Tag: Workington

The Twohundredpercent Pre-Season Predictions: Conference North

Last year was pretty clear cut in the Conference North, Alfreton were pretty much definitely going up despite having a ridiculous backlog of games, the play-off places were fairly clear early on and Redditch were dropping like a stone from around February time, but this season it looks set to be a bit closer at both ends of the table and closer still in the middle. Along with relegated Altrincham and Histon there are the promoted pair of Colwyn Bay and FC Halifax, and the 22nd most northern team at Step 2 – Bishop’s Stortford, shifted over the north/south divide in the fall-out from Rushden and Diamonds’ demise. Bishop’s Stortford, like Histon and like Worcester before them will soon wise up to the difference between the two Step 2 leagues (Gloucester have only ever known the Northern side of the imaginary moving line which hovers over the Conference’s map). PROMOTION CONTENDERS It would be hard to bet against  FC Halifax Town being somewhere near the top of the table, The new boys have bulldozered their way back up the table and boast hot-shot striker Jamie Vardy as one of their key assets and laughed off an offer from Stockport to take him of their hands for a rumoured £50,000. Manager Neil Aspin has made a few key signings and if the Shaymen are as good as all their fans claim...

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The (Conference) North/ South Conundrum

When is Worcester further south than Gloucester? When did Bishops Stortford become a northern town? How is it right for a part-time football team to travel 8,000 miles a season? Welcome to a geography lesson, Conference style. The outpouring of angst over Bishops Stortford being shifted from the Blue Square North from the South has been so great it has almost overshadowed the other news from the Conference AGM, the bit about Rushden and Diamonds being expelled. The Hertfordshire-based club are now appealing being swapped from one Step 2 league to the other, or to use the words of the Conferences bigwigs “transferred from Conference South to Conference North on a geographical basis,” just weeks before pre-season. Obviously the town has not been uprooted and shifted up towards Sheffield, but Bishops Stortford is officially in the north now, subject to the club’s appeal. If they win the appeal or decide to resign from the league – the two options currently on the table – a number of things could happen, Stafford might be reprieved or it could be Lewes or maybe the Conference North will run with fewer teams, its not especially clear and as we shall see, clarity and common sense doesn’t really seem to come into it at any point. And aside from the shock and anger from the club ,the Bishops Stortford situation has once again...

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The Ex Files

Well done Accrington Stanley, for dumping Nottingham Forest out of the League Cup last night. A little bit of digging and delving has established that the first round of this year’s competition is one-legged, so a place in the second round and a possible tie against Tottenham’s reserves (an eminently winnable tie, given Spurs’ recent cup form) could well await. The recent kerfuffle about Stanley’s return to the league has, over the last few weeks, set me thinking about those teams that we have loved and lost. The introduction of promotion and relegation between the Conference and the League was, of course, utterly justified. Too many lower division clubs had been treading water for too long, and non-league football had, of it’s own accord, got it’s house in order and created a national league. There are now twenty fully professional non-league teams, which makes a mockery of the big clubs’ belief that the world is only interested in them, and this has come about because mobility is not merely limited, as it was as recently as 1986, to the top of the “fifth division”. Prior to this, though, it was somewhat more difficult to get into the League. For years, the Football League had effectively run itself as a cartel, and the cartel was called “Re-Election”. It was something of a sop to the upward ambitions of non-league clubs....

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