Mural for Blyth Spartans legend is underway

Work is underway to honour a Blyth Spartans legend.

Friday, 30th April 2021, 9:00 am
Artist Frank Styles prepares to start work on the mural for Blyth Spartans legend Robbie Dale.

A mural to honour former Spartans star Robbie Dale is being placed on a wall near their Croft Park home.

Renowned Sunderland-based artist Frank Styles is creating the masterpiece on the wall of Gino’s Fish Bar, just yards away in Plessey Road.

A group of supporters fronted by Simon Needham worked in conjunction with the club to fundraise for the mural, managing to raise the necessary £5,000.

Robbie Dale scored 212 goals in a club-record 680 appearances during a 15-year career at Croft Park and was named as the second greatest player in Northern Premier League history behind Leicester City and England star Jamie Vardy.

Dale helped Spartans to two Northern Premier League titles, two Northumberland Senior Cup wins and appeared in the FA Cup third round on two occasions, scoring twice against Championship club Birmingham City in a 3-2 defeat in 2015.

He is widely recognised as one of the greatest players never to have played professional football and became synonymous with the green and white of Spartans before he announced his retirement last year.

Work on the mural started on Wednesday, with the wall being cleared and smoothed, ahead of the base colour being applied. It is expected to take three weeks to complete.

Supporter Simon Needham said: “The idea of the wall mural came about after seeing the work of Frank Styles around the North East and also the involvement of a group of Spartans fans taking part in a project to create a mural of footballer Patrick O’Connell in Belfast.

“We just thought that a wall mural would be a fitting, lasting tribute to Robbie and give something back to the Blyth area too.

“We have to also thank Shad Saleem, the owner of Gino’s Fish Bar for kindly donating the wall space.”

Spartans have also reaffirmed their commitment to holding a testimonial match for Dale once supporters are able to return to Croft Park in a safe environment.

Styles produced several stunning murals of Sunderland legends Jimmy Montgomery, Kevin Phillips and Raich Carter.