June 29, 2021

The 2 clubs promoted to the Football League in 2021…Sutton United: promoted to the League after 123 years; Hartlepool United: promoted back to the League after 4 years.

Filed under: Eng-4th Level/League Two,Eng-5th level — admin @ 6:35 pm

By Bill Turianski on the 29th of June 2021;
-2021-22 National League (
-2021-22 EFL League Two (
-Isaac Olaofe seals Sutton United’s historic promotion to Football League (by PA Media on 23 May 2021, at
-Hartlepool United 1-1 Torquay United, Hartlepool wins 5-4 on penalties (by Brent Pilnick on 20 June 2021, at

    Sutton United: winners of the 2020-21 National League, and promoted to the Football League after 123 years…

[Note: you can click on the image below to view in a separate, scrollable screen.]
Photo and Image credits above -
2020-22 Sutton Utd jersey, from Sutton High Street, photo by Padmak/Shutterstock via Gander Green Lane, photo by Steve Parsons/PA via Matt Gray (manager), photo from Isaac Olaofe (FW) (top scorer), photo by Paul Loughlin via Craig Eastmond (CMF) (Captain), photo by Ben Goodliffe (CB), photo from David Ajiboye (RW), photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images via Harry Beautyman (LMF), photo by via at[@16beautyman]. 23 May 2021 at Gander Green Lane: Sutton 3-0 Hartlepool – Captain Craig Eastmond lifts the trophy and the squad and staff celebrate, photo by Paul Loughlin via

    Hartlepool United: winners of the 2021 National League Play-off Final, and promoted back to the Football League after 4 years…

[Note: you can click on the image below to view in a separate, scrollable screen.]
Photo and Image credits above -
2020-21 Hartlepool Utd jersey, from Headland, Hartlepool, photo unattributed at Aerial shot of Victoria Park, by PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo via Dave Challinor (manager), photo unattributed at Rhys Oates (LW/FW/RW) (top scorer), photo unattributed at David Ferguson (LB/LMF), photo by Christopher Booth/MI News/Nurphoto via Luke Armstrong (CF) scoring 1st goal in National League play-off final 23 May 2021 at Ashton Gate, photo by Rex Features via Torquay GK Lucas Covolan equalises at 90+5′, photo by PA via Hartlepool keeper Brad James makes the winning save in penalties, photo unattributed at Hartlepool supporters’ pitch invasion, screenshot of image from video uploaded by Hartlepool United at

Thanks to all at the following links…
-2021 National League team of the year,[@TheVanaramaNL].
-Historical attendance figures,
-Seasons: Football Club History Database,

July 16, 2020

2019-20 National League (England/5th division): Monochrome Location-map w/ final standings (by PPG), featuring the one automatically promoted club (Barrow AFC) and the 6 play-off teams, and with Seasons in 5th division & Seasons in the Football League listed by club./+Illustrations for the 3 automatically promoted clubs from the 3 National Leagues (Barrow AFC from the National League; King’s Lynn Town from the National League-North; Wealdstone from the National League-South).

Filed under: 2019-20 English Football,Eng-5th level — admin @ 10:44 am

2019-20 National League (England/5th division): Monochrome Location-map w/ final table (by PPG), featuring the automatically promoted club (Barrow AFC) & the 6 play-off teams, with Seasons in 5th division, Seasons in the Football League & Highest Placement, by club

By Bill Turianski on the 16th of July 2020;

The National League (5th division) Play-offs start tomorrow [Friday 17 July 2020]:
Quarterfinal matches -
-Friday 17 July,
QF1: Boreham Wood v FC Halifax Town at Meadow Park in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.
-Saturday 18 July,
QF2: Yeovil Town v Barnet at Huish Park in Yeovil, Somerset.
Semifinal matches -
-Saturday 25 July,
Harrogate Town v winner of QF-1 (Boreham Wood / Halifax Town) at Wetherby Road in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
-late Saturday 25 July,
Notts County v winner of QF-2 (Yeovil Town / Barnet) at Meadow Lane in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire.
Final -
at Wembley Stadium, London, the time and date to be determined. {2019-20 National League table with PPG; Play-offs bracket.}

This map is something new I am trying out. The map shows the badges of most of the clubs in the 5th division in all-grey-tone (monochrome) form, while the one automatically-promoted club (Barrow AFC), and the 6 play-off teams, are shown in regular full-color form. The chart alongside the map is also new. It shows the final table in abbreviated form, with 4 things: Games Played (G Pld), Goal difference, Points, and Points Per Game (PPG). The chart also lists, for each club, 2019-20 average attendance, plus: Seasons played in the 5th Division, and Seasons played in the Football League (with All-time Highest League Placement noted).

There is one more detail shown in the chart: green or red boxes…A green box for automatic promotion (Barrow); a pale green box for the play-off spots (Harrogate Town, Notts County, Yeovil Town, Boreham Wood, FC Halifax Town, Barnet); and a pale red box for the 3 clubs that were relegated out of the 5th division this season (Ebbsfleet United, AFC Fylde, Chorley).

Note: The reason why there were 3 teams relegated out of the 5th division this season, and not 4, is because of the knock-on effect that the dissolution of the former 3rd-division side Bury FC has had on the league pyramid. With Bury FC now defunct, the 3rd tier played the 2019-20 season as a 23-team league, meaning one less team (3 instead of 4 teams) would be relegated down to the 4th tier, come the end of the season. Likewise, the total relegated teams in the 4th tier was be diminished by one. There will be just one team relegated out of the Football League and into the 5th division: that club is Macclesfield Town. As for 5th division clubs, the big beneficiary of this was Maidenhead United of Berkshire, who beat out Ebbsfleet United by a mere 0.002 PPG {table with three-decimal-point PPG}, so Maidenhead finished in 21st place, and Maidenhead would have been the fourth team relegated if Bury FC had survived.

Below are illustrated articles for:
The one automatically promoted club from the 5th division (Barrow AFC from the 2019-20 National League),
as well as the single automatically-promoted clubs from each of the 6th-level leagues (King’s Lynn Town from the 2019-20 National League North; Wealdstone from the 2019-20 National League South).

    The one club automatically promoted from the 5th Division in 2019-20…Barrow AFC, who return to the Football League after 48 years, joining EFL League Two for 2020-21

Barrow AFC, established 1901, are from Barrow-in-Furness, in Cumbria. Barrow wear Blue-with-White, and are known as the Bluebirds. They have played at their Holker Street ground since 1908.

The population of Barrow is around 56,000 {2011 figure}. Barrow-in-Furness is located, by road, 88 miles (142 km) SW of Carlisle. Barrow-in-Furness is located, by road, 106 miles (171 km) NNW of Liverpool. Barrow-in-Furness is located, by road, 297 miles (479 km) NE of central London.

Barrow used to be a steel city, but the Barrow Hematite Steel Company closed shop in 1963. Today, Barrow’s biggest economic driver is ship and submarine construction, and Barrow has been involved in submarine construction for around 150 years. This is why Barrow AFC have the image a submarine on their badge (see photos, captions and Barrow’s badge, in the illustration further below). BAE Systems Submarines, in Barrow, has produced virtually all Royal Navy submarines, since 1901. BAE Systems is the single largest employer in Barrow, with around 9,500 employees. The shipyard there is the largest, by workforce, in the UK. (In the illustration further below, you can see an Astute-class submarine built in Barrow.)

Barrow AFC are pretty isolated up in there on the Furness Peninsula. And in that sense they are similar to fellow Cumbrians Carlisle United, as well as the far southwestern-based Plymouth Argyle, in that their geographic isolation is a handicap – both in terms of sheer travel-time and cost, as well as in the difficulty of attracting top talent. And their geographic isolation most likely contributed to them being voted out of the Football League 48 years ago (see 6 paragraphs below).

The town of Barrow, and the Furness Peninsula which it is located on, were historically part of Lancashire (pre-1975). Barrow-in-Furness was situated in a detached and north-western enclave of the historic county of Lancashire, as you can see in a map I made, below, which shows the locations of all 17 of the Football League clubs from Lancashire in 1921-22, with the borders of the Historic Counties shown (including pre-1975 borders of Lancashire).

Credits above – Map by Bill Turianski, July 2020. Original base map by Nilfanion at File:English metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties 2010.svg ( Data of historic counties’ borders from (an interactive map of the [Historic] counties of the British Isles). Information from Historic counties of England ( Information from 1921-22 Football League (

Before joining the Football League in 1921, Barrow AFC played in the Lancashire Combination (from 1903 to 1921). Barrow won the Lancashire Combination in 1920-21. The following season of 1921-22, Barrow AFC, along with 21 other northern clubs, joined the Football League. This was when the Football League expanded from 66 teams to 88 teams, turning the 3rd tier into a two-league regional North-and-South set-up. (The Football League’s regional Third-Division-North-/-Third-Division-South set-up lasted 28 seasons, from 1921-22 to 1957-58, and was replaced by a national Third Division and a national Fourth Division in 1958-59.)

Barrow AFC spent 44 seasons in the Football League (1921 to 1972). The 44 seasons Barrow spent in the League back then is most notable for the club’s lack of success. The club remained in the 3rd Division North until 1958, when Barrow finished in 18th place and were one of 12 teams in the Third Division North to be relegated to the new national Fourth Division for 1958-59 {1957-58 Football League Third Division North; 1958-59 Football League Fourth Division}.

Barrow were mostly a bottom-half of the table 4th tier side from 1959 on into the mid-1960s, and they faced re-election four times in this period, each time avoiding the fate of being voted out of the League. However, in 1966-67, Barrow finally saw an upturn in performance, and finished in 3rd place, winning automatic promotion to the Third Division. This was Barrow’s only Football League promotion. The following season of 1967-68 saw Barrow reach 8th place in the 3rd division – this is the all-time highest league placement by Barrow AFC (a League-placement of #52 in the 92-team Football League). Barrow drew 6,000 per game in their first season in the 3rd division {[Eng, 1968]}. But in the next season of 1969-70 – their third season in the 3rd division – Barrow fell back down to the 4th tier, with a 23rd-place finish. And it got worse.

At this time (the late 1960s and early 1970s), Barrow’s Holker Street ground had been re-purposed to accommodate a speedway track. This was done to generate more income for the club. Introducing the speedway at Holker Street coincided with a severe downturn in the team’s on-field performance. After relegation back to the 4th tier in 1970, Barrow finished dead last in the League in 1971, and faced re-election. They survived re-election in 1971. But then Barrow finished poorly again in 1971-72 (in 22nd place), drawing only 2,300 (second-worst attendance in the Football League {[Eng, 1972]}. So once again Barrow faced re-election, and this time, Barrow were voted out of the Football League, being replaced by the then-recent FA-Cup-Giant-killers Hereford United. As it says in Barrow AFC’s Wikipedia page, ‘Though the reasons for not being re-elected were many, three factors have been highlighted: Barrow’s geographic isolation, Hereford United’s FA Cup victory against Newcastle United, and the decision of the Barrow board to introduce a speedway track around pitch at Holker Street, as a means of off-setting financial difficulties.’ The simple fact of the matter was that Hereford’s upset win over Newcastle in the 1971-72 FA Cup was such a momentous thing that it became almost inevitable that Hereford would be able to successfully apply for League membership. As Two Hundred Percent blog’s Ian King said in a recent article on Barrow, ‘Ultimately, though, it’s likely that it was felt that someone had to make way for Hereford United, and that Barrow were the sacrificial lambs.’ {-excerpt from Barrow AFC’s Long Road Back, by Ian King at}.

