The Blue Square South Bottleneck

Ian

Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

You may also like...

14 Responses

  1. David Howell says:

    I wonder what the easiest three-way divide at this level of the pyramid would be… maybe the change to Conference North/South wasn’t the best idea in retrospect?

    (That said, I personally advocate regionalisation at a higher level than tier 6 of the football pyramid… might a window of opportunity for this arise with an energy company soon to be sponsoring the Football League, and hence able to exploit a reorganisation – npower Championship, npower League North and npower League South? – as a green measure?)

  2. @David: Leeds United would not want to play Accrington, Morecambe and Burton. Similarly, Crystal Palace do not want to be playing Dagenham, Barnet and Aldershot.

  3. Although there’s no easy work around, and as you say whatever happens someone will complain, perhaps the solution is to have a three-way regional split and smaller divisions (so Conf North, Conf Midlands, and Conf South, each of 18 or 22 clubs). This could then lead to an imaginative solution for the end-of-season promotion situation, with say the champions of each division promoted to the Conf Premier, with the remaining promotion place determined by cross-regional play-offs. I’ve no idea of the feasibility, or even desirability, of this solution, but it’s certain that something has to change at step 6 before many more clubs go to the wall.

  4. Stuart Fuller says:

    We at http://theballisround.co.uk have been following this for a few weeks. The whole north south divide this year has been problematic with Dorchester, Weston-super-Mare, Newport and Weymouth in the division, meaning some huge journeys for the likes of Dover.

    We have always advocated a complete re-organisation of the league structure and having 5 x leagues of 20 teams (Prem, Championship, Div 1, 2 and 3) and then having 3 regional leagues of 20 – same number of teams.

    The situation of having Gloucester in Blue Square North yet 30 miles up the road Worcester in Blue Square South is a farce.

    Surely the only logical solution next year is to have more teams in the BSS than BSN for a season.

  5. Sussex Harrier says:

    You state Gateshead have to win against Wimbledon to stand any chance of staying up, but surely a draw would be good enough if Eastbourne lose and Ebbsfleet fail to win?

  6. ejh says:

    Eastbourne may be unlikely to lose seeing a Oxford appear to be putting out the reserves.

    I personally advocate regionalisation at a higher level than tier 6 of the football pyramid

    This strikes me as very wrong-headed. Regionalised divisions don’t have nearly the same appeal to fans as national divisions. Nothing has done more to promote non-league fotball in the public mind than the introduction of the Coference all those years ago (indeed, I often argue that the Conference, not the Premier League, is the real success story of English football). What might be gained in reduced travel costs would be lost many times over in reduced attendances. How many people* watch the regionalised third tier in Spanish football? Far fewer than watch its nationwide counterpart in England.

    I think regionalism goes along with semi-professionalism. If a club can support a professional playing staff, it cando so in a national division. Conversely, if it can’t manage the travel costs, then it needs to be part-time because it won’t attract enough supporters to do anything else.

    [* an exception can be made for Oviedo, who pack in enough support for more than half-a-dozen other clubs]

  7. chelmsford toffee says:

    if u were to have 3 divisions of 18, this would free up space at the end of the season for play offs involving all 3 divisions. maybe only have 2nd-4th place in each division in a play off. say 3rd could play 4th to determine who would play 2nd.
    the only problem is it would leave 3 play off winners and i dont think there is time to then play a further round robin format involving these. what are people thoughts on deciding the 4th promotion place

  8. Bobbles says:

    I love this idea from Mike Avery. Regionalisation from League 1 down. Might alleviate many financial problems, with the cost of fuel at the moment.

    http://www.mikeavery.co.uk/FootballLeagueRestructure.htm

  9. Martin says:

    The South, mostly the south-east, has the most temporary ego-trip boom and bust clubs and this is the net result, that’s all.

  10. Martin says:

    “Although there’s no easy work around, and as you say whatever happens someone will complain, perhaps the solution is to have a three-way regional split and smaller divisions (so Conf North, Conf Midlands, and Conf South, each of 18 or 22 clubs). This could then lead to an imaginative solution for the end-of-season promotion situation, with say the champions of each division promoted to the Conf Premier, with the remaining promotion place determined by cross-regional play-offs. I’ve no idea of the feasibility, or even desirability, of this solution, but it’s certain that something has to change at step 6 before many more clubs go to the wall.”

    You mean a bit like things were six years ago then?…

    People have got carried away with change; I blame the election.

  11. Martin says:

    “The situation of having Gloucester in Blue Square North yet 30 miles up the road Worcester in Blue Square South is a farce.”

    There has got to be a dividing line somewhere and the Midlands would make most sense…

    “Surely the only logical solution next year is to have more teams in the BSS than BSN for a season.”

    You mean like this season once King’s Lynn folded?

  12. Martin says:

    ejh, I’m not sure how relevant your comparison with Spanish regional football is as our countries are so different, in geographical, political and football terms.

    I think we the only country in the world to have over 100 professional football clubs and that figures only looks like increasing.

    Whilst the Conference has eased the transition for ambitious clubs from non-league into the League, it has been a double-edged sword littered with countless financial disasters and frauds over the last two decades.

  13. D says:

    How about doing a East and West? actually that probably wouldnt work either, as it would hardly stop the long travel distance for teams… I guess a 3 way split woudl eb best
    BlueSquare North / Midlands / South?

  1. April 28, 2010

    […] geography is awkward too. Another columnist on this site wrote recently of the problems caused in the Conference South in England by the geographic imbalances in the […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>