Lower league sides throughout the United Kingdom are today preparing for an influx of day-tourists and their smug, patronising ways as the fifth annual Non-League Day makes it welcome return ahead of the upcoming international break.
Starting in 2010, the event has become an integral part of the football calendar for the 40,000 semi-professional and amateur clubs, who see gates often treble as fans of larger teams take in the chance of sampling home-made butties, supporters who literally change ends at half time, and the unmissable opportunity at being able to look down their noses at these tireless volunteers who devote so much of their time and effort into an utterly pointless cause.
Potters Bar Town chairman Mark Martyn, whose club offers early subscribers free season tickets, and will be hosting Aylesbury in the Southern League Division One Central, said: ‘It’s a great day for clubs like us, and it gives casual followers the chance to come down and laugh at our poor facilities and funny-coloured bovril.
‘My only regret is that, due to our location, we can’t really appeal to hipsters. If we could corner that market, like Dulwich Hamlet and Clapton have, well, we’d be well set to step up. Ah well’.
Stephen Murray, manager of Northern Football League Division Two side Tow Law Town, spoke for many in the non-league game when he said: ‘Yeah, it’s great and all that, but if people really gave a fuck – and I mean really, truly, beyond just this one day – they’d be coming every week, or whenever their real team’s playing away. The quality may not be all that, but it’s proper football you know’.
Non-League Day, which has the backing of the Premier League and Football League, as well as the Football Association, will hophice to improve on it’s impressive showing from last year, which saw fans attend the lower levels in record numbers.