billsportsmaps.com

July 11, 2018

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Harrogate Town AFC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    •Havant & Waterlooville FC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    •Braintree Town .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

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

June 25, 2018

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Map of National League South (2018-19 season, with attendances and finishes from 2017-18) – click on image below
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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.

July 3, 2017

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

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

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



By Bill Turianski on 3 July 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.
Links…
-2017–18 National League (en.wikipedia.org).
-Official site…thenationalleague.org.uk.
-Table, fixtures, results, attendance, stats…SUMMARY – National League [2017-18] (us.soccerway.com).
-5th division/National League page at BBC.com…bbc.com/sport/football/national-league.

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

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

-Preview…Michael Triffitt’s National League 2017/18 Preview (by Michael Victor on 25 May 2017 at sports.betvictor.com).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    FC Halifax Town.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Maidenhead United FC.

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

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

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

In the process, Maidenhead saw their crowd-size more than double – from 482 per game in 2015-16, to 1,012 per game in 2016-17. Further below, you can see a photo of their manager, Devonshire, as well as a photo-and-caption of the 2016-17 National League South top scorer, Dave Tarpey, who ended up with an incredible 1.07-goals-per-game work-rate (44 goals in 41 league matches). The photo of Tarpey is of him celebrating with teammates and fans, after a spectacular goal in December 2016. Here is a video of Tarpey scoring that sweet goal…{Maidenhead United’s Dave Tarpey scores wondergoal (0:22 video uploaded by Proper Sport at youtube.com)}.
maidenhead-utd_york-road_alan-devonshire_dave-tarpey_f_.gif
Photo and image credits above –
Maidenhead Bridge, photo by Tom Bastin at File:Maidenhead Bridge (1).jpg (commons.wikimedia.org). Action-shot [2011] of match at York Road, photo by Paul Paxford at flickr.com/paxie via pitchinvasion.net/a-year-in-non-league-football-photos [Jan. 2012]. Photo of UK historical plaque, by ChrisTheDude at File:YorkRoadplaque.jpg (en.wikipedia.org). Bell Street End, photo by Antti’s Football Scarves at saturday3.com/[york_road_maidenhead_united_18.08.2012]. Railway Stand (opened 2014), photo by Maidenhead United FC at footballgroundguide.com/leagues/conference/conference-south/maidenhead-united-york-road. Action-shot [April 2017], photo by Marc Keinch at pitchero.com/clubs/maidenheadunited/photos/[14 Apr. 2017 Maidenhead Utd 2-0 Concord Rangers]. Alan Devonshire, photo by PA at dailymail.co.uk/football. David Tarpey, photo unattributed at twitter.com/toptargets.

    Ebbsfleet United FC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ebbsfleet had been drawing in the 1.1-K-range the last time they were competitive at this level (in 2011-12, when they finished in 14th place in the 5th division). The season they were last relegated (2012-13), they drew .8 K. Then they drew .9 K in the 6th division in both 2013-14 and in 2014-15, then drew a decent 1.2 K in 2015-16, and then Ebbsfleet increased their crowd-size a bit more to 1.3 K last season. Now, back in the 5th tier for 2017-18, and owing to the revitalisation of their ground, the Fleet will probably see their average attendance continue to incrementally rise, maybe to near 1.5 K (or maybe even higher, if they start the season well). I can’t confirm it, owing to the hard-to-find status of Non-League attendance figures from the 1979-to-2010 era, but if Ebbsfleet United do draw above 1.5 K this season, it will probably be their best-ever average attendance.
ebbsfleet-utd_promoted-2017_stonebridge-road_e_.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Northfleet/Gravesend shoreline at Thames Estuary, photo by Clem Rutter at File:NorthfleetThames8810.JPG (commons.wikimedia.org). Ebbsfleet International Railway Station, photo by eurostar.com/uk-en/travel-info/stations/ebbsfleet-international. Train, photo by mattbuck at File:Ebbsfleet International railway station MMB 08 395004.jpg. Exterior of Stonebridge Road ground, photo by Clem Rutter at File:NorthfleetStadium8833.JPG (commons.wikimedia.org). New Main Stand [photo from early 2017], photo by Alan Woods at footballgroundguide.com/ebbsfleet-united-stonebridge-road. Interior shot of round [from 2014], photo by Joseph Gibbons at gibbos92.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/ebbsfleet-united-fc-stonebridge-road. Screenshots of 2nd goal in final (Darren McQueen from an assist by Andy Drury, images from Highlights – Ebbsfleet United vs Chelmsford City – Play-Off Final (video uploaded by Clarets TV at youtube.com). Darren McQueen winning goal, photo from TSG Photoshelter at tgsphoto.photoshelter.com/gallery/Ebbsfleet-United-vs-Chelmsford-City-13-05-17. Ebbsfleet captain Danny Kedwell and manager Daryl McMahon lift trophy, photo by Andy Payton at kentonline.co.uk.
___

-Thanks to the contributors at 2016–17 National League (en.wikipedia.org).
-Thanks to Nilfanion…Blank map of UK historic counties, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:United Kingdom police areas map.svg (commons.wikimedia.org). Blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg.
-Thanks to Soccerway for upper-division-Non-League attendance figures, uk.soccerway.com/national/england/conference-national.

July 21, 2016

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

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




By Bill Turianski on 21 July 2016; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-2016–17 National League [England 5th division football] (en.wikipedia.org).
-5th division/National League page at BBC.com…bbc.com/sport/football/national-league.
-NATIONAL LEAGUE [Summary] (soccerway.com).
-Club colours…thenationalleague.org.uk/clubcolours.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sutton United these days average 1.0 K and still play at their Gander Green Lane (which opened in 1912 as a racing track). The pitch is now 3G there – that playing surface was installed in the summer of 2015. Like Maidstone United (see the Maidstone section further below), Sutton will be in promotion-limbo until 3G pitches are allowed in the Football League.
sutton-united_gander-green-lane_c_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – Aerial shot of Gander Greeen Lane, photo by suttonunited.net/info_stadium. View of Main Stand at Gander Green, photo unattributed at nescot.ac.uk/news. Standing terrace at Gander Green lane, photo by BeautifulGame15 at backpagefootball.com/400-sutton-united-fc-vs-dartford-fc-part-two. Screenshot of Sutton fans applauding the Sutton squad (and vice-versa) after Sutton clinched the 2016 National League South title, image from a youtube video uploaded by Clarets TV at youtube.com.

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

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

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

The only problem with Maidstone’s ascent is that they play on a 3G pitch, and the Football League still bans that, so until the rules change, Maidstone United are in a neutral mode with respect to another promotion push. Maidstone United’s Gallagher Stadium is the first purpose-built football stadium in Britain that utilizes a 3G pitch in its business model. See this, at the Wikipedia page for the Gallagher Stadium, where it says that…”Rather than the traditional choice of grass, Maidstone were the first English team to build a stadium with third generation artificial turf”…”The reasons for going with the synthetic turf were threefold, the first being to eliminate match postponements caused by waterlogging and freezing conditions, the second so that the pitch can be hired out, bringing in vital funds (around £120,000 to £150,000 profit per year), and thirdly so that the stadium can be a hub for all the club’s youth and community teams.”…”A major downside of the 3G pitch is that so far the club has only gained permission to use the pitch in the Football Conference [the National League/5th division].”…{excerpts from Gallagher_Stadium/3G Artificial Pitch (en.wikipedia.org)}.
maidstone-utd_gallagher-stadium_kent_promoted-to-5th-division-for-2016-17_i_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Aerial shot of stadium, photo by Gallagher Group at gallagher-group.co.uk/case-studies/maidstone-united-fcs-new-stadium. Interior shot from terrace behind goal, photo by Steve McCaskill at pixelsport.co.uk/2012/10/23/non-league-day-maidstone-united-5-0-dulwich-hamlet. Shot of a full-capacity main stand during a Maidstone game, photo by kentnews.co.uk/sport. Close-up shot of 3G pitch with main stand in background, photo by maidstoneunited.co.uk. Shot of captain Worgan lifting trophy with squad celebrating promotion, photo by Gary Browne at kentonline.co.uk.

