James Doe, a lifelong football fan and supporter of QPR and follower of Harrow Borough FC came up with the idea of 'Non League Day' a couple of months ago. It's a big event which I thought I'd tell you guys about.
Non League Day’s aim is to promote the semi-pro game across the UK and for fans up and down the country to go and see their local football team. The idea came about thanks to a fortunate break in the football calendar. With FIFA/UEFA deciding to switch double headers in competitive qualifying games to Friday/Tuesday from Saturday/Wednesday, it has meant that tomorrow there will only be League 1 or League 2 football league games taking place with Championship and Premiership clubs of course having the week off.
This has opened the day up for arm-chair football fans who now with no top-flight games on the television this weekend cannot have an excuse for not going to see their local non league team this weekend. It is the perfect opportunity to sample ‘real’ football and with England playing Bulgaria tonight they cannot have the comfy excuse of that they can’t go out because the England game is on later.
Non League football might not be as glamorous and luxurious as football games in the top-flight and football league, but it’s a good opportunity to see football up close and the players at this level play for the love of the game. They are hard working and honest footballers who offer a good alternative for fans who are disheartened with the professional game and who would like to see a different side of football where they are not priced out and the charm of the game still exists.
James Doe and his brainchild ‘Non League Day’ should be congratulated as very quickly it has become an overnight sensation and has helped promote the non league game that we love to a wide range of people. From it’s humble beginnings as a social networking group it has gained coverage from the BBC and its nonleague radio show, the Football Supporters Federation and various leading sport websites.
Before I got involved with Redbridge, the only football that I was interested in as a school kid was as expected the Premiership as a supporter of Manchester United. Amazingly despite living 15 minutes away from the club I did not even know that the club existed.
Thanks to a lucky break I got at college which led me to reporting at the club for Time FM, I've been involved with the club for almost 4 years. In that time I have grown to love the non league game and try and promote it as much as possible to my friends and family.
Football and sport clubs in general can play a huge part in bringing communities together and here at Redbridge FC we are determined to do that as we look forward to moving in a new era for the club. Due to the time and investment put into the club by Dan Holloway, as a club we are moving forward in the right direction. I am sure over time we will attract more supporters and really try and become a key part of our local community.
There is no reason why football fans should not try out Non League football as it’s a great way to make new friends and as a fan you do feel really involved with your club as every fan at this level truly counts and can have their voice heard.
It is hard for non league clubs to attract new fans first and foremost because quite often regular football fans do not even know that their local team even exists and in some cases would not be interested in even going to see what it’s like. I hope that ‘Non League Day’ can help change a few stereotypes of the non league and lower levels of football and that the lasting effects can be long term with the Non League game getting the increased attention and more supporters that it deserves.
For more information on ‘Non League Day’ visit their website at http://www.nonleagueday.co.uk/. There will be lots of reports and photos up from the day itself as well as future campaigns and plans to promote grassroots and Non League football.