billsportsmaps.com

September 9, 2019

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.

Filed under: >2019-20 English Football,Eng-6th level — admin @ 11:20 am

2019-20_national-leagues-north-and-south_the-6th-level_2-leagues-44-teams_map_w-2019-attendances-and-finishes_post_c_.gif
The 6th division in England: 2019-20 National League North & National League South (2 separate 22-team leagues, at the same level) – map, with 18/19-attendances-&-finishes chart





By Bill Turianski on 9 September 2019; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

    6th division England:
    2019-20 National League North & National League South
    (2 separate 22-team leagues, at the same level)

The 6th level in English football is where the regionalised leagues begin. Above is the 5th division, the National League, which is the highest level of non-League football and the only non-League level that is nationalised. The 6th level has two leagues: the National League North and the National League South. Below that is the 7th level, which used to be comprised of 3 leagues, but since 2018-19 there are now 4 leagues in the 7th level. (The new league in the 7th level was the the result of splitting the Southern League into two leagues: the Southern League – Central and the Southern League – South.)

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

A brief re-cap of the 2018-19 6th level…
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 promoted to the 6th level…
-Clubs promoted to National League North:
Promoted from Northern Premier League Premier Division: Farsley Celtic.
Promoted from Southern League Premier Division Central: Kettering Town, King’s Lynn Town.

-Clubs promoted to National League South:
Promoted from Isthmian League Premier Division: Dorking Wanderers, Tonbridge Angels.
Promoted from Southern League Premier Division South: Weymouth.

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

Clubs relegated out of the 6th level into the 7th level…
-2018-19 National League North: Ashton Utd, FC United of Manchester, Nuneaton Borough.
-2018-19 National League South: Truro City, East Thurrock Utd, Weston super-Mare.

    The 6th division’s two 1st-place teams, as of 9 September 2019 (with 9-or-10 games played)…

-2019-20 National League North… Link for league table…soccerway.com/[2019-20 National League North].
1st place: the just-promoted King’s Lynn Town.
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 Pale-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 10 year 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. So now King’s Lynn Town have made it to the 6th division, which was the highest point that the original club had achieved (back in 2008-09). The new club, who drew 712 per game last season, are now averaging 1.1 K per game, which is just about exactly the same as what the old club was drawing, right before they imploded eleven years ago. {Attendance figures for non-League from over 10 years ago are hard to find, but my first map on this subject, from way back in October 2008, shows that the late lamented King’s Lynn FC were the 24th-best-drawing non-League club as of October 2008…click on the following to see that map…http://billsportsmaps.com/?p=1666.}
kings-lynn-town-fc_promoted-2019_the-walks_norfolk_b_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – Aerial shot [satellite image], screenshot from bing.com/maps. Main Stand, photo by Owen Pavey at footballgroundguide.com/king-lynn-town-the-walks.

2019-20 National League South… Link for league table…soccerway.com/[2019-20 National League South].
1st place: Wealdstone.
Wealdstone FC are from Ruislip, which is in NW Greater London (and was formerly situated in Middlesex). Wealdstone wear Royal-Blue-with-White, and have two nicknames: the Stones, and the Royals. 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 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. Last season Wealdstone drew 882 per game; this season they are drawing 901 per game as of early September 2019. And if they keep up their solid form, Wealdstone will certainly be drawing well over one thousand per game, come April 2020.
wealdstone-fc_promoted-2019_grosvenor-vale_ruislip-nw-london_wealdstone-1st-team-to-win-a-non-league-double-1985_b_.gif
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 mylondon.news/sport. Photo of enamel pin of Wealdstone’s historic non-League Double of 1985: from wfcmegastore.co.uk. Aerial shot of Grosvenor Vale: screenshot of satellite image from bing.com/maps. Interior shot of Grosvenor Vale: photo by Ryan at groundhoppingwithryan.blogspot.com/2017/07/wealdstone-fc-grosvenor-vale.
___
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Thanks to the contributors at National League (English football) (en.wikipedia.org).
-Thanks to Nilfanion at Wikipedia…Blank map of UK historic counties, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:United Kingdom police areas map.svg (commons.wikimedia.org). Blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg. Blank relief map of Greater Manchester, by Nilfanion (using Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater Manchester UK relief location map.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org).

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

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

August 22, 2019

England (including Wales) – map of all football clubs drawing above 1 K per game (2018-19 attendance figures): 133 clubs, including 41 non-League clubs.

england_map_2018-19_attendance_all-133-clubs-drawing-over-1k-per-game_post_b_.gif
England (including Wales) – map of all football clubs drawing above 1 K per game: 133 clubs, including 41 non-League clubs (2018-19)





By Bill Turianski on 22 August 2019; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Sources…
-Article on defining the largest cities in the UK.. Where are the largest cities in Britain? (citymetric.com).
-List of metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom (en.wikipedia.org).
-Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England (en.wikipedia.org).
Attendance figures…
-worldfootball.net. (Average attendances last season from the 1st division through 4th division.)
-nonleaguematters.co.uk. (Average attendances last season of all non-League clubs, ie from 5th division down.)

The map…
(Note: in bold-17-to-36-point-type, on the map, are listed the 9 largest cities within England {all English cities with more than .6 million inhabitants/see first link above}…Greater London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, Bristol. Also, in 12-to-15-point-type, on the map, are listed the 83 Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England. Also, in 14-point-all-cap-bold-type, are listed prominent British regional names such as: the East Midlands, the West Midlands, East Anglia, the West Country, and the Lake District; as well as North Wales and South Wales.)

The expanded list on the right side of the map shows 7 things…
A) Attendance Rank.
B) 2019 Divisional status (aka level), with promotion or relegation (if applicable) listed.
C) Home domestic league Average Attendance from 2018-19.
D) Seasons that the Club has played in the 1st division (there have been 121 seasons of English 1st division seasons [counting 2019-20]).
E) English titles won (with last title noted).
F) FA Cup titles won (with last Cup-win noted).
G) League Cup titles won (with last cup-win noted).

The map shows all clubs in the English football system which drew above 1,000 per game in 2018-19 (home domestic league matches).
Also, there is an inset-map for all the clubs from Greater London-plus-the-immediate surrounding area [GREATER LONDON (17 Clubs from Greater London + 3 from surrounding areas of the Home Counties).] At the foot of the map-page are shown the crests of the top-50-drawing English-and-Welsh clubs, arranged L-R with their crests sized, to reflect their drawing-power. (The top 50 drawing clubs in the English league system in 2018-19 ended up being all the clubs which drew above 9.8 K per game.)

There were 8 clubs which drew above 40 thousand per game…
-Manchester United (who finished in 6th place in the 2018-19 Premier League, drawing 74.4 K per game).

-Arsenal (who finished in 5th place in the 2018-19 Premier League, drawing 59.9 K per game).

-West Ham United (who finished in 10th place in the 2018-19 Premier League, drawing 58.3 K per game).

-Tottenham Hotspur (who finished in 4th place in the 2018-19 Premier League, drawing 54.2 K per game).

-Liverpool (who finished in 2nd place in the 2018-19 Premier League, drawing 52.9 K per game).

-Manchester City (who finished in 1st place in the 2018-19 Premier League, drawing 54.1 K per game).

-Newcastle United (who finished in 13th place in the 2018-19 Premier League, drawing 51.1 K per game).

-Chelsea (who finished in 3rd place in the 2018-19 Premier League, drawing 40.3 K per game).

And, in 2018-19, there were 32 clubs in the English league system which drew above 20.0 K per game. The 20-thousand-drawing clubs includes the 8 highest-drawing clubs listed above, plus the 24 clubs listed below…
-Everton (1), 38.7 K.
-Aston Villa (2-up-to-1), 36.0 K.
-Leeds United AFC (2), 34.0 K.
-Sunderland AFC (3), 32.1 K.
-Leicester City (1), 31.8 K.
-Cardiff City (1-down-to-2), 31.4 K.
-Wolverhampton Wanderers (1), 31.0 K.
-Brighton & Hove Albion (1), 30.4 K.
-Southampton (1), 30.1 K.
-Nottingham Forest (2), 28.1 K.
-Derby County (2), 26.8 K.
-Sheffield United (2-up-to-1), 26.1 K.
-Norwich City (2-up-to-1), 26.1 K.
-Crystal Palace (1), 25.4 K.
-Stoke City (2), 25.2 K.
-Sheffield Wednesday (2), 24.4 K.
-Fulham (1-down-to-2), 24.3 K.
-West Bromwich Albion (2), 24.1 K.
-Middlesbrough (2), 23.2 K.
-Huddersfield Town AFC (1-down-to-2), 23.2 K.
-Birmingham City (2), 22.4 K.
-Bristol City (2), 21.0 K.
-Burnley (1), 20.5 K.
-Watford (1), 20.0 K.

