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Ebbsfleet United letting under-16s watch their game against St Albans City for free as part of Non-League Day

By Steve Tervet

Young people from Gravesend and Northfleet can watch their local team for free on Saturday as the Premier League takes a weekend off.

There are no fixtures in the top two divisions because of the international break – and Ebbsfleet are letting under-16s into their home game against St Albans for nothing.

The special offer is part of Non-League Day and Fleet vice-chairman Peter Varney hopes the youth of Gravesham will give his title-chasing team a try.

Ebbsfleet United vice-chairman Peter Varney Picture: Andy Payton

He said: "When we first set the pricing, we were conscious of the fact that we don’t get many children coming. That’s why we set the pricing level where under-12s get in free.

"What we’re trying to do on Non-League Day is extend that a little bit out to the under-16s in the hope that more people will start coming along on a family-type basis. That’s what we’re going to need, long-term, if we’re going to grow support for the club.

"It’s a real issue here. We know from the numbers that not a lot of young people come. I think, in the playgrounds now, you have to be a Chelsea fan or an Arsenal fan or a Manchester United fan.

"But it’s all very well saying 'I'm a Chelsea fan' – how many of those kids can actually go to games when you’re talking about £30 or £40 tickets? Making it a family package, it’s a really expensive day out – and that’s not the case here.

"If you come as a dad with your son, it’s costing you £10 (for an adult ticket)."

Read the full story in the Gravesend Messenger.

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