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The annual Who Will We Play In The League Next Season thread

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Post by Roy D Hacksaw Sun Mar 05, 2023 9:19 pm

Suddenly March is upon us, and the thought that the season is due to end next month got me to do my annual bit of wondering about who were might be getting to play next season. Of course, there's more than an outside shout that we could sneak into the play-offs yet, so we don't want to get too previous. Indeed, despite seemingly anchored in 12th place in our league, the actual distance between us and the play-off zone seems to be sneaking closer to us. So we may just be playing in the sunlit uplands next term, all being well, rubbing shoulders with all sorts of glamour clubs, from Notts County to Solihull Moors. But let's, for argument's sake, assume that we're not, and take a look at who might be joining National League South for the 2023/24 season.

If we gaze upwards, there's some very interesting potential revisitors on the cards. Plumb bottom are Maidstone United, who while not completely out for the count, still have quite a bit to do if they want to save their hides. But it's the teams above them that could make the next season a little bit exciting. Above Maidstone (who are on 24 points) are Scunthorpe United on 27 - nothing to trouble us there. But who should be above them on 30 points? Our occasional old bitter foes Torquay United, who have been struggling all season. But it gets potentially better than that. Gateshead fill the last drop spot with 32 points. But who should be one point above them and in a terrible spot of form? It's only flipping Yeovil Town, innit. We couldn't be so lucky as to get Maidstone, Torquay AND Yeovil back in our division, could we? That could make for some interesting attendances. Above that little clump are Dorking Wanderers - who are slipping down the table after a bright start - on 34, York City on 36 and Aldershot Town on 41. But that's about the only clubs who are really in with a reasonable danger of the drop. And of course, if three come down to the South, we may just end up losing one of the more (relatively) northerly sides like Oxford City or Braintree Town. All kinds of permutations there.

The Southern league contenders, however, are a lot less fun. Two sides have been duking it out clear of the rest of them all season. Unfortunately that pair are Weston-super-Mare and Truro City - so it's kind of like a choice of which eye you'd prefer to be poked in a stick by. WsM have the edge - and the games in hand - at the moment, but there's still only two points between them. Bah! Ten points behind them in third on 61 points are Chesham United, who looked as though they were going to catch the deadly duo at one point, but have slipped a little in recent weeks. Our recent FA Trophy vanquishers Bracknell Town sit fourth on 57 points - but with loads of cup run games in hand - While Poole Town make up the play-off places, also on 57. Behind them, the teams most likely to contend are Swindon Supermarine (55), Hayes & Yeading United (52), Metropolitan Police (49), and possibly Merthyr Town (45), but they're probably just that little too far adrift.

The Isthmian League, though, looks far from done and dusted, and pretty much anyone in the top half still has a shot at making the play-offs. Bishop's Stortford are nominally in the top slot on 66, but Aveley (yet another side from near Thurrock, I'm afraid) are right behind them on 64. Hot on their heels are Hornchurch on 63. They're four points clear of Enfield Town on 59 and Canvey Island make up the play-off berths on 58. Bubbling under are Folkestone Invicta on 55 (although they've played more games than most of their fellow contenders), Cray Wanderers on 54, Horsham (52), Lewes (51), and even dear old Billericay Town on 51 are still in with a vague shout of the final place. Potters Bar Town in 13th place on 43 points have most likely got that little bit too much to do now to join the fray.

And there's still one more option. If Southend United are made to forfeit their season, there's an outside chance that they may be required to join us next term too. So all in all there's a lot of tasty possibilities lining up for us next season. Plus the less exciting prospect of Weston and Truro coming back to annoy us.

So who are your most wanted out of that little lot? I'll be sure to update this all as and when the stories develop - especially if we start to nudge closer to the play-offs!


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Post by comrade powell Sun Mar 05, 2023 10:33 pm

Thanks as always for this, Hacksaw. I was only thinking yesterday that it was about time we heard from you on this!
To get the ball rolling, my preferences…

Coming down - Yeovil (how we’d laugh), Torquay (ditto), Maidstone (to hopefully get rid of a trip to Braintree)
Up from the Southern - WSM (we look like we’ll need them if Chipp go down for the Christmas derbies - they’ve got a 3G pitch now), Chesham (a very pleasant town and ground)
Up from the Isthmian - TBH none of those appeal as they’re all long trips - it would be ironic if we lost Concord but gained Canvey. I’ll go for Enfield and one you didn’t mention, Carshalton.
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Post by PHILB1973# Mon Mar 06, 2023 5:37 am

I'd prefer Weston than Truro simply because it's nearer but hate both clubs.. I thought that because we come under the national league umbrella that if Southend got kicked out of the national then they automatically get booted out of the north/South as well.
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Post by comrade powell Mon Mar 06, 2023 10:16 am

Hopefully Hacksaw won't mind if we add which clubs we'd like to lose at the end of the season.
Ebbsfleet are clearly going to win promotion and I wouldn't be sorry if Braintree joined them via the playoffs (are they really third?!). But as mentioned above, if three southern teams come down from the NL we may lose the Iron to NLN anyway. So my vote goes to Havant for numerous reasons!
At the other end of the table there's a possibility of us losing three of the closest clubs in Chippenham, Weymouth and Hungerford. Assuming that not all three will escape I hope it's just one or two and they're joined by Concord and Dulwich.
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Post by Dave Mon Mar 06, 2023 9:19 pm

Weston still play on a grass pitch.

