Wey, it’s nearly back once again! In just over 24 hours we open up the league campaign against Gloucester City, and with both sides having largely new teams from last season, it’ll certainly make for an interesting afternoon of football.
Starting off with the visitors, Gloucester have had an even more drama filled season off the pitch than ourselves, and that’s saying something. New owner Patrick Chambers has had to make changes across the board as the club has gone back to being part time, meaning manager Steven King (NOT the bloke who wrote The Shining and IT) departed and in stepped Tim Flowers, who’s a former England international and Premier League winner with Blackburn Rovers. He’s previously managed at Stafford Rangers, Solihull Moors, Macclesfield and Barnet over the last 12 years or so on paper he’s a decent appointment for them.
On the field though, it’s been literally all change from last season as only goalkeeper Liam Armstrong remains and chances are he might not even feature on Saturday, as Gloucester await clearance from the league for Birmingham City youngster Zach Jeacock.
The main man to watch out for will be forward Harry Williams, who bagged 34 goals in 34 games for Swindon Supermarine (what a fucking name btw) in the Southern League Premier Division. 39-year-old Danny Wright has rejoined from Havant and Waterlooville and despite his age, he can still find the back of the net with ease and as experience and tough target man, he’ll be difficult to deal with.
Defenders Ben Richards-Everton and Jamie Reckord will likely be very difficult to break down, so we may have a hard time creating chances from the right wing. Experienced midfielders Joe Hanks and Elliott Durrell will likely cause bother for us, as will young winger Harry Pinchard.
As for Spartans, I believe we nearly have a full-strength side available to go. Harry Arnison will likely miss the game after getting that knock against Whitby Town last Friday night, but that should be it when it comes to injuries. Forward JJ Hooper has been training and should be ready to go against his former club and I’ve no doubt he’ll be wanting to put on a show and prove some of his doubters wrong. Winger Lewis Knight should be ready to go, as should Michael Liddle who’s missed a few games after tweeking his groin (it might have been his hamstring, I honestly can’t fucking remember) a few weeks ago in training.
However, with Blyth missing lads through injuries and holidays across different spells in pre-season on top of bringing in 10 new players, it’s very likely that it will take a few games for the lads to gel together and build some cohesion amongst themselves. That being said, the same with Gloucester come Saturday.
As for admission, card and cash turnstiles will be in operation on the day and you can also buy tickets online here – https://blythspartansafc.ktckts.com/event/bly2324h01/blyth-spartans-v-gloucester-city-. I’m expecting the gate to be a bit stricter this season when it comes to Student/Junior tickets, so make you’ve actually got ID.
As per normal the clubhouse will be open from Midday, and Pieface will have the steak and mince pie’s on early doors. A reminder to Green Army members who signed up before 1 July, your free pie awaits! But i’d recommend coming down early to claim it as they’ll likely fly off the shelves as per normal. You’ll also find a new scran van in the ground.
The club shop will be open between 1:30pm and 2:50pm, and then again after the match so if you’re after a new shirt I’d recommend getting down early to pick one up as I know they’re running very low on lots of sizes now. They do though still have plenty of the new Erreà training wear in stock.
We’re also still selling tickets for our summer 50/50 draw, which we’ll be sorting in the Clubhouse after the game. Tickets are on sale for £2 each and on sale from the pie stall.
Lastly and most importantly, we’ll be collecting items for Blyth Foodbank. As per usual the foodbank will be in need of tinned meats, fruits, potato’s, carrots, hot dogs, tuna, veg, and rice pudding as well as jars/packets of pasta, rice, instant mash biscuits and custard. Cereals, marmalade, coffee, tea bags, jam and toiletries will also be appreciated, as well as carrier bags.
Donation point will be in the usual spot next to the pie stall. Thank you in advance for any donations 💚