the real fa cup

What’s In A Word?

In a recent report one of our guest authors referred to Paulton Rovers v Didcot Town as ‘low level’ football. One of our followers on Twitter, a Miss Molly Coddle, suggested this term was disrespectful. She might be right. In the context of the author being a fan, primarily, of a Championship club it also might be a factually accurate description. In the wider context of the footballing pyramid, two Zamaretto League sides are not particularly low level.

Three different interpretations there and I’m sure there are more.

As I said to Miss Coddle, I find the phrase ‘non league’ a little disparaging because it suggests the football on offer is not up to league standards and, therefore, of lower quality – much like ‘low level’. This could also be factually accurate but I see it as tinged with innuendo, “christ he’s playing like a non-league player”. The irony is that I listen to the BBC Non League show above any other similar league show without batting an eyelid.

In one sense it’s an irrelevant discussion, we’re arguably both being a little sensitive about other people’s terminology on a subject we see as of great value and of no lesser worth than the top level professional ‘product’ (for want of a better word).

In another sense it’s also irrelevant how you choose to describe football in its regional guise because it’s entirely subjective and entirely contextualised by who the author of the description is and where they are coming from. If Brian Woolnough had said ‘low level’, you’d imagine it was probably not a positive comment.

However, on another level it is entirely relevant because the football is important to us and by perceiving someone else’s opinion negatively we feel sleighted and get peeved. I don’t have a particular problem with the term ‘low level’ but I would definitely have said ‘lower level’ and I can see our Twitter friend’s point.

I think it’s important to note that the vast majority of bloggers, like us, do not intend to offend and, quite probably, don’t see the terms in the way that readers do. I know the author and he would have used the term factually and meant nothing negative. Actually, that’s a lie, there are certain teams we’ll happily rip into *Hello Chelsea* but they aren’t in non-league.

And, also, if we do offend, fuck you! (Only joking)

Comment up Miss Coddle, what do you think?

5 Comments
  1. I think “lower level” would have been more accurate perhaps, although it’s all semantics anyway. I guess compared to the Championship or the Premier League the Blue Square Premier and below is “low level” football. I’d certainly describe the football we get served at Gillingham as “low level”. 🙂

    Had the author said “my God this low level football is shit, who the f*ck would pay to see this God-awful shite” Miss Coddle might have more grounds to find the comment disparaging. That’s not to dismiss Molly’s points though, and it was a valid enough observation – I just think that there are more deserving subjects of our ire; you mentioned one, can I also offer you a Winter, a Custis and a Holt?

  2. It is all about perception and semantics, I accept that. Perhaps if the original author had used the term “lower level” rather than “low level” I wouldn’t have been quite so miffed.
    Supporting a team in the evo-stik premier league first division (north) I am used to fans of teams such as Boston United, FC Halifax Town and now Chester coming over all “bertie big bollocks” and being not only dismissive but downright disparaging of the “non-league” football which I enjoy to watch. These teams have been relegated due to fiduciary complications (how nice am I?).
    I have no issue with the term “non-league”, to me it indicates semi-professional football, no more – no less…but that is my perception.
    I have little or no interest in clubs higher than the Blue Square to be honest so Halftime Whistle’s mentions of Winter, Custis and Holt mean nothing to me.

    • Damon Threadgold

      That arrogance is rather annoying, isn’t it? It’s also a slightly odd anomaly with fan owned ‘phoenix’ clubs. I’m sure a lot of the fans don;t think that way but the sheer size of some of them sit uncomfortably at a lower level. That’s an aside I guess, and there’s no problem in getting miffed, we’d rather any miffed party told us than just not bothering returning. So, cheers for your comments.

  3. Size shouldn’t be important, really, the teams are where they are for a reason.
    Us? Well we are in the Evo-stik Premier League (1st Div North) because we are a small club on the edge of Liverpool competing with both Liverpool and Everton for fans……factor in shenanigans from the Local Authority and previous Chairmen….CIC status but the Board run by an oligarchy (r.i.p. democracy)of dinosaurs (no, really proper dinosaurs ;))
    Boston, Halifax and Chester….well fiduciary imprudence was the main factor in their demise. Reforming and gibbing the debt was the choice of 2 of the 3. Personally I’d have shoved the new clubs in the Vodkat (as per the proper procedure.

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