With local support for Evo-Stik League side, Ramsbottom United, having doubled over the last couple of years, it’s encouraging to note that interest in the Rams is not purely restricted to the locals of this east Lancashire tourist town.
When avid follower, and former match reporter, Chris Boothman emigrated to America in 2006, he continued to follow the club from afar, thanks to the internet and twitter feeds.
Whilst not the same as actually being at matches, the constant feed of match reports, news items and results enabled Chris to keep in touch with his favourite football team.
Chris takes up the story:
“Before you start asking questions such as ‘Who are Ramsbottom United?’ or ‘Why not watch Manchester United?’, I want to take a few minutes to introduce the reasoning behind following my local side.
1. Non-League football is the true grass roots football in England. In other words, the lads are amateur/semi-pro so generally have other jobs and are playing for the love of the game!
2. Admission into non-league games is much cheaper and easier than trying to get tickets to overpriced Premier League games.
3. Support your local side! You can get close to the players and there is much more banter created with both players and fellow supporters.
4. Ramsbottom United are a local side ran by an avid group of hard working members, lead by Chairman Harry Williams who has been with the club since it was founded in 1966. Die hard supporters and folks like Williams are hard to come by in football, so this shows the passion that there is in an outfit like this!
“I started watching ‘Rammy’ in the mid 1990s when they first entered the North West Counties football league. To put this into perspective, look at the English football league system as a pyramid and the reality is that the NW Counties league is about 9 steps down the ladder (more now since restructuring took place in recent years).
“Following the lads home and away for several years, you certainly go through the highs and lows with them, near relegation battles along with the uproar of a promotion campaign are all part and parcel of following your local side!”
Chris made one of his annual return visits to his home town over Christmas, along with his American wife, Heather, and they enjoyed the Boxing Day fare as the Rams beat local rivals Salford City 5-2 at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium.
He continues, “This was Heather’s second experience at a football match in England and on both occasions I have taken her to see Ramsbottom United, and we have been treated to two very entertaining encounters. I would certainly encourage anyone interested in football to take a trip to a local non-league side because this is where the real football takes place.
“Of course, watching the global stars play in the Premier League at Old Trafford or Anfield is something that you have to do at least once in your lifetime but I prefer to give my money to my local team rather than a bunch of overpaid professionals.
“I miss following the ups and downs of Rammy but thanks to Twitter updates and the great match reports, I am able to at least keep up to speed with what’s going on down at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium.
” Chris and Heather hope to fit in another couple of the Rams’ matches before they return to the States.”
Their support is greatly appreciated at the club, and we look forward to seeing them back next year, and hopefully the team can continue to provide the high quality of football that not only keeps the American supporters happy, but continues to attract an ever-growing band of more local followers as well.