Blyth Spartans can announce that the new home and away shirts for the 2017/18 Vanarama National League North campaign will be available to buy prior to tomorrow’s pre-season friendly against South Shields.
The official Supporters’ Club have taken delivery of the new kit earlier than expected and will now open the club shop at Croft Park from 12:30pm on Saturday July 29 – ahead of the visit of the Mariners – for Spartans fans to get their hands on this season’s shirts. Shirts will then be on sale at all following home fixtures, while online orders will be available at a later date.
The traditional green and white striped home kit has been designed to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1977/78 season, when the club reached the Fifth Round of the Emirates FA Cup. Meanwhile, the away kit has seen the club move away from the “Northumbrian” colours used in recent seasons and opt instead for a grey shirt with green pinstripes.
The prices for both home and away kits are £35 each for Adult sizes and £30 for Childs. Adult sizes range from Small to 7XL for the home shirt and – as it stands – up to 5XL for the away, while the three children’s sizes are YXS, XXS and XS.
The bigger size shirts are expected in the next couple of weeks, but the Supporters’ Club have been told that they can order shirts up to 9XL if requested.
Jordan Watson modelled the new kit alongside fellow defender Ryan Hutchinson and he had nothing but praise for the club’s new kits, including their nod back to the famous Spartans side of four decades ago.
The 24-year-old said: “The shirts are a nice fit and they’re definitely better than last season’s.
“Since I’ve been at Blyth, everyone mentions that season as being a famous time in the club’s history. Because of that, it’s nice that their achievements have been highlighted in this way on the 40th anniversary.
“That’s also the best away kit I’ve seen at Blyth. It looks really nice and I can’t wait to wear it on the pitch.
“After the season we had last year, all the lads have wanted to do was get the new shirts on for the new season and show the big boys what we can do. With the squad we have, there’s no reason we can’t enjoy some more success making the step up.”
When asked if the commemorative kit put more pressure on the Vanarama National League North side to perform well this season, Watson replied: “The pressure is always there to try and write your own history while you’re at a club, but we have a dressing room full of lads that relish pressure.
“We experienced a bit of it ourselves in the FA Cup run a few seasons ago and it would be great if we could go on another one this year. Every season, you dream of having a cup run and it’ll be no different this time around.”
Supporters’ Club committee member Ian Hertwick came up with the idea of commemorating the achievements of Brian Slane and the late Jackie Marks’ fantastic squad and revealed that his moment of inspiration came as he was drifting off to sleep.
Hertwick revealed: “Errea informed us that we could have a bespoke kit for this year. One night, I had a bit of inspiration while lying in bed and realised it was the 40th anniversary of the 1977/78 cup run.
“I knew we had to commemorate it somehow, so I got my old programmes out and got the kit based on the one we wore at the start of that season.
“They’ve not been printed on as yet, but we’ll also be having red numbers on the back of the home shirts – as they did that year – along with black shorts and green socks.”
The original plan for the Supporters’ Club was to start selling them on Tuesday night, ahead of Spartans’ final pre-season against Whitby Town, but Hertwick went on to explain that an earlier delivery allowed them to make the decision to start selling them one game early.
He continued: “We were hoping to getting them delivered over the weekend and have them on sale on Tuesday night – when Blyth play Whitby – but we’ve managed to get them delivered ahead of schedule. We know that the fans are excited by this year’s designs, so it made sense to give them the chance to get them a bit earlier.
When asked if the club shop would be open at times other than around Blyth matches, Hertwick replied: “We’re going to see what availability we have – as, obviously, we’re in holiday season – but we’ll see which volunteers are around and we will try and advertise to get the shop open as much as we can.”