___
-Thanks to the contributors at 2016–17 National League (en.wikipedia.org).
-Thanks to Nilfanion…Blank relief map of Greater London, by Nilfanion (using UK Ordnance Survey data), at File:Greater London UK relief location map.jpg.
-Thanks to Soccerway for upper-divisions Non-League attendance figures, uk.soccerway.com/national/england/conference-national.
-Thanks to the excellent site known as Non-League Matters, for lower-division Non-League attendance figures, nonleaguematters.co.uk.

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

January 1, 2015

2014-15 FA Cup, Third Round Proper: location-map with current average attendances./ Plus a look back at the 1988 FA Cup Final (Wimbledon 1-0 Liverpool). /Plus, an illustrated article on the Blyth Spartans, the Non-League club that went the furthest in the FA Cup in the post-War era (in 1977-78).

Filed under: 2014-15 FA Cup,Eng. Non-League — admin @ 12:39 pm

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2014-15 FA Cup, Third Round: location-map with current average attendances



FA Cup fixtures, bbc.com/sport/football/fa-cup/fixtures.
BBC.co.uk/FA Cup.

Televised matches (all the matches live in the UK and in the USA & Canada)…
Friday 2 January 2015:
Cardiff City v Colchester United, 7:45 pm GT at Cardiff City Stadium in Cardiff, South Wales, Wales, UK (live on BBC-Wales only).
Saturday 3 January 2015:
Tranmere Rovers v Swansea City, 3 pm GT [/10 am ET] at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea, South Wales, Wales, UK (live in USA & Canada only on Fox Sports 1 at 10 am ET).
West Bromwich v Gateshead, 3 pm GT [/10 am ET] at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich [Greater Birmingham], West Midlands (live in USA & Canada only on Fox Sports 2 at 10 am ET).
Sunday 4 January 2015:
Dover Athletic v Crystal Palace, 1 pm GT at the Crabble Athletic Ground in River [adjacent to Dover], Kent (live on BT Sport in the UK; and in USA & Canada on Fox Sports 1 at 8 am ET).
Manchester City v Sheffield Wednesday, 3 pm GT at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester (not broadcast in the UK; only in USA & Canada on Fox Sports 2 at 10 am ET).
Yeovil Town v Manchester United, 3:30 pm GT at Huish Park in Yeovil, Somerset (live on BT Sport in the UK; and in USA & Canada on Fox Sports 1 at 10:30 am ET).
Arsenal v Hull City, 5:30 pm GT at Emirates Stadium in Hollloway, Greater London N5 (live on the BBC in the UK; and in USA & Canada on Fox Sports 1 at 12:30 pm ET).
Monday 5 January 2015:
AFC Wimbledon v Liverpool, 8:55 pm GT at Kingsmeadow in Kingston-upon-Thames, Greater London KT1 (live on the BBC in the UK; and in USA & Canada on Fox Sports 1 at 2:45 ET).
Tuesday 6 January 2015:
Everton v West Ham United, 7:45 pm at Goodison Park in Walton, Liverpool L4 (live on BT Sport in the UK; and in USA & Canada on Fox Sports 1 at 2:30 pm ET).

For the first time in their twelve-year existence, AFC Wimbledon have qualified for the FA Cup 3rd Round…
And wouldn’t you know it, supporter-owned AFC Wimbledon, heir to Wimbledon FC (1889 to 2004), will host Liverpool, at their Kingsmeadow ground in southwest London. It will be a re-match of Wimbledon FC’s greatest win, the 1988 FA Cup Final, which saw First Division upstarts Wimbledon beat the-just-crowned-champions-of-England Liverpool, 1-0, at the old Wembley Stadium in front of 98,203. Northern Ireland international MF Lawrie Sanchez headed in the winner on a cross from MF Dennis Wise in the 37th minute. The match featured the first-ever penalty save in an FA Cup final – a full-stretch diving-save by the captain of Wimbledon, Dave Beasant – off of a John Aldridge penalty attempt in the 60th minute. Then Wimbledon held Liverpool scoreless for the final 30 minutes after that brilliant save, and Wimbledon FC of Plough Lane [aka the Crazy Gang], were the improbable FA Cup champions of 1988. It is generally viewed as one of the greatest FA Cup upsets ever {see this article from Jan. 2014, where it is ranked #3 … Are these the greatest FA Cup upsets ever? (thescore.ie)}.

{See this 6:38 youtube video, [goal at 2:10 / penalty call (blown call) at 3:10 / save at 3:55], 15/05/1988 Liverpool v Wimbledon [1988 FA Cup Final] (youtube.com)}.

Wimbledon FC (1889-2004), improbable FA Cup winners of 1988…
wimbledon-fc_1988-fa-cup-winners_dave-beasant_lawrie-sanchez_dennis-wise_vinnie-jones_bobby-gould_john-fashanu_plough-lane_c_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Lawrie Sanchez heading in the winner, photo by Getty Images via mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/vinnie-jones-remembers-crazy-gang. Lawrie Sanchez celebrating the goal, photo unattributed at liverpoolkits.com/liverpool1988fa-cup. Dave Beasant making the first-ever goalkeepersper-save in an FA Cup Final, photo by David Cannon/Allsport via Guardian.com/football. Wimbledon manager Bobby Gould jumping into the arms of Vinnie Jones in celebration of the upset win, photo unattributed at i4.coventrytelegraph.net. Dennis Wise clowning with the trophy lid, with Dave Beasant in the background, photo by Foto Sports International via dailystar.co.uk/sport/football/413742/Chelsea-legend-Dennis-Wise-Football-crazy-days. John Fashanu on image from T-shirt at punkfootball.com/John-Fashanu-1988-AFC-Wimbledon-Navy-T-Shirt. Crazy Gang still celebrating while getting the team photo in after the win, photo unattributed at port.bt.com/sportfootball/football/where-are-they-now-wimbledons-fa-cup-final-winning-team.
Plough Lane, photo unattributed at ebay.co.uk/itm/Wimbledon-FC-Inside-Plough-Lane-Football-Stadium-Photo-Memorabilia. “Not in the greater interests…” [infamous quote from FA report which consigned Wimbledon FC to to the dustbin of history by allowing ownership to move the club to Milton Keynes], image from a banner at afcwimbledon-mad.co.uk. Wimbledon FC’s boarded up HQ in South London, photo by Getty Images via telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/AFC-Wimbledon-ready-to-go-back-to-Plough-Lane.

Blyth Spartans, the lowest-placed (and lowest-drawing) club still alive in the 2014-15 FA Cup..
From Blyth, Northumberland (population ~35,000 {2001 figure}), Blyth Spartans play in the 7th-level Northern Premier League Premier Division and are the lowest-placed club still in the competition. In the Second Round, on Friday 5th December, at Victoria Park in Hartlepool, County Durham, Blyth Spartans took a scalp of a team three divisions above them when they beat League Two/4th-division side Hartlepool United 1-2 to advance to the FA Cup Third Round. The winner was scored by 21-year-old striker/newstand clerk Jarret Rivers in extra time. 1,100 Blyth supporters traveled the 66 km (41 mi) down the coast to Hartlepool to root their club on {see this, Hartlepool United 1-2 Blyth Spartans (bbc.co.uk/fa cup)}. At that point in time, the league-placement difference between Blyth Spartans and Hartlepool was 65 places and 3 levels.

Blyth is located 21 km (13 mi) north of Newcastle in England’s northern-most historic county, Northumberland. Blyth Spartans are the northern-most club in the England football leagues system (of clubs within levels 1 through 8 within the English football pyramid). [Although Berwick Rangers from Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumbria are located further north...but they play in the Scottish football leagues system (in the Scottish 4th division).]

Blyth Spartans wear green-and-white vertically-striped jerseys. They play at Croft Park, which has a capacity of 4,435 with 556 seated (see illustration below). The ground’s Main Stand (aka the Port of Blyth Stand), looms over the rest of the terraced ground in all its brick-walled and bright-green-metal-roofed glory. Blyth Spartans are managed by Tom Wade, who is 56 years old and supported the club in his childhood. Wade is back for his third spell with the club in a coaching capacity (previously as caretaker-manager and as an assistant coach), and also has coaching experience with Gateshead, Newcastle Blue Star and Harrogate Town.

