If They’re Going To Cover Non-League Football, The Media Has To Get It Right

Ian

Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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5 Responses

  1. Dan says:

    Contrary to much of your post about ignorant national media Peter Drury, ITV commentator on the aforementioned Halifax game, attended a couple of the club’s games in the weeks before the FA Cup tie, talked to the manager and several of the players and even made a visit to the training in the week before the game.

    But those facts don’t really fit in with your agenda here do they?

    In the same way it’s best not to make out all non-league clubs as being the same, it’s probably wise not to suggest that all media is too.

  2. Simon Cope says:

    @Dan

    I didn’t think the author *was* suggesting all media is/was the same. Given the two paragraphs beginning “In fairness, some are guiltier than others”, and “These appear to be exceptions to the rule though”, I certainly got the impression he was trying to write a balanced piece.

    Don’t let that get in the way of your own agenda though eh?

    Good to hear about Peter Drury’s commitment to preparation. It’s a shame he’s the exception though.

  3. Matt says:

    I also thought this an ill thought out piece riddled with the authors own sweeping assumptions about non-non-league football fans.

    The piece starts off ripping into traditional stereotypes of non-league footballers – this is not wrong, but then the piece descends into the author’s own stereotypes of non-league fans!

    “the culture of fandom in the professional and semi-professional game significantly differs.”

    “To follow a non-league team is to take a vested interest in the whole of the grass roots game.”

    “non-league football is more likely to attract the idiot savant than the idiot, a person of weather beaten pragmatism who has first hand experience of life at the sharp end of football.”

    So let me get this right: MSM stereotyping non-league footballers is wrong because it is usually a pejorative stereotype?

    But you stereotyping non-league fans in a positive way, which of course by definition stereotypes league fans in a negative light, is a-ok?

    “the same shibboleths, stereotypes and inaccuracies have been trotted out in an age where obscurity appears to be a caveat for ignorance.”

    or in your terms:

    “the same shibboleths, stereotypes and inaccuracies have been trotted out in an age where obscurity appears to be a badge of honour.”

    Look, no-one chooses what league their team plays in, some are in lower leagues, some in top flights, others in grass roots leagues, a supporter is not defined by the league their team plays in, they are defined by their own actions in supporting their club through thick and thin.

    Thanks.

  4. Jamie says:

    In the days leading up to the game, ITV advertised it as Halifax Town V Charlton. Even though Halifax Town no longer exists. Also a female talksport presenter, speaking about Leyton Orient v Bromley, said that Bromley players don’t even get paid.

  5. Mike Bayly says:

    @Dan – that’s obviously great to hear

    @Matt – I base my observations on working for a non-league club, and having followed football at all levels for most of my life. Indeed, it is only in the last few years I have started watching non-league football regularly again. I fully accept that the piece could be construed as positively stereotyping non-league supporters but as pointed out, no rule is universal, and the non-league game is riddled with its own problems and short comings. I do however, stand by my assertion that there is a different supporter culture between league and non-league football. It doesn’t mean I think one set is better or more knowledgeable than the other, simply that their attitude to the sport and the nature of crowds is markedly different. Naturally these comments are virtually impossible to quantify, so one has to base it on personal observation.

    You are quite correct that nobody chooses what league their team plays in – and this is partly my point. For supporters of clubs who are rarely in the spotlight by virtue of playing in the lower leagues it is annoying when you’re moment on the national stage is patronised or incorrectly referenced. It doesn’t always happen, but does far more than it should.

    Either way, thanks for your comments.

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