Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Celebrate a 164th Birthday This Saturday

Prices from 1857 this coming Saturday at Sheffield FC as the world's oldest club celebrate their latest milestone.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Whiling Away an Afternoon

Bramall Lane, home of Sheffield Unuted FC

To pass time in a leisurely manner is the dictionary definition of whiling and that summed up the opportunity to watch Coventry City's Under-23s at Bramall Lane on Tuesday afternoon.

Admission for non-season ticket holders was £3 for adults and for that price you got a padded seat in the main stand at this fine old ground, as well as a teamsheet.

The official Premier League website has a good fixture list for both Premier League 2 and the Professional Development League, with a number of matches played at the main ground of the host club.

This coming Saturday, all tickets are priced at just £1 as Sheffield United Women host Liverpool at Bramall Lane in the Championship.

Friday, 17 September 2021

The Sheffield Scene

Two recent matches in the Sheffield area provided plenty of contrasts but, ultimately the same sense of enjoyment at being out and about at a game.

Sandygate, Hallam FC

The first Tuesday in September it may have been but it felt like summer was in the air at Hallam FC as a perfect evening encouraged more than 600 spectators for the Northern Counties East League clash against Shirebrook Town.

Short sleeves and outdoor pints were the order of the day with the action on the pitch, where the visitors conceded two goals and a red card early on, a backdrop to the relaxed air of conversation on the touchline.

Sandygate, Hallam FC

Everyone involved at Hallam has done a superb job over the past few years, harnessing the history of the club to modern methods of promotion to get more people through the gate and gradually improving the quality of the facilities available once they are there.

Jamie Vardy Main Stand, Stocksbridge Park Steels

One week later and it was coats and warm drinks needed as Stocksbridge Park Steels hosted Tadcaster Albion. In Turriff in August one of the club officials had talked about a 'dreich day' and that uniquely Scottish word fitted the weather bill perfectly here.

Located around 10 miles from Sheffield, Steels' catchment area of potential supporters comes from mainly within the town itself and, following a recent managerial change, chairman Graham Furniss wrote in his programme notes that regularly getting 250 people into the Eco-Power Stadium (which I like a lot as it has plenty of different vantage points to sample throughout a 90 minutes) would be a real boost to the club.

Eco-Power Stadium, Stocksbridge Park Steels

154 was the attendance for the Tadcaster game but the quality and intensity of the game did reflect that it was two divisions higher in the pyramid than Hallam, Tadcaster's neat build-up not matched by their finishing and Steels eventually benefitting from a man advantage with two second-half goals.

@AffordableFooty on Twitter is into its 9th year and is updated daily. If it has ever been of use in finding a game then feel free to buy me a Wagon Wheel from the tea bar by clicking here.

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Highland Double-Header


The Haughs, Turriff United FC

I was lucky enough to get to two Highland League matches last week, starting with the 3-3 draw between Turriff United and Strathspey Thistle, the home side coming back from a three-goal deficit to earn a share of the spoils.

While not having the glorious backdrop of some of the grounds in the league, The Haughs was very well-appointed, easily accessible from the town and part of a wider complex that seemed very well-used by local children.

The Haughs, Turriff United FC

With a warm welcome on the gate, and change from a tenner for adults, Turriff's next home game is this coming Saturday versus Lossiemouth.

On Saturday afternoon it was to Seafield Park, home of Strathspey Thistle, and the visit of Keith in lovely late summer sunshine.

Seafield Park, Strathspey Thistle FC

Situated just off the very attractive main road in Grantown-On-Spey, the home of The Jags has a mountain view at one end and friendly officials on hand for spectators.

Keith were good value for the three points and Strathspey will hope for better in their next home league fixture against Rothes on Saturday 11 September.

Seafield Park, Strathspey Thistle FC

@AffordableFooty on Twitter is into its 9th year and is updated daily. If it has ever been of use in finding a game then feel free to buy me a Wagon Wheel from the tea bar by clicking here.

Sunday, 8 August 2021

Handsworth FC v AFC Mansfield


Next Match Board, Handsworth FC, Sheffield

An overdue first visit to Olivers Mount, home of Handsworth FC and an easy journey on the 52 bus across Sheffield for the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round tie against AFC Mansfield.

