Away we go - Tigers boss Shaw blasts NCEL fixtures

Staveley Miners Welfare v Worksop Town'Inkersall Road, Staveley'14th January 2015''Worksop Manager Mark Shaw ''Pic by Dan Westwell
Staveley Miners Welfare v Worksop Town'Inkersall Road, Staveley'14th January 2015''Worksop Manager Mark Shaw ''Pic by Dan Westwell

Worksop Town have grown accustomed to a nomadic lifestyle over recent years, but that doesn’t mean they’re happy to miss out on home comforts on important dates.

Tigers, preparing for their second season in the NCEL Premier, are unhappy that the league has given them away fixtures on the opening day, closing day and traditional matchdays over the festive period.

Mark Shaw’s men open the 2015/16 campaign at Athersley Recreation, visit Clipstone and Retford in Christmas fixtures, travel to Staveley in the first game of 2016, and play landlords Handsworth Parramore as the designated away side on the final day of the season.

Shaw is unhappy that, for the second season in a row, they’ve been unable to enjoy the benefits of bumper home crowds on those dates.

“I know the league are not supposed to help anyone out, but I don’t see how Worksop Town can be away for all of those games,” he said.

“I think maybe the league is helping other clubs cash in on Worksop Town and our fanbase, and that’s wrong.

“We haven’t been at home at Christmas for two seasons, we haven’t started the season or ended the season at home in the NCEL.

Tigers fans are well used to travelling, with Worksop’s long periods in exile, and over the past several seasons have taken impressive numbers away from home.

Shaw says this doesn’t excuse the lack of home fixtures on occasions when attendances traditionally rise.

“Our supporters don’t get to enjoy the festivities at home.

“It’s not just us, there are four teams away from home for all four important fixtures, and their managers and supporters won’t be happy.

“I don’t understand how it can be generated like that.

“It looks like the league have tried to engineer a decider on the last day, between us and Parramore, like they did last season when we went to Tadcaster, but it might not go down to the last day. It didn’t last season.”

The Guardian requested a response from the NCEL but none was forthcoming as we went to print on Thursday morning.

In another fixture headache, Gainsborough Trinity have pulled out of this Saturday’s friendly at Sandy Lane due to an injury crisis.

Shaw is desperately trying to arrange a replacement.

He said: “It’s disappointing, we turned down other clubs so we could have a derby game.

“If we get 300 people coming to a friendly, that’s money we need.

“We’re all working hard to try and find someone to fill in on Saturday.”