Blyth Spartans had their highest league placement in 2006-07, at 7th place in the 6th-level Conference North. This was during a 6-season spell in the Conference North, which they had won promotion to after winning the NPL PD in 2005-06 (as well as the league cup that season). Since relegation in 2012, they have remained in the Northern Premier League Premier Division. They currently sit 16th with several games in hand, and are averaging 450 per game, which is an improvement of 90 per game over their average crowd size last season.

In the 2014-15 FA 3rd Round, on Saturday 3rd January, Blyth Spartans will face 2nd division side Birmingham City. Prior to winning 3 of their last 5 league matches, Birmingham City (currently in 14th place), had been struggling yet again in the Football League Championship, so that suggests that another giant-killing is not out of the question.

Blyth Spartans qualify for the FA Cup 3rd Round once again…
Blyth Spartans have now qualified for the FA Cup 3rd Round for the fourth time in their history (in 1971-72, in 1977-78, in 2008-09, and now in 2014-15/ see this en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blyth_Spartans_FA_Cup_exploits). Of course Blyth Spartans’ greatest moment was 37 years ago. On 6th February 1978, they qualified for the FA Cup Fifth Round, after a massive 4th Round upset – beating then-2nd-division-side Stoke City 2-3 before 18,765 at the old Victoria Park in Stoke-on-Trent. Blyth Spartans then went on to face 3rd-division-side Wrexham in the 5th Round, taking them to a replay before bowing out (note: Wrexham won the Third Division that season [1977-78]). Wrexham advanced to the Quarterfinals instead of Blyth, but only just, because Wrexham had forced a replay by scoring late in the match on a controversial retaken corner kick (re-taken twice), which the ref ruled on, due to a downed corner-flag on the initial corner kick (as you can see in the video at the link below). The replay was played on 27 February 1978 at St James’ Park in Newcastle before 42,167 (with over 10,000 locked outside the ground). But Blyth Spatans fell to Wrexham 1-2.

Here is a 5:44 youtube video with match highlights and interviews, about the Blyth Spartans 1978 FA Cup Run (5:44 video uploaded by GriefTourist at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70j23pg6S5g). [This video is from a broadcast from the 2008-09 FA Cup 3rd Round circa first week of January 2009.]

There have been 7 Non-League teams to make it to the 5th Round of the FA Cup since 1945-46 {see this, List of non-league clubs in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup since 1945}, but only one of those sides forced a replay – Blyth Spartans. So, regardless of that cruel twist of fate with respect to that pesky corner flag, Blyth Spartans are to this day the only Non-League club in the post-War era to have made it to the FA Cup Quarterfinals draw. Had that corner flag not fallen over twice in the half-frozen mud in North Wales (and had the ref not been such a stickler), Blyth Spartans would have hosted Arsenal in March of 1978, in the FA Cup Quarterfinals.

Here is an article on Blyth Spartans’ 1977-78 Cup run, from the When Saturday Comes site, by Ken Sproat from April 2005, Blyth Spartans 1977-78 (wsc.co.uk/the-archive).

Here is an another article on Blyth Spartans’ 1977-78 Cup run, from the Blyth Spirit blog, The Goal That Made History – Classic Matches – Stoke City FA Cup 1977/1978 Stoke City 2 Blyth Spartans 3 (blythspirit.wordpress.com).

Below,
Croft Park, home of Blyth Spartans, w/ a sidebar on the 1977-78 Blyth Spartans: the Non-League team that went the furthest in the FA Cup (post-War era)…

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Photo credits above -
Panoramic photo of part of Croft Park featuring Main Stand (Port of Blyth Stand), photo by tigerroar.co.uk/blythspartans.
Main Stand (Port of Blyth Stand), photo by chroniclelive.co.uk/all-about/blyth-spartans-afc.
Terry Johnson celebrating with traveling Blyth fans after scoring v Wrexham in the 1977-78 FA Cup 4R at the Racecorse Ground in Wrexham, image from a screenshot from Blyth Spartans 1977 78 FA Cup Run Remembered (video uploaded by Brian Grey at youtube.com).
1978 FA Cup %th Round replay programme, photo unattributed from chroniclelive.co.uk.
Blyth Spartans supporters with banners at Croft Park terraces, photo unattributed at therealfacup.co.uk/2011/02/27/blame-it-on-a-corner-flag.
Jarret Rivers after scoring v Hartlepool in 2014-15 FA Cup 2R at Victoria Park, photo by Jason Cairnduff at chroniclelive.co.uk/sport/football.

___
Thanks to these sites for attendance figures -
Levels 1 through 6 at soccerway.com.
Level 7 (Blyth Spartans) at nonleaguematters.co.uk.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, 2014–15 FA Cup.

November 3, 2014

2014-15 FA Cup, First Round Proper: location-map with current average attendances./ Plus, an illustrated article on the four FA Cup First Round debut clubs: Gosport Borough, Concord Rangers, Warrington Town and Norton United.

Filed under: 2014-15 FA Cup,Eng. Non-League — admin @ 9:34 pm

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2014-15 FA Cup, 1st Round Proper: location-map with current average attendances





2014-15 FA Cup 1st Round fixtures, bbc.com/sport/football/fa-cup/fixtures.

This is the 134th competition of the FA Cup – the oldest sports tournament in the world. Holders are Arsenal (of north London), who beat Hull City AFC (of the East Riding of Yorkshire) in a thrilling final at Wembley Stadium on 17 May 2013, by a score of 3-2 in aet, with the winning goal scored by Aaron Ramsey in the 109th minute. That changed the top-of-the-list of most FA Cup titles, putting Arsenal even with Manchester United, at 11 FA Cup titles each {see this, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_FA_Cup_finals#Results_by_team}.

From the Real FA Cup site, from 30 October 2014, by Phil Annets, From Smallthorne to Big Time (therealfacup.co.uk).

    Clubs which are making their FA Cup First Round debuts in 2014-15 (four clubs)…

There are four clubs making their FA Cup First Round debuts – 8th level club Warrington Town (of north Cheshire), 8th level club Norton United (of Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire), 6th level club Concord Rangers (of Canvey Island in Essex on the north side of the Thames Estuary), and 6th level club Gosport Borough (from Greater Portsmouth in Hampshire). Warrington Town play in the Northern Premier League Division One North. Norton United play in the Northern Premier League Division One South. Both Concord Rangers and Gosport Borough are playing their second season in the Conference South. One of these three FA Cup 1st Round debut teams – Norton United – have the lowest average crowd size of the 80 clubs in the First Round (at 131 per game). Three have home ties in the 1st Round, while Concord Rangers will play away to Mansfield Town.

Gosport Borough were formed in 1944. This is the club’s 70th anniversary. Gosport Borough wear yellow and navy blue, and their badge features an illustration of a Viking ship (in quasi-comic-strip style). They are located in Gosport, south Hampshire, on the small peninsula of the same name which lies just west of Portsmouth (the distance between Gosport and Portsmouth as the crow flies [or as the ferry sails] is 3 km or 2 miles; distance by road is 20 km or 12 mi). Gosport Borough played in the Hampshire League until 1978, when they joined the Southern League. They have seen several ups and downs since then, but are at present a club on the rise. Gosport Borough now are a 6th level club but four seasons ago (in 2011-12), they were in the 8th level. That season they won promotion to the Southern League Premier Division through the help of a wily old Football League veteran, the then-45-year-old (now 48-year-old) BBC 5-live/Guardian football pundit and analyst Steve Claridge (see him in 1st photo below). The Pompey-born Claridge came out of retirement to help a local club out, and because, why not? In the 2012 Southern League South play-off final, away to Poole Town, Gosport trailed 0-1 until the ex-Portsmouth/ex-Millwall/ex-18-other-football-clubs Claridge came off the bench to take the striker’s position and score in the 92nd minute to level the score at 1–1. In extra-time, Gosport scored twice, including one more by Claridge in the 98th minute, and Gosport won promotion back to the Southern League Prem for the first time in 22 years (the club had last been in the 7th level in 1989-90). Claridge scored 4 goals in 11 league games (and 7 goals overall) that season for Gosport, then he retired again.

The following season [2012-13], Gosport Borough again won promotion – to the 6th level for the first time. That season they squeaked into the Southern League Premier play-offs on the final day of the 12/13 campaign; then, after seeing off Stourbridge in the semi-final, Gosport beat Hemel Hempstead away in the 2013 Southern Prem play-off final (2-2 aet; 4-5 on penalties), to win promotion to the Conference South. Also two seasons ago in 2012-13, Gosport went all the way to the FA Trophy Final at Wembley, unfortunately losing 4-0 to ex-and-now-current-Football-League club Cambridge United (attendance at Wembley Stadium that day was a respectable 18,120).

