billsportsmaps.com

July 11, 2018

2018-19 National League [Non-League/5th division England], map with 17/18-crowds-&-finishes chart./+ Illustrations for the 4 promoted clubs (Salford City, Harrogate Town, Havant & Waterlooville, Braintree Town).

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2018-19 National League (aka the Conference) [5th division England], map with 17/18-crowds-&-finishes chart



By Bill Turianski on 11 July 2018; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-2018-19 National League (en.wikipedia.org).
-Official site…thenationalleague.org.uk.
-Table, fixtures, results, attendance, stats…SUMMARY – National League [2018-19] (us.soccerway.com).
-5th division/National League page at BBC.com…bbc.com/sport/football/national-league.

Brief re-cap of the 2017-18 5th division…

Promoted to the Football League [4th division]…Macclesfield Town won the 2016-17 National League, winning automatic promotion back to the Football League, after 5 seasons back in Non-League football. Tranmere Rovers won the Play-off final, beating Boreham Wood 2-1, after being stuck in non-League football for 3 seasons.

Now relegated down to non-League/5th division/National League are… Chesterfield and Barnet.

    Promoted up from the 6th division and into the National League/5th division are the four clubs profiled below…
    (Promoted from National League North: Salford City and Harrogate Town. /
    Promoted from National League South: Havant & Waterlooville and Braintree Town.)
    Salford City FC.

Est. 1940. Colours: Red shirts, White pants, Black trim…‘ The club’s colours are red, white and black [in tribute to Machester United's colours]. Prior to the change in ownership in 2014, the club played in tangerine and black (earlier colours include tangerine and white, and all navy blue).’…{-excerpt from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salford_City_F.C.}. Nickname: the Ammies [ie, the Amateurs]. Location: Kersal, Borough of Salford, Greater Manchester. Population of Kersal: around 12,900 {2014 figure}. Population of Salford: city-population of around 248,000 {2016 estimate}. Kersal, Salford is situated 2.75 miles (4.5 km) NW of Manchester city centre. Kersal, Salford is situated (by road) 203 miles (327 km) NW of London.
Manager of Salford City, Graham Alexander (age 46, born in Coventry, West Midlands). Alexander, the former Fleetwood Town and Scunthorpe United manager, was hired by Salford City on 14 May 2018.

Salford City: from the 8th tier, to the 5th division, in 4 seasons…
That Salford City have now achieved 3 promotions in 4 seasons  should come as no surprise. That is because there is big money propelling the club forward. ‘Class of 92′-/-former-Manchester-United stars Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and Nicky Butt bought the club in March 2014. Indeed, the consortium has ambitious aims for the non-League club, with a target of reaching the 2nd division (the League Championship) by 2029 (a 15-year-plan, as it were). In January 2015, manager Phil Power was sacked and the dual-manager team of Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson were brought in. (Morley and Johnson had had success at another Greater Manchester-based lower-non-League club, Ramsbottom United: the two had gotten Ramsbottom promoted to the 7th tier in 2014.) Three months later in April 2015, Salford City won promotion from the 8th tier by winning the Northern Premier League D1-North, beating out Darlington by 4 points. That season (14/15), Salford City drew 384 per game (4th-highest in the league that year).

In September 2015, the Class-of-92-five sold half their stake in Salford City to Valencia CF owner Peter Lim (who is a Hong Kong-based billionaire), so that meant the Salford City project had even more wealth behind it. Then Salford City got a fair deal of exposure in October 2015, when the club was featured in the BBC television series ‘Class of 92: Out of their League’. And in November 2015, Salford City (est. 1940) qualified for the FA Cup 1st round for the first time ever, beating Notts County 2-0 (in a televised match), before losing to Hartlepool in a 2nd round replay.

In that 2015-16 season, the first full season under Morley-and-Johnson, Salford City were in the play-off places for most of the season. They finished in 3rd, and then beat Ashton United in the semi-final, and then beat Workington in the final, 2-0, in front of 2,000 at the old Moor Lane. That crowd there for that play-off final was about 1,300 larger than Salford usually drew back then (Salford drew 642 per game in 2015-16).

By 2016-17, Salford City, playing their first-ever season in the 6th tier (the National League North), had more than doubled their crowds. The club drew 1,395 per game in 2016-17. But Salford, who finished 3rd, flamed out in the play-offs, losing in the semi-finals to the eventual play-offs winner, Halifax Town.

In late 2016, the club had began a complete re-development of their Moor Lane ground. {See this article from StadiumDB.com, See what Salford City are building in less than a year.} On the 19th of October 2017, just eleven months later, the completely new venue was opened, with a new name: the Peninsula Stadium. {See this, Sir Alex Ferguson opens new Salford City stadium as Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville watch on (dailymail.co.uk/football).} This, of course, drew even more fans to Salford City matches. In 2017-18, Salford ended up drawing 1,611 per game, which is about 1,200 more than they were drawing 3 seasons ago.

