Promotion and Relegations Roundup (steps 2-5)

Jemfy

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Better late than never?... Last year was a monumental effort that I really enjoyed so I am sad I didn't have the time this year. Hopefully I'll give it a go again next year - see how things pan out. I'll keep this as brief as possible. A quick roundup of the state of each division followed by a couple of useful resource links that fans around the lower divisions are probably already aware of.

Step 1 is the conference premier (or whatever tinpot name you call it now) - it's well enough covered by the majority of posters on this forum, so I see no need to delve in.

Steps 2-4 Promotion and playoffs:
For all step 2-4 leagues below there are 2 up from each division, with champions and then a 4-team playoff system. Playoffs are single leg hosted at the higher placed team's ground meaning a team in 2nd just has to win 2 home games to get promoted.

Relegation from these divisions is more complicated, with 3 going down from each step 2 division, 4 from each step 3 division, then 2 from the step 4 divisions with 22 teams (Northern and Southern league) and 3 from those with 24 teams (Isthmian) for the complicated step 4/5 borderline between 6 step 4 divisions and 14 step 5's (plus then complications with reprieves and non-promotions etc). For now I will deal with the relegation issues as if there will be no reprieves.

Step 2 - Conference North
Promotion is has been pretty much sealed for Solihull Moors, the Moors have a healthy lead with 2 games to go for most teams - an unassailable 11 point lead. Playoffs are secured for North Ferriby and AFC Fylde. Sitting in 6th just outside the playoffs are Nuneaton who have a game in hand on the rest - more importantly however is that they face a trip to 5th placed Boston United on Saturday with a point separating the two. Strangely anything but a Boston win will confirm 4th placed Harrogate Town's playoff spot regardless of their own result, though if they can get a win a t Fylde then they are sorted. A Boston win doesn't confirm their spot in the playoffs due to that game in hand.

At the bottom end of the table relegation has been on the cards for bottom club Corby Town for a while, a mid-season revival gave them hope but they are now down, as are 21st placed Hednesford. Brackley can still climb out of the last remaining relegation spot and put a few different clubs in danger, but having occupied the relegation spots for most of the season they may be a cautionary tale about cup runs over league form.

Step 2 - Conference South
The title is still on the line - just about, with Sutton United leading the way. Ebbsfleet in 2nd could still grab it out of their hands, but they need Sutton to lose twice while Ebbsfleet have to win their only remaining game. Maidstone in 3rd can't catch Sutton but could steal 2nd for home playoffs all the way should they make it past the semi-final stage which they are currently guaranteed to be in. Truro and Hemel Hempstead take up the final playoff spots right now, but it's 2 from 5 for those with with Maidenhead, Dartford and Whitehawk chasing.

Basingstoke - who have just made announcements about going full time next season will be doing so at step 3, probably in the Southern League. Currently they look to be joined in relegation by Havant & Waterlooville and Hayes & Yeading implying it's a bad year to have an "&" in your name... (*whistles*). Both can get out of it in theory, with 15th placed Eastbourne being the highest club in anything close to real danger, theoretically 14th placed Wealdstone could go down on 49 points but it would require an exact set of results for almost all of the clubs below them over the remaining games. So exact that I expected fixtures would make it impossible, but so far as I can see they do not right now.

Step 3 & 4 - general note
Unless otherwise stated all step 3 and 4 leagues are entering the final weekend with just a single game remaining for all teams

Step 3 - Isthmian League Premier Division (ILPD)
While not over yet, Hampton & Richmond look to have the title all but won requiring just a point given their 3pt lead over Bognor Regis. Enfield have to travel to Hampton & Richmond requiring a win for a hope of a playoff spot with Dulwich Hamlet the only team that can fall out of the top 5. East Thurrock and Tonbridge Angels have been confirmed.

With 4 teams going down it's one of Needham Market (48), Farnborough (50), Burgess Hill (48 with 2 to play) or Hendon (48 with 2 to play) to join the three that are already down - Brentwood, Lewes and VCD Athletic. It is in fact Needham who play Dulwich meaning a lot on the line in that particular game, while tonight (Wednesday) Burgess Hill and Hendon face off in the game in hand, meaning the winner is safe, a draw would mean both going in to the final day needing either a result or Needham to fail to win.

