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Non League Football Under The Microscope

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BuiltWithNOF

Eastbourne Borough fans celebrate - August Bank Holiday Monday 2003                                Photograph by Sam Hicks

Introduction

Please note Pyramid Passion will be undergoing redevelopment during the 2007 close season and during this time there will be no further updates. It is hoped that the work will be complete in time for the start of the 2007-08 season & the site will be re-launched with over 50 new grounds added Apologies for any inconvenience

Passion 1 intense sexual love.  2 any strongly felt emotion.  3 a strong enthusiasm for something.  4 the object of an intense desire or enthusiasm.

Believe it or not, quite a bit of time was spent trying to come up with a representative name for this website. Whilst I’m not entirely sure that the first definition (above) applies; the other three certainly do!

For the uninitiated, and any overseas visitors who may be dropping in, the ‘Pyramid’ refers to the way that the so-called ‘National Game’ is organised in the UK ... and indeed, in many other nations around the World.

Whilst the full pyramid includes the professional clubs of the Premiership and the Football League (ludicrously renamed the Championship plus Leagues One & Two during the 2004 close season); this site is devoted to the Non League game.

I’m not even going to attempt a detailed explanation of what it’s all about here,  and for those wanting to know more about such detail I recommend they visit a couple of excellent sites devoted to the Non League Football Pyramid. The first, maintained by Tom Willis is named, with startling originality ‘The Pyramid’. Equally, Tony Kempster’s now legendary site is also an essential resource for anyone who wants to know what on earh is going on. The links are:

http://www.thepyramid.info/
http://www.tonykempster.btinternet.co.uk/

Sucking eggs?
No doubt some of you reading this will be under the impression that the above is not too far removed from teaching you to suck eggs. The reality however, is that there are many thousands of dedicated football fans out there who have little or no idea that the Pyramid even exists, let alone what it is all about. These will invariably be supporters of Clubs at the apex of the pyramid.

Although the analogy of the Pyramid is a good one, it rather gives the impression that the whole structure is clearly visible, just like the Egyptian pyramids. The truth however, is that this pyramid is more like the Inca and Aztec variations, buried deep within the jungle and covered in dense overgrowth, with only the top sticking out. The intention of this site is to hack away that overgrowth and expose the beauty and charm that lies beneath.

In many respects the ‘real’ pyramid is similar to a garden in summer.  It’s all too easy to be beguiled by the lush turf and the sheer beauty of the blooms and their sweet-scented aroma, whilst not being really aware of whats going on below the surface: in the top soil and all the various layers below that have been laid down over many years. This is where one will find the roots, the earthworms, and the millions of insects and micro-organisms that make everything else work the way it does. To my mind, this is what ‘real’ football is all about.

There are 92 Clubs making up the English Premiership and Football League. However, a cursory glance at the 2004 Non League Club Directory, reveals entries for 677 Clubs, competing in 55 different Leagues, consisting of 61 Divisions, managed by 43 different County Football Associations. And that’s just the ‘topsoil’ and maybe a few layers below, given our gardening analogy, to say nothing of the various junior and pub sides below that ... and not to mention Womens’ Football

Now I know, you’re probably wondering what sort of person can be bothered to check out such ‘interesting’ facts. Well, the sort of person who comes up with a site like this!

I make no apology for being a bit of an ‘anorak’; indeed it’s rather like a badge of honour that I wear. Whether I’m a ‘groundhopper’ however, is another matter altogether: the distinction of which will be explained elsewhere. Certainly, football grounds, and Non League grounds in particular, are an abiding ‘passion’. These ‘fields of dreams’  are well represented within ... and in particular the minutiae: entrances, signs, dugouts, floodlights - not to mention the supporters themselves, that make the lower regions of the Pyramid so enjoyable.

Here’s to this celebration of Non League Football Grounds and Culture - the Pyramid Passion!

Hope you enjoy it.

David Bauckham

... and no, I’m not a Leatherhead supporter (although there are connections!)