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Home: Non-League Football Discussion: Restructuring Discussion:
Restructuring in the East

 

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Trevor
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Dec 12, 2008, 9:34 AM

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Restructuring in the East Can't Post or Reply Privately

Here's something I spotted on www.easternfootball.co.uk, what do you think to this chaps thoughts on what he would like to see happen in the eastern region?



Quote
For those who don't read the AFC forum we are trying to get some way of getting the FA to reduce our (AFC/Bury/Soham) travelling. Obviously anything that benefits us will benefit other local teams wishing to make the step up.

An East Anglian Premier League would be best for all local clubs long term and here is a first draft, so your thoughts would be appreciated:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CONFERENCE PREMIER
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CONFERENCE NORTH CONFERENCE SOUTH
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(UNIBOND - NORTH EAST* - MIDLAND*) (SOUTHERN - RYMAN - EASTERN*)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This will mean the creation of 6 leagues at premier level rather than the current 3. New leagues marked by *. This would allow teams anywhere in the country natural progression without being penalised by inflated mileage until Conference south level.

These 6 leagues will be made up of current members and a large helping of clubs from current Step 5 leagues. Some Step 5 leagues will need to assume Step 4 status to balance out the new/existing leagues. Four Step 6 leagues may also need to assume Step 4 status. These leagues will be built up/fed as follows:

UNIBOND - North West Counties & West Midlands Premier

NORTH EAST - Northern & Northern Counties East

MIDLANDS - Midland Alliance & East Midland Counties & Midland Combination

SOUTHERN - Hellenic & Wessex & Western & South West

RYMAN - Kent & Combined Counties & South Midland & Sussex

EASTERN - United Counties & Essex & Ridgeons

This would place local sides in a league stretching from Boston to South Essex.

I haven't looked at individual clubs just geographical leagues, but this would be much fairer on South West, North East and East Anglian teams who are worst affected by the current structure. It should also mean little affect on all other clubs in the current structure. Plus leagues gaining status will be more attractive to potential/current sponsors.






vienna1964
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Dec 12, 2008, 10:15 AM

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Re: [Trevor] Restructuring in the East [In reply to] Can't Post or

...and all players will be given a unicorn to ride to the ground, whilst a squadron of flying pigs will execute a fly-by at half time !

Apologies to Trevor/Author of above idea, but there's little new in the idea and whilst it has a cosmetic appeal (as do most other such suggestions) it is impractical in the extreme.

To facilitate this kind of idea, the whole concept and process of grading would have to be scrapped - or at least be thoroughly watered down - and this would impact detrimentally upon those clubs who have already diverted funds in order to satisfy the current (higher) requiremewnts and further make other clubs denied elevation in previous years for failing the strict regulations rather upset to boot !

Like it or lump it - the grading issue will always rule the roost.

Having said this, there might be some case for a lessening of grading requirements staged over several years... say, allowing levels presently requiring a Grade A pass to subsequently be able to accept Grade B - and so on down the scale. However, this could not be instigated such that it operates over three or four seasons, it would have to be over something like eight to ten seasons in order that the compliant clubs do not feel their previous efforts to have been made in vain.

So, say the grading requirements be reduced over ten years by the equivalent of 10% of the difference between two standard Grades per season; the 'fastest' I'd find tolerable; slowly and surely there would become the situation whereby more and more teams can qualify for higher Steps and we might eventually end up with the proposed structure:~ Conference National, Conferences North & West, six Feeder Divisions thereto...

Hang on a minute !

If one just amends this idea by a tiny amount; introduce a Conference Central at Step 2; to relieve the 'bottleneck' between Steps 1 & 2 in terms of promotions and relegations... how would that be different from the old Conference, Southern/Northern Premier/Isthmian system we used to have ?

C'mon people... let's at least get a bit more original if we are to continue to suggest restructuring improvements !!!



I APOLOGISE UNRESERVEDLY TO EACH AND EVERY PERSON ON THIS FORUM WHO HAS FELT LET-DOWN BY MY INIMICABLE AND DEPLORABLE BEHAVIOUR OF OCTOBER 28th. 2009. ESPECIALLY TO BRIAN, WHO IS A MARVELLOUS GENTLEMAN AND IS THE LAST PERSON HERE WHO SHOULD HAVE TO PUT UP WITH SUCH UNDESERVED PERSONAL CHARACTER-ASSASSINATION. LET IT BE KNOWN THAT A PRIVATE PERSONAL APOLOGY WAS SENT, BUT WAS SEEN INSUFFICIENT. FAIR ENOUGH.


