in their history. In the first round, they beat AFC Telford United which put them in the second round where they were drawn against Fleetwood Town. Hereford a replay which was televised on BT Sport and got an attendance of 4, 235 which Hereford ended up losing. Fleetwood then went on to play Leicester City in the 3rd round.

In the FA Trophy, Hereford beat Weymouth, Potters Bar Town and Oxford City to make the first round. Hereford beat National League side Dagenham & Redbridge to set up a tie against Wealdstone, where that journey ended.

Hereford’s away unbeaten run in the league came to an end in January 2018 after defeat to Kings Lynn. This unbeaten run stretched back to August 2015.

Promotion to what looks to be the National League was confirmed on the 17th April 2018.

Here is their record since 2015/16:


1st, Midland League Premier Division (2015/16)
1st, Southern League Division One South & West (2016/17)
1st, Southern League Premier Division (2017/18)


The club really started gaining quite an interest from the 2015/16 season when Geoff Thompson took over as chairman of the club and subsequently bought Filtrona Park, which was renamed Mariners Park. Mr Thompson spoke of his aims at the club as the Mariners look set to embark on a new era, with National League football one of the goals earmarked. Among their current players is the former Sunderland and Middlesbrough midfielder Julio Arca.

Arca and former Hartlepool United forward David Foley formed part of a Shields team which went on to win the 2015–16 Northern League Division Two title, in doing so securing promotion to Division One.

In October 2016, South Shields appointed former Sunderland defender Martin Scott as assistant manager.

In the 2016–17 season South Shields went on a 32 game winning run and after being 17 points from top due to fixture congestion, became champions of the Northern League.

They beat Coleshill Town 1–2 in the away leg of their FA Vase semi-final tie and beat them 4–0 in the second leg advancing to the final at Wembley.

On 21 May 2017 South Shields FC then went on to complete an historic ‘quadruple’ after beating Cleethorpes Town 4–0 in the FA Vase Final on Non-League Finals Day at Wembley. The South Shields captain, Julio Arca, praised their ’12th man’ after their 4–0 victory in the 2017 FA Vase Final.

The 2017–18 season brought more success in the form of a club record run in the FA Cup, after a Preliminary Round 3–1 win over Bridlington Town in front of the BBC cameras and a 2–0 victory at Witton Albion, South Shields then inflicted two of the biggest cup shocks of the season so far, firstly going to Darlington and grabbing a 3–0 win and then in the 3rd qualifying round, a 90th minute Gavin Cogdon winner in a pulsating 3–2 win over York City. Their cup run ended in the 4th Qualifying Round with defeat to Hartlepool United in front of another sellout crowd.

On the same day at Hereford won their third successive title, South Shields won promotion from Northern Premier League Division One North.

Back in 2013/14, the club were getting crowds an average of 69, this season they’re getting 1,526, with help due to the club’s rise and the fall of neighbours Sunderland.

Here is their record since 2015/16:


1st, Northern Football League Division Two (2015/16)
1st, Northern Football League Division One (2016/17)
Currently 1st, Northern Premier League Division One North (2017/18)


Take a look at the reaction from fans about last night’s achievements and celebratory scenes on the next page.

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