Thames Valley ‘Super League’ could arrive in summer 2021

Josh Helmore celebrates his Binfield goal. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com
Josh Helmore celebrates his Binfield goal. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com

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The Football Association has revealed it is planning to go ahead with the much anticipated restructure that had been postponed from the end of the 2019/20 season.

The FA Alliance and Leagues committee is set to recommend the restructure of steps 4 to 6 of the Non League System goes ahead despite the disruption of the last two seasons.

According to an explainer on the Non League Paper website, 110 clubs will move up in the summer which is likely good news for Binfield, Risborough Rangers and never-been-beaten Jersey Bulls: “As part of the proposals, 110 clubs would be upwardly moved within the pyramid at Steps 4-6 in order to facilitate the new divisions, protecting the integrity of the NLS whilst supporting clubs with a desire and ambition to progress, without undermining the stability of the system.

“The top 3 ranked clubs from each of the North West Counties League, Northern Counties East League and Northern League, along with the top-ranked club from the remaining eleven Step 5 divisions, will be considered eligible for upward movement to Step 4 and will be invited to make an application to do so.”

The restructure will include a new division in the North at step 4 of the English Football Pyramid (the level Bracknell Town currently plays at) as well as two new divisions at step 5 – one of which will be run by the Combined Counties League.

Previously, geographical mapping meant that a new CCL division would likely bundle Binfield, Ascot United, Reading City, Windsor, Egham Town and Tadley Calleva as well as – subject to possible promotion from step 6 – Wokingham & Emmbrook and Holyport in to what Football in Berkshire dubbed ‘the Thames Valley Super League’.

How will clubs be promoted when no season has been completed?

Here’s the bit that’s probably going to rankle. According to the NLP, clubs will be allocated an unweighted points per game total based on matches completed between the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons.

Bear in mind we’ve not done the maths, but that could well be good news for Binfield and Ascot who could be promoted to step 4. The Moles particularly have enjoyed two excellent, consistent – albeit incomplete – seasons and are ranked second in the Hellenic Premier.

As well as the ‘top club’ over two seasons, there is scope for further promotions for multiple clubs at step 5.

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