2019/20 Southern League

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Barring any appeals and/or the AGM Cup, these are the provisional constitutions across the Southern League:

Premier Division Central
AFC Rushden & Diamonds
Alvechurch
Banbury United
Barwell
Biggleswade Town
Bromsgrove Sporting
Coalville Town
Hednesford Town
Hitchin Town
Kings Langley
Leiston
Lowestoft Town
Needham Market
Nuneaton Borough
Peterborough Sports
Redditch United
Royston Town
Rushall Olympic
St. Ives Town
Stourbridge
Stratford Town
Tamworth

Premier Division South
Beaconsfield Town
Blackfield & Langley
Chesham United
Dorchester Town
Farnborough
Gosport Borough
Harrow Borough
Hartley Wintney
Hayes & Yeading United
Hendon
Merthyr Town
Metropolitan Police
Poole Town
Salisbury
Swindon Supermarine
Taunton Town
Tiverton Town
Truro City
Walton Casuals
Weston-super-Mare
Wimborne Town
Yate Town

Division 1 Central
AFC Dunstable (groundshare at Dunstable Town)
Aylesbury United (groundshare at Chesham United)
Barton Rovers
Bedford Town
Bedworth United
Berkhamsted
Biggleswade (groundshare at Biggleswade Town)
Coleshill Town
Corby Town
Daventry Town
Didcot Town
Halesowen Town
Kempston Rovers
Kidlington
North Leigh
St. Neots Town
Thame United
Wantage Town
Welwyn Garden City
Yaxley

Division 1 South
AFC Totton
Barnstaple Town
Basingstoke Town
Bideford
Bristol Manor Farm
Cinderford Town
Cirencester Town
Evesham United
Frome Town
Highworth Town
Larkhall Athletic
Mangotsfield United
Melksham Town
Moneyfields
Paulton Rovers
Sholing
Slimbridge
Thatcham Town
Willand Rovers
Winchester City

Promotion/Relegation Rules
No "Super Play-Offs" at either Step 3 or Step 4 next season - all Champions and Play-Off winners will be promoted
The bottom 2 at Step 3 will be relegated to Step 4, and the teams who finish 3rd-from-bottom could also go down depending on PPG (2 of the 4 sides finishing 3rd-from-bottom at Step 3 will be relegated this way)
No automatic relegation at Step 4 next season. Instead, the teams who finish bottom will go into play-offs against some Step 5 runners-up, with the winner either staying up or going up. This is to aid the creation of an 8th Step 4 division for the 2020/21 season
 
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Thread starter #2
From our perspective, there's little change in terms of travelling and only a few new opponents for us to face (and I'm hoping our meeting with Daventry goes better than last season's in the FA Cup did).

I don't really feel qualified to talk about how the other leagues could pan out, but I have a few predictions about Division 1 Central:

At the top end, the favourites are likely to be Corby Town, Bedford Town and Halesowen Town (if they get their act together after their relegation), while the likes of Didcot Town will probably find themselves in or around the play-offs again. Other than that, no one particularly stands out on paper, so it could be a much more open league than last season.

At the bottom, I would expect Kidlington and North Leigh to struggle again as neither are well-supported and they both apparently have some of the lowest budgets in the division (even lower than ours, and ours is certainly one of the lowest). Other than that, Welwyn Garden City will probably struggle again unless they stabilise over pre-season.

Of the teams coming up from Step 5, I'm not sure how Biggleswade or Daventry will fare, but my gut feeling is that both should do fine at this level. I could see Wantage Town struggling though, based simply on the fact that their manager left almost immediately after promotion (which is never a good sign). They aren't especially well-supported either, so it could be tough for them.

As for those coming down from Step 3, Halesowen seem like a very large side at this level so should be competing for an immediate promotion if they get things right. I don't know much about Bedworth, but this seems to be their natural level so they'll probably fit in with the rest. As for St. Neots, they struggled with financial difficulties last season, so how they fare this time around will depend on how well they've been able to recover from that (I'd bet that they still have a larger budget than us, even with their budget cuts).

As for us, we finished last season with 6 wins out of our final 7 games (a loss away at Corby being the only blemish in that run) and finished 11th, so I'm hoping we can hit the ground running and push on both on and off the pitch. Hopefully we can break into the top half (and not have to worry about relegation for most of the season again), but I'd still be happy with a similar finish to last season. With our budget being one of the lowest, we will have to be shrewd with our recruitment, but if we can manage that (particularly in the defensive department) then we should be fine.
 
