Sheffield’s top two non league clubs met in FA Trophy preliminary round action today - attracting a gate of 158.
It’s fair to say Stocksbridge Park Steels and Sheffield FC (Evo Stik First Division South) have found it hard to attract fans over the last few years.
Obviously non league teams have to compete with the Football League ‘opposition.’
Yet Stocksbridge were the odd-goal loser in a superb seven goal thriller.
Matthew Roney scored the game-winning goal, (87 minutes.)
There are not many games that end up 3-4 - and there were not many fans there to see it, when you think how big the city of Sheffield is.
It is a shame more Sheffielders didn’t take the opportunity to watch a proper grassroots derby,
Forty miles down the M1 at Ilkeston, several hundred travelling FC United of Manchester fans swelled the gate to 775.
Their presence didn’t do their semi-professional heroes much good, they lost 3-1.
But it was a good pay day for the Nottinghamshire club.
FC inflate the average gates of teams in the Evo-Stik League Northern Premier, but they are not just a football club.
They are also a protest movement against corporate football, big turnstile prices and the isolation from fans in the running of clubs.
The ‘greed’ of top flight clubs was along way from Bracken Moor, Stocksbridge yesterday or Ilkeston yesterday.
And it would be great for grassroots football if more fans would give their local club a chance...
Stocksbridge Park Steels: Flynn, Scully (Yaya-Malaya), B.Turner ©, Biggins, Laight, Lever (S.Turner), Thompson (Dyer-Stewart), Coleman, Garside, Joynes, White. Subs Not Used: Schofield, Andrews.
Sheffield FC: Green, Obed, Kay, Knowles, Hadfield, Whittaker, Algar (Maguire), Stirrup ©, Longstaff, Purkiss (Pemberton), Gregory (Roney). Subs Not Used: White, Bryan.