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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 The following persons have a ‘significant interest’ in the Club, that being a shareholding of 10% or more; Derek Campey, Tony Platten, Kevin Scott & Paul Hedley. BACKGROUND STAFF 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 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. Jarrett Rivers Q&A 8 & 9. Opposition preview 10. Opposition facts 13. Non League Paper column 14 & 15. 77/78 player profiles 16 & 17. Blyth Spartans profiles 18 & 19. Southport profiles 20 & 21. Southport history 22 & 23. 77/78 FA Cup run 25. Commercial news 29. News updates 31. Phoenix sides ruining non league?

WELCOME TO CROFT PARK Welcome to today’s Vanarama National League North match against Southport, in association with JAKO, the League’s official kit and ball provider. We extend a warm welcome to their players, officials & supporters. We hope you enjoy your visit to Croft Park and have a safe journey home later this evening. We go into today’s game sitting in fourth place in the table and still occupying a play-off spot, following a win at home against Bradford Park Avenue and a defeat away to Leamington. Spartans comfortably saw off play-off rivals Bradford in a 3-0 victory, however went down 1-0 in a scrappy game played in difficult conditions at Leamington Today is another huge game, against a strong Southport and a good result would set us up nicely for our visit next week to high flying Salford City. We welcome Joe Gorman to the Club. Joe made his debut with a substitute appearance against Bradford, before starting the game at Leamington. Welcome to Blyth! The Club were honoured to receive an award at Sunday evenings North East Football Writers’ Association Annual Awards, in recognition of last season’s success. The award was collected on behalf of Alun by Chairman Tony Platten. Everyone associated with the Club were devastated this week, to hear of the sad passing of long time supporter and former Club official, Chris Golightly at the age of 51. Our sympathy goes out to all his family and friends. RIP Chris. Today’s match sponsors are James Burrell Ltd, Karen and Ian Hertwick and Peter Ridley. Many Thanks to you all for your support. Today’s mascots are Joe Cooper, Sam Weatherson and Blyth Spartans Juniors Under 12. Most of the Match Sponsorship packages are for the remainder of the season are now taken, however, there is still availability for the game against AFC Telford on Saturday 31st March. Interested parties should contact me in the General Office. Following on from last evening’s 1977-1978 Cup Run celebrations in the Social Club, today’s special guests are Spartan’s legends Terry Johnson and Eddie Alder. Welcome to them both. Today also sees the team wearing a special commemorative shirt, based on that worn in the 4th Round victory over Stoke City. You may have seen on the website and via Social Media information in respect of volunteering at the Club. We rely heavily on our volunteers and are greatly appreciate of all their efforts. Further information on volunteering can be found via the link on the website, or from me in the General Office. It is not too late to join the 1899 Club, for further details please contact Ian Evans on ian.evans1899@ or 07905 984308. Enjoy today’s match. Howay Blyth.

Anthony Seghini | General Manager

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

Trivia quiz - Who has managed Blyth, Hartlepool, Blue Star and Darlington before and is now a scout for Newcastle United? Last night Blyth celebrated the famous FA cup runs 40th anniversary in the Spartans social club. It was great to see those faces back again and a good night was had by all. I can recollect being in the social club the night before we travelled to Stoke and Wrexham. The atmosphere was electric and everyone had the firm belief we were going down to these places to win and not just there to make up the numbers. I remember it like yesterday. Sadly there were players like Ronnie Scott and Steve Carney who are no longer with us. Also trainer and eventual manager Jack Marks has gone as well. Indeed there will be many Blyth fans around then who are not here today. It was an amazing achievement what the team did that season. Although I still feel gutted about the blooming flag pole falling down. Not to mention a referee who I will not mention (Arthur Grey) who made some decisions which cost us the game and impending 6th round tie at home to Arsenal. This was when I first started following Blyth Spartans and am still here to this day. If you said to me in 1977 that in 40 years time I would be paying ÂŁ70 on the train to go and watch Blyth Spartans play at Leamington in a league game I would be wondering what you were talking about! Recently Ron Guthrie from the 1977-78 squad attended a Blyth game. His cousin George, who sadly passed away just a few years ago, was a footballer with Darlington in his younger days. George told me a fascinating story about when he had took his young daughter to the Blyth replay with Wrexham at St James Park. The rain was torrential that night and the queues were massive to get into the ground. George had noticed a single turnstile with no one at it and asked a Policeman if he could go in. He did just that while the masses were stuck outside. I just found it a unique story and it just shows that sometimes miracles do happen. I was proud of the Blyth Spartans team back in 1977 just as much as today. Any player battling for the club wearing a green and white strip always makes me proud. Trivia quiz answer - Mick Tait managed Blyth and the forementioned clubs. 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!)

