Simon Weaver wants big crowds to become the norm as Harrogate Town continue to go from strength to strength

Simon Weaver wants the big turnout for Harrogate Town's 2-2 draw with Newport County on Friday night to become the norm at Wetherby Road.

Monday, 13th September 2021, 1:13 pm
Updated Monday, 13th September 2021, 1:14 pm
Simon Weaver applauds Harrogate Town's supporters following Friday's 2-2 League Two draw with Newport County. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

A crowd of 2,670 were in attendance as goals from Jack Muldoon and Luke Armstrong extended the Sulphurites' unbeaten start to 2021/22, the highest number to have taken in a game at the Envirovent Stadium since the club was promoted to League Two last summer.

Town have only had more spectators through the turnstiles for a league fixture on two previous occasions - 3,000 for their National League North play-off final success over Brackley in May 2018 and 2,800 against York City earlier the same season.

The hosting of the match on a Friday evening when the likes of neighbours Leeds United were not in action, plus the fact that Harrogate went into the contest top of the table will undoubtedly have helped, though Weaver is hopeful of seeing packed stands and terraces on a more regular basis going forwards.

The crowd in attendance at the EnviroVent Stadium on Friday evening was biggest since November, 2019.

“I really hope that it’s not just a spike. I hope we’ve sewn a seed in people’s heads and they really want to come back," he told the Harrogate Advertiser.

“I like to think that although we didn’t win, they’ll come back and support us. I thought it was a good game, I thought we played some good football. Nobody could say it wasn’t entertaining.

“I was thinking to myself ‘I don’t believe it, all these fans have turned up and we’ve gone 1-0 down in three minutes. I hope we don’t disappoint them’.

"But they really got behind the players. I don’t remember one negative shout and that’s being part of the team and playing your part and that’s what we want.

“Overall, I think the town can be proud of how the team performed."

Although Town did not manage to take all three points, they looked the more likely winners despite twice falling behind and dominated possession for large periods against a Newport side who reached the League Two play-off final last term.

And Weaver insisted that much of what his players delivered out on the field was inspired by the atmosphere created by those 2,560 home supporters cheering them on inside the ground.

“The atmosphere was special and it was a special night. It makes a difference when the place is nearer full capacity," he added.

“We aspire to have a full ground here because it helps us and makes things harder for the opposition.

“The atmosphere definitely helped the players. You could see that, it was wave after wave of attack second half. They dug deep and found the energy reserves to go again and go again and that’s because of the crowd.

"The intensity was amazing and the people in the stands helped to create that.”

Town's record home attendance is 4,280 for a cup clash with local rivals Harrogate Railway Athletic back in 1949/50.

The biggest crowd of the modern era, and the next highest on record, is the 3,408 who turned out to witness a 2-1 FA Cup first round defeat to Portsmouth in November 2019.