MP praises selfless non-league football volunteers after Hitchin Town visit

Bim welcomes fans to Top Field
Bim welcomes fans to Top Field

Bim Afolami MP paid tribute to Hitchin Town's dedicated team of volunteers by running the turnstiles ahead of their clash with Hednesford Town.

The 481 fans who attended the 1-1 draw between the two Pitching In Southern League Premier Central sides had their tickets scanned by the Hitchin and Harpenden MP on their way into Top Field.

Afolami, 36, also met several of the club's volunteers, including club treasurer Roy Izzard and fixture secretary Chris Newbold.

And he said: "I am excited, but I am a bit worried that everyone keeps checking if I am okay with doing it.

"I don't quite know what I am about to face but it can't be any worse than knocking on the door in a safe Labour ward at a general election!

"But more broadly, today is about showing that anybody can help out.

"Clubs like Hitchin Town don't have lots of money and that's why we need volunteers to help out to make the club run properly.

"They do this every week and I want to pitch in and help them out.

"Without volunteers, the club doesn't exist, which would be a shame because people feel part of the club here, it's really a family.

"This isn't the Premier League, it really is a community club and the more people that volunteer, get involved and support the club, the better off it will be."

Canaries fans will be calling for Afolami to attend matches every week after his arrival off the pitch coincided with a change in the club's fortunes on it.

The draw came after a run of three 3-0 defeats in four games, with Hitchin currently sitting in 18th.

But the club is about so much more than just results, and Afolami called on businesses and individuals to join Entain's Pitching In campaign and the club's volunteers in their support for their local team.

He added: "It is so important that people come down here to volunteer, and when they do it shows how much they care about the club.

"Without partnerships like the one with Pitching In, football at this level either wouldn't exist or wouldn't be as strong as it is at the moment.

"We actually need more support and more partnerships for football outside the Football League and Premier League.

"So I hope that anybody reading this comes down to Hitchin Town or their local club near them to help out."

Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million-pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. For more details see: