Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Free Football As WSL2 Promotion Battle Reaches Crucial Stage

The FA Women's Super League season, disjointed though it has been throughout 2016, comes to an end with two full weekends of fixtures that will decide the final issues before the switch to a winter campaign in 2017.

Aligning the calendar with the other major leagues in Europe should be of benefit to the top clubs and the England national team and hopefully it will also lead to a more uniform schedule of matches throughout the season, allowing supporters the luxury of knowing roughly when and where their teams' fixtures will be taking place at any given point of the campaign.

Whether the switch will do anything to halt what looks like an impending period of domination by Manchester City Women remains to be seen after they secured both the WSL title and the Continental Cup and progressed through to the last 16 of the Champions League to leave themselves as Britain's only representatives.

Money, in terms of wages, plays a factor in that, of course, but as Glenn Moore writes in this month's World Soccer magazine: 'Salary differences are relatively slight. To a woman, the players explain that a greater attraction is the opportunity to train full-time and a level of integration with the men's club that means they even share medical staff and facilities.'

With City having won the title and Doncaster Rovers Belles relegated into WSL2, the main focus of the final two weekends of fixtures will be which two clubs are promoted into the top-flight (bringing it up to 10 teams after a season with an odd number).

Everton Ladies and Bristol City Women are firmly involved in that battle and there is free admission to the Select Security Stadium in Widnes for their game on Saturday 29th October at 6pm.

One other game of note, although it does not affect the promotion race, is the first ever WSL match to be played at Villa Park as Aston Villa Ladies take on Watford on Sunday 6th November at 2pm. Tickets are priced at £5 & £1 with free admission for AVFC season ticket holders if they register their details in advance.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Aberystwyth Town FC, Fisher FC

Two important events for the local community to enjoy this weekend at Aberystwyth Town FC and Fisher FC.

Aber are marking the installation of their new 3G surface, with all of the benefits that it will bring to the club, with a Family Open Day this Sunday (23rd October) from 11:30am.

One of the advantages of the new pitch, of course, is that it allows for activities such as penalty taking and coaching sessions for youngsters to take place without any fear of damage to the surface.

All that and more will be going on at the free open day with everyone welcome to remain at Park Avenue for the 3pm kick-off against Llandudno in the Welsh Premier League.

For South London's Fisher FC the main event of recent months has been their move back to the SE16 area and a permanent home at the St Paul's ground.

They entertain Deal Town in the Southern Counties East Football League this Saturday (22nd) and a number of local primary schools have been invited along to celebrate Fisher Community Day.

A special admission offer is also available allowing two adults to come in for £10.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Stocksbridge Park Steels

Bracken Moor

Bracken Moor

Two weeks after watching Rugby Town in action at their Butlin Road home, I saw The Valley turn in a much improved performance at Stocksbridge Park Steels on Saturday afternoon to earn an important point from a goalless draw in the Northern Premier League 1st Division South.

Bracken Moor, perched high above the steel town of Stocksbridge, is easily reached by car and public transport from Sheffield and the three-sided ground (with the main stand now named after former player Jamie Vardy) offers a number of different viewpoints from which to watch a match.

Admission prices are £7 Adults, £6 Concessions, £2 for 10-16's and free for accompanied Under 10's.

The next scheduled home fixture is against Lancaster City in the FA Trophy on Saturday 29 October.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

July 2011 saw the creation of AFC Rushden & Diamonds following the demise of the club that had previously risen so rapidly through the divisions and into the Football League.

With an ethos of 'one fan, one vote, one community, one club' built into the DNA of the new club, progress has been steadier but solid since a team was accepted into the United Counties League for the 2012/13 season.

Two promotions took the Diamonds to Step 4 of the Pyramid and they nearly clinched another last season when beaten in the Southern League Division One play-offs.

Geography has necessitated a shift into the Northern Premier League First Division South for the current campaign and there is also the pressing issue of where to play after landlords Wellingborough Town FC were served with notice to leave the Dog & Duck ground.

The Diamonds will host their Community Day on Saturday 22 October when Basford United FC are the scheduled visitors. Admission will be on a 'Pay What You Want' basis to the game.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Coming Up

October 11: After suffering the late postponement of their match against Stratford Town recently due to a power cut, Merthyr Town FC are offering 'Pay What You Want' admission to their next home game, due to be against Dorchester Town.