QUICKFIRE Q&A: Jarrett Rivers 1 - First pair of boots you owned? Red Adidas Preditors. 2 - First game you went to? Can’t remember exactly but it was a Leeds United game as my family are Leeds fans! 3 - First kit you owned? Leeds United kit.

13 - Header or volley? Volley. 14 - Take a risk or play it safe? Take a risk. 15 - Home Away? Home.

4 - First team you played for? Byers Green. 5 - Best player you’ve played with/against? With - Not sure. Against - Denis Suarez. 6 - Best stadium played at? Etihad.

12 - What are your personal goals this season? Get in the Playoffs/get promoted.


7 - Your footballing idol? Ronaldinho. 8 - Which team do you support? Neutral! Man United when I was younger. 9 - Who will be the star man this season? Robbie Dale. 10 - Who will be top scorer this season? Nipa (Dan Maguire). 11 - Which game were you most looking forward to this year? York away was the game I was looking forward to the most.


16 - Goal or Assist? Either! 17 - Free kick or Penalty? Free kick. 18 - Right foot or Left foot? Right foot. 19 - Step over or dummy? Step over.

23 - Who listens to the worst music? Jordan Laidler! 24 - Biggest joker in dressing room? Again Laidler. 25 - Who’s the loudest? Nipa (Dan Maguire) or Laidler. 26 - Who spends longest doing their hair? Possibly Damo (Damen Mullen)! 27 - Funniest thing you’ve seen in training? When Jack Butler got tangled up in the net! 28 - Who’s the biggest moaner? Buds (Nathan Buddle) probably.

20 - Who is the best dancer? Judging by a video I’ve seen I’m gong to say Wrighty ( A d a m Wrightson)! 21 - Who would make the best manager in the squad? I’d go with Macca (David McTiernan). 22 - Who has the worst dress sense? Damo (Damen Mullen).

29 - Who’s the most intelligent? I’d say Busted (Ian Watson)! 30 - Who’s the least intelligent? Lewis Horner.



Chairman: James Treadwell

Top Scorer: Jason Gilchrist

Manager: Kevin Davies

Nickname: ‘The Sandgrounders’

League Position: 12th

Colours: Yellow/Black

Today Blyth Spartans host Southport in a vital fixture leading up to the National League North Playoffs.

ing of the regular season. The Green Army currently sit 4th in the Vanarama National League North and have a comfortable 7-point gap between themselves and 8thplaced Chorley.

Heading into today’s game, Southport are in fine form - winning four of their last five fixtures in the 6th tier of English football. This is compared to Spartans’ three wins in their last five as well as an away defeat to League strugglers Leamington last week a result they will be looking to bounce back from this afternoon. Jason Gilchrist will certainly be one to look out for in the Southport side, the striker has scored 23 goals in total this season and is the leading scorer in the division, averaging a goal every 85 minutes. Spartans are currently in the tail end of the campaign with just 10 games remain-

A win today can close the gap on 3rd-place Brackley Town to as little as 3 points. However, a loss could see Spartans drop two spots with York City and Kidderminster Harriers hot on their heels. Important fixtures for Spartans fans to look out for today are: Brackley v Bradford P.A., Kidderminster Harriers v York City and Spennymoor Town v Leamington. Fingers crossed that the ‘beast from the east’ doesn’t ice over Spartans chances of a winnable fixture today at Croft Park.

KEY PLAYERS Jon Worsnop (Goalkeeper) Joined The Port after falling out of favour at York City, the 35-year-old is an experienced and big presence between the sticks. David Morgan (Midfield) Has played for Northern Ireland at three different youth levels. Morgan boasts National League North expereince with AFC Fylde and Harrogate Town. Jason Gilchrist (Striker) Currently the top goalscorer in the division, Gilchrist was released by Burnley before joining FCUM, scoring 21 goals before signing for Southport.

LAST FIVE RESULTS RESULT 3-1 vs Curzon Ashton Saturday 24th February 2018. WON 0-3 vs North Ferriby Saturday 17th February 2018. WON 0-3 vs Gainsborough Trinity Saturday 17th February 2018. LOST 3-0 vs Kidderminster Harriers Saturday 27th January 2018. WON 3-1 vs Stockport County Saturday 20th January 2018.

