Whilst the whole world of football looks to the Premiership and the Championship as new seasons start all across the world, spare a thought for grassroots football. If your team is playing away next weekend, why not head down to the local side, stand in some old style terraces and eat a pie with bovril. Your patronage of non-league football is a lot more important that your probably think.
Of course, support for non-league football is no better or “purer” as I have heard some people say than going to watch our bigger clubs. But having said that without the television money of the Premiership, often only a couple of hundred spectators passing through the gates, and issues of sponsorship during these tough economic times many of our grassroots clubs live a subsistence existence. They rely on the good will and hard work of a few committed volunteers. And perhaps if they are lucky, a good FA Cup run to swell the coffers every few years.
I am not trying to say that the majority of the thousands of grassroots clubs are on the brink of financial disaster. Rather, many are well run with many small initiatives to attract new fans and of course the famed ground hoppers who trawl the country to see new stadiums. Of course it is extremely unlikely that Premiership fans are about to tear up their season tickets but football fans should be encouraged to show a little support to their local team.
So, why not, when your team is playing away and you find yourself with a free afternoon. Head down to your local side and have a pint. You’ll be contributing to the beautiful game from the ground up. And although it’s unlikely to be pretty, the banter is good and the pies cheap.
Non-league: Below league 2 in the English football pyramid