The list goes to 1,000 per game (133 clubs), but I also included, on the list and on the map, all clubs which drew in the 900s…of which there were only 3 clubs: Chelmsford City (6), Bomsgrove Sporting (8-up-to-7), Worthing (7). So that made it 136 teams on the map. Here are all the clubs which just missed out being on the map: that is, all the clubs which drew in the 800s…7 clubs: Wealdstone (6), St Albans City (6), Gateshead (5-down-to-6), Kettering Town (7-up-to-6), Spennymoor Town (6), Blyth Spartans (6), Nuneaton Borough (6-down-to-7).

Here is the breakdown, by division (aka level), of…All the clubs in the English football pyramid which drew over 1 K per game in 2018-19 (133 clubs).
1 – Premier League: all 20 clubs.

2 – EFL Championship: all 24 clubs.

3 – EFL League One: all 24 clubs.

4 – EFL League Two: all 24 clubs.

5 – [non-League] National League: 21 of the 24 clubs…The exceptions being Gateshead (who were demoted for financial irregularities, drawing 0.8 K per game), Boreham Wood (who remained in the 5th division drawing 0.7 K per game [an all-time-club record]), and Braintree Town (who were relegated straight back to the 6th division, drawing 0.6 K per game), .

6 – [non-League] 2 regional leagues, National leagues North & South: 18 of the 44 clubs in the 6th level drew above 1.0 K per game (12 in NL-N, 6 in NL-S).
Those eighteen 6th-level clubs which (impressively) drew over 1.0 K were…
-Stockport County (who were promoted to the 5th division, drawing 3.9 K per game).
-Torquay United (who were promoted to the 5th division, drawing 2.5 K per game).
-York City (who drew 2.5 K per game).
-Hereford (who drew 2.3 K per game).
-FC United of Manchester (who were relegated to the 7th level, drawing 1.9 K per game).
-Woking (who were promoted to the 5th division, drawing 1.8 K per game).
-Dulwich Hamlet (who drew 1.8 K per game).
-Chester (who drew 1.8 K per game).
-Kidderminster Harriers (who drew 1.6 K per game).
-Chorley (who were promoted to the 5th division, drawing 1.4 K per game).
-Darlington (who drew 1.3 K per game).
-AFC Telford United (who drew 1.3 K per game).
-Altrincham (who drew 1.2 K per game).
-Dartford (who drew 1.1 K per game).
-Boston United (who drew 1.0 K per game).
-Bath City (who drew 1.0 K per game).
-Billericay Town (who drew 1.0 K per game).
-Southport (who drew 1.0 K per game).

7 – [non-League] 4 regional leagues, Northern Premier/Southern Central/Southern South/Isthmian: 3 of the 88 clubs…
The three 7th-level clubs which (very impressively) drew above 1 K per game were:
-South Shields (who finished in 2nd place in the Northern Premier (losing out in the play-offs), and drawing 1.5 K per game).
-Scarborough (who finished in 8th place in the Northern Premier, drawing 1.5 K per game).
-Weymouth (who finished in 1st place in the Southern League Premier-South [winning promotion to the National League-South], and drawing 1.0 K per game).

Here is the current/2019-20 breakdown of the top 50-drawing clubs from last season (ie, all the clubs in the English football pyramid which drew over 9.8 K per game in 2018-19)…
-All 20 clubs in the [current] 2019-20 Premier League.
-23 of the 24 clubs in the [current] 2019-20 EFL Championship, the exception being the just-promoted Luton Town (note: Luton Town are currently drawing above 9.8 K now, and will probably be in the top-50-drawing clubs for the 19/20 season: they are playing to very close to full-capacity (98%-capacity) at their 10.2 K-capacity Kenilworth Road ground).
-4 of the 24 clubs in the [current] 2019-20 EFL League One…Portsmouth, the just-relegated Ipswich Town, the just-relegated Bolton Wanderers, and the just-relegated Rotherham United.
-One of the 24 clubs in the [current] 2019-20 EFL League Two…the just-relegated Bradford City.
___
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Nilfanion, at File:English metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties 2010.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
-en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_football_league_system#Promotion_and_relegation_rules_for_the_top_eight_levels.
Attendance…
-worldfootball.net (1st division through 4th division).
-nonleaguematters.co.uk (all non-League from 5th division down).

June 25, 2018

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

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

2018-19_national-league-north-and-south_the-6th-level_2-leagues-44-teams_w-2018-attendances-and-finishes_map_post_c_.gif
Main map – 2018-19 National Leagues North and South (44 teams/2 leagues)




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top draws in the 6th tier…

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

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

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

FC United of Manchester: Supporter-owned club. Protest-club formed in 2005, after the cynical debt-laden leveraged-buyout of Manchester United by the Glazers. FC United started off with three consecutive promotions (2006-08). The club won promotion to the 6th tier in April 2015, and a month later, in May 2015, FC United moved into their nice and functional purpose-built Broadhurst Park (cap. 4,400). But factional unrest within the club has hurt them in the past couple of years. Attendance has fallen 1.2 K in two seasons (down from 3.3 K in 15/16, to 2.1 K in 17/18). And their promotion campaign has stalled (this will be FCUM’s 4th season in the 6th tier). Like Man Utd, FC United wear Red-and-White-with-Black.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southport: 50 seasons in the Football League (last in 1977-78). Southport was the last club to leave the Football League through the re-election process [automatic relegation from the Fourth Division was instituted in 1986–87]. Since then, Southport have played 19 seasons in the 5th tier, within three different spells; their last season in the 5th tier was in 2016-17. Southport have been drawing above 1 K most seasons since 1992-93. The town of Southport is part of Merseyside, and is a coastal bedroom community just north of Liverpool. Southport play at York Street, which opened in 1923 and has a capacity of 6,643 (1,826 seated). Southport are nicknamed the Sandgrounders, for the town’s sandy beach promenade, and they wear Yellow-with-Black.
___

Thanks to all at the links below…
-Thanks to the contributors at National League (English football) (en.wikipedia.org).
-Thanks to Nilfanion at Wikipedia…Blank map of UK historic counties, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:United Kingdom police areas map.svg (commons.wikimedia.org). Blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg. Blank relief map of Greater Manchester, by Nilfanion (using Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater Manchester UK relief location map.jpg (commons.wikimedia.org).

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

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

April 29, 2013

England (and Wales): Conference North: 2012-13 Location-map with final attendance figures for top 5 finishers, including champions Chester FC, and the 4 play-off clubs (Guisely AFC, Brackley Town, Altrincham, FC Halifax Town) / With photos of the 5 clubs’ grounds.

Filed under: 2012-13 English football,Eng-6th level,Football Stadia — admin @ 8:12 pm

england_conference-north_2012-13_final-table_4-play-off_clubs_champions_chester_post_d.gif
England: Conference North, map with 2013 champions Chester FC, and the 4 play-off clubs.



2012-13 Conference North & Conference South Play-offs – Fixtures, Results (soccerway.com).

The Conference North is one of 3 leagues in the Non-League Football Conference. It is a 6th Level league, and its sister league is the Conference South. Both were instituted in 2004-05. The 22-team Conference North and the 22-team Conference South are the highest regional leagues in the English football pyramid – promotion is to the 5th level and the Conference National (which is the lowest-level national league in the English football ladder, and the highest level in the Non-League pyramid). 2 clubs each from Conference North and from Conference South are promoted each season – one automatic promotion (1st place) and the play-offs winner. The play-offs are comprised of the 4 clubs which finished in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th places. The play-offs final in both Conference North and Conference South are played at the ground of the finalists with the better regular-season finishes.

This post features a location-map with attendance data for 5 clubs… the 1 promoted club from Conference North this season – Chester FC, and the 4 play-off clubs – Guisely AFC, Brackley Town FC, Altrincham FC, and FC Halifax Town. Also featured are captioned illustrations of the 5 clubs’ grounds, which include League histories for the 2 re-born Phoenix clubs (Chester and Halifax).

