Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “nonleague football”

FA cup First Round. The grounds are hardly crowded. Why ?


The media are full of the glamour of the FA cup. Sadly for many if not most teams that glamour is somewhat tarnished.

Not everyone is aware that the FA cup starts in August and ends in May. The early qualifying rounds are a god given chance for nonleague teams to make a small amount of money from the moderately attractive prize money on offer. By the time the first round rolls round in November the media suddenly awake with their stories of candlestick makers and funeral directors somehow managing to combine a job and a nonleague football career. Curiously they manage that on each of the other 364 days. As overheard at the recent Met Police FA trophy game a player when asked if he was playing on Tuesday simply answered negatively as was working. As Moriarty famously said in Sherlock “ that’s what people do”.

The glamour of the first round however comes with sadness too. The crowds at many grounds , sometimes famous grounds in FA cup parlor, were poor if not pathetic. The reasons may be varied. Clubs that decide not to offer deals and retain normal charges . Clubs that poorly advertise. Clubs that simply do not care as the league club imagines that the prize money more than compensates.

Let’s take a look at the winners and the rogues gallery. Starting with the rogues;

  • Colchester. We all recall Layer Road and the Leeds cup tie. The crowd v Oxford City a pitiful 1775. Oxford won 1-0.
  • Coventry. A crowd of 3370 saw a 2-0 victory over Maidenhead.
  • Charlton. Another ex-premier league side . A crowd of 4494 saw a 3-1 victory over Truro. Around 1000 were Truro fans
  • Blackburn. Premiership winners . A crowd of 3710 saw a 3-1 victory over Barnet
  • Wimbledon. There has been enough miserable moaning from the club over the last few years about MK Dons and Franchise FC. The famous FA cup winners persuaded only 3394 paying spectators to attend their game against Lincoln City who had an incredible run last year. Terrible in my opinion. Need I continue.

So where were the decent crowds? The nonleague sides playing at home. Hereford who are a reincarnated club but with great cup history had 4712 watch them defeat another nonleague side AFC Telford. Almost matching the highest crowd of the round at Luton v Portsmouth. 5333.

What realistically can be done? There are three options

  1. Do nothing and watch the history and glamour of this great competition die
  2. Allow the FA to subsidise prices for the first two rounds such that the maximum ticket price is £10 or less and children are free
  3. In the first round seed all nonleague teams to have home advantage

To do nothing is not an option.

The Beauty of Non-league football. A few photographs from a cold January afternoon


Live football is a great game and can be easily distinguished from the reality TV nonsense that so often represents the fare delivered from the Premiership. Skill levels may be greater in the Premiership but nothing beats seeing and smelling the action from close up.  Things that would seem an anathema to stewards in league football happen weekly in the non-league arena. To put it simply, the rules are sensible. Fans can stand and drink beer on the terraces, fans can often bring well behaved dogs on a lead, fans can purchase good quality food at reasonable prices .

This is football played ny normal people and watched by those who genuinely love the game. To anyone with a camera there are many photo opportunities to observe all manner of real life at football.

Although I often go to non-league football games to watch and photograph the actions and the players, there are also some great images to be had from the fans and officials alike. Here are a few shots taken from the Ryman South game 2nd January 2017 Chipstead v Carshalton Athletic.

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Chipstead 3 Carshalton Athletic 1. Photographs from a cold afternoon


A cold afternoon that ended up little over freezing at the end saw an interesting and entertaining game which either side could have won. Carshalton missed a few good chances and also contrived to miss two penalties rather badly. Good value as always for £9.It is always easy being a football critic of course but the difference between the two sides and maybe the chance of Carshalton reaching the play offs, is taking your chances and taking them at the right time. Carshalton played the better football but the scoreline mandates that Chipstead played the more effective football and certainly looked better than a team that was 20 points below Carshalton.

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Carshalton 3 Farnham Town 0. FA Cup Preliminary Round 2016. Photos of the game.


A reasonably entertaining game but one which the hosts won too easily and the result was never in doubt.