2.5m wide Pitch-side advertising boards are available for £100+VAT (POB stand side) or £150+VAT elsewhere per year. One off manufacture is £100+VAT Email or call 07570794374

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

It’s the biggest shake-up in the Non-League game since 2004… and now the FA has revealed what it might look like. From 2018/19, an extra division will be added at Steps 3 and 4. The FA’s Leagues Committee has released provisional Step 3 and 4 league boundaries ahead of next season’s National League System restructuring. At their meeting on February 6, the Committee decided the principles to be applied when allocating clubs at the two steps. The Committee decision was taken after hearing the results of two exercises, the first using the tables at the end of last season (2016/17) and the second based on the tables as of January 2 2018. It is emphasised by the FA that, for the time being, this is a guide only and they have deliberately not included names of clubs because the full allocation can only be made when the identities of the constituent clubs are known. It is clarified that this is for season 2018/19 and the make-up of clubs in future seasons may alter this approach. At Step 3, the decision is to implement a north division, a central ‘band’ from the east coast to the west of Birmingham, together with south west and south east divisions, as shown in The NLP’s graphic below. The Southern League is to administer the pink and yellow areas, the Isthmian League the green area and the Northern Premier League to administer the area coloured black. At Step 4, the seven areas will be divided as shown in The NLP’s graphic below. The Isthmian League has responsibility for the green, blue and orange areas, the Southern League administers the yellow and pink areas and the Northern Premier League in the area coloured black. The Northern Premier League is calling a meeting of its clubs to decide whether to remain with a north/south split or to change to an east/west allocation.

1977/78 FA CUP RUN: 40TH A Today we welcome former Spartans Terry

Terry Johnson Terry joined Newcastle United as a 17-yearold, incidentally on the very same day as Dave Clarke, and went on to score 34 goals for the Central league team in his first season. After a loan spell at Darlington, commencing in 1969, he joined Southend in 1971 helping the club win promotion to Division 3 in 1971/72 and being crowned the Player of the Year for 1972/73 and becoming a Southend legend. In 1974 Terry was transferred to Brentford for £15,000 where he played over 100 games. He left Griffin Park at the end of the 1976/77 season to join Blyth. Terry scored 32 goals in his first season at Croft Park and went on to score memorable and history -making goals in the 1977/78 Cup run at Shildon, against Crook and Consett and, of course two at Stoke and one in the first Wrexham 5th Round match and again in the replay at St. James’ Park. It was in the 11th minute at Stoke when Terry put Blyth ahead. The game went on to be standing at 2-2 before in the final minute Terry popped up to rifle a shot past Stoke keeper Jones to win the game for the Spartans in sensational style. At Wrexham he pounced on a back pass to fire through goalkeeper Davies’ legs to put Blyth one up in the 12th minute. The match was ultimately drawn and in the pulsating replay at St. James’ Park, with Blyth two down, Terry pulled one back up in the 83rd minute, latching on to a Keith Houghton header to score and give the Blyth

fans, and team alike, renewed hope. Terry scored 67 goals for Blyth including four in his final game at Tow Law which saw the Spartans seal the Northern League title in 1983. *Unfortunately weren’t able to get an interview with Terry for this Programme.

ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS Johnson and Eddie Alder to Croft Park.

Eddie Alder Eddie was a stalwart midfielder at Croft Park for the 12 years between 1966 and 1978. He holds the honour of representing Blyth Spartans more than any other player with a remarkable 625 games. Originally a left winger he signed for Blyth from Bedlington Mechanics. Eddie said: “Blyth Chairman Jimmy Turney asked me to sign. I told him I was happy at Bedlington but he invited me to have a game for the Spartans at North Shields. I played and it went from there.” Eddie was pre-eminent in Blyth’s progression as a club throughout the late 60s and in to the 70s. He combined mobility, tenacity, hard work, adept passing and control with being the ultimate gentleman off the pitch. “I like to think that I read the game well,” he commented. “I got up and down and tried to support the others. I scored quite a lot of goals as a winger but later I provided chances for others.” He retired briefly in 1975 before returning to the club. Eddie said: “I always had problems with my knees so I decided to give it a rest and I had a short spell coaching at Bedlington. But then Brian Slane and Jack Marks asked to me help with the coaching at Blyth and I discovered there that I could get fit and play again.”

earlier FA Cup wins against Crewe and Stockport as well as sterling performances against Reading and Grimsby. In 1974 Eddie was in the Blyth team with played Preston at Croft Park. “To play against Bobby Charlton and Nobby Stiles was an amazing experience,” he said. “Those early 1970s teams were a real highlight for me as well as the 1977/78 Cup team.” Talking of the 1977/78 squad, and Cup run, Eddie said: “It was a mix of former professionals, younger lads and others reaching their peak. I was possibly passed my peak! Everyone just seemed to blend, plus spirit was a big factor in our success. We just went out and played. We let the opposition worry about us. “The Stoke game was the best team performance I was part of. When we went ahead it was them who looked like the amateur side. Then at St. James Park for the Wrexham game the atmosphere was unbelievable. I didn’t play in that game but I think the right team was put out that night.” Eddie was granted a testimonial in 1979.

