21 things only fans who support lower league clubs will understand

The Premier League may attract all the money, glamour and attention of English football, but there is a joy attached to supporting a lower league team which cannot be found in the top flight.

There are few more colourful experiences than a trip to a match in the lower divisions, where the eccentricities of English football can still be found.

We’ve decided to celebrate the ups and downs of supporting smaller clubs. Even if you dream of the Premier League, there’s still that nagging sense that you wouldn’t want to lose all of this.

The quality is…mixed

Some weekends you’ll witness a goal Lionel Messi would have been proud of. Other weekends, entertainment comes in a different form.

And so are the stadiums

The variety of grounds and places you get to visit in the Football League is undoubtedly one of its biggest charms. You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced the uncovered away end at Gillingham.

At least it’s affordable


The pies at Oldham, though

The catering at Football League stadiums isn’t always worth shouting about, but several clubs have very, very strong pie games.

Getting asked who your Premier League team is

F*ck off, mate.

Having local gloryhunters take the p*ss

You live in Bristol and a Liverpool fan in your local is taking the p*ss. When did you last go to a game, fella?

Those gloryhunters turning up at Wembley

“And it’s Bristol City, Briiiiiistol City FC…”

Proper disappointment

Only finish third did you, mate? Poor fella. Try being a Port Vale fan.

Hope of better times

In leagues where pretty much every club is skint, there’s faint hope for all…

Signing unknown players

It doesn’t matter who you sign when you’re in the Premier League, there’ll be people on Twitter and forums claiming to know everything about them after watching a YouTube compilation.

There are some signings in the Football League, however, that even the biggest Football Manager addict hasn’t heard of before.

They’re usually rubbish

There’s generally a reason nobody has heard of them before, like.

Having ‘A. Trialist’ turn out in pre-season

Not signing the good ones

Every club has got their stories about the trialists they didn’t sign that turned out to be brilliant.

Having future stars on loan

Every club also has a story about the top-class player they had on loan as a kid. And the potential isn’t always there to see…

Jamie Cureton ruining your weekends

He may have dropped out of the Football League now, but Jamie Cureton will be ruining for someone’s weekend forever more.

FA Cup fear

All football fans worry when their team’s drawn against a lower-league team in the cup, but that fear’s doubled in the first two rounds of the FA Cup when Football League teams face the very real fear of being knocked out by a non-league team.

FA Cup excitement

But if you can get through those first two rounds, a third-round tie against a big Premier League team can be the highlight of a season.

Missing out on festive football

Playing in international weeks

While Premier League and Championship fans are moaning about their team not having a game that weekend, you can allow yourself a rare moment of smugness.

More midweek games

…but it isn’t always a good thing

We wouldn’t change a thing

There’s lots about lower-league football that isn’t great, but there’s a realness about much of it and still a genuine connection between club and fans in many cases, a feeling that your support really is needed and appreciated.

You’ll still always dream of making the Premier League, though.

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