Non League Day is a huge day for all clubs involved and on Saturday they will be hoping crowds will swell.
Saturday 6th September, a date on the calendar of all Non League clubs this year that is of huge importance. With it being the international break this week, and therefore no games in the Premier League or Championship it is a chance to try and boost their attendances and get more people interested in football at that level.
Games in League One are limited also, and as my team Preston North End aren't in action this weekend, I'll be making the short trip from my Manchester flat to see Altrincham FC in action. They take on Dartford on Saturday in a Vanarama Conference encounter and have put measures in place to try and encourage fans from further afield to attend the game.
If Premier League and Championship fans produce their season ticket on the gates at the J.Davidson Stadium on Saturday then they can gain admission for just £5. There are also further incentives for children, with many tickets being given out to local schools.
Staines Town managed by former Wimbledon striker Marcus Gayle have made their match against Maidenhead United very accessible with the following promotion.
Staines Town FC (@StainesTownFC) September 4, 2014
Bungay Town made the news yesterday with their promise that each fan who attends their game at the weekend against Martham will receive a free punnet of mushrooms. This isn't the first time they have carried out a rather unusual incentive. Last season they gave fans 5p to attend their game on Non-League Day.
The divide between the Premier League and the Football League is getting bigger each year, and the divide is astronomical between the top flight and Non League. The knock on consequence is that Non League teams are often struggling to survive. Clubs are pulling out all the stops to try and attract the crowds this weekend in the hope that some of them can be converted and start to attend Non-League games more regularly.
Last season I reported on the FC United of Manchester v Rushall Olympic match at Gigg Lane on Non-League Day. I have now adopted FC United as my second team and being amongst their fans during the play-offs last season was amazing despite the eventual defeat. Obviously FC United are a unique club but they encapsulate the community and it is a really close knitted club.
By attending your local side's game this weekend you will be helping your community. Non League club's provide a lot of jobs for people in the local area including as players. They are given a chance at that level and sometimes once you have that chance you can make the most of it and take it to the very top. Just look at Jamie Vardy, Dwight Gayle in the Premier League and Nathan Pond and Charlie Raglan at Fleetwood Town and Chesterfield respectively in League One.
Clubs in the Vanarama Conference and below are vital in this country, and they are what makes this country so special when it comes to football. No other country has the strength in depth when it comes to clubs that take their football seriously and that's what makes the FA Cup such a unique competition.
The England v Norway friendly in midweek showed that international football is often a let down despite the hype, so why not go and watch some real football this weekend? Away from all the money and the glamour associated with the game, give it a chance, and I promise you'll enjoy it. More importantly you will have helped your local team.