National League System - Steps 5 & 6 restructure update (February 2020)

Unicorn

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I agree - it does doesn't it. But apart from Lydd, Staplehurst and Faversham SF, are the rest of the clubs in Brightside's mapping for the SCEFL really that far from Dorking in the grand scheme of things. The next furthest club from Dorking is Snodland Town - and that's only 45 miles or so - something a lot of Step 6 clubs have done regularly for donkeys years!
Which is the point i made in my post yesterday.
The perception of something is not always accurate.
 

SGW

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I have said before, the leagues MUST be where the clubs are - not the other way round!

Indeed. But per Brightside's post (#189), the clubs are already pretty much where the population is, so that's not an argument for pooling over boundaries.

It is categorically not right or fair to have 10-15 Step 7 clubs in the Midlands that are ready to and want to play at Step 6 but are kept down because their *whiny voice* "traditional area" is full at Step 6, whilst at the same time having divisions with up to 5 vacancies each at the same level in the south east. This is why pooling was introduced, to fairly deal with the ups and downs and increases and decrease in clubs throughout the divisions season by season.

By your logic, you could have 20 clubs in the northern half of the country wanting promotion to Step 6, and 2 in the south wanting promotion, with all leagues in the northern half full and leagues in the southern half totalling 20 vacancies between them. You'd really promote no northern team and just 2 southern teams and leave 18 vacancies in the south, that the south can't ever hope to fill any time soon?

That isn't what I'm saying: you're putting words in my mouth there.

As per my comment to Sacristan, I don't really recognise these issues and wonder whether they are more perceived than real.

Nor is pooling the only way to deal with them if they do exist.
 

Bearinwoods

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Sorry if i am misunderstanding you but the SCEFL does not have any teams from North of the Thames at Step 5 or 6.
No but what if they took Brimsdown, Benfleet, the Basildon teams? Rather than Dorking etc.

Whichever way you cut it they have to pick teams up from somewhere, and if Dorking feels too far maybe Basildon doesn't? Just a different suggestion
 

Brightside

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South Essex also feels a long way from parts of Kent.

Below is a map based off 19/20 projections but it shows where all the Step 5 & Step 6 teams could have been. There are 15 zones of 40 teams and one zone of 60 (South West) to show their 2 Step 6 leagues.
Please ignore the individual teams but it shows where I think the Step 5 & Step 6 leagues could converge.

As you can see from the SCE area it is larger than the projected Step 6 but smaller than the projected Step 5.


I'd like to do anything update but I'm waiting until after the constitutions are released.

I stand by the main reason for the imbalance being the three Midlands Step 6 leagues only promoting 1 team each season and therefore also roadblocking Step 7 applicants.
They should have corrected this imbalance first and then completed the restructure.
 

Lionarm

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Thanks to the appalling toll Dartford Crossing, Essex is basically cut off from Kent at least, until they build the new bridge (30 years too late). It's much harder to make the crossing around to Basildon than to travel to Dorking. North Kent teams were put in the old Isthmian North with Essex ones for a few seasons until this became apparant. There are none now.
 

Unicorn

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No but what if they took Brimsdown, Benfleet, the Basildon teams? Rather than Dorking etc.

Whichever way you cut it they have to pick teams up from somewhere, and if Dorking feels too far maybe Basildon doesn't? Just a different suggestion
I remember some years ago member of the leagues committee said that the Thames was a natural barrier and that they would work outwards from the river from now on.
Who ever it was said that there is a fair chance that he is not involved now.
However i can not see teams from the East End or Essex joining the SCEFL .
Additional teams will come from the South West side of London or just outside like Dorking Reserves.
 

SGW

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Exactly. It doesn't matter a jot.
We have 16 Step 5 and 16 (17) Step 6. Some will go up and some down to take their place.
Now, if we can get our heads around it, It doesn't matter which Step 6 League feeds which Step 5 league.
Not a jot; in fact strictly speaking nowhere feeds anywhere any more. There is no feeding.
The leagues will be where the teams are, but CCLP will not necessarily be where CCL1 is, and it doesn't matter (nor does it particularly matter what name you give the league).

All other discussion, by all means have it if you want, is moot.

I appreciate that you have a view and you are of course perfectly entitled to that view. You're clearly a big fan of pooling.

