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Former Non-League footballers who will be featuring at the World Cup

Former Non-League footballers who will be featuring at the World Cup

For many, Non-League football is a pre-retirement league for players who would have failed to secure lucrative pre-retirement deals to play in countries such as the US and China. However, for some, Non-League football is a stepping stone to propel them to greater heights. As an inspiration to other stars currently playing Non-League football but with ambitions to play at the very top, here are some stars who managed to rise through the ranks and to make a name for themselves culminating in securing places in the England national team for the 2018 World Cup to be hosted by Russia.

Nick Pope (Burnley)

Three years ago, Nick Pope was unknown in the footballing circles, well, at least at the very top as he was playing for non-league side Bury. Fast forward three years later and Pope is in the England side that is to do battle in Russia alongside stars such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. With England manager, Gareth Southgate still having headaches over who he is going to pick in goal for the first game of the World Cup, it’s a possibility that Nick Pope will not only be a part of England’s World Cup squad but will be in the starting 11 for a World Cup game! An astounding achievement isn’t it. Willing to put your money on Nick Pope starting in goal for England’s first match against Tunisia, simply visit any bookmaker of your choice offering world cup betting markets and place your bet.

Nick Pope’s career seemed to have reached its climax when Premier League side Burnley signed him at the start of the 2016/17 season. For someone who was playing non-league football, a chance to play as a backup for a Premier League side was good enough but what was to follow was going to surprise not only the football fraternity but Nick Pope himself. An unfortunate injury suffered by Burnley number 1 at the start of the season in a match against Crystal Palace meant Pope had to deputise. Boy oh boy did he deputise brilliantly stopping 80.2 percent of the shots he faced, keeping 10 clean sheets and not making a single error leading to a goal.

If this is not an inspirational story for all non-league players, then we don’t know what is.

Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)

When Hollywood decides to make a movie based on your life’s history, then you know you have made it in life. Before 2012, Jamie Vardy worked full time in a factory that made prosthetic limbs and played non-league football in his spare time. He featured for Stocksbridge Park Steels, Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town at a time when all these teams where playing non-league football. However, his life was to take a whole new turn when Leicester City (then playing in the Championship) came knocking on the door. Vardy quickly adjusted to life in the Championship and soon after to life in the Premier League. In addition to winning a place in the England national team World Cup squad, Vardy also has some great achievements that non-league players can only envy i.e. a Premier League winners medal, an 8th place at the Ballon Dor 2016 Awards and a 12 game consecutive goalscoring record in the Premier League.

4 Reasons Why EPL Fans Should Give Non-League Football a Try This Season

4 Reasons Why EPL Fans Should Give Non-League Football a Try This Season

This past weekend, the English Premier League (EPL) roared back into action after a summer break, bringing with it the very best in world class football.

Throughout the opening weekend of the 2017/2018 EPL season, current title holders Chelsea fell to Burnley in a surprise 2-3 defeat, whilst their fellow Londoners Watford held Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool to a 3-3 draw.

Last season’s FA Cup winners Arsenal also enjoyed success against 2015-2016 EPL winners, Leicester City.

The games were watched by millions, with just as many more expected to tune in for high profile clashes featuring the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, and Tottenham Hotspur.

Yet whilst all eyes being on the top flight teams may be a good thing the sport as a whole, for fans who choose to exclusively watch only Premier League games, that does mean missing out on a host of exhilarating action taking place elsewhere in the world of UK football.

Today, we’ll look at just four reasons why Premier League fans should take a chance on watching non-league football throughout the next season.

It’s Never Been Easier

There’s a common misconception that non-league football just isn’t as accessible as its top-flight counterpart.

It’s not hard to see why.

With the likes of Sky Sports and mainstream media outlets focussing predominantly on the Chelseas and Manchester Uniteds of the world, you’d be forgiven for having no idea that the likes of the Vanarama Conference even exist.

Yet as recently as this past July, broadcaster BT Sport announced that they’ll be showcasing no less than 30 Vanarama National League games throughout the season.

Don’t forget, this is the same BT Sport that will also broadcast the likes of Liverpool vs. Arsenal and Man United vs. Everton, so if you’re investing in a subscription for those games, you’ve already got plenty of access to non-league games.

Premier League Betting Sites Offer Non-League Odds

For many, what really makes football so enjoyable is the thrill and excitement of placing a wager on the big games.

Major sports bookmakers have already released EPL betting 2017 odds, but alongside those, you can also have a flutter on non-league sides like Basingstoke Town FC and Oxford City, both of whom play in the Vanarama Conference South.

What’s more, when the players you originally saw playing in the non-leagues make it up to the Premier League (as many do), you’ll be far more familiar with them.

That means that, when it comes to making a bet on EPL games, you’ll have a significant advantage, as you’ll already know how many key players are likely to perform.

That of course, brings us nicely to our next point.

See The Stars of Tomorrow, Today

Yes, we know what you’re thinking; that sounds like a cheap plug for a TV talent show, but it’s just as true in football.

