There’s something special about non-league football.
There’s a real community feel, and the money you pay through the turnstiles for admission goes directly back into the running of the club.
Getting to a non-league game when you can is great. When I’m back in God’s country, I watch my local side Shotton Colliery FC. A group of hard-working volunteers have got something good going on across there.
There’s never a bad time to catch some non-league football, but few days are better than Non-League Day.
Sunderland and the north east in general has a rich history of non-league football. With plenty of action taking place across the region, you’ll not be too far away from a match.
Started in 2010 by creator James Doe as what was then a social media experiment, Non-League Day celebrates the triumph of the grassroots game. The day is a chance for non-league clubs, many of which are completely volunteer-run, to showcase just how vital community-led football is.
There is an undeniably high level of commitment from players and representatives at this level. The authentic football experience is still alive and well, with many matches kicking off at 3pm and plenty of grounds enabling you to both stand and drink pitchside.
Sunderland AFC have given plenty of youth players their chance of regular football by loaning them out to one of the many non-league clubs. Loans have benefitted us too, as recently as this season. Current number-one stopper Anthony Patterson enjoyed a loan spell at Sunderland RCA back in 2019.
It was a spell that got him started on a path that led to him receiving his first England u21 call-up. If you feel like catching a glimpse of Patto’s old side, and watching a team play in red and white today, then you can get yourself over to the Heritage Park in Bishop Auckland. Sunderland RCA are over in County Durham in Northern League Division One action.
South Shields are in action as they aim to wrap up promotion. One player who could make his debut is Harry Gardiner, just days after his loan move from Sunderland. Shields face Radcliffe at the 1st Cloud Arena.
If you find yourself at a loose end around Northamptonshire this Non-League Day, then a trip to Latimer Park could ensure you watch two Sunderland loanees in action. Kettering Town welcome Darlington for a Vanarama Conference North match. Tom Scott (Kettering) and Nathan Newell (Darlington) will be battling it out.
Moving up the divisions and the country slightly, you can catch a current Sunderland loanee in action. Winger Michael Spellman’s Blyth Spartans side are in Vanarama Conference North action against Chester.
Here’s a full round up of the matches taking place within 10 miles of the SoL this Non-League Day. Various levels of our region’s strong non-league football pyramid will be represented on what has quickly become a day to cherish the grassroots game.
- Chester-le-Street United v Blyth Town
- Jarrow v Newcastle University
- Washington v Billingham Town
- South Shields v Radcliffe
- Hebburn Town v Lincoln United
- Birtley Town v Boro Rangers
- Newcastle Benfield v Penrith
- Whitley Bay v Tow Law Town
- Easington Colliery v Bedlington Terriers
- West Allotment Celtic v Heaton Stannington
For your nearest non-league game, the Non-League Day app has a handy tool which helps you narrow down your options.