'Good times ahead' for Blyth Spartans as new chairman eyes Football League

  • Simon O'Rourke meets the new owner with ambitious plans for the Blyth Spartans.

The new owner of Blyth Spartans believes he can take the Northumberland club into the Football League.Newcastle businessman Irfan Liaquat took over at Croft Park this morning (21 February) and announced ambitious plans for the team he dubbed the "most famous non-league club in the world".

Mr Liquat takes over from Tony Platten with the former chairman taking part in a symbolic handover today after 25 years of ownership.

Speaking to the media after his takeover had been confirmed, Mr Liaquat said: "It's surreal, it's a dream come true, we are very much looking forward to the task ahead. We're in a good place, we've got a strong team with us so good times are ahead.

Tony Platten had been Blyth chairman for over 20 years. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

"We understand we need to spend money on the team and develop the team. The number one priority from a football point of view is to get the team out of tier six. We want to be in the National League as a matter of urgency."

In the long term, the new chairman has even bigger visions for the club and hopes Spartans can join the likes of Sunderland and Middlesbrough in the Championship.

"The vision is to get them [Blyth] right up there at Championship level, but that will happen over time," he explained. "We're not naive, we know we have to work hard to achieve that goal but we're going to take it on a step-by-step basis."

Blyth Spartans became a worldwide name after their famous run to the FA Cup 5th round in 1978. Other cup runs have followed but more recently the team has languished in mid-table in the National League North, dropping to 15th last night after a 1-0 loss to Farsley Celtic on Tuesday night.

New Blyth chairman Irfan Liaquat alongside sporting director Steve Howard. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

However, if Mr Liaquat gets his way brighter days on-field could be ahead with the businessman determined to bring the community with him as he outlined his initial five-year plan.

"Without the community and without the fans there's no club," he said. "They are the heart and soul of this town and we want to engage with them.

"We're going to have an open door policy, we're going to have a hub in the club, there's exciting times ahead for the club and we're looking forward to taking this club to an advanced level where we can collaborate with everybody."

Mr Liaquat, alongside new sporting director Steve Howard, will meet with Blyth fans to outline his plans for the club tonight.

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