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MATT DONLAN: Non-league game being shamefully ignored
11:37am Wednesday 14th November 2012 in Football
NELSON FC’s Adnan Ahmed is on international duty this weekend as he represents Pakistan in two friendlies.
Yes, you read that right – a player from a team in the backwaters of step six of the football pyramid has won a call-up to his country.
It’s a great honour for Ahmed, the Burnley-born midfielder who started his career with Huddersfield and has also played for Port Vale, Tranmere and Hungarian giants Ferencvaros.
And in the current climate of bad news stories coming out of the self proclaimed beautiful game, maybe these two matches with Singapore can be used as a real good positive to lift flagging spirits and restore a little bit of faith.
But, to be honest, I wouldn’t hold my breath as non-league is getting a rough ride from the bigger boys.
Monday night saw the Northwest Football Awards – it was the usual back-slapping old pals act exercise once again.
There is a lot of good work carried out by league clubs but there are equal numbers of non-league clubs really entrenched in their communities and working for the common good.
Did they get a mention? Er, no, apart from Macclesfield – and that was for work carried out when they were a Football League club.
Crowds are on the rise at non-league clubs as fans turn their backs on a pro game that sees the paying public as a cash cow.
I ask you, £31 to get into a Championship match? Seriously?
No wonder people are walking away, and that is forgetting the behaviour of the players.
Yet the major broadcasters barely give non-league a second look and the BBC still refer to the top of the pyramid, the Blue Square Bet Premier, as ‘The Conference’ – a name that ceased to be exist four years ago.
That’s just plain ignorant. But that also sums up the professional game’s attitude to the pyramid.
Sometimes you just feel like heading for the nearest brick wall just in order to bang your head against it.