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Let us build on the feelgood factor from Euro 2016 by getting out and supporting Irish League football

Letter of the day: keeping it local

Published 04/08/2016

This Saturday sees the start of a new local football season and all fans of Irish League clubs will be hoping that we can build on the feelgood factor from the Northern Ireland national team's performances in France this summer.

Too many people seem to look down on the Irish League without ever having been to a game. Hopefully, the high-profile signings of Nacho Novo, Paddy McCourt, Roy Carroll and Sammy Clingan will help attract back some lapsed supporters and encourage some people to give the local game a go for the first time.

At £10 for adults, the local game represents good value for money. It can also provide excitement and entertainment in abundance and there is an honesty about the Irish League and a connection with local communities that has long since been lost across the water, due to the astronomical money that has been poured into the game over there by Sky.

In any case, for all the vast sums of money spent on players and wages in the English Premiership - not to mention ticket prices - there is no guarantee of seeing a good game.

Most local fans pick an English and maybe also a Scottish side to follow and I'm no different. But there is nothing to compare with the sense of belonging when following your local team, the one which your father and grandfather took you to watch as a child.

Watching football on TV is no substitute for the real thing. There really is nothing quite like being there.

As someone born and bred in the Coleraine area, there was only one team for me and I will be out supporting the Bannsiders again this season.

STEPHEN BARR

Portstewart, Co Londonderry

Belfast Telegraph

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