Monday 25 April 2022

Congratulations to Hadley FC on their promotion to step 4 of the Non League pyramid

Do you know who the oldest football team in Barnet are? It is of course the mighty Hadley FC. If you are unfamiliar with the club, they play on Brickfield Lane. I've been a season ticket holder for the last four years and it's the best £35 I've spent each year. The club normally average 1-200 fans a match and I think I'm at least on nodding terms with three quarters of the regulars now. 

This season has been rather wonderful. Last week, there was a wonderful article in the Barnet Post, telling the story of this remarkable season. The team are in two cup semi finals, played in the Hertfordshire FA Cup final last week, narrowly losing to Cheshunt, who are from a higher league, and yesterday it was confirmed that the team have won promotion to tier 4 of the non league pyramid. A massive shout out for manager Anthony Clark and his management team, the players, the backroom staff and everyone associated with the club. 

If, like me, you love football, it is a joy to be a part of the Hadley family. You can have a pie and a couple of pints and get change from a tenner. You can drink you beer on the terraces, watching the games. It costs less for a season ticket than it costs for a single match at a Premier League ground. The players and the manager have a beer in the clubhouse with the fans after the match. The banter is lively and best of all, the standard of football is pretty good.

Many of the hardcore 'Bricks' (as Hadley fans are known) are refugees from Barnet FC, who gave up on the club when they left their spiritual home at Underhill. I used to go regularly to Underhill, but I found that the atmosphere at 'The Hive' was rather dull. I gave up on them and non league football for a few years, until my nephew alerted me to Hadley. It was my good fortune that TFL diverted the 384 bus, which now runs from the top of my road, straight to the ground, which is most handy. 

I was at the Etihad Stadioum in Manchester watching Manchester City spank Watford FC as Hadley secured promotion. One of only a couple of home league games I've missed. The Premiership and Non League step 5 could not be more different. I love both, the atmosphere at a Premiership ground, for a key game is something else and the skill levels of the players is simply unbelieveable. But you can't have a beer as you watch your team play. You have to sit down. If you go with a mate who supports the opposition, you can't have a beer with them in the clubhouse afterwards and you'll only see the players if you are lucky enough to book the right swanky restaurant after the match. 

Why not join in the fun and come along to one of the forthcoming Cup semi finals? See what all the fuss is about.

No comments: