It will be freeview for everyone at Garforth

SIMON CLIFFORD is promising lifetime season tickets for Garforth Town's most loyal fans and free entry to everyone else as the club kick-off a brand new era with a radical approach.

Clifford is hoping it can be smiles all the way after Garforth were belatedly admitted into the UniBond League for the first time in their history after Durham City withdrew their application to join the new regionalised first division structure.

The ebullient manager/owner has promised no more gimmicks on the pitch, but there is plenty going on off it this summer with the emphasis on threes and frees.

Steve Nichol, Vernol Blair and Alan Billingham have been promoted to assistant manager's roles, while Duncan Williams and brother George are named as skippers alongside current armband-holder Brett Renshaw.

But the biggest news is anyone who puts in the effort will be able to watch Town for free next season – a scheme Clifford says will probably remain in place however far the club progress along his ambitious plan to get them into the Football League.

Clifford said: "I've observed since I have been at Garforth the people who come and watch and I will give all those who have been to at least 10 games in the last three years a lifetime season ticket.

"That will admit them and up to three members of their family or friends permanently to the ground.

"They won't be cheap tickets, either, but it is the very least we can do for the supporters who have backed me from the start, our most loyal fans.

"If one day we end up with lots of people watching and we have to move ground, those tickets will still stand.

"And anyone else who puts in the tiniest bit of effort to get a ticket will be able to watch us for free next season.

"I am not doing this to outflank Farsley Celtic or Leeds United, I have done this because football is getting out of hand and I think it should be accessible to everyone.

"I was a kid once and I look back to when I used to go to watch Middlesbrough with my dad. We didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up – people say my dad was a policeman but in those days he was a bus conductor – so we had to go in the Holgate End because it's all we could afford.

"It was about 1 for him and 50p for me and sometimes we couldn't even afford that so we used to get a 'squeeze' where he paid and they let me push in for free.

"I think pricing has gone mad in recent seasons and I think it's time we got all kids back into watching live football."

Clifford said he will deposit 250 tickets at two businesses in the city owned by people who helped him when he first arrived at Leeds as an 18-year-old.

Keith Dwyer, who runs Compton Furnishers in Harehills, will have tickets while Gilda Porchelli, of the Pasta Romagna restaurant on Albion Place, will also hand them out.

Another 500 will be behind the Bar Mineiros at Garforth's Genics Healthcare Stadium, while youngsters attending any of Clifford's brazilian-style soccer schools or anyone using Town's five-a-side pitches can also have one in the build up to home games.

Clifford said: "When I first came to Leeds I didn't have any family here and I didn't know anybody, but George and Gilda were like parents to me. I have known them almost since I arrived and they made an effort to look after me.

"Anyone who puts a tiny bit of effort in now will get a ticket.

"Anyone who goes into their shops and buys something in the week before a game can have a ticket. If they can't afford to buy something but they wait quietly and ask nicely, I am sure they will get one anyway.

"And anyone who uses our bar and buys a pint, a coke or a packet of crisps can have a ticket. Again, if they can't afford it they can just ask and they will get one. All I am looking for is people to make an effort.

"Are we going to miss the gate money? Yes, but positives do come from it.

"I think a lot of people are being priced out of watching live football, it is getting daft now, so I want to try something.

"I will fund the deficit and the way I see it if more people come they can help us be successful and pay us back that way."

Both home and away fans will have from six days before up until the night before a match to get a free ticket next season, which will be strictly handed out on a one-per-person-per-game basis.

Under-14s will be permitted free with an adult on the day, along with other concessions.

Match day prices will be 5 for adults unless the UniBond League's minimum pricing policy dictates otherwise.

Meanwhile, Clifford has also made Norman Hebbron a life president of Garforth. Former chairman Stephen Hayle, Peter Taylor, Arthur Taylor, Jim Thackrey and Dennis Sanderson are all made life vice presidents.