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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Is this all you bring away?

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You don't get big away followings at most non-league matches.  But there are usually a few hardcore fans who turn up.  I was at Leamington v. Oxford City in the Zamaretto Premiership yesterday and a small group of City fans kept up a ragged chant behind the Leamington goal while others could be seen around the ground.


Histon have now earned the unenviable record of being the only Conference club in history not to have taken a single away fan on their travels.   Last week they did not have a single fan see them go down 4-0 at Wrexham.  Admittedly, those who made the decision not to make the long trip from Cambridgeshire to North Wales seem to have got it right.


The village team are playing in front of an average home attendance of 545, down 36 per cent on last year.   Only 285 turned up to see them lose at home to Gateshead.   The club admits that performances have not inspired fans to turn up.


When the Welsh Premier League splits in half in February, it is recommending that games should not be played on Saturday, apart from fixtures live on TV.  Instead they will be played on Friday evening or Sunday in the hope of boosting crowds.   Average attendances have fallen this season.


As with Histon, one has to ask if the quality of the product is right?  There is a clear rationale for a Welsh league, but does it produce good football?   In addition the travelling distances involved and poor north-south communications in Wales discourage fans from going away to games.


Newport County opted to play in English competitions (as did Merthyr Tydfil before they folded).  They have now reached the Conference and are attracting good crowds.