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BLYTH SPARTANS FOOTBALL CLUB © Blyth Spartans Association Football Club Limited - Croft Park, Plessey Road, Blyth, Northumberland, NE24 3JE Tel: 01670 352373 - Fax: 01670 545592 Company Number: 409564 BACKGROUND STAFF ______________________________________

COACHING STAFF ______________________________________ MANAGER: Alun Armstrong ASSISTANT MANAGER: Darren Holloway ASSISTANT MANAGER: Neal Hooks PHYSIOTHERAPIST: Chris Bell MEDIA STAFF ______________________________________ MEDIA MANAGER: Stuart Dick PRESS OFFICER: Glen Maxwell PROGRAMME EDITOR: Dan Simmonite CAMERA OPERATOR: Jordan Cronin RADIO BLYTH LIVE COMMENTATORS: Sam Donovan, Ross Jackson, Hannah Sewell WEBMASTER: Chris Ferguson MATCH DAY PHOTOGRAPHERS: Bill Broadley ( Kris Hodgetts (

CONTENTS ___________________ 4. General Manager welcome 5. ‘View from the Terrace’ 6 & 7. Michael Liddle Q&A 8 & 9. Opposition preview 10. Opposition facts 13. John Waterson bio 14. Steve Carney bio 15. Rob Carney bio 16 & 17. Blyth Spartans profiles 18 & 19. FC United profiles 20 & 21. FC United history 22 & 23. Player sponsorship 24. Non-League Paper column 25. Blyth Spartans v Bromley report 27. Commercial news 28. National League North fixtures 29. National League North table 33. #HowayBlyth - Best of social media 35. Editor’s column


CHAIRMAN: Tony Platten VICE CHAIRMAN: Kevin Scott COMPANY SECRETARY: Colin Baxter GENERAL MANAGER: Anthony Seghini COMMERCIAL MANAGER: Mark Scott DIRECTORS: Ian Evans, Colin Baxter EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE: Andy Bowron, Steve Frake, Jane Freeman, Steve Ord, Ian Evans FOOTBALL SECRETARY: Anthony Seghini FIXTURE SECRETARY: Jeff Young LIFE MEMBER: George Watson PA ANNOUNCER: Ken Teasdale STADIUM MANAGER: Colin Blackett GROUNDSMAN: Peter Henderson KIT MANAGER: Ted Lock



Welcome to today’s Vanarama National League North match against FC United of Manchester, in association with JAKO, the league’s official kit and ball provider. We extend a warm welcome to their players, officials and supporters. We hope you enjoy your visit to Croft Park and have a safe journey home this evening. It was disappointing to go out of the FA Trophy last Saturday, but I think it was a case of a injury too far and the effect of the last few games on a depleted squad. That said, I think the scoreline flattered Bromley a bit and we were not far away. There was great support once again, a crowd of 647, considerably higher than other FA Trophy ties played locally. I know that we all get frustrated at times when mistakes are made, or things don’t go our way, but we need to remember how far we have come. At the start of the season, most supporters would have settled for survival, but look where we are! Among the tremendous support of the team, I still hear some moans, groans and shouts singling out players when individual mistakes are made. These are picked up on the pitch and on the sidelines and can’t help. Let’s harness the positivity and push on, who knows where it will take us. Today’s match sponsors are Fergusons Transport and Storage, Bill and William Wilson, Bill Richardson and Danny Haggerty - “70 Not Out”. Thank you all for your support. We also have the Port Of Blyth, who before today’s game will present the Port of Blyth Player of The month award for December to Nathan Buddle. Well done Nathan. In the series of guest appearances by members of the 1977-1978 team, we today on the pitch before the game extend a very warm welcome to John Waterson, Rob Carney and Jessica and Sarah, the daughters of Steve Carney. Today’s mascots and also carrying out a bucket collection for much needed funds are Blyth Spartans Juniors Under 9 Greens. Watch this space in respect of upcoming announcements relating to the 1977-1978 40th anniversary event. Tickets will be on sale soon for the Social Event on Friday 2nd March and we will also be announcing details in relation to the auction of the match worn commemorative shirts. Those supporters that have ordered replica commemorative shirts, the order has been placed with our supplier this week & the shirts will be with us in approximately 6 weeks. It is not too late to join the 1899 Club, for further details please contact Ian Evans on ian.evans1899@icloud. com or 07905 984308. The next game at Croft Park will be the Vanarama National League North fixture this Tuesday 23rd January against Alfreton Town, kick off 7:45pm. Enjoy today’s match. Howay Blyth.

