Part Time To Professional – Is The Gap Really That Big?

Last season Jamie Vardy scored an astonishing 24 Premier League goals and was also named in the PFA team of the year alongside 3 other, of his Leicester City team mates. However his fellow counter parts of that season cannot relate to Vardy, in the fact he spent two hard fought seasons in the depths of British Non-League football. Despite this the England international has gone on, to be one of the most feared strikers in the top flight but stories like this are unfortunately not the norm for all Non-League footballers. Nevertheless it seems this may be about to change.

Photo: Sports Mole

Only this January Arsenal signed Cohen Bramall from Hednesford Town of the Northern Premier League for fee believed to be around £40,000. As well as this, last week Middlesbrough signed Ebac Northern Football League – (The tier which has produced nine of the teams for the previous seven FA Vase finals and that does not include this seasons finalists South Shields) side Shildons, Lewis Wing on a contract that will see him join the Teesiders at the start of next season. Seemingly after the fairy tail of Vardy last year it is starting to become almost a trend for League sides to take a gamble on some of the unfound talent of the lower leagues. In the hope of finding a rough diamond or two.

So clearly with established clubs carrying on to delve deeper in to the the world of part time football, why exactly is this? Well as previously mentioned there has been one stand out story although this may not just be the reason for the recent realisation of the unheard of. Teams as well as players that previously have been looked down on by the so called “Big Boys” are now being recognised for what they really are. That being, some major talent. For example at the start of this seasons FA Cup who would of thought both Sutton United and Lincoln City would make it to the 5 round and beyond? Not a single sole and this is the beauty of it.

Photo: Evening Standard

Maybe now it is being realised that there is serious potential and hidden talent waiting to be discovered. Granted leagues like the Vanarma National League do play host to full time professional clubs, yet I bet most readers of this article would struggle to name 3 players from the league itself. Adding to the point that even despite it’s successes over the past few months lower leagues certainly do not receive as many plaudits as they may deserve.

Ultimately the point is, maybe indeed what has been being ignored for so long now, is about to feel the strong exposure that it truly deserves thanks to the courage of managers and clubs around Britain. Resulting in the Non-League game to shine once again.

Non-League fans, put across your comments about your favourite clubs below and why Lower league clubs, need more recognition!