Kris Thackray has revealed he had always wanted to play for Blyth Spartans since his return to the North East as he embarks on his second season at the club.
The defender joined permanently from Morpeth Town in January and signed a two-year deal, meaning he is preparing for his first full campaign at Croft Park – whenever that may begin.
Indeed, Thackray’s stay in Northumberland will provide a big boost to new manager Michael Nelson with the former Newcastle United youngster a quality and experienced operator.
At 32-year-old, Thackray has plied his trade in three different countries – Italy, Malta and Germany.
And after returning to his native North East in 2018 with Spennymoor Town, Thackray admits Blyth Spartans was a club he instantly became fond of.
It was an appearance at Croft Park in Spenny colours – ending in a 2-2 draw – that left him in awe of the football club.
He explained to blythspartans.com: “Personally, I’ve always wanted to play at Blyth since I came back to the North East because my family are in Tynemouth and I live there – it is the perfect club.
“I played at Croft Park for Spennymoor and the tradition of the club, the ground, the old school changing rooms – I loved it.
“It’s turned out that I have eventually ended up here and I really want to do my best for the club and play as long as I can.”
Blyth are still yet to learn what division the club will be in next season as the National League continue their discussions.
But whatever happens in the next few weeks, months or perhaps even longer, Thackray is committed to Spartans and holds higher hopes for 2020/21.
He added: “The difficult season we had last season, we’ve got to use that and how bad it felt to not get in that position again or muddy waters.
“It would be fantastic to remain in National League North, there are some huge teams and big matches to play in.
“We weren’t mathematically relegated so I still had hope and believed we could stay up. I believe we can definitely compete in that league as the team got a hang of it and got settled.
“But if we do go down then we have to deal with that situation. A club like Blyth would need to be targeting coming straight back up.”
Undoubtedly, it is to be a challenging summer for the club and new boss Nelson during a pandemic that has affected non-league clubs across the country.
Yet despite the uncertainty surrounding next season, Nelson is doing his best to paint a positive picture, something which hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“It’s been all positive,” Thackray said. “ The new manager has been in frequent contact with us all and the lads enjoyed the training sessions that we had with him.
“With the Brackley game, the first-half was really, really good and we got that feeling that things could kick on from there. It provided a little bit of hope by the way we played against a good team.
“We looked at the goals etc after the game and he seems really perfect for the job. Him being a player as well, he is doing a lot of 5ks – perhaps faster than we could do them!”
We’ll be bringing you part two of our interview with Kris over the coming days.