Tony Kempster
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Dec 12, 2008, 11:51 AM

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Re: [Trevor] Restructuring in the East [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

My alternative scenario for step 4 shown at http://tonykempster.co.uk/maps09-10.htm already solves this problem for East Anglian clubs.


acmold
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Dec 12, 2008, 12:58 PM

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Re: [Tony Kempster] Restructuring in the East [In reply to] Can't Post or

I must admit I would always go for the STEP FOUR alternative version which reduces travelling time, as it uses Motorways and trunk roads.



ladderman
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Dec 12, 2008, 2:07 PM

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Re: [Trevor] Restructuring in the East [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Absolute dream-world
I'm sure it would be favoured in the east as it lift some clubs two steps up the pyramid & the rest once, but as Vienna says it basically wrecks ground grading & leads to bottle neck promotion between steps 3 & 4.

For me, if we must change it around again. Split conference national into north/south, send the remaining step 2 clubs down to step 3 (just relegated StortfordFrown) and add a fourth step 3 league. step 4's then up for discussion.


trevor56
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Dec 12, 2008, 11:40 PM

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Re: [ladderman] Restructuring in the East [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

ladderman, i'm with you on this.why we have a national league i dont know.if my local club got promoted they would have to travel from northumberland to places like torquay.part time clubs travelling this far is ludicrous.mind you , i think its here to stay.


KnowYourMarket
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Dec 13, 2008, 9:25 AM

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Re: [Tony Kempster] Restructuring in the East [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I presume the moving of Rushall back into the Southern League is an intentional tease?



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Trevor
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Dec 13, 2008, 1:34 PM

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Re: [vienna1964] Restructuring in the East [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

As already stated, this isn't my idea and there has been much the same comment on that discussion board, I think the author has just looked at how the current setup affects teams local to himself. I think if AFC Sudbury and Bury Town had been left in the Rymans setup there would be no discussion, I gather than Soham Town Rangers are quite happy with things as they are and would happily stay in the Southern League if given the choice.

The main problem, and one that has resticted particularly ECL teams taking the onward progression, is for the likes of Lowestoft, Leiston etc. Even though they have strong teams that would currently compete in the Southern League or the Rymans, travelling would be a major issue in either league and I feel this does need serious thought from the powers that be, otherwise East Anglia, especially Norfolk and Suffolk will never be properly represented at step 4 and beyond. You will hear it every season at all the grounds from board members through to supporters that we are the forgotten region, where do our best teams go?





bspittles
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Dec 13, 2008, 2:50 PM

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In Reply To
The main problem, and one that has resticted particularly ECL teams taking the onward progression, is for the likes of Lowestoft, Leiston etc. Even though they have strong teams that would currently compete in the Southern League or the Rymans, travelling would be a major issue in either league and I feel this does need serious thought from the powers that be, otherwise East Anglia, especially Norfolk and Suffolk will never be properly represented at step 4 and beyond.


Exactly the same can be said for teams in the South West and (to a lesser extent) the North East. On the downside, you have more travelling but on the upside, you have fewer competitors for players and fans.


southend statto
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Jan 16, 2009, 1:32 PM

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Re: [Trevor] Restructuring in the East [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

With the FA wishing to reduce the number of leagues at step 5 to 12, personally I would merge the ECL with the ESL. I would have a Premier Division of 22 (top 16 from current ECL and top 6 from current ESL) with two division ones (North and South).


hucknallite
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Jan 16, 2009, 1:37 PM

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Re: [southend statto] Restructuring in the East [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Geographically it would probably make more sense to merge the Essex League with the Spartan South Midlands League. That's if any merger is neccessary. I've never been to a match in Essex but if the FA is going to be strict about step 5 ground grading at the end of this season then from what some people on this board say there may not be enough clubs to support a step 5 Essex league. Of course that's IF the FA gat strict and IF the opinion of those posters is correct.


TB&G
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Jan 16, 2009, 2:24 PM

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Re: [hucknallite] Restructuring in the East [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

It would make more sense to loosen ground grading requirements all round to prevent many more teams sliding down the pyramid if they are able to survive at all.


Mr. T
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Jan 16, 2009, 7:58 PM

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Re: [Trevor] Restructuring in the East [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

"With the FA wishing to reduce the number of leagues at step 5 to 12, personally I would merge the ECL with the ESL."

