Monday 19 February 2024

No April Fool

Just a nice bit of working together in the United Counties League where two Easter Monday fixtures have been scheduled so that spectators can watch both, with a discounted, combined ticket also available for £8 adults and £6 concessions.

Newark & Sherwood United host Lincoln United at 12.30pm before Southwell City, entertain Newark Town at 4pm.

Sunday 18 February 2024

At The Heart Of It

 

View of Handsworth FC ground against Frickley Athletic, Saturday 17th February 2024

The players prepare for the second-half at Handsworth FC on Saturday after a goalless first 45 minutes in the Northern Counties East Premier Division game against Frickley Athletic.

If you're looking for the very definition of a community club then an afternoon at Olivers Mount is what you need.

Just a fiver for adults and free for under-16's, a busy clubhouse bar, warm welcome on the gate and a spotlight given to the mascots for the senior game, many of whom will be back at the ground today (Sunday) for various age-group matches.

Both Handsworth and Frickley currently sit in mid-table and that was reflected in a cagey affair that the hosts gradually took control of, a glancing header breaking the deadlock early on in the second-half.

Frickley hadn't offered too much by the time a downpour influenced my decision to leave a few minutes early.

Inevitably, that meant that when I checked my phone while on the 52 bus back through Sheffield I learned that the visitors had indeed earned a point with a late equaliser!

Monday 5 February 2024

Boundary Changes

Good to see some positivity back at Oldham Athletic in recent times under the chairmanship of Frank Rothwell, currently in the midst of fundraising huge amounts for Alzheimer's Research UK.

The last time I was at Boundary Park was in the inaugural season of the Premier League as Bobby Gould's Coventry edged past the Latics by a single goal.

Many years later and Oldham's ambitions are currently concerned with reaching the National League play-offs and taking that first step back towards their previously dizzy heights.

With Chairman Frank due back in town ahead of the home game against Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday 24th February, all tickets for the game have been priced at just £1 with proceeds going to his chosen charity and the option to donate more when buying your seat for the match.

Sunday 4 February 2024

Wembley In Sight

 

Steps leading up to Wembley Stadium

For the 16 teams left in the FA Vase with Fifth Round Proper ties taking place this coming Saturday, 10th February.

After a dismal weekend for both United and Wednesday, supporters of Sheffield's two big clubs may be looking forward to taking refuge in the welcoming surroundings of Sandygate, home of Hallam FC of the Northern Counties East League.

View of the main stand at Sandygate, home of Hallam FC

The Countrymen have made great strides, on and off the pitch, over the past few years and another big crowd will be in attendance for their last sixteen game at home to Lincoln United.

Tickets have been on sale in recent weeks, to help with spectator flows, but on the gate admission will also be available at just £6 adults, £4 concessions.

Tuesday 30 January 2024

Coming Up

February

Friday 2nd: FA Youth Cup at the Coventry Building Society Arena as the Sky Blues youngsters take on Millwall in a 5th Round tie. Admission for the 7pm kick-off is £5 adults, £1 for under 18's on the gate. At Kenilworth Road it is Luton Town Under-21's against Colchester United in the Premier League Cup (7pm, £5/£3).

Thursday 8th: Selhurst Park for Palace against Chelsea in the FA Youth Cup. Tickets for this one are priced at £5 adults and £1 for under 18's and over 65's. Kick-off is 7pm.

Saturday 24th: The annual Dagenham & Redbridge FC Diversity Day takes place. Advance tickets for the home game against FC Halifax Town are available from as little as 50p and £2.50 for adults.

March

Saturday 23rd: Non-League Day returns with a host of special admission offers up and down the country in a celebration of the game outside of the top leagues.

Sunday 24th: Glasgow moves to Edinburgh as Rangers Women and Partick Thistle Women meet at Tynecastle in the final of the Sky Sports Cup Final. Tickets are available now and cost £8 adults, £1 for concessions and £15 for a family of four.

Tuesday 26th: England men's under-21's take on Luxembourg in a Euro qualifier at Bolton Wanderers. £10 adult tickets (£5 concessions) are available to BWFC season ticket holders and members and also to groups of 10 or more

April

Friday 5th: Centenary Shield action at Walsall FC where England Schoolboys take on their Republic of Ireland counterparts. Tickets are priced at £8/£5.

Friday 12th: More Centenary Shield football, this time it is England against Scotland at Chesterfield FC with tickets again £8/£5.

Saturday 20 January 2024

Saturday, 3pm

Whether you're watching your team in person, or following it from afar, 3pm on a Saturday remains a special time for football supporters.

I'm writing this as my team, Coventry City, play at Sheffield Wednesday, just a couple of miles down the road from where I live.

My status in the ticket-buying pecking order for the Sky Blues these days meant that the away allocation had been snapped up before they went on general sale. 

Despite some kind offers from Owls fans that I know, I opted to stay at home although I will be there on Friday evening when the teams meet again, this time in the FA Cup.