Olivers Mount, Handsworth FC

A friendly welcome on the gate, £5 admission (free for my son), £1.50 for a programme but with free teamsheets also being handed out and a pound for a cup of tea meant a good afternoon even before the match started.

Entrance to Handsworth FC, Sheffield

As befits two teams from the same league, there was little between the sides until the turning point of the game around the hour mark as a penalty was awarded against the AFC Mansfield keeper following an off-the-ball incident. Coolly despatched, it was followed up with a second just a few minutes later for the home side.

Match programme, Handsworth FC v AFC Mansfield, FA Cup

And that was that, save for a late red card to cap the visitors' woes. A local derby against Stocksbridge Park Steels awaits at this very smart ground, in the next round of the cup on Saturday 21st.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

(Not Quite) The Last Post

Affordable Football has been up and running as a blog since July 2013 and, with time constraints seemingly ever greater, it's time to nearly call it a day on here.

Thanks to anyone who has ever read an article or spoken to me for a piece. I will keep the blog open and post pictures of any matches I manage to get to.

The Twitter page will continue, however, and hopefully that has been of help over the years in getting spectators to matches and clubs to spectators, the lifeblood of the game at so many levels.

You can buy me a cup of tea in a polystyrene cup here. Cheers!

Saturday, 10 July 2021

FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round

As Wembley awaits its biggest game since 1966 the thoughts of 348 clubs on Friday were on the news coming out of the stadium of who they would play in the Extra Preliminary Round of the 2021/22 FA Cup.

The competition, salami-sliced it may have been over recent years, still has the power to excite at all levels of the game as Leicester City fans will surely agree, their Wembley triumph in May surely remaining in the memory bank far longer than 'winning' the race for a Champions League spot.

174 ties will take place on Saturday 7th August and new chapters will be written in the history of 16 clubs taking part for the first time such as Milton Keynes Irish FC (drawn away to Enfield) and Hereford Lads Club (home to Haughmond).

Last season's BBC coverage, from the very first round, was a great addition to the competition and my early money will be on them choosing another club making their debut to be featured this time around.

Macclesfield FC have risen from the ashes of Macclesfield Town and seemingly managed to energise the local community in the space of a few short months.

The presence of director of football Robbie Savage will surely see their tie at home to Burscough be live on the box?

Sunday, 20 June 2021

The A-Z of Pre-Season

A - Ashton United welcome EFL clubs Oldham Athletic and Crewe Alexandra (10th and 14th July) to Hurst Cross for friendlies with all tickets priced at £5.

B - Bradford Town of the Hellenic League have four home friendlies scheduled, starting against Trowbridge Town on Wednesday 7th July. Admission for each game is priced at £4 for adults, £2 for concessions.

C - Centenary celebrations at Guildford City where admission prices will be a maximum of £5 this coming season. Home pre-season games (taking place at either Horsham FC or Dorking Wanderers) start on 30 June and are all priced at £5/£3.

D - Diversity in Non-League Football will be celebrated at Punjab United on Saturday 3rd July, Leicester Nirvana FC, Sporting Bengal Utd FC and Sporting Khalsa FC also taking part.

E - Eastbourne Borough FC are selling tickets for two of their home friendlies, against Bexhill United on Tuesday 6th July and Kingstonian on Saturday 24th July, for just £2.

F - Free football at Tamworth FC on Tuesday 6th July for the home friendly against Chasetown.

G - Great value at Stafford Rangers on Saturday 26th June for a Fans Day which includes 2 matches, competitions and more.

H - Horsham FC have five home friendlies lined up, including a game against Crawley Town on Saturday 17th July. Admission to that one is £8/£4/£1, for the other matches it is £5/£3 and free for under 16's. 

I - Ilkley Town AFC step up to semi-professional football this season after promotion to the North West Counties First Division was confirmed. Tickets for their friendly against Eccleshill Utd on Saturday 3rd July are available at £5 adults, £3 concessions.

J - Jersey Bulls have made a very successful start to life in the Non-League ranks and are hoping (restrictions very much permitting) to be hosting FC United of Manchester, Cray Wanderers and Hashtag United in a pre-season tournament over the weekend of 10th/11th July.