Eddie contributed to three Northern League titles, three Northumberland Senior Cup final wins and took part in an FA Amateur Cup semi-final while at Croft Park. His appearances in the 1977/78 Cup run was accompanied by

Compiled by Phil Castiaux, Graham Usher and Ken Sproat


SHAUN MACDONALD (Goalkeeper) Young goalkeeper who signed this summer upon his release from Gateshead. PETER JAMESON (Goalkeeper) Recent signing from National League North rivals Darlington. Helped the Quakers to two promotions in four seasons. NATHAN BUDDLE (Back-four) 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 resigned for Blyth 2015. DAVID ATKINSON (Back-four) After a summer of professional football in Iceland, Atkinson joined Blyth in October to link up with his former teammates. DYLAN MCGLADE (Back-four) Former Rupublic of Ireland youth international signed from Longfort Town. IAN WATSON (Back-four) 31-year-old Watson is Blyth’s first summer signing coming from Spennymoor Town. ANDREW CARTWRIGHT (Back-four) Signed from the Sunderland academy for the 2015/16 season, the 22-year-old has made 67 appearances so far at Blyth.

MICHAEL LIDDLE (Back-four) 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 (Back-four) Signed from Darlington 1883 Jordan Watson has made 18 appearances in defence, 2 from the bench. RYAN HUTCHINSON (Back-four) 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. DAMEN MULLEN (Utility player) 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. SEAN REID // (Utility player) Made his debut in August 2015 against Buxton. Scored 20 goals last season in 50 apps.

** 1977/78 FA CUP SPECIAL *** BLYTH PROFILES DAVID MCTIERNAN (Midfield) Another player who made their debut last season, McTiernan played in 15 games and scored 2 goals from midfield. NEAL HOOKS (Midfield/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.

ROBBIE DALE (Winger) 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.

LEWIS HORNER (Midfield) 25-year-old Horner is another who re-signed for Blyth Spartans following a spell in the SPL with Inverness CT. KIERAN GREEN (Midfield) 20-year old Green is a holding midfielder on loan from Gateshead. He has made appearances in the Football League with previous club Hartlepool United. DALE HOPSON (Midfield Striker) 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. ADAM WRIGHTSON (Winger) 19-year-old Wrightson scored 4 goals and made 18 appearances for Blyth last season, 12 as a substitute. JARRETT RIVERS (Winger) 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 re-joined Blyth the following year.

GREG RUTHERFORD (Striker) 6’ 4� striker who who was named Scottish League Two Player of the Month back in March. Signed in October from Berwick. JORDAN LAIDLER (Striker) 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 (Striker) 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. MACAULEY LANGSTAFF (Striker) Another on-loan Gateshead player. The forward is in his second spell with Spartans this season after rejoining in February.


MARK HALSTEAD (Goalkeeper) After starting his career at the Blackpool FC Centre of Excellence, Mark went on to make 3 league appearances for the Seasiders, including an appearance from the bench against Carlo Ancelloti’s Chelsea in the Premier League. Mark’s time at Blackpool also saw him continue his development with loan spells at Burscough, Hyde, Barrow, Kettering Town and Stockport County. JON WORSNOP (Goalkeeper) Goalkeeper Jon Worsnop joined Southport on a free transfer following his release from York City. The experienced Bradford-born goalkeeper joins from the Minstermen, having previously been at Chester City where he made 83 appearances. Starting his career at Bradford City, Jon has also played for Aberystwyth Town, Guiseley, FC United of Manchester, Bradford Park Avenue and Alfreton Town. STEVE HOWSON (Back-four) Signed on a free transfer from Curzon Ashton (24/11) after several seasons with Salford City.

CURTIS JONES (Back-four) Curtis made 54 appearances for Nantwich Town last season in all competitions. His career began as youth player at Stockport County before joining Celtic, spending time in their Under-21 team. He has also been with Bristol City, TNS, Livingstone, Mossley and Abbey Hey. Curtis can be utilised both in defence and midfield. CALEB RICHARDS (Back-four) Full Back signed on a Youth loan from Blackpool. Richards is a former youth team captain at Blackpool and signed a professional contract at Bloomfield Road at the end of last season. He recently spent time on loan at Warrington Town as well as Marine. BILLY PRIESTLEY (Back-four) Billy joined Alfreton in the Summer after time spent at Salford City, where he made 41 league appearances last term, and notably scored to equalise for Salford in their Northern Premier League playoff final against Workington in 2016. Starting his youth career at Accrington Stanley, Billy has also gone on to play for Colne, Ramsbottom United and Bradford Park Avenue, where he made 61 league appearances.

** 1977/78 FA CUP SPECIAL *** S’PORT PROFILES JORDAN RICHARDS (Back-four) Jordan began his career at Hartlepool United, signing his first pro deal in 2011, going on to spend 6 years with the North-East club and making over 60 Football League appearances. He made 15 appearances on loan at Alfreton before going on to join AFC Fylde. Jordan has made 10 National League appearances for AFC Fylde since the start of the season as well as both 2nd Round FA Cup ties against Wigan Athletic.

