Robbie Dale makes sensational return to Blyth Spartans after coming out of retirement
North East non-league legend Robbie Dale is to come out of retirement to return to Blyth Spartans ahead of the new National League North season.
The mercurial forward scored 212 goals in 680 appearances for the Croft Park club before announcing his retirement last October.
Dale has been training with Michael Nelson’s side recently and has now agreed to form part of the former Hartlepool United defender’s squad for the upcoming season.
He will be reunited with a number of former Spartans teammates after Nelson enticed the likes of Nathan Buddle, Dan Maguire, Michael Liddle and Nicky Deverdics back to the club throughout a hectic summer in the transfer market.
Dale’s return will be immediate, and he is expected to feature in Spartans opening pre-season friendly against a Middlesbrough XI at Croft Park on Saturday.
The winger explained the circumstances behind his decision to resume his playing career after a 12-month absence and is looking forward to rekindling his love affair with a club close to his heart.
Dale told the club website: “I think it’s the right time.
“I’ve missed it, I think one final year.
“I messaged Neesh (club physio Gary Neesham) and just asked if he could put a session on before the lads were training just for me, just to get some fitness because I hate running on my own.
“It all started from there, I got involved a few weeks later to help with numbers and then it’s snowballed over the last few weeks.
“It’s been 17 years, it’s the only real club I’ve known.
“I’ve had a couple of teams before but the majority of my adult life, I’ve been here.
“I didn’t want to leave in the first place, I wanted to finish off a nice year and probably have a closing day properly for myself.”
Supporters will be on hand to witness Dale’s return as the Green Army make their way to Croft Park for the first time since February 2020.
Their absence has been felt with Spartans forced to play National League North fixtures behind closed doors throughout last season.
Dale paid tribute to the Spartans supporters and is hoping to repay their faith upon his return to the fold.
“They are tremendous, they follow us everywhere we go.
“We need them, we need them in this ground, as many as we can get in for every game, and away we need them.
“All of their support, all they do for us, we owe them a lot because we wouldn’t have a club without them.
“It will be strange walking out in a proper game, it’s been over a year, a year and a half now.
“It’s all well and good in training games, but it will be a good test between ourselves and Boro.”
Any supporters planning to attend Saturday’s friendly against Middlesbrough are advised to read this article on the Spartans website before travelling to Croft Park.
Meanwhile, the club also unveiled its new home shirt for the upcoming campaign, as modelled by Dale in the photo above.