Meanwhile, in the 2017-18 season, Salford City cruised to the National League South title with relative ease. They had picked up, on a free transfer from Rochdale, a local-born striker, Jack Redshaw, who had a good deal of Football League experience (with Morecambe, particularly, scoring 15 goals for the Shrimps in 2012-13). Redshaw, evidently comfortable playing a couple levels lower and back in his home town, led Salford City with 17 league goals. For a time, it looked like the prolific-scoring Harrogate Town would contest the title, but the North Yorkshire side faltered down the stretch, while Salford won 5 straight from late-March-to-mid-April. And so, on the 21st of April, before a crowd of 2,466, Salford City clinched the title (and automatic promotion), with a game to spare, despite losing on the day (to Boston United 1-2) (see photo of Salford City fans’ pitch-invasion/celebration, below).

Then on 8 May, two-and-a-half weeks after clinching automatic promotion to the 5th division, joint-managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley stepped down, because they could not come to an agreement with Salford City regarding new contracts. {See this article from official Salford City site, Mutual Consent (from 8 May 2018 at salfordcityfc.co.uk). Also see this short thread at Reddit/soccer [link at end of paragraph], and specifically this comment there…’The press release mentioned differences about personal terms and contract length. I think the last run of the documentary on the club had touched about that as well. Basically Salford were willing to pay top dollar for the best players/managers in the division. The whole team was basically poached from other teams in the division or even one or two division up. For the co-managers i believe that they were the highest paid manager in that division and the one above. The problem was that when it was divided by two, it wasn’t really more than what they were making in jobs outside’…(comment by szu at reddit.com/soccer/[thread: Salford part ways with joint-managers].}

Salford City might not make it to the 2nd division before 2030, but it is starting to look like this club, from a few miles north of Old Trafford, will be playing in the Football League pretty soon.

Salford City: promoted to the 5th division for the first time…
salford-city_promoted-2018_moor-lane_aka-peninsula-stadium_anthony-johnson_bernard-morley_jack-redshaw_carl-piergianni_michael-nottingham_tom-walker_manu-class-of-92_m_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Salford City 17/18 jersey, photo from umbro.co.uk/salford-city-fc. Salford Quays, photo by khaosproductions at flickr.com. Aerial shot of Peninsula Stadium, photo unattributed at thenationalleague.org.uk. Interior shot of Peninsula Stadium, photo by Shaun Best at twitter.com/@shaun_best. Carl Piergianni, photo by @SalfordCityFC at twitter.com/SalfordCityFC. Michael Nottingham, photo by Gareth Lyons at picssr.com. Tom Walker, photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com.
Jack Redshaw, photo by Salford City at twitter.com/@SalfordCityFC. Co-managers Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson, photo unattributed at mirror.co.uk/football. ‘Class of 92′ Man U players who are co-owners Salford City (G Neville, N Butt, G Neville, R Giggs, P Scholes), photo by BBC via standard.co.uk. Fans and players celebrate promotion, photo from manchestereveningnews.co.uk/football.

    • Harrogate Town AFC.

Est. 1914. Colours: Black-and Yellow [vertically-striped jerseys]. Location: Harrogate, North Yorkshire. Population of Harrogate: around 75,000 {2011 census}. Harrogate is situated (by road) 16 miles (26 km) N of Leeds. Harrogate is situated (by road) 21 miles (34 km) W of York. Harrogate is (by road) 210 miles (338 km) N of central London.

‘Harrogate (HARR-ə-gət) is a spa town in North Yorkshire, England. Historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the town is a tourist destination and its visitor attractions include its spa waters and RHS Harlow Carr gardens. 13 miles (21 km) away from the town centre is the Yorkshire Dales national park…’ {-excerpt from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrogate}.

Manager of Harrogate Town, Simon Weaver (age 40, born in Doncaster). Simon Weaver has been manager of Harrogate Town for 9 years now. Weaver played 16 seasons as a MF, mainly in the 5th division, including 3 Football League seasons (at Lincoln City and at Kidderminster). In May 2009, he was hired as the player/manager of Conference South side Harrogate.

In 2010-11 Harrogate Town were a mid-table 6th-tier side, drawing 293 per game. In June 2011, Simon’s father, Irving (a multi-millionaire property developer), took over Harrogate Town. In 2017-18, the club went full-time professional, a rare step for a 6th-tier club. In the 6-year-span from 2012 to 2018, Harrogate Town saw an increase in crowd-size of over 800 per game: the club averaged 1,134 per game in 2017-18. A good family atmosphere at their Wetherby Road ground, and a good relationship with the Harrogate supporters trust, has helped increase their crowds. The team’s brand of football has probably helped swell crowds, too, as Harrogate were the highest-scoring team in the 6th tier by far. In 2017-18, the Harrogate squad were a well-organized unit that scored 100 goals, 19 more than anyone else in both the National Leagues North and South. But Harrogate were unable to keep pace with Salford City, and finished in 2nd place, giving them a bye in the first round of the play-offs. In the semi-finals, Harrogate Town beat Chorley 2-1, with both goal scored by Dominic Knowles, with the winning goal scored in the 94th minute. In the play-off final, Dominic Knowles scored a brace again, as Harrogate beat Brackley Town 3-0, in front of 3,000 at Wetherby Road (see screenshots and photos below).

And so 6 seasons after his father took over as owner of Harrogate Town, Simon Weaver’s Harrogate team have won promotion to the 5th division. And so now in 2018-19, following the back-to-back relegations of nearby York City, Harrogate Town are the highest-placed club from the county of North Yorkshire.

