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Thinking outside the box - A structure

 

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007Dale
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Mar 31, 2014, 5:04 PM

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Thinking outside the box - A structure Can't Post or Reply Privately

There are many opinions of how the pyramid could be fixed / corrected / improved - depending on your view of how well or otherwise it works at the moment. I recently had a spare few hours whilst contemplating this and decided to scribble down some ideas of how we might improve the structure to achieve;
a) a more financially sustainable structure
b) a greater level of competition / competiveness.


The structure I've come up with aims to address those two things, whilst deliberately ignoring the reality of whether it would or could happen.


I started in the middle to get derive this structure (at level 6) but I'll explain it in order to try and avoid confusion;


Level 1 to 3 - As is;
Premiership, Championship, League One (five teams relegated from League one instead of four).

Level 4 - League Two regionalised (2 divisions of 22);
Ongoing movements: five teams Promoted to League One, eight teams relegated.
Restructure Movements: Requires 20 teams to be 'promoted' from current Level 5/Step 1.
Rationale - Addresses point b - more free-flow of movement between current league and non-league. Also addresses point a - less travel, more 'derbies' whilst retaining full-sized divisions.


Level 5 - Conference Regional (4 divisions of 22);
NB: For the purposes of this I am not evoking the old debate of a Midland League. The 88 teams will be split in the fairest manor, whether or not this creates a 'Midland' Division is of no consequence for this structure.
Ongoing movements: Eight teams promoted to League Two, sixteen relegated to Level 6
Restructure Movements: Four teams from Conference National, all 44 teams for Conf N&S, 40 teams from current Step 3
Rationale - for the vast majority of clubs at Steps 1,2 and 3 that would end up at this level, travel would be cut (& in most cases substantially cut). More local derbies. Therefore should address point a. Furthermore, this would be the only 'senior' level of non-league football with the more stringent level of ground grading (similar to current step 3) as some large teams would be expected at this level with good crowds (teams like Stockport, Aldershot, Chester etc) also, avoid teams joining this level beyond their means, who invest only in playing side and then forced down when they realise it's not sustainable. However, below this level, much more lenient ground gradings than currently seen. Regarding my point b, it would still be as competitive as steps 1 to 3 (with 1 promotion, 4 playoffs and 4 relegations per division).

Level 6 - Full Regionalisation (Sixteen regions created)
This is the main part of the structure and change. I've looked at the remaining teams across Steps 3 and 4 that would comprise the majority of this level and they can be roughly placed into 16 groups of 12 teams, with the exception of 3 regions that don't currently have sufficient representation at this level, North East, East Anglia and South West (these 3 regions will be 'protected regions' for the purpose of this structure).

The 16 regions will broadly split along these lines;
North (protected): Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Teeside, Durham
Yorkshire: North, West, South Yorkshire, Humberside
Lancashire: Lancashire
Cheshire & Mersey: Cheshire, Merseyside & North Wales
East Midlands: Notts, Derbys, Lincoln, Leics
West Midlands: Stafford, Warwick, Shropshire, Worcs, Birmingham
East Anglia (protected); Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge
East London & Essex: Essex, East London
North London: North London, Extending to Lower Bucks & Herts
South Midlands: Northants, Oxon, Beds, Northern Bucks & Herts
South & West London: Surrey, South & West London
Thames Valley & M3: Berkshire, Hampshire, Dorset
Sussex: East & West Sussex
South East: Kent & South East London
West: Bristol, Gloucs, Wilts, South Wales
South West (protected): Somerset, Devon, Cornwall

All remaining step 3/4 teams will be placed in the most appropriate region. Where the three protected regions are missing teams, the highest placed teams at steps 5 (and if necessary step 6) within that fixed region will be added.