Anthony Seghini | General Manager 4 | BLYTH SPARTANS V FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER

VIEW FROM THE TERRACE *The views expressed are from the author and do not necessarily represent the football or supporters club.

Trivia quiz - Who are the latest Football League club (from the Premiership/Championship/League 1/2) to have left their old ground? Good afternoon everyone and welcome to all those who have made the journey up from Manchester. I am pleased it is a Saturday game this time around. Last time we met was on Tuesday Oct 2014 when they won 1-0 here. Since the club was formed in 2005 they have had a steady rise up the pyramid to where they are today. They are one of the largest fan owned clubs in the country and I for one always like to see their numbers at Croft Park. Blyth won down at the Broadhurst Stadium 3-1 earlier in the season for our first ever win against FC United of Manchester. What I admire about their fans is despite getting beat 3-1 that night they sang from start to finish and got behind their team no matter what. I really admire that attitude from their supporters. A slight blemish in that game was when we were winning, was that there were a few coins thrown at Blyth fans when we got our third goal. There is no need for that at any level of the game. It must be said though that the majority of FCUM fans are great to talk to, noisy, cheerful, love their football and create a brilliant atmosphere at the match. The greater number of FCUM fans are a credit to their club and I am sure they will be here in good numbers once again. So far when we have played them here at Croft Park it always feels like a ‘proper’ football match with plenty of singing from both sets of supporters. Last month the club beat Harrogate and Salford. They also gained a draw at Salford on New Years day. It just shows how much they have improved as this season has progressed so I think it will be yet another test for Spartans today. I have been following Blyth Spartans over forty years now and I have never ever seen a season like this without a single draw at this point. I wonder if we will ever get a draw somewhere this season. I am sure this might be some sort of record for Blyth Spartans. Anyone else enlighten me? Think I might require the statistical talents of fellow Spartans blogger, Graham Usher on this one. Trivia quiz answer - Tottenham Hotspur left White Hart Lane while a new stadium is being built next to their old ground. Enjoy the game and get behind the team and manager in a positive manner, despite what happens on the pitch. Malcolm Stephenson - Supporter (For more years than I care to remember!)



Q&A WITH MICHAEL LIDD 1 - First pair of boots you owned? Pair of silver R9 boots, I was so skillful in them boots!

9 - Who will be the star man this season? Jazz (Jarrett Rivers). 10 - Who will be top scorer this season? Nippa (Dan Maguire) if he ever plays again. And probably will even if he doesn’t. 11 - Which game are you most looking forward to? Salford - hate them!

2 - First game you went to? Sunderland v Nottingham Forest at Roker Park when I was 7, 0-0 but I’ll never forget it. 3 - First kit you owned? Had the standard Sunderland red and white when they were sponsored by Vaux. 4 - First team you played for? Haydon Bridge Juniors.

12 - What are your personal goals this season? To stop getting skinned by wingers. And it was to just get a goal so I’m happy I’ve achieved that. 13 - Header or volley? Defensive head.

8 - Which team do you support? Sunderland.

20 - Who is the best dancer? Adam Wrightson - there’s a video to prove it! 21 - Who would make the best manager in the squad? Nippa (Dan Maguire), he’d tell his players to “kick it dead hard and score”. Can’t argue with those tactics! 22 - Who has the worst dress sense? Andrew Cartwright no doubt.

23 - Who listens to the worst music? Nathan Buddle - he tries to make the back four listen to ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ before every game.


7 - Your footballing idol? Niall Quinn.

19 - Step over or dummy? Neither, because I’m the most unskilled man on the planet.

14 - Take a risk or play it safe? Take a risk.

5 - Best player you’ve played with/against? With - Jack Colback. Against - Pablo Aimar. 6 - Best stadium played at? Etihad.

18 - Right foot or Left foot? Right foot (the lads know).

15 - Home or Away? Away. 16 - Goal or Assist? Goal. 17 - Free kick or Penalty? Free kick.


24 - Biggest joker in dressing room? My fellow left back Ian Watson - possibly the biggest joker I’ve ever met in football. 25 - Who’s the loudest? Laidler! 26 Who spends longest doing their hair? It was Damo (Damen Mullen) before he got the chop. It takes Shaun MacDonald a while to get the perfect fringe sweep. 27 - Funniest thing you’ve seen in training? Whenever one of the keepers has a beast and takes it out on one of the goalposts always makes me laugh. 28 - Who’s the biggest moaner? Our leader, Robbie Dale. He likes to moan to me that he always does all the running for me - not too sure about that. 29 - Who’s the most intelligent? Very tough question in our team. Neal Hooks but he might count as staff. Dale Hopson is a teacher so he has to be clever doesn’t he? 30 - Who’s the least intelligent? Wow, even tougher question. Lewis Horner never fails to surprise people by doing something daft.



