In this Classic Team Photo series we will look back at some old team photo’s, some rare and some more recent.
The first in the series is from 1993/1994 Season, Blyth’s last season in the Northern League after 31 years in the league winning it 10 times (including 5 seasons in succession from 1979/80 to 1983/84).
The photo taken before season began was certainly a ‘get in on the act’ team photo featuring 10 club officials and 15 players who were wearing 2 different playing tops !.
Back Row L to R: (Players in bold)
Tommy Hedley, Thomas Halliday, Dave Robertson, Keith Mills, Mark Cameron, Warren Teasdale, Steve Raffell, Paul Connor, Craig Liddle, Dave Hallam, Gary Hays, Unknown, Tony Kennedy, Bob Cotterill.
Front Row L to R:
Mickey English, Jim Harland, Gary Middleton, Mark Telford, Dave Holland, Peter Feenan (Manager), Jim Telford (Chairman) Don Peattie, Steve Pyle, Tony Burgess, Darren Palmer.
The photo was at the Plessey Road end of Croft Park, the recent new fencing can be seen in the background, when the fencing was seen a quite an ‘improvement’ for the old ground which in 1992 still had the old compacted ash & railway sleepers as terracing and no cover behind either goal.
The back retaining fence is now long gone but the pitch fencing is still in place to this day, although under countless coats of various shades of green paint. And of course the residents of Patterson House (old people’s home seen in background) still had their free football to watch when ever they looked out of their windows.
Its unknown what exactly the Shield in front of team is possibly the Beamish Trophy from the tournament played during the summer at Beamish Museum, featuring local sides.
Hogger manufactured the new kits and for the 2nd season iconic Geordie magazine VIZ were the shirt sponsors. Sponsors Viz had wanted ‘Drink Beer – Smoke Tabs’ to be the slogan on the shirts but no surprisingly the FA turned down that slogan.
Although throughout the season the 2 different tops were worn with the previous season’s Hero kit having short sleeves and with the new Hogger kit having long sleeves, it was seemingly worn when the weather was more suitable to long sleeves.
It was manager Peter Feenan’s last season as manager and ultimately his final job in football after a long and distinguished career in the North East’s Non League football scene, he retired from his day job and moved to live in Spain.
Peter was a hugely popular especially with the fans at Croft Park having previously managed the club from May 1984 to October 1985 and had played for club for three years from 1966 to 1969.
He achieved the ultimate aim of the season set out by Chairman Jim Telford by gaining promotion to the Northern Premier League 1st Division despite finishing 2nd to league winners Durham City.
The squad was pretty much the same as the previous season with the only major change being goalkeeper Paul O’Connor replacing Peter Gardiner. After impressing pre season O’Connor made the jersey his own playing in all 49 games that season. Other new players were midfielder Tony Burgess & striker Dave Hallam and Keith Mills returned in the New Year from a broken leg he had suffered the previous September.
Blyth had started the season in superb form going 19 games unbeaten before a surprise home defeat by Murton in November knocked the confidence allowing chasing clubs Durham, Seaham Red Star to peg back Blyth’s lead at top of the table. Consistency alluded Blyth then on and the January home defeat to Durham allowed them to take top spot and they weren’t to lose it, finishing the campaign 7 points clear of 2nd placed Blyth.
It had become clear for some months that Durham’s move to a new ground wasn’t going to plan and they were continually struggling to meet the deadlines set by the Northern Premier League, relations between the clubs had been rather icy since Durham’s won 1-2 at Croft Park and when it became clear that the club finishing in 2nd place would be offered the 1 designated promotion place normally allocated to the Champions, Durham didn’t take too kindly to Blyth’s announcement that they would indeed take up the offer of promotion.
Blyth finished the season with a drab 1-1 at Ferryhill Athletic with top scorer Steve Pyle having the honour of scoring what eventually tunred out to Blyth’s last ever Northern League goal when after a long wait Blyth’s place in the Northern Premier League First Division for 1993/1994 was finally confirmed at the NPL AGM in June.
On the cup front Blyth crashed out of the FA Cup at the first time of asking losing 0-4 at local rivals Gateshead, going into the game having won 5 of the first 6 games & only conceding once expectations for an upset against the GM Vauxhall Conference side had been high but Blyth were blown away.
In the FA Trophy, after a great 3-1 3rd Qualifying Round victory at Northern Premier League side Matlock Town, Blyth crashed out of the First Round losing at local rivals Bishop Auckland 1-3 who were then a high-flying Northern Premier League side.
The local cups proved much more successful for Blyth, almost doing the double of Northumberland Senior Cup & Northern League Cup.
