Poor quality pitches? Wildlife living on the grass? No scoreboards? Tiny stadiums? Freezing cold winter mid-week nights? Awful food and drink? What could be better in the footballing world? Premier League football maybe? Of course not, don't be silly.
Yes, I'm talking about the wonderful institution that is English non-league football, a league which plays host to some truly fantastic matches, matches that despite not being played by the most gifted players of all time still offer some of the best action for the all round footballing experience even better than what the Premier League can offer, in my opinion.
Why am I making such a bold statement? Have I gone mad? Well, I haven't gone mad (Yet) but the reasoning behind this statement is pretty simple, in non-league football the players really do care, something that is a dying art in the higher leagues.
Yes, the players may be technically superior in the Premier League, yes the players in the Premier League are bigger names in the footballing world and have won endless trophies, cups, pots and pans but at the end of the day the majority of the players in the Premier League play for money, for the career, for the life that it brings and that is reflected in their performances because despite being paid ridiculous sums of money at the end of the day if their team loses they lose and that's it whilst in non-league football the players care, really care about their team and are willing to throw themselves into any tackle without thinking twice about it, strikers help out in defence when they're needed without moaning about having to do it, the players care and appreciate the support they get from their fans and don't need a linesman to tell them to applaud them for their support at the end of the match.
The atmosphere and environment at non-league matches is a completely different kind of atmosphere and environment to what you can find in the Premier League or in any other top tier league, the atmosphere is warm and friendly, everyone is interested in getting to know you and there's a friendly rivalry with travelling fans that doesn't have to get out of hand, perhaps this kind of friendly atmosphere between home fans, at least, is reminiscent of times gone by in top tier English football.
For me, non-league football is proper football, how it was meant to be played, fairly. In all my years of watching and keeping an eye on the lower leagues I have never witnessed acts such as diving and cheating to win the game perhaps because there isn't such a great economical prize at stake or maybe because non-league players understand how football should be played... Non-league players seem to understand better than some Premier League players what loyalty and respect to a club actually is and their loyalty isn't a paid loyalty like in the top tiers, it's a loyalty that was born out of love, the only way.
I have attended many Premier League matches but despite the money and the players I never have as much fun as I have when I visit Brantingham Road, home of the mighty Maine Road FC to watch some proper football, because at the end of the day, something that is born out of love for a sport is always going to be better than something that is born out of a need for money and a career from a sport.