Guest writer Jamie Cutteridge urges you to go and support your local team on Non-League day.
You know when a band suddenly becomes cool and everyone jumps on the bandwagon? I am normally first jumping off the bandwagon, and then pushing people back onto the bandwagon, to prevent jumping off the bandwagon becoming a bandwagon. Clear? Good.
But every now and then a band come along that are so mind-bendingly wonderful that you want everyone to love them along with you, as long as you can remind everyone that you knew them first.
You may (very fairly) be asking what this has to do with ‘Non-League Day.’ Well for me, Non-League football is like the second of two scenarios. It is hardly a secret, but it is still something that for the masses, happens away from their comfy chairs in front of Sky Sports 8 in Super-High-3-Definition.
The thing is, over the past year or so, I’ve fallen in love with the game at this lower level. It may not be as sanitised, as hyped or as loved, but for passion (which according to every media outlet ever, we in England lack) commitment, banter, as well as a real family feel there is nowhere better to get your footballing kicks, and as such, I want to share it with as many people as possible.
For me, the Non-League game is the lifeblood of our game, but as many examples have shown recently (Chester being the foremost example) the teams involved are almost constantly on a knife-edge when it comes to finances, living in the balance between competing and surviving. This is where this Saturday (September 4th) comes in. Due to England playing the night before, there are no Premiership or Championship games, and as such ‘Non-League Day’ has been created. It is an initiative to encourage fans to get out and support their local Non-League team on this day. The website set up here has all the information and also a cheeky little feature which enables you to find your local team. Go on, try it out, not only will you get a completely different, and in my opinion, better, day out, but also, if just a small percentage of the fans that normally go to top-level games turn out and support their local team, it could keep many of them going for the entire season where they might otherwise struggle.
It might lack the quality, but non-league football is one of that most amazing parts of our footballing heritage, and one whose bandwagon we should all be jumping on.