Spartans chief hails summer signings

BLYTH SPARTANS kick off their Blue Square Bet North campaign with a trio of new recruits on board.

BLYTH SPARTANS kick off their Blue Square Bet North campaign with a trio of new recruits on board.

But chairman Tony Platten is still hailing three of the club’s first signings of the summer.

The Croft Park outfit head to Solihull Moors today, having this past week added Calvin Smith, Nicky Deverdics and Callum Morris to a squad already swelled by Jake Cunningham, Sam Grieveson, Wayne Buchanan, Phil Cave, Dan Groves and Liam O’Mahoney during the close season.

Yet long before any joined, Spartans re-signed strikers Paul Brayson and Robbie Dale, while recruiting Chris Swailes as both a player and assistant manager.

And Platten said: “Brayson and Robbie were big signings.

“One thing every team must have, no matter whether it’s Manchester United, Newcastle United or Blyth Spartans, is a centre forward.

“Punters come to see goals and if you’ve got a No 9 who’s going to put the ball in the back of the net, that’s the difference between a successful season and an unsuccessful one.

“So it was vitally important that we signed Brassy up for the season. He was very happy with the atmosphere in the dressing room, and very happy with the way the club’s run professionally.

“All the paperwork’s done according to the book, and that’s something that a lot of clubs still don’t do properly.

“Robbie’s the same, he loves it here. He’s a Blyth lad, a big favourite with the crowd, and he wanted to stay.

“He could have gone to Gateshead full-time, but we’re delighted he’s staying with us because he’s a special player who gives us something no one else can.”

On Swailes, Platten added: “Chris played exceptionally well for Gateshead in the latter half of last season.

“He’s 39 but I see him on the training pitch and during games and he’s as fit as any of our young lads. It’s his football brain that makes the difference.

“Last season Mick was keeping an eye on his budget and he understands exactly what the situation is.

“He decided he would rather use his budget money for players rather than a coach for about the last third of the season.

“It worked reasonably well and we finished certainly more comfortably than we’d finished in the previous two seasons.

“But now he’s got Chris to bounce ideas off. The key thing is that he’s an equally mature presence as Mick, so when they talk about football they really are talking in depth because they’ve both had long, long careers in top-level football.”

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