From tomorrow's Match Programme...
We are delighted to welcome Michael Mowbray to Low Farm today. Here’s an abridged reminder of why he’s here (the full piece originally appeared in the programme for the Welbeck game back in August)…
I’m an adopted Yorkshireman, have a young family and I’m approaching 40 at an alarming rate. I’m probably too young for a midlife crisis but I have embarked on a project that even based on my football mad CV is pushing the boundaries of sanity. I am a home and away season ticket holder of a Championship side so already my diary mirrors their fixture list. Since moving to the family stand with my 6-year-old son home games have changed. Saturdays have improved in terms of our father and son quality time and it has made evening games, when he is tucked up in bed, all about ‘me time’.
The problem is that my team don’t play every Tuesday night but I’m still in need of some match day escapism on a weekly basis. I decided to take a trip to Nethermoor to see my local side Guiseley AFC and was instantly hooked. The solution to my dilemma was found in non-league football!
Hundreds of new grounds, in unvisited towns and you could just turn up like the good old days. Admission was cheap and games had a unique atmosphere in comparison offering me great value for money.
I am not sure why but spent a couple of evenings calculating how many grounds there were in Yorkshire. Not as easy a task as it first sounds but I finally arrived at 66, which was in my opinion a good number. I didn’t go beyond Step 7 to the ‘other leagues’ as I had to draw the line somewhere. There really was no other option but to visit them all in one season and put my story down in a book; this in addition to watching my team, managing a demanding job and spending time with a family that I’d like to keep.
This trip will be an adventure that goes beyond a game of football. Each club is a part of their community and the vast county of Yorkshire has a diverse range of communities. I hope to discover the real Yorkshire through its football clubs and meet the people who depend on their existence. Route 66 will appeal to those fans who understand what supporting a club really means and perhaps my book will tempt others to make that giant leap beyond their Football League comfort zone into the non-leagues. I will be watching games from many different perspectives as I tour the 66 (now 67 thanks to Albion Sports entry!) grounds in a season.
From Eccleshill United to Leeds United my journey begins in pre-season and will finish as the season closes in the Championship. You can follow it on twitter @MowbrayRoute66 or contact me at email@example.com
M J Mowbray
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