Football is a game that is played and watched all across the country at many different levels, ranging from your local Sunday league team to the giants of the English Premier League. We all know that football changes dramatically as you go down the leagues, but how is this?
There are the obvious ones that spring to mind straight away; quality of football being the biggest, and getting paid full time for playing in the top four leagues too, but there are others aswell.
I’ve had experience watching football across every major level. My Main side is Manchester united (you may not know this but I collect match day scarfs for every game I go to!), but I often go and see League 2 side Morecambe as my local team when I’m at my mum’s, and I also go and see grassroots side West Didsbury and Chorlton when I’m staying at my dads. I’ve noticed many differences I not just quality of play, but in the style of play too.
Watching Man United, United are happier to start an attack with David De Gea in goal, start to just probe the midfield until they see an opening, then release either Rashford, Martial of Valencia down the wing, who will get it into Ibrahimovic and hope he can put it in. This is because United are not just demanded to win games but to play well and to score lots of goals. Yet, watching Morecambe play is an altogether different experience. The Shrimps, as they are known, still try to do this where they can, but as they’re much lower down the pyramid they are driven more by pure results than playing with style, so they are willing to, every so often, play it back to ‘keeper Barry Roche, who will thump it upfield and let the attackers try to make something of it, after all, they can’t score from there own half unless they have David Beckham or Memphis Depay in their side.
However, West Didsbury and Chorlton are a very oddly styled side. They’re more than happy to play it long onto the head of the over six foot tall forward Saul Henderson, to nod it down and hope for the best, but they often use their fullbacks to pull forwards and start an attack. The midfield is unafraid of crunching tackles, risky passes and quick counter attacks, but so many times this season they’ve come to rue missed chances and thrown the game away in the dying minutes. But for me, The mindset is great at west, and that’s what makes me want to watch them. They always seem to put enjoyment first and really work well as a team, and that makes for a great afternoon enjoying the local passion for the world’s greatest game.
So, to summarise, I think we can all learn a lesson from the smaller sides in our local town on just enjoying football while you can. It is a game after all. And, If you haven’t got an interest in watching your local, lower league side play, then I beg to you, just search up some local teams in your area, and give the next home game a go! You never know, it might surprise you, and even if you don’t like it, it only cost you a fiver.