Blyth Spartans hit the headlines with yet another remarkable FA Cup run and now the Northumberland outfit head into their final game of the season at home to Marine looking to reach the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League play-offs.
Maybe you are thinking that sounds rather underwhelming and the play-offs wouldn’t be too grand of an achievement. However when Spartans bravely exited the FA Cup with a defeat against Birmingham City they were sitting 21st in the league table and facing a gruelling two or three game a week schedule to make up the ten games in hand they had on the rest of the league.
When you consider that the players are part-time footballers, with full-time jobs that schedule becomes even more daunting. For example striker Dan Maguire is a plumber and when a midweek away game is scheduled he is up and at work by 7 then finishes early to travel down the country for a match, returning home by 1am and then is back up and at work for 7am the next day. Remarkably Maguire hit the thirty goal mark with a hat-trick in Tuesday night’s win at Trafford.
In reaching the verge of the play-offs Tom Wade’s side have been on a run of one defeat in twenty six games, including an unbeaten run in the last fifteen and have scored nine goals in the last two games.
Let’s be honest Spartans are one of the coolest clubs in the country.
The best Non-League ground in the region ((c) Michael Martin), the iconic green and white kit, a group of lads who love playing for the club, a homegrown manager who was a supporter in the 77/78 cup run, they play entertaining football, a brilliant clubhouse that serves local ales and a set of fans who are passionate about their club. The place is buzzing at the moment and the club needs your support to get them over the line (urgh!) and into the play offs.
The scenario is simple, Spartans must better Ilkeston’s result at Nantwich Town to make it into the play offs. They can even finish fourth in the league if Curzon Ashton lose at Frickley Athletic, Ilkeston lose at Nantwich and Spartans win against Marine.
Kick off is at 3pm on Saturday but I would suggest getting down early and sampling the atmosphere in the clubhouse at Croft Park, taking in a home made pie and beer and then helping roar on the lads to end a remarkable season in style.
The club also welcome the family of former NUFC player Steve Carney, a legend at
Spartans as part of the side that went on the famous FA Cup run in 1977/78. Steve sadly passed away last year after a long battle with Pancreatic Cancer and a collection will take place before and during the game to raise money for pancreatic cancer charities.