As the top tiers take a break for international duty, football fans from the major leagues have an opportunity to experience the game at its grass roots level. Here are seven reasons why you should embrace ‘Non-League Day’.
In 2010, the idea of ‘Non-League Day’ came to founder James Doe as a social media experiment aimed at getting fans to enjoy grass roots football while the big leagues break for international matches. Five years on, it’s become something of a movement.
Here are seven reasons why you should visit your local non-league side:
- It’s cheap: You are unlikely to spend more than £15 on full-price entry
- The beer is better: The beer at non-league football is often supplied by a local brewer and is cheaper than drinking big brand generic lager at a league venue, plus you can often drink it in your seat or in the stands (except FA Cup/Vase matches)
- The atmosphere is friendly: With fewer axes to grind and a shared love of grass roots football, non-league fans mix quite happily, often swapping ends at half-time to be behind the one its team is kicking towards
- You’re close to home: Most towns have a football team in some league or other. Personally, I flit between Tunbridge Wells FC (SCEFL – 9th tier of English football) and Maidstone United (Vanarama National – 5th tier of English football)
- There’s a community spirit: Being local, teams often get involved in the community. Take a look at our interview with Lewes FC to see what the club is doing in the Sussex town
- New cultures are emerging: Non-league football is catching on, with interesting fan cultures surfacing, such as those St Pauli-style movements at Dulwich Hamlet and Clapton FC
- The standard is good: Let’s myth-bust straight away that you’ll see bad football. Players like ‘Sir’ Les Ferdinand, Ian Wright, Charlie Austin, Jamie Vardy and Chris Waddle played non-league football
The last Premier League match I went to – at the Boleyn Ground, West Ham last season – cost £55 plus booking fees. It was OK as a spectacle but I was way up in the gods and faced a massive schlep home via a long wait in line for the tube. Give me grass roots football any time!
Use the handy Non-League Day match finder tool to locate your nearest match. Hopefully you’ll enjoy your experience enough to become a regular.
Where do you plan to spend Non-League Day?