The trials of a nomadic existence

GRAYS Athletic play at a very nice stadium. Brand spanking new, great facilities and a football-friendly artificial surface that performs very well. The only problem is, the club is ground-sharing at Aveley, a town of 8,000 people some four miles from Grays. They’re in their second year of a two-year agreement, and like most tenants, there is a degree of uncertainty about the future. Grays … Continue reading The trials of a nomadic existence

An altogether civilised experience

YOU couldn’t really get two contrasting Wembley days: the FA Cup final, full of rabid supporters, followed by the low-key, low-octane event that is Non-League Finals Day. The latter has more in keeping with cricket or rugby in terms of the audience, but after experiencing 88,000 people struggling in and out of Wembley, the relative calm of the non-league showpiece was very welcoming. For the … Continue reading An altogether civilised experience

Stockport County: X factor in the FA Trophy

IN  1977-78, Stockport County versus Southport could easily have been game number 40 on a Littlewoods Pools coupon – as a Football League Division Four fixture. The 1977-78 season was the last time the two clubs met in the league, for at the end of that campaign, Southport were voted out and replaced by Wigan Athletic. Stockport were relegated in 2011 and suffered a second … Continue reading Stockport County: X factor in the FA Trophy

Tinker with the Trophy?

HAVE non-league football fans fallen out of love with knock-out football? Is the cut and thrust of sudden death no longer an attraction? What makes run-of-the-mill league games, a large percentage of which are featureless and, ultimately, of no great consequence, more important than the prospect of an exciting cup run? On the day that the FA Trophy gathered momentum, just 265 people turned up … Continue reading Tinker with the Trophy?

Trophy bitter at the Carlsberg

THE FA TROPHY doesn’t have the cachet of the FA Cup, but it still represents a mid-season distraction for non-league clubs at step three and beyond. Biggleswade Town v Hitchin Town also had the added spice of a local derby, so it seemed a reasonably attractive tie for a dull, drizzly afternoon by the A1(M). Hitchin were still basking in the glow of rubbing shoulders … Continue reading Trophy bitter at the Carlsberg

Why Wembley 2016 could be a litmus test

IT’S good news that tickets for the non-league finals day are going pretty well, mostly driven by the enthusiasm of Hereford’s fans. According to press reports, 15,000 tickets have been sold by the phoenix club, which will hopefully ensure a healthy turn out on May 22. The move to combine the two finals on the same day was long overdue. If the FA hadn’t done … Continue reading Why Wembley 2016 could be a litmus test

Having a gander at Sutton United

ANYONE who has circulated the Isthmian League over the years will know that Sutton United are a classy club. It helps that they’re in a relatively affluent part of the country, but they have always stood out for being a club that held onto the old amateur ideals of doing things the right way – or so it appeared to the neutral onlooker. At the … Continue reading Having a gander at Sutton United

North Ferriby United are one game short of “outdoing Pele”

It’s the second leg of the FA Trophy semi-finals this weekend and while Wrexham and Torquay square up in the battle of the former Football Leaguers, North Ferriby United and Bath City resume battle after drawing 2-2 at Twerton Park in the first leg. The prospect of returning to Wembley – North Ferriby reached the FA Vase final in 1997 – has captured the imagination of … Continue reading North Ferriby United are one game short of “outdoing Pele”

Calling in on….Burgess Hill Town – wigwam bam

You could be forgiven for assuming that a trip to Burgess Hill Town is akin to visiting some sort of new age tribe. They play at the Green Elephants Stadium, their fans refer to them as “the Hillians” and there’s a big wigwam on the far side of the ground as you come through the gates. Are we at a world music festival? Is it … Continue reading Calling in on….Burgess Hill Town – wigwam bam

King’s men v the Quakers: An enjoyable case of North v South

If you’re a southern-based non-league club, it’s seldom you entertain a northern team, unless you have a long run in one of the FA competitions. It’s even more rare to come up against a team from the north-east of England. What’s more, playing host to a club with some form of Football League heritage is something of a red letter day. So St. Neots Town … Continue reading King’s men v the Quakers: An enjoyable case of North v South