Harrogate Town: promoted to the 5th division for the first time…
harrogate-town_promoted-2018_wetherby-road_simon-weaver_joe-leesley_josh-falkingham_james-belshaw_dominic-knowles_c_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – Harrogate Town 17/18 jersey, from harrogatetownafc.com/online-store. View of Harrogate town centre, photo by Alamy via dailymail.co.uk. Wetherby Road front gate/office, photo by Joseph Gibbons at gibbos92.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/harrogate-town-fc-wetherby-road. Main Stand at Wetherby Road, photo by benrobinsongroundphotos.weebly.com/harrogate-town_wetherby-road. Family Stand, photo by Joseph Gibbons at gibbos92.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/harrogate-town-fc-wetherby-road. The two-way slope in the pitch at Wetherby Road, photo by thedribblingcode.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/sat-29-oct-2011-harrogate-town-v-hyde-conf-north. James Belshaw, photo from twitter.com/@HarrogateTown. Joe Leesley, photo by Ian Hodgson at dailymail.co.uk/football. Josh Falkingham, photo from harrogatetownafc.com. Dominic Knowles, photo from yorkshirepost.co.uk. Simon Weaver, photo from strayfm.com/news. Screenshot of 2nd goal (by Dominic Knowles) in 2018 National League South play-off final, image from HIGHLIGHTS | Harrogate Town 3-0 Brackley Town (Play-off Final) (uploaded by Through The Lens Visuals at youtube.com). Dominic Knowles, photo from yorkshirepost.co.uk. Promotion celebration, image from HIGHLIGHTS | Harrogate Town 3-0 Brackley Town (Play-off Final) (uploaded by Through The Lens Visuals at youtube.com).

    •Havant & Waterlooville FC.

Est. 1998, via merger of: Havant Town FC, and Waterlooville FC. Colours: White with blue and yellow trim. Location: Havant, Hampshire. Population of Havant: around 45,000 {2011 census}. Population of Waterlooville: around 64,000 {2011 census}. Havant is situated (by road) 7 miles (12 km) NE of Portsmouth. Havant is situated (by road) 71 miles (114 km) SW of central London.

Manager of Havant & Waterlooville, Lee Bradbury (age 43, born in Cowes, Isle of Wight). Bradbury has been manager of Havant & Waterlooville for 5-and-a-half years now (since Nov. 2012). He was previously the youth team coach at Portsmouth. And before that, Bradbury was manager of the then-3rd-division Bournemouth (from Jan. 2011 to March 2012).
-Bradbury’s Hawks Sign Off Historic Season With Treble (thenationalleague.org.uk).

Havant & Waterlooville were formed in 1998, the result of a merger between two 8th-level/Southern League D1 South clubs: Havant Town FC, and Waterlooville FC. They are nicknamed the Hawks, and play at the small and bare-bones West Leigh Park in Havant, Hampshire. Havant is about 7 miles (by road) NE of Portmouth. Waterlooville is about 5 miles NW of Havant, and Waterlooville is about 8 miles N of Portsmouth. Havant & Waterlooville FC are most famous for their exploits in the 2007-08 FA Cup, when the Hawks beat Bognor Regis, Fleet Town, Leighton Town, York City (in the 1st round), Notts County (in the 2nd round), and then-3rd-tier-side Swansea City 4–2 (in a 3rd round replay). This amazing Cup run was capped off by dream 4th round tie at Liverpool, where Havant & Waterlooville took 6,000 fans. There at Anfield, Havant & Waterlooville actually took the lead twice on Liverpool, but they ended up losing 5-2. {Heroic Havant [Liverpool 5-2 Havant & Waterlooville, FA Cup 4th round match from 28 Jan 2008], by Kieran Fox at news.bbc.co.uk.}

Havant & Waterlooville had been charter-members of the Conference South in 2004-05, and had played in that 6th-tier league for 12 straight seasons before relegation to the 7th level, which happened on the final day of the 2015-16 season. Then Havant & Waterlooville bounced straight back to the 6th tier by winning the 2016-17 Isthmian League by 2 points over Bognor Regis.

Then in 2017-18, back in the National League South, Havant & Waterlooville ran neck-and-neck with Kent/Thames Estuary side Dartford, for the title. Havant played very well down the stretch (ultimately going 7-wins-2-draws-1-loss in their last 10 matches). But Dartford were even better, and had gained on Havant – Dartford won their last 9 matches. In their penultimate matches, Dartford won 2-0 over Bath City; but Havant & Waterlooville, in front of 1,153 at West Leigh Park, thrashed East Thurrock 6-1, scoring 4 goals in the last 28 minutes. (That flurry of late goals proved the crucial difference in the title-race.)

So with one more game to play in the 17/18 National League South, that made it Dartford and Havant & Waterlloville even on points, but with Havant having a goal-difference that was four better than Dartford. On final match-day, going into the final minutes, it was Dartford leading 1-2 to Bath City away, while Havant & Waterlooville, who had blown their 2-goal lead, were knotted 2-2 to Concord Rangers at West Leigh Park. Then in the 89th minute, Havant’s top scorer Jason Prior slotted home from the near left side (see photo and screenshots below). And Havant & Waterlooville had won the National League South over Dartford, thanks only to a goal difference of 3.

