Clarky’s At The Wheel – Part 4

Tin hat might be needed for a few of these. If you can actually remember every single one of these lads, gold sticker for you.

Jordan Summerly (January 2020 – May 2020)

Admittedly, I know next to fuck all about this one. The left back who it seems only featured for North Shields joined Blyth, played one game, and never featured again. Rumoured to have fallen out with Lee Clark early doors and allegedly sacked off a game on a Saturday to go on the piss (at least that was the story at the time) is currently at Ashington.

Ben Harmison (January 2020 – June 2020)

Harmy, the bloke that Clark had chased for a long time apparently, played cricket for Durham and some other Southern County. He’d played football sporadically but when is cricket career ended the target man began to feature regularly for Ashington, leading the line and scoring goals before a few brief spells at North Shields, Blyth Town, Morpeth Town, South Shields and Whickham before making the move to Blyth in late January of 2020.

In his 6 games for Blyth, he didn’t leave a lasting impact, and left at the end of the season, going back to Ashington where he now seems to be featuring as a centre back.

Jack Lambert LOAN (January 2020 – February 2020)

A Middlesbrough youngster who was released aged 18 and moved onto Dundee FC, playing 5 games over 2 years where he was again released, moving back to England and signing for Scunthorpe in 2019. He’d be loaned to Darlington, not doing all that well despite being familiar with Alun Armstrong due to his time at Boro.

He’d join Blyth and be completely forgettable. Featuring in 3 games, we did try to renew his loan but he chose to go back on loan to Darlington instead (smart kid) but didn’t play again due to COVID. He’d leave for ÍBV in Iceland, playing 3 games and then returning home to sign for Hebburn in 2021.

He re-joined Alun at Darlington in September 2021, originally on non-contract terms but would earn a contract in December 2021 scoring 8 times in 33 games form the wing. He’s been linked with a Croft Park return in past and does sometimes get rotated out of Darlo’s team so who knows what the future holds.

Macaulay Langstaff LOAN (February 2020 – March 2020)

The Stockton native began at Stockton Town (when they were shite) bagging goals before getting a move to Billingham Synthonia, where he bagged a shit load more goals and earned a move to Gateshead in 2017. He’d only play 5 league games for the Goats (failing to score in any of them) before being loaned out to Spartans on 2 separate occasions, playing 9 league games and again failing to score.

He’d move to York in 2018, scoring a respectable 10 goals in 31 league games (as well as 1 goal in 5 games on loan at Bradford Park Ave) where the highlight of his season was scoring a goal at Croft Park, celebrating in front of the Blyth fans like a toss pot, only for it to be ruled out. Pete Jameson then took a quick and long free kick and Bradley Fewster scored the winning goal. He managed to get another year at York, but scored a pitiful single goal in 21 league games before being turfed out on loan to Blyth, playing 3 games and failing to hit a barn door.

It’s at this point I’d often say “He’s fucking robbing a living playing football” which wouldn’t come back to bite me on the arse at all. He’d join Gateshead that summer as they seemed a bit desperate for players, playing 14 games and grabbing 4 goals. Of course, it was the 2021/22 season where he’d explode onto the scene with 28 league goals in 39 games, earning a move to Notts County for a rumoured £50,000.

17 games and 17 goals later, he’s now linked with clubs in the Football League, some even in the Championship. Even sometimes referred to as the non-league Erling Haaland. So… another one I got wrong but to be fair, 2 years ago who thought he’d be doing what he is now?

Shane Blaney LOAN (February 2020 – June 2020)

OH YEY ANOUTHER FUCKING LOAN. At this point we had well over the 5 loan players we’d be able to use in a league game and it was just getting fucking embarrassing. Anyway, Shane came through at Finn Harps, got signed by Doncaster, did nout before getting loaned out to Tamworth, Grantham and then Blyth. Played one game (away at Chester) in which he got sent off, the twat. He got released that summer and has been at Sligo Rovers ever since. A forgettable player to say the least. NEXT.

Aaron Cunningham LOAN (February 2020 – June 2020)

Starting at Hartlepool, he’d feature sporadically as a teen before his breakthrough loan at Blyth in the first half of the 2018/19 season where he’d return to Hartlepool as a rotation player. Injuries would hamper his 2019/20 season, and he’d be loaned to Blyth but only got to feature in 3 games. He wouldn’t impress as much in those games and would be even less impressive when he returned again on loan in September 2020, playing 10 games and being rather terrible.

He’d be released in 2021, join Spenny very briefly before moving to Blyth, but failed to earn a spot in the team and would leave the club. He’s currently at Whitby Town who are struggling in the Northern Premier League (haha). Sadly it seems injuries have damaged what might have been a decent career.