Sixth-placed Blyth Spartans host mid-table FC United Of Manchester today in their 25th National League North fixture of the season. Earlier on in the season, Spartans were victorious in a 3-1 win away from home. However, in the reverse fixture FC United come to Croft Park in good form, having not lost a league game since November. The club also boast a win against league leaders Salford City at Broadhurst Park over the Christmas period, which was the Ammies’ 4th loss of the season. On the other hand, Spartans have picked up only 6 points from a possible 15 most recently as they look to

rebuild their form and bounce back from last week’s 4-1 FA Trophy defeat to National League side Bromley. The visitors today are managed by Tom Greaves, their second ever manager in their 13 year history. Greaves took over as player-manager at the start of the season after Karl Marginson left the club by mutural consent after a poor start to the season. Under Greaves the club have been in fine form and now sit 6 points from the relegation zone after spending most of the the season in the red. The club play their home games at Broadhurst Park, which was opened in May 2015, following previous years ground sharing with Football League




CEO: Damian Chadwick Manager: Tom Greaves League Position: 13th National League North Top Scorer: T. Greaves (9) Nickname: ‘FC United’ Colours: Red/White

Zac Corbett // Defender Formely of Rhyl FC in the Welsh Premier League, the defender is a regular in FC United’s back line. Scott Kay // Midfielder Versatile midfielder who can also play ar full back when required. Graduate of the Manchester City academy. Tom Greaves // Forward Has scored over 100 goals for FC United since joining in 2012.

side Bury at Gigg Lane. The stadium has a capacity of 4,400 and is also home to Moston Juniors.


The record attendance was set on the first ever game at the stadium, against Portuguese side Benfica, with 4,232 fans turning up on the day.

DREW 2-2 vs Salford City Monday 1st January 2018.

FC United are famous for being one of many ‘fanowned’ teams who are working their way up the football pyramid. The club started way back in the North West Countes Football League and seem to have found their level in the National League North, this season being their third.

WON 1-0 vs Southport Saturday 7th January 2018.

WON 3-2 vs Salford City Tuesday 26th December 2017. DREW 4-4 vs Spennymoor Town Saturday 23rd December 2017. DREW 1-1 vs Brackley Town Saturday 9th December 2017.



  


John was 27 when he signed for Blyth from Whitley Bay by Spartans’ manager Allan O’Neill. John said: “I met Blyth player Mick Dagless on a Middlesex Wanderers tour of Singapore and Malaysia in 1975 and became interested in moving to Croft Park.” The stock controller had been at the Bay for three seasons and at Croft Park he quickly became acclaimed as the best right back in the region. While at Hillheads he captained an FA XI which contained his future teammates at Blyth: North Shields’ Keith Houghton and Bishop Auckland’s Alan Shoulder. Two other names stood out in the side the team: World Cup winners Nobby Stiles & Bobby Charlton! He was appointed captain by Spartans’ manager Brian Slane at the start of the 1977/78 season. John said: “All my job entailed was tossing the coin because we had so many experienced players. I’m not sure why Brian [Slane] made me captain; I must have been a good coin flipper!” It was his challenge late on in the 5th round FA Cup tie at the Racecourse Ground Wrexham that was wrongly adjudged by referee Alf Grey to have given the home side a corner. John commented: “After the game Wrexham’s Bobby Shinton said it was

never a corner. The ball came off him. Of course we were disappointed but we didn’t complain like players do today about decisions. We would have had Arsenal but at least we had another big game - at St. James’ in the replay. That was a game and three quarters! It was a blur actually in front of that massive crowd. It seemed like the game was done and dusted in a micro-second.” John was a virtual ever present at right back in his five years with the club but never managed to score a goal. In the summer of 1980 he left joined Gateshead, “I thought I was going to leave football after Byth but a friend persuaded me to join Gateshead,” he said. John played two seasons in the NPL before moving to North Shields. In 1982/83 he was involved in another FA Cup run as the Robins reached the 2nd round before losing to Walsall. Such is John’s long-lasting fame as captain of the historic 1977/78 side that in 2014 he was invited to officially re-open the town’s famous art deco cinema, The Wallaw as a Wether-