After being voted out of the Football League, Barrow played in the Northern Premier League (from 1972-78). First of all, they had to promise to get rid of the speedway track at Holker Street, and it was gone by 1974. (That’s how bad a speedway track is, when you put one in a football ground…the venerable non-League Northern League would not even allow it.)

Then in 1978-79, Barrow were a founding member of the Alliance Premier League. The Alliance Premier League was the first time non-League football had organized a national non-League division…the 5th division in effect. (At first, there was no automatic promotion to the Football League. But after 8 years, automatic promotion between the 5th division and the Football League 4th Division was instituted, in 1986-87. The Alliance Premier League changed its name to the Conference in 1986, and then to the National League in 2015.)

Since being a founding member of the 5th division, Barrow has suffered four separate relegations and managed four separate promotions between the 5th and 6th levels. Barrow won promotion back to the 5th tier once again in 2015, but almost fell back to the 6th tier yet again in 2018…they were one game away from relegation that year, and if Woking had won on the last day of the season, Barrow would have been relegated. Barrow finished one point above the drop.

In June 2018, ex-Chesterfield and ex-Blackpool centreback Ian Evatt took over as manager of Barrow. Barrow had finished in 20th place in 2017-18, and there were few who saw much hope for any sort of quick turn-around, seeing as how Ian Evatt had inherited a squad that was down to just 7 players, and the team had a budget that was among the lowest in the 5th tier. Also in 2018-19, there was an ownership change at Barrow, with chief sponsor Paul Hornby taking over. Hornby first needed to assemble a board of directors and investors to just get to the end of the season. Then, with three other locally-born businessmen, Hornby put in 90% of a £500,000 investment (the final 10% came from local supporters, The Bluebirds Trust). And so things stabilised, and Ian Evatt guided Barrow to a respectable 10-place improvement, finishing the 2018-19 National League season in 10th place.

Ian Evatt had Barrow playing a rather attractive, ball-on-the-floor style of possession-based football. When Evatt was at Blackpool playing centreback under manager Ian Holloway, their style of play was to always bring the ball up from the back through crisp passing. In other words, Blackpool in the League Championship (in 2009-10) and then in the Premier League (in 2010-11) played the opposite of Route One football. Of course they were relegated from the Premier League, but it cannot be denied that the season before, Blackpool won the 2010 Championship play-offs playing possession-based football, and became the smallest-ever club (as measured by average attendance) to win promotion to the Premier League.

Evatt brought this mind-set to Barrow. At times, Barrow under Evatt were playing 3-4-1-2, with overlapping wingers moving between defensive and attacking positions, as the run of play dictated. Barrow supporters started calling the squad’s flowing style of play Barra-celona. It was a style of play that could exhaust a squad, but Evatt’s players were up to the task.

In 2019-20, Barrow started strong, and were in 1st pace by the 16th of November. By the new year, Barrow still held first place, being closely chased by Harrogate Town, Halifax Town, Yeovil, and Notts County. Barrow were powered by the midfield play of John Rooney (Wayne Rooney’s younger brother), and by the goals FW Scott Quigley. John Rooney scored 17 goals and made 10 assists in 37 appearances, and was voted Player of the Year by Barrow fans. Scott Quigley scored 20 goals in 35 appearances, and was the National League’s top-scorer. Winger/FW Dior Angus contributed 10 goals in 36 appearances. (You can see photos of the three, further below). Barrow were averaging 2,010 per game, a 635-per game increase from the previous season. (Barrow’s last 6 season finishes and their average attendance figures can be seen in the illustration below, in a caption next to the photo of Ian Evatt.)

When the league stopped play on the 16th of March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Barrow had a four point lead on Harrogate Town (both having played 37 games [or 80% of the season]). On 22 April, the 24 National League clubs voted to cancel the season due to the coronavirus. On 17 June, the National League clubs voted to decide the 2019-20 season by Points Per Game (PPG). This meant Barrow AFC were champions of the 5th division, and would gain automatic promotion (back) to the Football League.

Barrow AFC were voted out of the Football League 48 years ago. They probably didn’t deserve to get voted out of the League in 1972, and it took nearly a half-century for them to get back in. Barrow have now returned to the Football League, winning promotion in the modern era, where relegation elections are a thing of the past. But it seems only fitting that it actually took a vote to get Barrow back into the League.

Barrow AFC – winner of the 5th division (the 2019-20 National League), and promoted to the Football League’s League Two, for the 2020-21 season
Photo and Image credits above -2019-20 Barrow AFC kits (illustration), from Barrow Docks and shipbuilding facility, photo by Paul White – UK Industries/Alamay Stock Photo via Devonshire Dock Hall with Astute submarine it built, photo from BAE Systems Barrow via 2 photos of Main Stand (Brian Arrowsmith Stand) at Holker Street, 1st photo from[unofficialbarrowafc]; 2nd photo from[Barrow-Holker]. Ray Wilkie Popular Side Stand from the Holker End, photo by Mark Fletcher / MI News & Sports at[@markfletcher50]. Ray Wilkie Popular Side Stand, fully occupied on a cold and rainy night: photo from Ian Evatt, photo by Getty Images via Scott Quigley, photo by Ian Allington at[barrow-afc-2019-20-in-pictures]. Dior Angus, photo by Ian Allington at[barrow-afc-2019-20-in-pictures]. John Rooney, photo by Rex Features via Barrow fans with banner, photo by Ian Allington at[barrow-afc-2019-20-in-pictures].

[Note: both segments below originally appeared in September 2019, in this post:
The 6th division in England: 2019-20 [Non-League] National League North & National League South (2 separate 22-team leagues, at the same level) – map, with 18/19-attendances-&-finishes chart./+Brief profiles of the two leagues’ leaders as of 9 Sept. 2019: King’s Lynn Town FC, and Wealdstone FC.]

    The two clubs automatically promoted from the 6th Tier in 2019-20…
    (King’s Lynn Town, winners of the National League North & Wealdstone, winners of the National League South)

King’s Lynn Town…back-to-back promotions put the Norfolk side into the 5th division for 2020-21.
King’s Lynn Town are from King’s Lynn, Norfolk (population 44,000), on Norfolk’s north coast, within the marshy lowland estuary called the Wash. The town of King’s Lynn is situated, by road, about 32 miles (52 km) west of Norwich. King’s Lynn Town wear Blue-jerseys-with-Yellow pants, and have the nickname of the Linnets. The club plays at the Walks Stadium, as did their predecessor-club. The club was established in 2010, as the Phoenix-club of King’s Lynn FC (1879-2009).

For their debut season 11 years ago, King’s Lynn Town were placed in the 9th level, in the United Counties League; they then won 2 promotions in 3 seasons…They won promotion to the 8th level in their second season (2011-12). And then they won promotion to the Northern Premier the following season of 2011-12. But then King’s Lynn Town languished for 7 seasons in the 7th tier. Midway through that spell, the club was transferred to the Southern League (in 2015-16). When the 7th level expanded from 3 to 4 leagues in 2017-18, King’s Lynn Town were placed in the Southern Premier-Central. The club finally won promotion to the 6th tier as a super-play-offs winner in 2019, beating Stratford Town and Alvechurch, en route to a 3-2 victory over Warrrington Town in the 7th-level’s super play-off final. When King’s Lynn Town made it to the 6th division, they had reached the level which was the highest point that the original club had achieved (back in 2008-09). Now, with promotion for the first time to the 5th division, King’s Lynn Town have won 4 promotions in eleven years.

In 2019-20, King’s Lynn Town started well, and had gained the top spot in the National League North in September. And the Linnets held the lead past the New Year. But York City supplanted them at the top in February. By mid-March, when the leagues were halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, York City held a 2 point lead on King’s Lynn Town. However, King’s Lynn had two games in hand. And that was crucial, because, in June, it was voted to base all three of the National Leagues final standings on Points Per Game. That handed the title to King’s Lynn Town…via PPG.

King’s Lynn Town doubled their average attendance….
King’s Lynn Town, who drew 712 per game in 2018-19, doubled their crowd-size in 2019-20, to 1,417 per game. That was the 115th-best average attendance in the English leagues system this season in 2019-20. {See it on a map, here, which shows all clubs in England (and Wales) which drew over 1-K-per-game in 2019-20.}

King’s Lynn Town: 4 promotions in the club’s 11 seasons…
Photo and Image credits above – Aerial shot [satellite image], screenshot from Main Stand, photo by Owen Pavey at
Ian Culverhouse, photo by Geoff Moore at Adam Marriott, photo by Matthew Usher at Winning goal celebration of King’s Lynn Town, versus York City [18 Jan 2020]: screenshot of video uploaded by King’s Lynn Town TV at

Wealdstone win the National League South, to return to the 5th division after 32 years.
Wealdstone FC are from Ruislip, which is in NW Greater London (and was formerly situated in Middlesex). Wealdstone wear Royal-Blue-with-White-and-Yellow, and have two nicknames: the Stones, and the Royals. (In 2019-20, Wealdstone wore striking blue-and-yellow-striped jerseys.) Wealdstone were a founding member of the the 5th division in 1979-80 [as part of the first season of the Alliance Premier League, which was the precursor to the Conference National and then the National League]. The clubs’ greatest moment came in 1984-85, when Wealdstone not only won the Alliance Premier, but also won the FA Trophy: thus becoming the first club to ever win the non-League Double (see photos and caption below). The only problem was that Wealdstone were a couple years ahead of their time, because at that point, there was no automatic promotion – yet – between the 5th division and the Football League. That was instituted a mere two years later, in 1986-87. So Wealdstone, failing to grab the attention of the old-boys-club which kept vast amounts of worthy, title-winning non-League clubs out of the Football League for decades, remained in non-League football. (In the 29 seasons from when the Football League Fourth Division was formed, in 1958-59, to 1985-86 [which was the last season in the Football League with no automatic relegation out of the League], only three clubs ever got voted out of the Football League.)

And then, three years later, Wealdstone got relegated out of the 5th division, in 1987-88. Then it got worse: financial problems, in 1991, saw them lose their Lower Mead ground. Wealdstone were homeless for 17 years, first renting at Watford’s Vicarage Road, then in 1993 Wealdstone were renting at Yeading FC’s ground. Then in 1995 Wealdstone were renting at Edgeware FC’s ground. Then in 2005, Wealdstone were renting at Northwood FC’s ground. Finally, in 2008-09, Wealdstone acquired Ruislip Sports and Social club, and moved into Ruislip Manor’s Grosvenor Vale ground. Five seasons later, in 2013-14, Wealdstone won the Isthmian Premier, by 11 points over Kingstonian. Since being in the 6th tier (Conference South/National League-South), that is to say, since 2014-15, Wealdstone have finished in 12th, then in 11th, then in 8th, then in 13th, and last season, in 7th. In 2018-19, Wealdstone drew 882 per game. They were the lowest-placed team qualifying for the play-offs in 2018-19, and advanced past Bath City in the quarter-final, but then fell to eventually-promoted Woking in the semi-finals.

In 2019-20, Wealdstone started strong, and were in first place by September, drawing 900 per game. They never relinquished the lead, and by winter Wealdstone were drawing above 1-K-per-game for most of their home matches. When league play was stopped in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Wealdstone had a 3 point lead on Havant & Waterlooville (with a game in hand). Wealdstone ended up averaging 1,031 per game, being one of the 43 non-League clubs that drew above 1,000 per game in 2019-20.