K - Kentish Football has a comprehensive list of fixtures involving clubs from the county, including Folkestone Invicta where pre-season friendlies are priced at £5/£3, starting on Saturday 26th June against Ramsgate.

L - Lowestoft Town are offering free entry on Friday 2nd July versus Caister. Other home friendlies, including versus an Ipswich Town XI, are £5/£1.

M - Macmillan Cancer Support will be the very worthy recipients of the proceeds from Glasgow United versus Pollok FC on Wednesday 7th July where admission is £5.

N - Northern Counties East League clubs involved in friendlies have their own comprehensive guide on the official NCEFL website.

O - Only a fiver for the pre-season action at Wakefield AFC (concessions £3, juniors free) with three fixtures scheduled at Post Office Road, starting with Hallam FC on Saturday 10th July.

P - Pay What You Want for the Dan Davis testimonial at Felixstowe & Walton Utd FC on Saturday 3rd July.

Q - A quid is all it will cost to watch Coalville Town in their opening friendly of the summer, against Melton Town on Tuesday 13th July.

R - Runcorn Linnets are offering free admission on Saturday 10th July for the friendly with Euxton Villa.

S - Scottish Football Fixtures has a comprehensive list of pre-season friendlies taking place north of the border.

T - Ten fixtures are scheduled for the Aliport Arena, home of Fawley AFC, 5 for the first team and 5 for the reserves. All of them are free entry.

U - Unusual fixture of the summer winner? Probably Wrexham AFC scoring a trip to face MLS side Philadelphia Union at their Subaru Park home. Arranged through the club's new owners, the game, on 29th July, will be free admission with food donations to local charities required to gain entry. 

V - VS Rugby may now be known as Rugby Town but my hometown club will always be 'The Valley' to many. Pre-season games scheduled for Butlin Road include the visit of Stourbridge on Saturday 17th July.

W- World's Oldest Derby is the title proudly held by the annual game between Sheffield FC and Hallam FC. Hallam host this year's edition on Tuesday 27th July with admission priced at £5 adults, £3 concessions. 

X - Xcellent value at Golcar United for six home friendlies in July which are each priced at £5 adults, £3 concessions.

Y - Yarmouth's Wellesley Recreation Ground, home of Great Yarmouth Town is surely unsurpassed as a place to watch football in the summer. The Bloaters take on Norwich United on Saturday 10th July (a double header with reserves and 1st team), Stowmarket Town the following Saturday and Harwich & Parkeston on the 24th.

Z- The Zebras, Brigg Town FC, are proudly a Community Interest Club and the 7th oldest in the world. They have six home friendlies lined up, starting on Saturday 26th June against Barton Town. Admission for each game is priced at £5 adults, £3 concessions and free for accompanied under 16's.

Please check with clubs' official websites and/or social media pages. Pre-season games can change at the best of times and there is still some uncertainty out there around current restrictions.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Another Chapter For The World's Oldest Derby


Sandygate will be the venue for the latest chapter in the 'world's oldest derby' as Hallam FC host Sheffield FC on Tuesday 27th July at 7.30pm.

It will be 'football for a fiver' as usual at Hallam with tickets for adults priced at £5 and concessions £3. 

The club are hopeful of being able to operate at full capacity for the game although the constantly changing picture on restrictions may change that of course.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Get Sorted For The Euros...In 2022

I'm looking forward to the feast of football that's coming to our screens over the next few weeks (with the BBC showing the Copa America as well as the Euros) but, although Wembley is the main venue for the delayed Euro 2020 tournament, the multi-host format and of course the pandemic mean this is very much a made for television spectacle.

The Rugby League World Cup this winter looks set to be the first post-lockdown major sports event that looks and feels 'normal' in the UK but in football terms it will Uefa Women's Euros 2022, hosted at 10 venues in England next July.

Old Trafford has the opener, Wembley the final and there matches in between in Manchester, Leigh, Rotherham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, London, Brighton and Southampton.

I know already there are plenty of plans here in South Yorkshire for the tournament to have a lasting impact and the ticket information points to a family-friendly, accessible set of matches.

Tickets for group matches not involving England start at £10/£5 and even the Wembley final will have tickets available at £15/£7.50.

Creating a ticket account with Uefa before July will get you priority access before the final draw is made in late October.