Now that the dust has settled after Blyth Spartans’ latest romantic exploits in the FA Cup, I (as a fan for the best part of 30 years now) just wanted to reflect on how brilliant the whole 2014-15 adventure has been.
And I want to say how well the players, the management and everyone connected to the club have portrayed not just the Spartans but the whole town of Blyth to the rest of the world.
Naturally, given our previous cup history, we have found ourselves the focus of attention again from the national and even the international media.
When you have journalists from the most respected national newspapers and TV stations declaring how professional the club’s approach has been throughout this epic run to the third round, it makes you proud to have an association with the Spartans (in my case simply as a fan).
We may operate in the national game’s seventh tier – but the club’s attitude and attention to detail is truly first-class, especially when you consider that many/most of the people involved are volunteers, doing it simply because they care.
Manager Tom Wade has been a superb ambassador for Blyth (town and club), handling the huge demands made on him by the media for interviews and comment with courtesy, aplomb and a sense of style that has helped put the town on the map and in the most positive way imaginable. The man is Blyth through and through – and it shows.
Fans of clubs across the country have been almost unanimous in their praise of the Spartans, the consensus being that of a ‘proper’ football club run by ‘proper’ football people.
It’s the way football should be – the way we always like to remember it in those pre-Sky days when it still was the ‘people’s game’.
Before we move on – and whilst the sound and fury of a packed-to-the-rafters Croft Park still rings in the ears – I want to appeal to the thousands of people who turned out for the Birmingham game. Why don’t you come back on a more frequent basis to cheer on this brilliant football club and join us 400 or so regulars who enjoy a proper match day experience every other Saturday? You’ll be welcomed with open arms.
And you never know, you might easily get the Spartans ‘bug’ and (in the same way I did when I first walked into the ground 30 years ago) simply fall in love with the place.