NON-league clubs up and down the country do their level best to enhance the matchday experience for the punters who come through the gates.
If Joe Bloggs is not happy with what he sees he votes with his feet. Clubs have to cater for every need of the visitor – a welcoming smile from the gateman, a programme, a clubhouse to watch TV, spend a penny and buy a pint. Oh, and a tea bar which sells pies.
Pies are an integral part of the non-league scene.
Clubs don’t generally have the resources to cater for the prawn sandwich brigade but to be honest the usual semi pro spectator doesn’t want the haute cuisine treatment.
A pie washed down with a decent cup of tea or coffee at high street prices will suffice.
Granted you get pies and tea in the professional game but in this day and age you don’t get much change out of a tenner for the duo and are usually served to you by an uninterested youngster who would rather be elsewhere.
Clubs in our league, the North West Counties, take their pies very seriously.
At Colls we have a tea bar up there with the best of them. It is located next to the clubhouse.
The previous location was behind the goal and was a health and safety incident waiting to happen.
A wayward shot from an off form striker could have caused carnage if it made it through the serving hatch.
Emma is our tea bar manageress and she prides herself on her friendly service.
She doesn’t suffer fools gladly, though, as anybody who has had one of her withering looks can attest.
We order our pies from the two pie dynasties in Tyldesley, and us locals have countless discussions as to which are the best.
Our pies, by common consent, rate highly in the North West Counties League world.
The countless people who visit Alder House and then blog about their day are usually enthusiastic about our pie quality.
The Colls occasional poet Bill Hall was even moved to write a piece about ‘the pie’ after he tasted one of Emma’s specials topped with peas and gravy.
So if you ever visit Alder House be sure to call into our tea bar and try one of our freshly prepared pies, but don’t dare ask for chips. I have not yet persuaded Emma to put these on the menu and am unlikely to do so.
Support non-league football – buy a pie!