- Will Taylor – Non League Correspondent & TFN Columnist
Non league! The foundations for English football as we know it. Not the multibillion pound TV deals or the extortionate wage bills but the 3 o’clock kick offs and the reasonable prices. It’s a special league, a unique league. A league that’s failed to move with the Sunday kick offs and the Monday Night Football but succeeded in drawing more and more attention to itself year after year. It’s a league where the contrast in ability and attitude can completely vary depending on the team and the player. It can be a graveyard for some teams and it can be a stepping stone for others. Look at Grimsby Town, once a regular member of the football league, now in there sixth season of non league, suffering consecutive heartbreaks in trying to get back to the exclusive 92 club. Torquay United, football league members for 80 years, fell from grace in 2007 and again in 2014 and look as if they will struggle to regain there place anytime soon.
But for teams like Fleetwood Town, Burton Albion and Crawley Town non league has been treated as a stepping stone. Not even given a second look at as they all smashed the title with the money pumped into the clubs over and over. But to non league, clubs like that aren’t welcome. Clubs that want to spend, spend and spend instead of graft and work do not show the spirit of the league. The Conference, or should I say National League is not about the commercialisation or spending, it’s about the hard working fans and the equally hard working players. Its the living embodiment of football in ‘the gold old days’. It’s the best league in England.
It’s proper football.