BLYTH Spartans held a minute’s silence ahead of their clash against Matlock Town at Croft Park in memory of former captain Arthur Sowden, who passed away on Boxing Day.
After playing junior football for Shankhouse, Cramlington born Sowden progressed to playing for Middlesborough Colts where he had the opportunity to sign professional.
He then signed for Blackhall Colliery, joining Blyth Spartans as a semi-professional in 1950 while working as a blacksmith for the NCB, making his debut with Jimmy Turney.
Sowden’s ability and leadership skills were obvious as he was made captain in his first season.
Despite being in the North Eastern League, under his captaincy Blyth regularly had many entertaining battles with league Clubs in the FA Cup.
In 1951 they took Tranmere Rovers to four matches with more than 25,000 watching the final match at Goodison Park, and playing Hartlepool in front of a crowd of over 10,000 at Croft Park.
Probably the most memorable game was a first round FA Cup tie against Boston United, when Boston were leading 4-1 with 15 minutes to go and Blyth eventually won the match 5-4 in normal time.
Sowden played for Spartans for eight seasons and he was recognised as being one of the best centre halves in the North Eastern League and was a popular and well liked person/footballer during his time there.
His career finished in 1958 after a cartilage operation, unusually for the period he was awarded a benefit match.
After his retirement from playing, Sowden served as a scout for the club and was on the board of directors.