Kick It Out and Fans For Diversity enjoy successful Non League Day
Kick It Out in partnership with Fans For Diversity spread messages of equality and inclusion across non-league football in England as they celebrated Non League Day on Saturday 3 September.
Bath City, Harrogate Town, Jarrow Roofing and Margate all dedicated their home league fixtures to both organisations on an important day in the non-league calendar.
All four clubs also showed their backing towards Kick It Out’s Call Full Time On Hate initiative, which is calling on the collective force of football to remove and deter prejudice from the sport.
In the National League South, high-flying Bath City nominated their game against Whitehawk at Twerton Park. The club handed out promotional material to supporters before the game, including the unique Kick It Out sunglasses which offered a different view of football.
It was a successful day on the pitch for the Romans as well as they defeated the visitors 2-1. Speaking after the game, Marc Thomas, member of the Bath City Supporters’ Society, said: “We were extremely proud to dedicate our recent Non League Day fixture to Kick It Out and Fans For Diversity.
“It couldn’t come at a better time as we relaunch the ‘Big Bath City’ campaign in order to secure a board that is made up in the majority of members from the Bath City Supporters’ Society. This means that Bath City will be a club at the heart of the community, run by the supporters and the wider community.
“We hope that this will be a long and fruitful relationship with Kick It Out, Fans For Diversity and the Football Supporters’ Federation.”
Harrogate invited Shapla Football Club to participate in their pre-match activities for Town’s chosen fixture. Young people from the Bradford-based community club were given the opportunity to lead the Harrogate players on to the pitch as well as take penalties at half-time.
The match ended in late heartbreak for Harrogate as they were denied a win thanks to a stoppage-time penalty from Curzon Ashton.
Daniel McGeachie, Head of Communications at Harrogate, was delighted with how the day went despite the last-minute equaliser: “Non League Day was a great success for us; in so much that we managed to reach a number of first-time fans and engage a totally new audience.
“Working alongside Kick It Out and Fans for Diversity gave the day a unique feel, and helped create a fantastic atmosphere in the ground. Three days later, our Tuesday night home fixture attracted a crowd of over 1000, which we believe was in part thanks to the efforts of everyone involved in making Non League Day a success.”
Jarrow Roofing had pulled out all the stops to be involved in Non League Day, as they rearranged their fixture against Penrith especially for the event. Dave Rose, Deputy Chief Executive of the Football Supporters’ Federation, attended the match on behalf of the Fans For Diversity campaign and saw a four-goal thriller end honours even.
Andy Hudson, Vice-Chairman at Roofing, was delighted to support Kick It Out and Fans For Diversity on the day:
“It was superb to be involved with Kick It Out and supporting as part of their great initiative to Call Full Time On Hate.
“We had a number of families visiting for the first time and hopefully we can do more over the season to help spread the message into our community.”
Hartsdown Park held the fourth nominated fixture as Margate welcomed newly promoted Hungerford Town in their National League South fixture.
Gate supported Kick It Out as young volunteers wore the famous t-shirts alongside the first-team squad, who wore them in the pre-match warm up. There were also posters and banners displayed across the ground, informing supporters of the organisation’s reporting app and the Call Full Time On Hate initiative. Tannoy announcements were also made to the crowd, promoting Kick It Out’s messages.
Despite late opportunities for Margate and Hungerford, both sides had to settle for a 1-1 draw and a point each.
To find out more about Non League Day, visit their website by clicking here.
Photo credit for images from Bath City: Simon Howe