"Geographically it would probably make more sense to merge the Essex League with the Spartan South Midlands League. That's if any merger is necessary."

Even with tin hat, breast plate and shin guards on, I think I'll watch this one from the touch-line!


Trevor
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Jan 16, 2009, 8:23 PM

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In Reply To
With the FA wishing to reduce the number of leagues at step 5 to 12, personally I would merge the ECL with the ESL. I would have a Premier Division of 22 (top 16 from current ECL and top 6 from current ESL) with two division ones (North and South).



I have always thought this would be a good amalgamation for all involved but I can't ever see it happening





Football Man
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Jan 17, 2009, 8:52 AM

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Re: [Trevor] Restructuring in the East [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

But it's only a few years since the Spartan and South Midlands Leagues amalgamated - surely that should make the Spartan South Midlands League the least logical one to put through it again?

FM


trevor56
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Jan 17, 2009, 8:00 PM

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Re: [Football Man] Restructuring in the East [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

what about the northern league taking in the ncel to make a northern league prem & then divs1 n & s.this would leave 7 or 8 teams over in the north & south of region & help with the lack of feeder clus in yorkshire area.this would make n.l. stronger but a small amount of extra travelling would result.might also be a better stepping stone to unibond as most n.l.clubs currently snub promotion to uni


cope1
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Jan 17, 2009, 8:44 PM

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But it's only a few years since the Spartan and South Midlands Leagues amalgamated - surely that should make the Spartan South Midlands League the least logical one to put through it again?

FM


It's 11 years now. I don't think you can make the decisions on that basis though. If those two merging is the best solution then that's the way it should go. Clubs in the pyramid move leagues so often anyway that being moved into a 'North London Borders' League from their existing leagues shouldn't be a big deal.


vienna1964
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Jan 18, 2009, 3:44 PM

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Re: [cope1] Restructuring in the East [In reply to] Can't Post or

Where exactly does the FA stand on this Step 5 issue ?

I only ask this as Mike Appleby himself was quoted some time ago, saying that there had 'never been a plan to reduce the number of Step 5 Divisions to 12 or any other number, with the obvious exception of rationalising-away the old Isthmian Second Division' to paraphrase... and then later seeinf several (apparently official) FA quotes noting the requirement to reduce to twelve !
All this over the last 18-24 months certainly.

I read between the lines, taking it that Appleby's statement was for the purposes of informing this Forum that the FA would be 'in charge' of such ideas - not us - and therefore we'd been correct all along... but it would be nice to get hold of something definitive.




To the chase...

I have maintained all along that a reduction to 12 Divisions would happen in an 'organic' manner - i.e. without any enforced mergers between just two discrete Divisions, or even wholesale relegation of a single Leage. I still stand by this assertion.

The way I (continue to) see it is that at some point in the future there will arrive a time whereby Step 5 will be redefined wholesale such that a specific number of teams be retained throughout the level; for the following Season; being then split into a dozen new groupings (of equivalent size/strength).

That would mean that just 12 separate administrations would then control what is presently being run by fourteen and in line with this idea, it would be obvious that the geographical footprints occupied by the remaining dozen would be (on the average) one-sixth larger than before.
In terms of both administrators and constituent teams, the first and kindest cut would be to allow for 'natural wastage' - where clubs dropping out from levels 1 through 9 are not replaced at (only) this level and further, that other clubs; having previously failed to meet grading requirements, despite warning; are also 'let-go'.
As administrators are concerned, 'natural wastage' might be due to retirement in the first instance and then amalgamation in line with redrawn League's boundaries - and so forth. It may be a possibility that one or two current Step 5 Leagues reconstitute themselves at Step 6... I cannot see the FA objectionable to this idea - as level 10 does seem to need increment to successfully feed upward as I speak.

Once non-filled vacancies and administrative demotions have been determined, then it must be decided to make further reductions in numbers to reach the arranged total number of included teams... and importantly, this should only be decided following the rules of normal promotion from Step 6 have been followed.
I'd suggest; due to the variant numbers of teams in the various present 14 Step 5's; such extraordinary relegations as are necessary should be determined solely on a points-per-game basis. Once the required number of teams has been arrived at, they then be split geographically into their twelve new arrangements.

