At this point we usually have a quick look at the new teams we will be playing next season, be it through relegation from the Premier Division or promotion from one of the Step 7/Level 11 leagues.
For next season the outlook will be vastly different.
NWCFL Division One will be split into two separate divisions next season, North and South, with each containing 20 teams.
The very approximate "cut off" line between North and South was reportedly the M62 motorway; if your geography is up-to-speed then you should have worked out that we have been placed in the South division.
The other 19 teams in our South division are made up of familiar faces (that were in Division One with us last season), those relegated from the Premier Division at the end of last season and those promoted from Step 7/Level 11 leagues.
FAMILIAR FACES (that need no introduction)
Abbey Hulton United
Cammell Laird 1907
RELEGATED FROM THE PREMIER DIVISION
our play-off nemesis from the end of the 2015-16 season
their relegation brings to an end their fourteen-year run in the NWCFL's top-flight; based in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester
PROMOTED FROM STEP 7/LEVEL 11 LEAGUES
from the West Midlands Regional League; not based in Ellesmere Port but Ellesmere in Shropshire (it's on the way to Oswestry)
Cheadle Heath Nomads
from the Cheshire League; based just down the road from us in Cheadle Heath, which means we have a proper Cheadle derby to contest next season!
from the Cheshire League; based in Warrington
from the West Midlands Regional League; based in Oswestry and play at the same stadium as Oswestry Town
from the Staffordshire County League; old friends from NWCFL Division One seasons gone by, it's great to see them back at this level
Stone Old Alleynians
from the West Midlands Regional League; based at the same complex as Stone Dominoes
from the West Cheshire League; a very famous name in non-league, based in Ellesmere Port
from the Manchester League; for those of you that know Manchester, based on the border of Sharston and Gatley
from the Cheshire League; based in Baguley, Manchester
Other Important Stuff to Note
- In terms of the North teams we still may be travelling to our old friends at Daisy Hill, Chadderton et al or new faces such as Garstang or Cleator Moor Celtic as the NWCFL cup competitions will not be regionalised from the get-go.
- Disappointingly there will be no promotion play-offs for Division One after the FA announced that there will be new promotion and relegation methods brought in.
- From next season only the champions from both North and South divisions will be guaranteed promotion. Two second-placed clubs may be promoted but this will be decided on a points-per-game ratio with all of the other runners-up across the Step 6 leagues.
All of the above will be ratified at the League AGM in Blackpool in a couple of weeks' time. Watch this space for further announcements.