Alan Alger: The dos and don’ts of attending non-league football
If you're supporting Non-League Day - the annual celebration of the grassroots game, now in its ninth year - then follow our expert's sound advice.
DON’T: Ask: "So, who’s your big team, then?"
The vast majority of people you will encounter at a game this weekend will be lifelong fans of the club they're watching.
It's a bit of an insult to ask which team they follow when watching the Premier League.
DO: Buy a programme and all your food and drink from the ground. Clubs need this income to survive.
Most clubs have a decent clubhouse/bar for a pre-match pint. It's better that the money ends up in their pocket rather than the pub down the road.
Better still, quite often the players will join you post-match.
DON'T: Ask what the players do for a living.
In the upper reaches of non-league most of the players are full-time professionals. In the lower reaches this is the afternoon they want to forget about their day jobs.
DO: Expect to see great goals.
They all count the same whether they're scored at Old Trafford or Plainmoor, and you could well see the odd cracker in the National League.
DON'T: Forget to walk around the ground and watch from different stands during the game.
Most clubs will have very little or no segregation, meaning you can sample the view from different angles. Or get behind the goal of the team you're cheering on.
DO: Expect to see names you recognise.
Wrexham recently had a Pogba and a Rooney - brothers of superstars Paul and Wayne.
They also used to have a Sinclair and an Ormerod. Erm… Frank and Brett – the real ones.
DON'T: Shout abuse at the players. In small grounds they're likely to hear you and pick you out in the crowd.
If you're in the clubhouse bar afterwards you might get the chance to discuss with the big centre-back face-to-face if he really is a donkey.
DO: Talk to people about their club.
The people working around the grounds will mostly be volunteers and quite often relations of the club chairman or owners.
They're the biggest advocates of their team and it's great to hear their passion shine through.
The original version of this article was published in September 2016.