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Top Five London Clubs to watch in Non-League Football

calendario 22.11.2020
by: Zach
  • Greater London
  • England
Top Five London Clubs to watch in Non-League Football

A Tory MP for Lancashire created controversy in parliament recently for suggesting that Northerners love football and Southerners love the opera. While this may be true to an extent, it also drives a wedge of harmful stereotypes further into our divided society.

It is therefore our moral imperative to bring the country back together by watching Northern opera and Southern football. Make a start on the latter with a deep-dive into the five most exciting London clubs in the National League.

5 - Barnet FC

The Barnet Bees need your support. The North London side are having a tough year, coronavirus notwithstanding, as they started the season with a 5-1 pumping from Eastleigh. To make matters worse, Eastleigh’s first goal in the fifth minute was scored by a player called Tyrone Barnett. 

If you love an underdog, you’ll love supporting Barnett this season. The Bees look to bounce back from two consecutive losses that landed them the 20th position in the National League. Following their most recent defeat, which featured a missed penalty, their manager Peter Beadle had some concerning words to say about his squad. He lamented their simple errors and hinted at a lack of commitment from the players on the pitch. 

In an era where bee populations drop rapidly worldwide, the Barnet hive needs support and commitment more than ever. Tune in to their games for matches rife with goals, even if Barnet don’t win.

4 - Dulwich Hamlet FC

Football often gets criticised for creating an uninviting, male-dominated atmosphere that can be unappealing if you’re not a straight bloke. Although the women’s game is currently booming, helped in no small part by gay footballers like the USA’s Megan Rapinoe, British football is yet to have any “out” players at all. Although Dulwich Hamlet don’t have any “out” players either, they do their best to make a welcoming, pro-LGBT ground. The first in non-league to back the rainbow laces project, they persistently campaign for gender, sexuality and racial equality. 

Some call them the most hipster club in London, but others welcome the South London club’s progressive attitudes. If a rainbow flag makes some fans feel safer at the ground, then why not? This activism-supportive club also needs support itself, as it finds itself 20th in the National League South.

3 - Corinthian Casuals

This club, based in Tolworth, South West London, has a strange claim to fame: they are the premier amateur football club. It’s in the name, to be fair. Although they are a serious and historic sporting institution, the Corinthian Casuals are casual in that all their players are volunteers. Unpaid amateur football is right at the core of the casuals’ identity. They call it “Corinthian Values”, committed to “promote fair play and sportsmanship”. In many ways, this ethos provides a refreshing and wholesome alternative to commercialised sport-as-entertainment-industry, and harks back to a pure and simple love of the game. 

Nicknamed the Chocolate and Pinks after their distinctive home colours, the casuals currently play in the Isthmian League Premier, the seventh tier of English football. A prestigious and intriguing club with a long history, Corinthian Casuals once captained the man credited for creating the term soccer. Popular opinion has it that ex-casual Charles Wreford-Brown, who went on to play for England, coined the term while studying at Oxford. 

For the casual fan or the “soccer” purist, Corinthian Casual are ones to watch, just as soon as non-elite sport kicks off again.

2 - Sutton United

Sutton, a South West London non-league superside, have an amazing team and an amazing fanbase. They currently sit second in the National League, after a run of emphatic results including their 5-1 hammering of King’s Lynn last week. In that game, Isaac Olaofe, a dynamic 20-year-old loanee from fellow London side Millwall, scored a hattrick. With only one loss in the last five, Sutton look forward to an exciting season full of potential, whether at home at Green Gander Lane, or across the nation.

As a club, Sutton prove inspirational on and off the pitch. In the face of a funding gap caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the following lockdown, Sutton organised a fundraiser where fans could support their club called “United We Stand”. The fact supporters have already raised over £45,000 shows just how dedicated Sutton fans are, and just how much non-league clubs mean to their areas.

1 - Wealdstone 

Wealdstone FC sit third in the National League, equalling Sutton’s points total but behind on goal difference. The dominance of two London clubs sitting right at the top end of the top tier of non-league football shows that the Tory MP was wrong in his stereotypes, and many Southerners do in fact like football. 

Wealdstone, in North West London, aren’t too far from Sutton geographically, but their goal difference is miles off. The striking thing about Wealdstone, however, is that last season they weren’t even in the same league. Wealdstone actually finished the 19/20 season as champions of the National League South and only arrived in Sutton’s league over summer. This makes the ‘Stones’ four wins in the last five games a breath-taking achievement. 

Although Wealdstone's’ goal difference, -1 after scoring 16 and conceding 17 already, raises concerns for hardcore fans, for neutrals it’s thrilling. The 16-17 ratio is a product of games like their 4-3 victory over non-league starlets Wrexham, their occasional thrashings, and their plucky 1-0 wins. 

Grove Arena is the highest attended non-league ground in London, and it’s not hard to see why. Wealdstone’s irresistible momentum, and their sheer quantity of goals at both ends of the pitch, make them the (joint) top London club to watch in non-league football.

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