The Domino Effect

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The Domino Effect

Post  White Flag Martyrs on Sat Aug 16, 2014 1:43 pm

By Phil Yelland, from the Barrow v Gainsborough Trinity programme

It's been a strange summer in the non-League game when you might just ask when is relegation, not relegation and when is being
placed in a League not actually the League you are going to play in.

It is actually a long story that began before the end of the season. In Conference North, as we all know, Vauxhall Motors resigned
on the grounds of the continuing costs of competing at this level and have joined the West Cheshire League.

That meant only two relegation places from Conference North although Hayes & Yeading, our old Conference colleagues, who finished
third bottom of Conference South, argued that they should be reprieved because they had a better record than Oxford City, who
finished third bottom of Conference North. They appealed to the FA who rejected the appeal and placed them in the Calor Southern
League. More of them later.

Before or at the end of the season, two clubs from the Evo-Stik First Division North resigned - Wakefield and Cammell Laird. The
Yorkshire side had decided to resign, and they would have been relegated in any event, because of the costs of sustaining the club
at that level. Some of you may not be aware but Wakefield were originally Emley who left the Yorkshire village to move to a bigger
centre to attract more fans and finance. It simply didn't work.

They have ground-shared at both Wakefield Trinity RLFC and Wakefield RUFC without success. Now with their return to the Northern
Counties East League Premier Division, they were to ground-share with their successors, AFC Emley, at the Welfare Ground in the West
Yorkshire village!

However, having been elected to the League and agreed the ground-share, the club was liquidated leaving the League one team short
and AFC Emley without vital income for the coming season, Cammell Laird resigned over club management issues and they will play this
coming season back in the North West Counties First Division.

Their resignation saved Ossett Albion from relegation, which disappointed Northern League runners-up Celtic Nation because they had
hoped to win promotion. Around this point, the FA allocated clubs for next season and that included in the Midlands or slightly
south of that, Corby Town shifting from the Calor Southern League Premier Division to Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier
Division, and Halesowen Town, the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South champions, joining the Calor Southern League
Premier Division. Histon, relegated from Conference North, were also allocated to the Calor Southern League Premier Division. All
sorted? No!

The reason was the decision of Worksop Town, of the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division, to resign membership of the League because their
owner had decided to withdraw his financial backing. The League accepted the resignation and rejected an attempt to withdraw the
resignation some 48 hours later.

There were inevitably winners and losers. In the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division, Frickley Athletic, who had finished fourth-bottom,
had already been reprieved as a result of Vauxhall not dropping down and having the best record of teams finishing fourth bottom of
the League at that step in the Pyramid. Also celebrating were Kidsgrove Athletic who survived in the Evo-Stik NPL First Division

However that was not the end of it because in the Premier Division there were further changes. Corby Town returned to the Calor
Southern League Premier Division, whilst Halesowen Town were moved back to the Evo-Stik League in the Premier Division and joined by
Stourbridge, of the Calor Southern League Premier Division.

Then we move to the Conference and the case of Hereford United.

Much has been written about the saga but the bottom line is that the Bulls failed to meet a series of deadlines set by the
Conference in relation to financial and ownership matters and were not relegated but expelled. That meant a reprieve for Chester and
some would argue there was some justice in that as Chester had only been relegated having conceded a late equaliser on the final day
of the season and Hereford survived courtesy of a very late winner at Aldershot. The question was around who would take Chester's
place in Conference North and this is where the continuing problem of the current Pyramid structure arises.

As long as there are two Leagues based south of the M6 in the Midlands feeding into the Conference, it is almost inevitable that the
boundary line of Conference North will move south. With Oxford City and Brackley Town already in the North Division it seemed that
the most likely candidates to join the League were Calor Southern League Premier Division champions, Hemel Hempstead Town. However,
it was decided that the club to join Conference North would be Lowestoft Town - certainly further north, but considerably further

Within days, Salisbury City, who had been struggling financially, were relegated to Conference South as a result of financial issues
and the tale of the Moroccan businessman who bought them for a GBP1 and was not who he seemed to be. Of course it is only four years
since City were relegated back to the Calor Southern League for financial issues.

This meant a reprieve in the Premier Division for Dartford who had already been planning and signing players for Conference South.

That brings us neatly back to Hayes & Yeading who, as a result of the Hereford United saga, have been reinstated in Conference
South, whilst Hereford United in some form or other, having provided guarantees, will play in the Calor Southern League Premier
Division - the League they left in 1972 to join the Football League for the first time - at our expense!

And what of Worksop Town? Well they reformed within days, in effect. They will be playing in the Toolstation Northern Counties East
League Premier Division this season in place of Nottinghamshire neighbours Basford United, who have been moved to the Midland

Are you still with me?

White Flag Martyrs

Posts : 698
Join date : 2010-12-21

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