Wokingham & Emmbrook at Lowther Road. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com

Seven wonders of the non-league world: The essentials for any football fan

From fixture finding apps to FA Cup Factfiles, here are seven crucial wonders for any discerning non-league fan
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Wokingham & Emmbrook at Lowther Road. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com

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A new Football in Berkshire feature where we look at the brilliant things in grassroots football, starting with the essential things anyone digging into the world of non-league football will need.

Whether it’s historic stats, finding fixtures or engaging with clubs, here’s our list. Look out for the next one!

Futbology app

Originally and sensibly called the Groundhopper app, but now known as Futbology it could really be called anything such is the brilliant simplicity of the app.

Going somewhere for a week and want to find a game? Or you are somewhere and want to find a game? Set the map, set a couple of preferences and bang, a full list of fixtures in order of distance from your location.

You can also check in to grounds and build and archive of fixtures – plus you can go back and add any old games to complete the set.

The app also now appears to include FA WSL and Championship fixtures as well as FA competition replays which it previously struggled with.

Find it on all good app stores.

FCHD.info

A godsend for anyone looking for a history of their club’s league positions and performance in FA competitions.

It has a very basic design but that only enhances the usefulness of the site in our view – it simply does what it says it does and mercifully loads quickly and reliably as a result.

Run by Richard Rundle in Cornwall, the site is a complete history of competitive football and we’d be lost without it.

FA Full Time website

Now, it has its problems for sure and the Football Association have issued an apology about the Whole Game System (WGS) that forms part of the FA’s Full Time Website, but other than perhaps FootballWebPages, there is nowhere else to go for league tables, fixtures and results.

It’s a huge shame those are no longer embeddable, but the service itself is a bit of a bible for finding information and player statistics – particularly with leagues like the Combined Counties and Hellenic that advocate line-ups, bookings and goalscorers.

The long and short of it is that despite it’s shortcomings, speed being one of them as well as the ability to easily post an incorrect result, the FA’s Full Time website is a must.

aylesburyunitedfc.co.uk

Nathan Webb. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com
Binfield’s Nathan Webb, the latest player that Football in Berkshire is indebted to aylesburyunited.co.uk for information. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com

Odd one this, and would love to know the story behind it, but type any non-league footballers name into Google and the chances are the Aylesbury United FC website will appear.

For reasons we don’t quite understand, a database second to none exists for almost any player to have played down to at least step 4 in the second decade of the 21st century with a list of clubs, appearances, goals and the note: To avoid confusion, this player is not currently registered, and has never played for, Aylesbury United FC. Details provided here are for information purposes only, and statistics should not necessarily be regarded as 100% accurate.

As the note says, the statistics perhaps may or may not be accurate, but any time you’re writing up a player transfer or just keen to know a little about your club’s new signing, the Aylesbury United website has a full list of clubs and usually, a picture to go with it.

We’d love to know why because it’s incredibly useful!

Ollie Bayliss

So far it’s been all about things. But a list of brilliant things in grassroots football would not be complete without featuring the Columbo of non-league.

Ollie, host of BBC Three Counties Radio’s non-league show, leaves no stone unturned when reporting on our great game and has quickly become the ‘go to’ for behind the scenes updates and breaking news.

Whether he’s pushing for Freedom of Information requests on the National League funding saga or uncovering incredible moments of skill on social media, Bayliss is the account to follow.

Just one more thing..

Vote for Ollie in the FSA awards here.

FA Cup Factfile

Not just a brilliant, fact-filled knowledge base on the worlds most famous cup competition, but also now a book.

FA CUP 150 by Phil Annets is a brilliant round-up of the first 150 years and is still available.

That stat about Yate Town vs Yeovil Town being the first time two teams starting with Y have met – FA Cup Factfile, that guy chatting stats on Football Focus? FA Cup Factfile!

Oh and Phil’s been on the Berkshire Football Stories podcast!

Twitter

Whether it’s NonLeagueCrowd telling you the top attended matches of the weekend, FACupFactFile keeping you (and frankly now most major media networks) up to date with all the relevant statistics or your local clubs and their rivals feeds, Twitter is THE social network for the non-league game.

It clearly has its issues, well-reported elsewhere, but we’d certainly argue the improved visibility of the non-league game is down in no small part to clubs getting hold of Twitter and running with it.

On the bench: Wikipedia – except for the guy that deletes our links despite admitting FiB is a good source of information, the excellent FootballWebPages site which would be included in the big list if more competitions added their stats and thefootballarchives.com looks like it’s going to be very useful in the future – but currently a tad short on Sol Wanjau-Smith stats.

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