Blyth Spartans super stalwart Jeff Young was being hailed by fans around the EVO-STIK Northern Premier League on social media on Saturday for reaching a very special milestone – thirty years without missing a game!
Amazingly, the Spartans supporter hasn’t missed a match since since a midweek FA Trophy 2nd Round replay away at Bath City in on January 27 1987 when Margaret Thatcher was still Prime Minister and late footballing knight Sir Bobby Robson was still managing England! Unable to find a lift in the days before mobile phones smaller than bricks, he followed the match in the only way possible back then, the black and green twilight world of Ceefax.
The 52-year-old, who credits the flexible shifts his work in an electronics factory offers for being able to keep his long run going, was being hailed on social media by staggered supporters before attending his 1,631 consecutive Spartans fixture with Alun Armstrong’s leaders hosting Matlock Town in the EVO-STIK NPL’s top flight at Croft Park.
Young started watching Spartans in the 1970s and says he was hooked by their record-breaking cup run of 1977-78. Blyth won eight ties, progressing from the first qualifying round to the fifth-round proper before losing in a replay to Wrexham at St James’ Park.
Since then, he’s seen numerous cup runs and three promotions from the Northern League through the EVO-STIK Northern Premier League to National League North and one relegation back.