Phil Castiaux spoke to Sarah Mattocks about her position at Blyth Spartans in the role of selling matchday programmes, half-time draws, as well as being first aid personnel at Croft Park.
Outlining a matchday morning, Sarah explained: “I normally wake up around 8am on a Saturday morning and go for a sea swim before going to sort my three horses out. I come down to the ground at about 12pm to sort my first aid room out before selling programmes and half-time draws.
“I go on sea swims with a group from work, I love them, they’re really good for you and I’ve been doing them for about a year now. I do them first thing on a morning and last thing on a weekend.”
On her activities at the ground upon arrival pre-match, Sarah said: “I’ll go and clean my first aid room ready for if I have anybody in, then I’ll sit in my little shed from 1pm selling the programmes and draws meeting new and old faces.
“Colin (Blackett) asked me to do it last season as well as first aid so I said if I had my little hut I would *laughs*.
“I’ve got regular customers and everybody knows where I am, everybody knows me here, unfortunately *laughs*.”
Giving insight as to whether she still sells programmes throughout the game and how it combines with her first aid role, Sarah said: “I finish selling the programmes when they’ve sold out or at the beginning of a game.
“The first aid room is round the back of the stadium, we normally use that for spectators and if we ever need players in there too then we’ll use it, it’s easy to access if an ambulance ever needs to come in.
“I’m the first port of call for these types of situations. I do St John as well as a first aider at St James’ Park and I’m a Rugby League first aider too, but Blyth games come first.
“Last season I had quite a few here in the first aid room, luckily we have Gary Neasham and we’ve got a paramedic in the crowd and they often come over to help if it’s a major one, but normally I’m the first port of call for the stewards to shout on (when I’m situated close to the tunnel during a game or a steward will come and take over the hut if I am needed before kick-off).”
Addressing the more serious issues she has had to deal with at Croft Park, Sarah told Phil: “Problems with the heart, after Covid, people are collapsing a lot more, so having to deal with that, but also if the physios need people on the pitch for more serious incidents, I would deal with that too.”
As a concluding overview, Sarah stated: “I’ve been coming to Blyth for 25 years now, I started off coming with my Grandad when I was 12 and I just started selling tickets, I went away and had two children a while after and then I came back. This is my Club, Blyth Spartans, nowhere else.”