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Darlington FC protests as West Auckland AFC put ticket prices up
A NON-LEAGUE football club has been accused of taking advantage of a well-supported rival after doubling ticket prices for a forthcoming game.
West Auckland Town AFC has increased admission from £5 to £10 for its game against Darlington FC on November 10.
Denis Pinnegar, chairman of Darlington FC, said he was “surprised and disappointed” at the rise.
He added that the increase was not discussed in advance with the club or, he believed, the league.
“I fully understand the extra cost of hosting a potential of 1,000 additional fans but the added income from the gate and food and drink outlets would have been very significant at their normal £5 per head,” he said.
“Darlington have a strong and loyal fan base who support the club in the league home and away and it looks as if they are being taken advantage of.”
Darlington FC is playing in the Northern League this season after being demoted five divisions by the FA.
The club averages crowds of more than 1,000 for home and away games.
But West Auckland secretary Allen Bayles rejected the claim his club was taking advantage of the Quakers.
He said the increase was needed to pay for up to 25 extra stewards for the game against Darlington.
He added: “We’ve been advised to get quite a few stewards because of the large crowd and that will have to be passed down.
“If we have to have police on duty in the ground then we’ll have to pay for them as well.”
Northern League chairman Mike Amos said he believed it was the first time a club had increased ticket prices for a game against Darlington.
He added: “I was made aware of this issue this morning and I have emailed West asking for their views.
“There’s nothing in the rules preventing West Auckland charging as much or as little as they want.”
However, Mr Amos said it might be “less invidious” if West Auckland were to charge £8 - the cost of an adult ticket for a Quakers home game.
“I would hope even now that for the sake of harmony West might decide to charge £8 instead,” he added.