Why the Northern League Matters to Me #7

Well it would, wouldn’t it? A bit of a bugger if the League chairman were to join the bloated ranks of the indifferent. The bottom line, probably, is that it matters because I’d like most reasonable and informed people to accept that the league is healthier, stronger, more fit for purpose and more relevant to the realities of the early 21st century – and able to respond to them – than it was when I became chairman 15 years ago. A vast amount of work has been done in an attempt to achieve that.

That’s all a bit pompous. I’m a Shildon lad, lifelong Shildon fan, grew up with them, increasingly realised that some incredibly devoted people kept all clubs at this level alive and wanted, quite simply, to be involved.

I’m also an Arsenal fan – my dear old dad was from Muswell Hill, was sent to Catterick before the war, met my mum who agreed to marriage on condition that Shildon and not Muswell Hill would the home venue – and have two sons who are passionate about the Gooners.

For all that, I’ve never been to the Emirates and quite likely never will. Nor have I seen Arsenal up here for about eight years, though I’m quite often offered corporate tickets. I’d honestly rather watch a Northern League match – I’d quite fancied the Champions League final, though.

The reason for that is the Premiership, and to a lesser extent the Championship, seems to me to be evermore dressed up in clothes that my dad would never have recognised. The clothes carry all sorts of labels – greed, duplicity, self-interest, corporate claptrap – but none is attractive.

That’s why it’s important to have a vibrant Northern League, and leagues like it. The essential alternative has to be viable for all the reasons – quirky and otherwise – that your correspondents identity. It matters that we attract all the support we can and harness every communication medium we can. It’s brilliant that you boys are helping us. Thanks for all that you’re doing.

Many thanks to Mike Amos, journalist, MBE, football fan and, for the past fifteen years, Northern League chairman.

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