Step 3 - Northern Premier League Premier Division (NPLPD)
The title is Darlington's to lose with a 2 point lead and a game in hand either a single win or two draws will see them as champions no matter what happens with Blyth, it becomes increasingly likely that Darlo will seal it when you consider the last two games age against sides with nothing to play for. That would mean playoffs with Blyth guaranteed the 2nd placed set of purely home games, and Salford the last team guaranteed playoffs. The final spots will be 2 from 3 of Ashton United, Stourbridge and Workington, with the first two equal on points and Workington trailing by 1. Stourbridge have a game in hand to be played Thursday at Frickley who are currently in 7th but 9pts behind Workington.

Relegation almost completely sealed with Stamford likely to join Hyde United, Colwyn Bay and Ramsbottom United. Stamford require a win and a GD swing of 6 poins against Mickleover Sports. It could all be over tonight should Mickleover get anything from their game in hand vs at Nantwich.

Step 3 - Southern League Premier Division (SLPD)
The tile has been won and Poole have been crowned as champions. Playoffs are pretty clear too with Hungerford and Hitching already preparing and Leamington and Redditch sitting on the exact maximum points of both Weymouth and Kettering. The latter need to win two games and hope that either Leamington lose on the final day or Redditch lose both tonight and on the final day as well as suffering a big GD dent as their +41 has them all but confirmed for a playoff place.

It's all over at the wrong end of the table with only pride or potential reprieves to play for. Bedworth United occupy the prime spot to stay up on a technicality, with Histon, Bideford and Paulton Rovers also down.

Step 4 - Isthmian League Division 1 North

Clear runaway winner AFC Sudbury are up with 105 points from 45 games to date. Impressive. Thurrock and Harlow will enjoy home playoff semi-finals against Cray and Hornchurch who are sealed as 4th and 5th respectively. Thurrock and Harlow are currently separated by GD, and just 1pt at that, so they are playing for which of two known opponents and a potential home final, with Thurrock likely to take the 2nd spot due to Harlow playing away at the champions.

3 down from this division, with Redbridge emulating their more illustrious neighbours and Barkingside also already down. Waltham Abbey occupy the last relegation spot, but with superior GD they can catch either Wroxham or Heybridge Swifts on the final day with a win. Heybridge would need to lose, or Wroxham fail to win. Waltham Abbey have the joy of playing bottom side Redbridge, who might be able to bring them down together, or gift them survival.

Step 4 - Isthmian League Division 1 South

Folkstone Invicta have done an even better job of running away with the ILD1S title with 108 points from their 44 games to date! Dorking are all but confirmed as 2nd with a huge GD swing on the final day needed to lose that spot to 3rd placed Hythe. Worthing could take 3rd but won't drop out of the playoffs, with the final spot coming from either Corinthian Casuals, Hastings United or Faversham Town, with 2 points separating the three teams.

The bottom 3 are all relegated, with Walton & Hersham being another team with an "&" to change division, although with the potential to be saved, Peacehaven & Telscombe join the club, and Whitstable take the bottom spot - perhaps as the division has no more clubs with an "&" to relegate.

Step 4 - Northern Premier League Division 1 North

Another runaway winner this time Warrington Town break the 100 mark with 103 from their 41 games to date. Spennymoor, Northwich Victoria, Glossop North End and Burscough make up the playoff spots and can't be shifted out. Spennymoor have secured 2nd while the others can be moved around based on final day results.

Harrogate Railway and New Mills get relegated, the latter just avoided the drop last year on a reprieve IIRC, this year they go down as the bottom side with just 3 points and an impressive -128 GD so I can't see them getting a reprieve at all this time!

Step 4 - Northern Premier League Division 1 South

Stafford Rangers lead the league with 94 points but Shaw Lane Aquaforce can still have a final shot on the last day at taking the title and automatic promotion. Coleville, Basford and Lincoln United should make up the playoffs in that order, with potential for the last two to swap on the last day.

Tividale are the only team relegated on points so far, but the 2nd bottom team is Daventry who I believe have already tendered their resignation from the league and will be automatically awarded bottom spot as a result. Daventry could theoretically take 20th spot and stay up on points at the expense of Loughborough Dynamo, though the resignation would make it moot as Dynamo would be 20th in the final table either way if it stands.

Step 4 - Southern League Division 1 Central

Finally the division I know most about! Champions are still to be decided with Egham still able to take it on the final day. Royston need a win tomorrow night to give themselves a chance of joining Egham on 82 points. Royston play Egham on the final day in a showdown that might just be deciding playoff order if current leaders Kings Langley take a win. Should they draw and one of the other teams win then GD would favour the winner of Egham and Royston. St Ives and AFC Rushden & Diamonds are confirmed for playoff spots and away ties in the semi-finals at least. Neither could catch Royston in 3rd but Diamonds could take 4th for the theoretically easier semi-final - though with St Ives playing bottom side North Greenford a hammering is likely in order.

