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North or South for 2014-2015 season?

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1 North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Wed Apr 30 2014, 22:42

I appreciate that we probably won't get a great say in where we end up but here's my opinion.

If we'd been promoted,i expect we'd have ended up in Conference North and i'd have looked forward to that.

Having failed in our quest my personal choice would be to stay where we are.

I know there's a strong groundswell of opinion that we should go into the Northern Premier,a "change of scenery" seem's to be a lot of fan's reasoning for this and I can see that argument,I also appreciate it may mean less miles to travel although Workington will still be on the agenda,I'd bet good money on that being a Tuesday night in mid January on our fixture list  Mad 

I'd prefer to have another crack at the Southern Premier if possible.

I think that knowing what you're going to be up against in terms of opposition player's ( to some degree ),style of play,pitch condition's etc,etc is a big advantage and it makes planning squad addition's to deal with the division perhaps a bit easier.

I can see the chairman's eyes lighting up at the thought of visits from Halesowen and FC United BUT in my opinion there are more "big" non league clubs in that division with far bigger budget's than team's in our present league and we'd go from being a "big fish" in our present division to something a lot smaller in the Northern Prem,I think our fan's need to be careful what they wish for.

I feel that with the addition of a proven,quality striker to share the load with Benbow and Brown,a commanding and proven centre half of captain ability ( if Nathan is not coming back ) plus a couple of other addition's then we can win the league next time around.

That said if Poole or whoever else throw's silly money at it then once again we might end up in the play offs.

Looking through the Northern Prem excluding promoted Chorley and the relegated sides,there is some potentially serious non league club's in there AND you also have to factor in a resurgent Halesowen,yes the rivalry is great for attendance figure once a season BUT it's also a potential headache because I can see them pushing for promotion again next season.

I'd also add the fact that as a Northener,I look at a lot of those fixtures and see the same sort of distances as we've travelled in the Southern League and fan's and the club need to understand that travelling up the M6 most day's of the week,especially in an afternoon is hideous,i'd far rather be hitting the M40 and M1 to get to games.

I do hope we don't jump from the frying pan into an even hotter fire!



2. FC United of Manchester
3. AFC Fylde
4. Worksop Town  
5. Ashton United
6. Skelmersdale United
7. Rushall Olympic
8. Blyth Spartans
9. Whitby Town
10. Trafford
11. Kings Lynn Town
12. Matlock Town
13. Buxton
14. Barwell
15. Grantham Town
16. Witton Albion
17. Ilkeston FC
18. Stamford
19. Nantwich Town
20. Marine

Plus Halesowen.

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2 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Wed Apr 30 2014, 23:04

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Personally, I don't see how travelling to places like Workington & Blyth can mean less travelling distance. Yes there might be teams that are more local & nearer like Halesowen, Rushall, Grantham & Barwell, but I would rather stay in this division.

3 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Wed Apr 30 2014, 23:33

Some great trips on that list, but overall I think we'd be way better off in the SLP. Cambridge, Poole and whoever loses next Monday will be there or there abouts again but we have shown we can compete with that.

The Northern would take not only time to acclimatise to the style of play but also there's some very strong teams in there and overall it seems like a much tighter league than in the SLP when the gaps between league places opened up with still a fair chunk of the season to go.

It would be bizarre to be kept apart from Halesowen but I'd personally prefer it.

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4 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Thu May 01 2014, 07:14

stour_boy wrote:The Northern would take not only time to acclimatise to the style of play

Eh? Do they play nine a side with a square ball or something?

I don't get this argument at all. It's the same game with the same rules so why do we need to "acclimatise"?

Frankly, I'd have thought not having to go back to Redditch, Burnham, Weymouth or St Albans would have been incentive enough to switch!

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5 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Thu May 01 2014, 11:39

Dave the Glassboy wrote:
stour_boy wrote:The Northern would take not only time to acclimatise to the style of play

Eh? Do they play nine a side with a square ball or something?

I don't get this argument at all. It's the same game with the same rules so why do we need to "acclimatise"?

Frankly, I'd have thought not having to go back to Redditch, Burnham, Weymouth or St Albans would have been incentive enough to switch!

The general consensus on the Tony Kempster forum seems to be that the Northern is a more direct, hoof it forward to the big man up front, much more physical style of football. Whereas in the Southern it's more relaxed and you get more time on the ball and it's more about nice passing football.

I agree with your list of uninspiring teams/grounds we'd have to visit, but I could add Rushall, Barwell, Marine (who?) and of course The Grove.

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6 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Thu May 01 2014, 12:23

I think if we were moved to the NPL it would take us some time to get used to the football in that league.

From what I understand its more physical and direct which I don't think would suit us. Might even mean we have to do with possibly a place outside of the play offs in our first season where if we stop in the SLP we should at least get a playoff spot.

