Supporting your local team
It might not always be glamorous, but watching that club from down the road is more important now than ever
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way in which we enjoy leisure activities, one of these being football. The domestic season came to a standstill in March, and did not return until June. Supporters of Premier League sides were treated to the opportunity of being able to watch every match from the comfort of their own home.
This would have been great, but it’s surely no substitution for being in the stands. Sadly for many fans, watching their team on the small screen is all they’ve ever known.
Watching the Premier League can be a laborious task, with players seemingly becoming more and more intent on falling over at any given moment. Not to mention the wages of the players, some of which could finance several teams in the non league parts of the footballing pyramid.
If you live within a reasonable distance to a Premier League team, then it makes sense to at least try and get to matches. To ‘support’ a team from a city 100/150 miles away and never go to watch in person sounds like an empty experience. So what would be wrong with checking out a local lower or non league club? There are plenty of reasons to do so.
For one, a team deeper into the bread and butter of the pyramid will need your money more than any top flight club. The pounds they get through the turnstiles on a Saturday afternoon will directly impact on the upkeep of the club. Backsides on seats, or feet on terraces, count far more for a club who have never been graced with ‘TV money’.
I have always been a big advocate of support your local team. My number one club is Sunderland, partially due to being born in the city and more so family connections. I moved to Northampton and I started watching the Cobblers, I moved to Aberystwyth and took in a few matches at Park Avenue. Most recently, during the lockdown, I kept an eye out for a brand new team formed in Shotton Colliery, County Durham.
It is the latter where the process of blueprint to kick off was so rewarding to follow. From watching the social media pages for the announcement of the new club badge, to seeing photos of their first ever match in the space of a couple of months to finally getting along to a friendly myself all in the space of a few lockdown months.
When Shotton Colliery FC’s first home league game took place, it felt as though the journey was complete. The money put into the club from the 50 people allowed into the ground will go a long way, and there are clubs like this up and down the land.
So, in a nutshell and talking through experience, get out and watch your local side. Football isn’t a TV show, and this needs to be remembered now more than ever. We as a nation are spoiled rotten when it comes to the number of football teams to follow, but in these unprecedented times it is vital to think of the clubs who need the support.
That Premier League team you ‘support’ won’t go under anytime soon, but the tenth tier club which gives children the chance to play the support they love (but runs on a shoestring budget) will always be thankful for your £5 admission through the turnstiles.