This weekend’s international break sees another of the annual Non-League Days and an opportunity for us all to take in a local fixture unencumbered about the latest disaster about to befall Newcastle United.
In the North East we are spoilt for choice and despite two Premier League clubs doing a passable impression of Dumb & Dumber we have one of the most buoyant non-league scenes in the country with a plethora of locally-run clubs stacked with players from around the doors. I’m not about to romanticise our non-league but it is a closer approximation to what we all fell in love with than whatever Mike Ashley’s club has become and whatever its changing into.
Helpfully, those whose idea it was to start the excellent Non-League Day venture have established a really excellent website and you just need to click here to get at it all. The site gives all the gen on the background to the Non-League Day as well as how to find a fixture near you.
But we should all be aware of some of the jewels we have in our midst.
As many of you know we have a fondness for the Northern League and whilst no-one here would ever describe themselves
as a devotee (we remain for better or worse, card carrying Mags and that is our primary loyalty and devotion) there is no question that fantastic competition has many, great attractions. You can click here and get to all of the fixtures.
We’ve picked out North Shields v Dunston as a particularly attractive fixture anda game which I’d imagine where the home fans and those travelling down the Tyne have a broad affiliation to Newcastle United. They may play in Red and Blue but this is a game for Black & Whiters if you scrape the surface. But it isn’t the only one and there are some fantastic fixtures as everyone will see.
In my humble opinion, there isn’t a better place to watch non-league football than Croft Park. Everything about the Spartans set up is bang on and its no wonder Blyth has such a great affection for its football club. There’s a great club house, there’s a chip shop on the corner and a handy local pub if you prefer and with a football ground tucked in traditional streets, there is something gloriously, old school and authentic about going to Croft Park to see the world famous Blyth Spartans. They are at home this Saturday to Sutton Coldfield Town. KO 3pm. You can have a look at the Spartans site here.
The best standard of non-league football is to be found at the International Stadium, home of Gateshead FC. High-flying Heed will face Cheltenham Town and Malcolm Crosby’s men will be attempting to get their bid for a return to League football back on track after a disappointing defeat away to Grimsby Town this week. Newcastle United season ticket holders will get into the match for £10 on production of your season ticket.
The Tyne & Wear Stand has great facilities, great views and The Heed Army are a great bunch who give their team 100% support. You can find out more about Gateshead FC by visiting their site here.
Far be it from anyone here to tell you how to spend your time and money but you can put in a great afternoon at a non-league game. We are so fortunate to have this fantastic non-league football culture on our door-steps and if you get the chance to support it, we really should as football enthusiasts.
If you do go, remember to buy a pie and a pint and a programme, keep your eye out for a club badge or a bit of merchandise and put some money into the coffers of some great Geordie clubs.
That is all.
If you want to plug a non-league game you are going to this Saturday, feel free to do so in the comments box below and tell us all why you think its a great fixture to take in.