2017/18: Steps 1-3 of Non-League explained

The FA have recently announced what division non-league sides will be playing in next season. In a lot of leagues, it is not as simple as getting promoted and relegated. Some clubs may have to move divisions due to the divisions being based on the regions of different clubs and if clubs have to drop down multiple leagues due to financial problems.

In the National League, no clubs have had financial difficulties like in previous years with the likes of Hereford and Salisbury having to drop multiple divisions. So, therefore, no clubs have been reprieved and the bottom four clubs have dropped to Step 2 Non-League. York City, Southport and North Ferriby have all dropped into the National League North while Braintree have dropped in to the National League South.

From Step 3, Blyth Spartans and Spennymoor Town have been promoted from the Northern Premier and will compete in the National League North next season. From the Southern Premier, (teams mainly in the south west of England and the midlands) Chippenham and Leamington have been promoted. Chippenham will take part in the National League South and Leamington will join the National League North. Finally, in the Isthmian League (teams in the south-east of England mainly) Havant and Waterlooville and Bognor Regis have been promoted and will both join the National League South.

This does mean that six teams are joining the National league North (3 promoted and 3 relegated sides), when only five sides are leaving the division (2 promoted and 3 relegated) and only four are joining the National League South (3 promoted and 1 relegated) when five are leaving (2 promoted and 3 relegated). Therefore, one team from the National League North must transfer to the National League South. That side is Gloucester City as they are the most southern side in the Conference North.

Relegated from the National League North was Worcester City, Stalybridge Celtic and Altrincham. Stalybridge Celtic and Altrincham will both play in the Northern Premier while financial problems at Worcester means they will drop to the step 5. This means that Harrow and Borough will not be relegated from the Isthmian League as they scored the most points from all the teams relegated from Step 3. Meanwhile, relegated from the National League South are Gosport Borough, who will join the Southern League, Bishops Stortford who will join the Southern League and Margate who will join the Isthmian League.



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