So now Havant & Waterlooville have made it two straight promotions, and will play in the 5th division for the first time. Havant & Waterlooville drew 879 per game in 2017-18. They will be one of the 4 or 5 smallest clubs in the 5th tier (if you go by crowd-size). Only Boreham Wood and Gateshead drew less in the National League last season, and Solihull drew the same as Havant did (879). And besides Braintree Town, the other newly-promoted sides drew higher (Salford and Harrogate).

Havant & Waterlooville: promoted to the 5th division for the first time.
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Photo and Image credits above – 17/18 Havant & Waterlooville jersey, illustration from havantandwaterloovillefc.co.uk/shop. Aerial shot of West Leigh Park, image from bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view. West Leigh Park [from an evening match in 2010], photo by Stuart Noel at footballstadiums.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/west-leigh-park-havant. Jason Prior, photo from havantandwaterloovillefc.co.uk. Lee Bradury, photo from havantandwaterloovillefc.co.uk. Ryan Young, photo from havantandwaterloovillefc.co.uk. Wes Fogden, photo unattributed at portsmouth.co.uk/football. Rory Williams, photo from portsmouth.co.uk/football. Jason Prior and Havant fans celebrate the promotion-winning goal in extra-time, screenshot from video uploaded by Marsh Media at youtube.com/[Havant & Waterlooville PROMOTION WINNING goal! (Jason Prior)]. Jason prior after scoring the goal that got them promoted, photo from havantandwaterloovillefc.co.uk. Pitch invasion following promotion-win, 2 screenshots from video uploaded by Groundhopping FC at youtube.com.

    •Braintree Town .

Est. 1898, as Manor Works FC. Colours: Orange jerseys [previously yellow jerseys]. Population of Braintree, Essex: around 53,000 {2011 census}. Braintree is situated 10 miles (16 km) NE of Chelmsford and 15 miles (24 km) W of Colchester. Braintree is situated (by road) 51 miles (87 km) NE of central London.

Braintree Town began in 1898 as Manor Works FC, the works team of the Crittall Window Company. The company manufactured iron windows (and still is located in Essex, in the adjacent town of Witham). Back in 1898, this works team literally worked with iron, and that was the basis for their nickname of the Iron. That being said, the fact was that in 1898, the new club took over most of the squad of the recently defunct Braintee FC of the North Essex League. (The Crittall Window company was founded in 1889 in Braintree, Essex. By the mid-1890s the Crittall company employed 30 men. By 1907, the company had expanded and branched out with the Detroit Steel Product Co, the first steel window factory in the United States. By 1918, the Crittall Window Company employed 500 men.)

By 1911, Manor Works FC joined the Essex & Suffolk Border League (where they remained until 1928). In 1921, Manor Works FC changed its name to Crittall Athletic FC, to be more closely identified with their parent company. Crittall Athletic were founder members of the Eastern Counties League in 1935, and largely remained part of that competition for around 50 years. While part of the Metropolitan League in 1968, Crittall Athletic changed its name to Braintree & Crittall Athletic. They re-joined the Eastern Counties League in 1970. In 1981, all links with the Crittall Window Company were severed, and the club changed its name to Braintree FC. The following year of 1982 saw the club change to its present-day name of Braintree Town FC.

A decade later, in 1991, Braintree Town won promotion to the Southern League. But by 1996, travel costs were hurting the small club, so they asked league officials to be switched over to the Isthmian League, in order to reduce traveling fees. And so they were placed into the Division Three of the Isthmian League, although it was an effective drop of two divisions. But that did not hold back Braintree Town at all, because they promptly got themselves promoted twice in 2 seasons, ascending to the Isthmian League Division One in 1998. And after three seasons in the Isthmian League D-1, they were promoted to the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2001. Five seasons later, in 2005-06, Braintree Town won the Isthmian League Premier Division, winning promotion to the Conference South. That 2005-06 season also saw Braintree Town reach the 1st round of the FA Cup for the first time (losing 4–1 at Shrewsbury Town).

Braintree Town played 6 straight seasons in the 5th division, from 2011- to ’17. From 2006-07 to 2010-11, Braintree Town were a 6th division side that were drawing in the 400-500 range. They qualified for the Conference South play-off play-offs 3 times in this 5-season-span, and won promotion to the 5th division in 2010-11 by winning the Conference South by 7 points over Farnborough. In that promotion-winning season of 2010-11, Braintree drew 661 per game, and their support increased even more in their first season in the 5th tier, when they drew 901 per game and finished a rather decent 12th-place. The next season, 2012-13, Braintree finished in 9th place. The next season, 2013-14, Braintree drew an all-time high of 994 per game, and the team finished in 6th, just 4 points off the play-offs. The next season of 2014-15 saw Braintree Town slip down to 14th place. But the following season of 2015-16 saw Braintree qualify for the 5th division play-offs by finishing in 3rd place (losing in the semifinals to eventual promotion-winners Grimsby Town). This play-off-qualifying run in 2015-16 was when the Cowley brothers were running the Braintree squad. (Manager Danny Cowley and his brother Nick [1st team coach] were at the helm at Braintree for one season, then moved on in the summer of 2016 to Lincoln, and then the Cowley brothers got Lincoln City promoted to the Football League in 2017.) However, 2016-17 was disastrous for Braintree Town, and the team obviously felt a void after the departure of the Cowleys; under manager Hakan Hayrettin, Braintree were relegated on the last day of the 2016-17 National League season, dropping back down to the 6th tier. Heyrettin left by mutual consent and Brad Quinton was hired as the new Braintree manager in May 2017. Brad Quinton, who is Braintree Town’s all-time appearances record holder, had been manager at 7th-division-side Enfield Town for 3 years before taking the reins at Braintree. Quinton was an integral part of the 2010-11 Braintree squad that won automatic promotion to the 5th division. Quinton had played as a DMF for Braintree Town for 12 seasons, making 546 appearances (and scoring 69 goals).