Compiled by Phil Castiaux and Graham Usher 13

STEVE CARNEY SPARTAN BETWEEN 1977-1979 & 1987-1991

It was in May 2013 that we sadly lost Steve to cancer. Steve was known as a no nonsense player who worked hard for everything he achieved in the game. Former Blyth coach Jack Marks described Steve as “a team in himself”. 21-year-old Wallsend-born Steve signed for the Spartans, following his elder brother Rob, from North Shields at the beginning of the1977/78 season. Following two years at Shields the brothers had caught the eye of Jack Marks. Steve could play in midfield or as a centre back. Brother Rob commented; “It was fantastic for Stephen to play for a club like Blyth at such a young age. It was a bit of a shock for him as he hadn’t played for long at any real standard. I know he loved it.”

Jack would shout instructions but Steve would glower – he didn’t like training. But when it came to the game Steve never gave less than 100%. He was so fit I guess he felt he didn’t need to bust a gut in training.” The season after the big cup run Steve made 35 appearances registering six goals. His reputation saw Newcastle manager Bill McGarry sign him on. He made his debut for Newcastle alongside a fellow Spartan – Alan Shoulder, and Kevin Keegan. Steve was integral in United’s 1883/84 promotion season. He went on to play at Carlisle and Darlington before returning to Blyth in 1987 and retiring in 1991.

In November of 1977 Steve and Rob became the first brothers for many years to score in the same game for the Spartans. That season saw him score 16 goals in 63 games including the equalising goal in the Spartans 3-2 win at Stoke City in the FA Cup. Manager at the time Brian Slane commented on Steve’s athleticism: “It frustrated coach Jack Marks that Steve only gave 75% effort in training.



Rob joined Blyth in the summer of 1977 from North Shields. Interestingly he’d played very little football between the ages of 14 and 24. Rob explained: “I more or less watched Newcastle during those years. I was playing for my works side when I was recommended to Jack Marks at Shields. Jack worked at the same place.” Rob scored 13 goals in his first season including five in his first four games for club. Rob commented: “I was an attacking midfield player and certainly when I first joined Blyth I played high up the pitch.” During the FA Cup run he scored goals at Shildon as well as the opening goal in 3-0 2nd qualifying round replay win over Crook Town. “Bringing Jackie Marks to the club was a masterstroke by Brain Slane,” Rob said. “They brought in a whole batch of new players and it was incredible how the team gelled immediately. It was put together so quickly but the lads were winners and people just clicked. It was a unique time.”

Compiled by Phil Castiaux and Graham Usher

Asked for his best memories Rob said: “I asked Jack Marks, after signing, if I could bring our Steven to Blyth. He was a fantastic footballer but was often in trouble with referees and in fact he was suspended for three months when he arrived so couldn’t actually play till nearly Christmas of 1977. Seeing him show his potential at Blyth was a highlight for me. “I remember that Cup run steadily building up round by round. We had pre-match meals at a pub in Blyth; steak or mince on toast, that sort of thing. I’d never done that before. It was new to me! But Ron Guthrie took me under his wing. He’d seen it all before as a professional. Ron was fantastic with the younger lads in the squad.” Rob found it harder to win a starting place in the side in 1978/79 after arrival of Peter Davies and left the Spartans in January 1979 and returned to North Shields before signing for Tow Law. Following a broken leg Rob retired in 1980.


PLAYERS 2017/18 SQUAD PROFILES RYAN HUTCHINSON // DEFENDER Ryan is a centre-half who is equally as comfortably playing right-back or midfield. He made his debut against Matlock Town in April 2014 before going on to make 152 Spartans appearances to date, netting eight times in all competitions. ‘Hutchy’ is a confident defender who is very good on the ball and calm under pressure. His previous clubs include Celtic, St Johnstone, Morpeth Town and Seaton Delaval. The 24-year-old’s impressive start to the Vanarama National League North campaign has seen him earn a call up to the England ‘C’ team squad, the pinnacle of the semi-professional game.

DAMEN MULLEN // MIDFIELDER Damen Mullen is a central midfielder who sometimes goes unnoticed but was one of the lynch pins of Spartans winning run during this season. A swiss army knife of sorts – he has the ability to play a number of positions but excels in the centre of the park. ‘Damo’ has made 165 appearances in the Green and White of Blyth Spartans, all over the field. He’s a combative midfielder who has an eye for a pass. He re-joined the club from Morpeth Town midway through last season, he came off the bench at Wembley Stadium to help the Highwaymen win the FA Vase over Hereford FC.


