South Shields confirm appointment of much loved ex-Sunderland and Middlesbrough player


South Shields confirm the appointment of ex-Sunderland and Middlesbrough player Julio Arca in what will be his first role in management.

The 42 year old, a former Argentine professional footballer who played at left-back and central midfielder, comes in to replace Kevin Phillips.

Arca played the majority of his professional career in the North East of England.

He first played for Sunderland between 2000 and 2006, then moved to Middlesbrough, a spell which started in 2006 and ended in 2013.

After his release from Middlesbrough he retired from professional soccer and played Sunday League football with Willow Pond during the 2014-15 season. Later, he signed with South Shields and returned to Sunderland to work as a youth coach.

He was a player who played with an attacking mindset with key attributes including good passing both long and short, and he worked hard.

Arca was a popular figure with fans at Sunderland, Middlesbrough, and South Shields right up until the end of his playing days.


South Shields FC is delighted to announce the appointment of Julio Arca as first-team manager.

Arca returns to 1st Cloud Arena five years after ending his hugely successful playing career by captaining the Mariners to the Northern Premier League North Division title.

That was one of three promotions secured in three seasons while Arca patrolled Shields’ midfield.

He also skippered the team to FA Vase glory at Wembley as the Mariners won a historic quadruple of trophies in 2016-17.

The Argentinean is now set for his first spell in management as he rejoins a club he represented with distinction between 2015 and 2018.

Arca said: “It’s great to be back at the club after so many years.

“I firmly believe this is the right time for me to come back for a different challenge, and I’m very excited about it.

“The club has grown so fast, and this is a fantastic opportunity for me to become a manager for the first time, especially with the platform we have here.

“There is a lot of work to do between now and the start of pre-season but I’m very hungry to get started and help the club continue to progress.

“I like to compete. I’m not a person who is happy to sit in mid-table, and that’s why we need to get the right things done at the beginning.

“I will do the best I can to put South Shields in a great position next season.”

Prior to his time with Shields, Arca established himself as a favourite with Sunderland and Middlesbrough in the Premier League.

He started his career in his native Argentina with Argentinos Juniors and won the Under-20 World Cup with his national side.

After retiring from professional football in 2013, Arca took his coaching badges and was part of the Academy coaching set-up at Sunderland.

He has been coaching for the last decade, but made a surprising return to the pitch in 2015 when he was coaxed out of retirement by then-Shields manager Jon King.

What followed was a glittering, talismanic three-year spell which featured six trophies, three promotions, 120 appearances and countless memories.

South Shields chairman Geoff Thompson said: “We are thrilled to welcome Julio back to the club and to provide him with his first opportunity as a manager.

“He was one of the main catalysts behind the growth of the club between 2015 and 2018, both on and off the pitch, and I’m very confident that many of the qualities he demonstrated in that time will translate excellently to his new role.

“It’s a hugely exciting time for the club and with Julio now installed, we are ready to finalise our plans for the season ahead in National League North.

“I’m sure our fans will be just as delighted as we are to welcome such an important figure in the history of our club back to 1st Cloud Arena.”

Further announcements regarding the make-up of Arca’s coaching staff will be made in the coming days.

His Honours

Football League Championship: 2004–05

South Shields
Northern League First Division: 2016–17
Northern League Second Division: 2015–16
Northern League Cup: 2016–17
FA Vase: 2016–17

FIFA U-20 World Cup: 2001

PFA Championship Team of the Year: 2003–04, 2004–05
Middlesbrough Supporters’ Player of the Year: 2010–11
Middlesbrough Players’ Player of the Year: 2010–11
Middlesbrough Player of the Year: 2010
Sunderland Young Player of the Year: 2000–01
North East Football Award – Football League Footballer of the Year: 2003–04
Sunderland Solid Gold XI

This is what fans said as South Shields confirm the appointment of the much loved ex-Sunderland and Middlesbrough player…

@SLorro_: Great player, great guy but first managerial position so a bit of a gamble. Hope a great manager!

@andrewritson: Good luck Julio and South Shields next season I hope to get to a few games if free.


@DailyDose0fDan: Good luck Julio, hope you do well for them.

@1879RednWhiter: Always believe in your soul! Good luck Julio 👍

@OrwiteTreacle: ❤️ I love this a lot

@Mustaardinho: Hope it works it, massive gamble that tho

@__BethMoody: probably couldn’t have done better in my opinion, couldn’t fault him when he played for us. heart and souls in the club

@onesamaaron: This won’t last long. No prior management experience, no knowledge of the league. It’ll all end in tears

@past_sunderland: Julio is a proper footballing man. Done Shields a good service here by filling in the gap left by a somewhat disappointing departure from Phillips. Seen a handful of suggestions its down to Phillips’ ego and aspirations to manage higher. However you don’t bite the hand that feeds you. He was given a good chance by Shields in management when they didn’t need to risk it with him.

@durhamchris1983: Be interesting to see how that goes

@ElliottSAFC: Not many former Argentinian u20 youth World Cup winners managing at this level. Hopefully he can be as much as a success on the side as he was on the pitch. Best of Luck Julio-o-o always believe.

@Leigh_Brettwood: Congrats mate @julioarcaOK go smash it 👏🏻

@CTH86: Nothing against Julio, but I’d have liked someone with some experience of the division. I hope a good team is built around him

@BigBri123: What a superb appointment. I hope he does the biz for you.

@safcpog1: Good luck for next season, go well! 👍🏻

@JoeToonMad1: This is the dream appointment!!!

@AlanRic04863406: Glad to have it confirmed. Welcome home Julio.

@chunty1985: @julioarcaOK congratulations…. one my favourite Sunderland players ever…. hope you smash it at Shields.

@SAFCBible1879: All the best Julio


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