Back down in the 6th tier in 2017-18, Braintree Town qualified for the National League South play-offs thanks to a solid final 10 matches (6-wins/3-draws-1-loss). But Braintree finished in 6th, meaning they would have to play the new extra elimination round in the play-offs, and they would have to play away the whole way. Braintree beat Hemel Hempstead away 0-0/3-2 on penalties in the eliminator. Then Braintree beat Dartford away 0-1 in the semifinal, with the winning goal by Braintree MF Billy Crook (who made the Team of the Year/see photo and caption below). And then in the final, Braintree beat Hampton Richmond Borough away 1-1/3-2 on penalties. The equalizing goal that forced extra time and penalties was scored by MF Reece Grant (see photos and captions below). And so Brad Qunton’s Braintree Town were back in the 5th division. Braintree Town drew 524 per game in 2017-18. They return to the National League/5th division as one of the smallest clubs…they drew lower last season than every other club that are in the 2018/19 National League, and of the whole 5th division in 2018-19, only Boreham Wood (who drew an all-time high of 626 per game in 2017-18), are arguably a smaller club than Braintree Town.

Braintree Town bounces straight back to the 5th division.
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Photo and Image credits above – 17/18 Braintree Town jersey, photo from andreascartersports.co.uk. Main Stand at Cressing Road, photo by phildanmatt.weebly.com/braintree. Shot looking towrds pitch at Cressing Road, photo by Russell Cox at footygrounds.blogspot.com/[July 2011/Cressing Road]. Panorama shot of Cressing Road by phildanmatt.weebly.com/braintree. Billy Crook, photo by John Weaver at eadt.co.uk/sport. Brad Quinton, photo by Chris Jarvis at braintreeandwithamtimes.co.uk/sport. Traveling Braintree fans at Hampton & Richmond Borough for the National League South play-off final, photo by thegrassrootstourist.com/[vanarama-national-league-south-promotion-final]. Reece Wright scoring and celebrating (3 photos) by thegrassrootstourist.com/[vanarama-national-league-south-promotion-final]. Reece Wright celebrating [inset photo], by Jon Weaver at braintreeandwithamtimes.co.uk/sport. Braintree players and supporters celebrating promotion; Manager Quinton and captain Marc-Anthony Okoye celebrating Braintree Town’s promotion: 2 photos by thegrassrootstourist.com/[vanarama-national-league-south-promotion-final].

___

-Thanks to the contributors at National League (English football) (en.wikipedia.org).
-Havant & Waterlooville 16/17 attendance from nonleaguematters.co.uk.
-Thanks to Nilfanion…Blank map of UK historic counties, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:United Kingdom police areas map.svg (commons.wikimedia.org). Blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg.

-Thanks to Soccerway for upper-division-Non-League attendance figures, us.soccerway.com/national/england/conference-national.

June 25, 2018

The 6th division in England: 2018-19 [Non-League] National League North & National League South (2 separate 22-team leagues, at the same level) – maps, with 17/18-attendances-&-finishes chart./ + The top 16 drawing clubs in the 6th tier (chart showing all clubs in the 6th division that drew above 1,000 per game in 2017-18).

Main map – 2018-19 National Leagues North and South (44 teams/2 leagues) – click on image below

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Main map – 2018-19 National Leagues North and South (44 teams/2 leagues)




By Bill Turianski on 25 June 2018; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-National League (English football) (en.wikipedia.org).
-Official site…thenationalleague.org.uk
-Nuneaton Town changes name back to Nuneaton Borough…ANNOUNCEMENT: Back to the Borough (pitchero.com/clubs/nuneatontownfc).
-Bradford Park Avenue changes name back to Bradford (Park Avenue) AFC…Club To Revert Back To Historic Name And Badge (bpafc.com).

-FA chiefs restructure non-league game [below the 6th level] (bbc.com/sport/football).
-Non-League allocations for 2018-19 Steps 1-4 (ie, levels 5-9) [pdf] (thefa.com).

    6th division England:
    2018-19 National League North & National League South
    (2 separate 22-team leagues, at the same level)

The 6th level in English football is where the regionalised leagues begin. Above is the 5th division, the National League, which is the highest level of non-League football and the only non-League level that is nationalised. The 6th level has two leagues: the National League North and the National League South. Below that is the 7th level, which used to be comprised of 3 leagues, but starting now [2018-19] there will be 4 leagues in the 7th level (the new league in the 7th level will be the result of splitting the Southern League into two leagues: the Southern League – Central and the Southern League – South) {see link to article at BBC/sports above; also see pdf above, which shows the whole set-up in chart form}.

