Non League’s biggest stadiums

football, national league

There’s a few non league teams who’s grounds have the capacity to hold more than some premier league stadiums. Many of these teams have dropped from the football league or just bizarrely play at big stadiums.

I thought I’d share some the largest grounds across non league football, giving some background and history on the clubs involved.


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Prenton Park – 16,587 (Tranmere Rovers)

Home of Tranmere Rovers and Liverpool FC Reserve football teams Prenton Park was opened in 1912, then renovated in 1995 to reach it’s 16.587 capacity today. The highest ever crowd was 24,424 in the 1972 FA Cup tie with Stoke City.

Once a Football League One side not too many years ago, Tranmere now play in the National League with an average home attendance of 5173 this season as they look to get back into the football league through the playoffs.


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Select Security Stadium – 13,310 (Widnes FC)

A bit of a strange one considering Cheshire based Widnes play in the North West Counties League Division One – the 10th tier of English football.

Obviously they aren’t the only team playing here as they share with many sports teams including: Widnes Vikings, Everton Ladies FC, Liverpool Ladies FC and Halton Spartans.

Widnes FC moved to the ground in 2012, playing their first home game against ‘Chester Nomads Reserves’ on the 1st September. The clubs highest attendance at the ground has recently been set as 462 spectators watched Widnes play Charnock Richard FC in April – this filled 3.5% of the stadium.

The pitch surface is also artificial grass, which many non league teams are opting for due to the financial benefits of the surface. This season has seen Widnes promoted as champions from the 10th tier and they will be playing in the North West Counties Premier Division in the 2017/18 season.


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Gateshead International Stadium – 11,800 (Gateshead)

Gateshead share their all-seater stadium with a signature running track around the outside of the pitch which is used by Gateshead Harriers Athletic Club. The heed have an average attendance of 909 this season which fills just under 8% of the stadium.

The Gateshead International Stadium is the sixth largest in North East England and 3rd largest in Tyne and Wear; behind St James’ Park and the Stadium of Light.

The close proximity of larger teams in the area no doubt have an adverse affect on attendance figures as ‘The Tynesiders’ have the 4th lowest average attendance in the top tier of non league football.


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Edgeley Park – 10,841 (Stockport County)

Originally built for now defunct rugby league club Stockport in 1901 Stockport County moved into Edgely Park a year later in 1902. The stadium on Hardcastle Road in Stockport is an all-seater stadium and is owned by Stockport Council who bought the ground for £2 million in 2015 to stop it being demolished and redeveloped.

English Premiership Rugby Union side Sale Sharks played in Stockport from 2003-2012 until moving into the newly built AJ Bell Stadium with Salford Red Devils.

Stockport are a sleeping giant in the 2nd step of non league football. The former football league team have struggled since being relegated from the Conference Premier in 2013; spending the past 4 seasons in the National League North.

They still manage to fill a third of their enormous 10,000 capacity stadium which is a great feat considering the amount of teams in the Manchester area including: Manchester United, Manchester City and Wigan Athletic.


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York City players free to leave following relegation

football, national league, york city fc

As Gary Mills has officially signed on for another year at Bootham Crescent his next job is no doubt figuring out who he wants to keep for York City’s 2017/18 season in the National League North.

I expect a retained list to be published once the FA Trophy has concluded, however until then I thought I’d look into the players York City will most likely have for next season.

 

Contracts


So who could be playing next year?

York City possible lineup

I created a possible York City XI for next season based upon the players York have on deals until 2018. To be honest the line up does not look terrible. Also consider that City will be playing in the sixth tier next season.

Because of the lower level of football I believe that some of the younger players brought in on the merit that they are hungry for success may come good in the National League North.

In particular I see Kaine Felix doing well as I have heard rave reviews about his performances at Stockport last season in the division.

Here’s a clip of his assist against Tamworth:

When I saw him at home he had periods of looking like a dangerous winger with his pace and dribbling skills. I’m hoping he will stay on at City and prove his doubters wrong.

Jack Higgins is another who was a regular in the side, making 15 appearances, up until his loan move to Southport.

He was signed from the Conference North in 2016 and was Stalybridge Celtic’s top goalscorer, with 13 goals from defence, which obviously shows he has the ability at this level.

Realistically who can we keep?

Vadaine_Oliver_2017-02-11_1

 

Oliver has scored 7 league goals in 18 apps. since returning in January.

 

Vadaine Oliver has been a new player since coming back from Notts County but has said himself that he wants to be playing in the football league. The National League North would be a step in the wrong direction and I see a League Two or high level National League club coming in for the striker.

