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Non-league society proves a success at nearby university

A non-league society has been set-up at Oxford Brookes, as football fanatics have turned their passion for attending games into an organised venture.

The idea was coined after a Bath City vs Basingstoke match last year, where a couple of non-league enthusiasts had been on a ‘dirt-cheap’ day out.

Suggestions were discussed at length for the society before being finally formed, with at least one official event per month taking place and being advertised across social media.

The first event of the year took place a couple of weeks ago as a respectable 22 people from Oxford Brookes attended the game between Oxford City and Boston.

Further planned match day-outs for this season include Oxford City vs Workington, Oxford City vs Stockport County, Mangotsfield vs Didcot Town, Abingdon vs Kidlington, and even Oxford Brooke’s own varsity match against Oxford University. Many of the planned trips are to local derbies, with hopes for a local play-off final or cup final to be attended near the end of the season.

In addition to matches, the society’s day-outs often include further social events, from grabbing a quick pint before the game to going to Darts nights afterwards.

Reportedly nearly 200 people signed up to the society at fresher’s fayre, a huge intake for the brand new club. A booklet produced by the society feature a welcome from the president, reasons to watch non-league football, and profiles about seven different local clubs.

Amidst a continuing trend of heavy investment at the top of the English game, and a large influx of foreign players causing damage to the quality of the English national side, this passion for non-league football is a refreshing idea from Brookes’ students.

As published in their fresher’s fayre booklet, reasons to watch non-league include the few prima donnas on show (no Ashley Young-esque theatrics here), the cost (rarely is there such a cheap and affordable way to pursue a football team, let alone a passion), and the genuine appreciation from clubs and players alike of their fan’s attendance.

Perhaps one of the highlights for the Brooke’s society will be their Oxford City away day at North Ferriby United in February. Being played just south of Hull, the group are already considering hiring their own coach for the day-out called ‘To Hull and Back’. The fans  plan to attend in Only Fools and Horses dress with various banners and their loud voices in full attendance. Days out like this only serve to show the footballing fanatacism and dedication of these non-league supporters.

About Tom Newbold

sports.spark@reading.ac.uk'

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