DION CHARLES (Winger) Dion made 52 league appearances for Fylde, scoring 14 goals during the club’s promotion season in the National League North. Following promotion, he scored 4 goals in 12 games for Fylde before securing a transfer to Fleetwood.

ELLIOT OSBORNE (Midfield) He started his career with Port Vale before moving to Newcastle Town in July 2014, scoring seven goals in 27 games. Elliot then joined Nantwich Town and his fine form there, featuring 22 goals in 2015-16, earned him a move to League One with Fleetwood. Last summer, Elliot joined League Two side Morecambe on a half-season loan, scoring one goal in 13 appearances.

JASON GILCHRIST (Striker) Club record signing from FC United Of Manchester. Signed for FC United following his release from Premier League side Burnley. The 22 year old has scored 29 goals in 62 appearances for FC United including 15 goals in 19 appearances this season, making him the National League North’s third highest scorer when he joined The Sandgrounders. Started off in sensational style grabbing a debut goal in the FA Trophy and became the first ever Southport player in our history to score a hat-trick on his league debut for the club.

DAVID MORGAN (Midfield) David signed from Harrogate Town where he recently joined on non-contract terms. Beginning his career at Nottingham Forest, he spent time on loan at Lincoln City, Dundee and Tamworth. After leaving Nottingham Forest David spent time at Ilkeston before transferring to Nuneaton and later AFC Fylde.

JACK SAMPSON (Striker) Striker Jack Sampson joined the club on a free transfer. Jack spent the latter part of last season on loan at Chorley from Macclesfield and has been capped for England U19s. He has made 72 Football League appearances and Head of Development Mark Wright is confident the player has a bright future.

DAVID LYNCH (Midfield) Southport signed midfielder David Lynch for an undisclosed fee from Halifax Town. Signing an 18 month contract, David has featured 13 times in the Vanarama National League from Halifax this term. He has also previously played for Altrincham and Clitheroe and plays predominantly as a holding midfielder.

DAN COCKERLINE (Striker) The 20-year-old striker started his career at Sheffield United. He joined Northwich Victoria before transferring to Barrow and has also spent time on loan at Grantham Town, Marine, Curzon Ashton and Stalybridge Celtic.

ADAM DAWSON (Midfield) Adam was most recently at Tranmere Rovers for a second spell and has youth experience with Liverpool and Wigan Athletic and has also played for clubs including Bristol Rovers, Barrow and Eastleigh.

JOSH HINE (Striker) Joining for his third spell at the club, Josh played for the Sandgrounders at youth level, before re-joining from Clitheroe under Liam Watson in 2012. He remains the youngest player to play for Southport in NL Football making his debut when just 16 years and 258 days old on November 17 2007. Ten years later he is back at his hometown club.

Southport History Established 1881 The original Southport Football Club began as a rugby team in the 1870’s but a series of heavy defeats saw the switch to football and it was on Thursday 12th November 1881 that Southport took to the field against Bootle “second” in their first match under Association Rules. Southport were founder members of the Central League in 1911 and in 1918 were taken over by the Vulcan Motor Company – playing as Southport Vulcan for one season, the first club to use a sponsorship label as part of their name. In the FA Cup Southport became the first Third Division North club to reach the sixth round in 1931, losing away from home against the mighty Everton 9-1. A season later a Haig Avenue record gate of 20,010 saw the Sandgrounders draw in the 4th round with Newcastle. Southport reached the 6th round in 1965 after defeating Cardiff City before losing at Hull City. Southport’s last third round appearance was under Paul Futcher in 1996/97 when the hopes of a big club were dashed being defeated by Leyton Orient. Southport had two promotions as a Football League side, in 1966/67 under Billy Bingham and as Champions in 1972/73 under Jimmy Meadows, sadly the second promotion lasted just one season with the club relegated and the slide into Non League football gathered pace. Twenty Third in 1975/76, 76/7 and 1977/78 saw the club having to apply for re-election and it was third time unlucky when Wigan Athletic took The Sandgrounders place in the Football League, quite a contrast in fortunes for the two clubs in the following 33 years! Charlie Clapham took a place on the board in 1982 and became chairman in 1984. He had the financial acumen that had been missing – a long term vision and with careful negotiations plotted the club slowly out of its rising near crippling debts. Today he is one of the longest serving chairmen in the pyramid and the club is financially secure, something not apparent for most of the club’s chequered history. Brian Kettle’s 1992-93 side won the Northern Premier league in real style amassing 96 points and scoring over 100 goals. They also reached the second round of the FA Cup for the first time since 1968. Kettle took the club into the Vauxhall Conference finishing fourth. Billy Ayre in his first season went one better finishing third, just eight points off champions Macclesfield Town. Had play offs been in existence back then, who knows Southport could be back playing in the Football League, a status everyone connected with the club is desperate to get back.