Approaching the project this way around will be by far the fairest way of going about things and presuming there is a (say, 2 or 3-Season) advanced warning period, then more places may be 'lost' from that natural attrition over the extended time-frame, rather than from later extraordinary relegation.
So, we would not be looking for individual current Leagues to be individually scrapped, nor for pairs of such to be simply merged... rather, the whole lot would be merged/demerged in one fell swoop !



I APOLOGISE UNRESERVEDLY TO EACH AND EVERY PERSON ON THIS FORUM WHO HAS FELT LET-DOWN BY MY INIMICABLE AND DEPLORABLE BEHAVIOUR OF OCTOBER 28th. 2009. ESPECIALLY TO BRIAN, WHO IS A MARVELLOUS GENTLEMAN AND IS THE LAST PERSON HERE WHO SHOULD HAVE TO PUT UP WITH SUCH UNDESERVED PERSONAL CHARACTER-ASSASSINATION. LET IT BE KNOWN THAT A PRIVATE PERSONAL APOLOGY WAS SENT, BUT WAS SEEN INSUFFICIENT. FAIR ENOUGH.


Chapeltom
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Jan 18, 2009, 4:26 PM

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If we could start again [In reply to] Can't Post or

To create 10 leagues at Step 5 I'd do it this way.

I'd have the Northern League and NCEL merge. I'd push the NCEL southern boundary to around Wakefield and allow Penrith and Whitehaven to move West. The Northern Counties League

That is 1 league at Step 5. Then get the NWCFL and push the southern boundary to Manchester. Creating the NWCFL.

Thats another Step 5 league. I'd then take NCEL sides from below Wakefield and the Southerly sides from the NWCFL and add them together with a few from the Midland Alliance. This is a 3rd. Midland League

A 4th would involve the United Counties and Eastern Counties more Northern sides to merge. Central East League

A 5th would involve the rest of the Midland Alliance to mix with a few from the Hellenic League. Central West League

Number 6, Kent and Essex Senior to merge. Then have a North / South division. South East League

Number 7, Spartan South Midlands and Combined Counties to merge. Then have a North / South division. Northern Sussex County League sides to join. Central South East League

Number 8, the Western League to mix with some Wessex League clubs. South West League

Number 9, the more Northern Western League clubs to join with other half of Hellenic League sides. Central South West League

Number 10, rest of Wessex League to merge with remaining Sussex County League Sides. South Coast League


This is another controversial bit, keep the Conference. Then get Step 2 and split it into 3, Northern, Stafford and further North. South East, line from Hinckley to Boston and line from Hinckley to Southampton. South West, effectively the M5 league, any sides South of Stafford, west of Hinckley and west of Southampton. I'd have 16 to 18 sides. Thats 30 to 34 games. League's split into Quarters. Allow top side up and 3 via play-offs. I'd make the League Two and Conference 3 up 3 down. This would make the pyramid system flow and be more exciting. Terrible League Two sides could be South East Conference clubs within no time.

Step 3 I'd make it 6 leagues. Northern West Counties League and Northern East Counties League. M1 and M6 as trunk roads. I'd retain the Stafford and Hinckley borderlines. Pennine's clubs to decide affliation themselves. Western Counties League, Stafford to Bristol area. South of that and its South West Counties League. Boston to Hinckley to Oxford to Colchester, any side in that area is an East Anglian League team. The rest, Southern League.

Step 4, same as above but as a Division One.

That 26 leagues from Step 1 to Step 5. At present we have 26. My system in my opinion would be better as I'd scrap ground grading except at Conference level. 3000 capacity, 500 seats, basic rule. I'd pump millions in Cornish, Devon and Somerset football. Give each side at Step 6 a 30,000 grant.

Step 6, I'd let be like the Step 7 as of now. Divide it even further, just promote South West football and hope we could get a South West side up the system and towards the Football League



Many will disagree on travelling, league names wouldn't be like that. Just regional names as of present to make it clear.



Tom


(This post was edited by Chapeltom on Jan 18, 2009, 4:29 PM)


UKPunk
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Jan 18, 2009, 8:53 PM

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To the chase...

I have maintained all along that a reduction to 12 Divisions would happen in an 'organic' manner - i.e. without any enforced mergers between just two discrete Divisions, or even wholesale relegation of a single Leage. I still stand by this assertion.

The way I (continue to) see it is that at some point in the future there will arrive a time whereby Step 5 will be redefined wholesale such that a specific number of teams be retained throughout the level; for the following Season; being then split into a dozen new groupings (of equivalent size/strength).

