Category: Non-League

Clearing The Summer Hangover

My team, Bostik League Premier Division Kingstonian (Bostik? Evo-Stik? Rhyming adhesives and non-league football… er… league sponsorships, eh?) began their 2017/2018 season this Saturday. But I wasn’t interested. They did so at Billericay Town, tabloid press darlings, sure-to-be-wisely-gargantuan spenders and inevitable title favourites among football bookies who probably couldn’t name any non-tabloid star ‘Ricay players, let alone rationally analyse their promotion prospects. Paul Konchesky. Jamie O’Hara. Jeez, Jermaine Pennant. Players that football fans have heard of. In the Isthmian League. £35,000 weekly wage bill. In the Isthmian League. But I wasn’t interested. They did so under the management of...

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Southport’s Summer of Discontent

Exactly forty years ago, Southport Football Club was looking forward to another season in the Fourth Division of the Football League. The club had finished the previous season one place off the bottom of the League but had survived re-election, unlike the the unfortunate Workington, who’d been voted out and replaced by Wimbledon already that summer. Clubs weren’t voted out of the Football League often, and when they were, it made national news headlines. Still, Southport shouldn’t have anything to worry about, should it? The club had won the Fourth Division championship in 1973 before being relegated straight back...

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Clapton: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

Sometimes irony can strike in the cruellest of ways. Clapton FC is one of the oldest surviving names on the London non-league circuit, but after years of slow decline the club’s recent improvement on the pitch in the Essex Senior League is being rapidly unwound by the inexplicable behaviour of its owner, and matters reached a point last week at which push came to shove over whether the Tons would even be able to start the new season, even though the club finished the season as the league’s runners-up last time around. To scratch at the surface of Clapton’s...

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Leyton Orient: The Sun Rises In The East 

Three summers ago, Leyton Orient supporters were rueing what might have been. Beaten only by a penalty shoot-out at Wembley with a place in the Football League Championship at stake, the club was setting course on a new journey following the decision of Barry Hearn to sell it to the Italian businessman Francesco Bechetti. Optimism and nervousness have a tendency to be familiar bedfellows, but how might things turn out for one of English football’s perennial stalwart clubs. We know the answer to this question now, of course. Having been so close to the second tier of English football,...

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Kingstonian & Kingsmeadow: Get Me Out Of Here

Tuesday’s Guardian newspaper contained a terrific double-page article by Nick Ames on Kingstonian’s last-ever game at Kingsmeadow Stadium, where they had played since 19th August 1989. Nick covered almost all the bases; the history, the politics, the possible impact of an immediate-term move out of Kingston borough, the raw emotion, my mate Phil’s bobble hat. And the piece wasn’t harmed by… OK, it massively benefited FROM… the absence of any of my ten-minute chat with him. Because I was, in equal measure, without a bobble-hat… and any emotion worth including in a national newspaper. I recall missing only one...

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