By Liam O’Brien
On Saturday 23rd April, Blyth Spartans faced Kidderminster Harriers at Croft Park with some special guests watching on to see Spartans pick up a vital point in the race for survival. The club welcomed players from Italian amateur football club San Antonio Spartans FC.
The Club was contacted a number of months ago by Lorenzo Graziotti who was organising a trip to the UK for a group of friends on a stag weekend. The party was travelling from Piacenza, near Milan, to Manchester and they wanted to take in Spartans match on 23rd April against Kidderminster Harriers. The club held a zoom meeting with Lorenzo and arranged a programme for the afternoon.
They formed the club in 2009 and based their club’s identify around Blyth Spartans from the name to the badge to even the shirt colours. Andreas stumbled upon Blyth Spartans when looking at teams in the English football leagues and was drawn to Blyth Spartans by not only badge and the shirt colours but by the spirit that they showed. San Antonio Spartans FC play at an amateur level in Italian football and they view themselves as a neighbourhood team that focuses on the social and community aspect of themselves.
The Club gave the party seats in the Directors area of the stand and there is no doubt their enthusiastic support added to the match atmosphere. We provided food for the party after the game before they made their way back to Manchester for the night. The Club President, Andreas, was the stag and at half time we presented him with a pennant signed by the first team.
Spartan’s supporters enhanced their visit by attempting to talk to the Italians in a mixture of Italian, English and Geordie and the group was very impressed by the welcome and the friendliness of the home support.