By Mark Carruthers
North Shields legend Gareth Bainbridge has confirmed he has left the Ebac Northern League Division One club.
The former Ashington striker became a firm favourite at the Daren Persson Stadium during an eight-year stay with Robins and played a key role in one of the most successful periods in the club’s history.
His first season with the Robins ended with promotion into the Northern League’s top tier as Bainbridge’s goals helped fire the club to the Division Two title with a century of points.
Under the management of Graham Fenton and assistants Brian Smith and Andy Bowman, North Shields reached the FA Vase Final in their first season back in step five of the non-league system.
Bainbridge wrote his name into club folklore as he found the net on a regular basis on their run to Wembley and then grabbed an equaliser in their 2-1 Vase Final win against Glossop North End.
Further success was to follow as the striker produced a stunning touch and finish at St James Park to help his side lift the Northumberland Senior Cup with a dramatic 4-3 win against Blyth Spartans.
Bainbridge went on to become the Robins record post-war goalscorer in 2020 as a penalty against Ryhope CW saw surpass Don Winskill’s 163 goals.
However, he will now depart and paid tribute to a whole host of key figures at the club in an emotional social media post.
Part of the post read: “This isn’t just some announcement.
“It’s a message of thanks and appreciation to all those who have shared the most amazing times with me and celebrated as hard as I have.
“You’ve also helped me through my lowest points ever.
“I leave as a Vase winner, Wembley goalscorer, St James goalscorer, league winner, Senior Cup winner, Northern League Player of the Year, Northern League top scorer, BBC Newcastle Player of the Year, 10 club awards and the club’s record goalscorer.
“I think I’ve done ok. They mean the world to me.
“I love this club and I love the town of North Shields to its core.
“It’s just full to its brim of good, genuine people.
“Thank you all.”
Bainbridge is yet to make a decision on his next move and is considering whether to resume his career elsewhere following his exit from North Shields.