This leaves us with 16 regions of twelve teams and 16 promotion places available. So far, this addresses my point a - financial stability (less travel, more local derbies, significantly reduced ground requirements. plus brings the three 'outer' regions further into the pyramid). However, it doesn't really address the competiveness part b of my requirements - one promotion place only and divisions of twelve are not what teams want (so I'm lead to believe).
Therefore there is further enhancement to this level 6 structure;
Each region is 'paired' with another region;
North / Yorkshire
Lancashire / Cheshire
East Anglia / East London
East Midlands / West Midlands
North London / South Midlands
South & West London / Thames Valley & M3
Sussex / South East
West / South West

Under this proposal their are two ways the regionals could organise their league and that is up to the individual regions to decide what works best;

Option 1:
The first half of the season comprises 22 games and sees teams play within their own region. The top six join the 'promotion league' with their partner region and the bottom six join the 'relegation league', playing a further 22 games. Because regions have pooled their promotion places to the conference, their will be two promotion places available, making competitive leagues. It also means clubs will play only 5 away games outside of their region.
Relegation leagues could be played with the partner region or with the top six teams of Level 7 within region, depending how each region wishes to operate.
Option 1 is good for the protected regions with teams only straying outside region for up to 5 away matches out of a total of 44 games.

Option 2:
The paired regions decide to operate a single full league of 24 teams (or 20/22 if they choose) with traditional promotion and relegation.
This option is good for regions that have been artificially split and are geographically close together (E.g. Lancashire / Cheshire)

Level 7 - Regional 2
Same 16 regions with 32 or even 48 promotion places available. Divisions of 12 could be used if they want to participate in Promotion/Relegation leagues with teams from Level 6, or full size divisions if relegation league is played with a partner region.
The teams that form this level will come from the current step 5 leagues.

Level 8 - Local
This can then be as local as required, down to County level if desired, although some regions may want to operate with a sub-regional structure (E.g. North and South)

Why?
Sounds rather complicated, but it doesn't have to be, with option 2 at level 6 an example of how it works at it's most simplistic.
The idea is for constantly competitive leagues and lower financial burden, with the added bonus of bringing outlier regions into the mix.
It's never going to happen, but thought I'd share anyway.


(This post was edited by 007Dale on Mar 31, 2014, 5:24 PM)


leohoenig
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Mar 31, 2014, 5:24 PM

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Re: [007Dale] Thinking outside the box - A structure [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Not very far outside the box, in all honesty.
The main question - is why spend one's time coming up with these ideas on restructure when it is nothing more than fantasy.
There will be no changs at the higher levels, and there is no desire from the clubs to change them.
None of the powers that be are considering wide restructuring lower down (although this may be the best thing they could do), the changes that we get are all tinkering around the edges.
The real problems are not actually in travelling distance anyway, but in the ground grading structure that demands far too good a ground at each level, and is no tightening up on the rules at each level meaning clubs that have been doing OK for a number of years now find their ground not up to standard.

I am not intending to put down this plan, but the first step we need now is not vast restructuring plans, but an admission from all that the current structure is broken.



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Part-Timer
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The 88 teams will be split in the fairest manor

You can't beat a good typo. Smile


ladderman
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Indeed, and once again the massive disparity in TV/sponsorship money between levels 4 & 5 is ignored. The current L2 clubs are not going to agree to anything that sees their £800k a year halved


acmold
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Mar 31, 2014, 7:53 PM

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Re: [007Dale] Thinking outside the box - A structure [In reply to] Can't Post or

The 16 regions will broadly split along these lines;
North (protected): Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Teeside, Durham
Yorkshire: North, West, South Yorkshire, Humberside
Lancashire: Lancashire
Cheshire & Mersey: Cheshire, Merseyside & North Wales
East Midlands: Notts, Derbys, Lincoln, Leics
West Midlands: Stafford, Warwick, Shropshire, Worcs, Birmingham
East Anglia (protected); Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge
East London & Essex: Essex, East London
North London: North London, Extending to Lower Bucks & Herts
South Midlands: Northants, Oxon, Beds, Northern Bucks & Herts
South & West London: Surrey, South & West London
Thames Valley & M3: Berkshire, Hampshire, Dorset
Sussex: East & West Sussex
South East: Kent & South East London
West: Bristol, Gloucs, Wilts, South Wales
South West (protected): Somerset, Devon, Cornwall

Those are 16 sensible regions, but it's how you make them into 4x4 which causes the problem.

