Non League Football
by Nick Hatton
Aside from my studies for my law degree, which take up a lot of my time, I have a rather unusual hobby.
This isn’t anything illegal, risky or dangerous. It is actually quite run of the mill. However, it does require some patience, tolerance and loyalty.
I haven’t played football at any great level. I have even less time to do so now that I have my head in books. However, I do have an enthusiasm for grassroots sport. In my view, there is something admirable in going out and showing what you can do in front of 1,000 people, who are all convinced that they can do a better job.
After going to a few games at the Victoria Ground last season, I decided to put my name down for stewarding. I knew that Worcester City would be coming to play their home games here. Yes, I thought, this would mean twice the excitement.
I looked forward to the big games. Worcester City v Kidderminster Harriers on boxing day had all the makings of a classic local derby.
The prospect of FC United coming to town meant hundreds of die hard football fans coming all the way from Manchester.
However, by far the biggest game at the Victoria Ground this season was the FA Vase clash between Bromsgrove Sporting FC and Bristol Park Farm.
Bromsgrove Sporting are a newly formed club, after some financial mismanagement led to the demise of the towns much loved former football club, Bromsgrove Rovers.
Bromsgrove Sporting had to start at the very bottom of the football pyramid. They have grown in stature since their inception. As they are the towns main football club, they consistently manage to punch above their weight in terms of attendances and supporter fervour.
The game against Bristol Park Farm gave Bromsgrove Sporting the opportunity to play, for their first time, in a quarter final of a national competition.
Word got around as to the magnitude of the occasion. 1,487 people packed in to the Victoria Ground in order to cheer on their local side.
As a steward, my role was to ensure that supporters were enjoying themselves safely. The FA competition rules stated that fans must not drink in the stadium during the game. Luckily, when I explained this to our fans, they were extremely obliging.
As a reward for being such a good steward, my boss let me go on to the pitch, in order to get a better view of the game. Bromsgrove were leading 2-1, but Bristol were putting up a good fight.When the final whistle went, with Bromsgrove coming out winners, everybody got excited.
I can only hope that our supporters will be just as enthusiastic and well behaved in the next round!