Blyth AFC fold and all their Northern League results are wiped out

Ebac Northern League Division One club Blyth AFC have folded.

Tuesday, 28th August 2018, 8:56 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th August 2018, 7:21 am
Blyth AFC's final game against Knaresborough Town in the FA Cup on Saturday. Picture: Craig Dinsdale

The move brings an end to weeks of speculation about their future as owner Barry Elliott decided that the club could no longer remain in business.

Elliott had spoken of his desire to see the club reach the Football League as recently as 2015 but expressed his concerns over their immediate future before last Saturday’s FA Cup Preliminary Round tie at Knaresborough Town.

Before the weekend’s FA Cup exit in North Yorkshire, the Braves had led the Northern League table having won their opening four games of the division one campaign.

The club moved from their South Newsham home to ground share at Ashington’s Woodhorn Lane midway through last season, just months before new management team Ian Skinner and Jon McDonald led them to promotion into Northern League Division One.

But despite the positive to the new campaign, their opening two “home” games only produced an average attendance of just over 80 spectators.

The Braves suffered a 5-1 defeat on Saturday and their exit from the FA Cup saw online speculation increase over their future.

Elliott was involved in a meeting on Tuesday afternoon and the players were informed of the news via text message at 5pm, with official confirmation coming from the Northern League shortly before 7.30pm this evening.

A Northern League statement said: “Blyth AFC today officially resigned from the Ebac Northern League.

“The league has been aware of the situation that the club was in for some time but was not in a position to comment publicly.”

League chairman Glenn Youngman commented: “It’s another very disappointing decision – especially coming after they played only four league games and so soon after Team Northumbria’s decision to resign.

“We spoke to Blyth’s owner Barry Elliott to see if there was anything that we could do to help, but ultimately it was a matter for him.

“Like the Team North decision, this resignation has an adverse effect on clubs, players and spectators.

“In particular in means less income for the clubs that remain in the first division, which will now have to run with 18 teams for the rest of the season. All of Blyth’s results will be removed and the table adjusted accordingly.

“Blyth’s decision will be discussed by the League Management Committee which meets next Thursday (September 6).”

Blyth AFC are the fourth Northern League club to fold in the last two years, following in the footsteps of Norton and Stockton Ancients, Jarrow Roofing and Team Northumbria.

Saturday’s FA Cup tie will now go down the last ever game in the short, but eventful history of Blyth AFC.

Speaking before Saturday’s FA Cup tie, Elliott said: “The club has been on an incredible journey since we were founded in 2015.

“We have a team that won the Northern Alliance twice, finished eighth in our first season in division two of the Northern League and then won it in our second season.

“We have won all five of our games so far this season and we are top of the table.

“We have been successful as a club but we don’t have the support, we don’t have a home or security of tenure and no income.

“That’s unsustainable and we are a business.

“Any business, football club or not, can’t be function if it’s not sustainable.”

A summer of ambitious signings included former North Shields FA Vase winners Adam Forster and Curtis Coppen.