Non League Day: 07/10/2017
This Saturday is national Non League Day to promote the lower levels of football and showcase local clubs across England. While it is the international break this weekend, there has never been a better time to support your local club.
While England stumbled to another boring win on Thursday night, fans are getting a break from the Premier League. However, football far from stops this weekend with teams from League One and below still in action.
The history of Non-League Day
It was first set up by James Doe in 2010 as part of a social media experiment after being inspired by a pre-season trip to Devon to watch Queens Park Rangers play at Tavistock.
It has since been an annual event which has been well supported by the FA, as well as many of the top clubs in the country.
Each year it is scheduled when there is an international break to try and get as many as fans as possible to attend; including those who would normally either go to top flight games or watch from their TV at home.
The main purpose is to raise the profile of the non-league game and also to try and boost club's attendances for that match. For the majority of non-league clubs, gate receipts is a huge portion of their income and are crucial to their survival.
While money at the top of the game has never seen levels that at it has now, it is a constant struggle for many clubs to survive.
My own club has fallen from League Two into the non-league game in our recent history and while the overall package non league football provides is not the same as league football, it still has a fantastic amount to offer. I have since visited many fantastic grounds across the north of England met some great people and seen some great football.
While the standard is obviously nowhere near that of the Premier League the drama and passion are still there, often more so than at the top tier.
For the players, the majority of whom are part-time, it is as much for the love of the game, as the money that will boost their normal wage.
Cheaper admission prices to get in, the option to have a pint at the side of the pitch,(at most grounds) and generally volunteers running it.
Promoted from the top
The majority of Premier League teams have been advertising local sides in their area's matches this weekend.
While the FA fully support the initiative including Martin Glenn the FA's Chief Executive "Non-League Day has become a really important part of the football calendar. It celebrates what is great about English football. I applaud all those involved in promoting Non-League Day. The fact that its momentum grows every year is down to their hard work alongside those who work tirelessly across more than 600 leagues around the country week in, week out"
Why not try a match on Saturday?
The profile of non-league football has never been bigger. BT Sport are showing live games, attendances are higher than they ever have been and coverage across the media has increased.
However, days such as Saturday are still hugely important. While some clubs are seeing gains of the increased coverage many are not and are being swallowed by the professional game as attendances struggle.
Since I have started going to non-league games I have never looked back and I know many who have felt the same. With no Premier League football this weekend, why not find out who is playing in your area at 3pm on Saturday and get yourself along.
Who knows it may be a pleasant change to watching the millionaires at the top of the game.
Type in your postcode on Nonleagueday.co.uk to find out games in your area this weekend.