Leighton McIntosh LOAN (February 2020 – June 2020)

The Dundee youth prospect played a fair few games before leaving for a season on loan at Montrose, grabbing 8 goals in 29 appearances in 2012/13. He’d eventually sign for them properly in the summer of 2014, but only grabbed 2 goals in 16 games. He’d move onto to Peterhead, then something called Ungmennafélag Selfoss before a short while at Arbroath, moving to Air and eventually to Wrexham in the summer of 2019. He’d play 8 games scoring only a single goal before being shipped off to Blyth where he’d manage 3 games before COVID. Since then, he’s been at Cove Rangers who are part time (I think). Having played as a central striker and across both wings, he’s hard to tell what his best position actually is/was.

Michael Nelson (March 2020 – November 2021)

Clarky’s last signing! I can’t be arsed to get into his playing career otherwise I’ll be here all week so, as of 2019 he’d signed for Gateshead as a player/assistant manager, with Mike Williamson giving him his first coaching role but left them in January 2020 to take up a role at Stevenage, working under Graham Westley who would be sacked in mid-February, meaning Nels was on the move again and signed for Spartans initially as a player. When Lee was sacked, he took over as caretaker manager and seemed to get a bit of a reaction from the players at first before COVID killed the season.

He was given the permanent job in May 2020 and he’d build what looked like a half decent squad in the summer of 2020, but just about all apart from Paul Blackett would flop and once again we’d be saved COVID. Going into the 2021/22 season, I think it would be far to say he had the backing of most supporters, especially when he brought back the likes of Nathan Buddle, Dan Maguire, Sean Reid and Michael Lidde. Initially it looked like things were going to plan… before it didn’t. By November 2021, Spartans would suffer a bad run of defeats and Nels would be relieved of his duties.

He wouldn’t be out of work long though, as he joined up with Graeme Lee who had just been given the job at Hartlepool United. Lee would be sacked before the final league game, leaving Nels to take over as caretaker, after which he left the club. In September Nelson returned to another one of his former clubs when he joined Scunthorpe United to assitant Tony Daws. Scunny currently sit 23rd in the league and were knocked out of the FA cup by South Shields in embarrassing, so it’s safe to say his time at Scunthorpe isn’t going well.

And that covers all the players Lee signed! Now, lets get onto the players he inherited at the club.

Robbie Dale (March 2004 – May 2022)

GOD. No further explanation is needed.

Ryan Hutchinson (April 2014 – January 2020)

So, I thought Hutchy only ever made some appearances for Morpeth and Seaton Delaval before Blyth picked him up on an initial dual reg, but according to he was signed to Celtic as a youngster before spending time with St Johnstone until 2012? You learn something new everyday I suppose.

From memory he came is a centre midfielder but ended up filling in at centre back early in the 2014/15 season when Danny Parker went down with an injury. Alongside Nathan Buddle, they’d bully former Premier League striker Marlon Harewood in Blyth’s FA Cup game at Hartlepool where by then, Hutchy had established himself as a first team starter. When Bud’s moved on in early February 2015, Hutchy was tasked with being the main man in defence and did a fine job doing so.

He’d be one of Spartans most consistent players over the next 2 years as Spartans as they suffered play off heartbreak before running away with the league in 2016/17. After defeats in the opening 2 games, Hutchy scored Spartans goal back in the National League North as he was covering at right back, he won the ball back in the middle of the park and burst down the right flank, feeding Maguire who couldn’t get a shot at goal but saw Hutchy’s run into the middle and he slotted home as Spartans beat Tamworth 4-2. Despite defensive partner Jordan Watson going down early in the season with an injury, Spartans were pretty solid as they nearly topped the table at Christmas with Bud’s and Hutchy at the heart of the defence, but a poor start to the 2018 season would only be made worse by a horrific knee injury, rupturing his MCL in a bank holiday Monday clash at Harrogate, ruling him out for the entire 2018/19 season.

He’d return in pre-season 2019, looking solid alongside new defensive partner Tom Devitt. He finally got back onto the pitch in a competitive game against York City in August 2019, but hamstring injuries and Lee Clark’s personality would hinder his progress at Spartans, and he’d depart for Morpeth Town in 2020. Injuries again sadly would limit his playing time, and he’d leave the club in September 2021. From what I’ve seen on twitter, he’s most recently played for Burradon New Fordley on a Sunday. Think its safe to say if it wasn’t for the MCL injury, he’d still be at Spartans now.

Jack Butler (August 2017 – August 2019)

A signing it’s safe to say none of us knew anything about, Jack was a well hyped youngster who featured for the reserves early on before going on a loan/dual reg to Ashington in 2018/19. He’d be kept by Spartans and play some games in pre-season, but Lee Clark soon got shot of him. He moved onto Ash before a spell at Newcastle Uni in the second tier of the Northern League. Can’t find much info on him these days, so he could possibly be playing for some Alliance team.