Now Wealdstone, a founding member of the 5th division, will return to the 5th tier after 38 seasons in the 6th and 7th divisions.
Photo and Image credits above – Photo from the 11th of May 1985: 1984-85 Alliance Premier champions Wealdstone celebrating their 1985 FA Trophy win over Boston United (2-1), earning them them first ever non-League Double (5th division title & cup-win): photo unattributed at Photo of enamel pin of Wealdstone’s historic non-League Double of 1985: from Aerial shot of Grosvenor Vale: screenshot of satellite image from Interior shot of Grosvenor Vale: photo by Ryan at
Ross Lafayette, photo by Mont Image Media via Dennon Lewis, photo Mont Image Media via Dean Brennan, photo by Mont Image Media via 8 February 2020, Wealdstone players celebrate a goal, when Wealdstone beat Bilericay Town 3-0 and drew a record crowd of 1,356 at Grosvenor Vale, photo from
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Football Club History Database, BARROW.
-National League (English football) (
-2019-20 National League (
-Thanks to Nilfanion…Blank map of UK historic counties, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:United Kingdom police areas map.svg ( Blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg.
Attendance figures…
-Non-League Matters.

September 26, 2019

2019-20 National League [Non-League/5th division England (including Wales)]: map with 2019-crowds-&-finishes chart./+ A brief profile of the current league-leaders: Bromley FC.

Filed under: 2019-20 English Football,Eng-5th level — admin @ 7:38 am

2019-20 National League [Non-League/5th division England (including Wales)]: map with 2019-crowds-&-finishes chart

By Bill Turianski 26 September 2019;

-2019-20 National League (
-Official site…
-Table, fixtures, results, attendance, stats…SUMMARY – National League [2019-20] (
-5th division/National League page at…

A brief re-cap of the 2018-19 5th division…
Promoted, automatically, to the 4th division (of the Football League)…
-Leyton Orient (who won the league by 3 points over Solihull Moors [Leyton Orient thus returned to the Football League after an absence of 2 seasons]).

Promoted, via the play-offs, to the 4th division (of the Football League)…
-Salford City (who finished in 4th place, 4 points behind the leaders, then won the play-offs by beating Eastleigh in the semifinals and then beating AFC Fylde 3-0 in the final at Wembley).

Clubs relegated out of the Football League (4th division), into the 5th division (National League)…
Notts County, Yeovil Town.

Clubs promoted from the 6th level to the 5th division…
Promoted, automatically, to the 5th division (the National League)…
-2018-19 National League North: Stockport County (who won the NL-N by 1 point over Chorley).
-2018-19 National League South: Torquay United (who won the NL-S by 10 points over Woking).

Promoted, via the play-offs, to the 5th division (the National League)…
-2018-19 National League North: Chorley (beating Spennymoor Town, in the final, 1-1/aet/4-3 on penalties).
-2018-19 National League South: Woking (beating Welling Utd, in the final, 1-0).

Clubs relegated out of the 5th division, into the 6th level…
Braintree Town, Gateshead, Havant & Waterlooville, Maidstone United.

    The 5th division’s 1st-place team, as of 26 September 2019 (with 13 games played)

…link for league table:[National League].
Bromley FC.
Bromley FC are from Bromley, Greater London, located in southeast London, 9 miles from central London. The 5 wards that comprise the town of Bromley have a population of around 71,000 {2011 figure}. Before the institution of Greater London, in 1965, the town of Bromley was part of the county of Kent. And to this day, Bromley has the appearance of the leafy home counties, rather than the big city. Here is a goundhopping article on Bromley FC from 2018, by Shaun E. Smith at the 100 Grounds Club site,

Bromley FC have traditionally worn White jerseys and Black pants, but they currently wear All-White with Gold-&-Black trim. Bromley have two nicknames: the Ravens, and the Lilywhites. Bromley were formed in 1892. They briefly played in the Southern League before falling out in 1896. Bromley spent the next 12 seasons in 3 different leagues, the London League, the Kent League, and the Spartan League. In 1908, Bromley joined the Isthmian League, and were champions in their first season there; they repeated as Isthmian champions in 1909-10. Then in the following season of 1910–11, Bromley won the FA Amateur Cup, beating Bishop Auckland 1–0 in the final. Bromley returned to the Kent League for a few seasons before the War (from 1911 to 1914). After WW I, in 1919, Bromley returned to the Athenian League. Bromley were Athenian League champions for the first time in 1922-23. In 1937–38, Bromley reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time, beating King’s Lynn in the first round, before falling to Scarborough in the 2nd round. Also in 1937-38, Bromley were FA Amateur Cup winners for the second time, beating Erith & Belvedere 1–0. In September 1938, Bromley moved into their current ground, Hayes Lane.

In 1948-49, Bromley achieved a non-League Double: they were Athenian League Champions (for the 2nd time), and were FA Amateur Cup winners (Bromley beat Romford and were FA Amateur Cup winners for the 3rd time). Then 2 seasons later, in 1950-51, Bromley were Athenian League Champions for the 3rd time. And looking for new challenges, in 1952-53 Bromley re-joined the Isthmian League (after a 42-year absence). In their second season back in the Isthmian League, Bromley were champions (in 1952-53). Bromley won their fourth Isthmian championship in 1960-61.

The club then began a long period without winning titles (or qualifying for the FA Cup), and suffered relegation to the Isthmian Division Two in 1975. Bromley made it to the FA Cup first round for the first time in 21 years, in 1976-77, but lost to Swindon Town 7-0. Bromley regained Isthmian Premier status in 1980, only to be relegated to the Isthmian D1 in 1984. They bounced back up two years later in 1986. In 1988, Bromley came close to their first Isthmian Premier title since 1961, finishing in 2nd place. But two seasons after that, Bromley confirmed their yo-yo status by being relegated for the 2nd time in 6 years. Bromley bounced straight back to the Isthmian Premier in 1991; they remained there for 8 seasons, being relegated once again in 1999.

Non-League re-organisation in 2002-03 saw Bromley moved to the Isthmian Division One South; two seasons later Bromley won promotion to the Isthmian Premier yet again. Two years later, Bromley were runners-up in the Isthmian (in 2006-07). And then in the following year of 2006-07, Bromley won promotion to the Conference South (which had been established 3 years earlier). Bromley achieved this by beating AFC Wimbledon 1-0 in the semifinals and then beating Billericay Town on penalties in the ’07 Isthmian play-off final. 2006-07 had also seen Bromley reach the FA Cup 1st round again. (As for recently, in the last 10 seasons (2009-10 to 2018-19), Bromley have qualified for the FA Cup 1st round 6 times: in 2009–10, in 2011–12, in 2012–13, in 2014–15, in 2017-18, and in 2018-19, but they were beaten on each occasion.)

2014-15 turned out to be a very good season for Bromley: they were Conference South champions, beating Boreham Wood by 2 points. As Bromley were moving towards their first significant title in over 50 years, their crowds started increasing…In 2011-12, Bromley drew just 483 per game (finishing in 17th place). In 2012-13, Bromley drew 509 per game (finishing in 15th place). In 2013-14, Bromley drew 669 per game (improving 12 places, to 3rd place and the play-offs). And then in their Conference South championship season of 2014-15, Bromley drew 1,082 per game. Which is an amazing feat when you consider that, 3 seasons earlier, they were drawing less than half of that (599 less per game just three years earlier). Since 14/15, Bromley have been drawing over 1 thousand per game, and Bromley drew 1.4 K in 2018-19, when they finished in 11th in the National League.

Now in their 5th season of 5th division football, Bromley have become contenders. They had been drawing 1.4 K (as they averaged last season) for ‘regular’ home games early this season. Then a couple ex-Football League clubs came to town, and their crowds at Hayes Lane swelled…Bromley drew 2.2 K when they hosted Chesterfield, winning 2-1 [on 7 Sept]. Then a fortnight later, Bromley hosted the biggest non-League club currently – Notts County – and beat the Magpies 2-1 in front of 3.1 K. By this time, Bromley were in first place, albeit by just one point over Woking and Halifax. And then on Tuesday the 24th of September, Bromley hosted third-placed Woking, at Hayes Lane, and won 1-0, on a goal by their top-scorer, Michael Cheek, in the 38th minute (see photo below). And Bromley drew a solid 2,358. After 13 games, Bromley remain unbeaten, and lead the National League by 4 points {link for league table:[National League]}.

Bromley FC: 1st place in the 2019-20 National League, after a quarter of the season has been played…
Photo and Image credits above – Aerial shot of Hayes Lane, screenshot of satellite image from View from the terraces at Hayes Lane, photo by WB Tukker at Photo from behind goal with Main Stand in background, photo by Richard Tester at via Michael Cheek (and fans behind goal) celebrate goal v Woking [24th of Sept 2019], image by Bromley FC at[@bromleyfc].
-Thanks to all at the following…
-Football Club History Database,
-National League (English football) (
-2019-20 National League (
-Thanks to Nilfanion…Blank map of UK historic counties, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:United Kingdom police areas map.svg ( Blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg.
Attendance figures…
-Non-League Matters.
-European Football Statistics.

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).

Filed under: 2018-19 English football,Eng-5th level — admin @ 7:51 am

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

By Bill Turianski on 11 July 2018;

-2018-19 National League (
-Official site…
-Table, fixtures, results, attendance, stats…SUMMARY – National League [2018-19] (
-5th division/National League page at…

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}. 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, 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 (} 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 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[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…
Photo and Image credits above -
Salford City 17/18 jersey, photo from Salford Quays, photo by khaosproductions at Aerial shot of Peninsula Stadium, photo unattributed at Interior shot of Peninsula Stadium, photo by Shaun Best at Carl Piergianni, photo by @SalfordCityFC at Michael Nottingham, photo by Gareth Lyons at Tom Walker, photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe via
Jack Redshaw, photo by Salford City at Co-managers Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson, photo unattributed at ‘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 Fans and players celebrate promotion, photo from

    • 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}.

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…
Photo and Image credits above – Harrogate Town 17/18 jersey, from View of Harrogate town centre, photo by Alamy via Wetherby Road front gate/office, photo by Joseph Gibbons at Main Stand at Wetherby Road, photo by Family Stand, photo by Joseph Gibbons at The two-way slope in the pitch at Wetherby Road, photo by James Belshaw, photo from Joe Leesley, photo by Ian Hodgson at Josh Falkingham, photo from Dominic Knowles, photo from Simon Weaver, photo from 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 Dominic Knowles, photo from Promotion celebration, image from HIGHLIGHTS | Harrogate Town 3-0 Brackley Town (Play-off Final) (uploaded by Through The Lens Visuals at

    •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 (

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}

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.
Photo and Image credits above – 17/18 Havant & Waterlooville jersey, illustration from Aerial shot of West Leigh Park, image from’s Eye satellite view. West Leigh Park [from an evening match in 2010], photo by Stuart Noel at Jason Prior, photo from Lee Bradury, photo from Ryan Young, photo from Wes Fogden, photo unattributed at Rory Williams, photo from Jason Prior and Havant fans celebrate the promotion-winning goal in extra-time, screenshot from video uploaded by Marsh Media at[Havant & Waterlooville PROMOTION WINNING goal! (Jason Prior)]. Jason prior after scoring the goal that got them promoted, photo from Pitch invasion following promotion-win, 2 screenshots from video uploaded by Groundhopping FC at

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


-Thanks to the contributors at National League (English football) (
-Havant & Waterlooville 16/17 attendance from
-Thanks to Nilfanion…Blank map of UK historic counties, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:United Kingdom police areas map.svg ( 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,

July 3, 2017

2017-18 [Non-League] National League (aka the Conference) [5th division England], map with 16/17-crowds-&-finishes chart./+ features on the 4 promoted clubs (AFC Fylde, FC Halifax Town, Maidenhead United, Ebbsfleet United).

