Hitchin Town are looking forward to staging their annual youth day when they host Merthyr Town in the Evo-Stik League Southern’s top flight on Saturday.
Since doing away with a £2 admission fee for children the number of younger fans at Top Field has doubled and the Canaries are confident the popular annual event will attract another record gate after the club’s officials and youth section approached other clubs and the local schools in the area to encourage as many U16s as possible to attend.
As a further incentive, all adults who attend the game with a child will pay the concession rate of £6. Lewis Hamilton’s father Anthony will also be at the game promoting KickTrix, a new award-winning all weather footballer training tool for players.
A Canaries spokesman said: “It has become a popular event and each season the number of youngsters attending has increased and we hope to continue that trend. We realise that young fans are the future of the club. If they start watching at a young age it will hopefully become a lifelong habit.”
Hitchin Town’s secretary Roy Izzard has also been hailing fans who turned out in force on Non-League Day to see their 4-2 win over Bigglswade Town in the Emirates FA Cup first qualifying round and help the club raise £300 for Prostate Cancer UK.
A bumper crowd of 708 turned out at Top Field after the fixture was flagged up on Sky Sports News by presenter and friend of the club David Garrido – the third highest attendance in the Emirates FA Cup with only Romulus and Salisbury attracting more.
His Sky colleague, Spanish football expert and Biggleswade United’s director of football Guillem Ballague presented the Save Top Field Trophy with 10 per cent of the gate receipts donated to the men’s health charity after the clash was designated a “pay what you want” fixture for NLD 2016.
Izzard said: “I am certain that if we had charged normal prices only 200-250 fans would have attended so pay what you want effectively tripled the gate. Hopefully some of the fans were new to Non-League football and will want to come again as it was a very entertaining game.
“I must thank all the fans who attended for their generosity and many paid £10 while even those who do not normally pay were seen to donate. Thank you again for showing that non-league fans are caring and compassionate.”