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Home: Non-League Football Discussion: General Discussion:
Non-League Day - 12th October

 

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davidjay
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Oct 13, 2019, 5:16 PM

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Post #26 of 36 (3282 views)
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Re: [jefferson] Non-League Day - 12th October [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


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Most people aren't interested in the 'positives' you describe. They go for the game, and generally discover the standard of both play and facilities is rubbish. Non-league football isn't particularly cheap, either, certainly not for families. One of my brothers, an infrequent football attender, home for the weekend to visit the folks, went to the Halifax-Boreham Wood match yesterday, and was astonished to discover he had to pay twenty quid. For me, a lot of non-league football's charm has gone because the standard of behaviour on the field and in the technical areas is as appalling as in the Premier and Football leagues. Frankly, if all non-league football were free, its audience wouldn't increase markedly. The overwhelming majority know what non-league football is, and choose to ignore it. My brother (who, incidentally, had no idea it was Non-League Day) certainly didn't regard his brief encounter as a value for money experience.


Non league football needs to offer something different. Part of the appeal of non league football is "you can stand and have a pint watching the match". Only at step 1 you can't, at a lot of other grounds, particularly in step 2, you can't. FA Competitions - you can't. So that does turn people off.

Another big appeal is price, yet you're paying the best part of 20 quid at step 1 and around 15 quid at step 2. That's not exactly cheap. So if you pay the best part of 20 quid for a ticket and can't have a pint during the match, then straight away you're losing 2 key selling points to potential fans.

It's always important to get kids in but at younger ages they aren't interested as much in watching the game as running about and being kids. It's teenagers, students and early 20s kids clubs who you really need to be wooing with prices etc and the key demographic to getting more of an atmosphrere going and building a buzz that way and get them in the habbit of live forever rather than lost to it for Soccer Saturday or the pub.

Kids under 10 go free - great, but they aren't going to watch the match anyway.


I agree with a lot of what you're saying, although it's my belief that we should start categorising Step 1 and (increasingly) 2 as something other than non-league. When a club has full-time staff, both playing and non-playing, and average gates of 3,000+, they can't really be described as 'grassroots'. I also believe that this level is the most over-priced in football.

The 'something different' is important. Make new visitors feel welcome, and part of the club from the minute they step through the turnstile/gate. Children might want to run around rather than watch the match, but if they enjoy themselves then the adults they nag to take them next time are likely to start to enjoy themselves as well. And yes, I totally agree that the 'young adult' generation is the most important to woo. Get them early and you can have them for life, and there's also a chance that they might bring their friends along. Maybe clubs should extend their concessions to include under-21s.


paulh66
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Oct 13, 2019, 5:22 PM

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Post #27 of 36 (3272 views)
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Re: [jefferson] Non-League Day - 12th October [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

 
It's always important to get kids in but at younger ages they aren't interested as much in watching the game as running about and being kids. It's teenagers, students and early 20s kids clubs who you really need to be wooing with prices etc and the key demographic to getting more of an atmosphrere going and building a buzz that way and get them in the habbit of live forever rather than lost to it for Soccer Saturday or the pub.

Kids under 10 go free - great, but they aren't going to watch the match anyway.


If you're content to play the long game, one leads to another of course - get the under 10s (and their parents for that matter) in the habit of attending and feeling part of the club and you're much more likely to keep attracting them when they're older.


(This post was edited by paulh66 on Oct 13, 2019, 5:24 PM)


jefferson
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Oct 13, 2019, 7:16 PM

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Post #28 of 36 (3098 views)
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Re: [davidjay] Non-League Day - 12th October [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


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I agree with a lot of what you're saying, although it's my belief that we should start categorising Step 1 and (increasingly) 2 as something other than non-league. When a club has full-time staff, both playing and non-playing, and average gates of 3,000+, they can't really be described as 'grassroots'. I also believe that this level is the most over-priced in football.

The 'something different' is important. Make new visitors feel welcome, and part of the club from the minute they step through the turnstile/gate. Children might want to run around rather than watch the match, but if they enjoy themselves then the adults they nag to take them next time are likely to start to enjoy themselves as well. And yes, I totally agree that the 'young adult' generation is the most important to woo. Get them early and you can have them for life, and there's also a chance that they might bring their friends along. Maybe clubs should extend their concessions to include under-21s.