Would prefer Swindon Supermarine or Merthyr to join them through the playoffs, sadly it's going to be Bracknell though. I'd take them over Poole mind.

Concord, Cheshunt, Hampton and Dulwich going down would be ideal. Dartford or Braintree to go up please.

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Post by comrade powell Mon Mar 06, 2023 11:04 pm

Dave wrote:Weston still play on a grass pitch.

In that case they can stay down!
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Post by Roy D Hacksaw Thu Mar 30, 2023 5:17 pm

Things have started to get unexpectedly interesting at the top of the table since the last time I posted on this thread. Suddenly everyone around us seemed to be losing their heads, while we quietly bimbled up through them all to within touching distance of a play-off spot. And even our two recent defeats have left us only a slightly terrifying four points off the final berth, despite slipping back to our customary twelfth place (well, for this season, at least). So who knows what’s going to happen over the next month or so. We could be playing Oldham Athletic, Southend United or even Rochdale before we know it. But let’s keep our collective feet on the ground for now and assume that we’re going to just miss out on going up this time - just for interest’s sake - and take a look at who could be joining us in National League South - should we indeed stay here.

Looking up, Maidstone are as good as down. 16 points off safety with only six left to play, they’re effectively doomed. Something ridiculously unlikely would have to happen for them to beat the drop. Torquay United are looking increasingly like joining them, too. They’re ahead of Scunthorpe United on goals, but six points shy of safety and with a pretty poor goal difference compared to most everyone else. They too need a small miracle to stay up, so we’d better start booking up the extra security for that home match! Above them in the last relegation slot are, ahem, Yeovil Town. Two points behind and having played a game more than the Tynesiders of Gateshead, they must be starting to get concerned that they’ll be joining us again soon.

The club from the North East still aren’t safe though, and must be anxiously looking over their shoulders, as must Dorking Wanderers, just three points above the The Heed, who have become that side who always seem to hit freefall right at the death. One would also suspect that York City, Aldershot Town and Halifax Town above them can’t entirely breath easily just yet, either. And if either Dorking or Yeovil (or even both of ‘em) do make the drop, it’s almost certain that we’ll be losing one or maybe even two of the more North-pointing sides in our division to the other place. (But despite constant rumour and wittering, it won’t be us - don’t make me get that map out again!)

Down to the Southern League and it’s looking terribly disappointing, as Weston-super-Mare have taken a four-point lead at the top of the table (on 78 points) with seven to play. Faltering Truro City sit behind them (on 74), but Berkshire boys Bracknell Town are on a bit of a run and are rapidly drawing in on them both with 72. Is there still enough time for our Trophy foes to save the day? Behind them in the play-off places sit Poole Town on 68, and a fading Chesham Town on 66. Jostling for position below them are Swindon Supermarine (62), Metropolitan Police (61) and Hayes & Yeading (58). One would suspect that Merthyr Town (54) and Beaconsfield Town (63) are just that bit too far off the pace to make a late move now though.

Looking East to the Isthmian League, and there’s still everything to play for. Cop this for a tight title race. Free-scoring Hornchurch lead (for now) on 73, Bishop’s Stortford sit behind them on the same points, but with a significantly worse goal difference. Next, Canvey Island are on 71, Aveley are also on 71, and filling the last spot are Enfield Town, a little further back on 66, but still not entirely out of it. Waiting in the queue behind hoping that somebody will slip up are Cray Wanderers (63), Lewes (also 63, but with six less goals), then Horsham, Hastings and Carshalton Athletic, all on a less likely 59.

So who’s it going to be, do you think? At least if W-s-M go up we won’t have had to have travelled too far before the inevitable late cancellation. Truro’s a ropy old trek, but at least it’s not on the M4. And have we ever been to Hornchurch? All will be revealed over the next few weeks.

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Post by daven Thu Mar 30, 2023 6:04 pm

Very interesting post Roy, must be a dream to be playing Yeovil & Torquay next season! (in which league?) Torquay had a good away win on Tuesday but it may be too late. The end of the season looks very exciting, keeping the interest going.

