The Evo-Stik League Northern Premier
Published 5th July 2012
....deal in principle that will see forward Robert Dale return to the club for an undisclosed fee.
Dale was originally signed by then manager Harry Dunn in 2005 and went on become the darling of the crowd, playing over 300 games, scoring ninety-nine goals, being a major component of both the treble-winning Northern Premier League side and the side that reached the Third Round of the FA Cup against Blackburn Rovers, as well as picking up numerous individual awards along the way.
He was surprisingly released by new manager Steve Cuggy on the eve of the season just gone and moved to Whitley Bay, but was loaned back to the Spartans for the end of the campaign.
Upon his return he played ten times for the Spartans, scored three goals and was awarded five man of the match awards and the Port of Blyth player of the month for April 2012 and whilst the club were already almost down when he returned, he still managed to give the crowd hope that a great escape could be achieved.
Manager Tommy Cassidy said: “I’m delighted to get an agreement to get Robbie signed. The difference between sides at this level is often small, what separates them is their match winners and that’s what Robbie is, a match winner.
“You could see the boost that he gave the club, both on and off the pitch, last season when he returned on loan and I know how important is he is to the fans, so I am delighted that the chairman has been able to agree the deal in principle to allow him to return to Croft Park. He was always one of my key targets over the summer and we have been in discussions with Whitley Bay for a while to complete the deal to a satisfactory outcome to both parties
“We’re starting pre-season training tonight, we hope that Robbie’s proposed return will give the squad, the supporters and the club in general a boost as we look toward to the new season.”
The player was also a happy man to be heading back to Croft Park: “I’m delighted to finally be coming back to the club permanently. Whilst I enjoyed my time at Whitley Bay and think they are a great club, my heart was always at Blyth.
“I have made a lot of friends here over the years and had no hesitation in re-signing for the club, once the deal between the two clubs had finally been concluded. I loved my first spell at the club and even when I came back on loan at the end of last season I, again, thoroughly enjoyed myself, but was saddened to be involved in the club’s first relegation.
“I have experience of the Northern Premier League, as that was where the club was when I first signed, so I know that achieving promotion back to the Conference North won’t be easy, but I will be trying my best to try and get us back up there as soon as we can.
“I would like to express my thanks to Ian Chandler, the two Brian’s (Brian Smith and Brian Rowe) and everyone at Whitley Bay for what they did for me last season and would like to wish them all the best in the future.”