Bulletin article October 2016 Non-League Day – the joy of sport beyond the gilded elites
But Bedfordshire is full of clubs playing at differing levels of a national league pyramid, the top of which is now the Vanarama National League, and comprising an astonishing 84 league competitions and 1,600 clubs. It has become practice to take advantage of a day when Premier clubs are not playing because of the international calendar to encourage fans of the bigger clubs to attend another game on what has become a designated ‘non-league day’.
So, this September 3rd, I followed Biggleswade United to Hitchin Town for an FA Cup first qualifying round tie. It was a very decent game, with the result always in doubt until the last minute, but eventually going 4-2 against Biggleswade. Some 700 people attended, more than double a usual attendance. Biggleswade Town have gone through to the next round, so there is still local interest on the road to Wembley.
Our towns and villages are given an identity by our sports clubs, as the names that appear in the papers with the results usually produce a feeling of belonging, which is important to all of us. Non-league football only exists because of a passion for the sport, and a sense of community often tested very hard by the efforts to keep clubs going on pittances. They deserve our support.
If you get the chance, do pop down. We would miss them if they were not here.