Hartlepool United say they are trying to address the issue of falling gates at Victoria Park, where Saturday’s 2-1 win over Oldham was watched by the smallest League crowd there for just over nine years. But in the current economic climate, over Christmas and New Year when a lot of people have spent up and in perishing cold weather, was a crowd of 2,634 all that bad?
Well, actually it was – it was very poor. But there are other clubs who are having trouble attracting respectable gates as well ... look just a few miles away at Bore-o, where their FA Cup-tie against big spenders Manchester City “attracted” 12,474 – a figure described in one national paper as an insult to the FA Cup.
Meanwhile, at Wigan there were only 5,335 to watch their all-Premiership game against Hull City. Now we know Hill and Wigan are hardly giants of the Prem and of course Bore-o’s Riverside Stadium is one of the most miserable places any football fan can go in any weather and no matter who they are playing, but are those gates a symptom of bad news for football? Or are they simply evidence of the fact that Bore-o and the others involved are not well supported? Would we be better looking at the fact that 8,000 Barrow fans travelled across the country to watch their non-League team get a good hiding at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light? But, of course, things like that always happen in the Cup when supporters of small teams start to fantasise about a giant-killing and daren’t miss the game in case a miracle happens. Pools chief exec Russ Green says the club will try to do something to arrest the slide in gates, and we hope they succeed because really they should never fall below 3,000 when Chris Turner’s team is managing to hold its own in League One.
The first thing that’s needed is for the team to be more consistent and not throw so many daft points away at home – like they almost did in a frantic finish against Oldham.
But let’s be realistic – Hartlepool is hardly the richest town in the country and it’s no longer cheap to watch football. However, it would be very interesting to see what sort of gates the club would get if they managed to settle into a consistent rhythm and threaten to break into the play-off zone.
Meanwhile, we can’t let the FA Cup weekend pass without a comment on Manchester United 0, Leeds United 1. Isn’t that a great result? What a pity it had to be Leeds that did it.
It doesnt help that the manager keeps saying things like we'll never ever compete with clubs like Leeds, Norwich, Charlton etc cos they have bigger gates. There's logic in what he says but it makes it look as though he has no ambition or fire in his belly and thats passed on to the fans. What he should be saying is that clubs like Crewe consistently competed at a higher level than their gates suggest and there's fire in his belly to do the same.
Sorrty Chris you've done a great job but the bloke in charge of the first team, should be young and ambitious and then it would rub off on the fans.
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