The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by NCJesster on Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:38 pm

I have to agree with you with that. Trust me, I am trying to figure out how to get over for a match! But being a school teacher I can only come over in the summer so it will be tough to get there. I am planning on coming over in the summer of 2018 though.
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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:43 pm

Ooh, when are your summer holidays? Our season is Generally early August to late April. You might be able to catch a pre-season friendly though.

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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by NCJesster on Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:06 pm

We are on summer holidays from mid-June to mid-August. So my wife and I are planning on coming over in late July until early August so we can try to catch a match. I am hoping the friendly schedule is out when we start finalizing the dates. Either way we are planning on coming to Bath and a visit to Twerton is a must! Bob has told me he will give us a tour even if there is no match scheduled. I cant wait. My daughter is trying to make me a banner/flag to put in my man cave.

Sorry, kind of hijacked the thread. I didn't mean to do that
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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:37 pm

No hijack, mister. It's all part of the fun! Looking forward to seeing you over!

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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by LB on Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:41 pm

comrade powell wrote:I think our opponents tomorrow, Hemel, would have put up a better fight against Bayern than Arsenal did, so why not join us for that!

Well perhaps not!

Back to Roy's original thread, of the northern teams Southport and North Ferriby are still looking the most likely to go down; York seem to be having a bit of a revival and for the time being Guiseley appeared to have pulled away a bit. Of the southern teams it seems almost inevitable that one of Torquay, Woking or Maidstone will go, although Boreham Wood and our old friends Braintree could get dragged into it as well.

As for who might come up, Chippenham won at Hayes this afternoon to go 4 points clear of Leamington who have a game in hand over them and a better goal difference. Below them teams appear to be beating each other, but Hitchin, Slough and Merthyr look to be the other likely play-off contenders.

In the Ryman, Havant have gone top and have a game in hand over Bognor, while Leiston and Dulwich have enough games in hand to make it to the play-offs. Needham Market are 3rd with a goal difference of +1!

Ideally I suppose, Torquay coming down and Chippenham and Merthyr coming up would suit us from the point of view of local games that would be likely to attract decent crowds.

To follow on from points others have made, I do think that an east/west rather than a north/south split would be best but is probably a bit radical and I can't see it happening.

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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by BenE on Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:19 pm

Might need to review this thread.
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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by comrade powell on Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:10 pm

Newport?
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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:26 pm

It's all hotting up in our feeder leagues, both below and above, and there are lots of possibilities still left to fight over. So who's now looking like they could be coming to the V Nat South next year?

After looking decidedly Northern for a spell, we could be getting some familiar old faces back in the South. Both Southport and North Ferriby United look dead and buried and heading back North, but the other places could be filled by any two of seven or eight clubs.

The current pair making up the places in the drop zone are the once mighty-ish Torquay United and a rapidly plummeting Braintree Town. But The Iron are only taking up the fourth berth on goals from Woking and York City, while a worsening Solihull Moors, a patchy Guiseley, and even Maidstone United, Sutton United and Chester, at a push, are all within seven points of the drop. So with four games left for most of them we can expect to see those positions change on an almost minutely basis.

While you wouldn't wish ill of a former stripe's chances, Torquay would probably be a preferable choice in terms of attendance next term, but I'm not sure that many of us would welcome either Braintree or Woking back into the fold, so we have to hope for a capitulation by either York, Solihull or Guiseley, who would all most resolutely head North.

The Southern League is considerably more cheering. Chippenham Town's ten point clearance at the top of the heap means they effectively only need a single point over their last three games to guarantee a decent derby next season. For the play-off places, though, we'll have to perm four from five.

North-facing Leamington look set for a slot, sitting ten points clear of the sixth placed side, while Hitchin Town from the Vanarama border zone are looking pretty comfortable too. Slough Town have been faltering of late, but wouldn't be an unpopular addition to our league, while our old pals over the bridge in Merthyr have hit a run of bad form at exactly the wrong time, with a buoyant Banbury United now nipping at their heels just a point behind in sixth. Frome Town sit a distant seventh, and surely only massive run of freak results from everyone above them would see them make the play-off slate.

