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IT was great to see bumper crowds across the Boxing Day non-league programme and I am sure there is more of the same to come this weekend, if the weather behaves.

What fans of the so-called bigger clubs may not, in fact they don’t, appreciate is the effort that is put in across non-league by volunteers, who often also turn into unofficial bankers as well.

So it is vital that this time of the year gives a cash boost to the small clubs, if for no other reason than to ease the burden on those volunteers and their over-used pockets.

And the schedule is hectic throughout the remainder of the festive period with Clitheroe having a New Year’s Eve trek to Durham (lads, the place is mint for a night out if you are at a loose end), while there is a full Evo-Stik and North West Counties programme on Monday.

But while I do love the New Year games and the crowds they bring, I am never always sure about the Blue Square Bet Premier’s decision to play games on New Year’s Day.

That is a chore too far – especially the North East derby between Darlington and Gateshead, which kicks-off at the totally unpleasant hour of noon.

Perhaps Clitheroe’s players could go along on their way back from Durham!