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Photographing NonLeague Football Makes You Smile. Some Quite Curious Photos. Carshalton v Farnham Town FA Cup 2016


Sometimes when you photograph a game you get lucky. The game is exciting, or there are spectacular goals. Sometimes though you just get a series of quite unintentional photos. Here are a few photos from a Preliminary Round game in the FA Cup 2016 Carshalton Athletic v Farnham Town.

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The keeper is punching the ball at the precise moment the shot is taken

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Trail left on a 3G pitch

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Two things I like about this shot. The sign saying “no ball games allowed” and the photographer here imagining nothing interesting will happen.

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Tommy Bradford, a Carshalton forward seems to have become a dwarf

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The guy in the background leaning onto the pitch and gesticulating gives the impression of being not only Voldemort but also a pony tail for this Farnham Town player

Pay what you want for a football match. Why not?


In a month when the cost of football has been high on the agenda of fans with Liverpool fans voting to walk out of a game in protest against a potential £77 ticket cost for next season, and some championship clubs such as Sheffield Wednesday charging away fans £36, it is good to see a non league initiative to pay what you want. Building a fan base takes time but one has to start somewhere and Didcot Town are starting this saturday.

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Empty Grounds. Walton and Hersham

Football is an exciting sport generally and live matches bear no comparison with sanitised TV games. Many fans would consider going to games weekly but there is little incentive or collaboration between teams to make this happen. A few non league teams in recent years have given discounted entry to season ticket holders of league clubs, Hampton and Richmond are one example.

Looking at some of the crowds in the lower echelons of the Ryman league for example. On March 8th at a midweek game Haringey Borough attracted a crowd of 22 which was lower than their crowd of 35 last saturday, and last saturday in Ryman North 6 of the 8 games with reported crowds had under 100 spectators. In Ryman South a few crowds were also fairly dire with Chipstead attracting 48 spectators and a similar number at Molesey.

There is clearly room to increase the fan base at many of these clubs. Didcot v Bashley deserves a decent crowd.

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An Unusual Hot Dog On The Woking Terraces


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Woking 1 Halifax 1 . Photos from the game.


An excellent opening goal for Woking from Bruno Andrade00000027The game was fairly end to end and both goalkeepers were kept busy.

000000320000000900000025Maybe the linesman also wanted a piece of the action? And a little maybe of Halifax rugby league also?

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00000008And finally other action shots

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Things You Only See At Non-League Football. Woking 1 V 1 Halifax


Despite the fact that Vanarama National League is a mere step below the football league is miles away in terms of its customer friendly approach. Where else might one see a lady with a dog on the terraces?

IMG_1403Where else do stewards take the word of a paying customer as to what exactly is in a bag they are carrying in? Where else do Northern football fans, well Halifax ones from Yorkshire wear shorts to football matches in the winter?

IMG_1400This and a multitude of other curious spectacles were observed at the Woking v Halifax game this weekend.

Even the ground at Woking is an eclectic mix of five very different stands/terracing. Behind one goal is a huge stand, all-seater, that dominates the ground and from the road gives the impression of a large league ground.

IMG_1394Then along side one side of the pitch are two small ancient looking stands that I am sure were there 50 years ago, looking quaint but maybe not fit for purpose really being honest. IMG_1393Normal covered terracing behind the other goal is matched with low level terracing along the other side of the pitch. It is almost as though no one can decide which decade the ground lives in nor which level of football it is fit for. A nice surprise was that there was no segregation with Woking and Halifax fans mixing freely. Banter was heard though it was difficult to make out easily much of what the Halifax fans were saying. This for me is good though. I prefer the lack of segregation which encourages a normal approach to football instead of treating each game like some kind of warfare.

The only matter of concern is that £18 seems a lot to pay for entry to any level of non-league football, especially when the entrance to Ryman level games is often around £10 or less. The worst crime though was £4 for a burger.

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Carshalton 1 South Park 1. Ryman South. Photos


With all the insanity that surrounds professional football it made a nice change to watch a competitive if somewhat bad tempered affair at the lovely War Memorial Ground in Carshalton. There are ample match reports on this game so I will suffice to say that a penalty in the first 5 minutes by Carshalton was matched by an equaliser in almost the final minute. South Park also found time in the first half to have a penalty saved by the impressive Luke Colquhoun.

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Here is the story of the game in photographic terms. Enjoy.

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