    Promoted to Conference National for 2013-14 – Chester FC.

Since forming in 2010 as a Phoenix-club, Chester FC, a wholly supporter-owned club, have won 3 straight promotions, and will now play in the Conference National (5th Level) in 2013-14. The club is on a definite trajectory back to the Football League, where the club it succeeded, Chester City FC (defunct in 2010) spent 69 seasons (last in 2008-09).

Chester FC are from Chester, which is in the western part of Cheshire, about 25 km. (15 miles) south of Liverpool and right on the Welsh border. Chester FC were formed in May 2010, immediately after Chester City FC were liquidated. Subsequently, in the three years that have followed, Chester FC became the highest-drawing Non-League club outside of the Conference National, pulling in around 2,400 to 2,700 per game. Now in August 2013 Chester FC will join the Conference National, making it 3 straight promotions for the 3-year-old club. So the trend of ‘how hard it is to get out of the Conference and back into the Football League’ looks to be getting a new wrinkle. Now, somewhat big clubs (for 5th Level standards) are not only dropping down into the Conference (such as Luton Town and Grimsby Town and Stockport County and Lincoln City and Cambridge United; as well as recent Non-League escapees such as Oxford United and York City and Mansfield Town [among others]), but now, sizable clubs (most of whom are re-born Phoenix-clubs) are getting promoted up into the Conference – such as in the recent past the re-born Phoenix-club AFC Wimbledon, and now Chester FC, and soon, probably, FC Halifax Town (plus there’s also another club that fits into this category, Boston United; plus, Stockport County and Lincon City [both of whom are now stuck in the Conference North/South after being relegated this season] also fit this category). This trend, in my opinion, is just one more reason why the Conference National is so interesting to follow these days. It is literally getting bigger by the inevitable inclusion of sizable clubs coming into the 5th Level from both directions these days.

The following article gets into a detailed breakdown of all the recently promoted and recently relegated clubs between the Conference and the Football League … from The Two Unfortunates site, from 20 March, 2013, by Gary Andrews, ‘RELEGATION FROM THE FOOTBALL LEAGUE IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD‘ (thetwounfortunates.com).

Chester FC are managed by Neil Young, a 38-year-old who is Birkenhead-based. Prior to his being re-signed as full-time manager in late 2012, Young also worked for Merseyrail (the commuter-rail network based in Liverpool) as a manager. As the Chester Chronicle has described him, Neil Young is ‘a fully paid-up member of the Liverpool pass-and-move school’ {see this interview of Neil Young by Paul Wheelock, ‘Chester FC: The Chronicle interview with new Blues boss Neil Young‘ from May 2010 (chesterchronicle.co.uk)}.

Neil Young had started as a midfielder in the Tranmere Rovers set-up but was forced to retire in 1999 at age 24 while at Droylsden FC. Entering the coaching profession, Young got his first job as manager in Sept. 2008 with English-league-affiliated-Welsh club Colwyn Bay FC (of Colwyn Bay, North Wales), who were in the 8th Level Northern Premier League Division One North at the time [Colwyn Bay have since risen 2 levels higher, and have been a Conference North side since 2011-12, and just avoided relegation in 2012-13 by winning their last 6 matches and finishing in 18th place].

Young’s first year at the helm saw Colwyn Bay make the play-offs but fall short. The following season (2009-10), Young’s Colwyn Bay made the play-offs for the second straight time, and beat Curzon Ashton and Lancaster City to secure promotion to the 7th Level Northern Premier League. At this point (Spring of 2010), the brand-new Chester FC approached Young to become the first manager of the club, whom were at that point slated to begin in the 9th Level. In May 2010, Young signed a contract to manage Chester FC. Chester FC then successfully appealed to the Football Association with regards to their initial league placement – and their appeal was successful and the new club were placed one level higher – in the same level and same league that Young had just gotten Colwyn Bay out of – the 8th Level Northern Premier League Division One North. For the newly re-formed club, that ‘upgrade’ in 2010 on the initial level & league placement was only logical, because it has become plain to see in the subsequent 3 years that Chester FC has inherited most if not all of the original Chester City fan base. Chester FC has been drawing crowds which dwarf the 8th and 7th Levels – like over 1,500-per-game higher than the usual crowds in the Evo-Stick leagues. At their compact and tidy and all-roofed Deva Stadium (which opened in 1992 and has a capacity of 5,300 [4,500 seated]), Chester FC draw in the mid-2,000-per game range (2,582 per game in 2012-13 {home league matches}), while the Northern League’s top division [7th Level] is comprised of clubs who usually draw in the 200 to 500 per game range (with around 330 per game as the median); while the Northern Premier League Division One North [8th Level] is comprised of clubs who usually draw in the 100 to 300 per game range (with around 160 per game as the median) {see this site for data I used in this sentence (nonleague.co.uk/leagues)}.

12 months later, in late April 2011, for the second straight season, Neil Young got a club promoted from the Northern Premier League Division One North, as Chester FC squeaked past Skermersdale United on goal difference of 2 goals. 12 months later, now in the 7th Level 2011–12 Northern Premier League, Young’s Chester FC won promotion again – this time by a whopping 17 points (over Northwich Victoria [the Vics were later relegated that season for financial mismanagement]).

12 months later, now in the 6th Level 2012–13 Conference North, Young’s Chester FC have won promotion for the 3rd successive year – again by a wide margin as they finished 16 points ahead of Guiseley AFC. So Chester FC now progress to the highest level of Non-League football, the 5th Level Conference National. They will be among the five or six biggest clubs in the Conference National next season. I say that because if they can draw 2.5 K per game in the 6th Level, then Chester FC will probably be able to draw near to 3,000 per game in the Conference. And only 4 clubs in the Conference this past season [2012-13] drew above 3,000 per game, and one was relegated – Luton Town, Grimsby Town, Wrexham, and Stockport County drew above 3K per game in 2012-13, with Stockport County being relegated this season. As to the clubs being relegated from League Two into the Conference, both Aldershot Town and Barnet drew under 2.5K per game in 2012-13. Aldershot will almost certainly see a further drop off in crowds next season, while Barnet might see a bit of attendance increase despite relegation and their having to move out of their borough into the adjacent borough of Harrow – because Barnet will be moving into a new purpose-built stadium there, ‘The Hive Stadium‘ [provisional name]. The problem being that a significant portion of Barnet supporters have made it known they won’t be attending matches anymore because Barnet are no longer playing in the borough of Barnet.


Here is a thread from the When Saturday Comes forum that was supposed to be about the plight of south-England-based clubs that were stuck in the Conference North (such as Bishop’s Stortford) – but it turned into a discussion about Chester FC…’TOPIC: Defying Geography; Conference North 2012/13‘ (wsc.co.uk/forum); (wsc.co.uk).

From Borussiabeefburg.wordpress.com, from 12 Dec. 2012, ‘Deva Stadium‘.

Promoted to Conference National for 2013-14 – Chester FC.
chester-fc_the-deva-stadium_neil-young_nathan-jarman_antoni-sarcevic_b.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Photo, AltusImaging at panoramio.com.
Illustration of Chester FC 2012-13 kits from ‘Chester FC‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Photo of Chester manager Neil Young from chesterchronicle.co.uk.
Photo of Narhan Jarman was unattributed at leaderlive.co.uk.
Photo of Antoni Sarcevic by Andy White at thenonleaguefootballpaper.com.

    The 4 Play-Off Teams in 2012-13 Conference North…(Guisely AFC, Brackley Town, Altrincham, FC Halifax Town)

Guiseley AFC.

Guiseley is a suburb of Leeds (located 14 km, or 9 miles NW of Leeds). In 2009-10 Guiseley won the Northern Premier League Premier Division and were promoted to the 6th Level for the first time. Guiseley’s first appearance in the Conference North saw immediate success, with a 5th place finish in 2010-11 (losing to Crawley Town in the first round of the play-offs). In their second season in the Conference North, Guiseley improved to second place, just 5 points shy of automatic promotion, but again lost in the first round of the play-offs (to Nuneaton Town). Now Guiseley hope that third time’s the charm in their quest to win promotion to the Conference National. Guiseley’s manager is Steve Kittrick, who has been managing the Lions’ squad since November 2007.

guiseley-afc_nethermoor-park_f.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Guiseley A.F.C.‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
footballgroundsinfocus.com.
guiseleyafc.co.uk.

