Many fans of Premier League teams seem to have this idea that there is no life outside it. I found quite the opposite in the last seven years after my team, Southampton, were relegated and I was forced to leave this Premiership bubble. I won’t even pretend I wasn’t happy when we were promoted back into the promised land last season, but I found the seven years in the lower leagues to provide some of the best memories I have as a fan.
This week I found myself with some spare time and decided to fill that time with a bit of football. I went to watch League one side Yeovil Town play Portsmouth (a team all too familiar with relegation) and to an FA Cup Qualifying round game at Dorchester Town. Both games were vastly entertaining, and the game including two non-league teams (FA Cup) was actually more entertaining.
Yes, the football is of a lower quality but it is real, hard football. There is no idea of going down the second you feel ‘contact’ and rolling around on the floor like you are dying. They stay on their feet for as long as they possibly can, and are laughed at if they dive. They are playing for passion, and it was nice to be reminded this week that football is not all about money. In fact for the price of one ticket for a Southampton game (who are relativity cheap for the Premier league) I could go to three games at Yeovil, or six at Dorchester Town.
You may think your team is untouchable, and I’m sure Portsmouth and Newcastle fans thought this, but you could easily find yourself in a league outside of the Premiership. Most people will only pay attention to these leagues if forced to, but take a look and you will be pleasantly surprised with what you find.
After seven years in lower leagues I have a new outlook; the Premier League isn’t everything. The many chants we get of ‘you’re going down’ or ‘you’re only here for the year’ make me think….well so what?! Even though I was happy when we were promoted, and I will be devastated if we are relegated, ultimately I will know there is a very enjoyable (and cheap!) life outside of it.
Follow me on twitter @CLAREBEARR