Title challenge is pulling in the punters

By David Watters

Burgess Hill Town

Burgess Hill Town are celebrating a massive rise in gates this season with fans flocking to follow the Ryman South leaders.

Ian Chapman's side are currently three points clear of their nearest rivals Faversham Town with five games in hand and their success in the league, not to mention their headline-making runs in both the FA Cup and FA Trophy, has seen a 42 per cent year on year rise in attendances at the Green Elephants Stadium.

Statistics published by delighted officials at the West Sussex club on Monday revealed that the Hillians lured an average of 248 supporters to their first 14 home league encounters of the campaign compared to 245 at the same stage last term.

Hillians general manager John Rattle said: "Over the past three seasons we have seen a steady increase in attendances both on Saturday's and at our midweek fixtures.

"We have worked hard behind the scenes in making sure that our supporters and visitors to the club enjoy the facilities on a match day.

"We recently enjoyed a crowd of over a 1000 people in the FA Trophy and we showed that day we have the infrastructure within the club to manage crowds of that size.

"We are ambitious, and we want to make the town proud of its football club. A town the size of Burgess Hill should be getting average home gates in the region of 400-500."

Rattle added: "We have nine home league games remaining this season, and they could be the most important games if the team continues producing performances as they have done so far."

Chapman added: "The support the team is getting this season has been really positive. We are now getting around 350 people on average at our home games and that is fantastic.

"I assure you, it really helps the players knowing that we have that sort of support. Even away from home, we regularly make up a large number of the crowd."

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