The first relegation was finally confirmed with North Greenford United taking the drop. Leighton Town occupy the other relegation position, but Hanwell are in danger of swapping in when both teams play on Thursday, Leighton having the advantage of playing the only team below them in the table.

Step 4 - Southern League Division 1 South & West

Cinderford Town will be plying their trade in the Southern Premier next season, with the playoffs made up of Banbury, Taunton, Swindon Supermarine and Winchester City. Evesham could theoretically take that last spot from Winchester, but they would have to lose both their remaining games while Evesham win their final match.

Burnahm and Bashley are relegated, with Bashley embarrassing themselves even more than New Mills above with just 2 points and -185 GD.


So that wraps up steps 2-4 based on no reprieves etc. This is clearly unlikely, and I believe a few are already set to happen. I'll add another post with step 4 reprieves and step 5 promotion standings shortly. I'll also explain the weirdness that is step 5 promotions and how reprieves are decided.
 

Jemfy

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A quick explanation of how this works before launching in. Scroll down for the bold text if you aren't interested.

Because the boundary between step 4 and step 5 doesn't make any sense, and changing it so that it does hasn't been proposed in a manner that is acceptable to the majority at step 5 the re-structure was done the other year in order to provide 14 relegations from step 4, even though 14 teams don't ever get relegated on merit due to reprieves. This is to match the 14 leagues at step 5 which each theoretically promote one team (used to be 12 from 14 meaning you could win your division, have the right ground grading but miss out on points per game or even GD).

Simple one first - step 5 promotions. Each division can promote one side. For a side to be promoted they must finish in the top 3, have applied for promotion by the cutoff date, and pass ground grading. The highest side in the top 3 to fulfill the criteria gets promoted. Simple (ish). The FA previously made noises about preferring more promotions to extra reprieves at step 4 but has not followed through on this so the idea of a 2nd team being promoted from a division is at this stage pure fantasy from teams in that position.

Reprieves at step 4 are handed out based on certain criteria:
If the reprieve comes from within a league or division the reprieve stay for that league or division (i.e. a team in the Southern League couldn't be reprieved due to a team from the Isthmian being kicked out or whatever). If a team goes from a step 4 division they get classified as occupying the bottom spot.
Based on the above criteria reprieves are handed out on a points per game basis, though a preference for non-allocated repreieves goes to the Northern League due to the fact that they have 3 promotion spots per division. Teams finishing 3rd bottom must be reprieved before those finishing 2nd bottom, before those finishing bottom.
The FA have previously said that since the relegation was changed to 14 down from 12 down the bottom team will always be relegated and extra promotions applied if necessary to make this happen (n.b. it hasn't happened yet - partially due to the trick of allocating a team that resigns or is kicked out of division the bottom spot).

Clear as mud right? Well luckily for you and me some fellow over at the Tony Kempster forum keeps track of all of this, so we can just refer to his spreadsheet!

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1uzup1w3309YXWqtoEVUYy3xxLLIq3n7EQkmTGonolMo/edit#gid=0

Currently there is one reprieve available as the Northern League will not promote a team as things stand, though Bishop Auckland can make it in to the top 3 due to their number of games in hand. Apparently if Farnborough finish in a relegation spot they will go down to step 5, but if they don't they stay at step 3 (I'm not fully aware of why that is).

I'll let you all look at the spreadsheet for individual divisions, but here is a list of teams promoted as things stand:
AFC Dunstable - Currently top of Spartan South Midlands, won't finish outside top 3, nobody who applied and passed can overtake them.
Horsham - Champions of Southern Combination League
Greenwich Borough - Champions of Southern Counties East League
AFC Kempston Rovers - Will finish top 3 in UCL, Leicester Nirvana failed ground grading.
Kidlington - Champions of Hellenic League
Salisbury - Champions of Wessex League

Currently in line to go up are:
FC Romania/Bowers & Pitsea - Both in top 3, Bowers & Pitsea trail but have games in hand giving a better PPG currently
Nowrich United - Likely winners of Eastern Counties League
Camberly Town - Likely to finish 2nd in Combined Counties League, Hartley Witney in 1st have failed ground grading.
Runcorn Linnets - Currently lead Colne in North West Counties League
Tadcaster Albion - Likely winners of Northern Counties East League
Hereford - Likely winners of Midland Alliance League
Barnstaple Town - Likely to finish 2nd in Western League with Odd Down failed ground grading
[Bishop Auckland will get promoted if they can get in the top 3 of the Northern League]
 

Chris FGR

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Promotion is has been pretty much sealed for Solihull Moors

Know something we don't? Looks done and dusted to me.

