Blyth Spartans takeover: a new beginning or a false dawn?

Written by on 22nd February 2024

Croft Park. Credit: Alamy

A new era began at Blyth Spartans yesterday as Irfan Liaquat’s takeover of the club was announced, but who is the new owner? 

The takeover comes following a tricky few years at Blyth, the Spartans currently sit 15th in the National League North, having narrowly avoided relegation in the last two seasons with consecutive 19th place finishes. 

James Raine, of the North East non-league show, said: “This is massive news for Blyth Spartans. The past few seasons have been low for Blyth, starting with the Lee Clark season, followed by the great escapes. 

“You look at other clubs in the area like South Shields, who are looking to progress and teams such as Blyth are getting left behind by teams and specifically attracting players.” 

In his first press conference after taking over Liaquat said: “The vision is to get them (Blyth) right up there at Championship level, but that will happen over time.” 

Responding to these lofty ambitions, Aaron Flanagan, an editor at the Daily Star said; “Nonsense. It’s about time that football club owners, particularly in non-league, start approaching their ambitions with a degree of reality. 

“Saying things like that, in my opinion, only outs you as somebody who hasn’t got a clue what they are talking about.”  

There are also concerns about Liaquat’s legitimacy. 

The 41-year-old is currently Chairman of Winners Worldwide Limited, which is described on Liaquat’s website as: “a UK based trade and investments platform that allows investors to grow their wealth on an international scale.” 

However the company, that was founded in March 2023, has just one share which is valued at one pound, according to Companies House. 

Companies House also confirms Liaquat has been the director of at least two companies that have been dissolved, City Blue Investments LTD and Million Dollar Listings LTD.  

Mark Carruthers, a North East football writer said: “I have witnessed a few horror stories in over a decade of working in North East non-league football and although it is not for me to suggest Spartans could follow a similar pattern, I do believe there is a need for further clarity and for actions rather than words, to be shown by the owners.” 

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