Group One
North (protected): Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Teeside, Durham
Yorkshire: North, West, South Yorkshire, Humberside
Lancashire: Lancashire
Cheshire & Mersey: Cheshire, Merseyside & North Wales

Group Two
East Midlands: Notts, Derbys, Lincoln, Leics
East Anglia (protected); Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge
East London & Essex: Essex, East London
North London: North London, Extending to Lower Bucks & Herts

Group Three
West Midlands: Stafford, Warwick, Shropshire, Worcs, Birmingham
South Midlands: Northants, Oxon, Beds, Northern Bucks & Herts
West: Bristol, Gloucs, Wilts, South Wales
South West (protected): Somerset, Devon, Cornwall


Group Four
South & West London: Surrey, South & West London
Thames Valley & M3: Berkshire, Hampshire, Dorset
Sussex: East & West Sussex
South East: Kent & South East London

The above I would say would be the least mileage but group three ends up very large, and for many the first moan would be the East and West Midlands are not together.







bomaya
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Mar 31, 2014, 8:01 PM

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In Reply To
Not very far outside the box, in all honesty.
The main question - is why spend one's time coming up with these ideas on restructure when it is nothing more than fantasy.


Nothing wrong with fantasy. Ideas like this - and I like it by the way* - have to be talked about for them to happen. They won't happen by magic. If they get discussed and they get support then who knows, the FA might actually think about it and realise something needs to change.

*Level 6 - I like the idea of an NFL style thing whereby every season the clubs play half their games against teams from outside their own league.


shimtoan
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The 16 regions will broadly split along these lines;
North (protected): Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Teeside, Durham
Yorkshire: North, West, South Yorkshire, Humberside
Lancashire: Lancashire
Cheshire & Mersey: Cheshire, Merseyside & North Wales
East Midlands: Notts, Derbys, Lincoln, Leics
West Midlands: Stafford, Warwick, Shropshire, Worcs, Birmingham
East Anglia (protected); Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge
East London & Essex: Essex, East London
North London: North London, Extending to Lower Bucks & Herts
South Midlands: Northants, Oxon, Beds, Northern Bucks & Herts
South & West London: Surrey, South & West London
Thames Valley & M3: Berkshire, Hampshire, Dorset
Sussex: East & West Sussex
South East: Kent & South East London
West: Bristol, Gloucs, Wilts, South Wales
South West (protected): Somerset, Devon, Cornwall

Those are 16 sensible regions, but it's how you make them into 4x4 which causes the problem.

Group One
North (protected): Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Teeside, Durham
Yorkshire: North, West, South Yorkshire, Humberside
Lancashire: Lancashire
Cheshire & Mersey: Cheshire, Merseyside & North Wales

Group Two
East Midlands: Notts, Derbys, Lincoln, Leics
East Anglia (protected); Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge
East London & Essex: Essex, East London
North London: North London, Extending to Lower Bucks & Herts

Group Three
West Midlands: Stafford, Warwick, Shropshire, Worcs, Birmingham
South Midlands: Northants, Oxon, Beds, Northern Bucks & Herts
West: Bristol, Gloucs, Wilts, South Wales
South West (protected): Somerset, Devon, Cornwall


Group Four
South & West London: Surrey, South & West London
Thames Valley & M3: Berkshire, Hampshire, Dorset
Sussex: East & West Sussex
South East: Kent & South East London

The above I would say would be the least mileage but group three ends up very large, and for many the first moan would be the East and West Midlands are not together.





Travel is, yet again, the main problem.
Alnwick to Barrow-in-Furness is well north of 3 hours (at 2:45am) and that's in a single group



unless stated, all views are my own and are not the views of any other person, club, or organisation


pitch 63
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Apr 1, 2014, 6:00 AM

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Some of the journeys in Group 3 involving Cornwall to the nether regions, eg Stafford and Hertfordshire are in excess of 4 hours 30 minutes, and that's on a good day; in my opinion it will not work, but a good attempt.


acmold
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Some of the journeys in Group 3 involving Cornwall to the nether regions, eg Stafford and Hertfordshire are in excess of 4 hours 30 minutes, and that's on a good day; in my opinion it will not work, but a good attempt.