For me the only positive about moving would be perhaps an increase in attendances for the club.

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7 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Thu May 01 2014, 13:34

How does it work? Is it solely down to the FA to decide which clubs play in which league? Can we request / beg / show our interest to be put in a certain league?

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8 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Thu May 01 2014, 16:23

stour_boy wrote:
Dave the Glassboy wrote:
stour_boy wrote:The Northern would take not only time to acclimatise to the style of play

Eh? Do they play nine a side with a square ball or something?

I don't get this argument at all. It's the same game with the same rules so why do we need to "acclimatise"?

Frankly, I'd have thought not having to go back to Redditch, Burnham, Weymouth or St Albans would have been incentive enough to switch!

The general consensus on the Tony Kempster forum seems to be that the Northern is a more direct, hoof it forward to the big man up front, much more physical style of football. Whereas in the Southern it's more relaxed and you get more time on the ball and it's more about nice passing football.

I agree with your list of uninspiring teams/grounds we'd have to visit, but I could add Rushall, Barwell, Marine (who?) and of course The Grove.


To my earlier list I'm going to add Cirencester and possibly the godforsaken hole that is Merthyr!

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9 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Thu May 01 2014, 16:26

stour_boy wrote: Whereas in the Southern it's more relaxed and you get more time on the ball and it's more about nice passing football.


There's been precious little "nice passing football" in some of the games. I'll have to mention Burnham again, Redditch, Banbury et al.

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10 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Thu May 01 2014, 16:28

PhilC wrote:How does it work?  Is it solely down to the FA to decide which clubs play in which league?  Can we request / beg / show our interest to be put in a certain league?

It's down to the FA at the end of the day. Generally, the 24 northernmost teams go into the NPL, the 24 nearest the south east go into the Ryman and everyone else gets the SL.

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11 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Thu May 01 2014, 16:31

stour_boy wrote:The general consensus on the Tony Kempster forum seems to be that the Northern is a more direct, hoof it forward to the big man up front, much more physical style of football. Whereas in the Southern it's more relaxed and you get more time on the ball and it's more about nice passing football.

The other consensus is that the NPL is generally far better run than the SL and more in tune with what clubs want rather than sticking to "them's the rules because we say so".

I agree with your list of uninspiring teams/grounds we'd have to visit, but I could add Rushall, Barwell, Marine (who?) and of course The Grove.


Marine are based in Crosby, Merseyside and it's actually a decent venue. Three-sided ground as well if anyone can imagine such a thing!  Wink 

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12 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Thu May 01 2014, 17:22

Dave the Glassboy wrote:
stour_boy wrote:The general consensus on the Tony Kempster forum seems to be that the Northern is a more direct, hoof it forward to the big man up front, much more physical style of football. Whereas in the Southern it's more relaxed and you get more time on the ball and it's more about nice passing football.

The other consensus is that the NPL is generally far better run than the SL and more in tune with what clubs want rather than sticking to "them's the rules because we say so".

I agree with your list of uninspiring teams/grounds we'd have to visit, but I could add Rushall, Barwell, Marine (who?) and of course The Grove.


Marine are based in Crosby, Merseyside and it's actually a decent venue. Three-sided ground as well if anyone can imagine such a thing!  Wink 

Oh, I'm not disputing the fact that the NPL is significantly better run than the SL. Certainly they have never displayed the "one rule for one" mentality the SL do.

And I'd love to go to a load of the NPL grounds with Stour.

But purely from the fact that I think the SL is an easier division to get out of given we've been in it for a fair few seasons now, I think we'd be better staying put from a team perspective.

I agree with you though that from a fan's perspective the NPL may be better. Taking out Workington and Blyth (very rough equivalent of Bideford and Truro?) the travelling may be a bit better too.

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13 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Thu May 01 2014, 17:43

Just for info here:

Looking at the travel aspect, the average away journey this season was 117 miles. (Not including Hinckley, which would bring it down to 114).

Based on this season's NPL Premier (which doesn't include the two extremes of Halesowen and Workington obviously) the average journey would have been 91 miles.

Take out Redditch and our local derby in the SLP is Banbury. Next closest then are Corby, Bedford and St Neots, the latter of which is over 95 miles away.

Our five most local teams in this season's NPL would have been Rushall, Stafford, Barwell, Nantwich and Matlock, all within 60 miles or so.

This year's SLP gave us 16 away games of over 100 miles. This year's NPLP would have given us just 7.

I'd suggest that switching over would drastically reduce our travelling time abd costs, even with the addition of Workington.



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14 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Thu May 01 2014, 18:28

Jack

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North please. Halesowen and FCUM does it for me. Also, people saying that we would need to adjust because it being unknown. 2 point 1) Our record against Northern teams is simply excellent 2) They won't have a clue about us either...

