IMPROVING the matchday experience in order to attract new fans will be crucial for Didcot Town following their promotion, says the club’s vice-chairman.

Jamar Smith’s first half penalty ensured victory for the Railwaymen in their Southern League Central Division play-off final against Ware earlier this month.

It sealed a return to step three of the non-league system for the first time in 12 years, with the Gunners set to play at their highest level since suffering relegation in 2011.

READ ALSO: Andy Whing discusses his aim after shock resignation as Banbury United boss

Against Ware, Jamie Heapy’s side were watched on by a crowd of 1,938 at the Loop Meadow Stadium and vice-chairman Paul Chalk wants the club to tap into that potential by making improvements off the field.

He told this newspaper: “We’re still hopeful of having an all-weather pitch for the start of the next season, so the players will get a leading, world-class facility which the community can use as well.

“The whole facility is looking tired and while it was cutting edge 20 years ago, it’s still the same 20 years later.

“We need to smarten it up and make it the best we can.

“What we’ll really need to focus on is how we support the matchday.

“They’ll be greater crowds we’ll be hoping, so we’ll need further stewarding and more volunteers for the turnstiles – these are the things that people don’t necessarily think about.

Bicester Advertiser: Click here to sign up to the Oxford United newsletter Click here to sign up to the Oxford United newsletter (Image: Newsquest)

“We have to work hard to improve the whole matchday experience.

“Once we entice local supporters in and they’re being entertained in a safe environment, they’ll come back with their family and friends.

“As a community club, we’d love to get as much as the community involved as we can.

“The atmosphere was incredible for the play-off final, and success breeds success.

“Everyone is determined to making Didcot Town a club the town can be proud of.”

On what else the club needs to sort out over the summer, Chalk added: “It’s a lot around financially – we’ve gone up a level and it comes at a price.

“We need to find more revenues and Jamie needs that for a bigger budget.

“You shouldn’t underestimate the step that this is, we’ve got where we are with a fairly modest budget.

“Now we’ve come up a level, we’re going to need sponsors.

“Getting and retaining them is difficult but it’s helped enormously by Jamie being as approachable as he is, and the success of the players on the pitch.

“Building a bridge between us and the community is a lot down to the role Jamie plays.

“We’ve been enormously impressed with how well Jamie has done with this team, and how much of an inspiration he is.

“The players come from a very diverse background, we’ve got every social spectrum and they’ve gelled brilliantly.”