Odd Down's in Bath. You can't see the pitch properly from their stand. Probably why they failed the grading.
 

Jemfy

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Know something we don't? Looks done and dusted to me.

Nope, got distracted and was going to put something like "for a while" after it. Partially why the first part of the sentence doesn't make sense too...

Bold means confirmed promotion/relegation (though I've given Daventry bold due to their issues and resignation rather than points).
 

Murphy

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Be a second successive promotion for Norwich United, I believe.

Be good to see Bowers go up, had a solid season reaching the FA Vase semi-finals as well.
 

Jemfy

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Odd Down's in Bath. You can't see the pitch properly from their stand. Probably why they failed the grading.

You can never tell why to be honest. I'm not sure that having a good view of the pitch is a criterion, it's all about the exact number of seats, entrances, fence heights, pitch perimeters and niggly little things like that.
 

Harrier94

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Redditch won 6-2 last night so are they now secure in the playoffs Jemfy?
 

Greenacres

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Odd Down's in Bath. You can't see the pitch properly from their stand. Probably why they failed the grading.

soccer_field_on_a_hill2.jpg


You also need a boat to fetch the ball whenever it ends up in the lake.
 

genesimmons

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Good read mate. Bishop dont look like makeing top 3 so its another season of no promotions from the northern league. Still the league management wont worry, the leavue once went 10 year where no club got promoted
 

Jemfy

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Redditch won 6-2 last night so are they now secure in the playoffs Jemfy?

Indeed they are, unless any further points deductions get added, but it looks like the suspended players only played in the one game. Interesting to see the FA actually applied the point deduction here when they have failed to apply the rule fully in a number of cases this season - perhaps because it was two players rather than one?

Elsewhere in the Southern League a very convenient second half for Kettering means they have gone ahead of Weymouth on GD and are the best poised to take 5th if Leamington lose. Going from 0-0 at HT at Bideford to 7-0 when they needed 6-0 or better to go ahead on goal difference.

In the Southern League Division 1 Central Royston are still in with a shot at the title having won their game in hand and move up to 2nd on GD. They face off against now 3rd placed Egham on the final day with both sides hoping Kings Langley fail to win given their inferior GD to the pair. At the bottom end Hanwell and Leighton both won meaning that they stay separated by a single point going in to the final day of the season.

Finally the South and West division has also allocated it's final playoff spot thanks to Winchester getting the point they needed at Slimbridge meaning that that division only has the order of playoff teams left to settle, and while that can change mathematically it looks like every game is pretty much dead rubber on the final weekend.
 

Jemfy

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Darlington are promoted having won the NPLPD with an emphatic 7-1 win at Whitby. Stourbridge's hopes of staying in the playoffs took a hit with a loss at Frickley and a final day game against Salford won't be easy to pick up the points. It remains 2 from 3 with Ashton United ahead on GD and Workington chasing with just a 1pt deficit making them the real winners with Stourbridge's loss. At the bottom end of the NPLPD Mickleover have gained the point they needed and Stamford will now be relegated.

Nothing to change in the NPLD1N and NPLD1S as catch up games have not changed things. Still as above.

In the Isthmian there's some change as Hendon are now safe in the ILPD having beaten Burgess Hill to give last season's first team promoted a chance at going straight back down. Farnborough are the other club in trouble of dropping in to the bottom 4 and potentially triggering a double relegation (though I am not entirely sure what the deal is there).

No changes in the ILD1N or ILD1S either.

Step 3 and 4 leagues have now all caught up for the final weekend before going in to playoffs. Step 2 have another week left.
 

Jemfy

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A quick round-up from the unsettled step 5 leagues - in terms of promotion at least.

Northern League - Bishop Auckland, the only eligible club, moved a step closer to a top 3 finish with a 3-0 win on Thursday, but the teams above them with numerous games in hand also won catch-up midweek matches to keep them at bay. Weirdly one of the teams has already finished their season, and they are easily catchable, but that will only move Bishop up to 4th unless Morpeth or Maske start losing a lot of games. They are only a couple of points ahead of Bishop but with 6 and 5 games in hand respectively it looks like another season with no team coming up from this division

Essex Senior League - As you were for the two eligible candidates as both won since the above postings, crucially though Bowers & Pitsea have 2 games in hand and just 1 point to catch on FC Romania, who only have one game left. B&P will be left ruing Saturday's loss which took them off the top of the table effectively. Right now both trail Basildon United who did not apply for promotion.