Step 1 and 2 (particularly national north) feel less and less like non league. I went to Kidderminster recently and sat in the Main Stand, not only could I not take my pint to the stands, I wasn't even allowed to drink it on the concourse, was moved back by a steward and had to stay in a small confined space, to knock back a warm Carlsberg in a plastic glass.

It cost 17 quid a ticket for a seat in the 6th tier and the two sets of fans were well segregated (despite no hint of trouble, although with the segregation in effect creates a tribal, unfriendly atmosphere). It might as well have been an EFL game and it's similar at Chester/York or Notts County, Wrexham Stockport etc. That's not a non league experience. You want to be welcomed.

I agree with getting kids in as early as possible but just to not restrict cheap pricing to very young ages and to include concessions for teenagers and students (i.e. under 21s as you say).

I remember at a local league ground to me it used to be 2 pound in for under 16s and I used to go quite regularly. I turned 16 and then had to pay full price and I just stopped going. You need to keep people, that's the whole sell of the concessions for youngsters.


(This post was edited by jefferson on Oct 13, 2019, 7:26 PM)


davidjay
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Oct 13, 2019, 7:39 PM

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Post #29 of 36 (3043 views)
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Re: [jefferson] Non-League Day - 12th October [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


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You want to be welcomed.


And that, I feel, is the very crux of the debate. We watch non-league for many reasons but primarily because we feel welcome. That's what Non-League Day should be about and that's what it's lost over the years.


paulh66
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Oct 13, 2019, 8:10 PM

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Post #30 of 36 (2986 views)
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Re: [davidjay] Non-League Day - 12th October [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

If Non-League Day has lost its way in selling that USP over the years, perhaps it's because that USP is no longer unique to what might traditionally be regarded as 'proper non-league' football?

If you deem steps 1 and 2 as not being 'proper non-league', you're immediately taking a good clutch of traditional non-league clubs who've actually succeeded in attracting new people to the game out of the debate. The debate may well by-pass much of steps 5 and 6 too, as they're largely comprised of clubs who'll rarely appeal to significant numbers outside of family, friends and a few locals (or will never be geared up to do so). So you end up effectively pitching the debate at steps 3 and 4.

Yet the principles are the same across the board - being made welcome isn't unique to mid-level non-league football, it's something the more switched-on clubs at all levels try and deliver these days. Put it another way, generally speaking I don't feel any less welcome attending EFL than I do at any level of non-league. It's just that the lower you go the more personal tends to be the welcome.


Ashtree RockBee
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Oct 13, 2019, 9:43 PM

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Post #31 of 36 (2837 views)
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Re: [blackdouglas] Non-League Day - 12th October [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


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As it is FA Trophy qualifying hands are tied at Step 4 too.


Ashford Town (Middlesex) have been charging 5 maximum for all home League games so far this season as an experiment, but found themselves having to charge 4 more on Non-League Day due to the stipulations of playing an FA Trophy game at home. Crazy


kirby knitters
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Oct 14, 2019, 7:57 AM

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Post #32 of 36 (2611 views)
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Re: [Ashtree RockBee] Non-League Day - 12th October [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


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As it is FA Trophy qualifying hands are tied at Step 4 too.


Ashford Town (Middlesex) have been charging 5 maximum for all home League games so far this season as an experiment, but found themselves having to charge 4 more on Non-League Day due to the stipulations of playing an FA Trophy game at home. Crazy

And the experiment seems to be having the desired effect with crowds up 24% on last season. Such a shame the team find themselves in the position they are currently in or who knows how many would be watching them.


Ashtree RockBee
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Oct 14, 2019, 8:45 AM

Posts: 2060
Location: Ashford, Middlesex
Team(s): Ashford Town (Middlesex), Bognor Regis Town, Brentford

Post #33 of 36 (2561 views)
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Re: [kirby knitters] Non-League Day - 12th October [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


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As it is FA Trophy qualifying hands are tied at Step 4 too.


Ashford Town (Middlesex) have been charging 5 maximum for all home League games so far this season as an experiment, but found themselves having to charge 4 more on Non-League Day due to the stipulations of playing an FA Trophy game at home. Crazy

And the experiment seems to be having the desired effect with crowds up 24% on last season. Such a shame the team find themselves in the position they are currently in or who knows how many would be watching them.