Speaking of drawing good for Non-League, in the past few seasons, attendance has shot up considerably at Gosport Borough’s compact and nicely maintained Privett Park (capacity 3,000 with 1,000 seated). In just over three seasons, the club has more than doubled their turnstile count and have seen an increase of almost 300 per game. In 2011-12, Gosport drew 246 per game. Then Gosport drew 347 per game their last season in the Southern League in 12/13. Then they drew 437 per game their first season in the Conference South in 13/14. Now, currently, Gosport are averaging 539 per game (from home league matches to 4 Nov. 2014). Gosport’s Privett Park has a nice mix of old and new, specifically the wonderfully archaic Main Stand and the sparkling-new Harry Mizen Stand (see both below).

Gosport Borough are managed by Alex Pike, who has been manager at Gosport for quite a long time (for modern football) – since December 2005. In the 2014-15 FA Cup First Round, on Sunday the 9th of November, Gosport Borough will host 3rd division/League One side Colchester United (of Essex). From BBC.com/football, from 26 Oct. 2014, FA Cup: Gosport Borough relishing Colchester United visit.

Temporary stands at Privett Park will be allowed to be built, which will raise the capacity about 1,500 – from 3,000 to 4,500 {see this, Privett to gain extra seats and terracing for Cup tie (gosportboroughfc.co.uk)}. Gosport are confident they can fill that temporary capacity, this despite the fact that Portsmouth will also be hosting a First Round tie that same day (on Sunday the 9th Nov.) v. Aldershot of the Conference National (who are also Hampshire-based). And while on the subject of Hampshire-based Non-League clubs who qualified, I would be remiss if I did not mention another nearby club, Havant & Waterlooville (also of the Conference South and also very near to Portsmouth), who have now qualified for the FA Cup for the 5th time despite having only been formed (via merger) in 1998. Havant & Waterlooville will play host in the sole game (a televised game) scheduled for Monday the 10th Nov., v. third division side Preston North End of Lancashire. Hampshire is represented by the most number of clubs in the 14/15 First Round, with 6 (Aldershot Town, Basingstoke Town, Eastleigh, Gosport Borough, Havant & Waterlooville, Portsmouth). If you count Bury and Rochdale as from Greater Manchester (as opposed to their former situation in Lancashire), Lancashire has the second-most with 5 clubs in the Round; while Kent has third-most with 4 clubs in the Round.

[Note: Gosport ended up drawing 2,013 in their 3-6 loss to Colchester].

Below, Gosport Borough’s home ground, Privett Park, opened in 1937; capacity 3,000 with 1,000 seated…

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Action photo of the 45-year-old Steve Claridge playing for Gosport Borough from 10 Dec. 2011 by Paul Paxford at flickr.com/photos/paxie.
Semi-panorama photo of Privett Park by phildanmatt.weebly.com at phildanmatt.weebly.com/gosport-borough.html.
Photo of Main Stand by phildanmatt.weebly.com at phildanmatt.weebly.com/gosport-borough.html.
Photo of the Harry Mizen Stand at Privett Park by Andrew Ormerod at hoppingaroundhampshire.blogspot.com/2012/09/28-gosport-borough-fc.html.

Concord Rangers wear yellow and blue and are from Canvey Island in south-east Essex, just west of Southend-on-Sea. Canvey Island, now technically a peninsula, is a reclaimed island in the Thames estuary, located 49 km (30 mi) east of central London. Concord Rangers are the second-largest club from Canvey island, the biggest being former Conference side Canvey Island FC, who won the FA Trophy in 2001 and these days are a 7th level club which draws around 320 per game (Concord Rangers draw about 70 per game less than that at 250).

Concord Rangers started out in 1966 as simply a group of boys literally playing on the beach. This group included Steve Lant, whose father Albert was a founder of the club and is still today club president. The kids played friendlies on a pitch located at a beach called Concord Beach on the sea-front in Canvey Island – hence the club’s name…and their nickname of the Beach Boys. The next year, 1967, the club was officially formed and fielded a youth team; by 1973 the club had a (junior) squad playing in the local District league. Here is an excerpt from the Concord Rangers’ website…{excerpt}…”[In] 1985 Concord secured some land at Thames Road, Canvey Island, the club developed the clubhouse and ground with Jack Smith, current club treasurer being the mastermind behind the project, he organised the funds, labour and materials and worked many hours himself on the site…” {end of excerpt from http://www.concordrangersfc.com/history/}.

Concord Rangers still play within a bow-shot of the sea front (about .25 km away). You can see that in the illustration further below, which features (at the top-left there) a screenshot of a satellite image of the area surrounding the Thames Road ground in Canvey Island.

In 1992-93 Concord joined the 9th level Essex Senior League. 5 years later in 1997-98, after winning the Essex Senior League, Concord were denied promotion to the 7th/8th level Isthmian League set-up (due to an inadequate ground). 7 seasons later in 2003-04 they won the Essex Senior again, but were again denied promotion. Their third time was the charm, though as Concord won the Essex Senior League once again in 2007-08, and this time were allowed promotion, to the 8th-level Isthmian League Division One North for 2008–09. It only took Concord two seasons to advance again, when they won the Isthmian D1N in 2009-10, and were promoted to the 7th-level Isthmian League Premier Division. Three seasons later in 2012-13, Concord Rangers won promotion to the 6th level. Here is an excerpt from the Concord Rangers page at en.wikipedia.org,…{excerpt}…” [2012-13] saw Concord finish 4th in The Isthmian League Premier Division, consequently qualifying for the play-offs; which they won – defeating Wealdstone F.C. away 2-1 (AET) in the play-off semi-final, and beating Lowestoft Town F.C. away 2-1 in the play-off final in front of a crowd of 2,490, thus winning promotion to the Conference South for the 2013/14 season – the club’s highest ever level of competition. The club were also winners of The Isthmian League cup that season, defeating Dulwich Hamlet F.C. 3-2 AET at The Gallagher Stadium (home of Maidstone United F.C.)”…{end of excerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concord_Rangers_F.C.}.

In their first season in the Conference South in 2013-14, Concord Rangers finished a very creditable 7th place. They played to an average home crowd of 253 in 2013-14, having previously averaged 200 per game in the 7th level in 2012-13 and 190 per game the season before (2011-12). Concord currently (7 Nov. 2014) sit 11th in Conference South. Concord Rangers are managed by Danny Cowley, who is in his eighth season with the club, going back to when Concord were a ninth-level side.

On Saturday 8th November 2014, in the 2014-15 FA Cup 1st Round, Concord Rangers travel to Nottinghamshire to face 4th division/League Two side Mansfield Town at Field Mill (aka One Call Stadium).

From the Southend-on-Sea-based news site the Echo, from 26 Oct. 2014, by Luke Lambert, Concord Rangers hit new high after reaching FA Cup First Round (echo-news.co.uk/sport).

From BBC.co.uk. from 6 Nov. 2014, FA Cup: Good Vibrations for Canvey Island’s Beach Boys (bbc.com/sport/football).

[Note: the Mansfield v Concord match was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch; on Tuesday the 18th of November, Concord drew 1-1 at Mansfield, and so a replay at Thames Road was played on Tuesday 25th November, and Mansfield beat Concord 0-1 in front of 1,537 at Thames Road in Canvey Island.]

Below, Concord Rangers’ home ground, Thames Road, capacity 3,300…

concord-rangers_thames-road_2014-15_fa-cup_debut_e_.gif
Photo and Image credits above-
Screenshots of image of satellite view of Thames Road ground in Canvey Island, Essex, image from bing.com/maps
Photo at front gate of Thames Road ground, photo by theballissquare.co.uk/concord-rangers.
Photo of Joe Gardner scoring the winner that put Concord Rangers into the FA Cup 1st Round, photo by Andy Smith/Dragons Photography at echo-news.co.uk/sport.