Eastern Counties League - Nowrich United have sealed promotion and the title as they won 2-1 at Walsham le Willows.

Combined Counties League - Camberly and Ashford (middlesx) are level on point, with Ashford having closed in the GD gap by 2 on Thursday night, though Camberly remain favourites to take promotion given their game in hand. Hartley Witney not won the title quite yet, but can do soon, even though they can't take promotion.

North West Counties League - Colne will be kicking themselves that they drew Thursday's game, but their remaining game in hand could take them top above Runcorn Linnets. In fairness it was a tough fixture vs 3rd placed Atherton Colleries who now look unlikely to seriously figure in the final promotion standings, though are mathematically still in it.

Northern Counties East League - A new leader here as Handsworth Parramore take the lead with a 6-0 win to follow up Tadcaster Albion's loss on Wednesday night. Cleethorpes Town won to keep up the pressure on the top 2 but a 4 points behind with 3 games left will probably be too much of an ask.

Midland Alliance League - No changes here as Hereford were in cup action. Alvechurch have 2 games in hand but a 10 point deficit meaning it's Hereford's to lose. Their first chance to win it is this weekend, but they require a win and for Alvechurch to lose.

Western League - Finally the Western league had Buckland Athletic move up to 4th to contend with Bristol Manor Farm (cup game) and Barnstaple (no fixture). The three all have played 35 of 38 games with 72, 75 and 79 respectively putting Barnstaple firmly in the driving seat to shut out Buckland with a win on Saturday.

So one more division settled, 7 to go at step 5.
 

Greenacres

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My knowledge of non-league football and the structure is a bit shady, although I have a better understanding of how they pyramid works after finding this brilliant document:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/163rQigkU0WPSVnsENhnFbiBiH54sRi_QY3PLOtz0MuQ/edit#gid=0

It seems odd that in some divisions teams have to apply for promotion and if the top four or five haven't applied then it is possible for nobody to go up. One would assume that this affects teams above, if no teams need to be relegated into it to replace them. How does that work, do teams have to register an interest in promotion at the start of the season, or is there a time to confirm that things like ground gradings will not be met, and thus remove any chance of promotion. If, as highlighted above, in the case of the Northern League, why don't they just promote the first suitable team? Sorry, lots of questions there, but I am just curious how the whole thing works.
 

veggieeater

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Glad this system is for lower tiers, I can imagine some on here would be suggesting (on the basis of suitable team) that only the top ex league club should be promoted from our league :fish:
 

Jemfy

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My knowledge of non-league football and the structure is a bit shady, although I have a better understanding of how they pyramid works after finding this brilliant document:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/163rQigkU0WPSVnsENhnFbiBiH54sRi_QY3PLOtz0MuQ/edit#gid=0

It seems odd that in some divisions teams have to apply for promotion and if the top four or five haven't applied then it is possible for nobody to go up. One would assume that this affects teams above, if no teams need to be relegated into it to replace them. How does that work, do teams have to register an interest in promotion at the start of the season, or is there a time to confirm that things like ground gradings will not be met, and thus remove any chance of promotion. If, as highlighted above, in the case of the Northern League, why don't they just promote the first suitable team? Sorry, lots of questions there, but I am just curious how the whole thing works.

Technically you have to apply for promotion at all levels I believe. It's just that everyone tends to accept the small cost at higher levels - at lower levels the cost is more significant relative to say a player's wages so clubs decide not to go for it, and some clubs just don't want to be promoted as they believe the extra travel and potentially higher wages will not be levelled out with extra incomes. And of course some clubs just know they won't pass ground grading and don't want to put in the money to do so.

Indeed it does affect the leagues above. You could argue that the Northern League having a habit of not putting teams up for promotion have made a significant impact on the slow geographical migration south of the step 3 and 4 divisions. So much so that we might be placed in the NPLD1S next season (current projection and something we've had some chat on our forum about).