Damo Mullen (February 2012 – June 2020)

After a spell at Hartlepool which included a short loan spell at Blyth, Damo drifted around the Northern League with the likes of Newcastle Benfield, Ashington and Consett before he joined Spartans during the 2012/13 season, our first back in the Evo-Stik Premier League. He’d be known for his versatility, interesting trims and shit dress sense.

Over the years he’d feature in the vast majority of Spartans games, mainly down to his willingness to play literally anywhere. Being a part of Spartans famed FA Cup and glue league championship side, as well as picking up a few Northumberland Senior Cup medals, he’d have a brief spell at Morpeth in 2016 before re-joining and winning said league medal.

A perfect example of Damo could be summed up at Chorley away, a few days before Christmas in 2018. He was starting in centre midfield (as captain) after what I thought had been a ‘meh’ season for him so far. My response to this was along the lines of “OH FOR FUCKS SAKE MAN, WHAT’S HE DOING STARTING THE USELESS *words I can’t put into print in case I get told off again*” only for Spartans to win 4-2 with Damo putting in one of the best performances I’ve ever seen in a green and white shirt.

Technically he’d leave the club in the summer of 2019 as he wasn’t re-signed straight away, as he had to sort ‘a few things out’, that being the birth of his child. Like so many others he’d maybe not have the best relationship with Mr Clark and would leave the club in 2020. Shortly after he’d get picked up by Hebburn Town, spending a year and a bit with the South Tyneside outfit before joining up with all the ex-Spartans at Ashington.

Adam Wrightson (January 2017 – June 2020)

A Gateshead College graduate who played sporadically for the first team, he’d have a very brief spell on loan at South Shields before moving to Blyth on loan where he’d do well, scoring twice in 12 games prior to making the move permanent in March 2017. The winger was known mainly for his blistering pace, and even filled in as a striker now again. Against Darlington in October 2017, he used said pace to cut them to pieces, grabbing a goal in the process. He did the same Against York City that Christmas and we all thought he would break out and become a star at that point.

Sadly though, that would not be the case and he never seemed to break out and become that star we hoped he would. He will however live forever in Spartans fans folklore, following his winning goal against FC United in April 2018 as Blyth leapfrogged into the play off spots.

Again in 2019/20 we hoped he’d burst out onto the scene and be a replacement for Rivers but of course, he didn’t. He would be offered a new deal in 2020, but decided to turn it down. He’d end up at Dunston before quick spells at Marske and then West Auckland, all before 2020 was out. He seems to have suffered some form of injury? I’ve seen from Twitter he had what looks like a knee op in May 2022, but that’s as much as I know.

Lewis Horner (August 2013 – August 2014) & (July 2017 – May 2020)

Horner joined the football programme at Tyne Met College, and that earned him a move to Scottish giants Hibernian where he made a single game in the SPL. Following a loan at East Stirlingshire (the worst team in the UK at the time) he was released and joined Newcastle Benfield, bagging 2 goals in 3 games before being snapped up by Spartans. He’d be impressive for Blyth and earned a move to Inverness Caledonian Thistle, reuniting with his former manager from Hibs (John Hughes). He’d be a rotation player for a few seasons, being an unused sub in the 2015 Scottish Cup final that Inverness won, defeating Celtic.

Sadly, he’d be more known for his gambling issues while in Scotland. It was well-documented out of his 355 bets placed over a six-year period (343 of which were placed in the 2016/17 season) three were against a team from his own club to lose. One of those occurred at Inverness, the others while he was at Hibs. In July of 2017 he was in the local paper In Caly expressing how regretful he was.

After that his time in Scotland was up, where he’d return to the North East and re-sign with Spartans. Featuring heavily in the opening games, he was a superb technical player leaving many of us wondering just how the fuck he’d ended back up at Spartans. Sadly though… he’d fall out of favour with manager Alun Armstrong as the season went on. It was talked about as an injury, but it was later revealed Alun had fitness concerns as Horner was supposed to have been overweight. He featured sporadically over the course of the season from that point and to the surprise of some he would earn a new deal for the 2018/19 season.

In Alun’s final season he played in 26 league games, doing pretty well and even covering at right back now and then where he’d played for Inverness. Sadly he seemed to have lost his cutting edge, and it’s fair to say he kept the weight on. Alun elected not to bring him in at Darlington and Lewi signed a new deal at Spartans and worked alongside Lee Clark briefly. Horner featured in 3 games, before a reported horrendous falling out with Clark. He was loaned to Hebburn and Clark was pushing to get him out the door on a permanent basis, but of course that never happened. At the end of the season he’d leave the club, and hasn’t played football since. So no idea what he’s up to these days. I’ve heard stories about his gambling while at Blyth but it’s probably best not to go into that here.