Premier clubs fear burn out as League constitution announced

Baris NCEL Premier Division clubs are appparantly up in arms following the proposed constitution of the League for the 2013-14 season, writes Dave Parker.

The Premier Division will have 24 teams with Garforth Town and Hucknall Town returning from the Northern Premier League while Basford United from the East Midlands Counties League, Bradford club Albion Sports and Sheffield club Athersley Recreation are set to come on board.

Champions Scarborough Athletic go up into the Evo-Stick Northern Premier League and Arnold Town, who go down into the East Midlands Counties League, while Hall Road Rangers are relegated into Division One.

Division One will stay at 22 teams with Central Midlands League side Dronfield Town replacing Doncaster club Askern Villa, who go in the opposite direction, whilst Shaw Lane Aquaforce will come in from the Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior League.

The committee have alerted all clubs that the proposed constitution is subject to change before clubs vote on it at the League AGM on Saturday, June 8 and the new season will begin on Saturday, August 10.

The general opinion is that 46 league games is far too many on top of the cup competitions.

The 2012-13 season limped over the finish line because of unprecedented weather with the campaign extended by a week and the feeling is it could be the end May before the 2014 season is completed.

The general concern is that for the majority of sides, the season will have been over for months – from a table perspective. Because only one team can win promotion, anybody around seventh to 15th, maybe even lower, will have nothing to play for.

This will render a substantial amount of games from February to the finish completely meaningless. They also say that finances come into it with all the travelling, and when clubs have nothing to play for their gates go down. Some gate returns won’t even cover the cost of the match officials.

There is the added factor of getting a team together for a long-distance trip in midweek when there is nothing to play for. There are going to be teams running on empty – both financially and in terms of their playing squad.

The cups are the FA Cup extra preliminary and preliminary rounds, the FA Vase, the NCEL League Cup, the NCEL President’s Cup. The County Cups add to the total. Teams could be playing an incredible 60 games next year.

Premier Division: Albion Sports,, Armthorpe Welfare, Athersley Recreation, Barton Town Old Boys, Basford United, Bridlington Town, Brighouse Town, Garforth Town, Glasshoughton Welfare, Heanor Town, Hucknall Town, Lincoln Moorlands Railway, Liversedge, Long Eaton United, Maltby Main, Nostell Miners Welfare, Parkgate, Pickering Town, Retford United, Staveley Miners Welfare, Tadcaster Albion, Thackley, Winterton Rangers and Worksop Parramore.

Clifton Rangers under 16s won their second Huddersfield League Division One championship in three years without kicking a ball after scheduled opponents Linthwaite falied to raise a team.

That handed Rangers the points they needed to clinch the title and cap an excellent season.

Coaches George Ioannou and Ken Gray, who are both stepping down after five years at the helm said it was a miracle they had won the league this season because of the incredible success in the knockout competitions where Clifton reached the Huddersfield Cup quarter finalst, the County Cup semi finals and won the Halifax Cup.

Clifton had had only played five league games by April and had lost two of them.

The coaches added: “We would like to pay tribute to this amazing team who despite injuries and having to play 17 games in six weeks, hit an incredible run of form winning 14 games drawing two and losing just once.

“Its been an amazing and successful five years, winning the championship twice and finishing runners up three times as well as winning the Halifax Cup.”.