Football supporters in Greater Manchester are being urged to support their local non-league side while the Premier League has a weekend off.
With no fixtures in the top flight on Saturday, Non-League Day is providing an alternative experience for fans that would usually go to see United or City instead.
Non-League Day is an annual event that aims to get many more people through the gates at grounds in the fifth tier and below in a bid to support grassroots football.
There’s plenty of choice for fans to get their live football fix in Greater Manchester, from Altrincham to Abbey Hey.
While a world away from the glamour of a big game at Old Trafford or the Etihad Stadium, the campaign aims to show that there’s more to football than the millionaire superstars.
Organisers are hoping affordable ticket prices will ensure over 50,000 fans will attend Conference matches alone.
The event’s founder, James Doe said: “Non-League Day was born and started out simply as a Facebook event among friends but it kept getting shared and grew bigger and bigger.
“Six weeks later it took place and the rest is history.
“Although we’ve had a lot of success, I still regularly meet football fans (including non-league ones) who’ve never heard of it so we’ve still got plenty to do.
“I purely want to shine a light on the wonderful clubs at this level and the fantastic volunteers who run them.
“Hopefully people who do try out a non-league game this weekend will like what they see and go again.”
Non-League Day will also be helping Prostate Cancer UK, with Conference sponsors Vanarama making a 10p donation on behalf of every fan who attends a game in that league.
Based on last season’s attendance figures, this will mean a donation of over £4,000.
Altrincham are just one club in the Greater Manchester area aiming to take advantage of the international break interrupting The Premier League schedule.
They are offering a reduced ticket price of £5 to anyone who produces a Premier League season ticket.
Radcliffe Borough want to encourage Bolton Wanderers fans to come to Stainton Park, as Championship fixtures are also on hold due to internationals.
Manchester’s ambassador for Non-League day, Nina Gerstenberger, said: “I’m hoping that this year more supporters than ever will attend local games and that the clubs will attract new fans.
“I’m also hoping that Non-League football as a whole will gain greater recognition in communities, amongst football supporters and in the media.
“My local club, Stalybridge Celtic FC, is offering half price entry for NHS employees, Armed Forces personnel, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue personnel, Greater Manchester Police personnel, and Manchester United and Manchester City season ticket holders at our game against Leamington FC.”
Other non-league sides in the area with home games this Saturday include Curzon Ashton, Trafford, Droylsden, Stalybridge, and Irlam.
An interactive map of Non-League Day matches, as well as more information, can be found at www.nonleagueday.co.uk
Main image courtesy of Dave Pittman via YouTube, with thanks.