Four new signings for Blyth Spartans

Chris Moore in action for Whitley Bay in the FA Vase final at Wembley.
Chris Moore in action for Whitley Bay in the FA Vase final at Wembley.

Blyth Spartans have added four new signings to their Evo-Stik Northern Premier League squad in the last week.

Chris Moore, Dan Hawkins, Ben Sayer and Jarrett Rivers have all put pen to paper on deals at Croft Park.

Former Whitley Bay and Darlington winger Moore and Bishop Auckland striker Hawkins both said that it was second time lucky for Spartans when it came to securing their signatures.

Moore – an FA Trophy winner with Darlington and FA Vase winner with Whitley Bay – had spells with Durham City and Team Northumbria last season after leaving Darlington.

And he nearly joined Tom Wade’s side just after Christmas after his departure from the Quakers.

He said: “I wanted to come to Spartans in January when I left Darlington, but it wasn’t to be.

“However, it’s great that the move has now materialised and I’m happy to be here.

“We have a good young side and obviously I know some of them from my former clubs, so hopefully I can help the club push on from a positive season last time out.”

Hawkins spent time with Middlesbrough’s academy before moving to Northern League side Shildon.

He then joined Bishop Auckland in October 2010 and made an instant impact at Heritage Park, scoring on his debut against Newcastle Benfield and scored their first goal, brace and hat-trick at their new home.

That move to Bishops saw him link up with Spartans assistant manager Colin Myers and it was Myers who made an initial attempt to bring the forward to Croft Park last season.

“Colin wanted me here last year but the timing just wasn’t right for me,” he said.

“However, I am now ready for the challenge of stepping up to a higher league and proving myself in this division, and I think I am ready to better myself at the club.”

Team Northumbria midfielder Sayer is a former Newcastle United academy product but was released by the Magpies in 2012 and spent two seasons with Team Northumbria.

He was called up to the England C representative squad in March alongside seven of his future Spartans team-mates but did not feature in the game with a Northern League XI due to injury.

After signing for Spartans the 20-year-old midfielder said playing in front of the Green Army was one of the main reasons he joined the club.

“Obviously it’s a big test stepping up to a more serious level and the chance to play in front of a bigger fan base at a bigger club was a major factor in signing.

“You look at the squad and a lot of them are around my age so that will make it easier to settle in, I can’t wait for the challenges ahead.”

Rivers has joined from Whitley Bay, and while primarily a winger he can operate as a forward.

He spent time at Middlesbrough’s academy and joined Whitley Bay at the start of last season after being released by Boro.

After scoring on his debut against Dunston UTS, Rivers went on to score six goals in 38 games for the Hillheads club.

He said a current Spartans player had a part in him joining the club.

“When the season finished Ian Watson contacted me and asked if I would be interested in coming to Spartans.

“I spoke to Tom Wade and once I had done that and saw the set-up here I realised it was too good a chance to turn down, I’m looking forward to testing myself at this level.”

Wade said: “Ben and Jarret are two up and coming players and have both had time at professional academies.

“Their time in the Northern League will have served them well and they fit in with what we are looking for at Blyth Spartans.

“They are both very comfortable on the ball and have the quality we want from our players, they are a massive boost to the squad.”

The Spartans manager also pointed to last season’s progression at the club as a reason why he felt the youngsters would settle.

“I think we showed last season that we can develop our younger players and they can go on to be key players,” he added.

“Obviously everyone knows we signed a lot of young lads last year, but they did very well and achieved a lot with the club and got recognition externally as well with things like the Evo-Stik League Team of the Month award and the England C representative call-ups.

“We look forward to seeing what Ben and Jarret can achieve too.”