Friday night football is upon us as the Railwaymen get set to travel to Bedlington for their first Friday fixture of the season.
At this early stage, Shildon sit 14th having played just five matches while Bedlington, having overcome their difficulties from last season, lie in second position after playing seven games.
A win tomorrow for the Railwaymen will shoot them at least eight places up the league before the bulk of the fixtures are played on Saturday afternoon.
Friday night football has generated much debate about its merits, but Shildon manager, Gary Forrest, is convinced that it will bring financial benefits to the Northern League.
“I understand the traditionalists will want us to play on a Saturday,” said Gary in last weekend’s match programme, “but surely in light of the impact that Sky TV and Premier League football is having on grassroots football we must experiment, and my personal belief is that Friday night football will significantly increase attendances.
“I have looked at the attendances of the Northern League teams in the last round of the FA Cup,” continues Gary. “The only club that had an increased attendance level was Bishop Auckland. Coincidently, they played their game on the Friday night. Other clubs, Spennymoor included, saw a decrease on their attendance compared to their last home game.
“We have managed to agree to play Friday night with a few clubs so far, but for us to properly compare results, we probably need to play at least 10 homes games on a Friday night.
“If we could get an extra 100 people through the turnstiles,” suggests Gary, “it would generate approximately £500 extra revenue per game, twenty two homes games a season is £11,000.”
Shildon will be looking to return to winning ways after falling in the FA Cup at home against Penrith last Saturday.