That would mean that just 12 separate administrations would then control what is presently being run by fourteen and in line with this idea, it would be obvious that the geographical footprints occupied by the remaining dozen would be (on the average) one-sixth larger than before.

Angus I have long believed that in order to move forward we need to get rid of this notion of 'natural boundaries'. The constitutions of each division in each step below Conference National should be decided according to 'best fit' based on travelling considerations.

There will always be winners and losers regardless of which method is employed to decide who plays in which league. And the losers will, due to their geographic location, almost always be those at the extremes of the country, the East, West and particularly the North.

I still think that bearing this in mind, the best way forward is to look for an average that can best accomodate the most clubs.



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Geoff
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Jan 19, 2009, 10:20 PM

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Re: [hucknallite] Restructuring in the East [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I don't think the Essex is the step 5 league that would be most effected by the stringent imposition of the ground gradings. Over 60% of the grounds either currently stage step 4 football or have done so fairly recently and a further 3 (18%) have, I understand, passed the grading for step 4.
Of the remainder, only a couple may need to make major improvements to meet the new criteria.


KnowYourMarket
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Jan 19, 2009, 10:57 PM

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Re: [Geoff] Restructuring in the East [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I think we should change it all around so that when we've changed it all around we can then discuss how we can change it around again.



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DC
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Feb 1, 2009, 2:45 PM

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In Reply To
Here's something I spotted on www.easternfootball.co.uk, what do you think to this chaps thoughts on what he would like to see happen in the eastern region?



Quote
For those who don't read the AFC forum we are trying to get some way of getting the FA to reduce our (AFC/Bury/Soham) travelling. Obviously anything that benefits us will benefit other local teams wishing to make the step up.

I haven't looked at individual clubs just geographical leagues, but this would be much fairer on South West, North East and East Anglian teams who are worst affected by the current structure. It should also mean little affect on all other clubs in the current structure. Plus leagues gaining status will be more attractive to potential/current sponsors.



If Lowestoft Town FC progress to Step 4 for next season, as it seems to stand at the moment they could find themselves with the crazy situation of having to travel as far as the Gloucester & Birmingham area's!? Surely Tony Kempster's alternative suggestion would be better for the East Anglian teams!? Come on FA - sort it out!!


Short bloke
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Feb 1, 2009, 8:21 PM

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Re: [DC] Restructuring in the East [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Quite right DC. If we were to replace our nearest Southern league team (Bury Town) in this seasons Midland division our travelling would be more than 16 of the 20 teams in the Premiership. A total farce for step 4 football in which there are 6 divisions to cover the country.

Cinderford V Lowestoft is a possibilty next season & on that day we would do half of Ilford or Brentwoods travelling for the entire season on that one day alone. In the league cup we could have Lowestoft V Truro which at 424 miles is further than any journey in the top 4 national divisions at present, some journey for a step 4 club in midweek!

Suffolk must feed into the Isthmian league for any of us west of Bury St Edmunds to have a chance.

Of course the FA can do nothing & have the likes of Redbridge (no disrespect to them) with their average crowd of 44 playing at step 4 & have the countries 52nd best supported non league side continue at step 5. Our crowds at present are equal to what the bottom 9 clubs in the Isthmian North can manage collectively & we even managed over 1500 for our Boxing day match against neighbours Kirkley.


John Mills
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Re: [Short bloke] Restructuring in the East [In reply to] Can't Post or

I completely understand your frustration.

At the moment, not only is it particularly hard for clubs like Lowestoft, Bideford or Whitley Bay to move up the pyramid, but also particularly easy for clubs in some areas to do so. It really isn't a big undertaking for clubs such as Brentwood or Waltham Abbey to move up to more senior levels as the travelling increases little from what are already quite self-contained areas at Step Five. This leads to an even greater concentration of (thinly-supported) clubs around areas already thick with senior clubs. Every year that the Western, Eastern Counties and Northern leagues fail to promote - and most other Step fives do - the more isolated these parts of the country become, and the greater disparity in travelling would be faced by anyone taking the plunge.

Clubs in outlying areas will always have more miles to cover, but the least that the the FA can do is ensure that the travelling is evened out as much as possible. For clubs in Ryman North to be clustered like they are while East Anglian clubs face the prospect of trips across the full width of England is a nonsense. The FA need to stop the Isthmian league dictating their own (self-advantaging) catchment area and enforce the obvious logic that East Anglia being partnered with North and East London would be the fairest way to arrange matters.

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