In this article, we take a look at the YouTube clubs changing the face of Sunday and Non League football with big ambitions in recent years.
Grassroots YouTube teams are offering incredible access to fans that they wouldn’t get at mega-clubs. No longer are Sunday league sides being seen by just a few hundred people.
YouTube clubs have exploded in popularity and now millions of people around the world are hooked to the new adventures of these teams, some of which you may have noticed in the non league pyramid system or in the FA Sunday Cup.
What started out as a joke is now becoming serious. It often causes controversy, a talking point, a big debate. These teams attract talented young footballers, media attention, and high-profile sponsors.
Their social numbers whether it’s views or followers/subscribers surpass those of Premier League clubs and footballers too.
These teams provide epic challenge videos, matchday footage, behind-the scenes banter and training tips along while giving youth players the chance to become pro or shining light on issues of race at all levels.
It sees bigger turnouts at matches than you normally would at sunday league or non league level. Every week, fans are invited to watch the games, some for free, many travel long distances to be part of this welcoming community.
Youtube football is a new concept that many people may find confusing or dismissive. However, it is a popular millennial trend. Here’s some of the teams gaining attention in many ways (posted two years ago, but still worth a watch)…
They said: “One of the globes foremost grassroots football brands flying the flag for the UK around the globe.
“From humble beginnings as a makeshift Sunday League team based in East London to international acclaim as innovators and pioneers within the grassroots sector, Baiteze have grown from strength to strength with a laser focus on culture and authenticity.”
League: Essex Sunday Corinthian Football League
The club say: “SE DØNS is the journey of a Sunday League Football Club in South London hosted by UK Rap / Grime Artist Don Strapzy. We show you the behind the scenes & off the pitch tribulations that occur for a Sunday League Football Club.
“We are a Family Club & have built up the best Sunday League Fanbase in the World. We do #ANYTHING For the DØNS & guarantee the #LONGEST90. Welcome to our jungle!
“Mixing football and music, the team is a combination of friends, ex-pros and people who still have dreams of making it in the pro game.”
League: Sunday Football League – London
Palmers FC (sadly no longer)
Palmers FC were a Sunday League Football club based in Essex. They were no different from any other team, except one. They filmed their games, giving viewers an inside look into the challenges and triumphs of a Sunday League season.
“This was never meant to be a brand or a success, merely a way a creating a few memories on the football pitch. Since it’s spike in popularity though, yes, the development has been a big part of it’s success by wanting to give a little more each time.
“We all grew up watching Soccer AM which shows that comedy and football can be combined and this is something that carries through to our content. The videos are never meant to be taken seriously, it’s just a group of friends that meet up once a week to play the game they love.”
The decision not to play anymore was made last season. You can see more their reasons why on the video below, around 11 minutes in…
Under The Radar FC
YouTuber Manny Brown (aka FIFA Manny) is the man behind Under The Radar FC where club videos can get up to 200k views and beyond on his own channel.
Manny previously has been articulate on the issue of racism in grassroots football and also provides commentary of the club’s games.
League: Sunday Football League – London
Rising Ballers FC / RB Kensington
Rising Ballers has been the leading platform and community for youth talent since 2016. In 2018, Rising Ballers created a men’s team. Rising Ballers FC is an unsigned squad of the top talent between 16 and 21. It offers a last chance for a pro contract, and has been a huge success.
Amazingly, seven out of twenty players signed pro contracts after their first season. Three were at Premier League clubs.
They say: “We’re followed by footballers across the UK, and with that we have formed unparalleled relationships. This allows us to tell some of the most exciting and exclusive stories in football, leading us to have one of the most engaged, authentic communities out there.”
“Rising Ballers Kensington, west London’s local semi-pro team currently play in the Combined Counties Division One and alongside that we also compete in the FA Cup, FA Vase, Middlesex Cup and several other FA competitions. Our aim is to climb as high as possible up the non-league pyramid – support us on our journey!
“Key to the team’s philosophy is player development – players from the team have been scouted by professional clubs across the UK, and some have even made Premier League debuts.”
Spencer FC’s very own has grown up into a monster, starting with a mates team in 2016 to now climbing the football pyramid, Hashtag United were promoted from 10th tier to 9th tier in 2019 – and likely would’ve gone up again had the league not been abandoned.
They now sit 2nd in the Isthmian League – North Division, a point behind the leaders and might just find themselves playing in the 7th tier before long.
Hashtag previously had Football Manager as shirt sponsors, have an elite FIFA esports team, a women’s side, 400+ youth players (male and female).
Bunch of Amateurs
Ok, this isn’t the name of a club, but they ‘shining a light on non league football, publishing videos of a number of non-league teams, including Charlwood FC at Step 7, and Dorking Wanderers in the Vanarama National League.”
Other clubs you can check out from over the years:
The Peoples FC
Cannons Wood (formerly DTFC)
5IVE GUYS FC
You can see Spencer FC / Hashtag United play a number of former YouTube teams by clicking HERE.