Earlier this year, before they knocked out Rochdale and held Brighton to a draw, FC United of Manchester played at Norton & Stockton Ancients in the qualifying rounds of the FA Cup. Here, two of their fans explain their admiration for the Northern League:
“At Norton and Stockton Ancients they had ball boys and there aren’t many clubs at our level, never mind in the Northern League, that work with junior volunteers (even their own youth teams) in that way. So that was a huge tick for them. The sweet stall/table, also run by juniors, at the far end of the pitch was another nice touch.”
“Personally I’d say our trips to the North East to play Northern League teams have always been memorable. I was genuinely surprised by how warm and friendly the people in the North East have been to us whenever we’ve been there. Norton & Stockton was a fantastic trip and you could really get a sense for how a full sporting community has been built around a football club. In a very positive way the Northern League is about as far removed from the Premier League as I think it’s possible to get. There are great friendly clubs in every step 5 and 6 league but the Northern League just has a different feel about it. It’s not a league of vain fallen “giants” or would be “giants” who resent playing 4 divisions below the Conference. It’s just a league where the clubs get on with it because they love the game.”
Best of luck to FC United for the rest of the season and beyond.