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Scepticism over groundshare appears to be disappearing
10:21am Thursday 10th October 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
WHEN it was announced Worcester City would be sharing with Kidderminster Harriers, it is fair to say there was a great deal of scepticism.
Already faced with leaving St George’s Lane, the club’s home of more than a century, the prospect of moving out of the city altogether was not particularly appealing.
Supporters were certainly not in whole-hearted agreement. Some accepted it, others didn’t.
Some took the school playground attitude and objected to it for no other reason than it was Kidderminster.
Fears that crowd numbers would drop off a cliff and the team suffer as a result were rife. In short, this was the beginning of the end.
How wrong we all were.
Yes, City still face an uncertain future but, thanks in no small part to selling 500 £100 season tickets, they are surviving and, it could be argued, prospering in the short-term at Aggborough.
They no longer have expensive maintenance bills to pay at the Lane and are keeping their heads above water financially.
Beating Coventry Sphinx in the FA Cup earned them £4,500 and they can add another £7,500 in prize money by repeating the feat against Rugby Town on Saturday. So far, it seems, the move has been more successful than anybody expected, on and off the pitch.
The season might only be two months old but there is money in the bank and a team people want to watch.
Gates are down but not dramatically. The Gainsborough Trinity match aside, they have all still been above 500 — two topped 700 — which is more than respectable in Skrill North.
The club helping fans get to games has also played a key role with the reduced train fares to season-ticket holders proving popular.
Even supporters without season tickets are happy to jump on a train at Foregate Street and be dropped next to Aggborough.
Early teething troubles with car parking have also been ironed out.
More importantly, supporters are finding Harriers’ home to their liking and Kidderminster seem to like having them there.
City are paying a substantial rent but they have been welcomed by their neighbours and can even use the Aggborough Suite, reserved for hospitality packages when Harriers are at home.
Although Aggborough will never replace the Lane, it has made people realise the old ground’s limitations, both financially and practically.
Watching their team play in a high-quality Football League-standard ground has whetted the appetite and made them wonder what could be achieved if the supporters’ trust plans for Perdiswell were to come to fruition, albeit on a smaller scale. Above all, there is now a more professional feel to City and, for now at least, the scepticism has disappeared.
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