Brackley Town FC.
brackley-town_st-james-park_d.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Brackley Town F.C.‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Unattributed at tottonstags.blogspot.com.

Altrincham FC.
altrincham_moss-lane_e.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Altrincham F.C.‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
dubsteps.blogspot.com/2005/02/altrincham-1-barrow-0.html.

FC Halifax Town.
fc-halifax-town_the-shay_halifax-town-afc-league-history_c.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
F.C. Halifax Town‘ (en.wikipedia.org/wik).
thedribblingcode.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/tue-19-april-2011-fc-halifax-town-v-frickley-athletic-npl-prem/.

___
Thanks to soccerway.com for attendance figures, http://int.soccerway.com/national/england/conference-n–s/20122013/north/.

Thanks to Statto.com for Halifax Town AFC League history, statto.com/football/teams/halifax-town/history/modern.
Thanks to http://evostikleague.pitchero.com/archive-737/ for Chester FC attendance figure (2011-12).
Thanks to http://www.southern-football-league.co.uk/ for Brackley Town attendance figure (2011-12).

April 25, 2013

England: Conference South: 2012-13 Location-map with final attendance figures for top 5 finishers, including champions Welling United FC, and the 4 play-off clubs (Salisbury City, Dover Athletic, Eastleigh, Chelmsford City) / With photos of the 5 clubs’ grounds.

Filed under: 2012-13 English football,Eng-6th level,Football Stadia — admin @ 9:09 pm

http://billsportsmaps.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/england_conference-south_2012-13_final-table_4-play-off_clubs_champions_welling_post_c .gif
England: Conference South: map with 2013 champions Welling United FC, and the 4 play-off clubs


2012-13 Conference North & Conference South Play-offs – Fixtures, Results (soccerway.com).

The Conference South is one of 3 leagues in the (Non-League) Football Conference. It is a 6th Level league, and its sister league is the Conference North. Both were instituted in 2004-05. The 22-team Conference North and the 22-team Conference South are the highest regional leagues in the English football pyramid – promotion is to the 5th level and the Conference National (which is the lowest-level national league in the English football ladder, and the highest level in the Non-League pyramid). 2 clubs each from Conference North and from Conference South are promoted each season – one automatic promotion (1st place) and the play-offs winner. The play-offs are comprised of the 4 clubs which finished in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th places. The play-offs final in both Conference North and Conference South are played at the ground of the finalists with the better regular-season finishes.

    Promoted to Conference National for 2013-14 – Welling United.

Welling United are nicknamed the Wings and from south-east London in the District of Welling, which is in the London Borough of Bexley, near the Kent border. Before the railroads, Welling was a village on the main road from London to Kent, and legend has it that the town got its name because once you had traveled from London into the town, you were ‘Well in’ to Kent {see this article from thetravellingfan.blogspot.com from June 2012}. Bexley is around 18 km. (or 12 miles) southeast of the City of London, and about 5 kilometres east of the District of Charlton, where Charlton Athletic’s ground, The Valley, is located, and where the founder of Welling United FC, Sydney Hobbins, played football about 6 decades ago. Welling United were formed in 1963 by former Charlton Athletic goalkeeper Sydney Hobbins – Welling were formed as a youth team for Hobbins’ two sons. A senior team was later organized, and the club began playing in Saturday leagues in the early 1970s, playing in Eltham in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, in south-east London.

In 1977, Welling United moved a few kilometres east to Welling, Borough of Bexley, and into Park View Road (this after the ground’s former tenant, Bexley United, had folded, in 1976). In 1978, Welling United joined the now-defunct Athenian League. In 1981, Welling United progressed to the Southern League’s second division. The Southern League’s 1982 re-organization saw Welling United progress further, with a credible 3rd place finish in the new Southern League Premier League in 1982-83. The Southern League Premier was a 6th Level league then [it is now a 7th Level league]. Three years later in 1985-86, Welling United won promotion to the Conference (the 5th Level).

Welling United would play 14 seasons in the Conference, but finished only twice above 11th place (with their highest-ever finish being 6th place in the 1989-90 Conference). Wellling United were relegated from the 5th Level in 1999-2000.

Back in the Southern League, Welling were one of the 44 Non-League clubs who earned placement in the newly-instituted 6th Level, which comprised Conference North and Conference South, in 2004-05. Welling have been in Conference South for all 9 seasons that the league has played (2004-05 to 2012-13).

Recent history of Welling United
Recent history of Welling United saw then-30-year-old Bexley native and current player/manager MF Jamie Day’s appointment as the first team manager in November 2009. In August 2010, the club was threatened with being liquidated, as Welling were served with a winding-up petition by HRMC. The club escaped primarily thanks to funds raised by supporters. Here is an excerpt from en.wikipedia’s page on ‘Welling United F.C.‘…{excerpt}…’The Wings were given 14 weeks to pay the outstanding debt to the HMRC, and thanks almost entirely to the supporters were able to raise £60,000 to clear all monies owed. During this period, in a Football Conference Hearing on 16 September 2010, Welling United admitted to a misconduct charge in connection with the outstanding HMRC debt. Resultantly an immediate deduction of 5 points was enforced on the club together with a suspended £5,000 fine.’…{end of excerpt}.

In 2010-11, despite a 5-point deduction and a transfer embargo, Jamie Day’s Welling United finished in 6th place, missing out on the play-offs by one point. In 2011-12, Welling improved to 3rd and made it all the way to the Conference South Play-offs Final, but fell to nearby Kent-based club Dartford FC 0-1, at Darford’s Princes Park on 13 May 2012.

On 22 April, 2013, after a season-long run of 21 undefeated games at home, fourth-year player/manager Jamie Day’s Welling United all but mathematically clinched promotion to the 5th Level Conference National with a 1-1 draw versus Boreham Wood. Here is an article on that from BexleyTimes.co.uk, by Robin Cottle, ‘Welling United clinch first league title for 27 years‘ (bexleytimes.co.uk).

The following day, Monday the 23rd, Salisbury’s failure to win at Sutton clinched it for the Wings, and so in August 2013, Welling United will be back in the 5th Level for the first time since the spring of 2000. The final match this season on Saturday 27 April 2013 versus play-offs qualifier Eastleigh will be a formality, and a time for a bit of celebration for the Wings’ faithful. That 60 thousand pounds that Welling supporters contributed 3 years ago to save the club from liquidation has now paid dividends, and Welling are back in the top tier of Non-League football for the first time in 14 years. Back when Welling were in the Conference circa the late 1990s, very few clubs in the 5th Level then were full-time professionals. That situation had changed drastically in the decade-and-a-half since, and now the lions’ share of clubs in the Conference National are full-time pro squads (around 70 to 80 percent of the clubs are full-time pro in the Conference these days). There is no word yet on whether Welling United will turn from a part-time squad to a full-time squad. But chances are the club will remain semi-pro seeing as how the Wings were hard-pressed to pull in more than 600 per game in 2012-13. In other words, if Welling stay semi-pro, they will have their work cut out for them next season.

welling-united_park-view-road_jamie-day_ross-lafayette_i.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Photo, onion-bag.blogspot.com/2011/02/welling-united.
Illustration of Welling United 2012-13 kits from ‘Welling United‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Action Photo of player/manager Jamie Day from bexleytimes.co.uk.
Action Photo of FW Ross Lafayette by Keith Gillard at pitchero.com/clubs/wellingutd via pitchero.com/clubs/wellingutd.

    The 4 Play-Off Teams in 2012-13 Conference South…

Play-offs: Salisbury v. Chelmsford, and Dover v. Eastleigh.

Salisbury City FC.
salisbury-city_raymond-macenhil-stadium_c.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
putajumperon.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/old-sarum-the-purple-tweenie.
Salisbury City F.C.‘ (en.wikipedia.org).

Dover Athletic FC.
dover-athletic_crabble-athletic-ground_b.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Dover Athletic F.C.’ (en.wikipedia.org).
Empics via bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/21142875.
Aerial photo by Geoff Hall at dover-athletic.co.uk.

Eastleigh FC.
eastleigh-fc_silverlake-stadium_stoneham-lane_13_c.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Eastleigh F.C.‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
PA at fcindependence.tumblr.com.

Chelmsford City FC.
chelmsford-city_melbourne-stadium_c.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Chelmsford City F.C.‘ (en.wikipedia.org).

___
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘2012–13 Football Conference‘.
Thanks to Soccerway.com for attendance data, http://int.soccerway.com/national/england/conference-n–s/20122013/north/.
Thanks to the Welling United official site, http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/wellingutd.