SHAUN MACDONALD // GOALKEEPER Young goalkeeper who signed this summer upon his release from Gateshead.

SEAN REID // MIDFIELDER Made his debut in August 2015 against Buxton. Scored 20 goals last season in 50 apps

PETER JAMESON // GOALKEEPER Recent signing from National League North rivals Darlington. Helped the Quakers to two promotions in four seasons.

NEAL HOOKS // MIDFIELDER + ASSISTANT Joint Assistant Manager and midfielder who has played for various clubs in the north and Scotland. Made his Blyth debut in 2010 against AFC Telford United.

NATHAN BUDDLE // DEFENDER After joining from Hartlepool in 2013 Buddle made a name for himself up north and signed for League Two side Carlisle United in 2014. After a stint at Gateshead he re-signed for Blyth 2015. DAVID ATKINSON // DEFENDER After a summer of professional football in Iceland, Atkinson joined Blyth in October to link up with his former teammates. DYLAN MCGLADE // DEFENDER Former Rupublic of Ireland youth international signed from Longfort Town. IAN WATSON // DEFENDER 31-year-old Watson is Blyth’s first summer signing coming from Spennymoor Town. ANDREW CARTWRIGHT // DEFENDER Signed from the Sunderland academy for the 2015/16 season, the 22-year-old has made 67 appearances so far at Blyth. MICHAEL LIDDLE // DEFENDER Experienced defender having played in League One and Two earlier in his career. The Sunderland academy product has also made 5 appearances for Republic of Ireland U21. JORDAN WATSON // DEFENDER Signed from Darlington 1883 Jordan Watson has made 18 appearances in defence, 2 from the bench. DAVID MCTIERNAN // MIDFIELDER Another player who made their debut last season, McTiernan played in 15 games and scored 2 goals from midfield. DAMEN MULLEN // MIDFIELDER Mullen returned to Blyth Spartans from FA Vase winners Morpeth Town in 2016. He made 22 appearances last season.

ADAM WRIGHTSON // MIDFIELDER 19-year-old Wrightson scored 4 goals and made 18 appearances for Blyth last season, 12 as a substitute. LEWIS HORNER // MIDFIELDER 25-year-old Horner is another who re-signed for Blyth Spartans following a spell in the SPL with Inverness CT. ROBBIE DALE // FORWARD Robbie Dale is one of the most well known names at this level in football having been with Spartans since 2005, having a spell at Whitley Bay then coming back to play at Croft Park later on. DALE HOPSON // FORWARD Big signing for Blyth this summer from Whitby Town where he scored 30 goals from midfield. He is making a step up to the sixth tier this season in the National League North. GREG RUTHERFORD // FORWARD 6’ 4” striker who who was named Scottish League Two Player of the Month back in March. Signed in October from Berwick. JORDAN LAIDLER // FORWARD Released from Sunderland as a youth player, went on to play for Northern League sides West Auckland Town and Newton Aycliffe before signing for Blyth Spartans in Janaury 2017. DAN MAGUIRE // FORWARD 24-year-old Dan Maguire has made over 150 appearances for Blyth Spartans in the past five seasons and has scored over 100 goals in the process. JARRETT RIVERS // FORWARD Known for his exploits in the FA Cup with Blyth Spartans, the former Whitley Bay man gained a move to EFL club Blackpool in 2015 but rejoined Blyth the following year. 17

Lloyd ALLINSON // GOALKEEPER The 24-year-old is the number one goalkeeper at Broadhurst Park, making 32 appearances in all competitions so far this season. Jordan FAGBOLA // DEFENDER Manchester-born Fagbola joined the club during the 2016/17 season and is a pivotal figure in the team’s defence.

Joel SENIOR // DEFENDER Young defender who has made 28 appearances this season, 7 coming off the bench.

Zac CORBETT // DEFENDER Welsh player who signed from Welsh Premier League side Rhyl FC last season. He has made 19 appearances this season, one coming from the bench. Matty HUGHES // DEFENDER Centre back who spent his youth with Rochdale and Scottish giants Celtic. Hughes signed from Stalybridge Celtic at the start of the season. Danny WISDOM // DEFENDER Full back who previously played for Morcambe. Wisdom has made 18 appearances this season, scoring 2 goals.

