Non-league derby game in levels 7 and 8 of English football attracts over 2,000 fans

 

By Tom Sargent

A football match in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier league, which forms levels 7 and 8 of the English football league system, saw a remarkable 2,127 people attend on a Tuesday night.

The Northern Premier, along with the Southern league and Isthmian league, all form levels 7 and 8.

The derby match between Stourbridge FC and Halesowen Town has regularly attracted large crowds over the years due to the rivalry between the two towns and the fact only 5.8 miles separate the sides.

Crowds of this size are rarely seen at this level of football – the team with the highest average across the three levels this season is Dulwich Hamlet FC with 1,208.

The game broke the record for the highest crowd of the season in the Evo-Stik Premier league and was the first over 2000.

The fixture is seen as the biggest money-spinner for both clubs, with Stourbridge’s average attendance at 828, whilst Halesowen’s is 414.

Stourbridge fan Paul Higginson thinks these type of crowds are signalling a rise in non-league football: “Its massively on the rise, I went to a Stourbridge v Halesowen match at home in 2008 and the crowd was 750 and we thought that was a good crowd!”

He also commented on why non-league football is on the rise. “It’s through a combination of welcoming everybody and through disillusioned fans from pro football where the experience has left them cold. It is the total opposite at Stourbridge where everyone is approachable from the chairman down.”

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