I agree whatever way you do it you end up with journeys that just cause problems. As I always say I don't think dividing by 4 saves mileage on dividing by 3 as the 4th section is this case Group Three always ends up with more travelling than two of the groups would in a 3 way split. In the one above swopping Dorset and Hants for Northants, Beds and Herts would help. With Stafford the only way they avoid long journeys is a 4 way split with many's fabled "Midlands" section but as the various formats show you end up with even longer journeys elsewhere and the horrendous section 4, East Sussex to Cornwall, East Anglia to Cornwall and things like that. With four you really have to start three in the corners and see what's left, but even then the one starting in the South West is so large compared with the other three.

I really don't know what the answer is other than the Current Step 2 adds to the problem and knocks long journeys one level down the Pyramid. I really think combining steps (merging steps 2 and 3 to make 5 sections at the same level) will be the answer in the end but with that you really need the Football League bottom Division and the Conference National to merge but that will not happen unless a number of clubs go bust higher up.


E&E Fred
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Re: [007Dale] Thinking outside the box - A structure [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

I'm always up for having a look at a new structure. However, I then read the bit about L2 regionalising and switched off.

This is a forum for suggestions and ideas so you are welcome to suggest what you like, but quite simply there is no will for change at that level. The only people who seem to want to change it are a handful of people on this forum.

It is such a pity that people spend so much time over something, when the basic premise of the first change won't be acceptable to anyone in a position of authority to change it.

Without harping on, the forum "Is this a Solution" has an extremely good proposal of a triangle. If you can beat that, or find fault with it, please let me know, as I've found nothing that comes even close to it in terms of solving the problems that can be solved and while there is no guarantee that the F.A. would even take this on, it would be better if we all looked at this format and any faults that can be found pointed out and hopefully ironed out before we present it to the F.A.

A united front behind one particular scheme might even help. Otherwise we remain a talking fantasy shop.



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PaulC
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In Reply To

In Reply To
The 16 regions will broadly split along these lines;
North (protected): Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Teeside, Durham
Yorkshire: North, West, South Yorkshire, Humberside
Lancashire: Lancashire

Travel is, yet again, the main problem.
Alnwick to Barrow-in-Furness is well north of 3 hours (at 2:45am) and that's in a single group


Cumbria should be split - ex-Westmorland to the Lancashire group and ex-Cumberland to the North group. (Barrow is a former Lancashire town anyway!)


Yeading89
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Apr 4, 2014, 7:15 PM

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Like you i have been playing with restructure.I cam up with three areas NMS of 140 non league teams using mostly level 1-5 and a few level six split into 7 div.each ie prem.two div 1 and four d2 all of 20 teams ?


leohoenig
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Apr 4, 2014, 11:28 PM

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I have deleted all Yeading89's post but this one. If he want to argue the case for a specific structure, then fair enough (that is one of the purposes of this section of the forum), but four new posts without saying anything takes the biscuit.



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Now blogging at http://www.leohoenig.com



(This post was edited by leohoenig on Apr 4, 2014, 11:28 PM)


aicwhu
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oh dear

i keep saying it but acmold has hit the nail on the head again

regionalise higher ( much higher) up the pyramid and the travelling question for smaller clubs disappears-
2 way , 3 way , 5 way splits becomes academic as it will only apply to clubs currently in national or semi-national leagues

andrew c


Mr. T
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"...regionalise higher ( much higher) up the pyramid and the travelling question for smaller clubs disappears..."

Which the FL does not want. Weren't the 'Div 3 and 4' clubs polled on this relatively recently?


aicwhu
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So start with the conference , merge with n and s to give 3 regional leagues
then have 9 leagues feeding in and 18 or more feeding in below them

adjust the gradings accordingly ie level 1 to have conference s/n gradings etc


that would sort travelling and make the levels and the gradings much more sustainable


andrew c


Mister TwoU
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E&E Fred's proposition; upon which I have had the honour/pleasure to do a little work, finalising and map-plotting; is very similar Mr. andrew c.
It retains the 24-team Conference National, allowing for three 24-team feeders; NPL/Conference, SL/Conference & IL/Conference ~ as I think of them.

