The Evo-Stik League Northern Premier
Published 16th August 2012
......they prepare for the new season in the shape of Phil Airey, Jake Turnbull, Ashley Davies, Scott Blandford and Paul King.
Airey is a 19-year-old Amble-born frontman, who can also play at right-back.
He was released by Newcastle United over the summer and joins the Spartans on the eve of the new season.
He scored twice for Newcastle as they cruised past the Spartans in the Northumberland Senior Cup Final in May 2011, and was also on the scoresheet as the Spartans beat a Newcastle United XI 4-1 the season prior to that in a behind closed doors friendly.
Turnbull, also 19, is a product of the Cramlington Juniors set up and played for Bedlington Terriers last season under current Spartans assistant-manager Paddy Atkinson.
Davies is a former Whitby Town frontman who played at the Turnbull under Tommy Cassidy and joins after impressing in the friendlies scoring in the Team North and Newcastle United games.
Blandford, who trialled with the Spartans under Paul Baker, is a defensive midfielder or central defender and enjoyed a spell in the States, before returning to England to play for the likes of Ashington and Gateshead.
King is a midfielder who has also enjoyed a spell, like Sam Hodgson and Shaun Utterson, in the US college system. He returned to the UK last year and saw out the season with Hebburn Town.
Cassidy said: “It’s good to get the three lads signed up. They have all been training with us for a couple of weeks and have done well. Getting the three of them registered means we can have a look at them in competitive games and see how they get on.”
Meanwhile, the club can confirm that goalkeeper Robert Birdsall, Abu Salim and Chris Fairless have been released by the club.
Popular 21-year-old Irishman Birdsall joined from Tralee Dynamos last season and went onto play a dozen games for the Spartans towards the end of the season as he battled for the number one shirt with David Knight.
Salim and Fairless have been trialling with the Spartans over the summer, but are not part of Cassidy’s plans as the new season kicks off on Saturday.
Cassidy added: “Rob’s done well for us, but we have Matty Hunter and Conor Grant on the books and we can’t really keep three keepers. Rob is a nice lad and I hope he goes onto to do well.
“It’s hard telling players that you are letting them go, but they were decisions that I had to make.”