FA Cup Winners 2013, The Premiership for eight seasons but just a few Sky Sports Yearbooks nee Rothmans editions past, Wigan Athletic were proud members of the Northern Premier League in the 1977-78 season.
A lot of glory and huge disappointment’s has been seen by the Springfield Park and latterly the JJB/DW faithful, that is why we like to remember from were we came, grassroots football.
Many who take their seat in the modern stadia if they can be bothered to shift their ass from in front of the telly will never have experienced the “local” games on their doorsteps.
Get out & about, you never know you might just enjoy it, the following is from the FSF about just exactly what it means….
This weekend is a special occasion in the English football season.
To some that may sound strange given there’s no Premier League or Championship football to be had, but for many others it’s a fantastic occasion to celebrate English football as Non-League Day, the campaign to promote semi-professional and amateur football, returns for a fifth consecutive season.
For non-league clubs up and down the country, it’s an occasion to be celebrated. Clubs like my hometown team, Nelson FC of the North West Counties Premier Division.
Two weeks ago, having worked in football for the past six years, I agreed to take on the role of Chief Executive at the club. I had the opportunity to work at Premier League or Football League clubs but going back to Nelson was an easy choice for me.
I grew up in Nelson, a small old industrial town in Pendle, Lancashire, with the club tucked away on Victoria Park, often forgotten about by locals. However, Nelson FC is more than 130-years-old and has an incredible story to tell.
We were the first English club to tour overseas and in 1923 became the first ever English team to beat Real Madrid away from home. I love stuff like that in football, I’m not ashamed to admit to being a bit of a romantic, and looking through the old photos of little old Nelson FC through the years really hits home what an honour it is to be Chief Executive of this wonderful football club.
I’m planning to write to Real Madrid inviting them over for a replay next summer, I fancy our chances again personally.
The day-to-day running of a club like Nelson is more than a little challenging, like all non-league clubs we rely on the hard work of volunteers and a small team of people doing everything they can to keep the club running.
Our Manager prints the programmes, a club Director mans the turnstiles and the Chairman can be seen mopping the toilets. Groundsmen spend 6 hours every day making sure the pitch is in perfect condition come matchday.
That kind of dedication and commitment is something that you don’t get to see or hear about often, the hours put in despite people having full time jobs and families to take care of.
For me this is what makes Non-League Day extra special, a chance to celebrate and focus on non-league football and the unsung heroes who give up so much without any recognition.
One of the most pleasing things for me as a new Chief Executive is spending time with the dedicated individuals involved at the club, people who go above and beyond because they care about the club. The big challenge is to build around that with new initiatives and strategies that can help move the club forward and, most importantly, better engage Nelson FC with the local community.
The historical role of football clubs as representations of their local communities has been discussed in great detail by social and sports historians over the years.
However, in the modern era of globalisation and commercialisation within football, many top-level professional clubs sometimes struggle, in my opinion, to get the right balance.
Also see here http://thisnorthernsoul.co.uk/non-league-day-on-the-way/
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