“THE idea is that, yes, we focus on the Kidderminster Harriers game and set a target, but I’m hoping the benefits will be long-term,” says the 29-year-old manager who introduced a fan-based project called Challenge 2000 to boost poor home attendances.
Over the last few weeks, Mikey Harris and his Salisbury City squad have been dropping in at scores of schools across south Wiltshire, where they have been giving presentations, handing out complimentary tickets, offering prizes and having their photos taken with youngsters.
They hope the hard work will be rewarded with more than 2,000 fans generating an electric atmosphere inside the Ray Mac to cheer the Whites to victory over their fellow play-off contenders.
A healthy proportion of fans is something the club has lacked in their first season back in the Skrill Premier after a three-year exile, averaging 800/900 gates, with the lowest plummeting to 594 last September.
This has not only left the Salisbury stadium decimated at times, but slashed Harris’ small-scale budget.
“When there are people inside the ground it changes the whole atmosphere,” reflected Harris.
“When you look back to the Conference South play-off final last year when we nearly had 4,000 people crammed into the Ray Mac, it made an amazing day.”
“We’ve been to virtually every school in the Salisbury area and we’re really hoping the hard work pays off. We’re a community club and it’s important we raise the profile of SCFC within the local area. The match is a great opportunity for children to watch the game for free with friends and family.
“I’m confident we’ll hit the target.”
Harris, who visited the schools with different players, recognised many faces from his younger coaching days.
“All the schools have been fantastic in letting us lead assemblies and talk to the kids,” he added
“I’ve really enjoyed it.
“I’ve got a background coaching kids and it was nice to see a lot of familiar faces.
“There’s some good little footballers at the club and let’s get them to the ground where I’m sure they will have a great day out.
“We’ve had a really positive reaction to everything we’ve done, so hopefully we’ll hit that magical 2,000 mark and maybe more.
“A good performance will hopefully see more people come back and support the boys.”
“The idea is that, yes, we focus on the Kidderminster game and set a target, but I’m hoping the benefits will be long-term.
“We have plenty of kids in the Salisbury area and want to highlight you don’t need to go to Southampton, Portsmouth, Swindon or AFC Bournemouth as there’s good football on your doorstep.”
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