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Post by Luton Roman Thu Mar 30, 2023 8:19 pm


So who’s it going to be, do you think? At least if W-s-M go up we won’t have had to have travelled too far before the inevitable late cancellation. Truro’s a ropy old trek, but at least it’s not on the M4. And have we ever been to Hornchurch? All will be revealed over the next few weeks.[/quote]

2012/13 we played Hornchurch in their only season at this level with us. Think they were inaugural members of Conference South when of course we didn't qualify.
Truro play in Plymouth are they staying there?

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Post by 2weirdtown Thu Mar 30, 2023 8:55 pm

It would be a shame to lose Weymouth and City will have a say in that as we play them Monday week.
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Post by comrade powell Thu Mar 30, 2023 10:23 pm

Luton Roman wrote:
2012/13 we played Hornchurch in their only season at this level with us. Think they were inaugural members of Conference South when of course we didn't qualify.
Truro play in Plymouth  are they staying there?

Hard to forget our dire performance at Hornchurch that season. It prompted a letter of complaint to Manda Rigby from the Supporters Club. Did the trick as we went on an eight match unbeaten run!
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Post by kermit Fri Mar 31, 2023 9:34 am

Luton Roman wrote:
Truro play in Plymouth  are they staying there?
Yes. Just extended agreement for next season.
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Post by Roy D Hacksaw Fri Mar 31, 2023 3:10 pm

comrade powell wrote:
Luton Roman wrote:
2012/13 we played Hornchurch in their only season at this level with us. Think they were inaugural members of Conference South when of course we didn't qualify.
Truro play in Plymouth  are they staying there?

Hard to forget our dire performance at Hornchurch that season. It prompted a letter of complaint to Manda Rigby from the Supporters Club. Did the trick as we went on an eight match unbeaten run!

I'd completely forgotten their brief foray in our league. It can be hard to keep up with all these M25 clubs coming and going.

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Post by tovid Sat Apr 01, 2023 9:05 am

Should we have a little compo? I predict Maidstone, Torquay, Dorking, WSM, Bracknell, Hornchurch, Aveley.
If you think about it thst is quite a turnover of clubs each season.
Predictions by Sunday night please and I will discern the winner at the end of the season.
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Post by comrade powell Sat Apr 01, 2023 9:15 am

Excellent idea, Tove - you can never have too many forum compos!

The winning entry is...
Maidstone, Yeovil, Torquay, Hornchurch, Canvey (to replace the sadly departing Concord), Weston, Chesham.
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Post by kermit Sat Apr 01, 2023 7:38 pm

Anyone know how Yeoville got on today?....... just asking for a friend!
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Post by Colin Voutt Sat Apr 01, 2023 8:06 pm

kermit wrote:Anyone know how Yeoville got on today?....... just asking for a friend!

Lost 2-0

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Post by 2weirdtown Sat Apr 01, 2023 8:28 pm

Maidstone, Torquay and Yeovil. WSM and Truro. Bishop Stortford and Hornchurch.
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Post by tovid Sun Apr 02, 2023 8:36 am

Colin Voutt wrote:
kermit wrote:Anyone know how Yeoville got on today?....... just asking for a friend!

Lost 2-0

I think he was being ironic Colin.
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Post by Colin Voutt Sun Apr 02, 2023 8:52 am

tovid wrote:
Colin Voutt wrote:
kermit wrote:Anyone know how Yeoville got on today?....... just asking for a friend!

Lost 2-0

I think he was being ironic Colin.

Sorry I missed it!!!!!

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Post by comrade powell Sun Apr 02, 2023 9:04 am

From what I saw of their limp defeat to Southend on tv last night Yeovil will surely be joining Maidstone in NLS next season. And with Weston possibly coming up and Taunton hopefully surviving, Somerset could suddenly have four reps in this division - the new Essex!
Weymouth look like they need a miracle but with Chipp also remaining, the geographical balance is gradually moving a little more towards the west. How will the likes of Hampton and Hemel cope with all that travelling?!
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Post by Luton Roman Sun Apr 02, 2023 11:14 am

Gateshead v Yeovil on Tuesday, massive game fir Yeovil looking at the table.

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Post by Luton Roman Sun Apr 02, 2023 11:40 am

Concord now face 11 games in 24 days from Tuesday!

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Post by comrade powell Sun Apr 02, 2023 12:23 pm

Luton Roman wrote:Concord now face 11 games in 24 days from Tuesday!

that's 24% of their total matches to be played in 9% of the season!
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Post by comrade powell Tue Apr 04, 2023 9:47 pm

Luton Roman wrote:Gateshead v Yeovil on Tuesday,  massive game fir Yeovil looking at the table.

They didn’t heed your warning! Very Happy
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