Tag: Blyth Spartans

Ugly Scenes: A Bad Day In The Conference North

Remember, remember the fifth of November – well, some Conference North fans would probably rather not remember a Saturday speckled with nasty incidents which hardly cover the league in glory. Accusations of racist abuse on the field, alleged violence and a goalkeeper sent off for throwing a firework into a stand (no really) have left a grubby stain on the northern half of Step 2. Nevermind, the fact that most of the games passed off without mustering any comment, serious incidents at two matches are likely to open enough cans of worms to feed a bird sanctuary. The first incident is perhaps surprising in light of the ongoing Terry/Ferdinand situation. Yesterday evening striker Richard Offiong took to Twitter after his Blyth Spartans side’s 2-2 draw at home to Colwyn Bay and tweeted: “Do I report the racist abuse or brush it off? It will never effect me but do I take a stand” Followed by: “Racism from opposite player who has black team mates. #stampitout” And, with a sense of sadness: “Reported abuse in the past but nothing happened.” He claims he was asked: “Where’s your bunch of bananas, show me your passport please,” but has now said he won’t be commenting further until the FA have investigated the claims, despite naming the player who allegedly made the comments. There’s been no official statement from either side on this...

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Non-League Videos Of The Week: The Blue Square Premier & The FA Cup

This weekend’s non-league videos of the week come from the Blue Square Premier and the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. In the Blue Square Premier, AFC Telford United have reacted positively to their promotion from the Blue Square North at the end of last season and sit in mid-table in the division at present and they were at home against Hayes & Yeading United, who were the beneficiaries of Kettering Town’s generosity – and subsequent implosion on Tuesday night. Our second match from the Blue Square Premier is between two sides that have been in the news for different reasons over the last few weeks or months. The green revolution is apace at Forest Green Rovers, and they were at home on Saturday against Mansfield Town. The remainder of our matches for this evening all come from the FA Cup Second Qualifying Round. First up is the match between two teams with FA Cup pedigrees of their own – Blyth Spartans and Bedlington Terriers. Blyth still probably best known for their run to the Fifth Round of the competition in 1978, whilst Bedlington beat Colchester United by four goals to one in the First Round of the competition in 1998/99 before losing to Scunthorpe United in the next round. Coming up next is a Kent derby match between Bromley and Welling United, Redbridge and Bury Town, Dartford...

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The Twohundredpercent Pre-Season Predictions: Conference North

Last year was pretty clear cut in the Conference North, Alfreton were pretty much definitely going up despite having a ridiculous backlog of games, the play-off places were fairly clear early on and Redditch were dropping like a stone from around February time, but this season it looks set to be a bit closer at both ends of the table and closer still in the middle. Along with relegated Altrincham and Histon there are the promoted pair of Colwyn Bay and FC Halifax, and the 22nd most northern team at Step 2 – Bishop’s Stortford, shifted over the north/south divide in the fall-out from Rushden and Diamonds’ demise. Bishop’s Stortford, like Histon and like Worcester before them will soon wise up to the difference between the two Step 2 leagues (Gloucester have only ever known the Northern side of the imaginary moving line which hovers over the Conference’s map). PROMOTION CONTENDERS It would be hard to bet against  FC Halifax Town being somewhere near the top of the table, The new boys have bulldozered their way back up the table and boast hot-shot striker Jamie Vardy as one of their key assets and laughed off an offer from Stockport to take him of their hands for a rumoured £50,000. Manager Neil Aspin has made a few key signings and if the Shaymen are as good as all their fans claim...

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The (Conference) North/ South Conundrum

When is Worcester further south than Gloucester? When did Bishops Stortford become a northern town? How is it right for a part-time football team to travel 8,000 miles a season? Welcome to a geography lesson, Conference style. The outpouring of angst over Bishops Stortford being shifted from the Blue Square North from the South has been so great it has almost overshadowed the other news from the Conference AGM, the bit about Rushden and Diamonds being expelled. The Hertfordshire-based club are now appealing being swapped from one Step 2 league to the other, or to use the words of the Conferences bigwigs “transferred from Conference South to Conference North on a geographical basis,” just weeks before pre-season. Obviously the town has not been uprooted and shifted up towards Sheffield, but Bishops Stortford is officially in the north now, subject to the club’s appeal. If they win the appeal or decide to resign from the league – the two options currently on the table – a number of things could happen, Stafford might be reprieved or it could be Lewes or maybe the Conference North will run with fewer teams, its not especially clear and as we shall see, clarity and common sense doesn’t really seem to come into it at any point. And aside from the shock and anger from the club ,the Bishops Stortford situation has once again...

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Northern League Day: Blyth Spirit: Spartans And The 1978 FA Cup

It’s Northern League Day today, a chance to celebrate the second oldest football league in the world. With this in mind, we have reached back into the archives for the story of a Northern League club that came within a whisker of making the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, all the way back in 1978 – Blyth Spartans. When the draw for the First Round of the FA Cup is made every year, there are some names, unfamiliar to many, that cause the pulse of some people of a certain age to quicken somewhat. Part of the fabric of the FA Cup is that some clubs, such as, say, Leatherhead or Altrincham, become household names in their own way. In the late 1970s, one of the most immediately recognisable names came from the Northern League – Blyth Spartans. In the late 1970s, Blyth Spartans were the FA Cup giant killers – the team who came within a hair’s breadth of becoming the only non-league club in living memory to reach the quarter-finals of the competition. Spartans, with their distinctive green, white and black kits and a name that harks back to the classically inspired origins of the amateur game, had won the Northern League in 1973, 1975 and 1976. They were nobody’s fools. Even in the four qualifying rounds they had overcome four very strong clubs from their own...

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