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Graham Taylor, Jay DeMerit and Martin Tyler talk about Non League Day
5:00am Thursday 29th August 2013 in Latest Sport
"It’s literally just round the corner" beamed Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler when asked about the annual Non League Day.
Both Non League and grass roots football are so often overlooked by the media but, in celebration of this part of our beautiful game, Saturday, September 7th sees the fourth Non League Day.
To find out more we spoke to a few notable figures about their appreciation and experiences of the lower leagues and, like Tyler, in every case their wonderful enthusiasm just shone through.
With Tyler as its ambassador, this not-for-profit supporter-run event is always held on international weekends. This affords more fans the opportunity to take part and has resulted in astonishing increases to its popularity.
Across the country last season clubs reported season-high crowds, with some even doubling their average gate. The event gained unprecedented media coverage – with dedicated features on radio and TV – and a high profile collaboration with ‘Kick It Out’.
Whilst the day is intended to raise awareness for teams in the lower reaches of the football pyramid, and to boost their attendances, many clubs also combine it with special events or even fund raise for local and national causes.
Non-League Day offers us a chance to show our appreciation for the hundreds of volunteer-run clubs in this country that do so much good for the local community. Also backed by Jamie Carragher and Garth Crooks, the event promotes the type of clubs that brought us Jimmy Case, Jay DeMerit, Kevin Phillips and Ian Wright.
Recounting his own rise from Northwood FC to the Premier League and then international football, Vancouver Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit sums it up well: "Obviously, in relation to my own story, I wouldn't be where I am today without non-league football. The support of grass roots football is needed to continue to make football the game it is today."
Former England and Watford manager Graham Taylor added: "We can all play our part by recognising and supporting that football is the national game and that, if we neglect the grass roots and non league participation, it will not take long for all of us to feel the negative affect at full time professional level."
With no Premier League or Championship games on September 7 and England playing on Friday night, whether you like league or cup games, supporters will again have a multitude of options with which to fill their footballing void.
The Non League Day website – NonLeagueDay.co.uk – offers a search facility for the entire country to find a game of your choice. As Tyler stated, for any of us there really is a wonderful live Non League experience round every corner.
To participate or find out more, contact www.nonleagueday.co.uk, or @non_league_day on Twitter or James@nonleagueday.co.uk and email@example.com via email.
The closest games to Watford's Vicarage Road are:
FA Vase, Kings Langley v Colney Heath Gaywood Park, Hempstead Road, Kings Langley, Hertfordshire WD4 8BS.
Southern League, Div 1 Central Northwood v AFC Hayes, Northwood Park, Chestnut Ave, Northwood, Middlesex, HA6 1HR.
Southern League, Premier Div Hemel Hempstead Town v St Neots Town, Vauxhall Rd, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 4HW.
FA Vase, Berkhamsted v Hertford Town, Broadwater, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire HP4 2AL.
Spartan South Midlands League Div 1, Harpenden Town v Sun Postal Sports, Rothamsted Park, Harpenden, AL5 2HU.
Isthmian League Premier Div, Harrow Borough v Dulwich Hamlet, Earlsmead Carlyon Avenue Harrow Middlesex HA2 8SS.
FA Vase, London Colney v Codicote, Cotlandswick Playing Fields, North Orbital Road, London Colney, Herts AL2 1DW.
FA Vase, Harefield United v Wellingborough Town, Preston Park, Breakspear Road North, Harefield, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB9 6NE.
Hellenic League Div 1 East, Chalfont Wasps v Finchampstead, Crossleys Bowstridge Lane Chalfont St Giles HP8 4QN.
Southern League Div 1 Central, Chalfont St Peter v St Ives Town, Mill Meadow, Gravel Hill, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, SL9 9QX.
Southern League Premier Div, Chesham Utd v Truro City, The Meadow, Amy Ln, Chesham, HP5 1NE.
FA Vase, Tring Athletic v Eton Manor, Grass Roots Stadium, Cow Lane,Tring,HP23 5NS.
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