Going by the current formulation of the League, if Banbury did manage to win through, they'd almost certainly go North, meaning that with Leamington and Hitchin also likely to go North, the National League are going to need a bigger fag packet to work out the comings and going once all the play-offs are won.

Now over to the Isthmian League, which is looking all kinds of exciting. The automatic slot is a South Coast two-horse race, with Bognor Regis Town leading Havant & Waterlooville by a single point with three games to go. And just to spice things up a bit, they still have to play each other at Havant in their penultimate match in what is effectively a title decider. Of the pair, I think I'd prefer Bognor, because, well, I think we've seen enough of H&W over the years - although the way they're playing it's highly likely we'll end up with them both.

Below them it's looking tight, with just six points separating third from tenth. Dulwich Hamlet in third with 74 points didn't manage to capitalise from their hefty number of games in hand, while Leiston (who'd probably go North) sit two points behind them and three points ahead of the rest on 72, and must at least be quietly confident of a slot. But below that pair it's looking like being an absolute bloodbath.

Enfield Town, currently sitting in the fourth play-off place have 69 points, as do Wingate & Finchley, only with a considerably less favourable goal difference. Then come Tonbridge Angels and Needham Market, both on 68, followed by Harlow Town on 67, and Billericay Town on 66. This weekend's fixtures will be vital in the last minute jockeying for position, so I'd advise keeping a close eye on the Isthmian's results over the Easter weekend, because one suspects that it could get brutal.

And of course, with the possibility of an unbalanced amount of Northern sides making the leap either up or down, we have to make the usual caveat that Gloucester City, Worcester City and possibly even Brackley Town have at least a vague possibility making the trip down South from the North.

Only a few short weeks left and it's still all to play for! Who do you fancy from that little lot?

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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by comrade powell on Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:15 pm

Wish list - Torquay, Woking, Chipp, Merthyr, Enfield, Dulwich

Not welcome - Havant, Tonbridge, Bognor and, most definitely, Harlow
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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by Sir Ged Roddy on Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:08 pm

comrade powell wrote:Wish list - Torquay, Woking, Chipp, Merthyr, Enfield, Dulwich

Not welcome - Havant, Tonbridge, Bognor and, most definitely, Harlow

Agree with Wish list, but either Bognor or Not-a clue-ville are bound to be promoted.
I'd be much happier to have Bognor

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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:20 pm

Oh, and to explain our slightly complicated promotion and relegation system to our American friend NCJesster, and any other international lurkers who've never quite got their lobes around it…

(I'll try to keep this simple-ish - and regular readers can just ignore this bit)


We're on the second tier of what they call the non-league pyramid. It's the semi-professional and amateur league system that sits below the 92 clubs in the four divisions of the English professional leagues.

All the levels of the pyramid, subject to ground restrictions, can feed into the leagues directly above and below them, and they become more regional the further down the triangle you get.

At the head of the pyramid is the Vanarama National League - a single division from across the whole of England (and a bit of Wales) that offers the opportunity to feed into the professional leagues.

Below that are two regional division, divided into a North and South division, which both have equal weighting in the system. That's where Bath City play, in the Southern half of the set up.

Below these two league sit three slightly more regionalised leagues. The Northern League, which is fairly self-explanatory, The Southern League, which covers the South, the West and parts of the Midlands, and The Isthmian League, which caters for London, the South East, and parts of the East.

Below that it starts to get even more complicated, but you don't need to know about that just yet.

At the end of the year, ten new clubs enter our two league second tier, and ten leave, via either promotion or relegation. Four come down from the single National League above us, while six come up from the three leagues below - two from each. One of each of these comes up automatically by dint of finishing top of their respective league, while the other has to battle it out in a four team play off.

Once the ten teams have been decided, the management of our second tier of the league then have to work out which five will go North and which five will go South - which isn't always as easy as you would think.

There's a strong possibility that more Northern sides than Southern sides will be among the ten this year. And if that's the case, you occasionally get one of the more Southern lying Northern Division clubs switching sides and coming down South. Like Oxford City and Bishops Stortford in recent years.

To make allowances for this, the league have devised a strip of border counties across the country, where clubs from within it could be sent either North or South depending on the numerical requirement - but it's rarely ever as simple as just that. And on top of that, some clubs within the system will either go bust and get kicked out of the system, or get shunted down a couple of leagues for some financial or legal discrepancy, so we never really know who is coming to what league for some time after the final ball is kicked.

