Ahead of Non-League Day, Heanor Town secretary says her club and non-league is special and vital to local community

Photo by Paul Morley''Heanor Town secretary Amanda Jones and former secretary Keith Costello
Photo by Paul Morley''Heanor Town secretary Amanda Jones and former secretary Keith Costello

Saturday is the annual celebration of all that is great and wonderful about non-league football.

Non-League Day allows clubs at the lower end of the football pyramid system to shout about their presence, and attempt to attract new fans, and perhaps lure one or two away from the Premier League or upper echelons of the sport.

Heanor Town are one of the lucky ones this weekend, with a home fixture coinciding with Non-League Day.

The Lions will take on Westfields, at home, in Midland Football League Premier action.

Glen Clarence’s men, having moved from the Northern Counties in the summer, have found the new league to their liking.

As the Ripley and Heanor News goes to print, Heanor sit top of the table, a point clear of title hopefuls Hereford.

With 132 years of history in their favour, the Lions are a well established non-league club.

But what’s so good about the semi-professional version of the nation’s favourite sport?

Amanda Jones, Heanor Town secretary for the past two years, believes that it’s not only special, but vital for local communities.

She has swapped supporting a professional club for helping run a non-league club.

Writing for us ahead of Non-League Day, she said...

I feel that non-league football is special to me as it is the grassroots of English Football in the country.

You are very close to all the action as it happens and it helps communities come together in a way in which nothing else compares.

Long-term friendships are formed at this level amongst the teams and league, something which possibly doesn’t happen the further up the ladder you go.

It gives the public the chance to see up an coming players and the quality of football at times is quite exceptional.

The chance to visit different grounds around the country is also interesting and each one is steeped in history and you can witness at first hand the hardships faced and overcome in some cases of managing and running a team at this level, and how hard it is to survive in the current climate.

Heanor Town has been in my blood ever since I was little, like my son is now.

I can remember as a child my dad, who was kit man at the club for a long time, going out to football with the first team kit and reserve kit week in week out with a huge smile on his face. He loved it.

At the time I couldn’t understand why but now as an adult I can understand the reason for the enjoyment.

After many years of watching Derby I had the chance to become involved in Heanor Town Football Club and I grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

I can fully understand why my dad was part of the club for so long. Saturdays wouldn’t be the same without Heanor Town.

Heanor are not just a football team but a family and it is great to be part of an organisation which continues to have the community at heart and is endeavouring to bring the community together from the youngest to the eldest.

This is recently evident in the club bringing back the William Gregg Cup which has not been contested for so many years.

I am proud to be involved and have always been whilst as a fan and in my recent two years as secretary.

I am always keen to encourage people to come to the Town Ground to watch Heanor.

My son loves being up and around the club even at the age of five and is showing a very keen interest in football from such a young age, something that will hopefully be part of him for years to come.

The cost is relatively low compared to higher leagues with admission £5 for adults, £3 for concessions and U16s are granted free entry into every game. We have a friendly team of volunteers involved in the club who are willing to help fans enjoy the matchday experience.

The football is of a very good standard, the ground facilities are some of the best to be seen within the Amber Valley area.

There is always a friendly welcome to the Town Ground from both officials and fans and the refreshments provided by our Tea Bar are second to none.

The club recently amalgamating with Heanor Town Juniors who are now a regular part of the match day experience.

Being involved as a fan was good was good but to be involved on a daily basis is even better.

I would not change what I do and I hope I will experience the day when our crowd matches that of years ago when thousands attended matches at the Town Ground, bringing the whole community together to support Heanor Town Football Club.