Phil Hurst (Newcastle Benfield)

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How long have you supported the club? I regard myself as a football supporter first and foremost.  I follow my hometown team Gateshead and this became a gateway to the wider joys of the game at non-league level.  I enjoy travelling to Northern League grounds and have a particular interest in the fortunes of the Tyneside based clubs.  Newcastle Benfield are proof that the city has far more to offer than the pantomime of the Premier League

Who are your favourite players? The club stalwarts who turn out season after season and are the beating heart of the game.  It is also interesting to follow those who have dropped from a higher level, or been released from academies.  Our relative geographical isolation means that a greater proportion of talented players stay in the region and massively enhance the standard of football on offer.

What makes Non-League Football so special? Essentially, this is where to find the real enthusiasts, people who have a genuine knowledge and affection for our sport.  Far from the world of corporate hospitality and supporters as consumers, you are assured of a warm and friendly welcome at affordable prices and can feel part of a special community.  It is a world many fans feel has been lost but the soul of the game is still very much alive.  You just need to go looking.

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