Warrington Town, formed in 1949, wear yellow and blue and are nicknamed the Wire, for the town’s history as a center of the wire-pulling industry. Their home ground is Cantilever Park, capacity 3,500, which is adjacent to the Manchester Ship Canal and the town’s cantilever bridge (which spans that waterway and looms over the ground, and which gives the ground its name). Warrington Town play in the 8th level Northern Premier League Division One North. This is their 11th consecutive season without a promotion or a relegation (the Wire lost in the play-offs semi-final last season). The club is from an area that is within the Rugby-League-belt of northern England, and Warrington Wolves RLFC are a top-flight rugby team in Super League who draw around 10 K per game (and are the only team that has played every first-division-season of RL [since 1895-96]). In other words, rugby league’s predominance in this section of northern England is why a town the size of Warrington (population of around 202,000 {2011 figure}) has a football club so low down the English football pyramid…because the town’s rugby league team draws the lion’s share of attention and support there. In fact, Warrington is the largest settlement in England without a Football League club. That is not to say there are not many followers and supporters of association football in Warrington – it is just that they have to (and do) go elsewhere in northwest England to watch League and Premier League football. Warrington Town are currently (as of 4 Nov. 2014) drawing 197 per game, which is down a bit from last season’s average of 212. The Wire currently sit 15th in their league (the NPLD 1N).

Warrington Town are managed by Peter Reid’s brother Shaun Reid. Shaun Reid was a tough-tackling defender who played 240 league matches for Rochdale (in two different spells) as well as 107 games for York City, in a career that went from 1983 to 2000. Here is an excerpt from Shaun Reid‘s Wikipedia page,…”Reid holds a UEFA A coaching badge and has had spells coaching at Swindon Town and Plymouth Argyle. In January 2012 he was appointed as manager at Prescot Cables before leaving in March 2012 to become manager at Warrington Town.”

For the 2014-15 FA Cup 1st Round, on Friday evening the 7th of November, Warrington will host 4th division/League Two side Exeter City. The match has been selected as one of the televised matches for the First Round, and will be shown live on BBC in the UK, and on Fox Sports Plus in the USA and Canada (taped with a 2-hour delay at 5 pm ET/schedule here) [Broadcasting rights in UK, here].

[Note: Warrington Town drew a very solid 2,400 and had the biggest upset of the First Round, beating Exeter City 1-0. Exeter City is 4 leagues and over 100 places higher than Warrington Town. The goal was scored off a corner kick, by plasterer and defender Craig Robinson, in the 7th minute, {see this [Warrington Town 1-0 Exter City] (bbc.com/sport/football)}.]

Below, Warrington Town’s home ground, Cantilever Park, capacity 3,500 …

warrington-town_cantilever-park_2014-15-fa-cup-1st-round_debut_b_.gif
Image and Photo credits above -
Screenshot of image of satellite view of Cantilever Park in Warrington, Cheshire, image from bing.com/maps.
Photo of the Cantilever Park with the Warrington Cantilever Bridge looming behind, by skif at dubsteps.blogspot.com/2005/12/warrington-town-1-blyth-spartans-2.html.

Norton United are located in Smallthorne (population: around 4,161), which is in the northern part of Stoke-on-Trent [aka the Potteries]. Norton United’s location in Smallthorne is only about 3 km (or about 1.5 miles) east of Burslem, where third-division club Port Vale are located at Vale Park. [Note: Port Vale FC loaned Norton United their team coach (aka team bus), so the Norton squad were able to make the drive up to County Durham on Wednesday evening the 29th of October in comfort, which no doubt helped Norton beat Shildon AFC 1-2 in the 4th Qualifying Round re-play.] Also, Norton United are located about 5 km (or 3 mi) north of where Premier League club Stoke City are located in the Potteries at the Britannia Stadium.

Norton United now wear red-and-black-vertically-striped jerseys, but until a couple years ago they used to wear black-and-white-verticals {see this at the Boys in Black & White blog from August 2010}. Norton are a football club that has not even been in existence for three decades. Norton United were formed in 1989, initially, as the football team of Norton Cricket Club [named after the nearby Norton Colliery]. Joining the Staffordshire League in 1989-90, at the equivalent of the 13th level in the English football pyramid, Norton United have since won 5 promotions without a relegation. Their second-most recent promotion was in 2011-12, when they were North West Counties League Division One runner-up. Promoted to the NWCL Premier Division (into the 9th level), they won that league two seasons later in 2013-14, and now play in the 8th level in the Northern Premier League Division One South. Norton currently sit 13th in the NLPD 1S. Going by home average attendance Norton United are the smallest club to qualify for the 2014-14 FA Cup First Round. Norton Utd are currently drawing 131 per game, at their spartan and bare-bones ground, which is called the Norton Cricket Club & Miners Welfare Institute, and which has capacity of 1,500 with 200 seated (see below). Norton United have seen their current average crowd-size increase by 57 percent since last season (an increase of +48 per game) [in 2013-14 in the NWCL Prem, they averaged 83 per game].

Norton United are managed by former Stafford Rangers MF Scott Dundas, who is in his fourth season in charge and in 3 years has guided Norton from the 10th level to the 8th level. From 24 Oct. 2014, from BBC.com, FA Cup: Norton United boss keen to put Potteries side on the map (bbc.com/sport/football). On Saturday 8 November, Norton United will host 5th division/Conference side Gateshead (of Newcastle, in Tyne and Wearside).

[Note: Norton drew an overflow-capacity 1,762 in losing to Gateshead 0-4.]

Below, Norton United’s home ground, Norton Cricket Club & Miners Welfare Institute, capacity 1,500…

norton-united_norton-miners-welfare-institute-and-cricket-club_2014-15-fa-cup-1st-round_debut_b_.gif
Photo credits above -
Photo of Community Drive ground with view of Potteries in background, photo by pitch-side-stories.com at pitch-side-stories.com/category/nwcl.
2nd Photo by Uwdi Krugg at wherestheteahut.blogspot.com/2013/08/norton-united-4-runcorn-town-1.

___
Thanks to BBC.com/sport/football/fa cup, for fixtures list image, bbc.com/sport/football/fa-cup/fixtures.
Thanks to sharpcroft at Flickr.com via hemelfc.com, for illustration of kit badge for Hemel Hamstead home jersey, here.

Thanks to these sites for attendance figures -
Levels 3-6 at soccerway.com, such as us.soccerway.com/national/england/conference-n–s/20142015/north.
Levels 7-8 at nonleaguematters.co.uk/steps/steps-3-4.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, 2014–15 FA Cup.

Thanks to Blue76 for pointing out that I missed Concord Rangers as a debut club in the FA Cup 1st Round/ no thanks to whoever put together this erroneous factoid in the yellow-info-box in the following article at BBC/football {here}, which omits Concord Rangers as a debut team in the FA Cup Proper (they also omitted Norton United in that article’s info-box I just linked to, but that had not occurred at the time of that article’s posting because Norton had yet to qualify via their 4th QR re-play).

January 13, 2014

England (and Wales), 5th division: Football Conference National – 2013-14 Location-map, with 2013-14 home kit badges & with 2-and-a-half-seasons of attendance data./ Plus, illustrations for 1st and 2nd place clubs, as of 15 January 2014: Luton Town and Cambridge United.

2013-14_conference-national_attendance-data_2011-12_2012-13_jan2014_2013-14-kit-badges_post_.gif
England (and Wales), 5th division: Football Conference National – 2013-14 Location-map, with 2013-14 home kit badges & with 2-and-a-half-seasons of attendance data



Conference National – Fixtures, results, tables (soccerway.com).

At the top of the map page are facsimiles of 2013-14 Conference clubs’ home jersey badges. Below that is a location-map. The map page also includes an attendance data chart which shows each clubs’ 2011-12 and 2012-13 average attendance figures (from home league matches), as well as current average attendance figures (inclusive to 12 January 2014), and the numerical change since then (approximately two-and-a-half seasons ago). [Each club currently has played from 24 to 29 matches, and each club has currently played from 11 to 15 home matches.]