Samuel BAIRD // DEFENDER Defender who joined FC United in July 2016. 7 appearances this season so far. Samuel TATTUM // DEFENDER 21-year-old former Wales U19 international, who played academy football with Manchester City. Scott KAY // MIDFIELDER Started off with the Manchester City youth system but failed to make an appearance for the first team. Former of Mossley, Macclesfield Town and Southport, Kay is a versatile player, able to play both as a full back and in midfield. Kieran GLYNN // MIDFIELDER Midfielder who joined FC United in July 2016. Has made 14 appearances for the club this season, scoring 2 goals. Joel LOGAN // MIDFIELDER Broke through from the youth team at Rochdale and has made appearances in League One for the Dale. Joined FC United from Guiseley at the start of this season. Kieran GLYNN // MIDFIELDER Midfielder who joined FC United in July 2016. Has made 14 appearances for the club this season, scoring 2 goals.

Steve IRWIN // MIDFIELDER Started his career with Liverpool before cutting his teeth in Europe with Telstar in the Belgian League. The midfielder has also played professionally in Denmark.


Michael JONES // MIDFIELDER Progressed through the youth team and is now a first team regular with FC United.

Connor MCCARTHY // FORWARD Signed from AFC Telford United, the forward has chipped in with 7 goals so far this season.

Tyrell PALMER // MIDFIELDER 20-year-old who has made 10 appearances so far this season, all coming off the bench.

Adam GILCHRIST // FORWARD After losing top goalscorer Jason Gilchrist to Southport in November, FC United took it upon themselves to sign his brother from Burscough.

Jamal CRAWFORD // MIDFIELDER The teenage winger signed in November 2017 after impressing at local club Moston United. Craig LINDFIELD // FORWARD Scouser Craig has shown good form on either flank and has scored a number of important goals since joining from Chester at the beginning of last season. Able to cross and shoot from seemingly impossible positions, Linny is a very dangerous player. One of the squad’s ‘thinkers’, Lindfield has a sports journalism degree.

Tom GREAVES // FORWARD + MANAGER Prior to playing for FC United, Greaves had 3 spells at Bradford Park Avenue in between playing for Ossett Town, Bridlington and Garforth. For most FC United fans, their first memory of Tom Greaves was his 119th extra-time winner for Bradford PA against FC in the Northern Premier League Play-off Final in 2012 which denied FC promotion to the Conference North.



History | Established 2005 The club set up in protest to Malcolm Glazer’s takeover of Manchester United’ is a statement often used to describe FC United. But while there is no doubt that FC would not have happened without the American invasion, it was the catalyst, the final straw, but not the sole reason. The material theft of a Manchester institution, forcibly taken from the people of Manchester, was the tip of a pyramid of destruction, with changing kick off times for the benefit of television, soulless all-seater stadia full of ‘new’ supporters intent to sit back and watch rather than partake in the occasion, heavy handed stewarding and ridiculously priced tickets propping it all up. By May 2005 some supporters had had enough. The failure to prevent Glazer and repeat the successful repulsion of Rupert Murdoch in 1998 resurrected a ‘last resort’ idea from that previous campaign and the FC United wheels were put in motion. A group of individuals determined to continue the fight formed a steering committee and FC United of Manchester was delivered. Critics of the idea argued that if supporters were disgruntled with the Premiership then why didn’t they go and support other local cash-strapped clubs instead of setting up their own? But that wouldn’t have been theirs would it? It wouldn’t have been United and it wouldn’t have been right to takeover another club after they had just been taken over themselves. Nor could they drift off in various directions and be lost to each other and maybe football forever. They wanted to maintain the momentum of the protest, to stick together, to sing United songs, to reminisce and bring back the good bits of the good old days. They wanted Our Club, Our Rules and they got just that, a member owned democratic, not-for-profit organisation created by Manchester United fans. A club accessible to all of the Greater Manchester community, dedicated to encouraging participation of youth whether it be playing or supporting and to providing affordable football for all.


