The United Counties League or UCL as most call it may only be step 9/10 in the English footballing pyramid, but over the past few seasons it has produced some absolute gems who have gone onto bigger and better things in their footballing careers. Names that have gone on to achieve this are Dan Holman who is now at Cheltenham Town in league 2, Leon Lobjoit who is at Northampton Town in league 1 and probably the two biggest names Connor Washington who is now at QPR and Che Adams who now plays his trade at Birmingham City, both are championship clubs with both players first team regulars.
Another success story from the league was made this season when Wisbech United’s 17 year old striker Harry Limb joined Burnley after an impressive first season at this level and he will link up with the Burnley u23’s next season and will certainly be another name to look out for in the future. It’s amazing how this type of talent is being spotted at this kind of level with crowds averaging from anything from as low as 20 to roughly 100 if you’re lucky, but it just goes to show there is a wealth of non-league talent out there and it can as far down the English footballing pyramid as possible. Personally I feel this should be the route for any young English player who wants a break in the English game as it gives them valuable experience of adult football at an early age, as well as dealing with the physicality that goes with it to. I am a strong believer of if your good enough then you’re old enough and if you have the quality to go with it then your gradually progress through the leagues.
Having played and watched a fair bit of this level of football myself I believe there is a lot more to come from this league and also fellow leagues like this around the country at this level as well. Non-league football is changing and a lot of the best talent you can now find in the lower leagues. The United Counties League isn’t the most well-known league in England but it will still continue to develop young English talent who are worthy of getting a chance higher up.
One thing I would like to see now though, should more talent keep coming through is that the clubs that do produce the players get a good amount of money and get a certain percentage of money in any of the players future contracts or moves. Money isn’t big in the UCL nor is it at any step 9 or 10 clubs and money for players who go on to big things could well save these clubs in the future. We need to remember these clubs, the ones that give us a chance, which have roughly 5 volunteers on a Saturday and will only pay £10/20 if you’re lucky, these are the real English football clubs. Non-league shouldn’t be ignored and both players and clubs deserve the reward at the end of it.
Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below!