The Joys Of Being A Non-League Fan
This is a guest blog written by David Richardson on the delights of supporting his local team, Woking.
I’ve been supporting my local team, Woking FC, for two seasons now, and when it comes to the weekend there is nothing I feel more excited about than watching “The Cards” (nickname originated from “The Cardinals”). It’s become an addiction, albeit possibly a good one(?). I’ve never really truly supported a team before. When I say supported, I mean going every week, home and away, to watch a team play. I don’t consider people supporters that only go to see their team play twice a year when, if they were honest, could go a lot more often. My addiction with Woking FC has come about from playing for their Centre Of Excellence. From then on I started going to some games and I was hooked on the drug that is non-league football. Anyway, that is enough about my background; here are my two favourite “joys of being a non-league fan”…..
Personally, the main satisfaction of following Woking and non-league football as a whole is being a “regular”. By this I mean going every week, home and away, and seeing the same faces. The average attendance for Woking’s home games is around the 1100 mark. It is the highest average in the Conference South, and being part of the 1100 home fans, or one of the 200-700 that attend away games feels so special. I actually feel like part of the club. Supporting Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal is fine in my opinion, and why shouldn’t it be? But, do you really feel like a part of the club, along with the millions of other fans around the world? Can you go into the clubhouse after the match, and talk to Andre Villas-Boas or Arsene Wenger about the game, the players, the tactics? Can you ask them their reasons for using a 4-2-1-3 or why your expensive striker has only scored twice? No? Well, you can at Woking, and indeed at other non-league clubs, and that’s why I feel part of my club.
The second joy of being a non-league fan is being able to say “Yeah, I support my local team.” The chances are that many of you non-league fans have had the following conversation at some point:
“Which team do you support?”
“Woking? That’s non-league, right?”
“Oh right. So who’s your first team?”
“No, I mean Premier League.”
“Woking. I only support Woking.”
“Really? Well, that’s good I suppose, sticking with your local team…”
And that’s what I like.
A fair few of the football-conscious people I know don’t support their local team. Instead, they would rather sit in front of their Sky+ 3D HD Super TV (AND IT”S LIVE!) and watch “their” team from fifty miles away. I believe that every supporter at non-league level really does love their club. They will sweat blood singing their hearts out for every single one of the ninety minutes on a freezing cold January night at Chelmsford City to see their team win 1-0 in the last minute.
So, if you’re ever bored of the live midday kick off on Sky, why not pop down and see your local non-league team instead? You never know, you might enjoy it!