I was one of the 3,000 spectators who witnessed Harrogate Town's victory over Brackley Town in the National League North Play-Off Final on Sunday, May 13.
I thought there was an excellent atmosphere in the capacity crowd, and this was partly due to the fact the supporters of both teams were not segregated. This allowed fans of both clubs to mix freely and be able to chat to each other.
The players and supporters of Brackley should be congratulated for their ‘dignity in defeat’, particularly as the players remained on the pitch to watch the presentation of medals and trophy to the victors.
Harrogate’s first three home games in the 2017/18 season were in front of 663, 676, and 669 spectators – the lowest league attendances in the past season. In eight of the last 10 home games there had been crowds in excess of 1,000 – the other two were Tuesday evening fixtures.
This is a vast increase since the 1980s/90s when a crowd in excess of 500 was a rarity. It pleasing to see parents bringing children to support their home town club, in preference to the expenditure they would incur to travel and watch a Premier League/ Championship game.
As a regular attendee at home games over a number of years I am delighted that the club have gained promotion to the National League, and I am looking forward to watching matches against clubs that have competed at a higher level eg Chesterfield.