Filed under: 2017-18 English football,Eng-5th level — admin @ 1:09 pm

2017-18 [Non-League] National League (aka the Conference) [5th division England], map with 16/17-crowds-&-finishes chart

By Bill Turianski on 3 July 2017;
-2017–18 National League (
-Official site…
-Table, fixtures, results, attendance, stats…SUMMARY – National League [2017-18] (
-5th division/National League page at…

-Hartlepool United’s new crest(s): 17/18 white home badge,;
template badges,

-Maidstone United FC’s Gallagher Stadium is getting bigger with a £400k investment (

-Preview…Michael Triffitt’s National League 2017/18 Preview (by Michael Victor on 25 May 2017 at

2016-17 brief re-cap…
Promoted…Lincoln City won the 2016-17 National League, winning automatic promotion back to the Football League, after 6 seasons stuck in Non-League. Forest Green Rovers won promotion to the Football League for their first time ever, after they defeated Tranmere Rovers 3-1 at Wembley to win the 2017 National League play-off final.

Now relegated down to Non-League/5th division/National League are…Leyton Orient and Hartlepool United. Both will be playing in Non-League football for the first time in many decades, with Leyton Orient in Non-League football for the first time since 1905; and Hartlepool Utd in Non-League football for the first time since 1921…

Promoted up from the 6th division and into the National League/5th division are the four clubs profiled below…

    Clubs promoted to National League for 2017-18, from National League North (2 teams) & promoted from National League South (2 teams)…
    (promoted from National League North: AFC Fylde & FC Halifax Town / promoted from National League South: Maidenhead United & Ebbsfleet United)
    AFC Fylde.

(Est. 1988, as Kirkham & Wesham FC, following a merger of Kirkham Town FC and Wesham FC; name changed to AFC Fylde in 2008.) Location: Wesham (in the Borough of Fylde), Lancashire (population: around 3,500/2011 figure). Wesham, Lancashire is located, by road, 7 miles (11 km) SE of Blackpool. Wesham is located, by road, 49 miles (79 km) N of Liverpool. Colours: White jerseys and pants, Blue trim. Nickname: the Coasters. Manager: Dave Challinor (age 41).

-From The Set, The Rise and Rise of AFC Fylde (by David Cowlishaw on 30 Jan. 2017 at

AFC Fylde are from western Lancashire, just south-east of Blackpool, in an area known as the Fylde. Their opulent new stadium is in the very small town of Wesham (population of just 3,500 or so). AFC Fylde are owned by Lancashire-based businessman David Haythornthwaite, who made his considerable fortune in the animal feed business {see this interview, from the Lancashire Post, from 2015}. Haythornthwaite had twice tried to buy Blackpool FC, first in the late 1990s, and later around 2006. But he then decided to just take over a small Non-League club nearby: the then 10th-level side Kirkham & Wesham FC. Haythornthwaite took over the club in 2007, when Kirkham and Wesham were in the North West Counties League. The following year [2008], he changed the club’s name to AFC Fylde, and stated his intention for the club to achieve Football League status by 2022 – a proclamation the club have been wearing ever since, on the sleeves of their home jerseys {see photo below, of their 2008-09 jersey, as well as their 2016-17 jerseys, with the “2022” shoulder-patch}. Since 2007-08, AFC Fylde have won 5 promotions, and now draw 1.9 K per game. And it is starting to look like their 2022 target for promotion to the Football League will be attained ahead of schedule. In 2017-18, AFC Fylde won the league and the sole automatic promotion, beating out Kidderminster by 8 points. Led by Chester-born manager Dave Challinor (age 41), Fylde finished with a plus-46 goal difference, a number that was bulked up by the league’s top scorer, the local-born Tommy Rowe (age 27, born in nearby Blackpool), who netted an astounding 48 goals in 42 league appearances {see photo and caption below}.

AFC Fylde have benefited from the fan unrest at Blackpool FC (which is about 13 km, or 8 miles, up the road). There, the ownership (the Oystons) have so polarized Tangerines supporters, that the Blackpool average gate has plummeted over twelve thousand per game in 6 seasons (from 15.7 K in 2010-11, to 3.4 K in 2016-17). And it looks like AFC Fylde have picked up some of those disaffected Blackpool supporters. But nevertheless, AFC Fylde did not really start building a sizable fanbase until their swank new stadium opened. Their third-most recent promotion (in 2011-12, going up from the 8th level to the 7th level), saw only a tiny attendance increase of a couple dozen or so (from 322 to 345 per game). Their second-most-recent promotion did see a decent crowd-size-increase (a 200-odd-increase, going from 318 per game in 2013-14, to 531 per game when they went up to the National League North in 2014-15). But the minute Mill Farm opened [in August 2016], AFC Fylde saw crowds, for the first time, well above one thousand-per-game (they drew 1.9 K in 2016-17). (Below, in the illustration, there is a small chart showing AFC Fylde’s finishes-and-crowd-sizes for the past 6 seasons.) Now that they are in the 5th division, I think AFC Fylde’s crowds will certainly increase some more. But I think Fylde will soon end up hitting a ceiling with respect to their crowd-size growth.

A few years ago, we saw another tiny western Lancashire club, with a Sugar-daddy owner (Fleetwood Town), rise the ranks and build a thousands-strong fanbase. But even though the now-3rd-division-side Fleetwood Town continue to excel on the pitch (with a 4th place/playoffs-qualifying season in 2016-17), their crowd-size has plateaued at about 3.2-K-per-game. Actually, despite a very solid season, Fleetwood’s attendance actually dipped slightly in 2016-17, from 3.3 to 3.2 K. I think that this is what very well might happen with AFC Fylde. They almost certainly will get into the Football League, and probably before their 2022 target. But then I think they’ll stop being able to increase their crowd-size much more than to 3 K or 4 K or maybe 5 K per game. There is simply an overwhelming glut of Football-League/Premier-League-cailbre clubs in this northwestern corner of England, and there is, perhaps, not enough willing customers to fuel the continued rise of once small clubs like Fleetwood and Fylde. But I could be wrong. The one thing that Fylde has over Fleetwood is a more central location (Fleetwood is on a dead-end spit of land north of Blackpool, while Fylde [in Wesham] is situated more inland, right between Blackpool and Preston. That means Fylde, in Wesham, is smack between two 100-thousand-plus cities, each less than 15 minutes away by road {see that on a map, here}. At the following link there are photos of that new venue in Wesham, Fylde, Lancashire……{Gallery: Mill Farm Sports Village / AFC Fylde} (}.
Photo and Image credits above -
Aerial shot of Mill Farm and surrounding countryside, photo by Mill Farm Sports Village at Mill Farm, aerial shot by AFC Fylde at Interior/match-day shot of Mill Farm from touch-line, photo by Football-League-by-2022 patch on jersey [since 2007], photo unattributed at; 2022. 2016-17 AFC Fylde Jerseys, photos by Dave Challinor, photo from Danny Rowe, photo from

    FC Halifax Town.

(Est. 2008/Phoenix-club of Halifax Town AFC [1911-2008].) Location: Halifax, West Yorkshire (population: around 90,000 /2015 estimate). Halifax is located, by road, 14 miles (22 km) W of Leeds. Halifax is located, by road, 205 miles (331 km) N of London. Colours: Blue (jerseys and pants) with white trim. Nickname: the Shaymen. Manager: Billy Heath.

From the Yorkshire Post, FC Halifax Town 2 Chorley 1 (AET) – Garner’s strike extra special as Shaymen earn return at first attempt (by Leon Wobschall on 13 May 2017 at

Halifax is, by road, 22 miles west of Leeds, in West Yorkshire. FC Halifax Town play at the Shay Stadium (opened 1921; capacity 14,000). FC Halifax Town share the ground with 2nd-division rugby league side Halifax Town RLFC (see caption in illustration below). The Halifax Town rugby league team has played at the Shay for 20 years now [since 1998], while the Halifax Town association football club has played at the ground since they were formed as a Phoenix-club in 2008.

FC Halifax Town are the Phoenix-club of Halifax Town AFC (1921-2008), who were dissolved in 2008 due to massive debts (with over £800,000 owed to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs). Halifax Town had played in the Football League from 1921 to 1993, and from 1998 to 2002 (69 seasons in the League, with 40 seasons in the 3rd division and 29 seasons in the 4th division). The old club’s best finish was in 3rd place in the Third Division in 1970-71. Halifax Town were drawing in the 5-K-range back then in the late-60s/early-70s {historical attendance at}. And the old Halifax Town drew as high as 6.9 K in the late 1940s. The original club’s peak-attendance in modern times was in 1998-99, at 3.0 K per game (which was the season after they had won promotion back to the Football League). But the original Halifax Town folded a decade later, in 2008.

A new club to take its place was formed that same year (2008), and the new FC Halifax Town were assigned to the 8th level, in the Northern Premier League Division One North. Since then, the new club has won 4 promotions and suffered one relegation (in 2016). And after one season back in the 6th tier, and under former North Ferriby United manager Billy Heath (age 46), FC Halifax Town have now returned to the 5th division, after winning the 2017 National League North play-offs. The Shaymen won promotion with a 2-1 aet victory over Lancashire side Chorley, in front of a 6th-division attendance record of 7,920 at The Shay {see photos below}.

Since re-forming, Halifax has averaged between 1.1 K [in their first season, in the 8th division] to 1.8 K [last season, in the 6th division]. The Shay is owned by the local authority in this part of West Yorkshire, the Calderdale Metropolitan Council. The Shay has been in a constant state of redevelopment since 2008 {the ongoing development of which you can see in the background of the last photo below}. The Shay was built into the side of a somewhat steep hill, a quarter-mile south of the town centre. The Shay currently features 4 largish roofed stands, two of which were built into the side of the hill. It is frankly too large for Non-League, but it must be pointed out again that Halifax just recorded the largest-ever crowd in the 6th tier, when they won that play-off final in May 2017. Granted, one needs to factor in the short travel-distance to that match for the traveling Chorley supporters (distance between Chorley and Halifax is about 49 miles by road). But still, that 7.9 K figure points to the fact that this Non-League club from West Yorkshire definitely has the potential to draw much higher than the 1.8 K they drew in 2016-17. {Here is a video…2017 National League North play-off final at Halifax, W Yorkshire, video uploaded by FC Halifax Town at We’re On Our Way ! Behind The Scenes-Play-Off Special vs Chorley (12:31 video at}
Photo and Image credits above -
Shot of Halifax (from Beacon Hill), photo by Mr Barndoor at File:Halifax view from Beacon Hill.jpg ( The Shay (rugby-league-configuration), photo unattributed a jpg. The Shay (w/ large crowd for football match), photo by Pliny Harris at Screenshot of crowd at 2017 NL-N play-off final, from video uploaded by FC Halifax Town at We’re On Our Way ! Behind The Scenes-Play-Off Special vs Chorley [12:31 video at]. Scott Garner scores winner in extra time v Chorley (National League North 2017 play-off final), photo by Tony Johnson at Billy Heath, photo from Halifax Town fans’ pitch invasion following promotion (play-off win), screenshot from video uploaded by

    Maidenhead United FC.

