Blyth Town boss Michael Connor left 'emotional' and 'excited' after sealing Northern League return
Blyth Town manager Michael Connor could not hide his excitement and emotion over their return to the Ebac Northern League.
Connor led the club to a first ever season in the league’s second tier when they were crowned as Northern Alliance Premier Division champions in 2016 and oversaw a promising first season at step six.
An eighth placed finish provided plenty of excitement at South Newsham – but a change in name and direction eventually led to the departure of Connor and fellow joint-manager Andy Bowman by October 2017.
A new Blyth Town first-team was quickly formed and Connor returned to the club when they resumed life in Northern Alliance Division Two.
He secured promotions in the first two seasons of his second spell and after a 12-month Covid-19 inflicted delay, a historic third promotion was confirmed when Town’s application for a place in the Northern League was accepted last week.
Connor sat nervously in the car park at their South Newsham home as he awaited confirmation from the Football Association – and a wave of emotion was set off when the positive verdict was delivered and the dream of a Northern League return finally became reality.
“I walked around the pitch after we got the news and I was very emotional,” he told the News Post Leader.
“So many things have happened, but to get back to the Northern League is exciting.
“We knew the ground, and everything was there, but other clubs in our league didn’t have that.
“I was sat in the car park and when the news came through on Twitter, it was wow, it’s actually happened, it was a shock.
“It’s brilliant for the people of Blyth, we know Spartans are a massive, historic club and we would love to see them push on this season.
“But now we want to be a club in the town that is competing in the Second Division and to make the town proud of us too.”
Planning for a return to the Northern League is well underway as Connor looks to establish the club at a higher level once again.
A young Town squad will entertain the likes of Bedlington Terriers, Heaton Stannington and Tow Law Town next season, as well as competing in the FA Vase and the Northumberland Senior Cup once again.
A proud Connor is relishing the opportunities that lie in wait for his players and believes that the club’s gradual rebuild over the last four years has paid off.
He said: “When I went back, the team was eighth in the second division and it was a case of what can we do to improve.
“It was a slow, building process of bringing lads in to buy into the dream of getting back to the Northern League.
“It’s great for the lads, there are eight of them that were in the second division and now they have an opportunity to into the Northern League.
“This will give the lads an opportunity to experience all of this and more.
“That means everything to me.”