Below are the clubs in the 2013-14 Conference that have shown the largest attendance increases, and the worst attendance drop-offs, since 2011-12.
Largest numerical increase in average home crowds since 2011-12 (inclusive to 12 Jan. 2014)…
Increase of +708 per game – Cambridge United (who are averaging 3,512 per game currently/ in 2nd place/ relegated 9 seasons ago [2004-05]).
Increase of +598 per game – Luton Town (who are averaging 6,709 per game currently/ in 1st place/ relegated 5 seasons ago [2008-09]).
Increase of +400 per game - Nuneaton Town (who are averaging 1,179 per game currently/ in 9th place/ promoted 2 seasons ago [2011-12]).
Increase of +204 per game – Grimsby Town (who are averaging 3,512 per game currently/ in 5th place/ relegated 4 seasons ago [2009-10]).
Increase of +202 per game – Salisbury City (who are averaging 935 per game currently/ in 10th place/ promoted 1 season ago [2012-13]).
Increase of +190 per game – Lincoln City (who are averaging 2,537 per game currently/ in 18th place/ relegated 3 seasons ago [2010-11]).
Increase of +164 per game – Welling United (who are averaging 840 per game currently/ in 14th place/ promoted 1 season ago [2012-13]).
Increase of +160 per game – Braintree Town (who are averaging 1,061 per game currently/ in 11th place/ promoted 3 seasons ago [2010-11]).

Worst numerical drop-off in average home crowds since 2011-12 (inclusive to 12 Jan. 2014)…
Decrease of -888 per game – Hereford United (who are averaging 1,665 per game currently/ in 16th place/ relegated 2 seasons ago [2011-12]).
Decrease of -886 per game – Aldershot Town (who are averaging 1,978 per game currently/ in 20th place/ relegated 1 season ago [2011-12]).
Decrease of -510 per game – Wrexham (who are averaging 1,665 per game currently/ in 13th place/ relegated 4 seasons ago [2011-12]).
Decrease of -507 per game – Chester (who are averaging 2,280 per game currently/ in 22nd place/ promoted 1 season ago [2012-13]).

    2013-14 Luton Town. First place in the Conference as of 15 January, 2014.

luton-town_kenilworth-road_j-still_a-gray_p-benson_l-guttridge_n.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
13/14 Luton Town home jersey badge, photo from jdsports.co.uk/product/fila-luton-town-2013/14-home-shirt.
Kenilworth Road, satellite image from bing.com/maps/Bird’s Eye View.
Kits, from ‘Luton Town F.C.‘ (en.wikipedia.org).
Kenilworth Road, photo uploaded by biscuitman88 at footballgroundmap.com/photo/4462/kenilworth-road/luton-town.
John Still, photo from luton-dunstable.co.uk/Sport/Luton-Town-FC.
Luke Guttridge, photo from lutontoday.co.uk/sport/luton-town.
Andre Gray, photo from sport.bt.com/sportfootball/football/englishfootball/conference.
Paul Benson, photo from bedfordshire-news.co.uk/Sport/Luton-Town-FC/Football-Tamworth-v-Luton-Town-in-pictures.

    2013-14 Cambridge United. Second place in the Conference as of 15 January, 2014.

cambridge-united_abbey-stadium_r-money_a-cunnington_k-appiah_l-berry_h_.gif
Abbey Stadium, photo by Bill Blake at panoramio.com.
Richard Money, photo from cambridge-united.co.uk via bbc.co.uk/sport/football.
Adam Cunnington, photo from dutchamberarmy.com/needham-market-fc-0-v-cambridge-united-1/.
Kwesi Appiah, photo by Keith Heppell at cambridge-news.co.uk [slideshow].
Luke Berry, photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com
___

Thanks to kevinstaylor at flicker.com {flickr.com/kevinstalor’s photostream}, for 13/14 Dartford home jersey badge [125th Anniversary year for Dartford FC, shirt here] at http://www.flickr.com/photos/36154472@N06/9328679966/in/photostream/.

Thanks to JD Sports site for photo of 13/14 Luton Town home jersey badge, jdsports.co.uk/product/fila-luton-town-2013/14-home-shirt.

Thanks to the Gateshead FC official site and Jeff Bowren there, for match reports which included GTFC home attendances. Gateshead played at 7 different venues in 2012-13, due to pitch problems at their normal venue, Gateshead International Stadium. From February to May (and comprising their last 11 home matches) Gateshead were basically homeless and played at Hartlepool; at York; at Blyth, Northumberland; at Boston, Lincolnshire; at Carlisle, Cumbria; and at Middlesbrough. Gateshead played 6 of those home matches at Victoria Park in Hartlepool, while they played one home match at each of those other 6 locations.

Thanks to Soccerway.com, for attendance data, http://int.soccerway.com/national/england/conference-national/20122013/regular-season/r18216/.

Thanks to the Football League official site for previous seasons’ attendance data, http://www.football-league.co.uk/page/DivisionalAttendance/0,,10794~201226,00.html.

Thanks to the Northern League for Chester FC 2011-12 attendance, http://www.evostikleague.co.uk/archive-737/.

Thanks to the contributors at en.wikipedia.org, ‘2013–14 Football Conference‘.

November 1, 2013

2013-14 FA Cup, First Round Proper: location-map, and current average attendances of the 80 clubs, featuring the two lowest-placed clubs who qualified – 8th division clubs Daventry Town and Shortwood United.

Filed under: 2013-14 FA Cup,Eng. Non-League — admin @ 12:48 pm

2013-14_fa-cup_1st-round-proper_post_.gif
2013-14 FA Cup, First Round Proper: location-map, and current average attendances of the 80 clubs



FA Cup – news, fixtures, results (bbc.co.uk/sport/football/fa-cup).

2013-14 FA Cup 1st Round televised games, see this (en.wikipedia.org).
Below, the 3 broadcast games [with clubs' division levels noted].
Friday 8 November 2013, AFC Wimbledon [4] v Coventry City [3] at 7:45pm GT/2:45pm ET (on BT Sports in the UK).
Sunday 10 November 2013, Bishop’s Stortford [6] v Northampton Town [4] at 2:00pm GT/9am ET (on ITV in the UK).
Monday, 11 November 2013, Shortwood United [8] v Port Vale [3] at 7:45pm GT/2:45pm ET (on BT Sports in the UK).

The 2013–14 FA Cup is the 133rd season of the competition.
The FA Cup is open to all English clubs (plus 6 Welsh clubs, and now one club from Guernsey, the 8th-Level-and-rising Guernsey FC {see this, ‘FA Cup: Guernsey FC confirmed in 2013-14 FA Cup draw‘ (bbc.co.uk/football)}. Guernsey won 2 matches in the preliminary rounds before falling to Dover Athletic in the 2nd Qualifying Round.

The FA Cup is the world’s oldest association football knock-out competition. It has been competed for every season since 1871-72, with the exception of 10 seasons, with 4 seasons taken off due to WWI (1915-16 to 1918-19) and 6 seasons taken off due to WWII (1939-40 to 1944-45).

For the 2013-14 FA Cup, 737 clubs were accepted into the competition (down from 758 last season). The 2013-14 FA Cup began on 17 August 2013, with the Extra Preliminary Round. After 6 preliminary rounds, the 2012-13 FA Cup First Round Proper will be played from Friday the 8th to Monday the 11th, November 2013, with the bulk of the matches (35) being played on the Saturday. The First Round Proper features 32 Non-league clubs which have survived the preliminary rounds, and as is usually the case, these clubs which have survived the preliminary rounds are all placed in Levels 5 through 8.

There have been only three 9th Level clubs which have qualified for the FA Cup First Round Proper in the last 6 seasons (since 2008-09): Leiston, of coastal Suffolk, qualified in 2008-09; while in 2010-11, two 9th Level clubs qualified – Hythe Town of coastal Kent, and Black Country side Tipton Town (none of those 3 advanced). To qualify for the 1st Round Proper from the 9th Level (or lower), a club has to win 6 matches (entering in the Extra Preliminary Round). To qualify from the 8th Level (which comprises 6 leagues), a club has to win 5 matches (entering in the Preliminary Round). There are two 8th Level clubs which have qualified for the 2013-14 First Round Proper – Daventry Town and Shortwood United, and they are featured further below. To qualify from the 7th Level (which comprises 3 leagues), a club has to win 4 matches (entering in the First Round Qualifying). There are four 7th Level clubs which have qualified for the 2013-14 First Round Proper – Biggleswade Town of Bedfordshire, Corby Town of Northamptonshire, St Albans City from the northern London commuter belt in Hertfordshire, and Stourbridge from the Black Country west of Birmingham. [It should be pointed out that all of the six just-mentioned lowest-placed clubs in the 2013-14 FA Cup First Round Proper all come from the 3-league/2-levels set-up of the Southern League, so congratulations to the Southern Football League.].