(Est. 1870.) Location: Maidenhead, Berkshire (population: around 73,000 /2011 figure). Maidenhead is located, by road, 30 miles (47 km) W of central London. Colours: Black-and-White [vertical stripes]. Nickname: the Magpies. Manager: Alan Devonshire (age 61).

Maidenhead United are from Berkshire, on the River Thames, located, by road, 7 miles north-west of Windsor Castle, and 30 miles west of central London. They play at York Road, and have done so since their second year of existence, all the way back in 1871 (146 years ago). Maidenhead’s York Road has now been officially acknowledged as the “oldest senior football ground continuously used by the same club” {see this, Country’s ‘oldest’ football ground in Maidenhead gets plaque (, from Oct. 2012)}. You can see a photo of the English Heritage blue-plaque displayed at Maidenhead’s York Road, in the illustration below.

Manager of Maidenhead United is Alan Devonshire (age 61), who was a midfielder at West Ham United (with 370 league appearances and 30 goals, from 1976 to 1990). In his second spell as Maidenhead manager, Devonshire has just led the club to to their highest level, with automatic promotion, to the 5th division, as the 2016-17 National League South champions. Maidenhead United were the leaders of the National League South for most of the 2016-17 season, but almost lost that lead to Ebbsfleet United down the stretch. Ebbsfleet had beaten beat Maidenhead 1-2 in front of 3.3 K at York Road in Maidenhead, in the penultimate match. But, the following week, thanks to a final-match-fixture versus an already-relegated Margate, Maidenhead won 0-4 and sealed promotion to the National League automatically.

In the process, Maidenhead saw their crowd-size more than double – from 482 per game in 2015-16, to 1,012 per game in 2016-17. Further below, you can see a photo of their manager, Devonshire, as well as a photo-and-caption of the 2016-17 National League South top scorer, Dave Tarpey, who ended up with an incredible 1.07-goals-per-game work-rate (44 goals in 41 league matches). The photo of Tarpey is of him celebrating with teammates and fans, after a spectacular goal in December 2016. Here is a video of Tarpey scoring that sweet goal…{Maidenhead United’s Dave Tarpey scores wondergoal (0:22 video uploaded by Proper Sport at}.
Photo and image credits above –
Maidenhead Bridge, photo by Tom Bastin at File:Maidenhead Bridge (1).jpg ( Action-shot [2011] of match at York Road, photo by Paul Paxford at via [Jan. 2012]. Photo of UK historical plaque, by ChrisTheDude at File:YorkRoadplaque.jpg ( Bell Street End, photo by Antti’s Football Scarves at[york_road_maidenhead_united_18.08.2012]. Railway Stand (opened 2014), photo by Maidenhead United FC at Action-shot [April 2017], photo by Marc Keinch at[14 Apr. 2017 Maidenhead Utd 2-0 Concord Rangers]. Alan Devonshire, photo by PA at David Tarpey, photo unattributed at

    Ebbsfleet United FC.

(Est. 1946 (as Gravesend & Northfleet FC). Northfleet, Kent (population: around 29,000/2011 figure). Northfleet is 25 miles (40 km) E of central London. Colours: Red shirts and White pants. Nickname: the Fleet. Manager: Daryl McMahon (age 33; born in Dublin, Ireland).

-From Kent, Ebbsfleet United 2 Chelmsford City 1 National League South play-off final match report (by Steve Tervet on 13 May 2017 at
-Also from Kent, Ebbsfleet United unveil further plans for Stonebridge Road as owners prepare for a Football League future (by Tom Acres on 14 March 2017 at

Ebbsfleet United are from Northfleet in northwestern Kent, which is on the south side of the Thames Estuary. Northfleet is located 25 miles east of central London, and just east of Dartford, Kent and the busy Dartford bridge/tunnel crossing there. This part of Kent is part of the High Speed 1 rail link to the Channel Tunnel and to Europe (at the Ebbsfleet International Railway Station/ see photos below).

This season [2017-18] will be Ebbsfleet’s 14th season in the 5th division. Previously Ebbsfleet had spent 13 seasons in the 5th division in three separate spells (1979-82 [the first 3 seasons of the 5th division], 2002-10 [an 8-season spell], and 2012-14 [a 2-season-spell]). They were relegated to the Conference South (now called the National League South) in April 2013. That point in time (early 2013) was right when the failed club-ownership venture known as was winding down. Excerpt from Wikipedia…“Between 2008 and 2013, the club was owned by the web-based venture MyFootballClub, whose members voted on player transfers, budgets and ticket prices among other things instead of those decisions being made exclusively by the club’s management and staff as at most other clubs.” {excerpt from Ebbsfleet United F.C.}

Ebbsfleet United was established in 1946, from a merger between Gravesend United (est. 1893) and Northfleet United (est. 1890). They are known as the Fleet and wear red jerseys with white pants and trim. They play at Stonebridge Road, which abuts heavy industry (a shipping terminal and a metal refinery are nearby). Four years ago in 2013, following the end of the aforementioned web-based ownership experiment, Ebbsfleet United were bought by Kuwaiti investors fronted by new owner Dr Abdulla Al-Humaidi (who is now Chairman of the club).

Now, with the new (and deep-pocketed) ownership, Ebbsfleet’s Stonebridge Road is currently under a comprehensive renovation and expansion, and all 4 sides of the ground are planned to be re-built. The first rebuilt stand, the new Main Stand (see it below in mid-construction), is slated for an opening at the start of the 2017-18 season, with the other 3 sides all set for similar refurbishment. The region is also seeing a regeneration, {see this: Green light for major Ebbsfleet redevelopment scheme (by Muhammad Aldalou on 22 May 2017 at}.

Ebbsfleet just missed out on promotion two seasons ago, losing the 2016 National League South play-off final to fellow Kent side Maidstone United. But in 2016-17, after narrowly missing out on automatic promotion, the 2nd-place-finishing Ebbsfleet went the extra step and won promotion in the play-offs, with a 2-1 win over Chelmsford City, on 13th May 2017. Before a solid 3.1-K-crowd at Stonebridge Road, in the 75th minute, Ebbsfleet MF Darren McQueen took an Andy Drury volleyed cross, and bundled the ball into the net, for the promotion-winning goal (see photos below).

Ebbsfleet had been drawing in the 1.1-K-range the last time they were competitive at this level (in 2011-12, when they finished in 14th place in the 5th division). The season they were last relegated (2012-13), they drew .8 K. Then they drew .9 K in the 6th division in both 2013-14 and in 2014-15, then drew a decent 1.2 K in 2015-16, and then Ebbsfleet increased their crowd-size a bit more to 1.3 K last season. Now, back in the 5th tier for 2017-18, and owing to the revitalisation of their ground, the Fleet will probably see their average attendance continue to incrementally rise, maybe to near 1.5 K (or maybe even higher, if they start the season well). I can’t confirm it, owing to the hard-to-find status of Non-League attendance figures from the 1979-to-2010 era, but if Ebbsfleet United do draw above 1.5 K this season, it will probably be their best-ever average attendance.
Photo and Image credits above –
Northfleet/Gravesend shoreline at Thames Estuary, photo by Clem Rutter at File:NorthfleetThames8810.JPG ( Ebbsfleet International Railway Station, photo by Train, photo by mattbuck at File:Ebbsfleet International railway station MMB 08 395004.jpg. Exterior of Stonebridge Road ground, photo by Clem Rutter at File:NorthfleetStadium8833.JPG ( New Main Stand [photo from early 2017], photo by Alan Woods at Interior shot of round [from 2014], photo by Joseph Gibbons at Screenshots of 2nd goal in final (Darren McQueen from an assist by Andy Drury, images from Highlights – Ebbsfleet United vs Chelmsford City – Play-Off Final (video uploaded by Clarets TV at Darren McQueen winning goal, photo from TSG Photoshelter at Ebbsfleet captain Danny Kedwell and manager Daryl McMahon lift trophy, photo by Andy Payton at

-Thanks to the contributors at 2016–17 National League (
-Thanks to Nilfanion…Blank map of UK historic counties, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:United Kingdom police areas map.svg ( 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,

July 21, 2016

2016–17 [Non-League] National League (aka the Conference) [5th division England], map w/ 15/16-crowds-&-finish./+ features on the 4 promoted clubs (Solihull Moors, North Ferriby United, Sutton United, Maidstone United).

Filed under: 2016-17 English football,Eng-5th level — admin @ 2:11 pm

2016–17 [Non-League] National League (aka the Conference) [5th division England], map w/ 15/16-crowds-&-finish

By Bill Turianski on 21 July 2016;

-2016–17 National League [England 5th division football] (
-5th division/National League page at…
-Club colours…

2016-17 will be the second season of the re-branded 5th division in England (and Wales).
Since last season, rather than being called the Conference, the 5th division began being called the National League (groan). The 5th tier of the English football pyramid was instituted in 1979-80 as the Alliance Premier League, and in 1986-87 the 5th division (by then called the Conference), was first granted automatic promotion placement into the Football League. A second promotion-spot was granted for 2002-03 (4-team-play-off-winner). The league-winner last season [2015-16] was Cheltenham Town, while Grimsby Town defeated Forest Green Rovers to win the play-off final at Wembley.

So, just two teams go up to the Football League each season, yet 4 teams go down to the 6th level each season. That helps to further establish the dreaded 5th division Bottleneck, with the now-perpetual cycle of former-Football-League-teams finding themselves down on their luck and stuck in Non-League football. Currently, teams in that category are…Tranmere Rovers, Wrexham, Lincoln City, York City, Torquay United, Southport, Barrow AFC, Macclesfield Town, Dagenham & Redbridge, as well as two re-formed clubs (Gateshead and Chester). There are simply so many lower-League-sized-clubs now filling up the 5th tier that ex-Football-League clubs can languish there in the 5th division for years (like Lincoln City). Although, in the last two seasons, Bristol Rovers and now Cheltenham Town have bucked that trend, and have bounced straight back to the Football League at the first try.

As for the two-league 6th division, that was instituted in 2004-05. The 6th division is when the English football pyramid splits into regional leagues – the National League North and the National League South. Two teams from the North and the South get promoted to the 5th division each season, and the four currently-promoted clubs are featured further below.

The map…
I am using the same template as last year, when I covered the Football League’s 3 leagues and the Premier League (the 2016-17 versions of which will be forthcoming, starting with the Premier League location-map-&-chart, which is to be posted on 31 July 2016).

Here, the location-map shows all 24 clubs in the 2016-17 National League, with their crests shown. The larger British-Isle-map (showing 20 of the teams in the 16/17 National League) is flanked by an inset-map of Greater London (showing 3 of the teams in the 16/17 National League – Bromley, Sutton United, and Dagenham & Redbridge); the Greater London map also includes the surrounding area of parts of the Home Counties around the capital as well (showing one of the teams in the 16/17 National League – Boreham Wood, who are from southern Hertfordshire just north of the North London boundary). The main map includes the traditional counties of England plus widely-used regional names. In the London map I have included notable places of interest (such as Parliament/Westminster, Hyde and Regent’s Parks, and Greenwich Mean Time’s location in SE London), and some infrastructure (Wembley Stadium, the Dartford Crossing), plus I have listed the Home Counties surrounding London, plus the four-closest prominent towns (Watford, Medway Towns incl Gillingham, Slough, Southend-on-Sea).