There are (sort of) mitigating factors regarding Ashford's crowd levels. The ground's in a different town, two miles from the nearest railway station and with limited public transport, plus the club are still something of a new boy on the block compared to established clubs like Staines Town and Egham Town. Even in our Ryman Premier days we struggled to get crowds of 250.

As far as this season goes, the club announced a massive playing budget cut and all but four of the first team squad left, so our new manager's had his work cut out assembling a new squad. No wins in our first 21 matches so far (pre-season included) but the team's beginning to settle and the signs are more encouraging.


harrierjames
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Oct 14, 2019, 10:50 AM

Posts: 57
Location: Kidderminster/Sheffield
Team(s): Kidderminster Harriers, Hallam FC, Sheffield FC, Sheffield United

Post #34 of 36 (2386 views)
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Re: [Ashtree RockBee] Non-League Day - 12th October [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I think that the sense of value for money at non-league is being eroded by things such as the Twenty's plenty campaign, which seeks to artificially reduce the price of tickets simply because it "should be" cheaper for supporters wishing to watch the upper tiers of football. (I accept that the campaign is focused primarily on 20 being the maximum cost for away supporters as they generate more atmosphere and their journeys are often more expensive and lengthier than home fans, but also through speaking to people and observing social media it is clear that many would like to see 20 the maximum price for any ticket at Premier League and Championship games)

When you consider that most Step 1 sides are charging (in the region of) 20, were all Premier League games capped at 20, say, who on earth would choose to attend non-league when the cost is basically the same?

What's also interesting is the discussion of whether non-league, particularly the top two tiers, no longer feels "non-league" enough! Perhaps the initiative could be re-purposed as "Grassroots football day" and focused on Step 5 and below?


paulh66
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Oct 14, 2019, 12:35 PM

Posts: 19438
Location: Surrey
Team(s): Tranmere Rovers, South Liverpool (the South will rise again), Cammell Laird

Post #35 of 36 (2255 views)
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Re: [harrierjames] Non-League Day - 12th October [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I think the general public sees league/non-league as a natural dividing line in football so any mass campaign that focuses on some other divide would probably gain much less traction.

Although that natural divide has become slightly blurred around the margins over the last decade or two, believe me when you get relegated into the National you know you're in non-league football!


jefferson
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Oct 14, 2019, 4:07 PM

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Post #36 of 36 (1965 views)
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Re: [paulh66] Non-League Day - 12th October [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


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If Non-League Day has lost its way in selling that USP over the years, perhaps it's because that USP is no longer unique to what might traditionally be regarded as 'proper non-league' football?

If you deem steps 1 and 2 as not being 'proper non-league', you're immediately taking a good clutch of traditional non-league clubs who've actually succeeded in attracting new people to the game out of the debate. The debate may well by-pass much of steps 5 and 6 too, as they're largely comprised of clubs who'll rarely appeal to significant numbers outside of family, friends and a few locals (or will never be geared up to do so). So you end up effectively pitching the debate at steps 3 and 4.

Yet the principles are the same across the board - being made welcome isn't unique to mid-level non-league football, it's something the more switched-on clubs at all levels try and deliver these days. Put it another way, generally speaking I don't feel any less welcome attending EFL than I do at any level of non-league. It's just that the lower you go the more personal tends to be the welcome.

Yeah,whether you go to a game in Premier League, National League or step 6 you can get a good or bad welcome. It is a lot more personal in non league in general.

It's also a question of whether grounds offer the more unique to non league experience. Can you change ends at half time? Can you stand where you want? Can you stand at all, or is it all seats? Can you have a beer watching the game at pitchside? Are you paying 15-20 pound to watch a 5th or 6th division football match? Is segregation forced between home and away fans? Can you have a drink in the clubhouse and mingle with both sets of fans before the game, at half time and maybe the players after the game?

There's enough grounds at step 1 and 2 in particular where the answer to the above go far away from what a lot will see is the soul of non league football. Step 2 is a funny one because from one week to the next all the above paragraph applies with the traditional at one ground and then the next week all of the above doesn't. Or at step 1 where it's a much different experience at Chorley or Maidenhead than the ex-league grounds like Stockport or Notts Couny.


(This post was edited by jefferson on Oct 14, 2019, 4:11 PM)

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