As for promoting the first suitable team - it's twofold. Do you really want to promote a team who finish in say 12th?... Also I'm sure in previous seasons the Northern League has literally had no applicants. More practically though it's historical. There used to, until about 3 years ago, be 12 relegation/promotion spots and not 14 to match the number of divisions - meaning 12 teams would be promoted even if a league or two had no suitable applicant. This means that teams could apply, pass ground grading, win their league and still not be promoted due to points per game of other champions. It was also possible for 2 teams from a single division to be promoted then too. The new rules haven't been gotten used to yet, and I suspect there will be tweaks in the future, but the short version is - in the past it didn't matter so much. On top of all that as well is the fact that there are always a bunch of reprieves for various reasons - one more due to clubs deciding not to go up is less important to address than the reasons clubs get in to financial issues.

Also, that's another great document from the people over at the Tony Kempster forums. I thought it would be good to have some post-playoff pre-AGM discussion with a thread on that one when things are a bit more settled.
 

Greenacres

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As for promoting the first suitable team - it's twofold. Do you really want to promote a team who finish in say 12th?... Also I'm sure in previous seasons the Northern League has literally had no applicants. More practically though it's historical.

Clearly not, but it is hard to envisage a situation where so many teams want to avoid promotion. I suppose it might be a case of a club cutting its cloth, so to speak, and weighing up the costs of moving upwards against remaining where they are. My team are in a league where the majority of teams are full-time, a number that is increasing all the time, but it is hard to imagine a part-time team remaining that way if they were promoted to the Football League. Maybe this situation helps to account for the fact that reformed clubs tend to race through the lower steps, as their resources and ambition are far greater than those they compete against and there is a belief that they can get back to a level where their predecessor formerly competed.

Ground grading is a different matter entirely but it does seem a sensible way of ensuring that facilities, for players, fans and anyone else attending a match, improve with the status of the club concerned. In our case I believe our current ground meets the grading for the Football League in most respects, other than the need for a Police control room, none of which should be too difficult to implement if the need arises.
 

genesimmons

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The northern league is a joke and dont be fooled by thinking alot of teams are poor. Theres a few ex pros in the league on a cushy wage playing for teams who dont want to move up. Promotion should be enforced. If league dont like that they should be removed from pyramid
 

Luke Imp

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Hell of a job by Dave Frecklington at Lincoln United.
 

SGW

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The northern league is a joke and dont be fooled by thinking alot of teams are poor. Theres a few ex pros in the league on a cushy wage playing for teams who dont want to move up. Promotion should be enforced. If league dont like that they should be removed from pyramid

Personally, I don't think that should be the case although, like Jemfy has said, it is contributing to a gradual move southwards for the NPL away from its heartland and into Southern League territory (I had to go to Barwell recently, all the way to bloody Leicester for a step 3 game!).

At the end of the day, if Northern League clubs (and their supporters) are prepared to accept mediocrity playing at step 5, that's their decision to make (and yes, I do know it has an impact on the Vase but so be it in my opinion). I appreciate that the NL is almost certainly a stronger step 5 league than any other but it's not as if ambitious NL clubs haven't seen the benefit of making the step up (Blyth, Darlo - special case admittedly -, Whitby, Spennymoor all in the NPL this season).
 

Jemfy

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Personally, I don't think that should be the case although, like Jemfy has said, it is contributing to a gradual move southwards for the NPL away from its heartland and into Southern League territory (I had to go to Barwell recently, all the way to bloody Leicester for a step 3 game!).

At the end of the day, if Northern League clubs (and their supporters) are prepared to accept mediocrity playing at step 5, that's their decision to make (and yes, I do know it has an impact on the Vase but so be it in my opinion). I appreciate that the NL is almost certainly a stronger step 5 league than any other but it's not as if ambitious NL clubs haven't seen the benefit of making the step up (Blyth, Darlo - special case admittedly -, Whitby, Spennymoor all in the NPL this season).

If the projections are right you can be heading to Corby next season for NPLPD games! The Northern League will be having a footprint in Northamptonshire.
 

rudebwoyben

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I'm pretty sure that Farnborough will be relegated even if they finish outside the relegation zone, assuming that they haven't paid their creditors in full.
They will be liable for a double relegation if they finish in the bottom 4.
 

Kim Mitten

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regarding applying for promotion, Jemfy is correct, at every step clubs have to apply. All clubs, even those being promoted from the Championship into the Premier League have the right to turn down promotion should they gain it.
It's very right at these lower steps that clubs should turn down promotion, some even doing so in August. A friend of mine is involved with the running of Basildon United, who lead the Essex Senior League. They have incredibly limited funds, to the point that they can't even afford to travel to North Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk every other week should they take up a place in Isthmian North One.
 