Ticket prices for that game are £15 adults, £10 senior/under 21's and £5 for under 17's.

If you fancy visiting another couple of famous northern grounds next week then Blackburn Rovers Under-21's have a Premier League International Cup tie against Sparta Prague at Ewood Park on Thursday (7pm, £5/£3, under 12's free) while Manchester United Under-21's host Norwich City in Premier League on Saturday at Old Trafford (3pm, £3/£1.50).

With plenty of games once again called off, many others will have been kicking their heels today but spare a thought for those who normally spend their Saturday afternoons at Marske United or Nuneaton Borough with both of those clubs having had to withdraw from their respective leagues in recent weeks.

Thursday 11 January 2024

Beat The Blues

The third Monday in January is seen as the most depressing day of the year, the holiday season now a few weeks behind us and quite a long way to go until the first signs of spring in the air.

But Redditch United of the Southern League are looking to get people out of the house and into the fresh air on Monday 15th with free admission for the visit of Hitchin Town.

Tuesday 9 January 2024

Weathering The Storm

Testing times for a number of clubs across the UK as the bad weather brings with it damage to grounds and lots of postponed fixtures, with the corresponding drop in vital income that brings.

Carlton Town FC of the Northern Premier League are repairing after the recent storms and, as well as a fundraising quiz taking place on Tuesday 23rd, have reduced prices for this Wednesday evening's Nottinghamshire Senior Cup Semi-Final against Basford United to £8 adults, £6 concessions and kids for a quid.

Tuesday 2 January 2024

Happy New Year

To all connected to the following sites, which have been invaluable to me in writing this blog and are all well worth a visit.

The London Football Guide - James Doe is the man behind Non-League Day and set up TLFG to provide a comprehensive guide to football (at all levels) in the capital and its suburbs. On a weekly basis he runs through all of the fixtures of note and is also happy to answer queries from anyone coming to London and looking to catch a match.

With its focus on a similar patch geographically, The Cold End combines news and match previews with reports, highlights and some great photographs of Non-League football in London, Hertfordshire & Beyond.

Football in Berkshire is an excellent not for profit site that doesn't leave a stone unturned when reporting on football at all levels in the county.

Women’s football features regularly on these pages and the excellent She Kicks website has features, stats and regular fixture updates covering all levels of the game in the UK with Scottish Women's Football performing a similar function in its area.

The official FA site also has an easy-to-navigate fixture list with ticket info and links.

Non-League Matters is a good resource for fixtures, tables and stats from all levels of the game below the Football League and the Forum part of the site has a section where special ticket offers, free and reduced admission and ‘Pay What You Want’ fixtures can be publicised.

The Northern Counties East Football League is my local Step 5 league and the home of Hallam FC who have featured regularly on the site. The NCEFL website is an excellent resource for results and fixtures.

I've always enjoyed Neil Jensen's writings in the Non-League Paper (the print edition of which is a great source for upcoming fixtures) but they are just the tip of the iceberg of his wonderful Game of the People website which has features and views on football in all corners of the globe.

Groundhopper 2000 showcases Stephen Lang's excellent photographs of the game in the Scottish borders while Scottish Football Fixtures does exactly what it says on the tin with a comprehensive guide to matches taking place north of the border.

Sunday 24 December 2023

Home For Christmas

Butlin Road, home of Rugby Town FC, last Saturday when the home side took on Quorn in the Midland Division of the Northern Premier League.

Images of Butlin Road, Rugby Town FC, December 2023

'The Valley' are my home town team and I spent many years as I was growing up coming to Butlin Road whenever Coventry City were not in action or away from home.

These were very much the glory years in the history of the club, then called VS Rugby but now back to the name that reflects their original formation.

Jimmy Know made sure that his name would forever be a part of football's rich folklore, the Scot who had spent most of his adult life around the footballing scene in Coventry and Warwickshire, took VS to Wembley glory in the 1983 FA Vase and to within a whisker of promotion to non-league's top tier.

With the Sky Blues having left Highfield Road in 2005, that comforting familiarity, of somewhere you were happy as a youngster and that largely remains as you remember it, comes from Butlin Road nowadays in footballing terms.

While the layout is mostly the same, it now boasts an excellent main stand, comfortable bar and all-weather pitches behind one goal, improvements that have allowed the club to become more of a part of the local community and insure themselves against some fallow years on the pitch and a wider apathy in the town itself.

Despite promotion last season, attendances still tend to hover around the 200 mark and there were less than that watching as Quorn overcame the loss of an early goal to run out comfortable 4-1 winners as the 40th anniversary year of that Vase triumph draws to a close.

On a day when the retail parks were busy (the town centre retains the layout I grew up with but, alas, has been hollowed out as shops have decamped further out) I sincerely hope that the current period of stable, secure ownership can last for many more milestones to come.