It’s often the simple ideas that are the best. And you
couldn’t get simpler than Non League Day. Pick a date when international
football means no Premiership or Championship games and encourage people to go
and watch their local non league club. You never know they might even enjoy it.
Now in its third year the day just gets bigger and better.
Non League Day is not just a celebration of our level of football but a chance for fans of bigger clubs to dip their toes and experience football at a level they may be otherwise unfamiliar with. It also helps promote hundreds of clubs across the country who are almost exclusively volunteer run and do so much good for the local community.
I’ve been rehearsing for Non
League Day by dragging people along to local games especially cup ones. Often
my text invitations are ignored, people pretending their dead or theirs some
Very Important Match on the TV which they certainly can’t miss. One man I can
usually count on to come is Luke, a Notts
County and Glossop North
End fan “You're not there in your 1000's, but in
your 10's. You’ve grown up with the same supporters as extended family, taking
trips to unknown places. Both sets of supports enjoy the game together,
friendly ribbing between intelligent supporters as you laugh and joke about the
lopsided pitch, the awful misses and reminisce about that one time your team
nearly came to glory, for that to never return. All along sipping beer from
plastic cups on the terraces."
and Terry are both long term Brighton and Hove
Albion season ticket holders. James came along to watch Whitehawk knock
Sittingbourne out of the FA Cup. “The difference in football was like the
difference between eating a greasy spoon (Whitehawk) and an Egon Roney rated
restaurant. Both good but in their own different ways.”
Terry said: “One of the
the first things that I find different from going to a Football League
game and going to a non League game is the amount of people
travelling to the game. Even a League game with a small crowd of 3000
people it is very noticeable. When I recently travelled on the bus to FA
Vase game involving Ringmer and Littlehampton I was expecting everybody to get
off the bus when it pulled into Ringmer. But everybody stayed on except the two
other guys going to the game with me. Then I saw a large queue in the distance
and thought to myself there's Ringmer's ground when in fact it was the queue
for the local jumble sale!
It's difficult to compare professional footballers with amateurs as from my
opinion to even to play at non league level you have to be quite a good
footballer. Obviously there is a difference in fitness. With most non-league
guys having jobs and lives outside football they cannot dedicate their bodies
into becoming athletes as the professional footballers have the time and advice
to do it nowadays. But when you see non league footballers out there running on
those sloping pitches they are giving as much effort as players on £200,000 a
week. That's the beauty of football.
One of the things I do love about non-league is that you can get a beer. But
most of the club houses I have visited are quite ropey and not even up to the
standard of the toilets at the Brighton's new
stadium! But it's nice to stand and watch the game with a beer on the go
and was disappointed that in the FA Cup and Vase games this season it was
prohibited to take a beer outside the club house. I guess they want to give
these games a more professional feel but then it would not be amateur and non
league would it.
With the non league supporters there is much more friendliness and
are always up for a chat. Since I have gone to non-league football I have
quite enjoyed it and will go again. I am sure there will be thousands more like
me who will go to their non League game this Saturday. It reminds me a lot of
football in the 70's when I first went and with the price of admission
to League football becoming increasingly out of each to the ordinary
man's income this can only be good for Non League football and
long may the institution prosper.”