A brief history of the 5th and 6th tiers in England…
1979-80: 5th level of English football instituted with the Alliance Premier League: the 5th level and the highest level of non-League football in England (and Wales).
1986-87: Promotion/Relegation established between the 5th level and the 4th Division of the Football League.
2004-05: The 6th level of football instituted, with the creation of 2 regional leagues below the 5th level: the Conference North & the Conference South (22 teams in each league).
2015-16: names of the three leagues changed to…5th level: National League / 6th level: National League North & National League South.

The map(s)…
Above is the two leagues combined on one map (click on image at the top of the post for all 44 teams in the 2018-19 National Leagues North & South)…
Below is a map each for: the 2018-19 National League North, and the 2018-19 National League South. All the maps are location-maps which also show each club’s 2017-18 home average attendance as well as their 2017-18 league finish (with play-off bids and promotion/relegation noted).

There is also a small chart further below, which shows the 16 clubs in the 2018-19 6th level that drew above 1,000-per-game last season [in 2017-18] (11 clubs in the 18/19 NL North / 5 clubs in the 18/19 NL South). Then I wrote a few words about each of the sixteen 6th-tier clubs that drew above 1,000 per game last season.

My next post will be a map of the 2018-19 National League [the 5th division], with illustrated profiles of the 4 promoted clubs (Salford City, Harrogate Town, Havant & Waterlooville, Braintree Town). That will be posted on the 11th of July 2018.

Map of National League North (2018-19 season, with attendances and finishes from 2017-18) – click on image below
2018-19_national-league-north_aka-conference-north_map_w-2018-attendances_post_b_.gif
National League North 18/19 map w/ 17/18 attendances and finishes

Map of National League South (2018-19 season, with attendances and finishes from 2017-18) – click on image below
2018-19_national-league-south_aka-conference-south_map_w-2018-attendances_post_d_.gif
National League South 18/19 map w/ 17/18 attendances and finishes

6th Level clubs which draw above 1,000-per-game (16 clubs: 11 in the National League North / 5 in the National League South)…
2018-19-national-leagues-north-and-south_all-clubs-that-drew-over-1-k-in-2017-18_16-clubs_m_.gif
Attendance figures from: nonleaguematters.co.uk.

Top draws in the 6th tier…

Stockport County: 99 seasons in the Football League (last in 2010-11). Financial problems have plagued the club since the early 2000s, and that led it to being a supporter-owned club for a while circa 2005-10. Stockport were in the 2nd division as recently as 2001-02. They were drawing between 6-to-8-K back then. But though they have fallen a ways since then (4 relegations), Stockport County can still draw above 3 K despite being stuck in the 6th tier (and in 17/18 they drew 3.4 K for the second-straight season). Stockport will be playing their 6th season of 6th-division football in 2018-19. Stockport, population 136,000 {2011 census}, was historically part of Cheshire, but now is in Greater Manchester. As the crow flies, Stockport is about 7 miles south of central Manchester. Stockport County wear Blue-and-White, but last season they wore pale-royal-blue-with-navy-blue-and-white-trim. Stockport County play at Edgeley Park, which has a 10.8-K-capacity (all seated).

York City: 72 seasons in the Football League (last in 2015-16). Back-to-back relegations have devastated the North-Yorkshire-based club. But most of their supporters have not abandoned them…York were drawing 3.2 K in their last Football League season (2015-16), and have only dropped off about .5 K (down 14%) since then. York drew 2.7 K last season, as they were relegated to the 6th tier for the first time. York City wear unique Red jerseys with Dark-Blue sleeves, and play at Boothan Crescent (cap. 8, 256).

Hereford: Phoenix-club of Hereford United (1924-2014). They still play at Edgar Street (though one stand behind the goal failed the safety inspection). The 4-year-old re-formed club has been marching up the pyramid, with 3 straight league-winning promotions. And their support has been outstanding. In their inaugural season, Hereford drew an astounding 2.8 K in the 9th-level Midlands League (in 2015-16). Then in 16/17, the Bulls drew 2.8 K again (in the 8th tier, winning the South League South & West by 18 points). Their support tailed off a little last season (maybe because they clinched the league title again with such ease). Hereford drew 2.5 K and won the Southern League by 13 points. And Hereford drew about 1.7-K-per-game more than anyone else in the Southern League last season. Hereford make their 6th-level debut, now situated in the National League North. Hereford will probably will be one of the favorites for promotion (again). Like the original club, Hereford wear White-with-Black.

FC United of Manchester: Supporter-owned club. Protest-club formed in 2005, after the cynical debt-laden leveraged-buyout of Manchester United by the Glazers. FC United started off with three consecutive promotions (2005-08). The club won promotion to the 6th tier in April 2015, and a month later, in May 2015, FC United moved into their nice and functional purpose-built Broadhurst Park (cap. 4,400). But factional unrest within the club has hurt them in the past couple of years. Attendance has fallen 1.2 K in two seasons (down from 3.3 K in 15/16, to 2.1 K in 17/18). And their promotion campaign has stalled (this will be FCUM’s 4th season in the 6th tier). Like Man Utd, FC United wear Red-and-White-with-Black.

