By Paul McGeary
Newton Aycliffe kick off their competitive season this Saturday when Holker Old Boys visit Moore Lane Park in the FA Cup’s Extra-Preliminary round.
Holker, from Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, currently play in the North-West Counties first division – the equivalent league to the Northern League’s second tier. Yesterday they started their league campaign going down 7-0 at home, in front of just 48 spectators.
But no-one at Moore Lane Park will be taking the game lightly, especially after last year’s disastrous FA Cup curtain raiser ended in a 7-2 reverse for Allan Oliver’s men at the hands of Billingham Synthonia.
330 people watched that historic occasion and boss Oliver is hoping for a similar turnout this time round, but a contrasting result on the pitch.
“We’ll be hoping to give the fans a victory this weekend,” said Oliver.
“Last year there was a huge build up to the game and we perhaps took our eye off things on the field. We got what we deserved that day, and I apologised to the fans as we let them down. I felt sick for days after that performance.
“This year, there’ll be no repeat. Granted they’ve already started competitive action while this will be our first game, but we’ve had some decent work-outs in pre-season, and the lads are raring to get started.”
Almost 600 fans crammed into Moore Lane Park a fortnight ago as Sunderland visited Aycliffe for the first time in the club’s history, but just over 100 turned up on Friday night for the visit of Conference North outfit Harrogate Town.
Boss Oliver reflected, “It’s difficult to second guess what the crowds will do this season. Darlington have come down and so have Durham so there’s definitely value in watching the league.
“But we appreciate that people out there may not have the funds to follow a Northern League team around the region. I will say though, that in freezing our prices, we hope that our fans stick with us this year and if we get close to the average of 200 which we have had in the previous three campaigns, then we’ll be happy.
“Saturday is an ideal chance for the people of the town to come and see what we’re all about. We’ve got a few new signings, the opponents are from outside of the region and there’s no Premier League football going on. Hopefully we’ll get a decent number in, and send them home happy.”
Newton Aycliffe versus Holker Old Boys, Saturday 11th August, 2012. Kick Off 3pm.
Admission £5 adults, £3 concessions.
*Season Ticket holders are reminded that their ticket does not cover cup games.
Should this game require a replay, the visit to Cumbria will be on Tuesday 14th August, 2012.
This feature is currently in development but will be available soon.