Jon Parkin would be a massive coup for the club if he decides to stay on for another year. I can see him getting 25+ goals in the sixth tier, even at 35 he is still a goalscorer. My guess is that he will either sign on or retire.

Moke, Whittle and Letheren will no doubt attract interest from National League or higher next year so I will be surprised if Gary Mills can persuade them to sign longer deals at the club.

Due to injury problems Oyebanjo and Lappin will most likely be heading for the door as their contracts expire in June.

I expect alot of these players to have a relegation release clause of some kind so some of the ones on contract can move on for free. Failing this at least York will get some sort of financial benefit from outgoing players.

Let me know who you think we should keep by tweeting me.

What about the players on loan?

I have not included players Parslow, Bencherif, Hall or Morgan-Smith on the contracts list because they are contracted on loan until the end of the season. These players have been fantastic for York in the latter stages of the season and with them all out of contract at their parent clubs it gives City an opportunity for next season.

Danny_Parslow_09-05-2009_1

 

Parlsow was clubman of the year at York City 08/09,10/11 and 12/13.

 

Realistically I don’t think any of these players will sign. Asa Hall was wanted back by Cheltenham in March, Parlslow was voted players player of the season when Cheltenham won the National League in 15/16, Bencherif left Halifax for Wrexham when they were relegated last year and Morgan-Smith is way too good to be playing in the sixth tier.

That being said in my eyes Parslow has an outside chance of signing. He will be 32 years old in September and obviously has a place for York City in his heart having been at the club 10 seasons.


For more National League and York City FC content please follow my twitter and like my facebook page.

Ricky Miller: The next non league sensation

football

Since Jamie Vardy exploded onto the scene in the top flight last year, wining the Premier League in the process, football league clubs have invested their interest in non league to find the few hidden gems waiting for their big opportunity.

In recent years non league players Kristian Dennis, Andre Gray, Joe Lolley, Harry Beautyman and many more have made the step up to the higher divisions and turned out to be great assets for the clubs giving them their break.

The story so far

Many younger players who play in non league have dropped down after failing to secure professional contracts at football league clubs. This was the same case with Ricky Miller who was at Charlton Athletic and Woking as a teenager before being released.

He admitted that early on in his career football was a bit sporadic for him citing personal issues off the field; his brother passing away when he was 16 and becoming a farther.

Miller made his debut for Stamford in September 2006 before becoming quite the journeyman striker in non league, playing as far up north as Boston United and down south for Cambridge City.

His big break came in 2014 however, after scoring 24 league goals in 40 games for Boston United in the sixth tier. Subsequently he was snapped up by Luton to replace Championship bound Andre Gray. Things didn’t necessarily work out at Luton after coming back from a loan spell at Dover, scoring 1 goal in 12 appearances in League Two.

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Ricky Miller and Dover Athletic teammates checking out the pitch at Aldershot (via @AlexHoadKOL)

A permanent deal followed at the Crabble Athletic Ground where he made a name for himself in the top tier of non league football. He scored an admirable 60 goals in 86 appearances over 2 seasons at Dover Athletic, narrowly missing out on the playoffs this season.

His exploits down south alerted many football league clubs including Bristol Rovers and Notts County, but today he has penned a three year deal at Peterborough United and moves on a free transfer which is a fantastic bit of business for the League One side.

After revealing Peterborough tried to sign Miller in January for a fee, director of football Barry Fry said: “Ricky has done brilliantly to score the amount of goals he has and hopefully he will come here and hit the ground running.”

So what is he capable of?

RICKY MILLER

This season Miller has been dubbed the ’40 goal striker’ as he has scored 40 goals in the league this season, ending with a hat trick on the last day of the season against Barrow.

He has a strike rate of nearly a goal a game and will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Jamie Vardy and Andre Gray; both of whom are now regular goalscorers in the Premier League.


Be sure to follow me on twitter for more National League content and discussion. Let me know how many goals you think Ricky Miller is going to score in League One by voting in my poll.

National League South Playoffs: Preview

football, national league

The National League South is composed of 22 teams, all in close proximity compared to the north and many teams surrounding the capital. Maidenhead United sealed automatic promotion ahead of Ebbsfleet United this season with 98 points.

In bizarre fashion this year two teams were disqualified from the National League South playoffs: Poole Town and Hungerford Town. Despite appeals their disqualification from the playoffs was upheld by the FA. This means that 7th place Hampton & Richmond Borough will take the remaining playoff place.

