In a month when the cost of football has been high on the agenda of fans with Liverpool fans voting to walk out of a game in protest against a potential £77 ticket cost for next season, and some championship clubs such as Sheffield Wednesday charging away fans £36, it is good to see a non league initiative to pay what you want. Building a fan base takes time but one has to start somewhere and Didcot Town are starting this saturday.
Empty Grounds. Walton and Hersham
Football is an exciting sport generally and live matches bear no comparison with sanitised TV games. Many fans would consider going to games weekly but there is little incentive or collaboration between teams to make this happen. A few non league teams in recent years have given discounted entry to season ticket holders of league clubs, Hampton and Richmond are one example.
Looking at some of the crowds in the lower echelons of the Ryman league for example. On March 8th at a midweek game Haringey Borough attracted a crowd of 22 which was lower than their crowd of 35 last saturday, and last saturday in Ryman North 6 of the 8 games with reported crowds had under 100 spectators. In Ryman South a few crowds were also fairly dire with Chipstead attracting 48 spectators and a similar number at Molesey.
There is clearly room to increase the fan base at many of these clubs. Didcot v Bashley deserves a decent crowd.