Non-League Day 2019: volunteer-led event reaches 10th anniversary

Runcorn Non League Photo James Eastup

Non-League Day, the biggest volunteer-led event in the non-league system, is returning for its tenth consecutive season this Saturday.

During the break no Premier League or Championship fixtures will be taking place – so Non-League Day gives fans who normally follow the professional game a chance to sample their local non-league side.

Over the last ten years Non-League Day has grown to be one of the biggest events on the footballing calendar and is responsible for a huge spike in attendances outside the professional game – last season many clubs recorded a doubling and even tripling of their gates.

James Doe who founded Non-League Day said: “When I set up Non-League Day in 2010 I had no idea it would grow to become the event it is today, let alone reach a tenth year.

“It has only been possible thanks to the tireless efforts of a small group of volunteers who have put in considerable amounts of their own time and money to make sure it happens, and our partner organisations who have helped us spread the message that bit further each time.”

Now the Non-League Day idea has spread to Germany, where ‘Tag de Amateure’ will be held on Sunday, and France, which the organisers hope will lead to Europe-wide celebration of non-league football in future.

Non-League Day organiser Mike Bayly said: “With sister events taking place in France and Germany, and more nations anticipated to join up in 2020, there is scope for a pan-European celebration of semi-professional and amateur football.

“These may seem ambitious plans, but as the last decade has shown, a lot can be achieved when football fans work together for a common goal.”

Fans for Diversity backing Non-League Day

As in previous years, the Fans for Diversity campaign will be supporting Non-League Day across the country.

Fans for Diversity campaign manager Anwar Uddin will be on the frontline as his Aldershot Town side host Hartlepool in the National League, with a pay-what-you-like offer in place at the turnstiles especially for Non-League Day.

In the Midlands, Birmingham City’s Blues 4 All fan group will be taking a group of Asian families along to their first non-league match, Solihull Moors vs Bromley. Similarly, their cross-town friends and rivals Villans Together will be teaming up with the newly-formed DSC United.

At Whitehawk FC, Fans for Diversity is supporting an initiative to help older men living in social isolation. Fans will be offered transportation to the match for an informal social, together with tea & biscuits, and a talk on the history of the club by the current vice-chairman and club historian. They’ll stay and watch the game and be given a lift home – all for just £1.

“We’re really pleased to be taking part in the tenth anniversary of Non-League Day,” said Fans for Diversity campaigns officer Maria Horner. “Non-League Day is a great opportunity to show fans that there is great football on their doorstep and encourages clubs to reach out to those communities who are yet to discover the joys of the game.

“We’re looking forward to what promises to be another great occasion.”

You’ll also see Fans for Diversity shirts at New Milton Town FC, Frickley AFC, Notts County FC and Slough Town FC and Worcester City FC.

Fans For Diversity is a campaign programme run in partnership between the Football Supporters' Association and Kick It Out, English football’s equality and inclusion organisation. Fans For Diversity encourages, funds and supports initiatives by fan groups to promote diversity and inclusion in football, and to challenge all forms of discrimination.

Thanks to James Eastup for the image used in this blog. Reproduced here under Creative Commons license.