To qualify from the 6th Level (which comprises 2 leagues, Conference North and Conference South), a club has to win 3 matches (entering in the Second Round Qualifying). There are eight 6th Level clubs which have qualified for the 2013-14 First Round Proper. To qualify from the 5th Level, the Conference National (which is the lowest national league in the English football league pyramid and is the highest level of Non-League football), a club only has to win one match (in the Fourth Round Qualifying). There are eighteen 5th Level clubs which have qualified for the 2013-14 First Round Proper.
{see this, ‘2013–14 FA Cup Qualifying Rounds‘ (en.wikipedia.org).

The 32 Non-League clubs which have survived after the Fourth Round Qualifying (and the replays) continue on in the competition into the First Round Proper, and are now joined by the 48 clubs in the two lower levels of the Football League – League One (Level 3/24 clubs), and League Two (Level 4/24 clubs). That makes for 80 clubs in the 1st Round. [Clubs from the Premier League (Level 1/20 clubs) and the Football League Championship (Level 2/24 clubs) enter the competition in the Third Round, which usually begins on the first weekend of the new year in January.].
{see this, ‘2013–14 FA Cup‘ (en.wikipedia.org).

From Two Hundered Percent.net, from 27 Oct. 2013, by Ian King, ‘The FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round: St Albans City, For Once, Go Marching Into The FA Cup First Round‘ (twohundredpercent.net).

From Guardian.com/football, from 27 Oct. 2013, by Niall McVeigh,
FA Cup draw: first round pits Daventry against Chesterfield
•Grimsby Town host their local rivals Scunthorpe •Portsmouth visit Stevenage •Wolves face Oldham
‘ (theguardian.com/football).

    Second-lowest-placed (and second-smallest-drawing) club in the 2013-14 FA Cup 1st Round Proper - Daventry Town FC, of Daventry, Northamptonshire.

By beating 9th Level/Combined Counties League side Hartley Wintney in a 4th QR match in Hampshire, Daventry Town FC qualified for the FA Cup 1st Round Proper for the first time ever in their 127-year history. An 8th Level club in the Southern League Division One Central, Daventry Town at present sit 3rd in their league, just 3 points behind leaders Barton United, and with games in hand {table, here}. Third in the 8th Level is the same placement as the club’s highest-ever placement, which Daventry Town achieved 3 seasons ago, in 2010-11 (going on to lose in the Southern League Division One Central play-off final to Hitchin Town that year, before a club-record 1,048 at their Elderstubbs ground [present name of Daventry Town's ground, owned by Daventry District Council, is Communications Park]. Counting only regular season home league matches (and not the play-off home matches), Daventry Town drew 131 per game in 2010-11. Their 2011-12 season was a considerable accomplishment for the club, seeing as how 6 years before that, Daventry Town almost went out of existence following an arson attack at the ground in 2005, which resulted in the destruction, by fire, of the clubhouse. As it says in the recently-written DTFC club history at their website’s forum, ‘Photographs, trophies and other items of historical significance to the club were lost; it was a massive setback for the club, who were also involved in protracted negotiations with landowners Daventry District Council over rent demands and arrears, at the time.’ {excerpt from dtfc.co.uk/forum/history-of-daventry-town-fc, written by JWD). Daventry Town were saved when a sponsorship deal with the mobile phone company Go Mobile enabled the club to survive.

The squad in 2010-11, when the club reached its highest placement, was managed by Ade Fuller, who had gotten Daventry Town up from the 9th Level United Counties League the season before. The next season [2011-12], former Daventry Town, Charlton Athletic, and Ireland MF Mark Kinsella was brought in as the new manager, with Fuller expected to be assistant. As one might expect, this did not sit well with Fuller, and Fuller moved 25 km SW to become manager of 7th Level/Southern Premier club Banbury United, taking a large portion of the squad with him. This forced Kinsella to build up a squad from scratch – and the team struggled, finishing in 16th place. Ironically, that difficult season nevertheless saw Daventry Town draw its best in recent years, drawing 184 per game, which was 53 per game more per game than the previous year. That attendance increase was probably attributable to the momentum of the previous season’s play-off run coupled with the return of the club’s most successful player (Kinsella [with the arguable exception of ex-Daventry, ex-Aston Villa MF Lee Hendrie]), but there was also a low cost season ticket on offer that year (of £80, or £3.80 per game), plus one could also factor in the recent re-opening of the fully rebuilt two-story-with-balcony clubhouse (which looks quite nice as your can see below).

At the end of that season [2011-12], the town’s other Non-League club, Daventry United, folded, and their manager Darran Foster moved to Daventry Town as a coaching assistant. However, soon after, Kinsella was relieved of his duties, and Foster took charge of the team, with Foster’s brother Vince becoming club secretary. Last season [2012–2013], Town finished a respectable 8th in the table, but averaged only 101 per game. Much of the 12/13 DTFC squad has returned for the current campaign, and the stability shows, as Daventry continue to get results on the pitch. Attendance has risen a bit this season as the team pushes for promotion – Daventry Town currently average 138 per game. Daventry Town play at the 3,000-capacity Communications Park, which boasts a newly-relaid pitch and whose main feature is the aforementioned new clubhouse, which has a nice second-story balcony offering the best vantage points in the house, and pints starting at just £2.40 (= $3.85 US).

Daventry is a town of around 25,000 in west-central Northamptonshire, 29 km (or 18 mi) SE of Coventry, and 109 km (or 68 mi) NW of London. Owing to its centrality in England, and to it being near the M1 and with good transport links, Daventry has become a warehousing and distribution center. Daventry is home to Britain’s largest diesel engine plant (owned by the Indiana, USA-based Fortune 500 company Cummins, Inc.).

In the FA Cup 1st Round, on Saturday 9th November 2013, Daventry Town travel north to North Derbyshire to face League Two side Chesterfield at the relatively new [opened in 2010] and purpose-built Proact Stadium (owner: Chesterfield FC). This is a tough fixture for Daventry Town, as Chesterfield are flying high (in 4th place) in the currently-log-jammed-at-the-top League Two.
daventry-town_communications-park_darran-foster_i.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
DTFC crest from a banner at dtfc.co.uk.
footygrounds.blogspot.com/2013/01/daventry-town-communications-park.
daventryexpress.co.uk.
roystontownfc.co.uk/club-news/opposition-view.
daventryexpress.co.uk/sport/football/sports-comment-daventry-dreaming-of-fa-cup-glory.
dtfc.co.uk/photos/communications-park-new-pitch.
non-leagueclubdirectory.co.uk/daventry-town.

    Lowest-placed (and smallest-drawing) club in the 2013-14 FA Cup 1st Round Proper – Shortwood United FC, of Nailsworth, Gloucestershire.

Shortwood United are the smallest drawing and lowest-placed club in the 2013-14 FA Cup 1st Round Proper. This is the first-ever FA Cup 1st Round appearance in the 113-year history of Shortwood United, who play at the tiny 1,500-capacity Meadowbank Ground. The Wood upended 5th Level/Conference (and ex-League) side Aldershot Town by a score of 1-2 in a 4th QR replay on Tuesday 29 October. There were 93 traveling Shortwood fans for the replay, which is a higher number by two than Shortwood United’s current average attendance (from league matches). [Note: the following link has a photo gallery from that match.]. As this article at GetHampshire.com by John Couch states, ‘Two goals in the space of four minutes at the start of the second half from Duncan Culley and Adam Mann sparked Aldershot’s downfall and earned the Gloucestershire village side a lucrative home tie with League One Port Vale in a fortnight’s time. It was no less than they deserved.’ (gethampshire.co.uk/sport/football/match-reports/aldershot-town-booed-after-shortwood [with photo gallery]).

Shortwood United averaged 88 per game in the 9th Level/Hellenic League in 2011-12, when they won promotion to the 8th Level. Last season [2012-13], Shortwood United again averaged 88 per game, when they finished a solid 8th place in the Southern League Division One South & West. Shortwood currently [1 Nov. 2013] are averaging 91 per game this season, and sit 18th (with games in hand), but owing to an overabundance of cup matches, have not played a league match in a month, and are in danger of being drawn in to the relegation battle (Shortwood are playing their second-ever season in the 8th Level). {Southern Football Leagues attendances here}. At 91 per game, Shortwood United are the second-lowest-drawing club to have reached the FA Cup 1st Round in the last 5 years, and the lowest since Tipton Town qualified for the 2010-11 FA Cup 1st Round while averaging 83 per game.

