Plaque honours Spartans founder

Mayor John Potts, Mabel and Malcolm Muter, Rachel Joseph and Tony Platten at the unveiling of the blue plaque at Bath Terrace, Blyth.
Mayor John Potts, Mabel and Malcolm Muter, Rachel Joseph and Tony Platten at the unveiling of the blue plaque at Bath Terrace, Blyth.

The founder of Blyth Spartans AFC has been honoured by the town.

A blue plaque to commemorate Fred Stoker has been unveiled on the house where he lived in Bath Terrace.

Blyth Spartans’ historian Ken Sproat said: “Fred Stoker was a GP, a respected official of the British Medical Association, an expert horticulturist, an author and Times columnist. But when he was a 20-year-old medical student, residing with his parents at 13 Bath Terrace, he did something else to make his mark – he helped form Blyth Spartans FC.

“Fred was the original club secretary and is credited with thinking of the club’s distinctive name. The inaugural meeting to form the club was held at his home in 1899. Fred and his fellow young pioneers could never have imagined their club, which was created to play only friendlies, would achieve so much and make the town of Blyth world famous for its footballing exploits.”

Blyth Town Council Mayor, Coun John Potts, who unveiled the plaque, said: “This is the twelfth plaque we have erected in the town and each represents an important historical or cultural connection with people who have contributed to our rich history. As a Spartans fan I am delighted to have unveiled this plaque.”

Two more very proud Spartans fans were also at the unveiling. Malcolm Muter and his mother Mabel are direct descendants of Fred Stoker. The pair, from Newsham, are keen supporters and Malcolm has been going to Croft Park since he was eight.

He said: “I’m his first cousin three times removed. It’s a great feeling to know that he started my local team.”

Spartans chairman Tony Platten added: “Blyth was famous for coal and shipbuilding but now wherever I go in the world and I say I’m from Blyth, the subject always gets around to Blyth Spartans.

“I’m proud to say that it all started here in this very house where Fred lived.”

History has come full circle at the Bath Terrace house.

Martha Joseph, 12, who lives in the house, plays for Blyth Spartans junior team. Mum Rachel said; “It’s great that history has come full circle and we are honoured to have the plaque on our home.”

Blue plaques are installed to commemorate a link between a location and a famous person, event or former building on the site.