Woking: The Surrey-based club is nicknamed the Cards (as in the Cardinal red in their Red-and-White halved jerseys). Woking have never been higher than the 5th division, and were a mainstay there fifteen years ago (Woking played 17 straight seasons in the 5th tier from 1992-93 to 2008-09). But this is now their second spell in the 6th tier after 3 seasons up in the 5th. Woking draw solid (2.2 K last season), and will probably still draw above 1 K back in the 6th tier (they drew between 1.1 and 1.8 K in their 3 season-spell in the 6th tier from 2010-12).

Chester: Phoenix-club of Chester City (1985-2010). Located in western Cheshire right on the border of Wales. Like the club they replaced, Chester play at the Deva Stadium (cap. 5,400 with 4 K seated). (The Deva Stadium is actually partially located in Wales.) Like FC United of Manchester, and also like Hereford, Chester began life (in 2010-11) with three straight promotion-winning seasons. That got them to the 5th tier, but then Chester stalled out after 4 seasons in the 5th division, and now find themselves back in the 6th tier. Crowds have diminished, somewhat alarmingly (down almost .9 K in 6 years, from 2.7 K in the promotion-winning season of 2011-12, to 1.8 K last season). Chester wear Blue-and-White.

Torquay United: 78 seasons in the Football League (last in 2013-14). Torquay are located on the south-west coast, in Devon. Torquay have now suffered two relegations in 5 seasons. The first time they were stuck in non-League, they escaped back to the Football League after just 2 seasons. That was in 2008-09. Then followed 5 seasons in the 4th division, and Torquay were good enough to make the play-offs twice in that 5-year stint, even making it to the League Two play-off final in 2011 (losing to Stevenage). But now the Gulls are moving out of the 5th division in the wrong direction. In 6 seasons, Torquay have lost 40% of their fanbase, going from 2.8 K in League Two in their 2011-12 play-off run, to 1.7 K last season when they were relegated. Torquay wear Yellow-and-Navy-Blue.

Kidderminster Harriers: 5 seasons in the Football League (last in 2004-05). Kidderminster is a town of 55,000 located just south of the West Midlands, in north Worcestershire, 17 miles (27 km) south-west of Birmingham city centre. Robert Plant (of Led Zeppelin fame) grew up here. In 2000-01, Kidderminster drew an all-time high of 3.4 K. That was the season of their Football League debut. The dream lasted 5 seasons. Back in non-League 5 years later, Kidderminster were drawing above-or-near 2 K most seasons. Kidderminster drew 1.6 K last season and are now entering their 3rd season in the 6th tier. Kiddy wear Red-with-Black-and-White.

Darlington: 81 seasons in the Football League (last in 2009-10). Saddled by the White Elephant that was the 25-K-capacity Darlington Stadium, Darlington were a financial mess by the time they were relegated out of the 4th division in April 2010. Darlington were drawing 1.9 K and playing in a 25.5-K-arena. Of course it was going to end badly. Two years later, in 2012, Darlington were expelled from the Conference National [the 5th division]. The Phoenix-club Darlington 1883 rose in its place…‘A new club was immediately formed but The Football Association ruled that, as a new club, it must have a different playing name from the expelled club. The name chosen was Darlington 1883, and that club was placed in the Northern League Division One, the ninth tier of English football, for the 2012–13 season. They won three promotions in four seasons before the FA approved their request to change to the traditional Darlington FC name.’ {-excerpt from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darlington_F.C..} Darlington are from County Durham. The town of Darlington has a population af around 92,000 and is located 37 miles by road S of Newcastle, and about 4 miles north of the border with North Yorkshire. Darlington wear sharp-looking Black-and-White hoops, and are nicknamed the Quakers. They drew 1.2 K when they won the Northern League (7th tier) in 2015-16. Darlington were a mid-table side that drew 1.4 K last season, but that was a let-down from their strong run 2 years ago (2016-17), when they drew 1.7 K and finished in 5th (but Darlington 1883 were barred from the play-offs due to failing ground size regulations). Still, it looks like Darlington are going in the right direction. Especially because they have been playing back in town since 2016-17, at the 3,000-capacity Blackwell Meadow, which they rent from rugby league side Darlington RFC.

Dulwich Hamlet: Despite being rendered homeless by soulless corporate landlords, Dulwich Hamlet won promotion into the 6th tier, by winning the Isthmian play-off final (beating Hendon 1-1/4-3 on penalties). The Pink-and-Navy-Blue-clad Dulwich Hamlet are from South London, in the London Borough of Southwark. (Dulwich Hamlet attract a fanbase that has been derided as hipster. Oh, so a lot of them have beards and like artisanal products, whatever, more power to them; they’re from the largest city in the UK and yet they are still supporting lower non-League football, and that is good enough for me.) For three years the club has been drawing impressively for a 7th-tier side. They drew 1.0 K in 2015-16, and then in ’16-17 and ’17-18, Dulwich Hamlet drew 1.3 K (in a division where the median average attendance is only about 250). But last season, as the squad chased promotion, their eviction from their Champion Field ground diminished their crowd-size considerably. In March and April 2018, once they were forced to play at Tooting & Micham’s Imperial Field (located 5 miles away, further south-west, in SW London), Dulwich Hamlet started seeing smaller crowds: like 800 or so, instead of the 1,300 or so they were drawing earlier that season. And so it is going to be interesting to see, in 2018-19, how Dulwich Hamlet do, as a new 6th-division-side that also happens to be homeless.