The chart…
The chart on the right-hand side of the map-page shows the 24 clubs’ attendances, stadium-capacities, and league-finishes for the last two seasons [2014-15 and 2015-16], plus last season’s Percent-Capacity figures as well as Numerical Change in average attendance (from the previous season). At the far right are two columns: one for seasons spent in the English 1st division, and one for English major titles (English 1st division title, FA Cup title, League Cup title)…but none of this current crop of 5th division clubs has ever done either of those things. In case you are wondering, there have been 5th division clubs with top-flight history and even with titles, and last season saw a former-First-Division-side – Grimsby Town – win promotion back to the Football League (Grimsby played 12 seasons in the 1st tier [albeit not since 1947-48].) The only clubs with titles who ever played in the 5th division are Oxford United and Luton Town, and both those are quasi-tin-pot League Cup titles (both won in the 1980s).

Best-drawing clubs in the 5th division, currently…
Currently [2016-17], no club in the 5th tier has ever reached the rarefied air of the first division, and if I were to guess, I would say Tranmere Rovers are the biggest club in the 5th division this season. Tranmere Rovers are from Birkenhead on the Wirral Peninsula (which is part of Merseyside and is located across the Mersey Estuary from Liverpool). Tranmere drew 5.4 K in their first season down in Non-League in 2015-16 (finishing in 6th, 2 points off the play-off places). But don’t forget about Wrexham, who, as an entirely-supporter-owned entity these days, are debt-free and coming off a +1.3 K per game attendance increase last season (when they finished 8th), drawing 4.6 K up there in North Wales. To round out the top-drawing current-5th-tier sides…The just-relegated-back York City drew 3.2 K last season in League Two at Bootham Crescent. The now-5th-tier-mainstays Lincoln City drew 2.5 K at Sincil Bank in Lincolnshire. And the back-to-back-promoted Maidstone United, of Kent, drew an impressive 2.1 K last season in their sweet new stadium (see it further below). Maidstone played to a very-impressive-for-Non-League 69.6 percent-capacity, and they were the 3rd-best-drawing 6th division side in 2015-16. Only FC United of Manchester and Stockport County drew higher in the 6th level last season.

Full-time-pro clubs versus part-time-pro clubs in the 5th division – the distinctions are blurring…
Most clubs in the 5th division these days are full-time-professional, and even the handful of current part-time professional clubs in the National League essentially behave as if they are full-time-pro. In the old days [pre-1986-87], the Non-League/Football League divide was also the divide between amateur and professional clubs. These days, the majority of 5th-division/Non-League clubs are full-time professional. But it is rather hard defining who is fully pro and who is not. So to get to the bottom of this, I made contact with Richard Joyce, who is Press Officer at Forest Green Rovers. I had remembered that on his old FGR-based podcasts, he had described which Conference teams were still part-time [back in 2010-11].

Richard Joyce explained to me that in the 5th division now [circa 2014 or so], the lines between full-time-pro clubs and part-time-pro clubs have become blurred…”On the topic of clubs still operating as semi-professional sides – there are still quite a few. Sometimes it is difficult to tell which ones are because some train slightly more than your traditional part-time side in an attempt to get as many hours on the training field as possible. For example Boreham Wood train three times a week and in the mornings – which is just one less training session than FGR. So although that may mean they are close to being ‘part time’ they more or less have a full time schedule.
But there are still definite proper ‘semi-pro’ clubs such as Braintree Town, Bromley and North Ferriby United. Some other semi-pro clubs include Sutton, Maidstone, Solihull Moors and Woking, however some of those sides can sometimes train a lot more than you would associate with an ‘old school’ part-time team. They also sign a lot of full time players, who although are playing for a part-time club, still train and behave like they are full time professionals. With so many talented players available and unable to secure a move to a full-time outfit, they choose to join a part-time team which means they can still play at a good level in the National League. It depends financially where clubs position themselves but if they can work as many hours on the training field as possible to enhance their chances on matchdays then it seems like a good move to make”…
(Quote by Richard D Joyce, Press Officer at Forest Green Rovers FC).

    Clubs promoted from National League North & promoted from National League South, for 2016-17…
    (Solihull Moors, North Ferriby United, Sutton United, Maidstone United).

Promoted clubs from National League North, for 2016-17…
Solihull Moors FC. (Est 2007, via merger of Moor Green FC [6th-level-side] and Solihull Borough FC [8th-level-side].) Solihull, West Midlands (population 206,000/2011 figure). Solihull is 14.5 km (8 mi) E of Birmimgham, and Solihull is 24 km (15 mi) W of Coventry. Colours: Blue & Yellow [hoops]/ red-black-white [hoops] on the road. Nickname: the Moors. Manager: Marcus Bignot. Here is a recent article about Marcus Bignot…Marcus Bignot’s journey: From rejection at Birmingham to Solihull, via Crewe (by Ged Scott on 6 July 2016 at

This is the highest-league placement for the nine-year-old club. As Moor Green FC, pre-merger, the club was a charter member of the Conference North in 2004-05. Before and after the merger (in 2007), Moor Green/Solihull Moors were a mid-to-lower-table 6th tier side that never really threatened to win promotion, and drew less than 300 per game.

By 2014-15, when they finished 12th, Solihull Moors’ crowds had improved by about a couple-hundred-per-game and they were averaging 463. Then last season [2015-16], the Moors came out of nowhere to win the league by 9 points, increasing their average gate again by about a couple-hundred-per-game – to 671 per game, at their 3-K-capacity Damson Park located about a mile north of Solihull town centre. Here’s an article on the Moors’ 2016 promotion to the 5th level…Solihull Moors confirmed as National League North champions (

As you can see below, Solihull Moors had a pretty nondescript crest prior to 2015 (it looked like lame and ugly clip-art, in a dismal colour-scheme of greenish-gold-and-black). But now Solihull Moors new crest rightfully incorporates – within a shield-device – design elements from the crests of the original two clubs which went on to comprise the new club. Plus the Moors no longer play in drab home whites with black pants, but rather in bold hoops. Solihull Moors are located somewhat close to central Birmingham, and are located about a half-mile from Birmingham International Airport (the flight tower for the airport is visible from the stands at Damson Park {see it here}), and, as it says in the Football Ground Guide website, ‘The ground is situated very close to Birmingham Airport, so you are ‘treated’ to a procession of planes taking off throughout the afternoon.’). There is a power-vacuum in Birmingham/West-Midlands-football these days (Aston Villa has imploded, Birmingham City are still going nowhere, and West Bromwich are surviving in the top flight – but just barely). So Solihull Moors could benefit from this, and the club could see a continued increase in attendance, and maybe the Moors will start to pick up some disaffected fans of the nearby and just-relegated Aston Villa.
Photo credits above – Shots of main stand, 1st photo by
2nd photo with main stand filled, photo by richardl1969 at Photo of Moors fans, photo by[tickets]

North Ferriby United AFC. (Est. 1934.) North Ferriby, East Riding of Yorkshire (which is part of Greater Hull [population 433,000/2011 figure]). North Ferriby is 14 km (9 mi) W of Kingston-upon-Hull. Colours: Green & White. Nickname: the Villagers. Manager: Steve Housham.

Here is an excellent and informative article on NFUFC (from the Guardian, of course)…How North Ferriby’s village football team made the jump to the National League (by Richard Foster on 15 July 2016 at

Promoted as play-off winners of National League North (North Ferriby Utd 2-1 Fylde). This is the highest-league placement for the 83-year-old club. In late 2011, North Ferriby were a relegation-threatened 7th division side. A year-and-a-half later (in May 2013), the Villagers had reversed course and won promotion to the 6th division. Now, after just 3 seasons in the 6th tier, Norh Ferriby continue their climb up the pyramid and will now make their 5th division debut for 2016-17. But North Ferriby United will face an uphill battle, as one of the smallest clubs in the 5th tier this season.

The Villagers play at the tiny 2.7-K-capacity Grange Lane, and drew only 446 per game in 2015-16. But that crowd-size more than tripled for their play-off final win over Fylde, when they drew 1.8 K and won it late in extra-time, with the winning goal in the 95th minute by Danny Hone {see fuzzy screenshot below}. Here is an article from the Hull Daily Mail….Brilliant North Ferriby United seal promotion to National League (on 14 May 2016 by Charlie Mullan at
Photo credits above – unattributed at Screenshot of promotion-winning-goal-celebration, from video uploaded by North Ferriby at North Ferriby squad celebrates their promotion, photo by

Promoted clubs from National League South, for 2016-17…
Sutton United. (Est. 1898.) Sutton are from the southern reaches of Greater London near the boundary with Surrey, and Sutton is about 17 km (10 mi) SW of central London. Colours: Amber & Chocolate. Manager: Paul Doswell.

Sutton Utd spent 6 seasons in the Conference – 5 seasons from 1986-1991, as well as the 1999-2000 season. And during that first spell in the 5th division in the late Eighties, Sutton had their historic giant-killing of 1st-division side Coventry City, in the 1988-89 FA Cup 3rd Round. {See this article I wrote 4 years ago on Sutton United’s legendary Cup-upset, 2011-12 FA Cup, Second Round Proper./ + Sutton United’s FA Cup Giant Killing – January, 1989 – Sutton United 2-1 Coventry City.}

Sutton United now return to the 5th tier after a 16-year absence. Last season, the U’s won the National League South on the second-to-last game of the season, on 23rd April 2016, when they beat Chelmsford City 2-0 in front of a solid 1.5 K at Borough Sports Park (aka Gander Green Lane). {See this article…Sutton United clinch promotion to the National League (}

Sutton United these days average 1.0 K and still play at their Gander Green Lane (which opened in 1912 as a racing track). The pitch is now 3G there – that playing surface was installed in the summer of 2015. Like Maidstone United (see the Maidstone section further below), Sutton will be in promotion-limbo until 3G pitches are allowed in the Football League.
Photo and Image credits above – Aerial shot of Gander Greeen Lane, photo by View of Main Stand at Gander Green, photo unattributed at Standing terrace at Gander Green lane, photo by BeautifulGame15 at Screenshot of Sutton fans applauding the Sutton squad (and vice-versa) after Sutton clinched the 2016 National League South title, image from a youtube video uploaded by Clarets TV at

Maidstone United (II) (Est. 1992 as Maidstone Invicta, a Phoenix-club of Maidstone United FC (1897)./ Changed name to Maidstone United (II) in 1995.) Maidstone is in Kent, about 64 km (40 mi) SE of central London, by road [or 52 km/33 mi from London as the crow flies]. Nickname: the Stones. Colours: Amber & Black. Manager: Jay Saunders.