The first leg fixtures will start on Wednesday 3rd May at 19:45. All live goal updates can be accessed by following my twitter account.

south

Chelmsford City v Dartford

First Leg: Wednesday 3rd May 2017 – 19:45 K.O. @ Melbourne Stadium

Second Leg: Sunday 7th May 2017 – 15:00 K.O. @ Princes Park

CHELMSFORD

Chelmsford City

Chelmsford City are probably most known for having ex England international Jimmy Greaves play for them in the late 1970’s. The Essex club finished 4th this campaign and only lost 6 games along the way.

After a bottom half finish last season this season may come as a bit of a surprise for Chelmsford supporters. Led by the goals from Shaun Jeffers, who has scored 21 goals in the league this season, they go into the playoffs with the same odds as 3rd placed Dartford.

With the current chairman resigning from his position and financial pressure over a failed takeover you could say there is a lot riding on them to achieve promotion through the playoffs.

DARTFORD

Dartford

Dartford were spared relegation in the 2013/14 Conference Premier due to two teams being demoted higher up. However the season after they were relegated to their current league; the National League South.

Having just missed out on a playoff place last season they will be looking to make this campaign count and get back to the top tier of non league football. They are currently 4th in the form table of the division, having won 4 of their last 5 games, and will be looking to continue in the playoffs.

Luke Wanadio is one to watch for Dartford. The ex Fulham youth player attracted interest from football league clubs a few years go when playing for Staines Town, being dubbed a ‘non league sensation’. He has scored 12 goals for Dartford this season.

Hampton & Richmond Borough v Ebbsfleet United

First Leg: Wednesday 3rd May 2017 – 19:45 K.O. @ Beveree Stadium

Second Leg: Sunday 7th May 2017 – 15:00 K.O. @ Stonebridge Road

HRBFC

Hampton & Richmond Borough

A smaller club in the London area due to the popularity of the nearby ruby union team, Hampton have a core support of 400 fans who occupy the Beveree Stadium.

Having won the Isthmian League title in 2016 Hampton will be looking at back to back promotions if they can come out on top in the playoffs. After a strong start to the season Hampton lost Nicke Kabamba and leading goalscorer Jamal Lowe to League 2 Portsmouth in January. This halted their early success and they could only manage a 7th place finish.

However Hampton must be thinking it’s fate as they were awarded the remaining playoff place after 5th and 6th place Poole Town and Hungerford were ruled out of the playoffs due to FA National League regulations. They play

EBBSFLEET

Ebbsfleet United

A club with ambition Ebbsfleet have had some large investment to get them back into the National League, however just missed out on automatic promotion by 2 points.

They remain the favourites to win the playoffs however were in the exact same position last season, finishing second in the league and eventually losing out to Maidstone in the final on penalties.

They are the highest scorers in the National League South this season, having scored 96 goals. On top of this they have only conceded 30 all season, which gives them a mouthwatering goal difference of +66.


Vote in my poll for who you think will win the Vanarama National League South Playoffs 2017 and tweet me your reasons why!

National League North Playoffs: Preview

football, national league

After a 42 game season and 9 months of football the National League North has come to a close for the 2016/17 season. After Darlington lost their appeal to compete in the playoffs this year, up stepped 6th placed Chorley who filled the last remaining playoff place.

The teams competing in this years National League North playoffs will be: Kidderminster Harriers, Salford City, F.C. Halifax Town and Chorley.

The first leg fixtures will start on Wednesday 3rd May at 19:45. All live goal updates can be accessed by following my twitter account.

north

Chorley v Kidderminster Harriers

First Leg: Wednesday 3rd May 2017 – 19:45 K.O. @ Victory Park

Second Leg: Sunday 7th May 2017 – 15:00 K.O. @ Aggborough Stadium

CHORLEY

Chorley

Chorley are a team who will count themselves lucky to be in the pack for promotion this season as they take Darlington’s spot in the playoffs. Chorley were promoted to the National League North in 2014 following a dominant league win which saw them beat Droylsden 13-1 in the process.

The 2014/15 season was their first season back in the sixth tier since 1990 and they made it a good one with a 4th place finish, eventually just missing out to Guiseley 3-2 in the playoff final. Last year Chorley finished 8th, failing to secure a playoff spot.

Chorley have been led by ex York City player Jason Walker’s 14 league goals this season. As well as being helped by their tight knit defence who have only conceded 41 goals this season; joint best in the National League North.

KMINSTER

Kidderminster Harriers

Once a football league side over 10 years ago Kidderminster will be aiming to put their name back on the footballing map with promotion from step 2 of the non league system.

Recent years have seen a rebuilding process at the club. Armed with with the money from when non league sensation Joe Lolley was sold to Huddersfield Town for £250,000 in 2014, former Watford midfielder John Eustace has led the team to a 2nd place finish this campaign.

