Graham Fenton sacked as manager of Blyth Spartans and replacement appointed

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Blyth Spartans has sacked manager Graham Fenton after 16 months in charge of the National League North club.

Assistant manager Jon Shaw has now been named as his permanent successor after initially being put in interim charge.

Spartans beat South Shields 3-1 away from home on Boxing Day and are gearing up to play them again at home on Saturday with Shaw, a former South Shields player, at the helm.

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They sit fourteenth in the league, five points clear of the relegation zone, having won eight, drawn seven, and lost nine league games this season.

Blyth Spartans manager Graham Fenton has been put on gardening leave. (Photo by Blyth Spartans)Blyth Spartans manager Graham Fenton has been put on gardening leave. (Photo by Blyth Spartans)
Blyth Spartans manager Graham Fenton has been put on gardening leave. (Photo by Blyth Spartans)

A club spokesperson said: “The club can announce that Graham Fenton has been relieved of his managerial duties and placed on gardening leave.

Blyth Spartans would like to express their gratitude for the work in which Graham has done at Croft Park since being appointed as first-team manager in August 2022.

“He guided the club to preserve step 2, National League North, status during the 2022/23 season and has played an instrumental role in the development of the youth set-up via Tyne Metropolitan College too, taking full charge of the under 19s at the beginning of this current campaign.

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“From making 131 appearances and scoring 18 goals, having a brief spell as caretaker manager back in 2004, to being in charge for the past 16 months, his contributions across the whole club are hugely appreciated.”

Jon Shaw with Graham Fenton after joining the club as assistant manager in June. (Photo by Blyth Spartans)Jon Shaw with Graham Fenton after joining the club as assistant manager in June. (Photo by Blyth Spartans)
Jon Shaw with Graham Fenton after joining the club as assistant manager in June. (Photo by Blyth Spartans)

Shaw has signed with the club until the end of the 2024/25 season and, while he held a coaching role previously, has now officially retired as a player. He joined Spartans in June 2023.

Shaw said: “It is a really proud day for me, becoming manager of a club with the history of Blyth Spartans.

"I am grateful to the club for giving me my first opportunity in management and I cannot wait to get going. I will give everything to put out teams you can be proud of.

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"I also want to wish Graham, who I have had two great spells as assistant and learnt a lot from, all the very best for the future.”

He added: "With the changes at Shields and the expected reaction, it would be brilliant if we could pack Croft Park and get right behind the lads.”