Matlock switch to Tuesday games

Gladiators revert to traditional midweek match day

Tuesday night will be football night once again in Matlock next season.

The Gladiators decided to switch their home midweek night to a Wednesday twelve months ago, and although attendances held firm, the decision did not receive universal approval from fans who as traditionalists, had got used to and preferred their visits to the Reynolds Stadium on a Tuesday night.

The Gladiators had staged their home games on a Tuesday for all but one of the previous forty years. After initially playing on a Thursday night when they were promoted to the Northern Premier League in 1969, the switch to Tuesdays was soon made. And Tuesday has stood ever since, apart from the 1981/82 campaign when Monday was the chosen night.

Matlock's opening Wednesday night game last term attracted a gate of 404 for the 2-2 draw with Chasetown. Then further league games on Wednesday followed, against Stafford Rangers (388), North Ferriby United (300) and Hednesford Town (314). The thinking behind the move was that both Derby County and Chesterfield played at home on a Tuesday as did Conference Premier new boys Alfreton Town and other local non league sides such as Belper Town. The hope was that any floating fans looking for a game would come to Matlock for their Wednesday football fix.

It appears as if Matlock's officials have taken note of the fans' views and also with press releases having to be prepared for a Wednesday morning deadline to feature in the local weekly papers, a switch back to Tuesday would ensure news is as fresh as it could possibly be.

"We feel it was something well worth trying and attendances certainly held up and were perhaps better in some instances" Chairman Tom Wright commented. "But everything considered we took the decision to revert to Tuesday nights which as fans have pointed out, has always been the traditional football night in Matlock."

Attendances for Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division matches at Matlock rose slightly again last term. The average in 2010/11 was 408 and that figure rose to 427 in 2011/12. For the second successive campaign, the visit of FC United of Manchester drew the top crowd, this time 1319 as opposed to 1149 in the previous season. It was one of two four figure gates at the Reynolds Stadium with league champions Chester bringing in a crowd of 1036. The Boxing Day derby with Buxton was watched by 693 while the lowest attendance came in Town's final game. 171 saw Whitby win 4-2, although the game had to be delayed at the last minute by 24 hours due to heavy downpours, which made publicising the game difficult.

The Gladiators have also frozen season ticket prices for the coming campaign.

Fans will pay £144 if they purchase before August 1, with the price rising to £153 thereafter. Juniors and senior citizens will pay £88 with the early offer, and £93.50 following the August 1 deadline. An adult taking advantage of the lower price would see 21 games at £7.19 each, a significant saving on the usual £9 admission fee.

"We feel these prices offer excellent value for money and we hope that our fans will continue to back the club in the coming season" said Wright. "By freezing season ticket prices we feel we are doing what we can to encourage people to come and support their local club."

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