Key players to look out for are midfielder James McQuilkin, who was named 2016/17 supporters player of the year. And Daniel Nti, who was signed from York City in March, the pacey forward managing to find his feet in the National League North.

Salford City v F.C. Halifax Town

First Leg: Wednesday 3rd May 2017 – 19:45 K.O. @ Moor Lane

Second Leg: Sunday 7th May 2017 – 15:00 K.O. @ The Shay Stadium

SALFORD

Salford City

Salford City have had somewhat of an increase in exposure over the past few seasons with ex Manchester United players Phil Neville, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs all having a share in the club.

The owners have ambitions of playing in the Championship by 2029 and in the process Salford are looking for their 3rd promotion in 3 seasons. They are no strangers to a playoff promotion, having been promoted last season through a 3-2 win over Workington.

Salford are lead at the back by towering defender Michael Nottingham, who was named Solihull Moors’ player of the season in the National League North last year. He has also been awarded supporters player of the season for Salford this campaign. So you can say that he’s a been great player at regional level.

HALIFAX

F.C. Halifax Town

The phoenix club are another team who’s predecessors were once a football league side. Having reformed in 2008 Halifax Town have had 3 promotions and 1 relegation in 8 seasons. Also seeing the likes of now England international Jamie Vardy grace their home soil in ‘The Shaymen’ colours.

Halifax were relegated controversially last season on goal difference following an incident which went viral at Guiseley last season. Before winning the 2016 FA Trophy, which left them on a high note going into the 16/17 season.

Halifax finished this season in 3rd with a 2-0 win over fellow playoff rivals Chorley, which will only fill them with confidence going into the playoffs. Scott Garner is one to watch for ‘The Shaymen’ as he picked up four accolades at the players awards ceremony this season and is back training ahead of the playoffs.


Vote in my poll for who you think will win the Vanarama National League North Playoffs 2017 and tweet me your reasons why!

National League Playoffs: 16/17 Preview

football, national league

As the season came to a close on Saturday the National League saw four teams emerge as playoff contenders to be promoted into League 2. These teams are as follows: Tranmere, Forest Green, Dagenham & Redbridge and Aldershot.

All four teams will compete in a two legged semi final to gain a place at Wembley and a potential spot in the football league. Last season gave Grimsby Town the chance to regain their place in the football league after a six year absence and former league sides Aldershot, Tranmere and Dagenham will be looking to do the same. Forest Green have never made it past the fifth tier.

The fixtures starting on Wednesday 3rd May will be broadcast live on BT Sport, alternatively you can follow live goal updates from my twitter account.

nl

Aldershot Town v Tranmere Rovers

First Leg: Wednesday 3rd May 2017 – 19:00 K.O. @ Recreation Ground

Second Leg: Saturday 6th May 2017 – 12:15 K.O. @ Prenton Park

ALDERSHOT

Aldershot

With the club falling into administration in 2013 with debts of over £1 million, and their relegation confirmed later that season you could argue that times are changing at the Recreation Ground.

Bottom half finishes in the past three seasons have been standard for the phoenix club. However this season, led by Gary Waddock in his second spell as manager, the Hampshire side have managed to slide into the playoffs in the last few games of the season.

Aldershot have been a solid defensive unit this year, conceding only 37 goals, the least in the National League. The Shots’ brick wall defence is lead by skipper Callum Reynolds. The 27 year old has appeared in 44 of Aldershot’s 45 league games this season, leading the team to the final playoff place ahead of Dover Athletic.

TRANMERE

Tranmere Rovers

Tranmere were once playing in League One 5 years ago. However they now found themselves stuck in the National League since their relegation from League 2 in 2015, their first time in non league for 94 years.

If you haven’t been living under a rock this year you would obviously know about Tranmere’s 9-0 win over Solihull Moors this season. This just gave a taste of what the club are capable of in this division and the quality they have in their side.

Rovers were unlucky to go up automatically having spent most of the latter part of the season battling it out with Lincoln for top spot. James Norwood seems to be a player always on the tip of the Tranmere fans’ tongues. Norwood has helped Tranmere reach 2nd place this season with his 14 goals, and having lost out in the playoffs with Forest Green in 2015 he will be looking to finally get his big break in the football league.

Dagenham & Redbridge v Forest Green Rovers

First Leg: Thursday 4th May 2017 – 19:00 K.O. @ Victoria Road

Second Leg: Saturday 6th May 2017 – 15:00 K.O. @ The New Lawn

DAGENHAM

Dagenham & Redbridge

Dagenham were a team expected to do well this year having just been relegated from League 2. They aim to bounce back first time through the playoffs with manager John Still resting 9 players on the last day of the season.

