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Non-League Day is back this Saturday

The eight edition of the Non-League Day will be celebrated this Saturday the 7th of October in amateur grounds all over the country.

It was in one of my first weeks in England when I first heard about the Non-League Day. I had never been to a non-league game in England, so I decided to give it a go. I went into the ‘Match Finder’ section at the Non-League Day’s website and made my choice: Kendal Town vs. Brighouse Town. That would be my non-league debut. I took a bus and train, got to Kendal — a nice town in the northern, green county of Cumbria — got lost on my way to the ground, but finally made it in time.

Kendal’s Parkside Road is a modest charming ground with one main seating stand on one side of the pitch and two others by one corner, all of them decorated with Kendal’s colours: black and white. I had a burger while I enjoyed this English eighth division game. At some point, I was standing alone by the corner when Kendal had a clear chance, but the goalkeeper cleared the shot. Kendal’s number 8 came towards me in order to take the corner. While getting ready, he told me something on the lines of ‘watch this one’ and I, with a level of English still too naive to understand a northern accent, did not get it. I asked him to say again. He noticed my own funny accent and asked me where I was from. Behind him, all the players where getting ready at the box. ‘From Spain,’ I answered — getting nervous, thinking ‘come on, number 8, they are waiting for you!’ ‘Spain?’, he replied, ‘I went to Benidorm once!’ He stopped staring at me and lost his eyes in the sky as if he was just remembering a week of crazy nights out in the Spanish Mediterranean Coast. Then he turned, put the ball into position, and took the corner. A perfect cross that almost lead to a goal.

The game was about to finish with a 2-0 win for Kendal, but Brighouse scored a penalty in the 90th minute and then equalised in the 93rd. My first non-league experience felt familiar, genuine and exciting, and since then I have tried to go to a non-league game at least once or twice per year. And what a better occasion to do it once again than the Non-League Day, the football festivity that will be celebrating the glory of modest football for an eighth consecutive year.

The Non-League Day takes place in one of the early international breaks of the season, and it encourages fans of teams from the higher divisions to go to support their local non-league side since there is no Premier League nor Championship football. Clubs from all over the country get involved; the professional teams that are not playing use their social media to promote matches of local non-league sides, and the non-league sides prepare special offers for fans and collaborate with charities. The main charity working alongside Non-League Day is Prostate Cancer UK, but there are many others involved. Most of the non-league teams are run thanks to the help of volunteers, so the Non-League Day is a great occasion to honour these passionate people that give so much to their respective clubs.

The Non-League Day takes place in one of the early international breaks of the season and it encourages fans of teams from the higher divisions to go to support their local non-league side, since there is no Premier League nor Championship football. Clubs from all over the country get involved: the professional teams that are not playing use their social media to promote matches of local non-league sides, and the non-league sides prepare special offers to fans and collaborate with charities. The main charity working alongside the Non-League Day project is Prostate Cancer UK, but there are many other involved. Most of the non-league teams are run thanks to the help of volunteers, so the Non-League Day is a great occasion to honour this passionate people that give so much to their respective clubs.

Attending a non-league game is a highly recommended experience. If you want to find a match for this Saturday, you may follow the link.

The man behind this great project is James Doe, a Queen’s Park Rangers supporter that got the idea after an away pre-season trip to Tavistock, Devon. Besides annually arranging the Non-League Day, James is also the author of The London Football Guide, a superb blog for any football fan living in the capital. Every Monday, James uploads lists and maps of all the upcoming games in the city, from Premier League to non-league, women’s football and reserves sides.

Photo: Mark P Doherty/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock (8771459p)

 
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