In the Senior Cup Blyth beat Bedlington Terriers 2-0 away in Quarter Final before a surprise hammering of Newcastle United’s Reserves 4-1 in the Semi Final (it’s the last time Blyth have beaten the Reserves in a competitive game).
In the Final a Dave Hallam goal was enough to give Blyth the Trophy for the 2nd time in 3 seasons with a 1-0 victory over Blue Star.
The League Cup saw Blyth beat Evenwood Town, Guisborough Town, Stockton & Brandon United en route to a final with Northallerton. The Final was played at Brandon United’s Welfare Ground and by that stage it was common knowledge that Peter Feenan was stepping down as manager to be replaced for the following season which was hopefully be in the NPL First Division by former player Harry Dunn (who was at the Final). The game itself, which was played a fortnight after the league campaign had ended, was one game too far for Blyth losing 0-2.
Northern League –
Northern League Cup –
Losing Finalists, 0-2 to Northallerton played at Brandon.
Team: Paul O’Connor, Eddie Jenkins, Warren Teasdale, Keith Mills, Shaun Dunn, John Terrel, Paul Donaghy, Tony Burgess, Don Peattie, Steve Pyle, Gary Middleton.
Sub: Kevin Caizley.
Semi Final beat Brandon United 2-1 away (Pyle 2).
Team: Paul O’Connor, Craig Liddle, Gary Hays, Micky English, Steve Raffell, Warren Teasdale, Keith Mills, Tony Burgess, Dave Hallam, Steve Pyle, Kevin Caizley.
Quarter Final beat Stockton 3-0 at home (OG, Pyle, Liddle).
Team: Paul O’Connor, Craig Liddle, Gary Hays Micky English, Steve Raffell, Warren Teasdale, Keith Mills, Tony Burgess, Don Peattie, Steve Pyle, Eddie Jenkins.
Sub: John Holvey.
3rd Round beat Guisborough Town 2-1 at home (OG, Pyle).
Team: Paul O’Connor, Craig Liddle, Gary Middleton, Micky English, Steve Raffell, Warren Teasdale, Don Peattie, Tony Burgess, Graham McDonald, Steve Pyle, Darren Palmer. Subs: Mark Cameron, Kevin Caizley.
2nd Round beat Evenwood Town 2-1 away (Pyle, Hallam).
Team: Paul O’Connor, Craig Liddle, Gary Hays, Danny Anderson, Graham McDonald, Steve Raffell, Don Peattie, Warren Teasdale, Graham McDonald, Steve Pyle, Gary Middleton. Subs: Dave Hallam, Mark Cameron.
Northumberland Senior Cup –
Winners beat Blue Star 1-0 in Final (Hallam).
Team: Paul O’Connor, Craig Liddle, Gary Hays, Kevin Caizley, Shaun Dunn, Warren Teasdale, Keith Mills, Tony Burgess, Dave Hallam, Steve Pyle, Micky English.
Sub: Don Peattie.
Semi Final beat Newcastle United Reserves 4-1 at home (Pyle 2, Caizely, Burgess).
Team: Paul O’Connor, Craig Liddle, Gary Hays, Don Peattie, Steve Raffell, Warren Teasdale, Kevin Caizley, Tony Burgess, Dave Hallam, Steve Pyle, Keith Mills.
Subs: John Holvey, Darren Palmer.
Quarter Final beat Bedlington Terriers 2-0 away (OG, Holvey)
Team: Paul O’Connor, Craig Liddle, Gary Hays, Micky English, Steve Raffell, Warren Teasdale, Don Peattie, Tony Burgess, Dave Hallam, Steve Pyle, Gary Middleton.
Subs: John Holvey, Barry Wilson.
FA Cup –
4th Qualifying Round Lost 0-4 at Gateshead.
Team: Paul O’Connor, Craig Liddle, Gary Hays, Mark Cameron, Steve Raffell, Warren Teasdale, Mark Telford, Tony Burgess, Don Peattie, Steve Pyle, Dave Hallam.
Subs: Graham McDonald, Darren Palmer.
FA Trophy –
1st Round Lost 1-3 at Bishop Auckland (English)
Team: Paul O’Connor, Craig Liddle, Gary Middleton, Micky English, Steve Raffell, Warren Teasdale, Don Peattie, Tony Burgess, Dave Hallam, Steve Pyle, Shaun Dunn.
Subs: John Holvey, Gary Hays.
3rd Qual. Round won 3-1 at Matlock Town (English, Peattie, Palmer)
Team: Paul O’Connor, Craig Liddle, Gary Hays, Warren Teasdale, Steve Raffell, Mark Cameron, Dave Hallam, Micky English, Don Peattie, Steve Pyle, Darren Palmer.
Sub: Gary Middleton.