Up front Dagenham aren’t lacking in composure as the three forwards: Oliver Hawkins, Jordan Maguire-Drew and Corey Whitely have 47 goals between them. Their finishing has catapulted them into the playoffs, finishing 4th in the league.

F GREEN

Forest Green Rovers

Forest Green have made it to the playoffs the last three seasons. First being being beaten 3-0 on aggregate by eventual winners Bristol Rovers in 2015 and missing out in the final at Wembley to Grimsby Town 3-1 last year. The Gloucestershire side will no doubt be feeling that it’s going to be 3rd time lucky, and will be looking to make up for their missed chance at automatic promotion this year.

When it comes to goal scoring it turns out Forest Green are pretty good, they have scored 88 goals this season, more than any other team in the National League.

On top of this they have the leagues second top goal scorer, Welshman Christian Doidge has scored 25 league goals this season. He was rested in the last game of the season against York City so expect him to make a comeback feeling fresh and ready for more goals.


If you want more info and live coverage on the playoffs this year please follow my twitter account – @dan_simmonite. 

Also vote in my poll for who you think will win the Vanarama National League Playoffs 2017 and tweet me your reasons why!

York City v Forest Green – MATCH PREVIEW

football, national league, york city fc

York City will host Forest Green on Saturday which will be broadcast live on BT Sport. The Minstermen need at least a point to have any chance of survival in this years Vanarama National League.

The match kicks off at 12:15pm and will be covered on BT Sport 1 from 11:30am. You could argue that this is the biggest match in York City’s history with a lot riding on them to keep their National league status. The added pressure of the live cameras could go both ways, a national embarrassment or a historical moment for the club, fighting off an almost certain relegation.

Forest Green also have something to play for at the other end of the table, having already solidified their spot in the playoffs, they battle with Dagenham & Redbridge for 3rd spot and a second leg home tie.

HEAD TO HEAD

Forest Green have the best attack in the league, scoring 86 goals this season, even more than league champions Lincoln City. Their fire power up front is lead by top scorer Christian Doidge who has scored an impressive 25 goals this season and is runner up in the top goal scorers table.

York City will welcome back former loanee Charlie Cooper; Gary Mills’ first signing for the club on his return. He didn’t make the cut at York with Mills expressing that he needed to move on. However he has been a vital part of the Forest Green midfield, starting 20 games in the latter part of the season.

In terms of form this season Forest Green slipped up later on in the season which crushed their automatic promotion push. But recently they have won 3 times in their last 5 games, failing to win in their last two fixtures. Most notably they were defeated by already relegated Southport 2-0 on Easter Monday.

Forest Green Rovers will be going through the playoffs for the 3rd season in a row. Having lost in the semi finals in 2015 to Bristol Rovers and in the finals to Grimsby last year. 3rd time lucky maybe?

Who can still be relegated?

Mathematically six teams are still in danger of being relegated from the National League. But most likely it will be between Woking, Torquay, Guiseley, York City and Braintree to do decide who will fill the two remaining relegation places.

York City will need at least a point to be in with a chance of staying clear. But this relies on 20th placed Guiseley to lose their game against Solihull and Braintree to lose or draw at Aldershot.

Ideally York City need a win as this will put pressure on other teams to get points as high up as Woking, who can still be relegated despite being four spots clear of the relegation zone.

I did a post on who will be relegated / who will make the playoffs last week if you are interested.

The table at the bottom

18. Woking – 52 Points (-14)

19. Torquay United – 50 Points (-9)

20. Guiseley – 50 Points (-17)


21. York Cty – 49 Points (-15)

22. Braintree Town – 48 Points (-23)

Important fixtures

v (1)

York City v Forest Green (21st v 3rd)

Dagenham & Redbridge v Woking (4th v 18th)

Torquay Utd v North Ferriby (19th v 23rd)

Guiseley v Solihull Moors (20th v 16th)

Aldershot v Braintree (5th v 22nd)


York City have sold at least 1000 advance tickets for the Saturday fixture, along with the 1257 current season ticket holders. Although the match is not all ticket, York City have recommended that you buy in advance. More details can be found on the York City FC website.

National League: Who Will Make The Playoffs?

Blog Post, football, national league

Following my post on the teams at the bottom of the table I thought I’d do the same for the teams near the top. Most importantly the teams challenging for a place in the playoffs.

There are four teams currently in the running for the two remaining playoff spots. They will join Tranmere Rovers and Forest Green for a place in League 2 next season.

Playoffs - Key Fixtures

The graphic above shows the remaining fixtures for each teams. I’ll go into more detail below on my thoughts on their chances of making the playoffs this season.