Less travelling is also a benefit. Would be really good if we started running supporters coaches to most if not every game? Surely its time the old Supporters Club argument got brought up again?

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15 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Thu May 01 2014, 18:42

Amidst all this speculation and theorising, what are the chances of it actually coming to pass...?

Here's a rundown of how I see it panning out, barring any more clubs at this level or above going pop. I've put a geographical description for those clubs some might not be able to place easily...

Clubs that played in the NPL Premier Division in 2013/14, did not finish in a promotion, play-off or relegation position, and which we can say with reasonable certainty will be in the NPL Premier Division next season:

1. Skelmersdale United (just off the M6 north of Wigan)
2. Rushall Olympic
3. Blyth Spartans
4. Whitby Town
5. Trafford (South Manchester)
6. Matlock Town
7. Buxton
8. Barwell
9. Grantham Town
10. Witton Albion (the "other" club in Northwich)
11. Ilkeston
12. Stamford
13. Nantwich Town (near Crewe)
14. Marine (in Bootle, north Liverpool)

Play-off losers:

15. FC United of Manchester
16. Worksop Town
17. AFC Fylde (between Preston and Blackpool) or Ashton United (east Manchester, not far from Droylsden)

Reprieved from relegation due to Vauxhall Motors dropping straight through Step 3 from Conf North:

18. Frickley Athletic (Wakefield/Doncaster sort of area)

Relegated from Conf North:

19. Workington

Promoted from NPL 1 North as Champions:

20. Curzon Ashton

Promoted from NPL 1 North as play-off winners:

21. Bamber Bridge (just south of Preston) or Ramsbottom United (just north of Bury)

Promoted from NPL 1 South as play-off winners:

22. Belper Town (north of Derby) or Mickleover Sports

That leaves two places. One would ordinarily be filled by Halesowen Town as champions of NPL 1 South, and the other by Kings Lynn Town who I have left out of the list of clubs neither promoted nor relegated from this season's make-up but are a little bit out on a limb from the rest of the Division.

The FA could quite easily decide to do it that way and have nobody move sideways. However, if I was a betting man, I would think it far more likely that they would put us in the NPL and move Kings Lynn to, possibly the Isthmian League, which has swallowed up a number of northern East Anglian clubs (Lowestoft Town, Leiston, Bury Town, Needham Market, Dereham Town, Soham Town Rangers and Wroxham) in the last few seasons. If they do that then there must be a good chance of them moving Cambridge City and Histon to the Isthmian League as well.

That would leave the SL short of two or three clubs but that could be sorted by switching Hendon & Harrow Borough from the Isthmian League to the SL.

To me that looks like the most sensible option, but we shall see whether the FA decides that way.

As for a few of the other questions raised...

Do we get any say?

I don't know whether the FA canvass opinion from clubs being considered for a switch. If not then they should do - a solution might present itself that everybody is happy with. In any case, even if the FA don't ask for views, there's nothing stopping any club emailing the FA to give them!

Do we want it?

I haven't discussed it with Andy or Gary so I can't comment on their view. I hope Andy would back whatever Gary wanted.

Standard of play?

Hard to comment but I suspect this theory of northern brutes "lumping it" and clattering you left right and centre is an out-of-date myth. I certainly haven't seen that from any of the northern teams we've played over the last few seasons whatever level they've played at, at least no more so than from any southern clubs.

Quality of clubs and difficulty of getting out of the NPL?

Either League will be hard, given that only one goes up automatically. You're always at the mercy of one club blowing the rest out of the water if they "go for it". I can see FCUM being runaway winners next season. They will be on their new ground all being well, which will mean they will be able to create income and they won't be paying rent to Bury.

Besides FCUM, AFC Fylde have some backing, so let's hope they win the play-off final on Monday! Other than those two, I don't see any thing there to have us quaking in our boots.

On the other hand, the SL will have Poole, St Neots (reputed to be splashing the cash), one of Chesham/St Albans, Cambridge, Hungerford and I can see both Merthyr and Kettering (if they come up) being up there too. I appreciate the SL is the Devil We Know, but it will be every competitive next season. I think there are more clubs capable of speculatively pushing the boat out in the SL than the NPL.

Other points

I've heard many people say the NPL is generally better run and more "club friendly." Enough to make me feel it's got some basis in truth.

The travelling will be slightly less onerous (opinion, perhaps) and the beer and pies will be cheaper, which should be enough to swing it for some!

I'd look forward to a few new grounds, but I'd miss some old friends in the SL too. Other then Grantham there's nowhere I wouldn't be keen to go either again or for the first time.

Ultimately, happy if we stay, happy if we go.

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16 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Thu May 01 2014, 22:34

Nice one Rich,as usual a very informative and insightful resume of the situation.

I think we need to be careful what we're wishing for in regards to this supposed "panacea" of moving northwards.