From my point of view, however, everything you have said is just horrific. I think we've obviously all reached the East is East and West is West point on this one.

I do think, however, that you need to take the next logical step in your own mind. If the leagues aren't really going to be leagues but nothing more than the FA's teaboys and if their geographical appellations are going to be ignored, then the FA really does need to abolish all step 5 / 6 leagues, run the job centrally, have divisions called step 5A through to 5P and similar for step 6 (credit for that thought to Reborn Yellow on another thread), and it can then in all honesty re-pool every summer to its heart's content.

Oh, but it won't do that because it wants the best of both worlds.
 

Lionarm

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That does not follow logically captain.
 

Sarumio Whites

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Indeed. But per Brightside's post (#189), the clubs are already pretty much where the population is, so that's not an argument for pooling over boundaries.
With all due respect you are making me want to scream :)

The fact you are using the word population is making me believe you are either not reading the posts or you are genuinely misinterpreting them.

The leagues DO NOT need to be where the population is - they need to be where the CLUBS are. Clubs and population are NOT synonymous with one another. There are very populous areas of the country that do not have the required number of already-present or aspiring-to-be step 6 clubs, yet there are other areas with smaller populations that have an abundance of them.

I just beg of you to stop obsessing over the population of areas. Its irrelevant - the only thing that is relevant is where Step 6 clubs and future Step 6 clubs ACTUALLY exist, hence Brightside's map which clearly illustrates this to us all...
 

SGW

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With all due respect you are making me want to scream :)

I'm itching to reply to both your comment and also Lionarm's because I disagree with both.

But I don't think that would get us anywhere, would it?

Let's leave it as neither of us understanding the other's position, shall we? I'm clearly in a minority here going in to bat against the orthodoxy and (who knows?) you might be right even though I can't currently see it.
 

aicwhu

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With all due respect you are making me want to scream :)

The fact you are using the word population is making me believe you are either not reading the posts or you are genuinely misinterpreting them.

The leagues DO NOT need to be where the population is - they need to be where the CLUBS are. Clubs and population are NOT synonymous with one another. There are very populous areas of the country that do not have the required number of already-present or aspiring-to-be step 6 clubs, yet there are other areas with smaller populations that have an abundance of them.

I just beg of you to stop obsessing over the population of areas. Its irrelevant - the only thing that is relevant is where Step 6 clubs and future Step 6 clubs ACTUALLY exist, hence Brightside's map which clearly illustrates this to us all...
The above explanation from Sarumio Whites seems so obviously right to me and also that pooling in time will
have the leagues and teams in the right places that even though I have read all of the posts I just can't see
any logic in the fixed boundaries idea.

Perhaps I have missed something
 

Northstandexile

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I always thought football clubs at this level wanted to play other teams in their ’local‘ area and play a reasonable number of league games in the season to make competition worthwhile.

Fixed boundaries means issue no.1 is satisfied.

However fixed boundaries at present mean uneven numbers in each area. Unless folk feel that double round robin league system is the only thing that matters then fixed boundaries idea has a problem.

However I feel that clubs just want to play a reasonable number of ‘local’ games a season and as long as number of promotions and relegations are known before season starts what’s the problem.
 

Brightside

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The above explanation from Sarumio Whites seems so obviously right to me and also that pooling in time will
have the leagues and teams in the right places.
For the leagues and teams to be in the right place they need to allow Step 6 ready teams to enter the pyramid where there are lots of them (Midlands) and not search for them (Kent)
If they do that Steps 6 & then 5 will find the right place with pooling.

It'll be evolving for a few years and some clubs will move to different leagues away from their neighbours but It'll settle down but you'll never stop the issue of border clubs unless you accept relegation numbers being based on higher leagues (which I'm not convinced of)

A clearer pyramid can be created though with each additional step having 2* the previous, this makes promotion and relegation clearer.
A clearer path can be created by mapping out a general path from Steps 3 to 6.

This may not be idea but something like;

Usual paths

NL & NCE - NPL East
NWCN & NWCS - NPL West
UCL & ML - Midlands / Central North
SSML & CCN - Midlands / Central South
WL & HL - SL West
WX & CCS - SL East
ECL & ESL - IL North
SCE & SoCo - IL South
 

SGW

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The above explanation from Sarumio Whites seems so obviously right to me and also that pooling in time will
have the leagues and teams in the right places that even though I have read all of the posts I just can't see
any logic in the fixed boundaries idea.

