Whitby Town may be forced to quit league

Whitby Town celebrate - but soon they could be celebrating in a lower division'picture: Brian Murfield
Whitby Town celebrate - but soon they could be celebrating in a lower division'picture: Brian Murfield
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Whitby Town may quit the EvoStik League if more people do not attend their home games.

The stark warning was made by chairman Graham Manser following disappointing gates in the last two home matches.

In a further blow, boss Darren Williams has said he may also walk out if the club ends up competing at a lower level.

Attendances will be monitored over the coming months and a public meeting will then take place towards the end of the season to see if people want to see Whitby carry on at their current level.

A crowd of 277 watched the Blues beaten 3-1 at home by Ilkeston on Saturday, while only 219 saw the previous fixture at the Turnbull, a 3-0 win over Stamford.

“Quite frankly, we cannot finance a team in this league on that level of attendance,” Mr Manser said. “We will monitor the gates into the new year but if there is no improvement, consideration will have to be given to resigning.”

Boss Darren Williams said the situation was a “head scratcher” given his team’s attractive brand of football and push for promotion.

“I’ve found it a little bit frustrating as we’re doing well with what we’ve got,” he said.

“We’re sitting quite decent in the league and realistically, you would expect the local community to come down and watch. We don’t want to resign from the league and drop down.

“If that happens not only would I question whether I want to drop down a division, a lot of the lads might want to do that as well.”

Whitby are in the top half of the UniBond Premier, just five points from a play-off place, having recovered from a poor start of three straight defeats.

Williams has stabilised the club after recent consistent battles with relegation.

Supporters made their feelings known on the club’s website forum.

Loftus Blue said: “We now have a team playing attractive football at a good level, which most people would agree is only a couple of players short of a serious promotion push, and still we can’t get the crowds.”

Si Fox thought the townsfolk of Whitby were “just too ambivalent” about the club.

“The only thing that would bring people back is a title chasing season, or a massive (and risky) slash in the £9 adult admission price.”

Followers of Whitby’s rival clubs were sympathetic.

Alex Ilkeston understood the club’s plight but added: “I hope you guys don’t resign from the league.”

To hear more from Darren Williams on the situation, click here