With fourteen new signings completed in the Summer, including the return of centre-back Nathan Buddle, winger Josh Gillies, goal-poaching sensation Dan ‘Nippa’ Maguire and the majestic, mercurial local legend Robbie ”Robbie~dinhio” Dale – the future is looking very bright for the Green & Whites!
A very encouraging pre-season resulted in convincing performances with wins against Middlesbrough Under 23s, Newcastle United Under 23s, Stockton Town, Hebburn Town, North Shields, South Shields and Hartlepool United. This impressive form and attractive attacking passing playing style coupled with a solid defence and assuring goalkeeping has continued into the first few league games – with Blyth finding themselves in 8th position after 5 fixtures in the Conference League North. Up next at 3pm on Saturday 11th September are Darlington who are yet to gain a point after 3 matches this season. After an attendance of over 1,100 against high-flying Brackley Town, the Spartans Chief Executives and coaching staff will be hoping for an even better turn out this forthcoming Saturday to get the ”SPARTAN ROAR!” up to maximum decibels.
Many Spartans regulars have told me that the football being played so far this season is the best they have witnessed in recent years, most notably the technique, pace, passing and intelligent movement of midfield orchestrators JJ O’Donnell and Nicky Deverdics, who just oose class every time they receive the ball. With both being ex-Newcastle United reserve players they clearly have an extra level of carefulness with the ball and look to be creative at the correct and crucial moments. Add the confident, reliable strong goalkeeping from Alex Mitchell, the intelligent defending by Toby Lees, Nathan Buddle and Michael Liddle, the constant threat and nuisance created by striker Dan Maguire and then add the cherry on top with the skilful creativity provided by the 37 year-old ‘magician with the ball’ Robbie Dale!
The magnificent Mural of Robbie painted onto the entire side wall of Gino’s Chip shop is a sight to saviour whilst approaching the Plessey gate entrance. Fans of away teams have been spotted posing for selfies in-front of the iconic image and we even had visitors from the Elche branch of the Blyth-Betis Pena in Spain coming last week for a few photographs of it.
As you approach Croft Park down Plessey Road, you will pass the Spartan Warrior Soldier sculpture carved out of a tree trunk, then further down on the opposite side is Iain Turton’s Spartan School of Motoring driving instructor car with the Spartan badge on. A bit further down the road is the Green & White Painted Sandwich shop ‘Plessey Pantry’ followed by Blyth Smartens Barbers. Lee Allen’s Spartan Powered Access Van is parked proudly near Croft Park, then you see the fabulous Robbie Dale mural image as you get nearer the ground. There is also a wonderful Crochet Spartans tribute on the Post Box outside Plessey Post Office shop which a local mystery ‘Blyth Banksy’ has been creating around various sites on top of local red Post Boxes. Local neighbours have a green & white car and there is a house not far away painted green & white too. A distinctive colour scheme with so many historic memories associated, most notably the 1978 FA Cup exploits by The Spartans, which my Grandma often mentions tales of when every shop window and house in Blyth was covered in Green & White decorations during that epic time.
There is a real sense of connection between the fans and the players at Blyth, with the celebration of Robbie Dale passionately fist-pumping the air in-front of a joyous crowd behind the net last week after scoring late on, truly encapsulating the special Spartan Spirit. Then after the match when the players speak to fans in ”The Clerrb” (Spartans Clubhouse) which you tend not to experience at the elite disconnected Premiership level… With an army of dedicated volunteers helping with the running of the Club, this just adds to the community spirit of the non-league matchday experience with a warm welcome provided to everyone attending.
Will Blyth get another famous FA Cup run again this season? Will we finish competitively in the top six looking towards the play-offs for promotion? …with this squad, manager and a regular increasing supporter base, who knows what these lads can achieve. The sky is the limit.
Up next on Saturday 11th September is Darlington , if you want to get along to see some cracking football and be part of a raucous atmosphere passionately shouting, clapping and singing along to support the lads then you can pre-book tickets online here:
Darlington Ticket link: https://blythspartansafc.ktckts.com/event/bly2122h04/blyth-spartans-v-darlington
Fixtures and Results: http://www.blythspartans.com/1st-team-fixtures-results/
Club Shop: https://bsosc.myshopify.com/
BSAFC Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHttu5gBShjrfml2oG3WQlg
Spartans 2021/22 Season Tickets: https://blythspartansafc.ktckts.com/package/bly2122hst/season-ticket-202122
Blyth Spartans AFC Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/blythspartansafc
Blyth Spartans AFC Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/Blyth_Spartans?s=20
Blyth Spartans Clubhouse Page: https://www.facebook.com/blythspartansafcclubhouse
Blyth Spartans Supporters Club page: https://www.facebook.com/bsafcsupporters
Spartans Chat (Green Army) Group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/129047937803774
Blyth~Betis Pena Betica Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/blythbetis
Iain Turton – Spartan School of Motoring page: https://www.facebook.com/spartansom
Spartan Powered Access: https://www.facebook.com/Spartanpoweredaccess