Shortwood United call the small village of Nailsworth, Gloucestershire their home. Nailsworth, which is located around 146 km (or 91 mi) W of London and 37 km (or 23 mi) N of Bristol, is a small town of around 6,000. Nailsworth is located in the rolling hills of the Stroud Valley in the Cotswolds, and does not have a rail link. As its page in Wikipedia states…’Over the past decade the small town centre has been reinvigorated and besides numerous restaurants and cafes now boasts a number of unusual and high-quality shops, you will find two bakers, a delicatessen with a fishmonger, one hardware store, two butchers, craft shops, bookshops, art galleries and a gardening shop.’ {excerpt from ‘Nailsworth‘ (en.wikipedia.org)}. Nailsworth is also the home of the longest-currently-serving 5th Level/Conference club, Forest Green Rovers, aka the Little Club on the Hill, aka the Eco-friendly club, who are in their 16th straight season in the Conference National. The two clubs’ ground are very close by, about .75 km or half-a-mile apart as the crow flies (but about 3 km or 2 mi away by road), and separated only by two fields and a wood (you can see a satellite image of the closeness of the two grounds, with FGR’s ground at the top of the photo and at the top of the hill, and Shortwood’s ground at the foot of the hill, in the image from the link below). As mentioned in the following article, ‘In fact, the cheer that greeted Shortwood’s equaliser that forced a replay against Aldershot on Saturday [Oct. 26] could be heard at the Rovers’ ground.’ [quote from article by Pete Smith, 'Port Vale: Shortwood United game could be switched to Forest Green' (stokesentinel.co.uk)]. Attendance for the Shortwood v Aldershot game was 641, or 7-times higher than the Woods’ average gate.

Shortwood will now face 3rd Level/Football League One club Port Vale of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire on Monday 11 November 2013 in the FA Cup First Round Proper. Only last year, Port Vale were drawn to play Forest Green Rovers away in the 2012-13 FA Cup First Round, so now Port Vale will be traveling to tiny Nailsworth to play in the FA Cup for the second straight year. Port Vale sit 9th in the third tier, currently, making the league-placement difference between the two clubs a whopping 127 places (and 5 levels). The match is scheduled to be played on Monday night November 11 2013 at Meadowbank, Shortwood’s small ground in Nailsworth, and yes, it will be televised – ‘Shortwood will net £67,500 from their live TV FA Cup match against Port Vale‘ (stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk by Asheley Loveridge). Sixty five thousand quid is a massive sum for an 8th division club. It looks like capacity will be restricted to 1,000 for safety purposes and Port Vale will probably receive a ticket allocation of 250.

Update: that 1,000 temporary capacity for Shortwood’s home FA Cup match got increased by 300, to 1,300, and the tickets sold pretty fast – in 45 minutes…’Tickets for Shortwood United FA cup match sell out in one hour‘ (thisisgloucestershire.co.uk).

Shortwood United are jointly managed by ex-Forest Green Rovers legends John Evans and Alex Sykes, both of whom are PE teachers (though Evans is retired). MF Sykes is a player/joint-manager, and is being groomed to take over sole managerial reins eventually. Clubs this far down the English pyramid (ie, below the 5th Level) are of course all amateur, and the current Shortwood squad features a house-painter in goal (Tom King), and a plumber in the midfield (Tim Haddock) {see this, ‘Shortwood United players speak of joy at being FA Cup history boys after Aldershot win‘ (thisisgloucestershire.co.uk)}. Also, in the squad is a rather unusual part-timer, an ex-international male model, the 25-year-old Darren Cully, who lived in and modeled professionally in Los Angeles for a year before moving back to England and playing Non-League football for the first time this season. Cully has scored 11 goals in 17 matches in all competitions for the Wood this season so far, including the first goal (from the penalty spot) in Shortwoods’ shock win over Aldershot Tuesday night {see more on this from this article, ‘Shortwood United dare to dream of another FA Cup upset‘ (stokesentinel.co.uk).

Shortwood United play at the bucolic 1,500-capacity Meadowbank Ground, which is built on the edge of a hill and features a small roofed main stand (which can be seen below), with another smaller stand on the other side. Other than the small clubhouse, a 5-course cinder-block terrace up against the main stand/hill-side of the pitch (also seen below), and the lighting poles which dominate the ground, that is it. There is a pronounced slope to the pitch at Meadowbank (it is built on the side of a hill, after all). As if to reinforce the spartan and out-of-the-way nature of Meadowbank, access to the ground is only by very narrow country lanes which large vehicles such as bus coaches cannot easily fit through {see this from the official Shortwood Uniterd site ‘Narrow Approach Road to Ground – WARNING‘ (pitchero.com/clubs/shortwoodunited)}.

Here is a 22-second Youtube video of highlights from the 4th Qualifying Round match when Shortwood got the late equaliser which forced the replay, Shortwood United v Aldershot Town (Saturday 26th October 2013) [Shortwood United 1-1 Aldershot Town (13/14 FA Cup 4th QR)] (youtube.com video uploaded by MUFC1953).

Here is a write-up on Shortwood’s replay win on Tuesday 29th Oct. 2013 from the Stroud News and Journal, by Asheley Loveridge, ‘Shortwood United shock Aldershot Town to set up FA Cup first round home tie against League One Port Vale‘ (stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk).

Below, the Meadowbank Ground, home of Shortwood United.
With photos from Shortwood’s 2013-14 FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round match and replay v Aldershot Town,
Shortwood 1-1 Aldershot / Aldershot 1-2 Shortwood (replay).
shortwood-united_meadowbank_shortwood_1-1_aldershot_fa-cup13-14_j-evans_a-sykes_o_.gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Shortwood Utd crests (13/14 home jersey crest, official crest, and 13/14 away jersey crest) from pitchero.com/clubs/shortwoodunited/.
Meadowbank at dusk, photo from tauntontown.com.
Photo of Meadowbank by Brian Rossiter at stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk.
Photo of main stand from hellenicleague.co.uk/archive/09_10/shortwood.
Photos of John Evans & Alex Sykes from m.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/sport/10452880.Evans_snaps_up_Sykes_for_joint_role/
Photo of hill-side terrace and stand at Meadowbank from port-vale.co.uk/article/shortwood-united-v-port-vale
3 action photos of 26 Oct. match by Brian Rossiter at pitchero.com/clubs/shortwoodunited/photos/shortwood-v-aldershot.
1 action photo of 26 Oct. match from thisisgloucestershire.co.uk.
Photo from 29 Oct. of Shortwood squad and the 93 traveling Shortwood supporters celebrating post-match from gethampshire.co.uk/sport/football/match-reports/aldershot-town-booed-after-shortwood [Gallery].
___

Thanks to the following sites for average attendance figures -
3rd Level/Football League One, football-league.co.uk/page/DivisionalAttendance [L3].
4th Level/Football League Two, football-league.co.uk/page/DivisionalAttendance[L4].
5th Level/Conference National, soccerway.com/national/england/conference-national.
6th Level/Conference North, soccerway.com/conference-n & Conference South, soccerway.com/conference-s.
7th Level & 8th Level/Southern League, southern-football-league.co.uk/attendances.

Thanks to the Shortwood United official site for photos, including their home jersey crest from this photo – pitchero.com/clubs/shortwoodunited/team.
Thanks to Brian Rossiter at stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/sports and at the Shortwood United official site.

Thanks to Jim Cunneen at the Shortwood United official site, for swift reply about my query on 2011-12 average home crowd figure for the club (when Shortwood were in the Hellenic League).

Thanks to the FA site, for the [gold-colored] FA 150th Anniversary crest, from a banner at thefa.com.
Thanks to BBC.co.uk/football/fa cup, for the image of the fixtures list on the map page, bbc.com/sport/football/fa-cup/fixtures.
Thanks to the stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk and stokesentinel.co.uk for the several articles I linked to.
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘2013–14 FA Cup‘.

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. Non-League,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. Non-League,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.

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