Well-known stars like former England forward Peter Crouch, Liverpool and England star Danny Ings, and goalkeeping superstar Joe Hart a few of the many big names who all had runs with non-league sides before hitting the big time.

What this means, is that when you tune into a non-league game, you’re getting the first chance to see players that are likely to be seen in the Premier League in years to come.

Not only does this help with your EPL betting, it also comes in very handy when it’s time to impress your mates with your superior football knowledge down the pub.

Catch the Players You Remember, Still in Action

“Whatever happened to…?”

It’s a common question asked of many former Premier League stars who didn’t make the move into a prominent role in management or in the media.

The answer, for some, is that they continued following their passion for the beautiful game by taking a role with a non-league side.

Remember Jonathan Greening, who put in 14 appearances for Manchester United and played at the top level of the UEFA Champions League?

How about Argentinian superstar Julio Arca, who was such a popular part of Middlesbrough’s Premier League run, or ex-Arsenal and England star Paul Merson?

After their glory days were over, all three -and many more besides- went on to play for non-league sides, meaning there’s always a chance you can catch your old favourites still plying their trade in a much more intimate environment.


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They are passionate about ensuring they offer the best products at the most competitive prices from racket sports to running shoes, triathlon to table tennis, cricket to fitness and more.

Millet Sports

Millet Sports have been supplying an expansive range of sports clothing and quality performance sports equipment from premier sports-specific brands for over 20 years.

They are passionate about ensuring they offer the best products at the most competitive prices from racket sports to running shoes, triathlon to table tennis, cricket to fitness and more.

UK Sport Imports Ltd

UK Sport Imports Ltd is an established UK based importer of Sporting Goods; with a good reputation, after sales service and the corresponding company annual turnover.

Virgin Experience Days

At Virgin Experience Days you can find lots of inspirational gifts that suit everyone… from the thrill of Ferrari driving to the chill of pamper days. We have loads of experiences with many different themes offering fantastic choice and great value.

Sports Direct is the UK’s leading sports retailer by revenue and operating profit, with approximately 400 stores across the UK.

The Group provides an unrivalled range of products, offering exceptional quality and unbeatable value, from a wide variety of third-party and Group-owned brands, both in-store and online.

The Non League Football Paper

The Non-League Paper is the only paper that covers Non-League football from top to bottom and is the recognised authority on Non-League football.

UKSoccershop offer the largest range of football merchandise on the internet – stocking over 3000 official team products from all over the world.

Vintage Football Shirts was founded in 2010 with a desire to turn a passion for football shirts into a web-based business. Since then the site has become one of the market leaders in online sales of rare, original, vintage football shirts with customers as far afield as America, Australia and Asia.

The Football League Paper

The Football League Paper is a Sunday newspaper that provides full coverage to all 72 Football League Clubs with news, features and gossip plus comprehensive match reports. The Football League was created for the true football fan, offering fans outside the Premier League their own dedicated newspaper!

Football Flick

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Media Storehouse works with over 150 picture partners from Manchester United and The Rugby Football Union to English Heritage and RSPCA, offering over 2 Million images, all available to buy from one website. Prices from £1.95, delivery available worldwide.

Fantasy League

Fantasy League was formed in 1991 when it launched the UK’s original fantasy football game; a gaming phenomenon was born! Today, more than a million people play our fantasy games worldwide., one of the largest collections of football merchandise online

Subside offers one of the largest collections of football merchandise online.

We pride ourselves in sourcing Football replica, limited editions and exclusive products from around the globe – clubs and national sides from the European, Asian, Oceania, African and American continents.

Our aim is simple – to be the first to market these products to a global audience. is the home of signed football memorabilia!

We are the largest supplier of exlusive signed shirts, photographs and boots from the greatest players in the world.

We meet up with the current superstars of the game such as Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Wayne Rooney and Gareth Bale right through to all-time legends such as Diego Marardona and Pele on a regular basis to carry out official signing sessions.

The Football Pools

The Football Pools is the world’s oldest football gaming company, creating winners since 1923. Our standard game is still just £1 to play, with MASSIVE cash prizes available twice every week!

Kitbag Ltd – sports merchandise business was established in 1999 as an online sports merchandise business and to this day remains the same, with an ethos of providing the leading sports brands to the true sports fan, in one easy and convenient place.

Toffs Ltd – The Old Fashioned Football Shirt Company

TOFFS is the largest manufacturer and retailer of authentic retro football shirts. Our range covers the period from 1885 to the early 1990’s and includes club and national team shirts from teams all over the world. All our shirts are made in England.

We have recently expanded our product range and offer a wider range of other football products and memorabilia:

Retro Track Tops
T-shirts – Club t-shirts and our designer range of Stanley Chow, Art of Football, Pennarello, Miniboro & football icons T-shirts
Gifts – DVDs, Books, Scarves, Prints etc
Kids Shirts
Vintage Rugby Jerseys & Hoodies

BT Sport has announced that it will continue to broadcast live non-league football for the next three seasons from the rebranded Vanarama National League. Sign up now

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