Up until Saturday, the highest crowd East Grinstead Town had entertained at East Court this season was the two hundred and two who turned up on the Saturday after Christmas to watch the Wasps play a derby match against Haywards Heath Town. Their other highest crowds were also Sussex derby matches, so a causal observer might not have expected the attraction of Herne Bay to smash the club average attendance to smithereens. Four hundred and seventy two people turned up to watch a one-one draw; a match which saw the home side play seventy-two minutes with ten men.
So what caused the sudden upsurge? Town have been in very good form of late- had the news finally reached the local community? Well, perhaps it has, but it would seem that the main attraction was the King of the Jungle. Yes, Harry Redknapp was both in town and at Town!
The story began last month. East Grinstead Town supporter Mike Phillips entered a competition launched by Richmond Sausages to find the Nation's Most Dedicated Football Fans- and won. The Prize? Harry Redknapp, Hayley McQueen from Sky Sports News, a prize penalty shootout, a Q&A with ‘Arry, a ‘Fan of the Match’ Trophy and enough free sausages to put a local butchers out of business. The club advertised their good fortune, local media got on board, and the locals came down to watch and were royally entertained.
Harry Redknapp gives a teamtalk
Take a look at our images, reproduced with permission of Stuart Gibson and East Grinstead Town FC.- you can see the rest of them HERE. And hopefully, many of those who attended on Saturday will return in the future- which is the very least that Matt Longhurst and his side deserve.