Paul Futcher’s 1997-98 squad achieved a first for both the club and the town – a Wembley FA Trophy final. Futcher, formerly the most expensive defender in British football, at the age of 40, achieved a personal lifetime ambition by running out on the Wembley turf. The town rallied with over 10,000 enjoying a wonderful day. Whilst Steve Cotterill’s Cheltenham scored a late winner it was Southport who took the plaudits but not their chances. Futcher was unable to build on his Wembley squad and former England captain Mark Wright took over the Haig Avenue reigns. Wright inherited a number of talented younger players assembled by Futcher and motivated them, taking them up from second from bottom in the Conference to a respectable 9th position. Wright’s full season of 2000-01 saw the Sandgrounders finish a fine fourth behind Brian Talbot’s Rushden and Diamonds. Fat forward to 2009/10 and The Sandgrounders fought a titanic battle on and off the field with Fleetwood Town and sealed the Blue Square North title on the final day of the season at Eastwood Town in front of over 700 jubilant fans. The 2010/11 season saw Southport finish in 21st place and relegated to Blue Square North but after a dramatic close season the club gained a reprieve as Rushden & Diamonds were expelled from the Blue Square Premier. The Sandgrounders surpassed everyone’s expectations in 2011/12 and made the most of the reprieve occupying a play off place for a large part of the season before finishing in seventh place. Considering The Sandgrounders shocking away form in 2010/11 it took everyone by surprise when the club went on a remarkable eight game winning run away from home to beat the club record which had stood since 1956. The 2011/12 season saw Southport finally get a good draw as a Non League Club when they pulled Sheffield Wednesday out of the hat which saw the Club’s first ever live TV game on Terrestrial Television. Although the ‘Port went down 5-2, they twice equalized and gained many admirers amongst the watching millions. Last year, Southport’s seven year stay in the top flight of Non League football came to an end with relegation to National North for the 2017/18 season. A record number of defeats ( 27) a record number of players used (50) and a record number of goals against (97) made it a season to forget. Off field turmoil with a fans revolt forcing Chairman Charlie Clapham to stand down and he was followed by Vice Chairman Sam Shrouder and Commercial and Community Director Haydn Preece. In the end the whole of the existing board resigned. The Club came under the control of a new board of directors. It proved to be an eventful close season and as we move into the 2017/18 season there has been a massive rebuild on and off the field. Only one player remained from the 2016/17 season and there is a whole new set up at boardroom level. That player left before the season started.

Blyth Spartans by Graham Usher | Blyth set off on their now legendary cup run on Saturday 17th September 1977. It was a comfortable 3-0 win at Shildon in the 1st Qualifying Round thanks to goals from Brian Slane Terry Johnson & Rob Carney.Then came Crook Town away in 2nd Qual. where a late Steve Jones equaliser earned a 1-1 draw. In the replay a near 1,000 crowd saw Terry Johnson, Ron Guthrie & Rob Carney score to seal a 3-0 win. The 3rd Qual. Round was away at Consett, goals from Terry Johnson, Mick Dagless, Brian Slane & Steve Jones saw Blyth run out 4-1 winners. A 4th Qualifying Round tie at Bishop Auckland provided the toughest game so far. It took a 75th minute Ian Mutrie header to seal victory but it ended in controversy when Bishops claimed to have scored a last gasp equaliser. The ref waved play on after Tommy Dixon cleared the ball off the line but the Bishop’s players were adamant it had gone it in and arguments raged on even after the final whistle. The 1st Round proper provided the first home draw when Cheshire League side Burscough came to Croft Park. 2,500 saw Blyth wear an unfamiliar kit of white tops with green shorts & stocks when the away team turning up with their kit of all green tops, white shorts & white socks. Ian Mutrie’s 68th minute winner sealed a hard fought 1-0 win that sent the club into the 2nd Round for a 9th time. Blyth were at home again in the 2nd Round when struggling 3rd Division side Chesterfield came to Croft Park. A 3,700 crowd saw another single goal victory be enough to put Spartans into 3rd Round for only the 2nd time in the club’s history. Mick Dagless was ruled out with an injury that would keep him out of the rest of the cup run. Mutrie & Johnson played despite being injured. Despite having made his goal scoring debut the week before Alan Shoulder wasn’t allowed to play due to ‘red tape’ issue with the Northern League. In 31st minute Rob Carney’s long ball put the fullback under pressure, Steve Jones nipped in and intercepted his back pass to poke the ball past the advancing keeper and into the empty goal. It was his 16th goal for the Spartans in only his 21st appearance!. Chesterfield manager Arthur Cox even went into the Blyth dressing room afterwards to congratulate the players on their deserved victory. Having played in the first ever Blyth side to reach the FA Cup 3rd Round 5 years earlier Brian Slane had now taken them back to the 3rd Round as manager. Having started the cup run with four away ties the 3rd Round handed Blyth their third consecutive home game. Isthmian League Enfield came to Croft Park on a 32 game unbeaten run and had only conceded 1 goal in the cup so far so they were seen by many as favourites. A third 1-0 consecutive win put Blyth into the 4th Round for the first time in their history. In a close game Alan Shoulder sealed the win with a 77th minute header to send the 5,095 crowd wild.

