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Quakers' demotion hands £100,000 boost to Northern League
THE Northern League will get a £100,000 boost from the inclusion of Darlington Football Club this season.
Football officials are expecting up to 1,000 Quakers fans travelling to away games, potentially giving clubs a £5,000 boost in ticket sales alone when they play the former Conference team.
The FA’s placement of the club in the first division will bring new challenges, but there will also be many positives, said league chairman Mike Amos.
Mr Amos was among a record crowd of 710 which attended Darlington’s pre-season friendly at Northallerton Town on Monday.
He said there was no trouble at the ground, adding: “There is nothing suggesting Darlington’s presence in the league will be anything but an enjoyable experience for us all.
“First division clubs will be licking their lips. They are going to get gates of more than 1,000, but while individual clubs will of course welcome that sort of payday, in league terms it’s about raising the profile.”
The league chairman pointed out that several of the division’s larger clubs, such as Whitley Bay, Spennymoor and Dunston, had recent experience of hosting crowds of more than 1,000 people.
“One or two of the smaller clubs may have to give it a bit of thought, although there’s been no suggestion of segregation,” he added.
John Butterfield, from Guisborough Town, said the club was excited about to playing Darlington for the first time.
He said: “We’ll have extra stewards, open another bar and get in more pies, which is always important at non-league games.”
Mr Butterfield said he had heard some clubs were considering increasing ticket prices for Darlington games, but Guisborough had decided against it. “It doesn’t seem fair,” he said.
Peter Collinson, chairman of Marske United, said the game at the start of the season against Darlington would be treated like a cup final by his club, which has seen a welcome boost in season ticket sales this year.
“In terms of finance, profile and improving the quality of football in the league, it’s a really good thing that Darlington will be in the division this season.”
Mr Collinson said the club was considering allowing children in free for the Darlington game to boost the home support.
About 30 Darlington fans have been issued with banning orders for football-related disorder in recent years.
Durham Police said that there would be a police presence at all games, with known troublemakers monitored and action taken if necessary.
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