Beneath these are nine 22-team step3 feeders & then 27 stand-alone18-team Divisions at step4, which would be serviced by County-level Premier Divisions, presently those step7s which will ultimately become a new step5 under this regime.



Professional cretin.


aicwhu
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yes i know

and a damn fine proposal it is

its just i think we should not have 5 national leagues ;
all the evidence seems to me to suggest that this drags clubs up to unsuitable and unsustainable levels in the pyramid

nontheless the proposal you have worked on is certainly a big improvement on what we have now


andrew c


Mr. T
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In Reply To
aicwhu: "...regionalise higher ( much higher) up the pyramid and the travelling question for smaller clubs disappears..."

Me: Which the FL does not want. Weren't the 'Div 3 and 4' clubs polled on this relatively recently?
aicwhu: "So start with the conference , merge with n and s to give 3 regional leagues
then have 9 leagues feeding in and 18 or more feeding in below them

adjust the gradings accordingly ie level 1 to have conference s/n gradings etc

that would sort travelling and make the levels and the gradings much more sustainable


Steady on. I merely offered the observation that FL clubs had, AFAIR, turned down the idea of regionalisation. FWIW, I am not against the idea but given that these are full-time professional clubs, travelling ought to be less of a consideration for them than for part-timers.

And anyway (reluctant though I am to enter the fray again after a sensible absence of several years!) surely regionalisation is required lower down, not higher up.

There appears to be a broad consensus that Conference North and South doesn't really work, so let's go back to IL, SL and NPL premier divisions at Step 2, each with two regional divisions and as many as you want below that. Eighteen sounds like a good number as it goes neatly into six and would satisfy those who like mathematical solutions.

Fifty+ clubs currently at Step 4 would be pushed down into the feeder leagues, bringing the number of clubs there up to about 350. Divide that by 18 and you get divisions of 18-20 clubs.

Where do the extra four leagues come from? Suggestions on here have been for NWCL to become two (N and S), also (I think...?) for making three out the NL, NCEL and, er, a few north midland stragglers. Elevate the East Midland League, carve up the Home Counties somehow or other and there you are.

Easy, aint it?


(This post was edited by Mr. T on Apr 5, 2014, 10:54 PM)


aicwhu
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i agree regionalisation is required lower down but to achieve that you have to start higher up else you get that other bug-bear ie promotion blockage which exercises the chaps who believe ambition is the be all and end all of non-league football

however your proposal makes much more sense than the current pyramisd though i re-iterate i don't think it creates enough regionalisation at step 1 and therefore at steps 2 and 3

andrew c


acmold
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At the current step 5. I would add split the NWC north / south which might mean a better option for the Cumbrian sides currently in the Northern League and give much less travelling for those in the "north Midlands". I would split the NCE in two to make a Yorks & Humberside League and a East Midlands League. I would adjust the south west so teams in Cornwall and Devon are given more of a chance, promote the SWP to step 5 but slightly change it's area so clubs in west Somerset and west Dorset could play in it. And rearrange the south east using my all leagues move 20 or so miles north and / or west to balance method. I would bar the Hellenic from going east of the Chilterns which should give clubs in the rural counties in the Heart of England a better league. That would create 3 new leagues and I'm sure when it was done there would be an area for another league to take up the slack so to speak. Each league would have 20 clubs max at step 5.


007Dale
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Re: [acmold] Thinking outside the box - A structure [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

The main thing I'm trying to address with my structure is to flatten it out as IMO we have too many levels. It's difficult to create a true pyramid when we wait until level 6 before some level of regionalisation, this means it's difficult to fit four divisions at current step 3 because of the extra teams required.


My structure could probably accommodate a north/south split at Level 5, rather than level 4, but this would require an agreement to relegate four teams from league 2 (which could be just as problematic to agree as creating a new division).


