One of the first dates you look for when the fixtures are released is who (or more importantly where) you will be playing on Non-League Day. This years' day actually falls on October 13th and we were pitted at home to neighbours Chester-le-Street Town, a nice home derby game to celebrate all things great about non-league football.
In an attempt to maximise the number of people through the door, we have agreed with both the league officials and our opponents to bring the game forward 24 hours to the Friday night...and who doesn't love a game of football under floodlights, especially a derby game?!
Since being set up in 2010 and always scheduled to coincide with an international break, Non-League Day provides a platform for clubs to promote the importance of affordable volunteer led community football while giving fans across the country the chance to show support for their local non-league side.
Our opponents, Chester-le-Street Town had a fantastic start to their league campaign and topped the table with a 100% record from their opening eight games. They currently find themselves in second place after a few defeats, including two on the bounce, so will be looking to use their game in hand against current leaders Thornaby to retake top spot.
Birtley, themselves had been on a six game unbeaten league run which came to an end last Saturday when we went down 2-1 to Ryton & Crawcrook Albion so the lads will be looking to bounce back from that and we should have a much larger squad to choose from.
As mentioned before, Chester sit in 2nd place with 25 points from their 12 games while Birtley are five places lower in 7th place on 19 points.
Our last game against The Cestrians was in pre-season in July 2017 and although it was a friendly, it was an entertaining one at that as it finished all square at 3-3. Birtley raced into a 2-0 lead after 18 minutes before the visitors pulled themselves level at half time. When Michael Hepplewhite put Chester ahead for the first time in the game, we thought we'd blown it but for an equaliser of our won seven minutes from time.
Wadgey's Bar will be open from 6pm for all those wishing to come down early and soak up the atmosphere. Why not have a few Friday night beverages and a bite to eat while you're there? Entry prices are £5 for Adults, £2 for Concessions while U16's get in for nowt!
Say balls to England and their stupid Nations League game being played behind closed doors. Come down and watch some proper non-league football with your mates/family instead!
We're one of only two games playing on the Friday night in the whole of the Northern League so are welcoming fans from all teams, not just the two on show. Ground hoppers are also welcome to get your weekend off to a bang!