1977/78 FA Cup Run The 4th Round draw put Blyth on their travels again, this time to Second Divisions Stoke City. After two postponements the tie was finally played on Monday 6th February. Blyth took a 12th minute lead through Terry Johnson when he reacted quickest stabbing the ball home after Stoke keeper Roger Jones fumbled a corner. Blyth held the lead until the 57th minute. The home sides pressure finally paid off when Viv Busby equalised before minutes later Garth Crooks headed City ahead. Spartans fought back and equalised through Steve Carney. Ron Guthrie’s free kick clipped the wall before spinning up onto the post. Alan Shoulder reacted quickest but agonisingly saw his head come off the other post, Steve Carney hammered the rebound home as the home defenders appealed in vain for offside. With seconds left the comeback was complete when a free kick was headed on by Keith Houghton, Rob Carney then got a touch that took it over the defender and fell invitingly into the path of the on rushing Terry Johnson. The experienced striker hammered home the dramatic winner to send the Spartans into the 5th Round. The initial 5th Round draw had given the possibility of a North East derby, it was drawn as Newcastle United or Wrexham v. Stoke City or Blyth Spartans!. But on the same night that Blyth were winning at Stoke in form Wrexham hammered Newcastle 4-1 in their replay. The Wrexham tie was played on a frozen pitch and featured as the main game on Match of the Day that night. Blyth came within seconds of reaching the Quarter Finals when the game ended in controversy. Terry Johnson had given the Spartans a 12th minute lead which they held until the final seconds of the game. Ref Alf Grey controversially gave Wrexham a corner after John Waterson had clearly played at ball off Bobby Shinton for a goal kick. The corner had to be taken three times, Dave Clarke punched the first one away for another corner. Clarke comfortably collected Cartwright’s next attempt but it was ordered to be retaken because the corner flag had fallen over, when in fact Cartwright had pushed the corner flag over to give himself room to take the kick!. The third corner eluded everyone and was headed home at the far post by Dixie McNeil to snatch a replay. The replay was held at St James Park in front of a staggering 42,187 crowd and once again referee Alf Grey was at the centre of a highly controversial moment. In the 7th minute he adjudged Ronnie Scott had held back McNeil when they challenged for a cross, Whittle crashed home the spot kick to put the visitors ahead. In the 26th minutes McNeil made it two when he volleyed home Shinton’s cross. Blyth responded and had the better of the game but were unable to get the goals they needed. It wasn’t until the 83rd minute that Blyth pulled one back, Terry Johnson latched onto a Keith Houghton header and crashed the ball home. Despite the tremendous support from a packed St James Park the equaliser didn’t come and after 5 months the famous cup run was over. The run had made Blyth Spartans a household name and put the town on the map.





James Burrell Builders Merchants are today’s corporate match sponsors. They joined the list of advertisers in the summer of 2017 with a prominent central double board at the shed side of Croft Park. The local builders merchants with a branch in Blyth were keen to promote themselves in South East Northumberland. As well as Blyth the firm has 7 other branches predominantly in the North East. Commercial Manager Mark Scott was pleased to get an email from Andy Lees who he knew from his time as Commercial Manager at North Shields when Andy was then managing another builders merchants branch in the region: “Andy’s a huge Spartans supporter and as long as I’ve known him he’s firmly had his teams colour’s on show and it’s great his new employer is keen and able to support the club by advertising with us.” Established in Gateshead in 1877 and having recently celebrated their 140th anniversary ,they are still owned today by the Richardson family. James Burrell continue to provide a comprehensive concentration of experience and expertise in the supply of heavyside & timber materials. As the North East’s leading independent merchant, covering a geographical trading area from the Scottish Borders down to South Yorkshire, their aim is to provide the very best service and products available. They have eight strategically placed branches at Sunderland, Blyth, Newcastle, Gateshead, Bishop Auckland, Stockton, York and Ossett which were selected to best serve local, regional and national based contractors along with house builders and their sub-contractors working in our region. They offer a full range of building & timber products and systems to their customers available on a next day delivery basis. The strategic locations allow their fleet of heavy goods vehicles to deliver over 350 tonnes of material, first drop each morning and over 1000 tonnes in total each day. They provide their customers with the comfort of dealing with a Contract Merchant but also with the added benefit of regional knowledge and strong levels of coverage and service giving the preferred route to market for many key manufacturers. All eight branches focus on supporting the local builders without the distraction of the contract branch but with all the above specialism they can offer an unrivalled level of service and expertise. Their product range can offer something above the normal builder’s merchants standard. We’d like to thank James Burrell Builders Merchants and Andy Lees in particular for their support. Local Branch: Unit C, D & E Progressive Court, Spencer Road, Blyth Industrial Estate, NE24 5TG Tel: 01670 357560 Website:

