Regular readers of this column will know that I have attended the odd football match over the years. To be strictly honest, that rather underplays the matter. I have been a regular twenty games a season fan throughout my life, occasionally more or a few less, ever since I was a small boy. My father was a keen supporter of Bury FC, and as tradition dictates, I follow very happily in his footsteps, though now from afar.

This time of year is usually spent recovering from the anxieties of the end of season thrills. The system of play offs for promotion ensures that the season stays alive for many more clubs than in the past, though that does little for blood pressure! At the other end of the league tables the struggles against relegation, which for some begin shortly after the season starts, finally resolves itself into either gloom or elation.

For Bury FC supporters, relief only came on the last day of the season, one in which Bury had been both second in the table and bottom, but had spent most of it perilously close to a drop from League One to Two. My feelings will be understood by thousands of others, old and young. Every game for the fan becomes an agony of bitten fingernails, following every kick of the ball live, on radio or over the internet. Tension? Tell me about it!

North and East Bedfordshire does not have a football league team in the top four divisions, but a whole clutch of very respectable sides throughout what is known as the National League Pyramid, from Step 3 to Step 6. Bedford Town has perhaps the best known history, Biggleswade itself boasts three clubs- Town, United and FC, while Arlesey Town, Stotfold, Langford and Potton United fly the local flag too. Non-League is gaining increased interest, with clubs close to their communities, providing facilities and coaching to boys and girls and offering a great and friendly welcome.

While fans catch their breath, we are truly only waiting for it all to start again. Longstanding fan or new, do make a date, with yours!