Ben Edwards plays on a muddy Larges Lane surface.
Ben Edwards plays on a muddy Larges Lane surface.

'Quality of game' wouldn't figure in my top 50 reasons for going to a match

Tom Canning argues there is a lot more to football than the 90 minutes on the pitch
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Ben Edwards plays on a muddy Larges Lane surface.
Ben Edwards plays on a muddy Larges Lane surface.

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A few weeks ago there were a few tweets knocking about from people saying they wouldn’t go to or watch women’s football due to the lack of quality.

It’s a perceived grievance that gets rolled out to attack the women’s game and is one that is often used to stick the boot in on the non league game as well. It is particularly high on the agenda at this time of year when the FA Cup Third Round rolls up and you’ve got a team of plumbers, builders and a pilot up against the might of Rochdale.

I don’t think it’s just because I enjoy both forms of the game under attack that I had a problem – and wrote and deleted multiple tweets before deciding I’d just be yelling into an abyss – my main gripe was that ‘quality of the game’ would barely figure in my top 50 reasons for going to a game, or watching one on television.

Case in point, on Tuesday night (7th January) I went over to Holyport to see them play Chalvey Sports in the Hellenic League. While I was there I spent the majority of my time catching up with Port secretary Richard Tyrell who I’d only ever previously spoken to through twitter.

The quality of the game – which had its moments – made no difference to my choice, I also knew it’d be a chance to catch up with new Chalvey Sports assistant Darren Purbrick (ex of Finchampstead and Woodley United) and meet both clubs managers for the first time.

I’m not saying it wouldn’t be great if the game in front of you today turned out to be a tiki-taka classic, but the reality is you are going to have a great day out with your mates, catch up with a few people at the club, probably get roped in to volunteering for something next week and just maybe go home with three points and a smile on your face.

This article was originally published as part of our match day programme notes for Berkshire clubs to use on 8th January. If you’d like to receive these notes for your club, please email [email protected]

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