Blyth Spartans AFC is absolutely thrilled to announce the return of club legend and all-time record appearance holder Robbie Dale.
The forward had hung up his boots in October last year but re-joins Michael Nelson’s playing squad ahead of the 2021/22 National League North season.
Dale, signed by Harry Dunn in March 2005, burst onto the scene at Croft Park when he fired a hat-trick on his debut against Wakefield and Emley.
What Dale has achieved at Spartans since is simply unprecedented – making 680 appearances across 16 consecutive seasons and scoring 212 goals.
As captain, Dale captained Blyth to the third round of the FA Cup in 2014/15, where he netted a brace at home to Birmingham City. That was before he was part of the side that entertained Blackburn Rovers at the same stage, six years prior.
Furthermore, he lifted the Northern Premier League and Northumberland Senior Cup double in 2017 and led the club into the 2018/19 National League North play-offs.
Dale also racked up a number of individual honours – too many to name, not least being voted second in the Northern Premier’s greatest-ever players list behind Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy.
To pay tribute and honour Dale for his remarkable efforts at Spartans, the club and its supporters raised funds for a mural of the player which is proudly displayed outside Croft Park at Gino Fish’s Bar.
The club is delighted that Dale has come out of retirement to put the finishing touches on an exciting summer in which Nelson, the board and others have worked tirelessly in their player recruitment.
On making a sensational return to Spartans, Dale said: “I feel it’s the right time to return. I’ve missed it. I’ve been here 17 years, it’s the only real club I’ve ever known.
“Some really good signings have been made this summer, so it made it an easier decision but above all, this club means a lot to me and I look forward to another year.”
Michael Nelson, manager of Blyth Spartans, said “I don’t need to tell any of the fans about Robbie Dale as I’m sure they’ve seen a lot more of him than me over the years.
“Robbie made a tough decision last year in the midst of this pandemic and I think it never really sat right with him.
“He came in training through the summer with some of the group and then has been involved pre season. I think just being back involved along with the squad we’ve put together has reignited his fire.
“He is definitely fit enough and certainly has the quality to add to the squad we’ve already assembled and will hopefully play a significant part in what we do this season.”
Dale is in the squad for Saturday’s friendly with Middlesbrough. We encourage supporters to purchase their tickets in advance via our online ticketing system, though a cash turnstile is in operation at the Kingsway End.
To find out how to purchase your 2021/22 home shirt, as modelled by Robbie, please click here.