Why I love: Covering non-league football

Dave Wright. Photo: Andrew Batt.
Dave Wright. Photo: Andrew Batt.

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Early in my journalistic career, I covered professional football at the highest level and it was a joy. Most players and managers were happy to stop for a chat after a game. I even interviewed a Reading manager once as he stood in the middle of the training ground whilst surrounded by players being put through their paces.

But as years passed, it all changed, and a reporter’s job became increasingly difficult. I hate to think what it is like now. With more and more media coming along, managers were prepared to speak only at a designated time, and clubs started to appoint press officers, whose permission was needed before talking to a player.

One-off exclusive interviews became scarce. The superstars of the day employed agents, and many demanded a fee before they agreed to speak.

But then it all changed for me – I was back reporting on non-league football and, decades later, I’m still enjoying it, albeit now mainly from a distance due to changes in my personal life and I’m not getting any younger!

“I love writing and reading about non-league, certainly more than professional football”

When I do get to a game, I always receive a warm welcome and it’s a joy to chat and mix with club officials, players and supporters.

Even most referees are happy to talk after a game, provided I don’t quote them!

As a member of the ‘old boy brigade’, I love writing and reading about non-league, certainly more than professional football. 

My enjoyment is enhanced by the coverage of local clubs in newspapers, active websites like Football in Berkshire, and The Non-League Paper, which provides a truly outstanding service each Sunday.

This article appeared first in the Football in Berkshire Friday newsletter. To get your regular dose of Berkshire football news and stories in your inbox, click here to subscribe. If you’d like to feature here, please email tom.canning@footballinberkshire.co.uk to enquire.

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