It’s true another football season is coming to a close, now I’m not talking about the mega rich Premiership, by the way I am one of the many that hope Leicester clinch the title, nor am I refering to the Championship/League 1 or League 2 but in fact the non league football season.
I know that I am still a relatively new supporter of non league as I have only been involved with it for the pas 3 and a bit years but as far as I am concerned you will get to see some of the better competitive matches.
In this blog I am going to cover what I have been up to this season and also some of my opinions of how things should change, well why shouldn’t I put across my thoughts as thousands of others do?!
So, my season started as previous ones with Gateshead FC, it wasn’t an actual match but their first training session. It was also attended by some other local press as not only was there new players there but there was also the new manager and assistant manager, Malcolm Crosby & Gary Owers. Considering they both previously had involvements with the Mackems, I wasn’t going to hold that against them, they were actually nice blokes. This wasn’t the only training session that I attended wth Gateshead as this season I was wanted to capture a behind the scenes look.
I attended most of the pre-season friendly games including the NUFC game, for me that was a great opportunity to capture the premier league players that I knew that I would not normally have the chance to. In total I attended 36 Gateshead matches which inlcuded 1 away game to Macclesfield and also a few reserve and under 18/19’s games.
In a way Gateshead has a had a pretty rough season as there has been a further change in management after heading towards the relegation zone and then almost making the play-offs. I know that the club and the fans are desperate to get out of the non league bracket but it was not to be this time. With Neil Aspin in charge and now that he has the full close season he will be able to clear out the players that he does not want at the club and bring on players he wants there.
Moving on to the Northern League, I know that I have really only covered Chester-le-Street Town FC games this season but there is a good reason for this. Last July I became unemployed and even though I thought that I would be able to find a new job quickly I didn’t and I am still in the same position although I am at the moment waiting upon a start date. Being unemployed meant that I had lost my own financial backing which would allow me to cover travel costs when I went to games that I knew I would ot be able to make any money on through sales. Hopefully next season I will be able to get back around the Northern league grounds and see a lot more games.
Mind you having said all of that I have thoroughly enjoyed the Chester-le-Street Town games partly because they have become a really good team this season and also there has been a few club records broken. One of which was the fastest goal scored, this now goes to Scott Heslop (can’t remember how quick the goal was). Scott finished the season off with a goal tally of 33, his goals have certainly contributed to the team also being promoted to Divison 1 by finishing in 3rd place.
Most people probably wouldn’t give two hoots about that but let me also explain a couple of things about the club to put the achievement into perspective. For the past 3 seasons there has not been a player wage budget, that’s right a zero budget! Compare that to say South Shields who have a millionaire backer, they are able to offer players large signing on fees as well as very large waes for this level. Don’t get me wrong I only hope that Chester-le-Street Town could find such a backer to make the club bigger and better all round. But the lads have displayed what I have refered to as old school values. Passion and love for not only the game itself but the club they play for, some of the players even travel over 30 miles just to play a home game.
Earlier in this blog I mentioned that I would give some of my opinions well here they are coming up.
A while ago the FA and other so called ‘experts’ said that the current problem with the England set up is that there isn’t enough young English players getting into clubs 1st teams. The aparent solution was apparently to introduce a B league behind the Premier League? Oh and this would basically kill off a level of non league football.
Now guess where there are a lot of young English players currently playing? No, you don’t know?? Well they are playing for non league clubs, now why is it that they are not able to progress up the leagues because they have plenty of chances to right??
The thing is a lot of the young players have actually come from ‘big’ clubs, they would have been part of the youth academy but because they were either not good enough or just simply were not given the chance to progress to the clubs first team they were let go. Now, if the club felt that the player was not good enough and they go to non league it’s not all doom and gloom as they would actually learn more about the mens game as it is a lot tougher than playing against other youth players. They could also ain this experience by being loaned out to non league clubs by the ‘big’ club. Lets just back track a bit though, what about those players that maybe were good enough but were never given the chance to progress? To me it comes down to the number of foreign players that are over here. I remember a time when each club was only allowed to field a maximum of 3 foreign players. If we could go back to these times then I would predict that there would be a greater number of better English players coming up through the clubs ranks. Especially when you think of the training facilities available today compared to 1995, my research shows that it was due to the Bosman ruling that led to clubs being allowed to have an influx of foreign players.
Think about it, was it not in 1996 that we had the last England team that we actually had believed in?