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Thread starter #3
So, the knock-on effects from the Gateshead situation will apparently see Truro reprieved and Heybridge promoted from Step 4, so someone will have to be transferred over from the Isthmian to fill in the gap in Premier Division South, which should end the chances of appeals by Met Police and Kings Langley being successful.
 

Pink Panther

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#4
So, the knock-on effects from the Gateshead situation will apparently see Truro reprieved and Heybridge promoted from Step 4, so someone will have to be transferred over from the Isthmian to fill in the gap in Premier Division South, which should end the chances of appeals by Met Police and Kings Langley being successful.
Most likely outcome would appear to be Bognor Regis moving directly across, or Bishop's Stortford switching to the Southern Premier Central with someone else shuffling from there to the South.
 
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Thread starter #5
Well, the Gateshead situation hasn't had any impact here, so barring the appeals from Met Police and Kings Langley (which are highly unlikely to be successful), these should now be the final constitutions for the new season.

On our end, we've been steadily announcing players who are staying on again for the new season, and we've already announced numerous key players and been able to maintain the spine of the team. There should be more announcements still to come, though I imagine we'll maintain the vast majority of last season's squad again (other than one or two who didn't have the desired impact and are probably surplus to requirements as a result).
 
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Thread starter #6
The league will no longer be sponsored by Evo-Stik next season, with a new sponsor set to be announced on the 1st of July.

It doesn't seem likely, but I'm hoping they use this as a chance to restructure and split off the Step 3 and 4 Central Divisions into their own structure separate from the Southern League, as that makes much more sense than the current system.
 

Harrier94

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#7
The league will no longer be sponsored by Evo-Stik next season, with a new sponsor set to be announced on the 1st of July.

It doesn't seem likely, but I'm hoping they use this as a chance to restructure and split off the Step 3 and 4 Central Divisions into their own structure separate from the Southern League, as that makes much more sense than the current system.
 
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Thread starter #9
We've still been able to maintain most of last season's key players, but star winger Matt Sparrow has announced that he'll be leaving. On the one hand, this is massively disappointing as that's 18 goals (in all competitions) that now needs to be replaced, not to mention all the assists he provided thanks to his pace (which few sides were able to really handle last season).
However, he does have a tendency to disappear from games very easily and we looked so much more solid defensively without him, so it's hard to truly assess the impact of his departure (not least because we've still retained our other three key attacking players, who scored 50 goals between them in all competitions even with one of them at the back half the season).

The other known departure so far is centre back Sam Spencer, who had been with the club for several years but has struggled with injuries since late in our UCL title-winning season. Even when he was fit near the end of last season, he was often on the bench, so it's understandable that he'd want to go elsewhere to play now. This is perhaps more problematic for us as it leaves us light in numbers at the back (even more so with two of our key defenders from late last season only on loan), so we'll need to prioritise recruitment there to avoid conceding as much as we did last season.

EDIT: Goalkeeper Ollie Sutton has also departed, though this has been expected for a while now with the return of Aaron Butcher and the emergence of James Blake as second choice, along with some high-profile mistakes Sutton made last season (and some injury troubles that kept him out for a chunk of the season).
 
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Thread starter #10
As with the Isthmian League and Northern Premier League, the Southern League will be sponsored by BetVictor next season.

Now, putting aside the obvious moral issues of gambling sponsorship, this seems a highly hypocritical move given that players and club officials at this level aren't allowed to bet on football at all. Alas, money talks, so this is what we end up with.
 
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#11
Another issue will be the clarification of which league a table or set of results is for. With all 3/ 4 regional divs being BetVictor it will be far less clear which div is which. Dr Martens, Unibond, Beazer homes, etc were clear & separate leagues. 'Champions of the unibond' is a song, 'champions of one of the betvictors' isn't...

betvictor north
betvictor middle-ish
betvictor south
betvictor round london
???
 
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Thread starter #12
Think people will just forego the BetVictor part of the league name entirely, and just refer to the leagues as "Southern League", "Northern Premier League" and "Isthmian League". Certainly seems the easiest option, especially for people who object to the BetVictor sponsorship.
 
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Thread starter #13
Fixtures released today across the divisions.

We open by hosting recently-relegated Halesowen Town, before hosting newly-promoted Biggleswade FC on August Bank Holiday Monday. It's then at home against Corby Town on Boxing Day, away at Biggleswade on New Year's Day, away at Corby on Easter Monday and then away at Berkhamsted to finish the season.

One thing that's definitely a good change from last season is no fixture after Boxing Day and before New Year's Day; last season, that gave clubs three games in less than a week and it seems that many were understandably unimpressed with that over the festive period.
 

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