The biggest clubs in English football take a break during international games, and this may leave many feeling at a loss. But football fans need not despair – this provides the perfect opportunity to see the other side of football. And there’s one campaign in particular championing this cause.
Non-League Day encourages football fans to head to a non-league game of their choosing. Most non-league clubs rely heavily on the support of volunteers and fans to keep the clubs running, whether it being selling programmes, doing bits of groundskeeping or helping out with fundraising. Non-League Day aims to helps these clubs as much as possible, raising funds and awareness.
Started by James Doe, the idea came about when he went to watch Queens Park Rangers (the team he supports) play a friendly in Devon against non-league Tavistock. Since then, it has grown significantly and now receives the backing of Premier League clubs, charities and the FA.
First held in 2010, the day is always during an international break, when the top two divisions don’t play any matches, meaning someone that might ordinarily head to Arsenal to watch the Gunners, might go to Cockfosters FC, and a group of friends who head to Stamford Bridge every other week to watch Chelsea use Non-League Day to take themselves to Hampton & Richmond Borough for the afternoon.
This weekend fans could do a lot worse than heading down to hipster’s favourites Dulwich Hamlet, where craft beer from local breweries and bratwurst with sauerkraut from pop-up food stalls are the norm. Just follow the pink and blue scarves from East Dulwich train station to non-league nirvana.
For the uninitiated, non-league means anything below the top four tiers of professional football (The Premier League, The Championship, League One and League Two). The National League is the highest level of non-league football, although there are clubs in this division that are professional.
From the sixth tier of English football, divisions are split geographically, becoming more specific the further the go down the footballing pyramid. The below map has every non-league football club in Greater London from the National League (tier five) way down to the likes of the the Southern Counties East Football League Division 1, which operates at the tenth tier.
So whether you want to support your local team, head somewhere new or like the sound of supporting a club named after the local police force, Non-League Day represents the perfect opportunity to see some football that wasn’t previously on your radar. You never know, you may become hooked, and a season ticket at Corinthian Casuals could be on the horizon.
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