What Harrogate Town's promotion could mean for Harrogate
In a week of huge success for Harrogate Town, thoughts are turning to what exactly this promotion could mean for the town as a whole.
The President of the Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce, Steve Scarre, said the club's promotion will boost Harrogate's main shopping streets in challenging times for traders.
He said: "The impact of the club’s promotion will be dramatic. If you manage to get 3,000 people coming to games every other week, visitors included in that, they’re spending money here and realising what beautiful things there are in Harrogate, and they’ll come back. It’s a way of bringing people in.
“The town centre is struggling at the moment, we’ve got to get visitors in to see what we have got in Harrogate. This is an opportunity to market Harrogate Town and Harrogate. It will help, it’s one of the rungs on the ladder that can help local businesses.”
The Chamber’s Vice-President, Sue Kramer, said Harrogate Town’s success also creates a legacy for young people.
She said: “It’s always a wonderful sight when you see all the kids playing football on the Stray. And this gives the kids in Harrogate something to aspire to, seeing the success of their local team.
“I think the national press and awareness that the promotion creates will raise the profile of Harrogate, it will be great to hear Harrogate Town’s results being read out on TV.”
In football terms, the club will now go on to face the likes of Halifax Town, Wrexham, and other former Premier League sides. Harrogate Town’s managing director, Garry Plant, said by definition this will help to raise the profile of the club, and of Harrogate.
He said: “We are hoping to see more people coming to the gates, more visitors staying overnight in Harrogate, and more people buying from the town’s shops when they visit for a game.
“We are already taking enquiries from away supporters about where the best hotels are to stay in Harrogate. We are rapidly approaching 200 season ticket holders, and we expect that number to rise. When you consider that four years ago we were just reaching double figures, it’s fantastic. The level of interest has been phenomenal both before Sunday and afterwards.”
Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver, said: “What a challenge it is going to be next season. I could not be more proud of the lads. This is just an absolute highlight for everyone involved with their careers. Now it will be a new chapter, that is for sure and a massive challenge. It is going to be exciting whenever I wake up to see who is in that league. I am just so excited about the challenge of something new.”
Relive Sunday's big game in pictures: https://www.harrogateadvertiser.co.uk/sport/football/gallery-relive-harrogate-town-s-memorable-promotion-to-the-national-league-1-9163512