Monday, April 10, 2006

Football is different here...

Having blogged about things such as Wikipedia, the 2012 Olympics and one Guernsey man's attempt to throw a discus, I'm now going to focus this 'ere blog on one core subject - non-league football.

Why? Well for ten years now, my football allegiances have been split between the dire underachievement of Aston Villa (in the English Premiership, for foreign readers - "readers all over the world...none in this country, but all over the world..."*) and my local side - Eastbourne Borough (in action, in red, against local rivals Lewes, above right), now in the Conference South (five leagues below the Premiership).

Non-league football has fascinated me for the last five or six years, particularly as Eastbourne Borough rose up through the ranks, from the Sussex County League to where they now find themselves - one division below the Conference National, the top tier of non-league football. And there's a hell of a lot more pride and passion shown, even in defeat, by those players who are not signing multi-million pound contracts every year.

And there's plenty of passion amongst the fans too, who are some of the most fiercely loyal in football. It's one thing taking your comfy seat at Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford once in a blue moon - it's quite another to travel from, say, Dorchester to Bishop's Stortford on a wet Tuesday night to watch your local side in action.

Unsurprisingly, there's a couple of really good blogs on the subject which I shall be taking inspiration from. Exiled Havant and Waterlooville fan Skif's excellent Hobo Tread blog sees him take in random matches across the non-league spectrum, from Accrington Stanley v Barnet in the Conference National down to Cammell Laird v Nantwich Town in the FA Vase. And every one of his visits is recorded in effortlessly verbose style - but very entertaining to read nonetheless. In fact, had I the time and money to do something similar, I would. My 'grounds visited' list, which includes those I've been to as a reporter, is only up to 36 - our friend Skif is bordering on a double century! However, he's never been to Farnham Town!

And then there's Extreme Groundhopping - which sounds less like a blog, more like a reality game show on Challenge TV. Its another good read, particularly if, like the author, you are an Ipswich Town fan, as coverage of their first team and reserves matches dominates the blog. However, Newmarket Town and Gosport Borough - two of those "only ever see them in the Non-League Paper" teams - have also had the honour of a visit from the Extreme Groundhopper.


Blogger skif said...

Cheers for recognising the verbosity! ;-)

Farnham Town? One day, my friendly, one day!

4/13/2006 3:57 pm  

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