(Bishops Stortford, 9th September 2014)
This past Saturday was Non League Day, the day used to promote the benefits and positive aspects of the non league levels of the beautiful game. Usually held during the first international break of the season, it uses the lack of Premiership and Championship games to capitalise and bring more fans to our games.
I?m all for it, obviously! The non league game has a special pull about it, just attending one game can see you get addicted to it and have you coming back week after week. That?s what happened to me, so I know for a fact it can happen! My first game at Thames Road was attended because I have a friend here as part of the setup in Miki Hood, so that gave me a reason to pop down and tear myself away from Upton Park. But not everyone has that opportunity, so it?s initiatives like Non League Day that help spread the love so to speak and get people involved.
Clubs up and down the country get involved with this initiative, many of them holding promotional events to either lower the price of the entry (some even free if they already hold season tickets for top flight clubs) or get fans involved in some aspect of the gameday. The hope is that when these fans of the bigger clubs (or just football fans who don’t often get to games) come to their local non league club they find something they identify with, something they find a connection with and find a reason to keep coming back.
Whether it?s the family atmosphere you find at many clubs, the cheap entry fees (especially compared to the top flight clubs), the fact that you can have a random chat with the chairman or players in the bar after the game, or the fact that you see so much more passion for the game from the players when they are on that pitch, there are plenty of reasons why non league football is worth coming to see.
I could go on for hours about what I have gained from being a part of this club, about what I enjoy about it and about what brings me back game after game, but I only have a page to myself in this programme! But to get to the point, I love non league football, and would love to see more and more people get involved, especially here at the Aspect Arena as this team deserves to have a bigger fanbase than what it does. The success these lads have achieved is recognised and appreciated by everyone who comes to see them each week, but there?s plenty more people out there who need to experience the emotional roller-coaster that we enjoy every season as part of the Concord Rangers family!
My only problem with Non League Day is that it happens only once a season, there?s plenty of international breaks throughout the footballing year and we as a non league collective need to make the most of these times to promote this level of the game and bring more people in. It?s easier said than done, I know that, every non league club is always looking for ways to bring more people through the turnstiles, but we need to capitalise on every opportunity we have to promote our level of the game and get it out there to the masses!
You Are My Concord!
Alan Jessup-Peacock, fan, programme editor & fully fledged Beachboy!