Regardless of the opposition quality, people at the club including management need to understand just how hideous some of those journey's are going to be,especially in winter.

For those who haven't realised it the weather is generally a fair bit colder up that way and wetter,as a Harrogate boy i know this only too well.

I just feel we might rue the day we ended up in that division if it comes to pass.

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17 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Thu May 01 2014, 23:23

Fair point about Grantham. Almost as bleak and miserable as Merthyr.

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18 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Fri May 02 2014, 00:07

Dave the Glassboy wrote:Fair point about Grantham. Almost as bleak and miserable as Merthyr.

Hard to believe.

In Merthyr they don't bury the dead they stand them up in the bush shelters to make the place look busy!

Interesting how so many people up there in the valley are married to their own sister.

"Theres nice boyo"

Merthyr,the town where men are men and the sheep are nervous,i must remember to pack my wellie boots to ensure decent "purchase" on the soft ground when i find an attractive sheep  cyclops 

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19 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Fri May 02 2014, 06:58

Dave the Glassboy wrote:Fair point about Grantham. Almost as bleak and miserable as Merthyr.

Far more bleak to me. Horrible place and people. I'll be begging Mrs TRM to find me some chores to do that weekend!

If I get time I might try to do a rundown of the clubs, grounds and teams in that Division - the ones I've been to and some guesswork and things I've heard about the ones I haven't.

Of the 26 (including Halesowen and all the play-off finalists) that I think we would be lumped with if we went that way, I've seen us play at 10, and been to 6 of the others. That's more than I would have thought!

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20 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Fri May 02 2014, 07:25

The other thing about the NPL, if you're into that sort of thing, is it's far better for weekends away with the other half. The Lake District (Workington), the Peak District (Matlock, Buxton), the North Yorkshire Moors (Whitby)...

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21 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Fri May 02 2014, 08:52

TRM wrote:The other thing about the NPL, if you're into that sort of thing, is it's far better for weekends away with the other half. The Lake District (Workington), the Peak District (Matlock, Buxton), the North Yorkshire Moors (Whitby)...

Not if they prefer Cornwall (Truro), Devon (Bideford) and the South Coast (several visits)  Very Happy 

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22 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Fri May 02 2014, 18:16


I think a change to the north is quite likely and would bring less traveling and more away support in some games, hence bigger gates. I think the league would be more competitive than the southern, so would be a different challenge, you always think it's more physical up there but of the teams i've seen there's decent footballing sides around. Entry to the league cup is still compulsory in that league! (this season at least).

The powers that be could always stick Halesowen back in the southern (happened with Barwell when they won NPL1 South) but unlikely.

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23 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Fri May 02 2014, 20:01

Merthyr was always bleak! You could feel depressed as you went to the ground! Did we ever win there? We took a heavy defeat,first time there back in the SL and Gary apologised after the match! Never been to Grantham ground but spent some enjoyable weeks there while in TA!! Had some good fun playing footy in the gym.

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24 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Sat May 03 2014, 20:38

With all the play-offs in the NPL completed today, the final make up (if we are in it) should look like this, with the teams ordered roughly furthest north first...

1. Blyth Spartans
2. Workington
3. Whitby Town
4. Ramsbottom United
5. Skelmersdale United
6. Frickley Athletic
7. Ashton United
8. Curzon Ashton
9. FC United of Manchester
10. Marine
11. Trafford
12. Worksop Town
13. Buxton
14. Witton Albion
15. Matlock Town
16. Nantwich Town
17. Ilkeston
18. Grantham Town
19. Belper Town
20. Stamford
21. Barwell
22. Rushall Olympic
23. Halesowen Town
24. Stourbridge

Probably good news that Fylde got promoted as they have "clout." I'm sure there are some strong solid teams in there but no more so than we would be likely to face in the SL next season.

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25 Re: North or South for 2014-2015 season? on Sat May 03 2014, 21:16

TRM wrote:With all the play-offs in the NPL completed today, the final make up (if we are in it) should look like this, with the teams ordered roughly furthest north first...

1. Blyth Spartans
2. Workington
3. Whitby Town
4. Ramsbottom United
5. Skelmersdale United
6. Frickley Athletic
7. Ashton United
8. Curzon Ashton
9. FC United of Manchester
10. Marine
11. Trafford
12. Worksop Town
13. Buxton
14. Witton Albion
15. Matlock Town
16. Nantwich Town
17. Ilkeston
18. Grantham Town
19. Belper Town
20. Stamford
21. Barwell
22. Rushall Olympic
23. Halesowen Town
24. Stourbridge

Probably good news that Fylde got promoted as they have "clout." I'm sure there are some strong solid teams in there but no more so than we would be likely to face in the SL next season.


I hope that list isn't prophetic.

The only good news is that I couldn't have hand picked three other teams i'd rather get relegated with!

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