Football at grassroots level is the very cornerstone of the sport.
At a time when big name clubs edge further and further away from the working class existence from which it emerged, it is important that we don’t lose sight of the fact that the game doesn’t revolve around Old Trafford or Anfield or even Hillsborough or Bramall Lane.
And in a week that Premier League clubs spent a grotesque sum of £835m between June and September, it should be remembered that clubs that stand just around the corner and away from the glare are struggling to stay afloat, with running costs rising and incomes diminishing.
So as Non League Day arrives on Saturday, local clubs get the opportunity to show that they, too, have something to offer away from the glitz and glamour of the bigger leagues.
All around the country, small community clubs will be putting on initiatives to welcome football fans to ther more modest homes in the hope they might come back the odd time.
At Handsworth Parramore, a club on the outskirts of Sheffield, they are having a ‘Pay What You Can Afford Day’, which is exactly what it sounds like. And anyone who pays the normal price of a fiver, will go into the hat to win a season ticket.
“Non League day is a great initiative that puts the spotlight on community clubs like ourselves,” said Club Development Manager Steve Holmes.
“I ask fans of Sheffield Wednesday and United, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster....to dip their toe into non league, enjoy a day at Sandy Lane, and pay what you can afford, I know you’ll be pleasantly surprised with what’s on offer on the pitch.”
That’s just one of many initiatives, go to nonleagueday.co.uk for more information on clubs near you.
South Yorkshire clubs’ Non League Day fixtures:
Evo-Stik League - Division One South: Stocksbridge Park Steels v Carlton Town
Northern Counties East League - Premier Division: Armthorpe Welfare v Pickering Town; Handsworth Parramore v Nostell MW
FA Vase: Staveley MW v Athersley Recreation; Rossington Main v AFC Blackpool; Worsborough Bridge Athletic v Pontefract Collieries (Sunday September 7).