Blyth Spartans dominate in Evo-Stik Northern Premier League awards

Blyth Spartans' award-winning skipper Robbie Dale. Picture by Bill Broadley
Blyth Spartans' award-winning skipper Robbie Dale. Picture by Bill Broadley

In a season that has thrown up many memories there was another one for Blyth Spartans at the annual Evo-Stik Northern Premier League awards.

The club monopolised the three main awards for the premier division, led by captain Robbie Dale, who walked off with the Fans’ Player of the Year and the Player of the Year awards.

Dale was also voted into the premier division Manager’s Team of the Year, alongside team-mate Stephen Turnbull.

There was one more award for Spartans as winger Jarrett Rivers capped off a memorable first season with the club by landing the premier division Young Player of the Year award.

Manager Tom Wade said: “It’s been a fantastic night for Blyth Spartans and I am delighted for the players. Not just for the trophies they got but I think it is the whole team have been superb and the players who got the awards tonight are down to the whole squad as much as their individual performances.

“For Jarrett to get Young Player of the Year, Robbie to get his two outstanding awards and to have him and Twinny [Stephen Turnbull] in the League Team of the Year is well deserved.

“It’s for the whole club and they will tell you it is a thank you to the players they play alongside week in week out.”

Turnbull passed on his honour to his team-mates, insisting that any could have been there to collect an award.

He said: “I am delighted to be recognised by other managers, it is a nice achievement and it is nice to be given that recognition for what you have done.

“It sounds a bit of a cliche but I think the three of us are taking these awards on behalf of the rest of the squad.

“Any one of 18 players could have been here tonight from Blyth Spartans, so it is nice to be recognised but it is for all of the lads, not just the three of us.”

Rivers admitted he was pleasantly surprised to win the award, especially given the slow start he made to life at Croft Park.

“I am surprised but I know I have had a good season, with the FA Cup and getting a few goals in the league so this tops it off,” he said.

“I wasn’t even in the team at the start of the season and it took time to get in, but this really tops off the season for me, it has been amazing”

Skipper Dale admitted that being recognised by opposing managers and supporters was special.

He said: “It has been a great night and obviously you come here hoping you will win but you don’t really expect to.

“To be recognised by opposing managers and most importantly the supporters is really special and I am very grateful to be recognised in that way.”

Wade said of Dale: “He is an unbelievably talented player, we know he is.

“I was speaking to Paul Fairclough (England C manager) and he speaks incredibly highly of him.

“When you are recognised by supporters of other clubs and by your peers, you know that is something special.

“He has been phenomenal over the last two seasons and I think he appreciates and enjoys what we do now and the way we conduct ourselves. I am delighted for him.”