The steering group did an amazing job in a short space of time including the appointment of the club’s first manager Karl Marginson. Only a fortnight old, the club played its first game at Leigh on July 16, 2005 in front of an official crowd of 2,552. It ended with an exuberant pitch invasion and players, new heroes, being carried off shoulder high. Probably the first time such jubilant scenes had been witnessed after a goalless friendly. The following week it was off to AFC Wimbledon, the club that gave them so much help and inspiration after they themselves became victims of a businessman who wanted a new toy, albeit in different circumstances. The club secured a ground share with Bury FC at Gigg Lane and successfully applied for membership of the North West Counties Football League. United made their debut in division two at Leek CSOB. From that rain soaked competitive debut in August right through to the end-of-season party in April which saw over 6,023 people turn up to see the Reds lift the title, an unbelievable amount of fun was had at every game. There were unforgettable days, such as Blackpool where Bloomfield Road saw its biggest away following for 20 years when well over 4,000 Reds made the seaside trip. The club even had an end of season Euro away to Germany to face FC Lokomotiv Leipzig. But there were also the odd ‘downs’ sat sombrely alongside the many ‘ups’. In November they said farewell to two heroes. Steering group and board member Russell Delaney whose determination despite illness ensured FC United was born, finally lost his long battle against lung disease and United legend George Best also passed away. Both received their own minutes of applause. But sad losses aside, the season was an unqualified success on and off the pitch and the NWCFL first division provided the next challenge.



Sponsor your part of the Croft Park turf. Single squares cost just £5, while the larger premium - penalty areas and centre circle - cost £20. COLIN COOKE AVAILABLE

















You can sponsor your very own shirt for the 2017/18 season - and take the jersey away at the end of the year. Sponsors will be presented with their desegnated shirt at the club’s end of season awards or at the sponsors’ evening. Available

Nicola Ives

Iain Charlesworth


Julie Tuck


Nathan Tong


Fred Wyres

Isaac Woodford

Julie Tuck










This week I will be discussing definition. Not the lack of it around my biceps or abdomen but around words and how, as sports fans, we all how our own interpretations. In my work for The Non-League Paper’s website I also control online content for our sister title The Rugby Paper, and last week shared a video to its social media channels. The video came from last autumn’s clash between Scotland and Australia in Edinburgh and featured a try straight from the training ground by the home side. A flash of flair trick-play involving two players which stretched a line of six Australian defenders expecting the Scots to kick a penalty to touch and sent the crowd doolally. I won’t go into further detail, you can head to twitter and facebook should you wish to watch the try. But in sharing the video I used the word ‘genius’, one gentleman replied to the post ‘Genius???’ in disagreement. Admittedly, I use the word too much, maybe growing up in Essex has curbed the expanse of my vocabulary, yet to me it is the moments that catch you off guard in a split second that warrant its description. Talk to others and they will say genius should be used for people who display brilliance over a long and sustained period of time. Like genius, the word legend is overused. Moments like Paul Gascoigne’s volley against Scotland at Wembley during Euro ’96 and Joe Walton’s control, twist and on-the-volley strike for Morpeth Town against Marske United last October give fans memories to last a lifetime. With a memory as sieve-like as mine, if an individual can do that I will happily label them a genius and run the risk of people discrediting my opinion as prone to exaggeration. Football is after all the one mainstream spectator sport which has not been adapted to suit the fast-paced life in this country. Cricket has grown its Twenty20 format and rugby looks set to further develop Sevens, the former some ago has become a beast created by the powers-thatbe that could bring down the very traditions of the sport. Just look at how England fared in the Ashes compared to the first ODI last weekend. For all the tedious 0-0 scorelines I have watched glumly there have been 0-0 games full of chances and drama to compensate. From that perspective, I am delighted the basics of football remain the same as multiple generations ago. Deciding not to make drastic changes isn’t genius, it’s just good sense. And sometimes football requires that from those off the pitch in order to allow the genius to continue on it. By Adam Ellis (@AdamEllis22)




SATURDAY 19TH JANUARY 2018 written by sam donovan | PHOTOS BY KRIS HODGETTS Spartans crashed out of the Buildbase FA Trophy as defensive errors were punished by a clinical Bromley side. Josh Rees opened the scoring in the first half before Louis Dennis added a second just before the interval. Rees grabbed his second after the break before Greg Rutherford reduced the arrears; Dennis added gloss to the score with the best goal of the game in added time. There were enforced changes to the Blyth line up as Robbie Dale and Sean Reid were unavailable with Jordan Laidler and David McTiernan coming in to the replace them. Jack Butler was named on the bench following his successful week, as he was called up the England Schools U18 squad. Blyth Spartans: MacDonald, Atkinson, Liddle, Mullen (c), Buddle, Hutchinson, Rivers, McTiernan (Wrightson, 58), Rutherford, Hopson, Laidler. Subs not used: Butler, McGlade, I. Watson, Jameson Bromley: Gregory, Rees, Chorley, Holland (c), Raymond (Higgs, 75), Dennis, Sterling, Wanadio, Porter (Mekki, 31), Woolfenden, Bugiel (Williams, 59) Subs not used: D. Johnson, R. Johnson. Attendance: 647 Spartans Man of the Match: Dale Hopson FULL REPORT ON WWW.BLYTHSPARTANS.COM 25