DAG AND RED

4th – Dagenham & Redbridge

80 pts (+25 Goal Difference)

With only three points needed to solidify a playoff place you would near enough put your house on Dagenham and Redbridge to make the playoffs this year.

They play a Wrexham side this Saturday who have nothing to play for, sitting mid table. Wrexham have also won once in their last 8 games. So you’d say Dagenham would be massive favourites to get the three points they need.

The last day of the season is arguably a tougher fixture despite Woking’s league position. Woking are 6th in the league’s form table and will be looking to keep their National League status.

The strikers Oliver Hawkins, Jordan Maguire-Drew and Corey Whitely have scored an outstanding 47 goals between them. So it is more than likely they will have no problems in the last two fixtures.

ALDERSHOT

5th – Aldershot

76 pts (+24 Goal Difference)

Aldershot have been in decent form recently, only losing 1 game in their last 10 and crucially, beating playoff rivals Dover last Saturday. This was a big result to overtake Dover in the league and put pressure on The Whites in their game in hand.

Aldershot are in the playoffs by just 1 point so the next 2 games are seen as must wins. But ultimately their fate is in 6th placed Dover’s hands.

Aldershot will be without teenage sensation Idris Kanu on the weekend following his first red card of his career late on against Dover.

However this still shouldn’t make a difference on paper as they play North Ferriby, who have already been relegated from the National League. However North Ferriby did beat promotion hopefuls Forest Green a few weeks back so the game shouldn’t be written off as a definite win for The Shots.

DOVER

6th – Dover Athletic

75 pts (+22 Goal Difference)

A defeat against Aldershot was a big opportunity to increase the gap between them and The Shots. It also stopped their 3 match winning streak in the process. However Dover are only 1 point behind, and have a game in hand over Aldershot.

They will host relegation scrappers Torquay United on Saturday which will be a hard game considering Torquay will be all guns blazing to retain their National League status.

The real important fixture is against Macclesfield on Tuesday. With Macclesfield having nothing the play for this is a chance for Dover to make their game in hand count and overtake Aldershot to slide into the last playoff place.

They missed out on a playoff final last year, losing 2-1 on aggregate to Forest Green. So this year they will be looking to put things right, and with Ricky Miller firing in 36 this season, I have no doubt they will be able to do the job in these last few games.

BARROW

7th – Barrow

72 pts (+18 Goal Difference)

Barrow are a big outside chance in the playoffs this year. They are currently 4 points from the playoffs with a poorer goal difference than the teams above them. But this doesn’t write them off for a miracle.

To gain a spot in the playoffs Barrow will be required to win the next 2 games against Braintree and Dover to take them to 78 points. Not to mention they also need the two teams above them, Aldershot and Dover, to ideally lose each of their remaining games which is highly unlikely.

That being said Barrow owner Paul Casson has pumped £1m into the club this season to fund their push to play in the football league. And with that kind of investment anything other that the playoffs will be seen as a poor investment from the American businessman.


So who will make the playoffs?

In my eyes I don’t see Dagenham and Redbridge slipping up on their playoff spot. They are in a great position, even if they lose the next two games, they are 4 points ahead of the team below them.

After Dagenham it comes down to the one playoff spot which is obviously between Dover and Aldershot.

I believe both teams will have minimal problems in the last few. But Aldershot will be looking over their shoulders come Tuesday in Dover’s game in hand against Macclesfield.

I think it is all down to Dover’s grit over their remaining fixtures. I think they are in with a real shot of promotion if they make the playoffs, striker Ricky Miller will be a huge asset in these games.

National League: Who Will Be Relegated?

Blog Post, football, national league

It’s been an extremely frustrating time this season watching my team York City crumble in the National League after such high expectations at the start of the year. However York are in a relegation scrap, it is what it is, and it’s going to go down to the last game against Forest Green.

Because of this I thought I’d do some research on the teams who can be relegated from the National League. As Southport and North Ferriby have already been relegated this means that two teams from a possible 7 can be relegated.

Relegation - Key Fixtures

The graphic above shows the seven teams who can be relegated this year. Since it’s come down to the wire I thought I’d elaborate and give a bit of a background and opinion on each teams situation.

CHESTER

16th – Chester

52 Points (-5 Goal Difference)

Chester are mathematically in the best position to stay in the National League for next season. They are 5 spots from the relegation zone and 4 points clear. Which basically means that they have to lose the next two games and most of the teams below them have to win their next two. Which is highly unlikely.

