North or South?

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Post by LB on Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:09 pm

It rare for me to agree with an accountant(!) but the comments by Rob Branch in yesterdays programme about whether City should consider a move to Conference North for next season tied in with thoughts I have been having recently.

Depending on how various promotions and relegations pan out we could find ourselves with 6 trips to Kent next season: Ebbsfleet, Bromley and Dover, Tonbridge (if they stay up), Dartford (who look likely to be relegated from Conference Premier) and Maidstone (who are likely to be in the Ryman playoffs). The two teams coming up from the Southern League are likely to be based in the London area - Hemel Hempstead have the championship sealed, and Chesham only just missed out on the play-offs last season). We will also of course still have trips to Eastbourne, Chelmsford and Canvey Island.

With the demise of Dorchester, Weston are the only other local team, and by my reckoning the next nearest are Basingstoke and Farnborough. Against that background, the North looks quite attractive. (We are almost reaching a point where there needs to be Conference East and West rather than North and South).

As Rob Branch said in his article, a move to North would give us a local derby with Gloucester; it would also mean we could resume meetings with Worcester, and hopefully also play Oxford City, unless they manage to get back South.

Looking at the current Conference North table there are a number of teams in the midlands who would be fairly easy to get to - Leamington, Solihull and Hednesford, and it looks like Tamworth will be joining them - and the likes of Stalybridge and Altrincham aren't too bad either. Fortunately Workington are dropping out.

The more difficult places to get to are to Gainsborough and our old friends Boston, and Harrogate and Bradford, but hopefully games against them could be arranged for early or late in the season, and not on cup dates, so that they are unlikely to be postponed and mean midweek trips. Having said that. we are talking about fixture planners who sent us to Barrow on a Tuesday!

I would be interested to hear what others think, especially the fans who travel away regularly who might fancy a change from fortnightly trips up the M4.

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Post by Paul1978 on Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:23 pm

stay in the south. our players know this league now and with the squad we got, could be real title contenders next season. its a bit gritty Dorchester are going down and glouc worcs are in the north but if we go in the north we wont know anything about any of the teams and would be going into matches with no knowledge of most teams. stay in south.
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Post by Corstonian on Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:54 pm

I think the best solution may be the one you suggested - split the country east-west rather than north-south. Take a point on the M25 at its westerly limit (or thereabouts) and draw a vertical line on the map. I think that would reduce our travelling but whether we would encounter tougher competition is a difficult question - you'd certainly expect the Greater Manchester clubs like Altrincham, Hyde and Stockport to have some decent players with so many league clubs nearby, and therefore so many guys who don't quite make the grade available to them.

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Post by BenE on Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:17 am

Personally I think there should be three divisions with fewer teams. There should be no midweek games for players that are part time.
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Post by comrade powell on Mon Apr 07, 2014 11:35 am

LB wrote:
I would be interested to hear what others think, especially the fans who travel away regularly who might fancy a change from fortnightly trips up the M4.

it's all about the novelty of visiting new places. it is always difficult to sell trips to the likes of borehamwood, whitehawk and chelmsford for anyone who has been previously! despite that, most of the destinations are easy to reach because of the motorways, but that would be the case if we moved north. yes, the M25 can be a pain, but we were often held up around Birmingham when going north. one group who would presumably be affected are those who travel by train. an excellent service to london and beyond makes the saturday trips very attractive for a day out - the majority of the northern towns we'd be visiting would not be so easy.

i used to think that a big problem would be attracting players prepared to travel north. but griffin, preece, cook (!), hoggy and coupey have presumably been happy to do it.

what's the industry like up north?  Laughing
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Post by yuffie on Mon Apr 07, 2014 11:51 am

i would certainly like a move to the north but only because it would mean more new grounds

at the moment it looks like the new ones in the south next year will be two of hereford, aldershot and dartford, two from the ryman league (unless bognor win the play-offs) and possibly stourbridge or hungerford from the southern league (assuming poole still play at the same place)

at least half the conference north would be new and i imagine this would be the case for a lot of supporters

i don't imagine it would have a great effect on away support as local-wise gloucester/worcester would bring more than weston and the likes of boston/stockport/tamworth/telford would probably have better support than any current south teams

having said all that i don't imagine for one second we'd get switched


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Post by kentish tim on Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:07 pm

For totally selfish reasons, North from next year would be great. We're due to move to Lincolnshire in May and Gainsborough become my local team Smile ... never happen though, would it?

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Post by Manchester Romans on Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:20 pm

North, obviously! (Although I think the quality of the teams in the north is generally a bit higher, so the South probably represents our best chance of getting back up in the Premier)

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Post by comrade powell on Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:59 pm

one attraction would be to thrash boston again, preferably at TP with heavy snow imminent...  Wink
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Post by kermit on Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:17 pm

I must get my video player working again. "The Boston Stranglers - Bath City v Boston United - 20th April 1999"
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Post by Beau Nash on Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:35 pm

BenE wrote:Personally I think there should be three divisions with fewer teams. There should be no midweek games for players that are part time.

I have been thinking this for a long time. Sixteen per division would mean the two existing divisions plus four "new" clubs AND to add even more spice a knock out cup, perhaps in groups of four local clubs for the first round so that the total number of games would be at least thirty six.

Local derbies are badly needed to generate 1000+ attendances and with playing local clubs four times...  Idea

Have there ever been any ideas from the suits in charge of Conference football...  Question 
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Post by Matt_1376 on Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:54 pm

Well, it would mean I get to more games if City move to Conf North!

Stockport and even Colwyn Bay are easy for me to get to, as are Bradford PA, Harrogate and even Solihull Moors.

