Football

5 Non-League Clubs In London You Could Support

Five sides capable of reigniting your passion for match day

1. The Left-Wing Firebrands

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Clapton FC

Where: Forest Gate (not actually that close to Clapton).

Why you should support them: Anti-fascist, anti-sexist, anti-racist – the only thing these highly politicised supporters aren’t averse to is creating the most rumbustious atmosphere in English non-league football. Combining the ideology of German left-wing stalwarts FC St Pauli with the pyrotechnics and constant noise of Italian Ultras, expect to rub shoulders with the sort of people for whom a kettle is a tool of oppression deployed by police rather than something you use to boil water.

Better than the Premier League because: You’re sticking it to The Man, one anti-capitalist banner at a time!

Middle-class rating: Three flat whites out of five.

2. The Hipster Haven

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Dulwich Hamlet FC

Where: East Dulwich, natch.

Why you should support them: You might be about to jump on the non-league bandwagon, but these mostly bearded guys were taking a stand against extortionate top-flight ticket prices before it was cool. Here, too, politics is at the core of what attracts legions of South London gentrifiers to well-attended home games – in the same way that wearing a Nelson Mandela T-shirt at Camp Bestival could be classed as political.

Better than the Premier League because: You can select from a range of craft ales from local breweries at the pitchside bar.

Middle-class rating: Five flat whites.

3. The Boys In Blue

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Metropolitan Police FC

Where: East Molesey, within tasering distance of Hampton Court Palace.

Why you should support them: ‘Allo, ‘allo, ‘allo, what’s all this then? A team made up entirely of coppers? A likely story, lad! It’s true though. Or at least it was, until 2011 when the then Met Commissioner changed regulations so that serving officers could no longer get the time off for fixtures. Today, with first-team manager Detective Sergeant Jim Cooper at the helm, the side is still run and supported by the Old Bill. Games are worth attending, if nothing else, to join the away fans in their bobbies-bothering chants.

Better than the Premier League because: It’s the only place in the country you can legitimately hurl abuse at policemen without repercussions.

Middle-class rating: Two flat whites.

The Other Team In Tottenham

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Haringey Borough FC

Where: White Hart Lane (yes, that one).

Why you should support them: At one end of White Hart Lane is Tottenham Hotspur, where a ticket can cost upwards of £80 to watch a coterie of millionaires gallivant around for 90 minutes; some 25 minutes west (and seven divisions south), you can buy an entire season ticket for £46 and enjoy the sight of passionate part-timers giving a proverbial 110% for nowt but the love of the game. A stark contrast.

Better than the Premier League because: You can get a ticket for £6, a pint for £3.60, and a handshake from the chairmen for free.

Middle-class rating: Two flat whites.

Ye Olde High-Flyers

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Sutton United FC

Where: Sutton, sort of near Morden.

Why you should support them: Stadium moves, name changes and mergers are par for the course in the non-league ranks, as clubs struggle to stay afloat financially. But Sutton, by some minor miracle, have largely avoided all that nonsense over the past 117 years. This is a club that has thrice contested cup finals at Wembley; a club shrouded in the rich, velvety veil of history; and a club with a realistic prospect of breaking into the Football League in the near-ish future, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Better than the Premier League because: The bar turns into a music venue after the match – come for the footy, stay for the prog-rock festival.

Middle-class rating: Three flat whites.

Words by “Dugout” Dan Masoliver


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