By Dave Woodhall.
If international weekend means you think you might miss out on your football fix – and by that I mean actually going out and watching a match rather than sitting in front of the TV – worry not. Tomorrow is the second Non-League Day, established last season as a way of getting some publicity and extra revenue for clubs who operate in the lower reaches of the game.
Our area has got plenty of leagues to choose from, at standards that range from almost Football League to the distinctly grassroots, so there’s something for every taste and budget. With our local Conference teams all playing away the highest-ranked local club with a game at home tomorrow are Solihull Moors, of the Blue Square North (two steps below League Two), who are entertaining Hinckley United. They play at Damson Parkway, Solihull, a modern ground with good facilities and a couple of bars.
A step down from Solihull in the Evo-Stick League Southern Premier are Stourbridge, currently riding high in the table and unbeaten this season. Their ground is a bit more traditional, with a cricket pitch on one side and a proper terrace to stand behind the goal. A bit further afield, the Evo-Stick Northern Premier League has Hednesford and Stafford Rangers at home.
It’s also the FA Cup preliminary round, with several of our local teams in action. This has impacted on the lower leagues fixture lists, but there are still games in the Midland Football Alliance, West Midlands League and Midland Combination. The MFA is the highest standard, and if you’re looking for a social day out their grounds are of a decent (if sometimes untidy) standard with bars and hot food available. West Midlands League clubs tend to be more Black Country-based (so you won’t be far from a decent pub) while Midland Combination grounds are usually the most basic and are often further flung, around Solihull or in Warwickshire – perfect for a day out but awkward if you’re relying on public transport.
I’m not promising a feat of scintillating football, but I can guarantee that you’ll see no histrionics, very little attempt to con the officials and wherever you go you’ll be made welcome.
http://full-time.thefa.com/Index.do?leagueid=3244788 (West Midlands League)