But we do like to speculate!

I hope that has helped at least a little. It sounds complicated if you're new to it, but it's hardwired into every regular non-league football fan's brain, so you'll soon pick it up, I'm sure!


Last edited by Roy D Hacksaw on Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:17 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by yuffie on Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:31 pm

I think you can add Billericay to the 'not welcome' group given they would make Ebbsfleet look like a beacon of financial propriety.

And that's before you even get into the owner, who appears to be a 'character'.

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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by comrade powell on Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:26 pm

To be clear, my 'not 'welcome' list is composed of those clubs and especially fans who have not been welcoming on previous visits by us. But they would quickly get shunted down the list if there was ever a danger of Fleetwood, Boston or Lincoln coming our way again...
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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by yuffie on Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:06 pm

comrade powell wrote:To be clear, my 'not 'welcome' list is composed of those clubs and especially fans who have not been welcoming on previous visits by us. But they would quickly get shunted down the list if there was ever a danger of Fleetwood, Boston or Lincoln coming our way again...

Ah yes, I forgotten about your 'friend' from Bognor, who was possibly initially wound-up by someone else Embarassed

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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:15 pm

And of course, if your entire wishlist happened, Comrade, we'd probably lose Merthyr to the wilds of The North, sadly. Either that or give Oxford City back, which I suspect it's too soon to be able to do.

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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by BenE on Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:19 am

Roy when you say 'bloodbath' do you mean pizzas may get thrown?
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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:59 am

Looking at the fixtures, Chip'num could get promoted today without kicking a ball if Leamington don't get a win at Biggleswade.

Could be worth popping down to their match against St Neots tomorrow either way, because it should be a lively afternoon!

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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by Sir Ged Roddy on Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:02 pm

Roy D Hacksaw wrote:Looking at the fixtures, Chip'num could get promoted today without kicking a ball if Leamington don't get a win at Biggleswade.

Could be worth popping down to their match against St Neots tomorrow either way, because it should be a lively afternoon!
Chippenham are promoted, as Leamington lost. I shall be going to East Thurrock for a proper match tomorrow.
Also, Cirencester won away at Slough, so could stay in the Southern Premier
Margate and Bishop's Stortford are both down.
Unfortunately, Haven't-a-clue-ville won and have gone top of the Isthmian, but Bognor have a game in hand and are 2 points behind. I hope that Bognor win tomorrow.

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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by comrade powell on Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:35 pm

Congrats to Chipp - a proper local rivalry again!
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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:18 pm

Sir Ged Roddy wrote: I shall be going to East Thurrock for a proper match tomorrow.

Unfortunately I'm on punk rock business in Bath tomorrow night, so I won't be able to attend the proper football.

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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by NCJesster on Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:42 pm

Roy, thank you for the explanation! I made notes so I can follow all of the movements of the teams. I know what I am going to be doing over the summer break this year, getting used to a new bunch of teams! I take it from all of the talk that the Chippenham promotion is a good thing for local rivalries. It will be nice to have one of those again.

I am looking forward to hearing another great match today at East Thurrock!
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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:56 pm

Right, a quick update on what was a very interesting weekend.

Above us, Southport were relegated, while North Ferriby United are seven points adrift with three games to go, so will almost certainly join them on Monday. Torquay United are now in perilous danger, four points away from safety, with many of the teams above hitting a bit of form, so it's looking increasingly likely they'll be popping down South for a visit next term - which worryingly means that we'll probably get Weston at Christmas again. Boo!

But there's still a bit of a battle for that last place. It's currently filled by Braintree Town, but only on goals from Solihull Moors, who've been dropping like a stone these last few weeks, and Woking. A point above them are Guiseley, who are also struggling for form, and while the five teams above them aren't yet mathematically safe, I think we can just about rule them out - unless they all bag bad results tomorrow.

Down to the Southern League, it's nice to welcome Chippenham to the senior regional fold, but below them it's still four from five. Leamington are now assured a play-off place, but the three below them are all looking over their shoulders at Banbury United, who are just three points behind in sixth with two to play. To it's going to be squeaky bum time at the three towns of Hitchin, Merthyr and Slough throughout the Easter Monday fixtures.

