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July 16, 2020

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

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

2019-20_national-league_aka-conference_map_6-play-off-teams_and-1-promoted-team-barrow-afc_w-2020-attendances_all-time-5th-div-seasons-all-time-football-league-seasons_post_c_.gif
2019-20 National League (England/5th division): Monochrome Location-map w/ final table (by PPG), featuring the automatically promoted club (Barrow AFC) & the 6 play-off teams, with Seasons in 5th division, Seasons in the Football League & Highest Placement, by club



By Bill Turianski on the 16th of July 2020; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

historic-county-of-lancashire_the-18-football-league-clubs_from-lancashire_1921-22_with-historic-counties_pre-1975-borders_h_.gif
Credits above – Map by Bill Turianski, July 2020. Original base map by Nilfanion at File:English metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties 2010.svg (en.wikipedia.org). Data of historic counties’ borders from wikishire.co.uk (an interactive map of the [Historic] counties of the British Isles). Information from Historic counties of England (en.wikipedia.org). Information from 1921-22 Football League (en.wikipedia.org).

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barrow AFC – winner of the 5th division (the 2019-20 National League), and promoted to the Football League’s League Two, for the 2020-21 season
barrow-afc_holker-street_barrow-promoted_to-football-league_june-2020_ian-evatt_john-rooney_scott-quigley_dior-angus_r_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -2019-20 Barrow AFC kits (illustration), from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrow_A.F.C. Barrow Docks and shipbuilding facility, photo by Paul White – UK Industries/Alamay Stock Photo via heritagefund.org.uk. Devonshire Dock Hall with Astute submarine it built, photo from BAE Systems Barrow via in-cumbria.com. 2 photos of Main Stand (Brian Arrowsmith Stand) at Holker Street, 1st photo from facebook.com/[unofficialbarrowafc]; 2nd photo from euro.stades.ch/[Barrow-Holker]. Ray Wilkie Popular Side Stand from the Holker End, photo by Mark Fletcher / MI News & Sports at twitter.com/[@markfletcher50]. Ray Wilkie Popular Side Stand, fully occupied on a cold and rainy night: photo from barrowafc.com. Ian Evatt, photo by Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk/sport. Scott Quigley, photo by Ian Allington at sportfurness.co.uk/[barrow-afc-2019-20-in-pictures]. Dior Angus, photo by Ian Allington at sportfurness.co.uk/[barrow-afc-2019-20-in-pictures]. John Rooney, photo by Rex Features via bbc.com/sport. Barrow fans with banner, photo by Ian Allington at sportfurness.co.uk/[barrow-afc-2019-20-in-pictures].




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

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

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

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

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

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

King’s Lynn Town: 4 promotions in the club’s 11 seasons…
kings-lynn-town-fc_promoted-2020_the-walks_norfolk_ian-culverhouse_adam-marriott_f_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – Aerial shot [satellite image], screenshot from bing.com/maps. Main Stand, photo by Owen Pavey at footballgroundguide.com/king-lynn-town-the-walks.
Ian Culverhouse, photo by Geoff Moore at edp24.co.uk/sport. Adam Marriott, photo by Matthew Usher at edp24.co.uk/sport. Winning goal celebration of King’s Lynn Town, versus York City [18 Jan 2020]: screenshot of video uploaded by King’s Lynn Town TV at youtube.com.




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

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

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

Now Wealdstone, a founding member of the 5th division, will return to the 5th tier after 38 seasons in the 6th and 7th divisions.
wealdstone-fc_promoted-2020_grosvenor-vale_ruislip-nw-london_r-lafayette_d-lewis_d-brennan_d_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – Photo from the 11th of May 1985: 1984-85 Alliance Premier champions Wealdstone celebrating their 1985 FA Trophy win over Boston United (2-1), earning them them first ever non-League Double (5th division title & cup-win): photo unattributed at mylondon.news/sport. Photo of enamel pin of Wealdstone’s historic non-League Double of 1985: from wfcmegastore.co.uk. Aerial shot of Grosvenor Vale: screenshot of satellite image from bing.com/maps. Interior shot of Grosvenor Vale: photo by Ryan at groundhoppingwithryan.blogspot.com/2017/07/wealdstone-fc-grosvenor-vale.
Ross Lafayette, photo by Mont Image Media via harrowtimes.co.uk/sport. Dennon Lewis, photo Mont Image Media via kilburntimes.co.uk/sport. Dean Brennan, photo by Mont Image Media via kilburntimes.co.uk/sport. 8 February 2020, Wealdstone players celebrate a goal, when Wealdstone beat Bilericay Town 3-0 and drew a record crowd of 1,356 at Grosvenor Vale, photo from wealdstone-fc.com.
___
Thanks to all at the links below…
-Football Club History Database, BARROW.
-National League (English football) (en.wikipedia.org).
-2019-20 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.
Attendance figures…
-Non-League Matters.

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