Michael Nelson hails 'absolutely outstanding' Blyth Spartans support after bumper Alfreton Town crowd

Michael Nelson has described the support Blyth Spartans received in their opening day win against Alfreton Town as “absolutely outstanding” – and now he wants more of the same.

By Mark Carruthers
Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 1:14 pm
Croft Park welcomed 1,260 supporters as Blyth Spartans beat Alfreton Town 2-1. (Photo credit: Bill Wheatcroft)
Croft Park welcomed 1,260 supporters as Blyth Spartans beat Alfreton Town 2-1. (Photo credit: Bill Wheatcroft)

Over 1,200 supporters made their way to Croft Park on Saturday afternoon as Nelson’s side kicked off their National League campaign with a 2-0 win against Alfreton Town.

JJ O’Donnell marked his first competitive appearance as a permanent member of the Spartans squad with two second-half goals as Nelson celebrated his first home win as manager.

Next weekend’s tough-looking away day at Kidderminster Harriers – who were 2-1 winners at York City on Saturday – means the Green Army will have to wait until Saturday week to pack out Croft Park again when AFC Telford United make the long trip to Northumberland.

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Nelson has called for more of the same from the Spartans faithful as he stressed just how big an impact Saturday’s support had made on both himself and his players.

He told The News Post Leader: “It was fantastic to see the supporters back and to hear the noise they made throughout the game,” he explained.

“Even when the lads came out, I’m still in the changing room and the reception they got was absolutely outstanding.

“The lads thrive off it, I have said it before, it’s a cliché, but they do.

“We haven’t played in front of crowds for so long, so it’s massive for them and it’s massive for the club.

“The 1,200 in here felt like a lot more than 1,200 with the noise they made getting behind us and if that’s how it felt to us as a home side, imagine how it felt to the opposition.

“It wasn’t just about the noise when the goals went in, it was the roar for the tackles going in, the noise when we pressed – it was just fantastic.

“Hopefully, they will keep coming in, and the way to keep them coming in is to keep putting in performances like that and getting results like that.

“Are we going to win every week? No, possibly not.

“We will have poor results or games, that’s football – but these lads will give their everything for this club and we want the supporters to keep playing their part.”

Spartans confirmed the signing of young defender Ben Milburn on a non-contract basis ahead of Saturday’s game.

The 18-year-old centre-back immediately joined Northern League club Whickham on a duel-registration and was named as man of the match in the Lang Jacks 2-0 win at Redcar Athletic.

Ahead of that move, Nelson explained why Milburn was brought in after spending all of pre-season playing and training with the Spartans squad.

He said: “We see Ben as having good potential to develop into a promising central defender.

“He needs game time, and we are working to get him games with clubs a little lower down the pyramid.

“Hopefully this will speed up his development and get him prepared to play at our level.”