Blyth Spartans chairman Tony Platten has spoken of his pride after seeing seven of the club’s players represent an England ‘C’ squad in a match that celebrated the 125th anniversary of the Northern League
Conor Grant, Nathan Buddle, Danny Parker, Arran Wearmouth, Lewis Horner, Matthew Wade and Dan Maguire were part of an FA Select XI that faced a Northern League XI in a game at Bishop Auckland’s Heritage Park to mark the occasion.
Spartans were well represented in the stands too with member’s of the club’s Executive Committee, coaching staff, media team and supporters making the trip to Bishop Auckland and Platten stressed just how important it was for the club to get behind the players on such an occasion.
He said: “It was not only myself that was proud that so many of our young players were selected for the under 23 FA squad but also everyone associated with the Club.
“I drove five of our players to the match and was asked by one of them why the Club were giving so much support to the event.
“I replied that it was because we have such a young squad we had a responsibility to give them every opportunity to display their skills at all levels of the game.
“I am sure they will all treasure the England shirts they were presented with.”
It’s been a promising season for Spartans with a realistic chance of securing an Evo-Stik Northern Premier League play off place still within their grasp.
Platten was honest in his assessment of the season so far and singled out one Spartans player for praise after a recent upturn in form: “The decision to put such a young squad together at the beginning of the season what was not by simple choice, it was based on sound economics.
“That being said I am sure all supporters of the Club are absolutely delighted at the position we are in”
He continued “Recent performances against the top Clubs have been outstanding and if I was to pick on one player who has excelled it would be Conor Grant who has been in outstanding form since regaining his position between the sticks”
The positivity around the club is a far cry from pre-season where Spartans were tipped to struggle by many in the media, even being predicted to finish eighteenth by one media source.
“With the club currently sitting in seventh place Platten spoke enthusiastically about having a long term strategy in place with “all aspects of the jigsaw in place to move steadily forward.
“A progressive Football Club is not just about the players, albeit that they are the face of the Club that the spectators see week-in-week-out, it is about every aspect of ensuring that the Club has a long term strategy.
“Some decisions cannot be made instantaneously and timing and the availability of the “right” people is of key importance.
“Decisions made by the Executive Committee are not taken lightly but I believe we now have all aspects of the jigsaw in place to move steadily forward.”
As the season reaches it’s climax Croft Park hosts only two more home fixtures, including title challengers FC United of Manchester, who visit Croft Park on Saturday week, before Whitby Town bring down the curtain on Spartans home campaign on East Monday.
Platten revealed his admiration and belief for the job done by the coaching staff and urged the Green Army to get behind the team to finish off the season in style.
He said: “We firmly believe in Tom, Colin(Myers), John(Bottensien) and Bev(Doherty) and the group of players they have put together.
“They have given us a lot of very memorable moments this season.
“We know we have had two very poor seasons but this year there is a product on the pitch that is vibrant and exciting, not to mention entertaining.
“I understand that we do have ‘floating supporters’ who are still wary of what has gone before but this side deserves as much support as possible and I would urge them to get behind us for the rest of the season and beyond”