April 30, 2012

England, Non-League Football/6th Level, 2011-12 – Conference South: the 1 promoted club – Woking FC – and the 4 play-off clubs.

Filed under: 2011-12 English Football,Eng-6th level — admin @ 7:29 am

england_conference-south_may2012_the-1-promoted-club_-the-4-playoff-clubs_post_b.gif
2011-12 Conference South, Top of the Table




Conference South (aka Blue Square South) site, bluesqsouth.com.
From bluesqsouth.com, from 28 April 2012, ‘Saturday’s Blue Square Bet South Wrap – Chelmsford missed out on the play-offs with a 3-2 defeat to champions Woking on Saturday, while Maidenhead were relegated despite claiming a three-point haul‘.

Conference South and Conference South play-offs begin Wednesday 2 May, 2012footballconference.co.uk/play-offs fixtures.
Conference South Play Offs:
Dartford FC v. Basingstoke Town FC.
Welling United FC v. Sutton United FC.

Semi Finals,
First Leg – 2nd May 2012
Sutton United v Welling United. Kick Off 19:45
Basingstoke Town v Dartford. Kick Off 19:45

Second Leg – 6th May 2012
Welling United v Sutton United. Kick Off 15:00
Dartford v Basingstoke Town. Kick Off 1500

Play Off Promotion Final,
Sunday 13th May 2012 at the the highest placed Club.

The map page shows the top 5 finishers in the 2011-12 Conference South – the one automatically promoted club (Woking FC) and the four play off clubs (Dartford FC, Welling United FC, Sutton United FC, and Basingstoke Town FC). Photos of each club’s ground are shown at the far left, next to each club’s profile box. The profile box includes the basic club info plus highest league placement by the club, 2011-12 kits, and 2011-12 home kit badge. At the center of the map page is a location-map of the 5 clubs. At the upper right is attendance data (from home league matches) from the last 2 seasons for the 5 clubs (2011-12 average attendance, 2010-11 average attendance, and numerical change from 11/12 gates versus 10/11 gates).

After 3 seasons in the Conference South, Woking FC won promotion back to the Conference National, on 14 April 2012, with a 1-0 victory at Maidenhead United. 7 days later, in their next home match, in front of a crowd of 4,064 at the Kingfield Stadium, Woking and their supporters celebrated their 2011-12 Blue Square South title (see link to video below).

From getsurrey.co.uk, ‘VIDEO: Party time for Woking FC’s title triumph‘.

In the photo below, Woking teammates congratulate forward Giuseppe ‘Gez’ Sole, after scoring (on 21 April 2012). Sole is a 24-year-old former Woking youth academy player, who went on to lead Woking FC in scoring in 2007-08 (as a 19/20-year old) with 14 league goals [in the Conference], and then led Woking in scoring again in 2009-10 [in the Conference South]. Sole had loan spells at Newport County and Dorchester Town, before signing with Conference South side Havant and Waterlooville in 2010. Sole was brought back to Woking in the summer of 2011 by recently-hired manager Garry Hill. Gez Sole started the 2011-12 season out on loan to Basingstoke Town, and after coming back to Woking in January 2012, scored 19 goals in 20 league games, and set a club recored with goals scored in 9 strraight games.
woking-fc_giuseppe-sole_e.gif
Photo credit above – David Holmes at wokingfc.co.uk.

Woking FC are from Woking, Surrey, which is 37 km. (23 miles) SW of London, and has a population of around 62,000 {2010 figure}. Woking, nicknamed the Cards (or Cardinals), have a 17-season history in the 5th Level/Conference National (from 1992-93 to 2008-09). Around fifteen years ago Woking had a big push for promotion that fell short – Woking finished in 2nd place for two consecutive seasons (1994-95 and 1995-96), back in the era when there was only one promotion-spot in the Conference (the 2nd promotion-spot, via the 4-team play-offs, was instituted for the Conference in 2002-03). In 1994-95, Woking finished 5 points behind Macclesfield Town. And in 1995-96, Woking finished 8 points behind Stevenage Borough (but Stevenage Borough were denied a promotion to the Football League because they did not meet Football League ground requirements, so nobody went up to the Football League that season).

Woking were relegated from the Conference National following the 2008-09 season, after finishing in 21st place. The next season, their first in the Conference South, Woking saw their gates dwindle from 1.7K to 1.3 K, and finished in 5th, then lost in the play offs final to Bath City in May 2010. Midway through the next season [2010-11], manager Gaham Baker was sacked after claiming the fans were expecting too much of the team. In January, 2011, former Rushden & Diamonds manager Gary Hill stepped in. For 2010-11, the Cards saw their attendance fall again, to 1,167 per game, and again they finished in 5th, and again they lost in the play offs, this time to Farnborough in the 1st round.

Now in Hill’s first full season with the club, he has ably guided Woking to a successful promotion campaign.

Woking’s Kingfield Stadium is unusual in that one of the goal-end stands – the Leslie Gosden Stand – is a modern roofed stand that completely towers over the other stands. So three quarters of the ground look definitely like a Non-League ground, while the Leslie Gosden Stand would not look out of place in League One. Woking draw very decent-sized crowds for a club with no League history. In their last season in the Conference National, in 2008-09, they had the 9th-best attendance in the 5th Level at 1,727 per game. This season, the Cards’ for-real-this-time promotion-run drew back many disaffected fans there in west Surrey, and the club pulled an average of 1,833 per game through the turnstiles. This figure was best in both Conference South and in Conference North by a considerable margin of over 400 per game (the second highest drawing club in the 6th Level in 2011-12 were FC Halifax Town at 1,422 per game).


Photo credits for the map page -
Woking/Kingfield Stadium – Salmonboy at panoramio.com.

Dartford/Princes Park – bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view. alexandersedgley.co.uk. groundtastic.co.uk/Ground Awards 2007.

Welling United/Park View Road – bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view.footygrounds.blogspot.com/2011/06/welling-united-park-view-road. StephenHarris at panoramio.com.

Sutton United/Borough Sports Ground, Gander Green Lane – bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view. Chris Hayes Photography at flickr.com.

Basingstoke Town/The Camrose – bromleyfc.tv. dubsteps.blogspot.com/2009/04/basingstoke-town-2-havant-waterlooville.
_

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘2011–12 Football Conference‘.

Thanks to soccerway.com, for Conference South attendances.
Thanks to mikeavery.co.uk, for 2010-11 Sutton United attendance (in Isthmian League, here).

Thanks to David Holmes at wokingfc.co.uk for the photo from 21 April.
Thanks to Salmonboy at panoramio.com for the nice panorama image of Kingfield Stadium, http://www.panoramio.com/photo/33893030.

April 28, 2012

England, Non-League Football/6th Level, 2011-12 – Conference North: the 1 promoted club – Hyde FC – and the 4 play off clubs.

Filed under: 2011-12 English Football,Eng-6th level — admin @ 12:23 pm

england_conference-north_may2012_the-1-promoted-club_-the-4-playoff-clubs_post_b.gif
2011-12 Conference North, Top of the Table map


Conference North (aka Blue Square Bet North) site bluesqnorth.com.
From bluesqnorth.com, from 28 April 2012, ‘Saturday’s Blue Square Bet North Wrap – Nuneaton Town grabbed the final play-off spot while Hinckley United’s relegation was confirmed after the final round of Blue Square Bet North fixtures‘.

Conference North and Conference South play offs begin 2 May 2012footballconference.co.uk/play-offs fixtures.
Conference North Play Offs:
2nd place, Guiseley AFC v. 5th place, Nuneaton Town FC.
3rd place, FC Halifax Town v. 4th place, Gainsborough Trinity FC.
Semi-Finals,
First Leg – 2nd May 2012
Gainsborough Trinity v FC Halifax Town
Nuneaton Town v Guiseley

Second Leg – 6th May 2012
FC Halifax Town v Gainsborough Trinity
Guiseley v Nuneaton Town

Conference North Play Off Promotion Final,
Final – Sunday 13th May 2012 at the the highest placed Club.

Conference South (aka Blue Square Bet South) site, bluesqsouth.com.
Conference South Play Offs:
2nd place, Dartford FC v. 5th place, Basingstoke Town FC.
3rd place, Welling United FC v. 4th place, Sutton United FC.

