Ken Sproat finally saw the end of a gruelling eight year process as his book “We’re the famous Blyth Spartans” went on sale last night. The Spartans Social Club was the venue for launch night of the first comprehensive history of Blyth Spartans and the night saw the book selling quickly within minutes of being released.
With Spartans Senior Press Officer Mark Carruthers as host Sproat answered questions about the who process of putting the book together from planning to production. The audience were then invited to ask their own questions before some very special guests took to the floor.
First up was one of the heroes of the club’s famous cup run to the FA Cup Fifth Round in 1978, Ron Guthrie. The former Newcastle United and Sunderland man answered questions about the run that saw Spartans write their name into the history books. Then we saw a quick fast forward to 2005 as Graham Fenton was interviewed by Carruthers and discussed the treble winning season of 2005 and another historic cup run in 2009 that saw Premier League side Blackburn Rovers make the journey to Croft Park.
Former captain Wayne Buchanan was next up and the popular Northern Irishman spoke about his time in the green and white and revealed his pride in wearing the captain’s armband. The final guest of the night was current manager Tom Wade who is also a lifelong supporter of the club. The former Gateshead manager took the audience through his time growing up following the club and how managing the club is an honour.
However the big star of the night was the North East’s newest author Sproat and he couldn’t hide his relief and pride at seeing his long term project come to fruition.
“The eight years of writing have been worth it in the end, I just hope it doesn’t take eight years to sell them all. It’s funny that every time I have spoken to someone about the book they have reacted enthusiastically about the club. You can see tonight with the turnout and the ex players coming along what it means to people. We are all Blyth at heart and this book is a tribute to the club and the town as well”
Spartans General Manager Ian Evans paid tribute to Sproat saying “The book is massive for this club. There are clubs that are a lot higher than us who couldn’t produce something like this, that shows just how special this club is. Ken’s commitment to the project and the end product is unbelievable and he deserves to be rewarded for that, hopefully supporters of the club and football in general will ensure that happens”
Manager Tom Wade revealed that he thinks Sproat and his book have more far reaching benefits than within Croft Park. “I’m pleased for Ken, he has worked hard and his work ethic is unbelievable. There’s a lot of memories in the book but not just of the club but of the town itself. It’s done in honour of the club and the town so I would urge everyone from Blyth whether they follow the club or not to get behind him”
However the final word of the night went to the man who was the reason why the Social Club was full of Spartans supporters. Sproat summed up the night saying “It’s great to see some many people here, in the build up I was worrying that it would just be my wife and a handful of others that would turn up. Over the years a lot of individual work has gone into producing the book but I’ve also had huge amounts of help along the way. I’m so proud that its now out there and hope everyone loves it as much as I loved putting it together”
You can purchase “We’re the famous Blyth Spartans” for £15 by visiting the Supporters Club stand inside the social club on match days or by sending an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Delivery costs will be included if you live outside of the area.