Southgate Hockey Club has announced a bold plan to match or break the domestic league attendance record for a hockey match at its club – inspired by our Hockey Paper coverage!
Southgate hope to entice a record-breaking crowd for its double header league matches on March 4, an attendance which has stood since 1988.
The day will see a Vitality Women’s England Hockey East Conference clash between Southgate women’s 1 and Bishops Stortford Women’s 1 before the mens 1’s take on Old Loughtonians in what could be a promotion-deciding local derby.
The ‘ambitious day’ will see Southgate bringing in a big screen, stadium seating, local schools and community groups as well as commentators, TV cameras and a brass band.
The games will be live streamed via the club website and social media accounts. Club secretary Alastair Whatley said: “Hockey is a fantastic game to watch live, Southgate is fortunate to have a wonderful facility in the middle of Trent Park just 35 minutes from the centre of London in which to host big games of hockey.
“Inspired by the work of other clubs and the Y1 Hockey Championships we want to up our game and set the bar a notch higher. We hope our Super Saturday will bring a new local audience to hockey and given them a great day out.
“It’s ambitious, it’s exciting and the scale of what we are attempting is only just a bit intimidating. We may not get it 100% right, but we are giving it everything and we hope others in the wider hockey family will follow and continue to push the envelope of what hockey can be.”
The idea of breaking the domestic league attendance record was inspired by an article in The Hockey Paper which suggested the record stood at around 700 people. That article was centred around Alex Danson-Bennett’s debut for Clifton Robinsons following Rio 2016. Although there was no concrete attendance, that was the rough estimate and certainly one of the biggest crowds in recent years.
The previous best – unless any reader can state otherwise – was ‘recorded’ in the inaugural national league year in 1988 when, ironically, Southgate – with Sean Kerly and Co returning from the Seoul Olympics – travelled to Isca and a crowd of nearly 2,000 was reported by The Sunday Times.
Club chairman Neil Murphy said: “The record is a bit of fun, it has already generated a fair bit of interest on social media with the upshot being it seems that nobody really knows what the record attendance is. We hope to count over 1,000 people on March 4, that will be a record for us and possibly a record for the league as far as we understand it.
“More importantly it’s a flagpole in the sand and we want other clubs to move it further up the beach. Top hockey should attract top crowds. Southgate Hockey Centre was built for this, it is time that we started to deliver on this ambition.”
There will be nine home games being played by teams across the National, London and East Leagues. Entry is free to the public and profits will be donated to three charities.
Men’s coach Kwan Browne, whose team sits top of their league pushing for promotion, said: “As a player, coach and supporter, I am incredibly excited to be part of Southgate’s push to create and enjoyable player and supporter experience. Attracting kids from all backgrounds and areas to hockey could only be positive and if one kid a few years from now picks up hockey because of this event it will have been a success.”
GATES OPEN FROM 12:00
Limited Parking available, public transport is advised
15:30 Southgate Womens 1s vs Bishop’s Stortford Womens 1s’
17:30 Southgate Mens 1’s vs Old Loughtonians Mens 1’s