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

Sean Reid and Nathan Buddle pick up award Midfielder Sean Reid has picked up the Port of Blyth Player of the Month award for January after a number of impressive displays. Reid made six appearances in the month, netting a brace in a 4-0 win over Gainsborough Trinity and opening the scoring in the 1-1 draw against FC United of Manchester. Meanwhile the December winner defender Nathan Buddle helped Spartans keep two clean sheets that month – scoring in the home defeat to Spennymoor Town. Both players recently made their 175th appearances for the club, showing great commitment and quality during their tenures at Croft Park.

Maguire and Hopson to join V9 Academy The prolific Spartans strike duo of Dan Maguire and Dale Hopson are set to join the famous V9 Academy this summer. The academy – founded by Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy – rose to fame last summer with a series showcasing the programme on Sky Sports. Both Maguire and Hopson will spend a week this summer at the world class facilities of the Ethiad Campus. “The V9 Academy will hold its next intake of players at the City Football Academy, the training complex of Manchester City FC located on the Etihad Campus. The academy will host 42 successful applicants who will be split into 3 teams of 14 players for a 5-day residential programme. “The V9 Academy will also be filmed as a Sky Sports documentary and give a ‘behind the scenes’ look into how coaching, sport science, fitness methodology, talent ID and mental training is carried out at the top level.” Maguire, 25, has made 253 appearances for Spartans, scoring 134 goals, a record of better than one goal every two games. Hopson, 25, joined Spartans from Whitby Town in the summer, he’s starred this term scoring 12 goals in 33 appearances from midfield.


Since the emergence and success of AFC Wimbledon, a phoenix football club set up by fans of Premier League team Wimbledon FC, there has been a surge of newly formed clubs in recent years. But what does this mean for non league football? When a club goes into financial trouble or are declared defunct then the new parent company (phoenix club) are normally relocated into a division further down the English football pyramid. This poses real problems for the teams currently in the lower divisions as they simply can’t compete with these big teams dropping down the divisions. Using AFC Wimbledon as a case study, the Dons have achieved 6 promotions in their fifteen year history, which averages out to around a promotion every 3 years. And they aren’t alone. Other clubs, such as Darlington, have achieved 3 promotions in 5 seasons. The problem with this is that it seems very unfair on the teams who have been building their teams for years, only to be denied a promotion by a team who have entered the division with a big advantage in terms of resources available to them. Many of the lower divisions such as the Northern League Division One (step 5) operate in a one up, one down system - with the occasional second place promotion up for grabs. This meant that when a team like Darlington, in 2012, were relegated to that division it restricted Spennymoor Town from a possible promotion. Darlington won 40 games out of a possible 46 that season, helped along by top goalscorer Amar Purewal, who was leading scorer for Durham City in the division above the previous season. Admittedly, some teams opt to stay in the division at step 5 level if they don’t have the ground grading or the financial resources to play higher up. But in this case Spennymoor Town won the league the following season and took promotion to the NPL Division One.

My point is that big teams in the lower leagues have the advantage of club status and support from a large fan base. They have the finances to sign these quality players and the pulling power to persuade them to drop a few leagues. Attendance figures play a big part in the finances, for example Chester FC had an average attendance of around 2,500 for the three seasons they were promoted consecutively from the NPL Division One to the National League - this dwarfs many other clubs attendances and revenue. I think on the other hand, it is important to explore the benefits of phoenix sides in the non league system. Abnormally large attendances can benefit other clubs’ matchday income when they host these big teams at home. It is like an FA Cup game against a Football League side, and brings in some much needed revenue for clubs who may struggle just to break even. Another valid point would be that it raises the profile of non league football. These big teams will no doubt get a lot of media coverage and this can translate to higher attendances and a larger interest into what is happening in non league - which I am absolutely in favour of. There are currently a few teams who are rising through the steps of non league, Hereford FC are the latest, after forming in 2015 they have won the league twice and are challenging for promotion to the National League South this year. The Bulls are a club who are a prime example of the points made in this article and are a club many will be watching in the seasons to come. 35










Graham KELLY






Jarrett RIVERS









Referee TBA Red Flag: TBA Yellow Flag: TBA


Profile for Dan Simmonite

Blyth Spartans v Southport (Retro Programme)  

Retro design Blyth Spartans programme to commemorate 40 years since the clubs famous FA Cup run (1977/78).

Blyth Spartans v Southport (Retro Programme)  

Retro design Blyth Spartans programme to commemorate 40 years since the clubs famous FA Cup run (1977/78).