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The Annual Who Will We Be Playing Next Year Thread

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Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:36 pm

As has become the tradition, I usually begin to have a look at the runners and riders for promotion from the leagues below us and relegation from the league above us at this point in the season. But I genuinely think that we have a ridiculously good shot at going up this term. We're far enough above the first non-qualifying team in eighth to pretty much be assured of a play-off spot, and despite the games in hand of those around us, our points are in the bank, and some of those sides will be playing two games a week at a very tiring part of the season. With that in mind, I reckon there's a decent shout that we might even scrape into the seeded slots in second and third if we continue this good run and beat those most challenging challengers around us.

So if we do go up, and I really hope that we do, there's a good shout that we'll be playing the beknighted likes of Stockport County, Hartlepool United, Notts County, and, whisper it, perhaps even those green hooped ones to the south. And with Stevenage now looking like a shoe-in of being the only side relegated from the Bury-adjusted grown up league, the prospects of some pretty tasty gates next term are becoming more mouthwatering by the minute.

But, for the sake of the hypothetical, let's just suppose that we're keeping an eye on who will be joining the Vanarama South (or whatever it's called next season) after we're hopefully gone. Who are the teams still in with a shot of keeping Hemel Hempstead and Oxford City company come August.

Much like the last couple of seasons, the National Premier relegation berths are looking a principally Northern affair. Those previously moneybagged division chargers Chorley (26) and AFC Fylde (32) look doomed already, but they'd go North, obviously. So with Ebbsfleet United (33) sitting eight points clear of safety and shipping goals like a leaky boat, there's a pretty good chance they'll be reacquainting themselves with the National South again. But only five points separate the next eight clubs battling to stay in the top flight of non-league, and any one of them could find themselves making the drop if the results don't go their way. These are Chesterfield (40), Maidenhead United (41), Dagenham & Redbridge (41), Eastleigh (42), Wrexham (42), Aldershot Town (43), Sutton United (43) and Torquay United (45) - although weirdly, The Seagulls are only six points off a play-off spot too, the league is that tight. So with six of those clubs being South facing, there's a very good change that the V South clubs will be seeing some familiar old faces again very soon.

Down to The Southern Premier League South, and it's been a proper topsy turvy season, with the team at the top changing on an almost weekly basis. Our old adversaries out West, Truro City currently sit top of the pile on 63 points, with a superior goal difference to Chesham United in second on the same tally. These two are pulling clear of Swindon Supermarine (56), a fading Tiverton Town (55), a resurgent Hayes & Yeading (53), and just outside of the play-offs, the early leaders Taunton Town on 51. The Peacocks have at least a five point gap on the nearest challengers, all of who are recently familiar, including Salisbury (46), the accursed Weston-super-Mare (45), Gosport Borough (45) and Poole Town (44). The only relative newcomers to this level who are still in with a vague shout of going up are Metropolitan Police on 43. So there's an awful lot of awkward old adversaries still in with a good pop of dragging themselves back up a division.

The Isthmian League, however, is offering a host of less familiar options. Worthing (67) currently have a six point gap over Folkstone Invicta (61), while Hornchurch (58), Cray Wanderers (58) and Carshalton Athletic (56) make up the four play-off spots at this level. But sitting behind them and still looking troublesome are Horsham (54) and Enfield Town (51), while East Thurrock United, Bognor Regis Town and Leatherhead all look a little bit too far out of the fray back on 46 points apiece.

So who of them would you most fancy playing next season if we get robbed by a ref with a last minute penalty in the play-offs? Or who are you most looking forward to visiting if we do make the big step up? One thing's for certain - these are exciting times for Bath City for sure!

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Post by comrade powell on Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:36 pm

Thanks, Hackers, your annual thread is always a welcome reminder that winter is almost over! Taking up your invitation in the hope that it is hypothetical...

To come down - Maidenhead and Aldershot (Torquay if we go up!)
Up from SL - Chesham and Salisbury
Up from IL - Folkestone and ETU
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Post by Major Icewater on Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:11 pm

The problem is that promotion would mean these tasty gates will (most likely) have to occur away from Twerton. We may well get the away element but there may an impact on the travelling home support.

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Post by LB on Tue Feb 25, 2020 4:06 pm

Another excellent analysis by Roy.

There has been a suggestion somewhere that only 3 will come down from the National League because of the Bury situation but I would have thought that with only one relegation from League 2 - almost certainly Stevenage although they have got rid of Graham Westley so that might give them a chance! - that would balance it out.

If we go up then I think we are all looking forward to the games against 'they who shall not be named' from south Somerset as well as the likes of Chesterfield and Hartlepool. and of course Torquay. Will we have moved out of Twerton Park by August?

Should we stay down, it seems likely that we will be having even more long trips east (plus one to the south west!), not helped by the league expanding by two clubs as well. There could potentially be another three trips to Kent if Ebbsfleet come down and Folkestone and Cray Wanderers come up (possibly balanced by the loss of Tonbridge). Whatever happens in the Isthmian, a couple of long trips are guaranteed.

As Roy says, the Southern League winners look like coming from Truro or Chesham, but hopefully one of Taunton, Salisbury or Supermarine will make it through the play-offs.

We need Chippenham tol stay up because apart from it being a good day out if we lose them and Hungerford we will be very much isolated with only Weymouth anything like local and facing the possibility of going to Truro on Boxing Day.!

Hopefully over the next two months we can do enough to make sure that we don't need to worry about the make up of National League South next season.

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Post by tovid on Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:47 pm

The thing about the conf premier is that Barrow look like going up. This means only Hartlepool would remain as god forsaken places that we could drawn to play on a Tuesday evening away. Ideally they will have a late burst to get in the play offs.
The division would then be a much more amenable one for the poor players, who will mostly have jobs, to travel to.
Presumably this would make playing for Bath City more attractive.
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Post by Dave on Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:38 pm

The closest sides geographically to come up/down please. Ebbsfleet please please please stay up unless we're swapping places, thanks.
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Post by 2weirdtown on Tue Feb 25, 2020 10:56 pm

Ebbs fleet won tonight
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Post by South London Road City on Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:33 pm

Have Taunton ever played at NLS level or equivalent?

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