In any event, still working with my structure, I've demonstrated how the 88 teams from level 5 could be split (I was hoping not to get drawn into this, but that seems to be where the debate is focusing);


Remember, this is 4 teams from Conf National, all 44 teams from Conf n&s and balance from step 3 - based on current positions (not adjusted for teams planning demotion etc)


I'm pretty sure this creates more local games and less average travel for most teams against their current division, but no doubt someone will delight in proving me wrong!

Conference 1 Hyde United North Ferriby United Altrincham Guiseley Harrogate Town Colwyn Bay Barrow Bradford Park Avenue Stockport County Vauxhall Motors Stalybridge Celtic Workington Chorley FC United of Manchester AFC Fylde Ashton United Skelmersdale United Blyth Spartans Trafford Whitby Town Buxton Gainsborough Trinity

Conference 2 Tamworth AFC Telford United Hednesford Town Boston United Solihull Moors Leamington Worcester City Rushall Olympic Worksop Town Matlock Town Kings Lynn Town Brackley Town Histon Barwell Corby Town Cambridge City Stourbridge Hemel Hempstead Town Chesham United St Albans City Hitchin Town Arlesey Town

Conference 3 Dartford Wealdstone Dulwich Hamlet AFC Hornchurch Maidstone United Lowestoft Town Hendon Leiston Canvey Island Billericay Town Grays Athletic Chelmsford City Concord Rangers Dover Athletic Bromley Ebbsfleet United Tonbridge Angels Whitehawk Bognor Regis Town Eastbourne Boro Boreham Wood Bishop's Stortford
Conference 4 Gloucester City Weston-S-Mare Bath City Bideford Poole Town Hungerford Town Weymouth Frome Town Dorchester Town Eastleigh Havant & W Gosport Borough Aldershot Town Farnborough Sutton United Kingstonian Staines Town Hampton & Richmond Boro Hayes & Yeading Basingstoke Town Maidenhead Utd Oxford City


(This post was edited by 007Dale on Apr 6, 2014, 8:48 PM)


windydcfc
Man City Transfer Target!


Apr 6, 2014, 8:46 PM

Posts: 10464
Location: Barnetby
Team(s): Derby County FC England Borussia Mönchengladbach

Post #23 of 42 (5812 views)
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Re: [007Dale] Thinking outside the box - A structure [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

In theory it makes sense, I see no reason why we couldn't copy the German League structure. But like every idea on the forum, it will never happen.



Non League Projection - 2020/21: https://docs.google.com/...UTgVhKYTo/edit#gid=0
Step 1: https://www.google.com/....119447550000018&z=7
Step 2: https://www.google.com/...677250654298405&z=15
Step 3: https://www.google.com/...358611350589399&z=16
Step 4: https://www.google.com/...536616305542566&z=16
Step 5: https://www.google.com/...399355140531952&z=16
Step 6: https://www.google.com/...1556307438963813&z=9


cope1
Man City Transfer Target!

Apr 7, 2014, 10:01 AM

Posts: 7279
Location:
Team(s):

Post #24 of 42 (5725 views)
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Re: [windydcfc] Thinking outside the box - A structure [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


In Reply To
In theory it makes sense, I see no reason why we couldn't copy the German League structure. But like every idea on the forum, it will never happen.

And even if it did, people would still say it was wrong - we'd be calling for the 'good old days' of Conf North / Conf South in no time...


windydcfc
Man City Transfer Target!


Apr 7, 2014, 10:05 AM

Posts: 10464
Location: Barnetby
Team(s): Derby County FC England Borussia Mönchengladbach

Post #25 of 42 (5721 views)
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Re: [cope1] Thinking outside the box - A structure [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

But you would get shot down for being in the past, just like when anyone raises the old Div3 N/S structure.



Non League Projection - 2020/21: https://docs.google.com/...UTgVhKYTo/edit#gid=0
Step 1: https://www.google.com/....119447550000018&z=7
Step 2: https://www.google.com/...677250654298405&z=15
Step 3: https://www.google.com/...358611350589399&z=16
Step 4: https://www.google.com/...536616305542566&z=16
Step 5: https://www.google.com/...399355140531952&z=16
Step 6: https://www.google.com/...1556307438963813&z=9

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