A letter to the Chairman – 12/6/2024

Evening all, below is a copy of a letter to send to the football club this evening. Feel free to have a read of it if you so wish.

Dear Mr Irfan Liaquat/Laiquat,

I’m writing this to you today as quite frankly, I feel as though the football club we all hold dear to our hearts, appears to be in a shambolic state at the moment.

As supporters, over the last 5 years, we’ve witnessed this football club circling the drain. Fighting off relegation time and time again before finally succumbing to it just a few months ago. It has truly been difficult and outright dejecting at times, watching a famous non-league institution that we all adore, struggle in this fashion.

Over the last 5 years, we’ve lost close to 60% of our league games, witnessed some humiliating defeats and thrown away countless games, on top of being dumped out of the FA Cup and FA Trophy embarrassingly more times than I care to remember. Ultimately, being relegated on the final day of the season in that fashion, was the crowning moment that topped off the 5 years of misery we’ve been forced to bear witness to.

Despite all that though, we’ve been there every step of the way. We all care very deeply about this football club and its community, which many of us have been ingrained in for years. Blyth Spartans AFC has been quite literally the bedrock of a lot of people’s lives for years. A day at the match is something we all look forward to after a hard week at graft, no matter who we’re playing or where we’re going. For most of us, it’s the centerpiece of our social circles, giving us a chance to meet up and spend time with friends and family, meet people and even make new friends. For some people, it’s quite literally all they have.

For me, it’s been all of that and more. Over the years I’ve certainly had my struggles with mental health issues, however, this football club and the people around it have usually been a respite from all that. Over the last 15 years or so, I’ve been able to gain skills and confidence I never could have gained in any other environment through the work I’ve done here and the experiences I’ve had following this football club.

I know I won’t be alone in feeling that way as well. I’m sure many other supporters and volunteers will feel that way or have similar experiences, and many more will in the future. This football club and the experience it can give people is quite simply a true asset to the local community and one of the only things that is capable of bringing the town of Blyth and the surrounding areas together.

Ultimately, every one of us takes immense pride in the club. We want nothing more than to see it succeed on and off the pitch. We want to see a team and a manager show as much dedication to this football club as we do. We want a football club that respects supporters and is open and transparent about how it’s running and includes supporters in key decision-making.

I think a lot of people would agree with me in saying, that for a while now, we haven’t had a lot of that.

So, when the news broke that you had taken over the club back in February, we (the Green Army) were simply delighted. While just about every supporter had a level of respect for Tony and Kev, many felt that the time was right for them to step aside and hand over the reins to someone else. So, you can imagine just how excited we were when you came along and talked about growing the club on and off the pitch, hinting at investing in the club and even talking about plans to fire us into the Football League, and even at one point talked about Championship!

Naturally, due to your business history and your company’s house record with various profiles on there, a chunk of supporters and members of the press were extremely skeptical about your arrival, which we could understand. However, we defended you and encouraged supporters to give you and your team a chance to make a positive impact on the place. Sadly, nearly 4 months on from that takeover party, the opposite appears to have happened and most of your doubters have been proven right.

In recent months, you’ve disrespected players, coaching staff, volunteers and supporters – as well as the former ownership with your comments in the press and in private messages on Instagram to supporters. For weeks now we’ve gone without any real news or updates, creating a lot of anxiety and doubt about you and your team’s ability to run and finance this football club.

Ultimately, supporters do not want to have a contentious relationship with you. We want to work with you and help you and your team, to develop this football club and ensure supporters feel involved going forward. Ultimately though, due to the lack of communication from you and the rest of the team, as well as the treatment of some people in our community, we appear to be a long way from that.

I implore you to begin being honest and transparent about the running of the football club and your plans for the future. We don’t want to hear about a vague bullet-pointed 5-year plan. We want real and transparent information about how you plan to take this football club forward.

We as a Supporter’s Group and Supporter’s Trust, want to support you going forward however, if you continue to run the football club the way you have in recent months, we simply cannot do that.

Dan Rolls

Blyth’s Green Army