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|Full name||Melvin Bernard Blyth|
|Date of birth||28 July 1944|
|Place of birth||Norwich, England|
|Height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|1977–1978||→ Crystal Palace (loan)||6||(0)|
|1978||Cape Town City|
|1980||Houston Hurricane (summer)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Norwich City and Scunthorpe United
In October 1967, former Norwich manager, Ron Ashman, took up the reins at Scunthorpe United, then struggling at the foot of Division 3. He returned to his old club to sign several players, including Steve Deere, Geoff Barnard and Blyth to shore up the holes in the defence.
Scunthorpe were relegated at the end of the 1967–68 season and in July 1968, Blyth moved on to Crystal Palace.
Blyth joined Crystal Palace in the summer of 1968 as an old-style wing-half, but he developed into a centre-back. He immediately became a regular member of Palace's 1968–69 Division 2 promotion side, and in their first ever match in Division 1, he scored Palace's first goal in the top flight with a looping header against Manchester United. He scored another goal the following Saturday, against Everton.
As Palace struggled in Division 1, regularly finishing just above the relegation zone, Blyth became a permanent fixture in the defence alongside John McCormick. He was deposed as centre back for a while by Roger Hynd. But after playing in midfield for much of the 1969–70 season he won his place back when Hynd was temporarily switched to the forward line. The contrasting styles of Blyth and McCormick made for a good mix, and the two of them stayed together until McCormick moved to Wealdstone in 1973.
Palace eventually lost their fight to avoid relegation at the end of the 1972–73 season, under manager Malcolm Allison. The following season, Blyth had a long spell of injury as Palace went straight down into Division 3. Shortly after the start of the 1974–75 season, in the same week that Ian Evans arrived from QPR, Blyth was signed by Southampton for a fee of £60,000.
Southampton paid £60,000 for Mel Blyth in September 1974 – he was one of Lawrie McMenemy's first over-30 signings. Blyth's impact in his first season at The Dell was such that he was voted the supporters' player of the year.
By the end of the 1976–77 season, six of the twelve players from Saints Cup-winning side had left the club; Blyth was the seventh after he had argued with McMenemy about breaking up the cup-winning team too quickly. The arrival of Chris Nicholl, in 1977, signalled the end of 33-year-old Blyth's sojourn on the South coast and, after a brief return to Palace, on loan, he completed his League career with Millwall.
In total he made 136 appearances for Southampton, scoring seven goals.
Back to Crystal Palace
In both stints at Palace, Blyth made 262 first team appearances scoring 12 goals.
In the 1978 close-season he played for Cape Town City, then managed by former Palace coach, Frank Lord. At Cape Town, he played alongside Mick Channon and Kevin Keegan. He later played for Houston Hurricane, before a spell in 1981 in Hong Kong with Bulova alongside Charlie George and Barry Daines (goalkeeper, formerly at Spurs). After falling out with the manager, Ron Wylie, Mel returned to England, ending his career at non-league Andover.
Although he was an electrician by trade, Blyth later became a driving instructor but, by November 1990 he was running his own building firm in south London. In 2003, he was a director of a building company and also a part-time coach in Crystal Palace's schoolboy academy.
As a player
- FA Cup winner 1976
- Purkiss, Mike; Sands, Nigel. Crystal Palace: A Complete Record 1905–1989. The Breedon Books Publishing Company. p. 232. ISBN 0907969542.
- Purkiss, Mike; Sands, Nigel. Crystal Palace: A Complete Record 1905–1989. The Breedon Books Publishing Company. p. 332. ISBN 0907969542.
- "Newcastle United legend Tony Green predicts top-10 finish for the Magpies". chroniclelive.co.uk. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
- Duncan Holley & Gary Chalk (2003). In That Number – A post-war chronicle of Southampton FC. Hagiology Publishing. ISBN 0-9534474-3-X.
- Tim Manns (2006). Tie a Yellow Ribbon: How the Saints Won the Cup. Hagiology Publishing. ISBN 0-9534474-6-4.
- Mel Blyth at Post War English & Scottish Football League A–Z Player's Database