The love of non-league football – by Ian Ridley

The love of non-league football – by Ian Ridley
Ian Ridley talks non league football

Steve Claridge is the manager of Salisbury

Do you miss the days when going to a football match was a value for money day out? Many of my generation do.

Who can afford a Premier League ticket these days? Why do some match programmes cost more than a pizza or fish and chips?

Do you miss a time when football fans had a connection with footballers? When there was much less of a ‘them and us’ gap between the two.

Non-league football is more popular than ever because you can attend a match for a reasonable cost. Catering can be as good as at some league grounds, but far cheaper. You can talk to players in the bar after the game. You can move around the ground, swapping ends if you like. You can mix with opposing fans and have no fear of getting embroiled in a fight.

And, possibly best of all, the football match itself can be entertaining and you feel much closer to the action.

I agree with what writer and author Ian Ridley says to me during this 15 minute interview. The atmosphere at Premier League matches can be, as he puts it, “antiseptic.”

Ian has been involved with Weymouth, St.Albans City and Salisbury – where he is now the vice chairman.

My interview with him took place late last year, before Weymouth progressed to the semi-finals of the FA Vase after a 3-0 win against Ashford United. A victory that prompted Ridley to say on Twitter: “Wonderful Whites…Love Non-League Football.”

Salisbury will play Hereford in the semi-final.
Tickets for The FA Non-League Finals Day, which includes the Trophy and Vase Finals on Sunday 22 May, are now on sale.

You can  be there to see both games at Wembley with tickets costing £25 for adults, £10 for concessions and just £1 for Under-16s.

Sounds like value for money to me. I may well be there myself.

The FA VASE is up for grabs. Photo by Tom Dulat - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

The FA VASE is up for grabs. Photo by Tom Dulat – The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

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