By Alex Narey, editor
A few weeks ago, I ventured out for a midweek game at one of my local clubs, and persuaded a pal of mine to join me.
My accomplice has lived in the same area for years, but hadn’t paid a visit to this club since school days.
Impressed with the quality on show, he turned to me midway through the first half wanting to know what league they played in, and more specifically, how good the standard of that league was.
“Southern Premier,” I said.
“And what’s that,” he replied. “Local stuff?”
“Well, if you count journeys as far as Swindon and Merthyr as local (we live in north Hampshire).
“So what level is it, in old money?”
“Three divisions below League Two; you know that division which is part of the Football League, that has teams such as Tranmere, Port Vale and Lincoln City punching away on its manor.”
It was at this point my pal spat half of his coffee out in disbelief. The mere thought that a village football club could be playing at such a lofty level was alien to him.
Even now I am not sure he took me seriously, but then again, getting people to take this level of football seriously, or indeed the many levels we cover in the Non-League pyramid, is the toughest part of the job.
Forget the tyranny of the clock on a Saturday night with a deadline looming, that’s nothing when it comes to making people sit up and take notice of Non-League football and Non-League clubs – even those ones on your doorstep!
It’s why we at The NLP are championing the cause for next Saturday’s ‘Non-League Day’, an annual event which aims to draw more interest to the game in the absence of the country’s top two divisions on an international weekend.
If you read The NLP, chances are you know all about it, but the day relies on Non-League lovers, so spread the word and get people down to your club.
If yours can pull in just one new fan and keep that person involved, then the day is doing what it sets out to achieve. Who knows, like my pal a few weeks ago, the new recruits could be pleasantly surprised.