On Saturday the FA Leagues Committee announced the makeup of the leagues comprising steps 1-6 of the non-league pyramid for next season.
In another reshuffle, the Evo-Stik Division 1 (step 4) format has been changed from the straightforward East/West division last season to North West/South East divisions. As ever with reshuffles, there's winners and losers in respect of the amount of travelling to be done, but looking at the teams in each the definition is somewhat intriguing.
NCEL Premier Division champions Worksop Town have been promoted to the South East Division. Coming in the opposite direction are AFC Mansfield after one season in the East Division. On the field, The Bulls had done enough to stay up, but required improvements to the Forest Town Arena (notable for its cycle racetrack encircling the pitch) had not been completed in time for the March 31st deadline, resulting in demotion back to the NCEL.
Basement side Hall Road Rangers and second-from bottom Harrogate Railway have both been relegated to Division 1. In the case of the latter, its a loss of a well-attended and generally well-contested local derby, but hopefully relegation can spur a change of fortunes at Station View after a tough few years.
Only one side have been promoted from Division 1 this year, this being champions Grimsby Borough. There's been one previous game between ourselves and The Wilderness Boys in the league cup back in August 2016 and we've previously visited the snappily-titled Bradley Football Development Centre to play former ground-sharers Cleethorpes Town, but next season's league meetings will be the first.
A surprise comes in the form of Silsden, who've been laterally transferred from the North West Counties League Premier Division. Despite playing in the West Riding County Amateur League, on promotion in 2003 The Cobbydalers opted for the NWCFL football due to shorter travelling distances, and have remained there since. Previous meetings have all been in cup competitions, the most recent in December 2014.
All of the above is subject to ratification at the NCEL AGM in Harrogate on June 15th, where the league cup draw is likely to be made. The draws for the FA Cup, Vase and Youth Cup can normally be expected in early July.
Something we're likely to hear a lot about next season is the introduction of sin-bins for dissent, which you can read about here.
The full line-up for next season's NCEL divisions can be found here, whilst that for Steps 1-4 can be viewed here.
Meanwhile, enjoy the summer and see you all in August!
Updated 11:53 - 20 May 2019 by Andrew Marsh