At a special meeting held in Knutsford last night, the UniBond League member clubs agreed to support the recommendation of their Management Committee to accept the decision of the FA Leagues Committee for the League to operate with North and South Divisions each of 18 clubs for season 2007-2008.
The League have adopted a positive view to demonstrate their support of the development of the 1,2,3,6 structure but are now anxious to ensure that they progress to two Divisions of 20 clubs for season 2008-2009 and will be working with the Leagues Committee to achieve this common objective. Within the next few years the aim is for two Divisions of 22 clubs for parity with the Isthmian and Southern Leagues.
Brian Walden, the Chairman of the Leagues Committee, along with his fellow committee member Jack Pearce, attended the special meeting to answer questions. The main concerns expressed by clubs related to the progress to two Divisions of 20 clubs for season 2008-2009 and whilst no assurances could be given Mr Walden gave a firm indication that he expected this to be achieved. The matter of a league fixture programme of only 34 games within an 18 club Division was also a major cause of concern and this was discussed at length. In an effort to resolve the problem a vote was taken and the clubs overwhelmingly agreed to a 42 game league season which would be achieved by the addition of a further 8 matches (4 at home and 4 away). These additional fixtures are to be integrated into the fixture schedule when compiled prior to the start of the season. Mr Walden endorsed his support of this process and indicated he expected it would receive the approval of the Leagues Committee.
The following eleven clubs will now become members of one of the First Divisions for next season.
First Division North – Curzon Ashton, Garforth Town, FC United of Manchester, Lancaster City and Newcastle Blue Star.
First Division South - Carlton Town, Nantwich Town, Quorn, Retford United, Sheffield and Spalding United.
The decision “opens the door” for clubs eager to progress further through the Pyramid System with the introduction of the two UniBond League Regional Divisions mooting one of the main objectives of reducing travel.
The Likely full line up will be
UniBond One North:
Bamber Bridge (UniBond 1)
Bradford Park Avenue (UniBond 1)
Bridlington Town (UniBond 1)
Chorley (UniBond 1)
Clitheroe (UniBond 1)
Curzon Ashton (NWCL1)
FC United of Manchester (NWCL1)
Garforth Town (NCEL)
Harrogate Railway Athletic (UniBond 1)
Lancaster City (ConfN)
Mossley (UniBond Premier)
Newcastle Blue Star (Northern)
Ossett Albion (UniBond 1)
Radcliffe Borough (UniBond Premier)
Rossendale United (UniBond 1)
Skelmersdale United (UniBond 1)
Wakefield (UniBond 1)
Woodley Sports (UniBond 1)
UniBond One South:
Alsager Town (UniBond 1)
Belper Town (UniBond 1)
Brigg Town (UniBond 1)
Cammell Laird (NWCL1)
Carlton Town (Midland Alliance)
Colwyn Bay (UniBond 1)
Goole (UniBond 1)
Grantham Town (UniBond Premier)
Gresley Rovers (UniBond 1)
Kidsgrove Athletic (UniBond 1)
Nantwich Town (NWCL1)
Quorn (Midland Alliance)
Retford United (Midland Alliance)
Shepshed Dynamo (UniBond 1)
Spalding United (Southern Midland)
Stocksbridge Park Steels (UniBond 1)
Warrington Town (UniBond 1)