The Football Association have confirmed that the coming season will be one of transition for Town and all the other Clubs at both Step 3 and Step 4 of the Non League Pyramid.
At present the three Divisions at Step 3 are the Premier Divisions of the Evo-Stik Northern and Southern Leagues and the Bostik (formerly Ryman) League. Each Division has 24 clubs making 72 in all with Town being in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier
Step 4 is made up of the two lower Divisions of each of those Leagues thus making a total of six.
At the end of the 2017/18 season an extra Step 3 Division will be created which will be administered by the Evo-Stik South League and which is expected to be Midlands based with the aim of reducing everyone’s travelling time and costs. At the same time the number of clubs in each Division will be reduced to 22 meaning that there will then be 88 – an increase of 16 – at Step 3 level.
Only the bottom club in each of the three existing Divisions will be relegated at the end of the season instead of the bottom four as at present which will then leave 19 vacancies to be filled.
To achieve this the champions and runners-up in each Step 4 Division will be promoted instead of only the champions as before, plus the best third placed club assessed on a points per game basis. That will account for 13 places, with the remaining six being the play off winners from each Division.
The play offs will feature the clubs finishing third to sixth in each Division except the Division in which the third placed club qualifies for automatic promotion where the play off will be between the clubs finishing fourth to seventh. At the same time a new Step 4 Division will also be introduced making seven Divisions at that level with 20 clubs in each.
So how will all of this impact on Town ?
The simple answer is that as long as we don’t finish bottom of Evo-Stik South Premier we will retain our Step 3 status, but whether we will then be placed in the new Division won’t be definitely known until this time next year.