Perhaps I have missed something
With all due apologies to everyone, couldn't resist replying to this comment.

When you say "right," you need to define what you mean by that. Are you saying there is only ever one truth?

Will national pooling achieve this golden aim of fairness across the board? Yes, of course it could do but it hasn't so far and my opinion (others are clearly available) is that it never will. It also comes with all sorts of undesirable side-effects IMO.

Could much the same effect be achieved with recognised boundaries? Yes, of course it could if given a chance. It would be far from perfect but it would still be much less impactful upon clubs and leagues than pooling already has been and will continue to be.
 

Unicorn

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For the leagues and teams to be in the right place they need to allow Step 6 ready teams to enter the pyramid where there are lots of them (Midlands) and not search for them (Kent)
If they do that Steps 6 & then 5 will find the right place with pooling.

It'll be evolving for a few years and some clubs will move to different leagues away from their neighbours but It'll settle down but you'll never stop the issue of border clubs unless you accept relegation numbers being based on higher leagues (which I'm not convinced of)

A clearer pyramid can be created though with each additional step having 2* the previous, this makes promotion and relegation clearer.
A clearer path can be created by mapping out a general path from Steps 3 to 6.

This may not be idea but something like;

Usual paths

NL & NCE - NPL East
NWCN & NWCS - NPL West
UCL & ML - Midlands / Central North
SSML & CCN - Midlands / Central South
WL & HL - SL West
WX & CCS - SL East
ECL & ESL - IL North
SCE & SoCo - IL South
The one thing that is obvious to me is that you can not treat all parts of the country the same.
The South East is heavily populated and journeys for matches much shorter than in some other parts.
But then again traffic will be heavier.
But if for example your in the Croydon area does it make much difference to you if you play in the Combined Counties or the Southern Counties East.
But in other parts it will.
 

Unicorn

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With all due apologies to everyone, couldn't resist replying to this comment.

When you say "right," you need to define what you mean by that. Are you saying there is only ever one truth?

Will national pooling achieve this golden aim of fairness across the board? Yes, of course it could do but it hasn't so far and my opinion (others are clearly available) is that it never will. It also comes with all sorts of undesirable side-effects IMO.

Could much the same effect be achieved with recognised boundaries? Yes, of course it could if given a chance. It would be far from perfect but it would still be much less impactful upon clubs and leagues than pooling already has been and will continue to be.
In all things there is only one truth.
The truth here is that the various committees do not believe in fixed boundaries and so we will not have them.
 

aicwhu

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With all due apologies to everyone, couldn't resist replying to this comment.

When you say "right," you need to define what you mean by that. Are you saying there is only ever one truth?

Will national pooling achieve this golden aim of fairness across the board? Yes, of course it could do but it hasn't so far and my opinion (others are clearly available) is that it never will. It also comes with all sorts of undesirable side-effects IMO.

Could much the same effect be achieved with recognised boundaries? Yes, of course it could if given a chance. It would be far from perfect but it would still be much less impactful upon clubs and leagues than pooling already has been and will continue to be.
By "right" I mean clear , correct and sensible.
What I need to understand your POV is why you say "it never will".
What are the "undesirable side-effects?"

Clear exposition of the down-sides please not just some somewhat vague generalisations
might help me better understand

Thanks


andrew c
 

Sarumio Whites

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With all due apologies to everyone, couldn't resist replying to this comment.

When you say "right," you need to define what you mean by that. Are you saying there is only ever one truth?

Will national pooling achieve this golden aim of fairness across the board? Yes, of course it could do but it hasn't so far and my opinion (others are clearly available) is that it never will. It also comes with all sorts of undesirable side-effects IMO.

Could much the same effect be achieved with recognised boundaries? Yes, of course it could if given a chance. It would be far from perfect but it would still be much less impactful upon clubs and leagues than pooling already has been and will continue to be.
Im really glad you replied, This forum is for debate and to hear everyone's views and to argue :) No o s here to shut you up :)

However your point about pooling having not worked - no you're right it hasn't I'll agree - but that is because the FA have only ever half-heartedly done it. They've never gone the whole hog.

