NON-LEAGUE CHAT with Ollie Bayliss

December 25, 2019

There's no longer established tradition in the sport than Boxing Day football. For well over a century, games have been played on the day after Christmas. In fact we have two non-league clubs to thank for the tradition, Sheffield FC and Hallam FC played the first-ever match on that day in 1860. It’s a tradition that’s even survived the war, with soldiers on the Western front in 1914 finding time for a kick around during a temporary truce.

In recent years, however, the tradition has been on the decline. Several leagues at Step 5 and below have r...

November 29, 2019

For many football fans, the mere suggestion of a 3G pitch still conjures up memories of the artificial surfaces in the 80s, causing outrageously bouncing balls and carpet burns to any goalies brave enough to play without wearing long trousers. Luton, QPR, Preston and Oldham all experimented with ‘plastic pitches’ until they were banned in the football league from 1995.

Despite significant improvements in artificial surfaces over the last few decades, the EFL remains reluctant to reconsider its regulations. In non-league however, 3G pitches are...

November 15, 2019

The idea of an international break is something that Premier League and Championship fans are very familiarly with, but rarely is it something that troubles non-league teams.

Last week, Hemel Hempstead Town, in the 6th tier of English football, were granted permission to postpone two of their games because of three international call-ups. Ricardo German and Tyrone Sterling were both selected by Grenada. Winger Craig Braham-Barrett was called up by Montserrat.

Whilst we all understand the process of a professional player travelling and playing fo...

November 1, 2019

There is no doubt that non-league football is changing both on and off. One of the biggest ways is how we follow the progress of our local club. Gone are the days of waiting for results in the local paper or toggling Ceefax page 328. We live in a world of instant updates and ‘sharable content’ from even the smallest of grassroots teams. The invention of social media means an incident on the football pitch at any level has the potential to reach millions of people within minutes.

Platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and especially Twitter...

October 4, 2019

As football fans, nothing catches our attention more than an outfield player having to go in goal! Non-league clubs can rarely afford to have a backup keeper on their books, so it’s something that happens much more frequently lower down the pyramid. The prospect of an outfield player, uncomfortably donning gloves and a slightly too large keeper jersey, is almost always entertaining, one way or another.

The week before, in the Spartan Premier, Oxhey Jets mounted a remarkable comeback with an outfield player in goal. At half time the Hertfordshir...

September 6, 2019

Over the past few seasons, the numbers of teams going up and down from each non-league division have varied drastically. It’s left non-league fans scratching their heads and reaching for their calculators from about January onwards to try and work out the possible fate of their local sides. A league position that meant promotion or safety the season before, could well equate to something completely different the following year.

Last season culminated in a farcical playoff system at Step 4 which saw only some of the playoff winners actually bein...

August 23, 2019

There’s no doubt that the FA Cup is slipping down the priorities list for clubs at the top of the ladder. Last January, Premier League managers made on average eight changes to their line-ups for the Third Round. This season the FA Cup 5th Round has even been downgraded to a Wednesday evening.

While it’s easy to get all nostalgic and grumble about the FA Cup being 'not what it was’, if you went to one of the 180 or so Extra Preliminary Qualifying ties last week, you’d have seen the FA Cup very much alive and well! Fiery encounters, last-minute...

August 6, 2019

If you watched a game in the Spartan League last weekend, you may well have seen a significant  new rule being used for the very first time.
Sin bins have been introduced across all non-league football below Step 4 in an attempt  to reduce dissent. Anyone questioning an official’s decision will no longer be yellow carded, instead they’ll be temporarily dismissed for 10 minutes, leaving their side a man down and their opponents attempting to take full benefit  of their temporary numerical advantage. 

In principle, it looks to be a bol...

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Dunstable Town Football Club is a members owned football club that is run by the Club Committee

through its annually elected Club Officers, constituting the Chairperson, Treasurer and Secretary.

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