Spartans looking to build on FA Cup run

It may not have been the result they hoped for on the pitch, but Saturday’s FA Cup defeat to Birmingham City was certainly successful off the field.

Blyth Spartans’ 3-2 defeat was the first game shown on Saturday night’s Match of the Day, earning the club an extra £7,000.

It added to the £7,500 from Radio 5 Live for its broadcast from the ground and commentary.

And this is on top of prize money earned during each tie in the competition.

The club said these fees would help cover the annual petrol bill, which is £13,000.

Speaking to The Guardian newspaper, Spartans general manager Ian Evans said: “It all counts. That petrol is just for league games. We travel more miles than Newcastle United.”

Blyth’s last major journey in the FA Cup journey was in 2009, when Sam Allardyce brought Premier League Blackburn Rovers to Croft Park in the third round.

That run earned Spartans money which helped develop Croft Park, amongst a host of other things.

This season’s run, which included the live broadcast on BBC of the second round win at Hartlepool United, has enabled the club to buy half a dozen new first aid kits.

But the most pressing business – the buying and selling of players – has begun, at least in theory.

“We’ve had no bids yet,” Evans added.

But Blyth know there is interest in Jarrett Rivers and Nathan Buddle, both 21, while striker Daniel Maguire, also 21, was on trial with Oldham earlier in the season.

“A good thing is that the players likely to go are under contract, so we might be able to negotiate – a sell-on clause or a friendly would mean a lot to us,” Evans said.

“But we have an agreement that we won’t stand in any player’s way if they get the chance to play professionally. We wouldn’t do that.”

These sentiments were echoed by manager Tom Wade.

“This is a crucial point in the club’s history. How we do in the next month will decide the next few years,” he said.

“If we don’t take advantage and build we will just float around and we don’t want that.

“We have to make this club into something special. We have got the team to do it and the momentum is there.

“But yes, we have already had three or four inquiries and there were scouts watching our players.

“I would be very disappointed if I didn’t get a few calls in the next week or so.

“I think a lot of these lads deserve a chance to be full-time. If you put some fitness and strength into these lads they could be world beaters.

“They’d definitely go with my blessing. We wouldn’t stand in their way.”

And Wade also praised the fans for their support.

“The supporters have been incredibly passionate and devoted throughout the run,” he said.

“We couldn’t have achieved what we have without them.

“What we need now is their continued backing as we try and push on in our league fixtures.

“We should be a club like FC United of Manchester. We should be as big as them with the support we can muster.

“In the cup games the atmosphere the crowd generated was outstanding and really quite moving.

“At Hartlepool and before the Birmingham game the roars which went up when the players applauded the crowd after the warm ups were unbelievable.

“It’s been an amazing time for everyone at Blyth Spartans.

“We should all be very proud, whatever part we have played in helping shape this latest chapter in the history of our proud club.”