That being said they are on a poor run of form with only 2 wins in their last 10 games and are without a home win since December last year. So you wouldn’t put it past them to lose their last two. However even if they did I think they will be okay.

WOKING

17th – Woking

51 Points (-14 Goal Difference)

After last seasons mid table finish would would put your money on Woking to build upon their place in the National League. I mean even Jay Cartwright took Woking from the Conference to the Champions League in six seasons.. how hard can it be?

Jokes aside Woking are in decent form currently having gained 10 points from a possible 15 in their last 5 games. However they have a tough end to the season with fixtures against relegation rivals York City and playoff hopefuls Dagenham and Redbridge. Both of whom they have lost to in the reverse fixtures earlier in the season.

Even if they lose these games however I believe they are in a strong position to stay up with 3 points and 4 places separating them and Braintree.

SOLIHULL

18th – Solihull Moors

51 Points (-15 Goal Difference)

After the defeat against York City I thought Solihull were done for. Without a win in 6 games and losing a record 9-0 to Tranmere Rovers must have seen the dressing room hit an all time low. The win on Monday against Macclesfield was massive for Solihull as now they have broken the streak of 6 successive defeats and eased the pressure.

I was surprised when they appointed Liam McDonald who was managing two leagues below at Hednesford Town. Also losing their main source of goals; Akwasi Asante has been tough. However from what I have seen of youngster Oladapo Afolayan, he is more than capable of supplying the goals.

A win against Eastleigh would near enough secure them National League status for the 17/18 season. However there is a slight chance that if the teams below them win on Saturday and Solihull lose then it will come down to a possible six pointer against Guiseley on the last day.

GUISELEY

19th – Guiseley

49 Points (-17 Goal Difference)

Guiseley have matched their points tally from last year with two games to go. That sounds like improvement, however 49 points was enough to see them stay up by a point last year. This season it will no doubt take another 3 points or ideally 2 wins for the West Yorkshire side.

They have Bromley away on Saturday and more crucially play Solihull on the last day which could be a massive game for both sides should all the other teams at the bottom win on Saturday.

A few weeks ago it looked like Guiseley wouldn’t be in this situation again however a bad run of form has dragged them right into the thick of things

YORK

20th – York City

48 Points (-15 Goal Difference)

It’s arguably the biggest 2 weeks in York City’s existence as they play a vital game against Woking on Saturday which is a must win as well as the last game of the season against Forest Green.

Forest Green are at the other end of the table and will be pushing for promotion in the playoffs as they have missed out on automatic promotion. This means that Rovers will have nothing to play for which could work in City’s favour.

The York Press have reported that goalkeepers Scott Loach and Kyle Letheren may be unavailable for the Woking clash which means than 3rd choice Luke Simpson would be between the sticks at the Kingfield Stadium. Simpson has only played twice all season which could be a concern for Gary Mills.

In terms of the form table York City are 9th in the National League. York have one of the best front lines in the division at the moment and with a wage budget in the top 3 in the league you would assume that they have a team more than capable of doing a job at Woking and Forest Green.


BRAINTREE

21st – Braintree Town

48 Points (-21 Goal Difference)

Braintree have endured a massive turn around since last year, beating eventual playoff winners Grimsby in the first leg of the playoff semi-finals, and now fighting for survival. It just goes to show the effect the Crowley brothers have had as they continue their managerial success with Lincoln this season.

Goals have not been a massive issue for Braintree with striker Michael Cheek on 19 this season. However in contrast they have conceded 72 goals, the 4th most in the division. This has led to a -21 goal difference which could be their eventual demise as it is likely to go down to goal difference in my opinion.

They also have Barrow and Aldershot to play who are both looking to secure playoff spots, this coupled with the fact that Braintree have won once in their last 6 games makes me think they are a certainty to be relegated.

TORQUAY

22nd – Torquay United

47 Points (-10 Goal Difference)

Manager Kevin Nicholson is no stranger to a relegation fight after last season’s great escape earning him the nickname ‘The Ranieri of the Riviera’. I actually interviewed Kevin Nicholson earlier in the season and he told me that relegation is a concern for anyone in the bottom half. I wonder what he would say now with two games left and sitting 22nd in the league.

Torquay have Dover next up which I think they will struggle as Dover are looking at attaining a playoff spot. This will put pressure on their last fixture against North Ferriby should they lose this weekend. It’s obvious that Torquay will need 6 points from their last two, but ultimately their fate lies with results elsewhere at the bottom of the table.

Torquay have had financial constraints this season which has obviously not helped their league position. Due to my age I only really know Torquay as a football league side so it feels strange to me seeing them near the bottom of the National League but I guess you can’t go off reputation as York City are also a club finding it hard in non league.


