The 1999/2000 season marked the centenary of Blyth Spartans AFC, in
that time the club has celebrated many successes and left its mark in
the world of non-league football.
The club was actually formed in September 1899. Mr Fred Stoker, who was the first club secretary suggested the name “SPARTANS”. He thought it appropriate to name the team after the Spartan Greek army in the hope that the players gave their all as they went into “battle” on the field of play.
Fred eventually left the club for London, forming a practice as a distinguished physician in London’s Harley Street. He died in 1943 but his legacy lives on with the name Spartans unique in the annals of English non-league football.
In the beginning the club played only friendly matches before joining the Northumberland League in 1901. The first recorded honour being a league success in 1901 followed by further victories in1905/06 and 1906/07. The club then joined the Northern Alliance, remaining there for six seasons winning the league in 1908/09 and 1912/13. At the end of the 1908/09 season the club left its Thornton Cottage ground for a new home at today’s venue, Croft Park, which was opened by Mrs Clarke of the grandly named Bellister Castle, Haltwhistle on the 1st of September 1909. The first game against Newcastle United ended in a 4-2 reverse.
In 1913 the club moved upward joining the ranks of the semi professionals in the North Eastern League and remained there until it folded in 1958. The fierce competition meant that honours were far and few between, the league was however won in 1936/37 season and the league cup won in 1950 and again in 1955.
After the demise of the North Eastern League the club tried their luck in the Midland League and Northern Counties League, both ending when the leagues folded. The early 1960’s saw the revival of the North Eastern League with the club doing quite well however the league suffered many problems and eventually folded for good.
The club was now at a loss for a suitable semi-professional league and in 1964 decided to turn amateur and join the ranks of the Northern League. During the 29 years the club were members their record was second to none, winning the Championship on 10 occasions and being runners up 5 times. However, a new regime at the club were keen to progress up the league pyramid and a successful push league ended with promotion to the Unibond league in the 1993/94 season.
The clubs first ever season in the Unibond league was memorable, winning the Division Championship and Unifilla Cup. Since gaining promotion the club has held its own in the Premier division, finishing 6th and 7th in its first two seasons. These seasons also saw an FA cup win at Bury and the winning of the Presidents Cup. Season 1997/98 was disappointing, however it is best remembered for an unlucky 4-3 defeat at Blackpool in the FA Cup.
In recent years the executive have looked firstly to John Charlton followed by Paul Baker as team managers but these successive managers were without the required success demanded by the fans, and so the experienced Harry Dunn was appointed in October 2004 for a second time. In season 2005/06 Harry Dunn and his assistant Graham Fenton continued creating a further notch in the Spartans history by winning the UniBond Chairman’s Cup, The Peter Swales Memorial Shield and the coveted UniBond premier championship, and as our ground was up to “Conference entry”, a place in the Conference North.
The history of Blyth Spartans is not complete without reference to the teams FA Cup exploits. Having beaten a number of league clubs over the years the club reached the 5th round of the FA Cup in 1977/78. Having beaten Chesterfield and Stoke City the club drew 1-1 with Wrexham before loosing 2-1 in a replay at St James Park watched by a crowd of 42167! Yes 42167!
The club has also supplied over 100 players to Football League Clubs, and has had six players selected to play for the England semi professional team. Dave Clarke, Peter Robinson, Les Mutrie, Paul Walker, Dave Buchanan and Keith Houghton.
Best season in the FA Cup 1977/78 5t round replay.
Best season FA Amateur Cup 1971/72 semi final.
Best season FA Trophy 1979/80 & 1982/83 Quarterfinals.
FA Cup record 1st Round 31 Times
2nd Round 14 Times
3rd Round 3 Times
5th Round Once