THE BLOG

Get Out and Back Your Local Football Club on Non-League Day

06/09/2013 16:44 | Updated 06 November 2013

Just days after Gareth Bale became the world's most expensive footballer following his transfer to Real Madrid, a non-League club faces oblivion over a debt that the former Spurs player could pay off with just about a day's wages.

Kettering Town FC, whose managerial alumni include Ron Atkinson and briefly, Paul Gascoigne, and who have previously competed at the top tier of non-League football and appeared three times at Wembley, currently ply their trade in the Calor League Division One Central. This weekend the team takes on Aylsebury United in what could be the club's final match - and all on what should be a day of celebration.

Saturday is Non-League Day, an annual event that coincides with an international weekend to encourage fans of all clubs, but especially Premier League and Championship whose teams have no matches, to get out into their communities and back a local side.

The day was set up in 2010 and is now a firm fixture on the football calendar, backed by Premier League and Football League clubs, MPs, celebrities, charities and campiang groups such as Kick It Out. The intention was not necessarily to support another team but to support grassroots football where the foundations of the sport lie.

Kettering will be hoping for a bumper crowd to help it in its quest to raise the £58,000 needed to stave off a High Court winding up order that was imposed over a debt to Rushden & Diamonds relating to rent owed from the club's time at Nene Park.

Financial meltdowns are not unusual among non-league and Football League clubs these days as harsh economic realities continue to bite but Kettering's plight is yet another example of the huge disparity between football's elite and its grassroots, a situation that looks increasingly likely to worsen before it gets better.

Coventry City, Portsmouth and Stockport County are just three well known clubs facing problems while the news of another club going into administration these days barely registers for shock value. Of course, some clubs recover phoenix-like from the ashes - Aldershot Town and Newport County are two well known cases with the latter returning to the Football League for the first time in 25 years - but even that doesn't guarantee success as Aldershot have since discovered with their renewed money worries.

Around the country, many clubs are offering discounts for Non-League Day, for example Hampton and Richmond Borough are giving cut-price admission to all Premier League and Football League season ticket holders for their Ryman Premier League match against Maidstone United while Blue Square Conference side Halifax Town are letting in armed forces personnel for free to watch Barnet.

These are just two clubs encouraging fans through their gates - find a game near you using the Non-League Day match finder and back another one.