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Weekly News - 22/4/20

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Weekly News - 22/4/20

Matlock Town boss Paul Phillips praised the Gladiators supporters on the back of a disappointing campaign on the field which still brought a small increase in the average home attendance at the Proctor Cars Stadium.

In spite of them being placed in third bottom spot when the BetVictor NPL Premier Division ended prematurely, Matlock Town’s attendances have risen from an average of 447 in 2018/19 to 473, an increase of 5.82% on the previous campaign.

Had the 2019/20 season finished, that average figure would have almost certainly been nearer the 500 mark, especially as a crowd approaching 1500 was expected for the visit of FC United of Manchester and there were also attractive and potentially crowd pulling Saturday home matches against Nantwich Town, Stafford Rangers and Lancaster City.

922 watched the Boxing Day home defeat by Buxton which was Matlock’s highest crowd but an impressive 729 turned out on a sunny Non League Day on October 12 to watch probably Matlock’s best all round home performance in a 3-1 win over Mickleover Sports.

“It just shows what the potential here is and what we need to do and that’s to get a winning team on the pitch” said Phillips.

“The support here’s tremendous and I’d like to thank all the fans for their backing. With the way the climate is at present, watching non league might be an even more attractive proposition than it is now and if people can come here and watch a winning team then all the better. Getting that extra hundred or so in, buying a pie and a pint helps with funds and helps me in being able to getting a better team out there for them to watch. It’s also a decent ground, there’s a great atmosphere with a good crowd in as I found out in my first game against Hyde and having a good crowd in spurs on the players.”

Chairman Tom Wright also expressed his gratitude to the local footballing public for their backing at home games and also for their support for the Just Giving appeal as the Gladiators strive to raise £15,000 to help fill the gap in finances with their final six home league fixtures being cancelled.

“We have tremendous support and to say we haven’t had the best of seasons, to be able to attract approaching 500 per game is absolutely fantastic and I can’t thank the fans enough. Hopefully all of our supporters will stay safe during this awful pandemic and be raring to get back to the Proctor Cars Stadium to cheer our lads on when we can get back to playing football. I’m also stunned and delighted by the success of our Just Giving campaign. To see where the total is now is incredible. I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of our fans but also football fans worldwide. I’d like to personally thank all those who have donated or shared our page. Your donations will be a big help to our great little club in these particularly difficult times.”

As at 10 pm on Tuesday night, donations had passed the three quarter point of the £15,000 target with £11,460 having been raised which includes an offline contribution of £1000. .

Had the season continued, Matlock would have been at Stalybridge Celtic on Saturday playing their final game of the season. Instead, the Matlock players have a longer break than usual and Phillips paid tribute to his players, all of whom have been given a summer training programme.

“I’m thrilled that all the lads have joined in the fitness programme and it’s that sort of mentality we want throughout the club”.

Ian Richardson