20 Things You Always See or Hear at Non-league Football....
Contrary to popular opinion, it's not just one man and his whippet that attends non-league football, yet one thing's for sure, you'll most likely see the following...
- 1. A man with a bright red face and enormous flared trousers.
- 2. The local town nutter who declares that he loves his local team so much and never, ever, misses a game, before mysteriously disappearing somewhere during the second half.
- 3. The failed tactician. Usually stands behind managers dugouts in a mid-nineties Adidas training coat, Farah slacks and shiny shoes, bellowing out various disastrous instructions to all and sundry.
- 4. Some old dear selling Bovril for the 61st consecutive season.
- 5. The players wags - usually huddled together in the few half decent wooden seats that are available. And even at this level they're always stunning... why is that ?
- 6. The half-time raffle where the prizes are mostly things like 4 cans of Mackeson Stout, a box of out of date Terry's All Gold, or a half empty can of Lynx.
- 7. The condemned stand. In most non-league grounds you encounter a thin piece of red and white tape that's the only thing separating you from certain death on a relic that has stood empty and disused since 1987.
- 8. Dodgy advertisement hoardings. These usually include a local haulage firm, an Indian takeaway, something where half of the advertisement has dropped off, and a taxi firm that went out of business 3 year ago.
- 9. A dodgy section of the pitch. Used to great tactical effect by the home team, often resulting in long balls pumped to the sloping left-wing, daisy-cutter shots towards the molehills, and random bounces on the concrete-like goalmouth area.
- 10. The 40 year old club veteran. Usually a central defender with a nose like a hammer, but sometimes a journeyman ex-pro called Dave, Barry, Mick, or Alan.
- 11. The desperate Dad. Father of one of the younger players, he spends the entire match shouting and rawping at him in the full knowledge that his lad is never going to be quite good enough to 'make it'. That trial at Brentford will never come around again.
- 12. The bloke who positions himself near the dug out so he can berate the manager regardless of the team's form or performances. Likes a pint in the social club with the failed tactician.
- 13. Packets of crisps at the tea bar from manufacturers you've never heard of and that probably don't even exist. Brands like Bensons or His Nibs.
- 14. The annoying intermittent Tannoy system that was given to the club back in 1974 by the local bus corporation. It hardly worked back then, now it just sounds like Norman Collier has taken over the pre-match announcements.
- 15. The pre-match announcements. Come on, does anybody listen to them ? He could be droning on about balsa wood for all anybody knows. In actual fact, he's usually thanking the local print firm for the match sponsorship or playing records such as "Eye of the Tiger" or anything by Phil Collins.
- 16. A couple of spectacularly bored six year old kids brought along by an elderly relative desperate to institutionalise them into the ways of supporting the local team. Moments after kick off they'll start kicking a discarded Coke can about for the remainder of the match.
- 17. The dancy-Dan wannabe. Easy to spot - he's the only wearing white, gold or red boots. And a hairband. Normally tries a couple of fancy flicks with his first few touches before being taken out by the 40 year old club veteran.
- 18. Some half-daft old dear on her own in the seats wrapped in a bizarre, home made club scarf and wearing an equally homespun woolly hat. Her mood will swing from quiet benevolence to incandescent rage at any innocuous refereeing decision. There's also a good chance she'll be knitting.
- 19. The drunk in the social club. He only goes because it was the only place he could get served before all day drinking was allowed. Hasn't yet realised the law was changed in 1989. Even the bloke who positions himself near the dug out and the failed tactician try to avoid him.
A massive PYE television set,
- 20. A massive, clapped out old telly in the social club. It was probably made by PYE.