Football’s Most Loyal Fan?
The last time he missed a match was in January 1987, Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, and Bobby Robson was England manager.
Last month’s FA Cup first-round tie against Altrincham was his 1,500th and since then he has watched 6 matches and the 1,507th will be the second round tie against Hartlepool on Friday (to be shown live on the BBC).
Jeff’s favourite game was in the early 1990s and was a Northern League game away to Murton (near Sunderland). Spartans were down to nine men with an hour to go at 1-1 and no one thought Blyth would win, but they did!
“I didn’t have a clue how many games I’d done – I didn’t keep count,” he said.
“Then our former secretary, Anne Donnelly, did her 1,000th game in a row and received a lot of publicity. I spoke to her, said I hadn’t missed a match since Bath, and asked how many I was on.
“Anne was very much the statistician. She came back a week or two later and said: ‘My 1000th game was your 700th game in a row!’
“After that, I lost track again. Then at the end of one season, I came in from work one day, and there was a card on the doorstep. It said: ‘That game at Bamber Bridge was your 1,004th consecutive game. I’m glad there’s someone as crazy as me.’ The card was, of course, from Anne, and since then I’ve kept a record.”
Blyth manager Tom Wade – who has also supported the club since he was a boy – said Friday’s game against Hartlepool is a reward for Young and the Spartans’ other diehards. He also said that Blyth Spartans is a ‘fans club.’
Blyth’s average attendance this season is 458 but around 1,000 are expected to travel the short trip to Hartlepool.
Jeff and the other 1,000 fans are hoping that Blyth can once again make cup history by making it through to the third round.
Dylan, YJA Football Correspondent (Primary)
Heighington Millfield Primary Academy