A Hallam FC committee member will embark on a football pilgrimage this weekend as Sheffield’s non-league clubs celebrate Non-League Day.
Peter Wilding will walk from the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield FC, to the world’s oldest football ground, Sandygate, the home of Hallam FC, to raise money and awareness for Prostate Cancer UK.
“Non-League Day is a great opportunity for local clubs, local communities and charities to work together,” Mr Wilding said. “The work of Prostate Cancer UK is brilliant and I wanted to do a particular event to raise awareness and funds for the charity.”
Mr Wilding, who will be joined on the walk by two friends, decided to incorporate the city’s football heritage in the walk to mark Non-League Day.
“Sheffield has a great football heritage, which a lot of people aren’t aware of; they just think of Wednesday or United,” Mr Wilding added.
“But actually, Sheffield has got the two oldest clubs in the world. So to walk from the now home of the world’s oldest football club to the oldest ground seemed like quite a significant thing to do. It feels almost like a football pilgrimage.”
Scheduled to coincide with the international break, Non-League Day was set-up by James Doe in 2010 and gives supporters the chance to show support for their local non-league side, without the distraction of any Premier League or Championships games.
But, for Peter Wilding, the professional game is no distraction. The former Sheffield United season ticket holder fell out of love with the professional game, and, subsequently, found his love for non-league football.
“I became quite disillusioned with the professional game,” Mr Wilding said.
“I think the culture of it has become corrupted and I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I had a really good mate who was involved in running grassroots clubs and he said to me go and find your local club and get involved. So I did.
“I discovered my local club was Hallam and I started going along and enjoying games,” Mr Wilding added. “I recognised that a lot of the stuff I was missing in football was still alive and well at non-league level: the sense of community, the genuine honest love of the game, it was all still there at grassroots level.”
Mr Wilding is now a committee member at the club, where he edits the match day programme, amongst other roles. He encourages anybody who hasn’t experienced non-league football to visit Hallam FC on Saturday as they host Brigg Town in the Northern Counties East Football League.
“If you have never been to a non-league game before, come and see what it is like,” Mr Wilding said. “You can have a drink on the terraces, you can enjoy some cracking food from Ann’s cabin and there is a much nicer atmosphere in some ways. You get to see a different side of football and, if you haven’t seen it before, I just encourage you to come down and enjoy the day with us.”
Hallam FC vs Brigg Town
Saturday 7th October
Hallam FC, Sandygate Road, Sheffield, S10 5SE
£5 adults, £2.50 concessions
Free entry for all holders of a valid 2017/18 season ticket for any club* (*season ticket must be shown on entry)