SGW

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If the projections are right you can be heading to Corby next season for NPLPD games! The Northern League will be having a footprint in Northamptonshire.

Wow, the way things are going the NPL will be pushing the Southern League off the M1 completely. Not good for either league and a massive downside of having this regimented pyramid.
 

Jemfy

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Wow, the way things are going the NPL will be pushing the Southern League off the M1 completely. Not good for either league and a massive downside of having this regimented pyramid.

It's almost as good an argument as any for a 4 division system to replace the current 3 divisions at step 3 (and then 8 at step 5). An ideal 4 division system would then include a bunch of promotions from up North based on geography, unfortunately that's completely unfair and won't be implemented. 8 step 4 divisions rather than 6 would obviously reduce travel time/cost and might encourage more clubs to take promotion too. I guess an ideal system would shake it up to then make 16 step 5 divisions, probably dissolving some of the step 6's in as a result. I'm not entirely sure how many step 6 leagues there are right now, Wikipedia says 17, so I guess the best solution there is merging the step 6's in to step 5 leagues to create 2 division leagues so step 5 and 6 are the same size, probably requiring more promotions from step 7, but you could relax some of the ground grading criteria, at least temporarily, to make this all happen.

We're also looking at being placed in the NPLD1S unless we win the play-offs. Last year we avoided being pushed there by 1 club essentially as Daventry went North. Their resignation could be what moves us on. Given that we won't win the playoffs I'm looking forwards to attending very few away games next season!
 

Jemfy

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In step 2 Sutton United have won the Conference South. The playoffs are being finalised in both divisions, in the North it's down to Nuneaton to win midweek or they cannot break in. In the South Maidenhead can't make the playoffs mathematically by virtue of Hemel and Whitehawk meeting on the final day. Dartford can only make it if Whitehawk lose their game in hand, an the two draw on the final day while winning their own game. Smart money is probably on Whitehawk who are on great form to take it.

As for relegation, with Hednesford and Corby down from the Conference North already Brackley are taking it to the final day, so long as Lowestoft don't win midweek, though that seems unlikely as they are playing North Ferriby in the game in hand. News in the southern portion is that Hayes & Yeading are nearly relegated by their loss, they could only survive on goal difference - where they currently trail St Albans by 17... The other relegation spot to join Basingstoke is occupied by Havant & Waterlooville, who have a game in hand to try and get out, and a win today at mid-table concord will help their case.

Step 3 and 4 leagues finished today, so here is a full round up of promotions and relegations from these divisions. NEW confirmations are in bold.

ILPD
It's Hampton & Richmond Borough crowned as champions on the final day. Playoffs will be:
Bognor Regis vs Dulwich Hamlet
East Thurrock vs Tonbirdge Angels

The relegation spots will be occupied by Burgess Hill Town*, Brentwood Town, Lewes and VCD Athletic.
*Burgess Hill Town will not be relegated due to Farnborough's financial issues during the season, they will instead be given a forcible relegation giving a reprieve to Burgess Hill.

NPLPD
Following Darlington sealing the title midweek and celebrating with a big win the playoffs will be made up of:
Blyth Spartans vs Workington
Salford City vs Ashton United

Stamford got a final day win but it wasn't enough after they were relegated midweek without playing. They join Hyde, Colwyn Bay and Ramsbottom United. In the end the only final day changes in the division were in the playoffs as Stourbridge dropped out.

SLPD
The title was wrapped up by Poole ages ago, but more match fixing accusations around the run for the final playoff spot as Leamington drew with Hungerford making suspiciously big midweek winners Kettering miss out by a point. Playoffs:
Redditch United vs Leamington
Hitchin vs Hungerford

The relegation places were previously confirmed as Bedworth, Histon Bideford and Paulton Rovers, so the fact that there are still two games left to go beyond the end of the season in this league is not of consequence to anything but final positions, which is quite lucky for the league as the games involved the three teams just outside the relegation spots...

ILD1N
AFC Sudbury had run away with this one. Playoffs:
Thurruck vs AFC Hornchurch
Harlow vs Cray Wanderers

In a final twist Wroxham have taken the final relegation spot, joining Barkingside and Redbridge. With the AGM cup coming up Wroxham are in a good position to be reprieved.

ILD1S
Another division to have runaway winner, these are the teams vying to join Folkstone Invicta:
Dorking Wanders vs Faversham Town
Working vs Hythe Town

Relegation issues have been long sorted, with Walton & Herhsam, Whistable and Peacehaven & Telscombe all down. 3rd bottom Walton & Hersham have gone with just 30 points giving them a poor PPG total for AGM cup purposes.