...THE M










Today we welcome our guests from Fergusons Transport one of our longest running corporate sponsors. They are currently the sponsor’s of the terrace at the “Shed End” side of the stadium advertising their Fergy Space self storage solutions located in Cramlington. The summer of 2017 saw major refurbishment off the signage displayed on the front of the stand as they spruced up the advertising boards giving the stand a new fresh look along with the painting which took place. The signs should last a number of years as the prominent local business continues its long running relationship with Northumberland’s most prominent football club. The Blyth founded business are the largest privately owned haulier in the North East of England and operate from several locations throughout the UK and have strategically positioned ourselves near to major allowing quicker and easier access to customers and major transports routes. The current head office of the business is in Cramlington and the transport division has depot’s is Sunderland and Plymouth. Whilst transport remains the core of our business they also specialise in the areas of Warehousing, Logistics, Removals and Self-Storage. Fergusons Transport was founded by entrepreneurial Matthew Ferguson, as a one man business in 1926. With the great depression at its height, Matt took a courageous step of selling his house to invest in his first commercial vehicle, a bean, to commence trading as a general carrier of goods between Blyth and Newcastle. Despite the depression, the business developed through a relationship with the Port of Blyth shipping paper products. The business continued to grow from the 1960s onwards with Eddie, the father of the present chairman. Whilst the roots of the general haulage division still remains in the North East, Fergusons Transport has set up several other traffic operations in the UK. Today, Fergusons Transport remains a family run company with Alan Ferguson OBE at the helm. Over the years they have built up a vast portfolio of customers comprising of local, national and international companies from all sectors of industry some of which have been customers since our beginning in 1926. Blyth Spartans Football Club is hugely appreciative of their support over the years and we’d like to thank them for their investment in the advertising at the stadium and we hope the successful relationship continues for many years to come. More details about the business can be found at

Contact Mark Scott on or 07570 794 374 in relation to all commercial and advertising opportunities.





@dan_simmonite |

Thank you so much for reading through this programme and a big welcome to Croft Park this evening.

Today against FC United Of Manchester should be an exciting fixture with the visitors in good form as of late, even managing 4 points over Salford City over Christmas. Last week Spartans suffered a 4-1 defeat to Bromley in the FA Trophy, but a positive is that the club can now put their full efforts into securing a Playoff position in the National League North. There are 20 games left of the season which means the club are over half way and are still in a fantastic position to have a chance of promotion this year. Depending on other results today, Spartans could go as high as 4th in the table. However, if results fail to go their way the team could see themselves slip out of the Playoffs with teams lingering around the threshold. Results to look out for today will be York v Spennymoor, Curzon Ashton v Kidderminster and Bradford PA v Gainsborough. These are all results which could affect Spartans’ league position.

/dansimmonitesport |

That being said it will go either way today, Spartans obviously don’t draw games so a win today would be fantastic considering FC United’s current form. Today I’d like to thank Phil Castiaux and Graham Usher, they have supplied interviews and write ups on our FA Cup 197778 players, who have been visiting Croft Park over these past few games. Today we welcome to Croft Park John Waterson, Robbie Carney and Steve Carney’s daughters Jessica and Sarah. Also it’s best to mention that in this edition of the programme you may notice some changes. I have redesigned the fixture list as well as the National League North table to fit in with the rest of the programme, as well as putting them both on a double page spread. I have also changed some fonts around to give the publication a bit more of a ‘house style’. I hope these changes are recieved well and if you have any more suggestions I’d love to hear from you. My mission is to keep updating the matchday programme until it is inch perfect for the fans to consume. As always, enjoy the game today and thank you for your continued support. _____________________________________ Dan Simmonite Blyth Spartans Programme Editor



FC UNITED Saturday 20th January 2018 15:00 Kick Off











Michael LIDDLE



Samuel BAIRD Samuel TATTUM Scott KAY Kieran GLYNN Joel LOGAN Kieran GLYNN Steve IRWIN

Robbie DALE

Michael JONES





Profile for Dan Simmonite

Blyth Spartans v FC United Of Manchester - Official Matchday Programme (2017/18)  

Blyth Spartans v FC United Of Manchester - Official Matchday Programme (2017/18)