Semi Finals,
First Leg – 2nd May 2012
Sutton United v Welling United
Basingstoke Town v Dartford

Second Leg – 6th May 2012
Welling United v Sutton United
Dartford v Basingstoke Town

Conference South Play Off Promotion Final,
Sunday 13th May 2012 at the the highest placed Club.

[ Note: post of 2011-12 Conference South/Top of the Table map incl. champions Woking FC will be posted on Monday 30 April at 12:30 pm GMT/7:30 am ET.]

The map page shows the top 5 finishers in the 2011-12 Conference North – the one automatically promoted club (Hyde FC) and the four play off clubs (Guiseley AFC, FC Halifax Town, Gainsborough Trinity FC, and Nuneaton Town FC). Photos of each club’s ground are shown at the far left, next to each club’s profile box. The profile box includes the basic club info plus highest league placement by the club, 2011-12 kits, and 2011-12 home kit badge. At the center of the map page is a location-map of the 5 clubs. At the upper right is attendance data (from home league matches) from the last 2 seasons for the 5 clubs (2011-12 average attendance, 2010-11 average attendance, and numerical change from 11/12 gates versus 10/11 gates).

Champions and the sole automatic promotion winner are Hyde FC, nicknamed the Tigers, who are from Hyde, which is in the eastern end of Greater Manchester, 11 km. (7 miles) east of Manchester city center. This is the second season (of a current 3-season agreement) in which Hyde FC have had a sponsorship deal with nearby Premier League club Manchester City, and the blue half of Manchester’s financial support of Hyde has done the trick, helping Hyde win their first-ever promotion to the 5th Level and the Conference National, one year after escaping relegation on the last day (of the 2010-11 season). The turn-around is especially striking, as Hyde have now gone from near-liquidation (circa 2009) to promotion in the space of three years.

Manchester City FC now uses Hyde FC’s Ewen Fields ground as the home of their reserves team. There were some raised eyebrows when Man City got Hyde to expunge all the red-half-of-Manchester references. So out went the red-painted stands of Ewen Fields (they are dark blue now), out went the red in the club badge and the kit of Hyde FC (for 2010-11 only, though, as Hyde are back in red now, but the badge still has sky blue, and not red, in it), and out went the name ‘Hyde United’. A big part of why it rankled many is that the club pretended that their sponsorship deal with Manchester City had nothing to do with the elimination of red, or ‘United’, from Hyde’s name and colors {see this article from twohundredpercent.net, by Ian King, from 17 July 2010, specifically the 3rd paragraph, ‘Manchester City Prepare To Turn Hyde Blue‘}.
hyde-united_change-to_hyde-fc_crest-change_red-to-sky-blue_.gif

In the summer of 2011, Hyde appointed Gary Lowe to lead the Tigers for 2011-12. Lowe spent 11 years as manager of western-Greater-Manchester-based Northern Premier League club Curzon Ashton [a 7th Level club].

On Saturday, 21 April, in front of a crowd of 1,036 at Ewen Fields, Hyde FC clinched promotion to the Conference National with a 4-1 win over Boston United. From thehydetiger.blogspot.com, by Paul Prole, ‘Champions!‘.

Hyde FC drew 7th-best in Conference North in 2011-12, at 645 per game, up an impressive +298 per game compared to 2010-11. And while that 645 per game is pretty low for a club going up to the 5th Level, with their working agreement with City, Hyde FC should probably be OK for survival in the 2012-13 Conference National.

Below, second-highest scorer in the league, Hyde FC forward Scott Spencer, who netted 32 goals in 33 league games for Hyde this season. The Oldham, Greater Manchester-born Spencer is 23 years old, and an England-C international, and among his travels he scored 4 goals in 17 games for League Two’s Southend United in 2010. Spencer is seen below in action from 8 October 2011, in a 1-1 draw at Ewen Fields versus Nuneaton Town.
hyde-fc_scott-spencer_.gif
Photo credit above – Media Image Ltd. via eyeofthehydetiger.wordpress.com.
__

Photo and Image credits on map page –
Hyde FC/Ewen Fields, bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view.
tiny.url.com via http://www.twohundredpercent.net.
northernfootball.blogspot.com/2011/10/hyde-fc-1-nuneaton-town-1.
Paul Prole at thehydetiger.blogspot.com.

Guiseley AFC/Nethermoor Park – bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view. Matthew Wilkinson at flickr.com. [ Matthew Wilkinson's photostream ] .guisleyafc.com.

FC Halifax Town/The Shay – facupgroundhopper.blogspot.com/2010/10/fc-halifax-town-0-harrogate-town. wikistadiums.org/the-shay. Halifaxafc.co.uk.

Gainesborough Trinity/The Northolme, thedribblingcode.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/sat-15-oct-2011-gainsborough-trinity-v-frickley-ath. the66pow.blogspot.com/2011/08/gainsborough-trinity-0-v-worksop-town-1.

Nuneaton Town/Liberty Way (aka Triton Showers Community Arena) – nuneatontownfc.com. LeamDavid at Flickr.com.
_
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘2011–12 Football Conference/Conference North‘.
Thanks to soccerway.com, for Conference North attendances.
Thanks to mikeavery.co.uk, for 2010-11 FC Halifax Town attendance (in Northern League, here).
Thanks to Paul Prole for the nice photo of Hyde FC’s Danny Broadbent heading in a goal in their title-clinching win over Boston United (seen at the top of the map page, and here).

May 1, 2011

England, Non-League Football/6th Level – Conference South: the 1 promoted club, and the 4 Play-off clubs.

Filed under: 2010-11 English Football,Eng-6th level — admin @ 7:00 am

england_conference-south_may2011_the-1-promoted-club_and-4-playoff-clubs_post_.gif
2010-11 Conference South, top of the table




Play-off Final result – Farnborough 2-4 Ebbsfleet United, at Rushmoor Stadium in Farnborough, Hampshire, attendance 3,365.
From Bluesqfootball.com, ‘Farnborough 2-4 Ebbsfleet‘.

1st Leg match reports, from the Football Conference site, from 4th May, 2011…
[Chelmsford City 1-4 Ebbsfleet United, at Melbourne Stadium in Chelmsford, Essex, attendance 1,701.]
Fleet Take 3 Goal Advantage Home‘.
[Woking 0-1 Farnborough, at Kingfield Stadium in Woking, Sussex, attendance 2,726.]
Boro Take Single Goal Advantage‘.
2nd Leg match reports,
[Ebbsfleet United 2-1 Chelmsford City / Aggregate 6-2 to Ebbsfleet United. At Stonebridge Road in Gravesend, Kent, attendance 1,538.]
No Miracle Comeback for Chelmsford‘.
[Farnborough 1-1 Woking in AET / Aggregate 2-1 to Farnborough. At Rushmoor Stadium, in Farnborough, Hampshire, attendance 2,137.]
Extra-Time Winner for Boro

The promoted club – Braintree Town – had clinched the title on 23rd April, but the play-off places were not decided until the final day of the season on Saturday, 30th April. Chelmsford City needed a win to qualify for the play-offs, and they did, with a 3-1 result over lowly Hampton & Richmond, in front of 1,178 at the running-track-marred Melbourne Stadium in Chelmsford, Essex. The host of the BBC Non-League Football Show, Caroline Barker, a Chemlsford City board member, will be pretty relieved about that result, but the Clarets have their work cut out for them now, as they must face former Conference side Ebbsfleet United, who have been ably managed by Liam DaIsh in spite of the impediments put in front of the team by the experiment-gone-awry that was and is the MyFootballClub.com ownership of Ebbsfleet United {see this, ‘What happened to MyFootballClub and Ebbsfleet United?‘, from BBC.co.uk, from 6 September, 2010, by Dave Lee}. Maybe, without this sideshow, Ebbsfleet United would never have lost their Conference status. The club finished in 7th place in the Conference National in 2006-07, and a month later were taken over by MyFootballClub.com – it has been downhill since. Chelmsford City have never been higher than the 6th Level; the Clarets averaged 868 per game this season (but have averaged above 1,000 per game for the previous three seasons). Ebbsfleet were similarly drawing slightly above 1,000 per game (at their Stonebridge Road ground in the Thames Estuary town of Gravesend, Kent) when they were in the Conference National, and they drew 1,007 per game this season in the Conference South [3rd highest], so their relegation has barely affected attendances. But actually, 4 of the 5 clubs at the top of the table in the Conference South drew worse this season than last [Conference North was the opposite...every club in the top 5 had attendance increases compared to 2009-10]. The especially harsh winter in Britain, and the cancellation of scores of Saturday matches (and the matches being re-scheduled for poorer-drawing weekday dates) probably had a dampening effect on attendances Specifically with Chelmsford City, I would add that the club’s failure to progress past the play-off stages for two straight seasons has likely kept a percentage of their supporters away – plus, I can’t see their stadium helping.

