Gavin Barber would like you to think about going to watch some non-league football on Saturday – and we at Turnstile Blues agree.
This Saturday, 6th September, is Non-League Day. The idea is simple: the teams in the top two divisions aren’t playing, so if you’d normally be watching your team play in the Premier League or Championship, go to a local Non-League ground instead.
Or, just go to a game at a local Non-League ground because, well, because it’s fun.
The point of Non-League Day is not to be “worthy” or touristy, or even particularly serious. It’s about enjoyment: the simple pleasure of watching a football match because you want to watch a football match, not because it has a multi-million pound outcome riding on it. The pleasure of discovering a ground that you’ve never been to before – chances are it’ll have more trees than corporate hospitality tents. The pleasure of being able to have a beer while watching the game, and of hearing some new songs being sung.
There’s a serious side to it – grassroots football has massive social benefits: it enables people to participate and play and socialise, and provides community cohesion in these difficult times. So, it needs your support.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to wear your Guardian Columnist face on Non-League Day. Just turn up and enjoy it. Chances are, you’ll want to come back.
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You can find a non-league fixture near to you by using the “Find A Match” function on the Non-League Day website. Whitton United and Woodbridge Town, for example, are both at home. Or if you fancy a Ryman League game you could head for Leiston United. And there’s some Conference North (yes, Conference North – I don’t make the rules up) action on the coast at Lowestoft Town.
Alternatively, download the Non-League Fixture Finder for your smartphone and let it work its location-based magic.
It is in the Apple store now (http://www.tinyurl.com/NLFF-app).
It contains the fixtures for the top 4 steps (that’s 12 different leagues) of the nonleague pyramid, and sorts them by distance from where the user is. The fixtures can be displayed in a list or on a map and you can filter them by nonleague level and how far you want to travel.
A club directory is also provided showing complete fixture lists, ticket prices, address and a website link for each of the clubs in those 12 divisions.