Today, Saturday the 10th of October is quite a significant date in the UK Footballing calendar. Whilst it's not the highlight date of October (Halloween will do that for you), it's an important day for clubs that aren't as highly regarded as the Premier League clubs we follow day-in & day-out.
Non-League Day marks a return to the very foundations of football. Way back in the 1800's, football clubs would revolve around folk representing a company or an area. The Old Etonians made up the Eton School alumni would battle against the Royal Engineers, the Wanderers, the Met Police. Fanbases would spectate as 22 men left it all on the turf to represent their corner of the globe. The Aston Villa, made up of gentlemen representing Aston, the Aston Cross church and the Aston Villa (literally, the Aston Manor that hangs above Villa Park to this very day) would face off against West Bromwich Albion, Small Heath and even Oxford University. In a way, Football in the 1800's may very well be best represented in spirit by College Gridiron today, over in the States at least.
What exactly is Non-League then? Your postman could be the star goalie, the car mechanic might very well be the best 'regista' this side of Perry Barr. Non-league football carries with it a certain air of nostalgia that hasn't nudged, even with the modernisation and commercialisation of the game in higher levels of the English Football pyramid. Non-League pretty much covers every single team from the Footballing Conference and below. There's not a way you can miss the action - Villa Fans can enjoy a short trip to Sutton Coldfield to watch the Paget Rangers, Newcastle fans might enjoy the Blyth Spartans or Gateshead, Manchester fans have their choice of Salford & FC United of Manchester. The world is your oyster with non-league football, hell, travel up to your park to watch the latest Sunday League action.
The Villa Blog have also produced a great piece on the Paget Rangers. It's only £1 to get in, so if you've got the time, run up and support them as they attempt to break their attendance record of 155. It's so uniquely British, isn't it?
Don't feel excluded if you're overseas - you can probably join in on the action. The NASL is hardly amateur, but you can certainly give it a shot to watch a team you may not have cared for before. You might also have some amateur soccer games kicking off around you. Keep your eyes out and join in!
The heroes we see every week are born celebrities and they may never lose their fame, but in non-league football - anyone can be a hero; even if it is just for one day.
7500 to Holte have been nominated for the Best Football Club Blog award in the 2015 Football Blogging Awards! If you'd like to vote for us, the easiest way is to send a tweet, which you can do by clicking here, or by tweeting "I'm voting in @TheFBAs for @7500toHolte as the Best Football #Club Blog" (without quotations). If you'd rather not vote via twitter, you can do so by choosing us from the Best Football Club Blog dropdown at the FBA's voting page. Our community is a huge part of what makes this such a great place to be an Aston Villa fan so thank you for your support!