Non League Daily

Nothing quite like an Ashton United away day

To some, Ashton United doesn’t mean a lot, but to me and a small band of others it means everything writes NLD blogger Michael Brown

Just like any football fan, we look forward to the weekend and thrive off the experience that awaits us. Our most recent fixture was a special treat within the Northern Premier League, as we had a 274 mile round trip to Kings Lynn.

Although some may moan about having to travel to Norfolk for a league match in a ‘Northern’ competition, personally I couldn’t wait to get on that coach. The day that followed would test any die-hard fan, as anyone who wished to travel on the team bus had to be at the famous Hurst Cross for 9am, for a 9:15am departure.

The three-and-a-half-hour journey there (with one 20-minute service break) was a huge part of the experience – in what other sport could you travel with the players, management and officials of your team?

Like almost every other non-league club at this level, the journey gives a chance for everyone to mingle and swap stories, as well as build their excitement of the upcoming encounter. The position we currently find ourselves in the table means we have an outside chance of winning the league and this heightens the importance of getting the three points.

Upon arrival to The Walks we were welcomed with open arms, as is also the norm at this level too - isn’t it great? When you become immersed into a football club I believe you can never enjoy a game properly, especially when it’s a tight affair.

Within the 90-minutes you go through all kind of emotions, from elation when you score (which we did just after half-time from a superb free-kick) to despair when your team concede a last minute equaliser (yes, that happened too)!

Anyway, away-days are the best kind of match, as you get to travel around the country watching the team you love, with the people who also share the same passion. Even though we were disappointed to drop two points we still had a lot to look forward too that day.

Why you ask… as some might just think you spend the next three hours sitting in silence contemplating what could’ve been, not at Ashton United!

Instead, after the stop off at the off licence for some liquid, we spent the next few hours laughing and ‘bonding’, building the clubs team spirit to higher levels in the process. The new additions to the squad who were on their first big away-day did their obligatory karaoke song, which added to the atmosphere on the coach as well as others joining in for the fun of it.

We arrived back home at about 10pm and remained together in the social club until the early hours of Sunday morning. What a day. We get to experience that many times in a season. It’s so addictive!

What I’m trying to say though is the football match is only a small part of non-league football. Like most fans, they love travelling away, but the big difference at this level is that you get so much more from the experience for a fraction of the cost. A bargain and a no-brainer you could call it!

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