FA considers tinkering with Aylesbury United’s league pyramid

Jack Sillitoe kept the Ducks' lead intact
Jack Sillitoe kept the Ducks' lead intact

LEAGUE changes which could affect Aylesbury United were discussed in a recent meeting with the Football Association.

The FA is considering restructuring its league pyramid in an attempt to balance up the flow of teams between Steps Four and Five.

The Ducks are currently one of 287 clubs at Step Five in 14 leagues across the country. The FA have suggested reducing the number of leagues to 12 so that it corresponds with the six Step Four leagues currently in operation.

The change would mean that when a team wins promotion it is guaranteed the place in the league which it has won, a situation which is not the case at present.

Those 287 clubs would then be reduced to 264 over several seasons by adding an additional relegation place.

Alan Sherwell, a director at Aylesbury United, attended the meeting and in his report said the main opposition to the plans came from clubs who would be forced to travel greater distances.

In the report said: “Obviously moving from 14 to 12 leagues has to increase travelling overall but, for south-east clubs and northern clubs, the proposals have far less effect.

“For instance, in the illustration, Aylesbury United would have two more trips, losing our longest by time, Haringey Borough, and a relatively local one, Holmer Green, and gaining clubs similar to existing journeys, Enfield 1893, Kempston, a shorter London journey, Wembley, and another Bucks club, Newport Pagnell. On the other hand a Lincolnshire club currently only has two journeys over an hour each way but would get two of more than three hours and six over two.

“It’s a massive increase in travel costs, possibly critical to the viability of clubs who only pay expenses.”

Aylesbury United vice-chairman Ken Turnbull said: “Travelling is going to be a key factor. Even though we wouldn’t be affected it could hurt other clubs. What could impact on us is the possibility of an additional relegation spot in our league for a few years.”

At the moment Step Five is the only level where there is only one promotion space available, something Sherwell believes is unfair and in need of change.

He said that even the flow between non-league and league football is two clubs both ways.

In his report Sherwell added: “The final decision is for the Football Association Council and needs to be taken by their summer August meeting for implementation in season 2013.”