It is safe to say Blyth Spartans have surprised many outsiders with their impressive start to the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League campaign.
And manager Tom Wade admitted that there were many insiders who shared that opinion, including himself.
After Tuesday night’s 2-1 win against a previously undefeated Ashton United, Spartans currently sit in seventh position in the league table, only being kept out of the play-off places on goal difference.
Wade said he is delighted with the season so far and insisted that it was down to hard work on and off the pitch by everyone at Croft Park
“We were confident that we had put together a decent squad this season, looking to build on last season with a mixture of young and experienced players,” he said.
“Even after a decent pre-season we are still very surprised at how well the younger lads have adapted to the physical side of the game at this level.
“More importantly, we have a great backroom staff.
“Colin, John and Bev are very experienced and professional people, the club are lucky to have them.
“Add to that experienced players like Hooks, Kendrick, Purewal, Dale and Hubbard, who are top draw in the changing rooms and pass advice, and it’s a great blend.”
Spartans endured a frustrating first half against The Robins that saw Wade’s side put in a surprisingly under par performance which led to some dissenting voices amongst the Croft Park faithful.
However, Wade was quick to admit that he understood their frustrations but asked that his young side were shown patience, something he feels they have earned given the start to the season they have achieved.
“Nobody was more frustrated than the players, that is the worst we have played this season and were still competitive.
“Unfortunately some supporters took it a little too far, it did get very personal directly to a couple of players.
“The younger lads are not used to this but what I was pleased with was the attitude to put that behind them in the game and get on with it.
“They have earned the right to be shown patience given our good start to the campaign.”
He added: “99.9 per cent of the supporters are behind the team and quite rightly have a go when needed to push the players on.
“It gets very frustrating at times but a lot of these players have not played this level and the supporters are vital to their development.”
Looking ahead to a challenging few weeks that sees Spartans visit Witton Albion, who defeated them three times last season, title challengers Chorley and newly promoted Barwell, Wade stressed the important role that the Green Army have in helping his young side.
A summer of transition at Croft Park has seen many of the new additions reveal that they were proud to play for the club and praised the affect that the supporters have on their performance and Wade was in agreement with his players.
“Our supporters are hugely important, when the lads hear the noise and the encouragement from the crowd they feel ten feet tall and you can see them puffing their chests out and being proud to wear the shirt.
“I must stress that the vast majority of the supporters are brilliant and are loyal to the end. However, as I have said, a few spoil it and they need to understand where the club is and what we have.
“The future is bright and we need to work together as a club to bring this team on.”