The other play-off match-up is between Hampshire’s Farnborough, and the Sussex club Woking. These two clubs are only about 15 km. (9 miles) apart. Farnborough FC are a phoenix-club that replaced, in 2007, Farnborough Town FC, who had 13 seasons of Conference history in 4 separate spells. The current incarnation of Farnborough won promotion to the Conference South last season after winning the 7th Level Southern League Premier Division. Farnborough drew 782 per game this season [6th highest in the league]. Woking FC, nicknamed the Cards (or the Cardinals) also have considerable Conference history, with 18 consecutive seasons in the 5th Level, from 1991-92 to 2008-09. A decade-and-a-half ago, Woking came up agonizingly short of automatic promotion to the League, with back-to-back 2nd place finishes in 1994-95 and 1995-96 [That was in the era of one solitary promotion spot to the Football League. A second promotion spot to the 4th Level (via the play-offs), was instituted in 2002-03.]. Woking do have some Non-League success to brag about, though, as they are one of only 3 clubs to have won 3 FA Trophy titles. Woking won the FA Trophy (which is a competition for clubs from Levels 5 through 8) in 1994, 1995, and 1997. [The other 2 clubs who have won the FA Trophy three times are actually both defunct - Telford United and Scarborough.] Woking have maintained their 5th Level-sized fan base and draw well for the 6th Level – the Cards had the second-highest average attendance in the Conference South this season, pulling in 1,167 per game [the highest drawing club was Dartford, who pulled in 1,171 per game to their magnificent Princes Park]. Woking have an unusual ground, Kingfield Stadium. It features one rather large (for this level, at least), all-seater stand behind one goal, and mostly terrace/standing capacity in the other 3 sides. {Here is Woking FC’s Kingfield Stadium page at ConferenceGrounds.co.uk.}

The north Essex-based Braintree Town, known as the Iron, are a pretty small club to be finding themselves moving up to the 5th Level. I am not saying they have a fan base as small as the mighty minnows that are Hayes & Yeading United FC, who drew only 385 per game this season in the Conference. But Braintree Town’s fan base is only marginally bigger. Braintree were only drawing around 500 or so for most of their home matches this season. They ended up with an average attendance of 661 per game, a number inflated by 2 matches – one versus Chelmsford in August that drew 1,265 (and which was an Essex derby), and their final home match, after they had clinched promotion, which drew 1,645. But it is testament to the squad that a team representing such a small club could methodically march to promotion like Braintree Town did. And this is no fluke promotion-run by Braintree Town, because last season, the Iron missed out on the play-offs by just one point. Here is part of what the chairman, Lee Harding, wrote this week in the Braintree Town website… ‘We may not have the best facilities in the Premier Division next season, nor the highest attendances, but one promise I will make to our League is that we will not embarrass our competition by getting ourselves into financial trouble. There will be no administrations, CVAs or liquidations at Cressing Road! In my eight years at the Club we have made sustainable progress, we continue to have substantial assets behind us and are working towards a new stadium.’

Braintree Town are managed by Rod Stringer, who was appointed manager just under 12 months ago, coming over from the south Essex 7th Level club Aveley FC, after revitalizing that club and leading them to promotion from the 8th Level to the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2008-09. Braintree Town’s leading scorer this season was Sean Marks, who had the second-highest goal tally in the Conference South (second only to Dover Athletic’s Sam Birchall [who had 32 goals]). Marks scored 22 goals this season for Braintree Town (in all competitions).

braintree-town_cressing-road_sean-marks_north-essex-on-tour.gif

Photo credits – NorthEssexOnTour. Pixel8photos.photoshelter.com.

Photo credits on the map page [including each club's official site]-

Braintree Town [braintreetownfc.org ]
Panoramic image of Cressing Road Stadium from NorthEssexOnTour.blogspot.com, here.. Main Stand photo by David Bauckman at PyramidPassion.co.uk, here.

Farnborough [ farnboroughfc.co.uk ].
Photo of Main Stand at Rushmoor stadium from farnboroughfc.co.uk, here. Interior photo of Rushroom Stadium by Stewart Tree at Flickr.com, here.

Ebbsfleet United [ebbsfleetunited.co.uk]
Aerial image of Stonebridge Road from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here. Stonebridge Road Stand (terrace) photo by Phil Moss at Flickr.com, here.

Woking [ wokingfc.co.uk ]
Aerial image of Kingfield Stadium from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here. Photo with Leslie Gosden Stand in background by PL Chadwick at Geograph.org, here.

Chelmsford City [ chelmsfordcityfootballclub.co.uk ]
Aerial image of Melbourne Stadium from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here. Main Stand photo from BlueSquareSouth.com, here.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Conference South‘.
Thanks to Soccerway.com, for attendances.
Thanks to the Braintree Town site.
Thanks to NorthEssexOnTour.com.
Thanks to the BBC London Non-League Football Show.

April 28, 2011

England, Non-League Football/6th Level – Conference North: the 1 promoted club, and the 4 play-off clubs.

Filed under: 2010-11 English Football,Eng-6th level — admin @ 7:00 pm

england_conference-north_may2011_the-1-promoted-club_and-4-playoff-clubs_post_.gif
2010-11 Conference North, top of the table


Play-off Final result – AFC Telford United 3-2 Guiseley AFC, at New Bucks Head in Telford, Shropshire, attendance 5,436.
From Bluesqfootball.com, ‘AFC Telford 3-2 Guiseley‘.

1st Leg match reports (from the Football Conference site, from 4th May,2011)…
[Nuneaton Town 1-1 AFC Telford United, at Liberty Way in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, attendance 2,089]
Advantage AFC Telford After First-Leg‘.
[Guiseley 1-0 Boston United, at Nethermoor in Guiseley, Greater Leeds, West Yorkshire, attendance 1,022]
Lions Take Slender Lead Into Second Leg‘.
2nd Leg match reports …
[AFC Telford 2-1 Nuneaton Town / Aggregate 3-2 to AFC Telford United. At New Bucks Head in Telford, Shropshire, attendance 3,442.]
AFC Telford Win Through to Host Final’.
[Boston United 3-2 Guiseley in AET / Aggregate 3-3...Decided by Penalties: won by Guiseley, 3-2. At York Street, Boston, Lincolshire, attendance 2,640.]
Guiseley are Spot-On

The Conference North ends it’s 2010-11 season on Saturday, but the promoted club – Alfreton Town – and the 4 play-off clubs have already been determined. Eastwood Town (currently in 4th place in the table) was ruled to have a ground that did not meet the criteria for Conference National standards, so they will not be in the play-offs regardless. That left the door open for the Greater Leeds-based club Guiseley AFC (currently in 6th place). Guiseley were in the 7th Level last season, and draw around 400 per game, so if Guiseley were to win promotion to the Conference, it would definitely be a case of a club punching above their weight. The same would not be said of the other 3 clubs in the play-offs here, particularly in the case of Boston United, who have history in the League (with 5 seasons in League Two, from 2002-03 to 2006-07), and are drawing over 1,300 per game this season. As for the other two clubs in the play-offs here, Nuneaton Town have drawn around 900 per game this season, and AFC Telford United have drawn around 1,800 per game this season. Telford lead the Conference North in attendance. The other thing about AFC Telford United is that Telford itself, which serves in some respects as as a bedroom community for the West Midlands and the city of Birmingham (it being 45 km./28 milles west of Birmingham), is a pretty large municipality for this level. Telford is a new town and is one of the fastest growing towns in the UK, with a population of around 162,000 {2009 estimate}. Telford is Shropshire’s largest town. It really has the potential to be the home of a lower-League club, and AFC Telford has the facilities to match such a potential, as the New Bucks Head is a pretty nice ground. The Wolverhampton Wanderers reserves play there, and the New Bucks Head is generally considered to one of the best Non-League grounds in the country. Here is a report on a visit there from the Tims92 site, ‘AFC Telford United, New Bucks Head [July, 2005]‘.