Like Brightside said, the FA are pooling in some areas, but not in others. They are still neglecting the Midlands clubs and they have up until now still been searching for clubs that don't exist in Kent. They've created a new CoCo division in the south and done away with two Midlands leagues in the northern half (the EMCL and WMRL) in spite of the fact that the number of applicants in that area outnumbers the CoCo area's applicant count by about 5-1

Some other examples:
They've been merrily relegating northern and Midlands clubs (Arnold, Darlington RA, Alnwick, Thrapston, Retford, Bolehall, Stafford, Harworth, Brigg etc etc) whilst barely relegating a soul in a quarter empty divisions in the south that can't populate them.

All the while dragging in random Middlesex clubs that groundshare (basically all of them), go pop within a year (ie Fire United), have never played football before (Hashtag), or weren't even at Step 7 prior to joining Step 6 (Newbury Forest, Benfleet, Bagshot, half the SCEFL). This was all done in the name of fixed boundaries! The SCEFL in its 10 years has not relegated a single club to Step 7 (they demoted Crockenhill because of their ground, that's it!).

They relegated Northern and Midlands clubs in the same summer that they dragged up Moreton, Bourton and Stonehouse into the Hellenic despite those clubs either not being in a promotion place or not even being in an NLS League - this was not pooling - this was a fixed boundaries approach to deal with the Hellenic's numbers crisis, which ironically wasn't solved, quelle surprise, and they're still both 5 teams short.

Fixed boundaries approach COULD work (with some flexibility built in AND the caveat that they can be reviewed every so often) IF the leagues were moved to more appropriate positions in the first place. It cannot work fixing the boundaries as they exist today. And it cannot work using any model based on population and area size. It can only work based on where the clubs that can and want to play at Step 6 actually are.
 

Brightside

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Brightside - excellent work mate.

Shows you how completely "wrong" the Step 6 divisions are at present - especially those south and West of London, and also shows the need for more midlands divisions at Step 6. Onl mass transfers in a southerly direction will achieve what actually needs to happen now.

You can imagine what the present SCE members would think of having Dorking Res, Chessington and Epsom & Ewell in their division would be though....

Also appears most of the present CoCo Div One has been transferred south to the SCE and SCL - and thus the CoCo has almost entirely shifted north and almost completely away from the entirety of its current footprint - as far as Moreton and Bourton in Glos. Again shows you where the leagues should actually be!

Quick question - whats going on with the grey pins (Littleton, the Hereford clubs etc) - just couldn't decide where to put them?

PS think Gainsborough Trinity Reserves are gone bye byes haven't they.

I have updated it. It's not perfect but it fits now



This is now split into 17 zones of 25 or 26 teams.

I should have kept the naming as it was and shifted them.

Most footprints are obvious and mainly cover their projected footprints
The green is the Hellenic (although it just as much CC area)
The Combined Counties would therefore shift to the purple (which is SSM1 territory)
The Spartan South Midlands would therefore shift to light red (I've named it United Counties)
The United Counties would therefore shift to brown (I've named it East Midlands)

I have left Gainsborough Trinity Reserves in for the moment, they're in a 26 team footprint so it doesn't matter in that sense.

I'll do a comparison with Step 5 and average the footprints as Step 5 & 6 should be somewhere between this map and next season's Step 5 projections.
 

Lionarm

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Im really glad you replied, This forum is for debate and to hear everyone's views and to argue :) No o s here to shut you up :)

Fixed boundaries approach COULD work (with some flexibility built in AND the caveat that they can be reviewed every so often) IF the leagues were moved to more appropriate positions in the first place. It cannot work fixing the boundaries as they exist today. And it cannot work using any model based on population and area size. It can only work based on where the clubs that can and want to play at Step 6 actually are.
Good post and I agree with most of it. Contrary to opinion I am not a special fan of pooling. I think in the past we have had a "fixed boundary" system. The boundary was never formally drawn on the map but would have been in the minds of the committee members, often drawn on old county lines. Now they have been told to become more flexible. To reiterate, I see "pooling" as just a modification of what we always had. But here's the nub:
"It can only work based on where the clubs that can and want to play at Step 6 actually are."
This is not, over time, going to be a fixed area.
Hence discussions around leagues "migrating" N. S. E. W. and all points between. While it is a discussion of interest, it really doesn't matter a jot.
Instead of artificial boundaries think of patches of football clubs (call them 'hubs' if you want).
 

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