Spartans seek new sponsor revenues

THE executive committee of Blyth Spartans FC are looking to secure new sponsorship deals before the start of next season as the club strives to continue their progression both on-and-off the field.

Despite budget cuts earlier in the season and manager Mick Tait having to work with a threadbare squad, Blyth currently sit in a healthy eighth position in the Blue Square Bet North.

Speaking at a club open forum evening last week, chairman Tony Platten said: “Our three-year sponsorship deal with Drager is coming to an end so we are currently looking for a replacement sponsor and are in contact with other prominent companies within the region.

“The aim of the exec is to do everything within its power to match the budget for this season, next season.”

“The current economic climate, I can tell you, is not easy but we’re doing our best to attract sponsors with the success the club has had in the last couple of years – where we have demonstrated that we can perform at this level.”

The average attendance at Croft Park has remained stubbornly under 500 since the country fell into recession three years ago, and the club are hoping to raise funds through sponsorship to ensure Tait can bolster his squad ahead of the next campaign.

The Blyth manager answered questions from supporters eager to find out what the implications may be with regards to his squad if sponsorship deals were not finalised during the summer.

Tait realises that his players have already created interest from other clubs and that is why he is keen to find out the budget for next season.

He said: “I don’t know what the budget is yet but hopefully we can get that sorted out soon so I know what I’ll be working with.

“The team has got better and better over the last two years but my worry is that if we lose some of these players we’ll be starting all over again.

“If you look at Alfreton, who are walking away with the league now, it has taken them four or five years to get where they are, and sometimes that’s what it takes.”

Blyth are currently just three positions below the play-off places but Platten believes they are not financially prepared, just yet, to make the step up to a higher level.

He said: “Even though we have had success in the Trophy this year, the average league crowd has still remained stuck below 500.

“And it’s that crowd that pays for everything on a week-by-week basis, along with the sponsors.

“We’ve got to assume, or we’d like to assume as we did this year, that if we’re playing good football, get to a reasonable position in the league and go on a little bit of a cup run, the crowds will come in.

“We’ve spent the last ten years putting the place in good shape and getting us into the top half of the league.

“We want to ensure that we stay in the top half of the league. But we’ve got to be realistic about it. You simply cannot go into the Conference Premier with crowds of 500.”

There is a possibility the club could attract ten new sponsors through their current sponsorship deal with the Port of Blyth, and Platten encouraged supporters to use their own contacts to find any companies who may be interested.

He told the forum: “Leads that you can give us on companies that might be interested in any level of sponsorship will be greatly appreciated.

“The actual match-day sponsorships this year has provided income far greater than in any other season.”

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Vice-chairman Kevin Scott claimed that if attendances at Croft Park were to rise then this would relieve some of the pressure on the committee in finding new sponsors.

He said: “Even with 700 here, our reliability on outside sponsorship would drop right off and it would be on the support.

“The two main streams of income are the support through the gate and the sponsorship we generate.”

Platten issued a rallying call to supporters in the hope that Blyth can mark their final home game of the season with their highest league attendance against Guiseley on Easter Monday.

He said: “We’ll see you all at the Guiseley game on Easter Monday. Bring two mates and let’s get the crowd up to 700 for the last game.”

Anyone interested in sponsorship opportunities should contact general manager Ian Evans at generalmanager@blythspartans.com