FA Cup heroes Blyth Spartans who face Birmingham City show true cup spirit
According to the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, FA Cup giant-killers, Blyth Spartans have refused to cash in on their lucrative 3rd round tie with Championship side, Birmingham City.
The club could have raised £1,000s by selling the front of shirt sponsorship for the televised game but
Instead Spartans have linked with the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.
The move means that local charities will benefit from the team’s success on the pitch.
David Sheepshanks, chair of the UK community foundations and former chairman of the Football League, praised Spartans chairman Tony Platten for the move.
He said: “Everyone loves the romance of the FA Cup. David and Goliath tales of small clubs taking on much bigger competition and sometimes winning are the stuff of legend.
“What sets Blyth Spartans apart is that despite their non-League status they have chosen not to grasp a big commercial pay day with a generous sponsor.
“Instead they are going for a thoroughly unselfish and public spirited route to recognise how critical a local community is to its team’s success.
“By offering free sponsorship, through his own charitable family fund with his local Tyne and Wear Community Foundation, the club chairman Tony Platten is helping to raise awareness of the Community Foundation movement and demonstrating how this kind of support can make such a profound effect on supporting local community causes for generations to come.”
He said he was rooting for the Spartans to win their 3rd round match and progress in the competition.
He said: “Blyth Spartans have done brilliantly to reach the 3rd round anyway, but we are all rooting for them to keep on going in this year’s FA Cup. Who knows? Anything is possible! We wish them all the luck in the world.”
Comparisons have been made with the decision by Barcelona football club to help UNICEF with its shirt sponsorship.
Mr Platten and his wife Anne set up a £100,000 a year Platten Family Fund to support local people earlier this year.
He said: “Anne and I are delighted to establish charitable funds at the Community Foundation.
“Blyth Spartans is a local club full of ambition. Whilst I wouldn’t want to make comparisons between our charitable sponsorship to that of Barcelona and UNICEF, I do believe that ambition is best shown by example.
“We’re delighted to offer free in-kind support to the Community Foundation which helps to make stronger communities through its grant making, including many local grassroots sports activities in Blyth and the local area.”
The fund aims to support young people into employment and projects supported so far include the Discovery School in Newcastle, Seaton Sluice Community Association, and Blyth Arts and Community Association.
The community foundation locally is part of a philanthropic network of 48 foundations across the UK, which is chaired nationally by David Sheepshanks.
Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland is the largest of its kind in the UK with an endowment of over £60 million.