It’s that time of the season again. The time of the year when the non-league family can try and gain some extra attention from supporters nationwide. With no matches taking place in the top two divisions due to World Cup qualifiers and other internationals, it gives non-league clubs the chance to try and tempt some extra fans through their turnstiles.
Non League Day is the brainchild of James Doe, a Queens Park Rangers supporter who had the inspiration for his annual event in 2010 when watching the R’s in a preseason friendly in Devon. Now into it’s fourth year, NLD is aimed at fans of Premier League and Championship clubs, in an attempt to get them to watch their local non-league club. The success has been phenomenal, especially when you consider that it was originally an experiment!
Clubs up and down the land have embraced the event wholeheartedly, with many offering cut price, or even free, admission on presentation of a valid season ticket, and there are plenty of events set up for fans to enjoy. It is now one of the fixtures that fans look out for immediately when the fixtures are released, right alongside the opening/closing fixtures and Christmas and Easter. One of the most important thing, from a fan point of view is that, unlike at top level clubs, every penny you spend at a non-league club makes a huge difference. Clubs need every penny they can get, and your admission fee, programme, pie and pint contributes massively to the club’s coffers. So every extra fan through the gates counts. Don’t go thinking “Oh, it doesn’t matter whether I go or not, one won’t make a difference.” Believe me, it will!
So, if you haven’t already, turn off Soccer Saturday, get up off the sofa and get along and support your local club. And not just on Non League Day! I guarantee you will love it and keep going back for more!
For more information, and to find a match near you, visit the Non League Day website.
Alan Jessup-Peacock gives us the lowdown on why he has fallen in love with non-league football. Read the rest of this entry
Welling United moved to 3rd in the Blue Square South with a 2-0 victory at local rivals Bromley on Saturday.
Over 1300 supporters were in attendance at Hayes Lane, with half-price admission and ‘kids for a quid’ for all those who entered before 2pm being the offer of choice for Non-League Day. Sky Sports were also in attendance – focusing on the ‘Kick It Out’ initiative being supported by the two clubs for the game – and a mouthwatering clash was anticipated by the bumper crowd.
The Wings had the better of the opening exchanges, with the likes of Joe Healy and Kiernan Hughes-Mason failing to convert their chances, but Bromley striker Richard Pacquette’s deflected shot kept keeper Sam Mott on his toes.
Welling kept the pressure up throughout the first half and were rewarded in the 34th minute when a neat interchange between Ross Lafayette and Healy led to the latter with a clear chance, but he unselfishly squared the ball to Theo Fairweather-Johnson with a simple pass that took the keeper and two defenders out of the equation, leaving the Welling number 9 with a simple finish who celebrated with the sizeable travel contingent. The Wings had a lead to take into the break, yet it could’ve been a very different story when the home side’s Michael Malcolm’s neat turn and finish was adjudged to have been offside by the linesman.
The second half started at a frenetic pace and the lead was doubled just two minutes after the restart when the Lilywhites defence failed to clear the ball following Healy’s freekick from the left wing, leaving Welling captain and ex-Northern Ireland international Lee Clarke free to swivel and fire home via a small deflection.
Bromley were spurred into action by the goal and set about trying to reduce the deficit, with chances for Malcolm and Pier Joseph-Dubois calling Mott into action. Mott was beaten by a Moses Swaibu header just minutes later but the crossbar came to the Wings rescue amidst penalty claims from the home support. At the other header Laffayette responded quickly at a corner, but his header flashed agonizingly wide.
Bromley had another penalty appeal turned down towards the end of the game, whilst the away fans were infuriated when play continued after substitute Harry Baker appeared to be impeded when clean through on goal.
Despite this, the Wings fans short journey home would still be a happy one when the final whistle blew just minutes later to confirm the victory that sent them 3rd in the league, whilst their opponents dropped to 16th. The home crowd made their way home still largely in fairly good spirits after seeing a good advert for Non-League football and the success of the Kick It Out activities in a year where the topic of racism has been at the forefront of the footballing world.
Scott Knowles reports from the first of the Conference Premier Groundhop that took place on Non League Day. Read the rest of this entry
This is an article I wrote on an old, now discontinued, blog of mine about last year’s Non League Day, and my first ever live nonleague match. It was originally published on September 11th 2011. Read the rest of this entry
It’s that time of the season again; when the top two divisions take a break for international football and the country’s non-league clubs try and take some of the limelight. This Saturday, October 13th, sees the third incarnation of the brainchild of James Doe, a Harrow Borough supporter who saw an opportunity to try and bring non-league football onto the national stage.
The concept has been an incredible success, and has gotten bigger and bigger every year. The idea is that non-league clubs offer half price admission, or even free in some cases, to season ticket holders of Football League and Premier League clubs, in an attempt to generate some much needed extra revenue, and maybe gain a few extra regular supporters in the process. The fact that England now play their weekend match on a Friday night instead of a Saturday afternoon has perpetuated the success of Non-League Day, and this year is sure to be even bigger again.
The Non League Day website has an excellent match finder to help you find a match near you, with a comprehensive list of fixtures up and down the country. And there are some cracking games taking place too; local derbies, top of the table clashes, Non League Day has it all!
And, as I wrote here, there are so many reasons to get along to non-league football. Friendly local staff, most of whom are more often than not volunteers, little or no segregation of the fans, changing ends at half time, being able to bring a beer pitchside at a lot of grounds. It’s a fantastic afternoon out, and that’s just off the pitch! On the pitch you have players who love football, players playing for the love of the game and the shirt they’re wearing. You can here the conversations and arguments between players and officials. You can even interact with them and get a direct reply a lot of the time. And you can meet the players and management after the match in the warm and friendly clubhouse and dissect the game that has just transpired. It’s like you’re the journalist in your very own press conference!
So, instead of going to IKEA, or the supermarket, or doing gardening and DIY, get your warm clothes on and get down to your local non-league club and enjoy the atmosphere, the game and the experience. And make sure to spend some of the money you saved on the admission on a programme, drinks and food; non-league clubs need every penny they can get.
Who knows, you might just enjoy yourself and keep coming back for more. That’s certainly what happened to me!
For more information on Non League Day, and to find a match near you, visit the official Non League Day website.