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Non-league: same rules, same game but a world apart

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and Supporters Direct merged to become the FSA in 2019 – so this page may contain hyperlinks that do not work and/or have missing files. Our archived pages are not maintained and will not be updated.

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This season we’ve teamed up with The Non-League Magazine to promote the role and impact supporters can have at non-league level. The FSF’s Andy Walsh tells us more about what’s in this month’s edition – a digital version is free to FSF members here…

The latest issue of The Non-League Magazine is a celebration of football with features covering the fortunes of ex-professional players now applying themselves in the non-league game through to the serious business of Sunday League.

One example is former-Manchester United trainee and Preston North End pro Jon Macken, now cutting his teeth in management at Radcliffe Borough in the Northern Premier. Macken has recruited former Chelsea and Leicester City player Frank Sinclair as his assistant. Sinclair is no stranger to management in non league and talks about the challenge they both face and their ambitions for the club.

Macken and Sinclair are amongst good company and are just a couple of the ex-pros featured in this issue. Former-Sheffield United midfielder turned welterweight and light-heavyweight boxer, Curtis Woodhouse, talks about his new career path as a manager at Bridlington Town.

Former-Norwich City striker and adopted East Anglian Grant Holt talks about why he’s signed up for Kings Lynn Town in the seventh tier of English football.

It is not just former players who are discovering that a good standard of football can be enjoyed outside of the professional game – BBC commentator and Altrincham fan Conor McNamara talks about the benefits of being closer to the action in non-league and the joy of fronting the BBC’s coverage of the FA Cup. Conor is also nominated in the Commentator of the Year category of this year’s FSF Awards.

Hereford United will always be associated with the FA Cup when, then, as a Southern League club Ronnie Radford’s famous thunderbolt, John Motson’s commentary and pitch-invading fans saw the dismissal of the ‘then-mighty’ Newcastle United. Hereford United eventually won promotion to the Football League but after a brief spell in the old Second Division the club fortunes began to slide. The HMRC issued a winding up order in 2014 and the club was resurrected as Hereford FC. Birmingham City fan Will Burch gets drawn into the recovery story unfolding at Hereford FC of the Southern League.

Thanks to James Boyce for the image used in this blog. Reproduced here under Creative Commons license.

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund


  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • Pledgeball