Maidstone United have now achieved back-to-back promotions. Maidstone were promoted as play-off winners of the 2016-17 National League South. The re-emergence of Maidstone United is a great story – they had the 3rd-highest crowd size in the 6th tier last season (only FC United of Manchester and Stockport County drew higher in the 6th division in 2015-16). On 14 May 2016, 17 miles NE of Maidstone, in Northfleet, Kent, before 3.8 K at Ebbsfleet United’s Stonebridge Road, Maidstone United won promotion to the 5th tier in a dramatic play-off final aet shootout win, beating their nearby rivals by the score of 2-2/4-3 on penalties. Maidstone FW Dimebe Dumaka had scored at the last gasp in added time, to even it up in the 121st minute. Then in the penalty shoot-out, Alex Flisher, Jack Paxman, Bobby-Joe Taylor and Dan Sweeney scored from the spot, while Maidstone GK/captain Lee Worgan made 2 penalty-saves, the latter of which was off of Ebbsfleet-brace-scorer Danny Kedwell…and the Stones were promoted. Here is an article…Ebbsfleet United 2 Maidstone United 2 match report (aet, Stones win 4-3 on penalties) (from 14 May 2016, by Chris Tucker at

Maidstone United’s new, compact (3.0 K-capacity), attractive, and very functional Gallagher Stadium (which opened in 2012), has helped swell crowds and helped propel Maidstone back up the pyramid. The original Maidstone United, which was wound up in 1992, were a charter-member of the 5th division in 1979, and went on to spend 3 seasons in the 4th division of the Football League (from 1989-1992). In 1989-90 the original Maidstone United (I) had their highest league-placement when they finished in 5th place in the 4th division and drew a peak 2.4 K per game. But 2 seasons later, the first version of Maidstone Utd had overspent themselves into oblivion. So Maidstone United (I) were wound up, and a re-formed club with a nucleus of the youth side was established that same year (1992). Twenty four years later [2015-16], the second iteration of Maidstone United (II) drew a healthy 2.1 K – in the 6th division – en route to promotion, so you could say that Maidstone United are back.

The only problem with Maidstone’s ascent is that they play on a 3G pitch, and the Football League still bans that, so until the rules change, Maidstone United are in a neutral mode with respect to another promotion push. Maidstone United’s Gallagher Stadium is the first purpose-built football stadium in Britain that utilizes a 3G pitch in its business model. See this, at the Wikipedia page for the Gallagher Stadium, where it says that…”Rather than the traditional choice of grass, Maidstone were the first English team to build a stadium with third generation artificial turf”…”The reasons for going with the synthetic turf were threefold, the first being to eliminate match postponements caused by waterlogging and freezing conditions, the second so that the pitch can be hired out, bringing in vital funds (around £120,000 to £150,000 profit per year), and thirdly so that the stadium can be a hub for all the club’s youth and community teams.”…”A major downside of the 3G pitch is that so far the club has only gained permission to use the pitch in the Football Conference [the National League/5th division].”…{excerpts from Gallagher_Stadium/3G Artificial Pitch (}.
Photo and Image credits above -
Aerial shot of stadium, photo by Gallagher Group at Interior shot from terrace behind goal, photo by Steve McCaskill at Shot of a full-capacity main stand during a Maidstone game, photo by Close-up shot of 3G pitch with main stand in background, photo by Shot of captain Worgan lifting trophy with squad celebrating promotion, photo by Gary Browne at

-Thanks to the contributors at 2016–17 National League (
-Thanks to Nilfanion…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-divisions Non-League attendance figures,
-Thanks to the excellent site known as Non-League Matters, for lower-division Non-League attendance figures,

Special Thanks to Richard Joyce at Forest Green Rovers official site.

April 20, 2013

England and Wales: Conference National (aka Blue Square Bet Premier League) 2012-13 Location-map with final attendance figures for top 5 finishers, and promoted & relegated clubs listed / Plus photos of the 5 clubs’ grounds & their managers, and their League histories.

Filed under: 2012-13 English football,Eng-5th level,Football Stadia — admin @ 3:09 pm

England & Wales: Conference National (aka Blue Square Bet Premier League) 2012-13 Location-map with final attendance figures for top 5 finishers

2013 Conference National PLAY-OFFS. [All times Greenwich Mean Time.]
Tuesday 23rd April 2013, 19:45
Wrexham v Kidderminster.

Wednesday 24th April 2013, 19:45
Grimsby v Newport.

Sunday 28th April 2013, 13:30
Kidderminster v Wrexham.

Sunday 28th April 2013, 16:30
Newport v Grimsby.

Sunday 5th May 2013, 15:00 pm, at Wembley Stadium,
Newport County v. Wrexham in the Play-offs Final – meaning their will be a Welsh team joining the Football League, League Two next season…

From Two Hundred Percent site, from 29 April 2013, by Ian King, ‘Wrexham & Newport County: Salutary Tales Of Struggle & Redemption‘ (

From The Guardian, from 5 May 2013, by Stuart James, ‘Newport County victory over Wrexham puts them back into Football League‘ (

Fixtures, (

Note on relegated clubs listed in the small chart section on the right-hand side of the map page – The reason why there is a question mark next to just-relegated AFC Telford United is because AFC Telford United will most likely be one of 3 ex-Conference-National clubs now placed in Conference North, with a re-shuffling of current Conference North clubs resulting in either Bishop’s Stortford or Gloucester City being placed (or re-placed, in Stortford’s case) into Conference South for the 2013-14 season. This is all, of course, pending which 6th Level and 7th Level clubs, exactly, find themselves in Conference North/Conference South (ie, in the 6th Level) in the following few weeks.

From, from 20 April 2012, ‘Mansfield 1-0 Wrexham‘.

    Champions of the 2012-13 Conference National,and returning to the Football League after 5 seasons in Non-League football, Mansfield Town FC.

Mansfield Town. Est. 1897 as Mansfield Wesleyans/ changed name to Mansfield Town FC in 1910. The Stags.
Field Mill [aka One Call Stadium], Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. Opened circa 1861. Mansfield Town began playing at Field Mill in 1919-20. The first stand was built in 1922. The stadium was last renovated in 1999 to 2001. The provisional capacity is 7,574 (with one of the main stands temporarily closed for safety reasons).
Mansfield Town average attendance: 2,764 per game. (From 2012-13 home league matches in Conference National/5th Level).

Photo and Image credits above -
Mansfield Town F.C.‘ (
PA at
Unattributed at

    Below: the 4 play-off clubs (#2 v. #5; #3 v. #4 in the 1st Round of the 2013 Conference National Play-offs)…

#2, Kidderminster Harriers.
Photo and Image credits above -
Kidderminster Harriers F.C.‘ (
Screenshot of satellite view of Aggborough from

#3, Newport County AFC.
Photo and Image credits above –
Newport County A.F.C.‘ (
Pwimageglow at,_Rodney_Parade,_Newport.jpg.
Unattributed at
Photo from Play-offs final at Wembley by Andrew Couldridge at

#4, Grimsby Town FC.
Photo and Image credits above -
Grimsby Town F.C.‘ ( via

#5, Wrexham FC.
Photo and Image credits above -
Wrexham F.C.‘ (
Huw Evans/PA via

Thanks to this group of sites for clubs’ League histories ( sites, such as
Thanks to this site for data on clubs’ League histories,

Thanks to, for 2011-12 attendance data,
Thanks to ESPN Soccernet for current attendance figures,

November 18, 2012

England: Conference National – 2012-13 Location-map, with 2011-12 attendance data.

England: Conference National – 2012-13 Location-map, with 2011-12 attendance data & 2012-13 home jersey badges

The Conference National is the 5th Level of English football. It is the highest level in Non-league football. For sponsorship reasons it is known as the Blue Square Bet Premier. 2 clubs get promoted each season to the Football League, into League Two. Promoted are the league winner and the winner of the four-team play-offs. The bottom 4 clubs each season get relegated to the 6th Level, into either the Conference North or the Conference South.

Conference National table, with fixtures and results (

Below are the top five clubs in the Conference National as of 19 November, 2012, with current average attendances listed (most clubs have played 9 or 10 out of 23 home matches so far); [current attendance figures for Conference clubs can be found at the link above]…

1st place in the Conference as of 19 Nov. 2012, Grimsby Town. Grimsby Town FC, Blundell Park, Cleethorpes, Northeast Lincolnshire.
grimsby-town_fc_blundell-park_b.gif" Photo credit above -

2nd place in the Conference as of 19 Nov. 2012, Newport County. Newport County AFC, Newport, South Wales, Wales.
Photo credits above –
Action photo from Newport v.Hereford, 28 Aug. 2012 by

3rd place in the Conference as of 19 Nov. 2012, Forest Green Rovers. Forest Green Rovers FC, Nailsworth, Stroud Valley, Gloucestershire.
Photo credits above –

4th place in the Conference as of 19 Nov. 2012, Wrexham. Wrexham FC, Wrexham, North Wales, Wales.
Photo credit above –

5th place in the Conference as of 19 Nov. 2012, Dartford. Dartford FC, Dartford, Kent, on the south bank of the River Thames, 22 km. (13 miles) east of central London.
Photo credits above –
Keith Gillard at
Steveboswell at

Thanks to for Conference attendance figures,
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, ‘Conference National / Conference National clubs 2012–13‘.

May 1, 2012

Conference National, May 2011-12 – the 1 promoted club – Fleetwood Town FC – and the 4 play-off clubs / Plus a map of the 7 Lancashire-based Football League clubs in the 2012-13 season.

2011-12 Conference (aka Blue Square Premier League), Top of the Table map
Conference National Play Off fixtures.
2011-12 Conference National (aka Blue Square Bet Premier League) Play Offs
all times below are GMT (ie, Britain) / subtract 5 hours for Eastern Time (US & Canada)
Semi Finals,
First Leg,
York City v Mansfield Town 2nd May 2012. Kick Off 19:30.
Luton Town v Wrexham 3rd May 2012. Kick Off 19:30.
Second Leg,
Mansfield Town v York City 7th May 2012. Kick Off 14:00.
Wrexham v Luton 7th May 2012. Kick Off 16:30.
Play Off Promotion Final,
Sunday 20th May 2012- at Wembley Stadium – 3pm Kick Off.

2011-12 Promotion / Play-offs Map. Promoted to the Football League: Fleetwood Town FC, with second promotion spot to play offs winner.

From League blog, from 10 April 2012, by Jacob Steinberg, ‘Long-term planning leaves Fleetwood Town on verge of promised land – A win over Wrexham will take Fleetwood into the Football League for the first time in their turbulent history‘.

On the 16 April 2012 broadcast of the BBC London Non-League {Season 5 Episode 37 podcast here}, Fleetwood Town chairman and local businessman Andy Pilley confirmed that the club has actually turned a small profit for the 2011-12 season [interview with Micky Mellon and Andy Pilley at ~16:00 into BBC Non-League Football Show Season 5 Episode 37 (Mon. 16 April 2012)].

This despite the fact that Fleetwood Town had the highest wage bill in the league, and drew just 2,264 per game to their home league matches (9th-highest in the league). So Crawley Town they are not – unlike last season’s Conference champions Crawley Town, Fleetwood Town does not have undisclosed ownership which has plowed far more money into a promotion campaign than any other club in the league could ever hope to invest. FTFC’s money comes from a local source. From the site, ‘Andy Pilley is…the founder and managing director of Business Energy Solutions (BES). He founded the company in 2002 from a spare bedroom following the deregulation of the energy market.’ And sure they spent to get promoted – FW Jamie Vardy cost six figures to buy from Conference North club FC Halifax Town. But Fleetwood Town have still managed to live within their means, and thanks to their great FA Cup run, and broadcast revenue from their Third Round match versus Blackpool, they even managed to make a profit. Congratulations to Fleetwood Town FC, its chairman Andy Pilley and the board, its manager Micky Mellon, it’s players, its supporters, and all the folks who pitch in at the Highbury Stadium up there on the Fylde in coastal Lancashire…the Cod Army will now take their deserved place in the 2012-13 Football League’s League Two.

Below is a little chart I put together that shows the recent league history and average attendances of Fleetwood Town in the past 8 seasons. In that space of time, Fleetwood Town have been promoted 5 times and have seen their average attendance increase from 206 per game to 2,264 per game – a jump from the 9th Level to the 4th Level and a numerical increase at the gate of over two thousand a game. Also shown is Fleetwood Town’s Highbury Stadium before and after the Parkside Stand was opened in April 2011…
Image and photo credits above –’s Eye satellite view.