It's a pity that Vauxhall Motors are quitting Conf North at the end of the season though because that's ridiculously easy for me to get to - and some people might even like the industry around there. Wink 

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/vauxhall-motors-quit-conference-north-6772689

And Chester and Southport look like they could avoid relegation to Conf North which is a shame - not that I miss Southports "drum", but I've always wanted to see Bath City play Chester, preferably in Chester, because I'm sure some people would like the excellent pubs in Chester such as the Brewery Tap and the Bear & Billet!  Very Happy
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Post by Roman Mike on Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:27 pm

Have I read this correctly? Can you really apply or is it predetermined? What is the criteria for applying? Can't seeing Truro swinging it any time soon.
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Post by tigerroar on Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:39 pm

Come and join us, come and join us, come and join us over here Smile

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Post by Marc Monitor on Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:32 pm

Am I right in thinking that Hereford would go in the North should they come down? That would be a shame.
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Post by Ashley on Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:46 pm

I'd be very surprised if not.

Hopefully Oxford will get moved over as that'd be a good day out.
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Post by Luton Roman on Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:55 pm

With 3 of the 4 Prem likely to go North, hopefully that means Hemel will go South. Nice and local for me.

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Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:36 pm

We have this question every year, then I post this map, then everyone forgets all about it come this time next season. It's as certain as the boat race or the tides of the sea.

Until such a time as the numbers dictate otherwise, the teams in the pink counties will always play in the North, while the teams in yellow counties will always play in the South. Somerset is still a yellow county, and as such we won't be going North.

It's only teams from the counties in that lilac stripe across the country that have any North/South mobility, so they'll be the ones that Strudwick juggles with come the AGM cup.

See how many clubs you can pick in the regional Conference division in the lilac band, then you'll be able to work out who we're most likely to be playing next year...

Click here for the map

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Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:40 pm

Although... looking at that map, some of the counties to the North of London appear to have evaded the lilac...

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Post by Luton Roman on Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:56 pm

Here is a projection of Conf South next season from a non league forum(assuming 2nd placed teams win play offs):

Basingstoke Town ConfSouth
Bath City ConfSouth
Bishop's Stortford ConfSouth
Bognor Regis Town ILP
Boreham Wood ConfSouth
Bromley ConfSouth
Chelmsford City ConfSouth
Chesham United SLP
Concord Rangers ConfSouth
Dartford ConfNat
Dover Athletic ConfSouth
Eastbourne Borough ConfSouth
Ebbsfleet United ConfSouth
Farnborough ConfSouth
Gosport Borough ConfSouth
Havant & Waterlooville ConfSouth
Hayes & Yeading United ConfSouth
Hemel Hempstead Town SLP
Staines Town ConfSouth
Wealdstone ILP
Weston-super-Mare ConfSouth
Whitehawk ConfSouth

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Post by Marc Monitor on Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:42 pm

Roy D Hacksaw wrote:We have this question every year, then I post this map, then everyone forgets all about it come this time next season. It's as certain as the boat race or the tides of the sea.

Until such a time as the numbers dictate otherwise, the teams in the pink counties will always play in the North, while the teams in yellow counties will always play in the South. Somerset is still a yellow county, and as such we won't be going North.

It's only teams from the counties in that lilac stripe across the country that have any North/South mobility, so they'll be the ones that Strudwick juggles with come the AGM cup.

See how many clubs you can pick in the regional Conference division in the lilac band, then you'll be able to work out who we're most likely to be playing next year...

Click here for the map

For those of us that are cartographically challenged, what are the lilac counties?
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Post by BenE on Fri Apr 25, 2014 8:43 am

no man's land - there be monsters
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Post by striped67 on Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:22 am

Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk. And what looks like a random line across South Wales.
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Post by striped67 on Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:22 pm

Roy D Hacksaw wrote:Although... looking at that map, some of the counties to the North of London appear to have evaded the lilac...

It does throw up some nice anomalies. It means that Hemel Hempstead are safely in the South as they are in Herts, whereas Chesham are at risk of going North as they are in Bucks, despite Hemel being further north than Chesham geographically.
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Post by comrade powell on Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:54 pm

amongst some fascinating stats given to me by a famous member of this forum, are the following distances for return journeys made by City this season, compared with what we would have faced had we replaced North Ferriby (I don't know why he chose them, but I wouldn't fancy going there!)

Conference south 2013/14
miles

Eastleigh 128
Sutton United 240
Bromley 250
Ebbsfleet 304
Dover Athletic 384
Havant & Waterlooville 170
Bath City
Staines Town 205
Concord Rangers 306
Gosport Borough 164
Eastbourne Borough 350
Weston-Super-Mare 66
Bishop’s Stortford 316
Boreham Wood 246
Farnborough 180
Basingstoke Town 144
Hayes and Yeading United 206
Whitehawk 252
Chelmsford City 326
Maidenhead United 180
Tonbridge Angels 288
Dorchester Town 120

total  4,825 miles - average 230


Conference North with Bath City replacing North Ferriby United
miles

Bath City
Hednesford 234
Telford United 232
Altrincham 340
Guisley 460
Boston United 430
Brackley Town 182
Solihull Moors 208
Harrogate 470
Bradford Park Avenue 446
Colwyn Bay 420
Barrow 540
Leamington 228
Worcester City 150
Stockport County 360
Vauxhall Motors 410
Gloucester City 80
Gainsborough Trinity 406
Oxford City 142
Stalybridge Celtic 378
Histon 340
Workington 610

total  7,066 miles - average 336

So as far as away matches are concerned, we would be looking at an average of at least a couple of hour's travelling time on average. For home matches, I really doubt that most of those listed (if not all) would attract higher attendances to TP than our present opponents, although I see Conf North average attendances are almost 200 higher than our league's.
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