So who will go down?

My opinion is that Braintree and either Guiseley/Torquay will be relegated. I think Braintree just because of the poor form and the fact they are playing two playoff hopefuls in the last two fixtures.

I expect Torquay to pick up three points against North Ferriby on the last day of the season which would force Guiseley into earning at least 2 points from their last two fixtures. 1 point for Guiseley would not be enough because of Torquay’s superior goal difference.

Obviously there is a bit of bias that I think York City will stay up. However I seriously believe they deserve to stay in this league based on performances over the last few months. I think if will go down to the last game but Forest Green have nothing to play for so will give The Minstermen an advantage going into the fixture.

York City FC Desktop Wallpapers – FREE Download

york city fc

After playing around with graphics in Photoshop I’ve come up with a few York City desktop wallpapers. I’ve made home and away coloured wallpapers to choose from. Feel free to save and download and share as you like.

Home Colours:

 

Desktop wallpaper 1HOME

DESKTOP WALLPAPER 2HOME

Away Colours:

Desktop Wallpaper 1AWAYDESKTOP WALLPAPER 2AWAY

I will be doing some iPhone wallpapers in the future so look out for them too.

More York City FC content on my twitter account.

York City have fielded 48 players this season

Blog Post, york city fc

When Jackie McNamara and chairman Jason McGill set out to recruit in the summer they used the tactic of signing players with potential and players who were hungry for success at a professional level. This saw the likes of Kaine Felix and Daniel Nti sign for the club who had both been playing in the Vanarama National League North the previous season.

For me I think there needed to be a balance of potential as well as experience in a league I consider to be very competitive with big teams such as Lincoln, Wrexham and Tranmere Rovers just to name a few.

The National League is a hard league to get out of with only 2 promotion spaces up for grabs and in my opinion if York really wanted they could have signed a lot more experienced players at this level and from league 2. I believe this just because of their stature in the lower leagues as well as the fact that McGill has claimed that they are top 3 in the league in terms of wage budget.

Since the Mills takeover I thought I’d dig into the stats and see how many players have actually played for the Minstermen this season considering the many in comings and outgoings at the football club since Millsy’s appointment.

York 1617 apps

The Cheltenam revolution seems to be a hit with the manager as all three players signed from the Robins have started each of the games they have been available for.

48 players have played for York City this season and with the release of all the agent and intermediary fees for National League clubs I can tell you that York City spent £8,660 from 2nd February 2016 to the 31st January 2017. Surprisingly this is considerably lower than some teams such a Forest Green who spent £174,613 and Wrexham who paid £26,032.

I’m amazed that this figure is so low as 46 players have played this season alone, more players can be added to this figure from the end of last season. One twitter user suggested that York went through one particular agent to recruit players and that is why the fees are so low. Even if that is true then York have still done well to keep their fees to a minimum compared to their National League rivals. Aldershot in comparison have spent only £52 on agent fees.. can anyone lend Jason McGill the agents number?

York City FC: Gary Mills ponders relegation

york city fc

York City FC have only 5 games remaining to retain their status in the Vanarama National League. The Minstermen currently sit 22nd in the league with 2 points from safety.

York City kissed goodbye to their game in hand on Tuesday night as they fell to a 2-0 home defeat to mid-table Bromley.

Thoughts from the manager

Gary Mills spoke with journalists following the game and joked that he is a good sleeper and won’t be dwelling on the Bromley game.

“When you have a defeat people seem to linger on more about it than when you have a victory.

We talk about the performance against Braintree on Saturday [and] we talk about the performance at Macclesfield.”

Mills always comes across as a fighting spirit and with a trip to Chester on the weekend you could tell that he was motivated for a result.

“[We’ve got to] start the game well, be strong, stand up and be counted when they’ve got the ball, defend as a team.. and when we get the ball go and hurt them”

What’s it like at the bottom?

Woking and Torquay United are the teams above York at the foot of the National league. Torquay have a -11 goal difference, which is considerably better than Working and York who sit on a goal difference of -16 each.

The biggest game of the season could be on Saturday 22nd of April at the Kingfield Stadium where York City travel to Woking on the second last game of the season.

Speaking to BT Sport they say they may look to televise a game at the bottom on the day as Lincoln City may have already won the league at that stage in the season. This could have a knock on effect as the fixture would be changed to an earlier kick off.

TV screenings on BT Sport have yet to be confirmed. However an early kickoff would technically give the teams an advantage over the other relegation candidates playing that day as they will already know their result.

Who do you think will beat the drop? Let me know with a vote in the poll on twitter or use the hashtag #NationalLeagueRelegation.