Tuesday night return for Town

Matlock Town’s midweek home night will revert to a Tuesday for the coming season.

Tuesday has nearly always been the traditional midweek night at Causeway Lane for the past 40 years until the club announced this time last year of a change of night to a Wednesday.

In their first season in the Northern Premier League in 1969/70, the Gladiators’ usual midweek night was a Thursday but the club soon switched to Tuesday and this has been the case until 2011, apart from the 1981/82 campaign when home matches were staged on a Monday.

The club cited a possible increase in attendances in explaining the switch of night from Tuesday to Wednesday, adding that both Derby County and Chesterfield, plus Alfreton Town, then newly promoted to the Conference National, and a lot of other local non-league clubs played on a Tuesday at home.

The decision did not receive universal approval among supporters.

Some, as traditionalists, had become accustomed to attending home games on a Tuesday.

A look at home attendances on a Wednesday last season would suggest that the experiment was probably justified as crowds appeared to hold up.

The opening Wednesday night fixture against Chasetown attracted 404 through the turnstiles while latter attendances for league games saw 388 versus Stafford Rangers, 300 against North Ferriby United and 314 against Hednesford Town.

But the fans’ views, as well as press considerations with Wednesday morning deadlines for the local newspapers, seem to have been behind the decision to switch the games back to Tuesdays.

“We feel it was something well worth trying and attendances certainly held up, if were not better in some instances,” said chairman Tom Wright.

“But everything considered, we took the decision to revert to Tuesday nights which, as fans have pointed out, has always been the traditional football night in Matlock.”

Attendances as a whole for league matches rose by roughly four and a half per cent last season. The average league gate rose from 408 to 427.

The best crowd again came against FC United of Manchester when 1,319 saw Matlock win 2-1.

The previous season’s game had attracted 1,049.

The United game was one of two four-figure attendances at the Reynolds Stadium as the visit of champions Chester was watched by 1,036 fans.

A total of 693 people watched the Boxing Day draw with Buxton, while the lowest crowd predictably came when the last home game of the season against Whitby had to be put back 24 hours due to the wet weather. The Seasiders won 4-2 in front of 171 fans.