Matlock Town’s average league attendance actually increased during 2023/24 despite a drop of ten places in the league table from 2022/23. The Gladiators averaged 765 in 2022/23 when they qualified for the end of season play-offs and although there was only a minute increase of less than 1%, the average for the campaign just ended being 777, it amplifies the loyalty shown by Matlock’s fans in what has to be termed as a disappointing season.

The highest crowd was the 1349 that witnessed a 3-0 home win over FC United of Manchester in January. In total there were four 1000 plus gates at the Proctor Cars Stadium with the visits of Worksop Town, Marine and Whitby Town also attracting four figure gates.

When the bad weather is taken into consideration meaning the postponement of several Saturday afternoon matches which attract higher crowds than those played in midweek, the increase is even more remarkable.

“Our attendances have been fantastic, the fans have really got behind the team even in somewhat difficult times during the past season and we can’t thank them enough for their tremendous backing. Everyone at the club’s working their socks off to prepare for what we hope will be a much better season in 2024/25 and we urge the fans to stick with us. We also get a good youthful and enthusiastic following away from home and the lads who congregate in the Town end goal at home games have created a vibrant and really good atmosphere. Long may it continue” commented a Matlock spokesman.

The Gladiators average home gate of 777 last season was the fifth best in the NPL Premier Division, Macclesfield, FC United, Radcliffe and Marine ending the campaign with a higher average attendance. Matlock finished with a better average gate than National League neighbours Buxton (739) and Alfreton Town (633).

Meanwhile the countdown to pre season continues. On Tuesday there were fewer than 300 tickets left for the popular meeting with Chesterfield FC for the Ernie Moss Cup on Saturday July 6. Then the game with Derby County was confirmed for Friday July 12 and tickets are available for purchasing online from 9 am on Wednesday morning (15 May).

Manager Nicky Law is busy formulating his squad for the coming season which includes skipper and current fans player of the year John Johnston, who has quickly nailed his colours to the Matlock Town mast by signing again for the forthcoming NPL Premier Division season.

It will be the popular number seven’s third season at the Proctor Cars Stadium having made the switch from Guiseley in October 2022. He has played for manager Nicky Law before at Alfreton Town which he says is one of the key factors in him putting pen to paper on Tuesday night.

“When Nicky called me asking me to stay I was delighted and it was a no brainer for me. I had a good season personally last year and I have a great affinity with both the club and the fans. Nicky told me of the players he’s planning to bring in and what he’s hoping to achieve and I believe good times lie ahead for the club and it’s a good time to be part of it all. I played under Nicky at Alfreton and I want to have success here at Matlock. Other clubs have been in for me but I love it here, it’s a great family and community club.”

Law says that there is more to come from Johnston.
“Everyone knows what JJ’s about as a player, I had him on loan from Crewe when I was at Alfreton, I personally think I can get more out of him and I guess he knows that too. He’s a very good player for this level and if we can get him better than he was last year we’re going to have a real player on our hands.”