Watching non-league football again

I’d forgotten how much I’ve missed watching sport. I’ve seen Stoke City play a few times (hardly warms the heart just now) but haven’t seen any other football or boxing since before Covid19 struck and changed everything.

The Commonwealth Games come to Birmingham this summer and I’m delighted to have tickets for the boxing at the NEC. I’ve decided I’m going to make much more of an effort to get out and get involved.

Yesterday we went to watch our local football team Stafford Rangers. It was a beautiful day of sunshine with gusts of fresh wind. Rangers had climbed to 8th in the Northern Premier League after a 14-match unbeaten run.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be yesterday. After scoring early Rangers were pegged back by a physical Lancaster City team who scored twice, making their presence felt from crosses. Rangers huffed and puffed and had bright spells including a shot that struck the post, but they couldn’t make the breakthrough.

Although the photo below makes the support seem sparse there was a decent crowd of 630. This is the seventh tier of football. Rangers, who play in black and white stripes, have struggled in recent years but hopefully are now improving. Their glory days – like their neighbours Stoke City – were definitely the 1970s.

Pre-match – it got a lot busier

Rangers were formed way back in 1876, when Queen Victoria was made Empress of India. They’ve played in Midlands and Northern leagues and semi-professional since. In the 70s they won the FA Trophy and the Northern Premier league but didn’t apply to join the football league. They have never finished as high again. Notably for me, they get a mention in David Nobbs’ The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin! History of Rangers here –

Unbeaten run ends – pic courtesy of Rangers twitter

Not the result we wanted, but it was great to be outdoors watching football. It’s worth remembering how fortunate we are and I’m grateful.

The teams line up – pic courtesy of Rangers twitter

We’ll be back soon…..

17 thoughts on “Watching non-league football again

  1. Our local team also plays in black and white, and are known as ‘The Magpies’. They are well-supported, apparently.
    ‘Dereham Town Football Club is a football club based in Dereham, Norfolk, England. They are currently members of the Isthmian League North Division and play at Aldiss Park.’
    As I have no interest in any sport whatsoever, I have never been to watch them, but I am glad to hear you enjoyed your match yesterday, albeit supporting the losing side. (Dereham won 3-0)
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. I’m as much of a fan as Pete is. I saw Port Vale play once and Stoke on two occasions, once against Blackpool I seem to recall. All I remember about the games is being extremely cold!

    1. Stoke is a cold ground. Vale too. Although my coldest grounds I’ve visited are Starks Park (Raith Rovers ground right by the North Sea) and Albion’s Hawthorns….apparently the highest ground in pro football!

    1. Yep. I do watch the odd championship match but no Premier league for years. It’s great fun at this level. I think Rangers are at South Shields next weekend BTW..

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