Darlington Football Club's four-division demotion has resulted in the largest crowds in years in the Ebac Northern League, but West Auckland Town have caused controversy by doubling ticket prices for their game with Quakers next Saturday. Deputy Sports Editor Craig Stoddart explains why Darlington supporters should boycott the game

Will you be going to West? It is the only question on the lips of Darlington supporters at the moment. Well, there is another - is there a better pie in the Northern League than at Heritage Park?

But for now, we will deal with West Auckland Town's insatiable appetite for money.

In seven days' time the teams meet at West's Darlington Road ground, just a mile or so away from Quakers' current base at Bishop Auckland's Heritage Park.

It is a game that has been eagerly awaited, but anticipation has turned to animosity thanks to West doubling admission from £5 to £10.

Darlington supporters are outraged, and rightly so. It appears greed in football is not unique to the Premier League.

West's "buy one ticket for the price of two" initiative has been discussed at length in the past fortnight, since The Northern Echo revealed West's 100 per cent price hike, but it is a simple issue to analyse.

Darlington have been attracting crowds of 1,500 at Heritage Park and a similar figure was expected at West, whose average attendance this season is under 250.

With a gate six times their usual in the offing, clearly West are hoping to take advantage of Quakers' supporters. It is obscene, it is blatant profiteering, and everyone knows it.

The decision is immoral, but there are no rules to prevent putting up prices, so West are within their rights - so too are the Darlington fans who will boycott the game in protest.

There will be a presence of Quakers fans, many of whom will find it impossible not to show their support and they are perfectly entitled to do so.

The best way to make West pay for their greed, however, is a defeat at the turnstile, and the signs are that is exactly what will happen.

A poll on the fans' website Darlo Uncovered says 91 per cent of fans will not attend, while a Boycott West Auckland v Darlington Facebook page has been "liked" hundreds of times.

Good. Make a stand. Be united and send

out the message that you will not tolerate being exploited by West or any other Northern League club toying with an admission

increase for their game with Darlington.

It is tough contemplating not going to see your team, especially as they are doing so well.

But a point of principle is at stake and sometimes making a sacrifice for the greater good is necessary.

There is at least one other club that is considering following West's lead - pay £10 next weekend and you are giving approval to any other morally-bankrupt Northern League club to crank up their prices.

The excuse offered by West's secretary, Allen Bayles, on October 23 in the Echo, was laughable. He said the increase was needed to pay for up to 25 extra stewards.

He added: "We have been advised to get quite a few stewards because of the large crowd and that will have to be passed down.

"If we have to have police on duty in the ground, then we'll have to pay for them as well."

Had 1,500 punters paid £5 each, that would have given his club £7,500 - so how much are they paying the stewards, £250 each for the day? Nice work if you can get it.

League chairman Mike Amos described the matter as his "biggest disappointment in

17 years as league chairman".

His pleas for common sense to prevail fell on deaf ears as money-hungry West stubbornly stuck to their price hike.

It has been a public relations disaster - West's name is now tarnished and their decision to make such a short-sighted move has created ill-feeling that will not be forgotten.

Should they ever need a helping hand, such as Darlington did during administration last season, people will be far less willing and West have only themselves to blame.

It is a shame it has come to this, because the Northern League experience has been largely enjoyable for Darlington.

Their supporters have had a raw deal in recent years, but they are now revelling in supporting a community club that has its pride restored.

Last Saturday's visit to Billingham Synthonia was typical of their away games - a friendly and enjoyable atmosphere while Synners made enough money out of Darlington's visit without it being necessary to increase prices.

All concerned had been looking forward to another enjoyable away day at West, yet people are now looking to spend their day and money elsewhere.

Darlington chairman Denis Pinnegar has suggested that fans not keen on being ripped off should show solidarity with landlords Bishop and attend their home game with Dunston.

Admission is £5 and there will also be an opportunity to make a donation to the Poppy Appeal. Alternatively, promotion-chasing Darlington RA, third in Division Two, would welcome more support.

I plan to be at West in a working capacity, so using my press pass and not spending a penny.

That means forgoing my usual pre-match pie and peas - now that really is a sacrifice -

although it would surprise no one if they upped the price of a pie too.

West boast on their website that "ticket prices have yet again remained unchanged for the 2012-13 season".

Perhaps they need to add "except when we play Darlington, when we'll exploit their fans".