October 13: Glasgow City play the second leg of their UEFA Women's Champions League tie against Eskilstuna United at Airdrie's Excelsior Stadium. Tickets for the 7:45pm kick-off are priced at £10 Adults and £5 Under-16's.

October 18: Watch Manchester United U23’s for free at Leigh Sports Village as they play Liverpool in Premier League 2. Matches are also scheduled for October 24 against Arsenal and November 21 against Sunderland.

October 21: England's Senior Women begin preparations for Euro 2017 with a friendly against France at the Keepmoat Stadium, home of Doncaster Rovers. Tickets for the 8pm kick-off are priced at £7.50 Adults, £3.50 Concessions and £15 for a Family with discounts for Rovers and Doncaster Rovers Belles season ticket holders.

October 22: It is Community Day at AFC Rushden & Diamonds with Pay What You Want admission for the home fixture against Basford United in the Northern Premier League First Division South.

October 22: Portsmouth have a special offer in place for those aged 17 and under as Notts County visit Fratton Park. Adults, Seniors and Special Concessions can purchase two Junior tickets in the same transaction for £1 each.

October 25: There is free admission to the Southern League Premier Division match between Cirencester Town FC and Dunstable Town with bucket collections around the ground in aid of Macmillan Cancer.

November 6: The final day of a fragmented FA WSL season sees all matches in WSL1 kick-off at 6pm after a 2pm start in WSL2 where Aston Villa Ladies will be looking forward to their match against Watford Ladies at Villa Park.

November 19: ‘Pay What You Like’ for admission at Dulwich Hamlet as they entertain Worthing in the Ryman League Premier Division, all proceeds over and above usual matchday costs will be donated to good causes.

I'll keep the 'Coming Up' tab at the top of the page updated so keep checking back for details of more offers.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Affordable Football Update

A quick update on some of the pieces that have been posted on the blog in the past few weeks.

Bath City celebrated their annual Community Day in good style on Saturday afternoon with a crowd of 1,108,the highest for a league fixture since March 2014, coming through the gates of Twerton Park.

It was 'Pay What You Want' admission to the game as The Romans also marked reaching the £300,000 figure needed to trigger community ownership of the club.

England's Under-20's have two wins from two in the FA-hosted 4-team tournament currently taking place and the youngsters will round off the competition against the USA at Rochdale's Spotland on Monday evening, kick-off 7pm.

Tickets are priced at £3 Adults and £1.50 Concessions.

A huge attendance of 4,114 took advantage of free entry to Eastleigh FC's National League home clash against Maidstone United on Tuesday evening and the vast majority went home happy after a 3-0 victory for the home side. 

Prices for the Spitfires FA Cup tie against North Leigh this coming Saturday have been reduced to £10 Adults and £5 for Concessions.

There were mixed fortunes for British clubs in the UEFA Women's Champions League this week. Hibernian and Chelsea were well beaten in their home ties (2,551 at Easter Road as Hibs played Bayern Munich) while FA WSL champions Manchester City take a two-goal lead to Russia for their second-leg tie.

Glasgow City's narrow 1-0 defeat in Sweden sets up the second-leg against Eskilstuna nicely. The game will be played at the Excelsior Stadium in Airdrie this Thursday at 7:45pm, tickets are priced at £10 and £5. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Bath City FC Community Day 2016

The annual community day at Twerton Park comes at an exciting time for Bath City FC as it has been confirmed in the past few days that the £300,000 target of the ‘Big Bath City Bid’ has been reached.

This was the minimum figure that was required, from the sale of shares and donations, to trigger community ownership of the club, hopefully securing its future for the long-term and allowing for a genuine supporter-led democracy of decisions to be made.

An article on the reasons for the initiative on the When Saturday Comes website is well worth a read.

‘Pay What You Want’ admission will be in place at Bath for the Conference South game at home to Eastbourne Borough on Saturday 8th October with 10% of the gate money being donated to the Genesis Trust charity and a number of activities taking place before the match and at half-time.

Keep an eye on your local Non-League club this weekend to see if there are any special offers in place to coincide with the international break.