The Isthmian though is still far from decided. In the two-horse race at the top, Bognor Regis Town still lead Havant & Waterlooville by a single point. But their fate is in their own hands, as they have to visit the Portsmouth suburbs tomorrow. A win and The Rocks take automatic promotion. A draw and it's all down to the last game of the season, and a Havant win puts the Hampshire side into the driving seat. That would almost be worth taking a trip to the seaside to watch if we didn't have a home game tomorrow.

Below them, we can effectively rule Harlow and Billericay out of the running after their defeats yesterday, but there's still six clubs challenging for the remaining three places to see who has to try to beat Havant in the play-offs.

Dulwich Hamlet all but sealed their slot with a fine win yesterday, but below them Leiston, Enfield Town and Wingate & Finchley all sit on 72 points, with Tonbridge Angels and Needham Market a point behind them, so nothing is certain in the London league just yet. Keep an eye on those scores tomorrow, because it's going to get brutal at the top!

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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by 2weirdtown on Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:27 pm

Come on the Hamlet! It would make next season more interesting if we had them plus Torquay to add to Chippnum
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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:14 pm

So, we're a little nearer to knowing who we might be playing next year - or at least, knowing who we won't.

The Southern League is effectively a done deal, after Banbury United failed to beat Leamington on Monday. That means that not only are Chippenham Town the champions, but the play-off places are now decided. The aforementioned Leamington are guaranteed one of the seeded berths, while Merthyr Town, Hitchin Town and Slough Town all battle it out next Saturday for the other. I wouldn't be terribly upset if any of those bagged the play-off trophy, to be honest, although I'd prefer Merthyr.

The Isthmian League is looking a whole lot less satisfying though, as Havant & Waterlooville beat Bognor Regis Town in front of a massive crowd on Bank Holiday Monday. This leaves them two points clear with one to play, so puts them in the driving seat. Although with an inferior goal difference to The Rocks, H&W still can't rest on their laurels and play out a draw next Saturday.

Below them it's beginning to sort itself out a little more, as former foes Billericay and Tonbridge Angels have now left the list of possible contenders, while Needham Market need a massive win and hope that other results go their way for them to progress to the knock out stages. Dulwich Hamlet also booked their place yesterday, so now it's left to three clubs battling it out for two remaining places. Enfield Town and Wingate & Finchley currently hold the two slots, but Leiston sit just three points behind them with a significantly superior goal difference. So a defeat for either of the art deco London clubs could see them fall frustratingly at the very last hurdle.

Given their vast points tally in comparison to the other contenders, you'd imagine the play-offs would be either Bognor's or Havant's to lose, but these sudden death, all-or-nothing ties are tricky to predict, as we have ourselves found out in recent years, so there's some pretty nice options still on the table here.

Which leads us to the relegation bound sides from the Vanarama National. What was beginning to look a bit cut-and-dried over the first half of the weekend suddenly got very interesting all over again, as the seemingly doomed Torquay United gave their fellow bottom feeders Braintree Town a good thrashing. So with the North-facing Southport and North Ferriby United definitely doomed, there's still as many as eight clubs with an outside chance of the drop. However, Sutton United are all but mathematically safe, while at four points clear with two to play, Chester should just about scrape over the lines on fumes. But for the rest it's going to be a very troubling fortnight.

Torquay are now only a point shy of safety on 47, Braintree are only bettered by York City on goal difference as they both sit on 48, while Guiseley aren't out of the woods on 49. Above them sit Woking and Solihull Moors, both on 51 points after good wins over Easter, but neither will be resting easy as they go into their final brace of games.

And of course, if both Torquay and Braintree manage to miraculously avoid the drop, the most likely contenders to take their place are York and Guiseley - which would make the whole of the bottom four most resolutely Northern, causing it's own problems a little further down the line - especially if Leiston and Leamington win their respective play-offs.

So will we finally get our old pals Gloucester City back? Surely something unexpected is still yet to happen that will hold that off for another year.

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Re: The annual Who Are We Going To Play Next Year thread

Post by LB on Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:47 pm

To make the issue in the Ryman more interesting (I think!) Enfield are at home to Leiston on Saturday.

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