Below – Fleetwood Town, 2011-12 Conference National champions -
Seen below are Fleetwood Town’s manager, Micky Mellon and the team’s top 2 leading scorers from the 2011-12 season, Sheffield-born Jamie Vardy (age 24), and Liverpool-born Andy Mangan (age 25).
Photo credits above – Mickey Mellon, photo by Ian Hodgson at .
Jamie Vardy, photo by Derick Thomas at
Andy Mangan, photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images Europe via

Map of the 7 Lancashire-based clubs in the Premier League/Football League

Fleetwood Town’s first-ever promotion to the Football League means there are now 7 clubs from Lancashire that are in the top 4 levels of English football (that is, of course, the Premier League (1st Level), Football League Championship (2nd Level), Football League One (3rd Level), and Football League Two (4th Level) -
Blackburn Rovers (Premier League or League Championship {TBD} for 2012-13),
Blackpool (League Championship for 2012-13,
Burnley (League Championship for 2012-13,
Preston North End (League One for 2012-13),
Accrington Stanley (League Two for 2012-13),
Fleetwood Town (League Two for 2012-13),
Morecambe (League Two for 2012-13).
Click on image below for map of 7 Lancashire-based clubs in the Football League/Premier League -
Photo credits above -
Morecambe, Tony Scholes at, league_two_[stadiums].
Blackpool, Terry Robinson at via’.
Preston,, PRESTON | Deepdale Redevelopment.
Blackburn, Blackburn Rovers/
Accrington,’s Eye satellite view.
Burnley, Simon Kirwan at


Photo credits on the map page –
Fleetwood Town/Highbury Stadium –

Wrexham/Racecourse Ground –

Mansfield Town/Field Mill –’s Eye satellite view.

York City/Bootham Crescent – campdavemorecambe at Postcards.

Luton Town/Kenilworth Road –’Grand designs for Kenilworth Road’.’s Eye satellite view.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, ‘2011–12 Football Conference‘.
Thankls to, for attendance figures.
Attendance data from 2005-06 to 2008-09 from:
Thanks to at League History for Fleetwood Town league history.
Thanks to FWP Group fgor the aerial photo of Highbury Stadium,

January 11, 2012

2011-12 Conference National – Location-map, with attendance data and league table chart (inclusive to 11 January, 2012).

Filed under: 2011-12 English Football,Eng-5th level — admin @ 7:00 pm

2011-12 Conference National

Conference National (aka Blue Square Bet Premier League) – results, fixtures, table (

Photo credit –
As of 12 January, 2012, coastal Lancashire-based Fleetwood Town occupy the sole automatic promotion-spot and lead the Conference by a point over North Wales-based Wrexham, though the Red Dragons have a game in hand on the Cod Army. Fleetwood made a splash recently with their first-ever FA Cup Third Round Proper appearance, though they fell 5-1 to the second-tier club just down the road, Blackpool. Now Fleetwood, managed by the Scot Micky Mellon, can concentrate on their goal of gaining promotion to the Football League for the first time ever.

Wrexham have plenty of history in the League (80 seasons, last in 2007-08). Since late 2011, Wrexham has become the latest club in Britain to become fully supporter-owned, and they too have made a few headlines recently, being the sole remaining Non-League club still alive in the 2011-12 FA Cup. From, from 11 Januarry 2012, by David Conn, ‘Wrexham hoping FA Cup run can complete Dragons’ rise from the ashes – Wrexham, now owned by a supporters trust, are making headlines for the right reasons again…‘.
Image credit above –’s eye satellite view.
Wrexham are helmed by player/manager Andy Morrell, who at 37 is still putting balls into the net. Wrexham is seeing attendance up +23% (730 more per game than last season, to a 3,791 per game average). Wrexham’s gates are currently second-best in the Conference. {Attendance figures can be seen at the following link, just above the league table, here (}.

The biggest draw in the Conference is, for the third straight season, Luton Town, who found themselves relegated out of the Football League following financial meltdown and a 30-point deduction in 2008-09. Luton sit third, 6 points off the pace. Like another recent example of a rather large club to be marooned in Non-League football – Oxford United – Luton Town are finding it very hard to get out of the Conference and back into the Football Legaue. It must drive Hatters fans crazy knowing their club outdraws over 75% of fourth-division clubs [League Two] and over 60% of third-division clubs [League One], but still remain at the wrong side of the bottleneck at the top of the fifth division. Luton are averaging above 6,000 per game once again (6,127 per game as of 11 Jan. 2011), which is a spectacular figure for Non-League football.
Image credit above –’s eye satellite view.

Rounding out the 4 play-off spots are two northern clubs – Gateshead, of Greater Newcastle, in 4th place; and North Yorkshire’s York City, in 5th place. Gateshead’s crowds are not that large for the Conference (where the median figure currently is 1,805 per game)…Gateshead are averaging 963 per game, but that is a +27% increase (an increase of +210 per game).
Image credit above –’s eye satellite view.
The problem for Gateshead, nicknamed ‘the Heed’ [a Geordie colloquialism for the word 'Head'), is that they play in a dire multi-purpose stadium, the Gateshead International Stadium, that is as charmless as a running track-scarred venue can get. York are drawing well these days (currently averaging 3,150 per game), despite the fact that the Minstermen's ground is inadequate in a different way - their Bootham Crescent (opened 1932) is a relic of a ground that harks to a bygone era. From York City official site, 'Why Not Bootham?'.
Here is a supporters' site dedicated to getting York City a new ground -
Photo credits above -
That bygone era included no automatic relegation out of and promotion into the Football League, and York City, stuck in the Conference since 2004-05, could be seen as a prime example of a certain type of club - the once-seemingly-permanent-members of the 4th Division who must now labor in the wilds of the Non-League game. Back in the day (before 1986-87), the York Citys of the English football scene didn't really have to worry about losing their League status if they finished in last place, because the old boys' network of club owners would inevitably vote back in last place finishers almost year-in and year-out. In the 29 seasons from when the Fourth Division was formed, in 1958-59, to 1985-86 (which was the last season in the Football League with no automatic relegation out of the League), only three clubs got voted out of the Football League. So the last place finisher (or second-to-last place finisher, see below) in the Football League was spared 26 out of 29 times. It happened to York City in 1980-81, when they finished in last in the old Fourth Division, but were not voted out.

It was only if the club finished in or near last place in the Football League for two or three straight seasons that they risked being voted out - and this occurred with Bradford Park Avenue being voted out of the Football League in 1970, after 3 consecutive seasons at the bottom of the Fourth Division. Present-day Conference National club Cambridge United took Bradford Park Avenue's place in the Football League for the following season [in 1970-71, but CUFC were relegated in 2004-05, after a 36-season spell in the Football League].

The next club failing to be re-elected was Cumbrian club Workington, who were voted out of the Football League 7 years later in 1976-77, after two consecutive seasons at the bottom (and replaced in the Fourth Division for the following season [1977-78] by none other than Wimbledon FC). Interestingly, in that following season of 1977-78, Rochdale finished in last place in the Fourth Division, but 23rd place finisher Southport were voted out instead (Southport had finished in 23rd place for 3 consecutive seasons). The Merseyside-based Southport FC, currently a Conference National club, were the last club ever voted out of the Football League via election. That same election process in 1978 saw present-day Premier League club Wigan Athletic join the Football League, replacing Southport for the 1978-79 Fourth Division season. Wigan had never got a shot at playing League football until 1978-79, and they were a club back then who were able to draw from 4,000 to 6,000 per game [Southport were drawing just 1,873 per game and Rochdale just 1,275 in 1977-78, which were the two worst gate figures in the Football League that season]. Those 4K to 6 K per game figures that Wigan were drawing in their first 4 seasons in the Fourth Division is still higher than most clubs draw in League Two these days. It is an example of a club who was big enough to be in the Football League but for years couldn’t get voted in. One exception, in the other direction, to that state of affairs was Lincoln City, who were voted out of the Football League 3 different times in the early part of the 20th century, but each time were voted back in after just one season in Non-League football. In 1966-67, Lincoln City finished last in the Football League yet were re-elected for the following season. Then in 1986-87, the first season that the Football League allowed one automatic promotion/and one automatic relegation, Lincoln City got the unwanted distinction of being the first club to get the automatic drop to Non-League football.

Now, for the second time in their history, Lincoln City find themselves automatically relegated (along with Stockport County) out of the League [incidentally, Stockport County finished in last place in the Football League in both 1964-65 and 1973-74, and were re-elected both times].

This has added two to the ranks of the clubs with more than 65 years of Football League history that are now stuck in Non-League football. There are presently 8 clubs in this category – Lincoln City and Grimsby Town (with 104 seasons in the Football League each), Stockport County (with 99 seasons in the Football League), Luton Town (with 85 seasons in the Football League), Darlington (with 81 seasons in the Football League), Wrexham (with 80 seasons in the Football League), Mansfield Town (with 70 seasons in the Football League), and York City (with 68 seasons in the Football League). That list will probably expand in future seasons, as newcomers such as Fleetwood Town displace other clubs who have spent multiple decades in the lower divisions of the Football League.

The opening of the barred gate between the 4th Level and the 5th Level in 1986-87 will continue to have the knock-on effect of putting more clubs with no League history prior to 1987 into the Football League, at the expense of down-on-their luck clubs with vast League history. From, ‘Former Conference clubs now in The Football League‘ [21 clubs]. Of the 21 clubs on the list, 13 had no Football League history prior to 1987, and 10 of those are not re-formed clubs (like Aldershot Town, Accrington Stanley, and AFC Wimbledon) and thus are absolute newcomers to the Football League thanks to the establishment of promotion/relegation between the Football League and Non-League football. Those 10 clubs are Barnet, Burton Albion, Cheltenham Town, Crawley Town, Dagenham & Redbridge, Macclesfield Town, Morecambe, Stevenage, Wycombe, and Yeovil Town.

The map page featutes a location-map of the 2011-12 Conference national, with 2 flanking sections. On the left of the map page is a chart which shows attendance data and League/Non-League history – total seasons spent by club in the Football League (ie, the top 4 Levels of English football) and in the Conference National (the 5th Level of English football), as well as how the club arrived into their current spell in the Conference, and how many seasons that spell has lasted.

On the right of the map page is a league table chart which shows the clubs in profile boxes arranged to reflect the standings from 11 January, 2012. At that point in time, most clubs had played 27 or 28 games of the 46-game season. The profile boxes feature the club’s home kit badge, their 2011-12 kits, and info on the club including formation date, nickname, stadium name and location, 2010-11 league finish, 2010-11 average attendance (from home league matches), best finish all-time, and seasons spent in the Football League.

Scoring leaders in the Conference (as of 11 January 2012)…
Photo credits for above – John Shaw (Gateshead), Liam Hearn (Grimsby Town), Jamie Vardy (Fleetwood Town), Jason Walker (York City), Matt Green (Mansfield Town),

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at, ‘2011–12 Football Conference‘.
Thanks to for attendance data.
Thanks to E-F-S site for old attendance figures.
Thanks to this set of lists on the Football365 site – Club’s all-time season by league level [Levels 1 through 4, from 1888-89 to 2001-02].
Thanks to the sites, for their League History charts of each club {Levels 1 through 5], usually found at top menu bar under Club/League History; example,

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