NPLD1N
Warrington have had this wrapped up for a while, with the playoffs constituting:
Spennymoor Town vs Burscough
Northwich Victoria vs Glossop North End

Also concluded previously is the relegations for Harrogate Railway and New Mills.

NPLD1S
Stafford Rangers
limped over the line with a final day draw to claim the title. Playoffs will be made up of:
Shaw Lane Aquaforce vs Lincoln United
Coalville Town vs Basford United

Daventry went down on points, though occupy bottom spot for AGM purposes, that said it's unlikely to matter without many reprieves currently forecast as bottom club Tividale naturally have a terrible PPG.

SLD1C
Winners on the final day were Kings Langley, who did just enough to win it by themselves with a 1-0 win, however the title was theirs no matter the result as Egham and Royston drew. St Ives hammered bottom club North Greenford as Diamonds won at home to Godalming to make the playoffs look like this:
Royston Town vs AFC Rushden & Diamonds
Egham Town vs St Ives Town

Relegation is confirmed for Leighton Town who will join North Greenford at step 5 next season, AGM willing with the final day loss potentially very important in the PPG stakes.

SLD1S&W
Champions Cinderford won't care about dropping points on the final day with the title already theirs. Promotion can be obtained from the playoffs from these fixtures:
Banbury United vs Winchester City
Taunton Town vs Swindon Supermarine

Burnham and Bashley were already relegated, final day losses for both hurt in the AGM stakes, for which Bashely can hold no hope with a grand total of 2 points all season!



Step 5 can be a bit slow updating but here are some updates for the 7 leagues where promoted sides hadn't been decided:

Northern League - In an interesting turn of events Bishop Auckland find themselves in 3rd place thanks to a loss for Morpeth who have 6 games in hand and are now 2 points behind. Bishop have 3 fixtures to build any cushion from and hope it's enough. This is made even more unlikely as Guisborough and Newton Aycliffe can also catch them with 5 games in hand each making 3 teams behind them with higher maximums.

Essex Senior League - No game for FC Romania means Bowers & Pitsea take full advantage and move 2 points ahead with a 9-0 win. In addition to the 2 point lead they have a game in hand, and FC Romania only have 1 left to play. Got to be odds on favourites for promotion now. Two wins would almost certainly see Bowers & Pitsea take the title from Basildon United given a lead of 17 in the GD tally and equal maximum points, the GD much helped by a 9-0 win today.

Combined Counties League - Wins for both eligible teams means it's advantage Camberly over Ashford as they have both a game in hand and better GD. 3 and 2 fixtures left respectively. Hartley Witney are a step away from the title, which Ashford can no longer win. Witney did apply but failed ground grading.

North West Counties League - Wins for the top 2 are taking this league to the wire. Runcorn Linnets are 2 points ahead but 2nd placed Colne have a game in hand. 3 and 4 fixtures left respectively.

Northern Counties East League - A costly loss for Handsworth Parramore at Brigg has been taken advantage of by Tadcaster Albion who go top by a point with a game in hand.

Midland Alliance League - Hereford handed out a thumping while Alvechuch had their game postponed. Hereford will be able to win the title in short order thanks to their 13 point lead it's all but confirmed now. Impressive to top 100 points in any division, and Hereford will now be fully focused on enjoying their football and playing for places for the Vase final against Morpeth.

Western League - Buckland Athletic were indeed shut out of the promotion stakes, and with Bristol Manor Farm losing it's Barnstaple that seal promotion with an 8 point lead over Manor farm who have 6 points left to play for. It is still conceivable that Barnstaple can win the title in the division over Odd Down.

So that pretty much concludes things. Another step 5 league has been decided, step 3 & 4 divisions with just the playoffs to go, and a week left for step 2 - with both titles done, it's just playoffs and final relegation places to be decided there.
 

genesimmons

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Shildon looked nailed on to win the northern league. Pity they are unambitious and dont fancy promotion
 

Luke Imp

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Lincoln United are away at the fantastically named Shaw Lane Aquaforce on Wednesday night in their PO game. I'm assuming it's also two-legs in that division, too.
 

Railway Blue

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The northern league is a joke and dont be fooled by thinking alot of teams are poor. Theres a few ex pros in the league on a cushy wage playing for teams who dont want to move up. Promotion should be enforced. If league dont like that they should be removed from pyramid


Bloody hell, that's a bit Draconian.

You make ISIL seem like Salvation Army
 
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