This is the first time I have covered the 6th Level play-offs. Sunday I will have the corresponding map for the other 6th Level league, the Conference South.

At the upper left of the map page is the promoted club, Alfreton Town, with club info, 2010-11 kits, and 3 photos of their Impact Arena (North Street) ground. Below Alfreton Town on the map page are the 4 play-of clubs, with club info, 2010-11 kits, and 2 photos of their grounds. On the map itself, the 5 clubs’ locations are shown. At the upper right on the map page are the 2010-11 and 2009-10 average attendances of the 5 clubs.

Derbyshire’s Alfreton Town lost last season in the play-off final to Fleetwood Town, so their clinching of this season’s title is a natural progression. Next season will be Alfreton Town’s first-ever in the 5th Level, and their chairman has confirmed that the club intends to have their squad go full-time, in stages {see this, ‘Reds facing some big decisions following promotion to the top flight”, from ThisIsNottingham.co.uk}.

Alfreton’s manager is Nicky Law (senior). Alfreton Town, known as the Reds, had been usually drawing between 600 to 800 per game this season, but they pulled in 1,364 at their Impact Arena on 23rd April, when they clinched promotion with a 4-nil victory over Redditch United. [Those 4 goals included a brace scored by the Conference North's leading scorer, the Nottingham-born Liam Hearn, who has scored 25 league goals for the Reds this season.] The gate figure at that match was Alfreton Town’s highest in 45 years. It is hoped the crowd size will be similar Saturday, when promotion-chasing Nuneaton Town visit.
Below are photos from Alfreton Town’s promotion-clinching match on 23rd April [note: click on images below to see an enlarged version]…
alfreton-town_conference-north-champions2011_c.gif
Photo credits – all 6 photos by Dave Purseglove [aka kevmiles1] at Flickr.com, here.
-
Below, are photo credits from the map page, along with a link to all 5 clubs’ official sites-
Alfreton Town [ http://www.alfretontownfc.com/ ]…
Aerial image of Impact Arena (North Street) from Alfretontownfc.com, here. Photo of field and terrace by clubbability at Flickr.com, here.Terrace photo from WheresTheTeaHut.blogspot.com, here.

AFC Telford United [ http://www.telfordutd.co.uk/ ]
Interior image from from Youtube video posted by telfordtillidie, ‘the new bucks head stadium‘..Aerial image of the New Bucks Head ground from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here.

Boston United [ http://www.bufc.co.uk/ ]
Exterior photo of York Street ground from bufc.com, here. (via woswws.webs.com/Guide to Blue square north {2010-11}, here]. Interior photo from 100GroundsClub.blogspot.com, here.

Nuneaton Town [ http://www.nuneatontownfc.com/ ] Aerial photo from nuneatontownfc.com/ , here. Interior photo by LearnDavid at Flickr.com, here.

Guiseley AFC [ http://www.guiseleyafc.co.uk/ ]
Aerial photo from Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here. Photo of main stand from GuisleyAFC.com, here.
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Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Conference North‘.
Thanks to Soccerway.com, for 2009-10 attendances. Thanks to HarrogateTown.com, for 2010-11 attendances.
Thanks to Alfreton Town FC site.
Thanks to kevmiles1 @ Flickr.com, kevmiles1 photostream, here.
Thanks to the BBC London Non-League Football Show.

January 30, 2011

England, Non-League Football: 2010-11 Conference South [a 6th Level league].

Filed under: 2010-11 English Football,Eng-6th level — admin @ 1:37 pm

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2010-11 Conference South




Conference South table, fixtures, results (Soccerway.com).

The Conference South is one of two leagues that comprise the 6th Level of the English Football Pyramid. The Conference South’s sister league is the Conference North {to see my recent map of and post on the 2010-11 Conference North, click here}. These two leagues were instituted in 2004-05. Clubs were drawn from the Northern Premier League, the Southern League, and the Isthmian League [those three leagues now make up the 7th Level]. After each season, two promoted clubs go up to the Conference National (5th Level) – the league winner and the winner of the 4-team playoff. Three relegated clubs go down to the 7th Level, to the Southern Football League Premier Division, which is composed of clubs from the South West, the South Central, and the Midlands; or the Isthmian Football League Premier Division, which is composed of clubs from the East of England (particularly Hertfordshire and Essex), Greater London, and the South East. [Theoretically, a club relegated from the Conference South could go to the Northern Premier League Premier Division (which is composed of clubs from the North East and the North West), but there would have be real unusual circumstances for that to happen].

There are 22 clubs in the Conference South.


The map page shows the clubs’ profile boxes placed from top to bottom in the order of the current Conference South table (as of Sunday, 30 January, 2011). The profile boxes include the club’s home kit badge, nickname, year of formation, stadium and capacity, location, 2009-10 final placement, and all-time highest league placement. Current average attendances (from home league matches) and 2009-10 average attendances are shown at the right of the map.


Current leaders are the north Essex club Braintree Town FC (est. 1898), who hail from Braintree, which is 63 km. (39 mi.) north-east of London, and has a population of around 42,000 {2001 census figure}. Braintree Town have now won 6 straight matches, and are 6 points ahead of 2nd-place Bromley, with 4 games in hand. Braintree Town are known as the Iron, and the club’s origins are as Manor Works, the works team of the Crittall Window Company, who were once the leading window makers in the country (the Iron name refers to the company’s iron window frames). The factory overlooked the Cressing Road ground that Braintree Town play at, and though it was demolished in 2005, its image is still part of the club’s crest. Braintree Town were promoted to Conference South as champions of the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2005-06. The Iron play these days in orange jerseys (previously yellow) and blue pants. Their manager is Rod Stringer, who came over from the south Essex/Thames Estuary 7th Level club Aveley FC in May, 2010, after revitalizing that club and leading them to promotion from the 8th Level to the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2008-09. Here is an article from This Is Essex.co.uk, from 20 January, by David Ward, ‘BRAINTREE TOWN: Iron progress a surprise for boss‘. Here is the official Braintree Town site, www.braintreetownfc.org.uk/. The site features highlights from their previous match. Also, at the Braintree Town site you can see the ambition the club have, with an architect’s rendering of the club’s proposed new stadium.

Pyramid Passion.co.uk’s page on Braintree Town, here.
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Photo credits – David Bauckman at Pyramid Passion.co.uk, here. Bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye satellite view, here. BraintreeTownFC.com, here.


Median average attendance this season in Conference South is currently (30 Jan.) 616 per game. This puts Conference South as a higher draw than Conference North, whose current median avg. attendance is 443 per game. There are currently 3 clubs drawing over 1,000 per game and 13 clubs drawing over 500 per game in Conference South. In Conference North, there are currently 2 clubs drawing over 1,000 per game and 7 clubs drawing over 500 per game.

The best-drawing club in Conference South this season is Dartford FC, who won promotion, as champions, from the Isthmian League Premier Division in 2009-10. Dartford is on the edge of Greater London, in Kent, on the Thames Estuary, and is 24 km. (15 mi.) south-east of London city center. Dartford has a population of around 89,000, and is perhaps best known as the location of the main thoroughfares which connect South East England to East London and Essex, via the Dartford Crossing and the Dartford Tunnel.

The Darts are currently in a relegation battle, in 17th place, but they have won 2 straight. Dartford FC are averaging 1,320 per game this season, which is a pretty impressive figure for a club that had never been in the 6th Level before this season. The primary reason for their good turnstile count is that the Darts play at Princes Park, a ground that is pretty unique, to say the least. It has been described as the most ecologically sound football ground ever built. Princes Park, which is constructed primarily of wood, maintains an open-air feeling underscored by the large glass windows of the club house behind parts of the main stand, and features a living roof (with sedum growing on it – sedum is a plant commonly used in green roofs, with water-retention characteristics that make it preferable to grass). The ‘green roof’ allows rainwater to be collected (and stored in two ponds on the site) and re-used for watering the pitch. Solar panels are employed for energy saving. Designed by Alexander Sedgley Architects, Princes Park opened in 2006. It has a capacity of 4,100 (642 seated) and is located close to the Dartford town center.
A Park Fit For A Prince‘, from SPAOTP.com.
Tims92.co.uk’s page on Dartford’s Princes Park, here.

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Photo credits-Groundtastic.co.uk. Tims 92.co.uk. SomePeopleAreOnThePirch. Bluesqsouth.com.

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Thanks to Soccerway.com, for attendance figures.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Conference South‘.

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