AFC Telford United: Phoenix-club of Telford United (1872-2004). Telford United were a founding member of the 5th division (Alliance Premier League) in 1979. AFC Telford Utd play at the 6,300-capacity New Bucks Head (opened 2003), which was originally built for Telford United to play at before they went bankrupt. Telford United was a mainstay of the 5th tier back in the 1990s, but never played above the 5th division. The re-formed club has had a harder time surviving in the 5th tier. Although AFC Telford United have been drawing above 1 K, most seasons, for many years now, they have become more of a 5th-division/6th-division yo-yo club, with their most recent relegation in 2014-15. Nicknamed the Lilywhites or the Bucks, Telford wear White with navy and red trim, and now they wear Navy Blue pants (previously black). Telford, located in Shropshire, is somewhat of a commuter-town of Birminghmam. Telford is on the large side for a non-League town: its population is around 142,000 {2011 census figure}.

Billericay Town: Controversial owner Glenn Tamplin is widely disliked, with appalling behavior towards one of his players and towards rival fans on social media. Tamplin also fired the manager, took the manager’s job for himself, then fired himself, then when he couldn’t find another manager, he re-instated himself. But despite all this, the club has just been promoted to the 6th tier for the first time. Billericay Town got there with a huge wage bill that included former-Premier-League talent. Attendance has shot up almost 500, from 565 per game two years ago, to 1,057 last season, when Billericay won the Isthmian League by 4 points over Dulwich Hamlet. Billericay, Essex, with a population of around 28,000, is a commuter town that is located, by road, 34 miles (55 km) E of central London. Billericay Town wear all-Blue (dark Cornflower blue).

Boston United: 5 seasons in the Football League (last in 2006-07). Boston got into the Football League on tainted circumstances in 2002 (violation of registration rules), and after 5 seasons in the 4th division, they were relegated back to non-League. And at that point, the club was in such poor financial shape that they were demoted further down an extra level, down to the 6th tier. And Boston United has basically never recovered from that. Boston is in Lincolnshire; the town of Boston has a population of around 35,000. Boston United are nicknamed the Pilgrims, and wear Amber-and Black.

Dartford: Dartford are from Dartford, Kent. The town of Dartford is home to the Dartford Crossing, the easternmost transit over the River Thames. Dartford FC play at the marvelous Princes Park, a singular ground that is environmentally-friendly and is built primarily of wood and has a living green-roof over the clubhouse. Princes Park opened in November 2006, and has a capacity of 4,100 (642 seated). The new and unique ground greatly improved the club’s crowd-size (crowds went from the mid-200s to over 800), and helped propel them to promotion to the 7th division in 2008, and then into the 6th division in 2010, and then into the 5th division in 2012. In their promotion-winning season of 2011-12, Dartford drew 1.2 K. And in their first season in the 5th tier they drew an all-time high of 1.3 K. Dartford had a three-season-spell in the 5th tier (2012-15). Back in the 6th tier, Dartford are still drawing above 1 K, but only slightly (in 2017-18, Dartford drew 1,023). In 2017-18, Dartford just missed out on promotion, winning their last 9 games chasing Havant & Waterlooville, only to be denied automatic promotion by goal-difference. Then in the 2018 National League South play-offs, Dartford lost to the eventually-promoted Braintree Town. Dartford will probably be one of the favorites to win promotion in 2018-19. Dartford wear White-with-Black.

Southport: 50 seasons in the Football League (last in 1977-78). Southport was the last club to leave the Football League through the re-election process [automatic relegation from the Fourth Division was instituted in 1986–87]. Since then, Southport have played 19 seasons in the 5th tier, within three different spells; their last season in the 5th tier was in 2016-17. Southport have been drawing above 1 K most seasons since 1992-93. The town of Southport is part of Merseyside, and is a coastal bedroom community just north of Liverpool. Southport play at York Street, which opened in 1923 and has a capacity of 6,643 (1,826 seated). Southport are nicknamed the Sandgrounders, for the town’s sandy beach promenade, and they wear Yellow-with-Black.
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Thanks to all at the links below…
-Thanks to the contributors at National League (English football) (en.wikipedia.org).
-Thanks to Nilfanion at Wikipedia…Blank map of UK historic counties, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:United Kingdom police areas map.svg (commons.wikimedia.org). Blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg. Blank relief map of Greater Manchester, by Nilfanion (using Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater Manchester UK relief location map.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org).

Photos/Images of kit badges…
[Ashton Utd 17/18 jersey badge], ashtonunitedfc.gr8sports.co.uk
[Curzon Ashton 17/18 jersey badge], twitter.com/[@curzonashton].
[Chester 17/18 jersey badge], chesterfc.com/all-ticket.
[Nuneaton 18/19 kit (image of lighter-blue-fade-striping behind the badge)], twitter.com/[@Official_NTFC]
[Spennymoor 14/15 jersey badge], oldfootballshirts.com.
[Billericay], billericaytownfc.co.uk/product/2017-18-home-shirt-2.
[Chippenham], pitchero.com/clubs/chippenhamtown.
[Dulwich Hamlet], pitchero.com/clubs/dulwichhamlet/.
[Eastbourne (script on badge)], ebfc.co.uk/news.

-Thanks to the Non-League Matters site for non-League attendance figures, nonleaguematters.co.uk.

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