Day: February 4, 2011

Whitley Bay Go For Promotion

The Northern League, Division One of which is Step 5 in the non-league pyramid, is a bit of a world of its own. Despite its name, it’s really a North East league, which was incorporated into the pyramid only in 1991. Even since then only a handful of teams have ever been promoted from it. They have some great team names – Bedlington Terriers, Jarrow Roofing, Norton and Stockton Ancients and, everyone’s favourite, Billingham Synthonia – but most of these teams have been in the Northern League for years with little thought of integrating into the wider pyramid. The Terriers, for example, won the league five years in a row from 1998 to 2002, but stayed where they were in the Northern League without applying for promotion, and the champions of the last two seasons – Newcastle Benfield and Spennymoor Town – are still there in the league as well. There are a few reasons for this, but traditionally the main problem has been the relative geographical isolation. The next league up, the First Division North of what is currently the Evo-Stik League, consists primarily of teams based along the M62 corridor in Yorkshire, Lancashire and sometimes into Cheshire – the newly reformed Chester are currently top of it – and for a team based in Northumberland there’s a lot of travelling involved. This has impacts beyond the direct...

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Crawley Town: why I am not celebrating

For people who come from other parts of the country, particularly in the Football League-saturated midlands and north-west of England, it might be hard to grasp the peculiar mentality which comes of supporting Brighton and Hove Albion. Their geographical catchment area is the envy of almost any of their rivals you could care to mention, having been the sole League representative for the county of Sussex for over 90 years. This is not to say that football isn’t a big deal in East and West Sussex. Clubs like Lewes and Eastbourne Borough have been flirting with the fifth tier...

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