Darlington v Telford over reaction?

Saturday was a bad day on and off the pitch for ourselves, but is the reaction we have seen from fans over the last few days justified?

I am as bad as anyone for my emotions straight after matches, so have left it till the middle of the week to voice my views.

On the pitch

Before we talk crowds and the future of our club, lets get to the reason why the majority of fans attend, what happens on the pitch for 90 minutes.

The most disappointing part for me, was for the first time this season I went to Blackwell Meadows with expectations. After a brilliant opening four games, I went expecting a good performance and a comfortable win. It goes to show you can’t ever guarantee anything in this game.

The game reminded me of Nuneaton/Curzon at home last season, against teams on paper many fans would expect to beat, but we simply did not put in a performance worthy of the three points.

Most worrying was virtually every player had an off day. In defense, we looked vulnerable while the distribution from the back was dreadful.

The usually sold pair of Turnbull and Syers struggled to get a hold of the game. Yes, the conditions were far from easy to play in, but Telford coped much better throughout.

Our creative players Gillies and Thommo struggled to have an impact, with even the impressive David Ferguson not having as much of an impact from left back.

Up top, we failed to utilise Mark Beck in conditions when we needed him most. Nothing was sticking and when he was able to win the ball it wasn’t falling our way.

We have had tendencies over the last few years to throw these really bad performances in with the good under Martin Gray, but thankfully they have been few and far between.

The key is to how we bounce back, in the first four games this team has shown what they are capable of, so I have no doubt we will. We just have to make sure performances like this don’t become more regular.

Off the field

If the performance and result on Saturday were disappointing the attendance was deflating. For our club attendances are the biggest influence on our finances unless significant investment comes in.

Everything on Saturday was set up for a big attendance. A nice day, an almost perfect start to the season and on the back of high spirits from York.

For the crowd to be lower than our first two home games asks many questions.

As people have noted the attendance from our first three games are higher than we have had in recent seasons for the opening games and the sides we have played have only bought a handful of fans.

However, it is disheartening that the numbers we have budgeted for are not coming through the turnstiles on a weekly basis.

For me, it is the overall matchday experience that we can offer at Blackwell Meadows. While some problems have been ironed out since the opening game, many remain.

While out of the town at Heritage Park, I like many, enjoyed the matches. Regardless of if the bank was allowed for standing or not, it offered a good view to watch the game.

Views at Blackwell Meadows have been a big problem from day one. If you aren’t in the seats or want to go in the tin shed you need to be there early. Despite the problem having been lessened, peoples experience from that first game against Halifax will have put off many from coming back.

It is hard to know what can be done as fans and by those on the board to lessen the problem without substantial investment. I am still amazed the capacity is 3,000 as it is not possible for that many to be in the ground with all having a good view of the action.

I have major concerns, as do many, about how far we can progress without investment and at Blackwell Meadows in general. For this season attendance wise my fear would be that no matter how we do on the pitch they will struggle to rise.

Going back to the game, it was a bad performance, but I am confident we can turn it round. However, in terms of the attendances increasing, I am less optimistic.


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