Town Youth News

The MFYL recently  held  its AGM where the provisional league line-ups for 2018-19 were published.

Town Youth will continue in Premier Division South which as before will consist of eleven teams.  Last season’s two bottom sides Rugby Town and Redditch United have been relegated and been replaced by Gloucester City and Evesham United who finished  as champions and runners-up respectively in the Southern Division.

The full line-up is as under :-
Alvechurch
Bromsgrove Sporting
Evesham United
Gloucester City
Halesowen Town
Hereford FC
Lye Town
Rugby Borough Juniors
Stourbridge
STRATFORD TOWN
Worcester City

The season’s opening  fixtures are scheduled for the week beginning Monday August 13th.

June Lottery winner

The winner of the June lottery draw £100 prize was Eileen Edkins. Congratulations Eileen.  A full list of monthly lottery winners and details of how to join can be found at  https://stratfordtownisa.com/stisa-lottery/

Town Appoint Assistant Manager

Darren Byfield has brought in Steve Walker to the role of Assistant Manager.

Steve has extensive coaching experience beginning with Corby Town after his playing career was cut short by injury, and he was most recently First Team Coach at Coalville Town before  stepping  down from that position in August last year.

 

Ben Signs For The Silkmen

Following his stellar season at Town when he topped the scoring charts with 25 goals in  46 appearances and scooped four awards at the End of Season Presentation Evening Ben Stephens has been rewarded with a dream move to  Macclesfield Town.

Last season’s National League Champions are building up their squad  under new manager Mark Yates for their forthcoming campaign in EFL League Two, and Ben has signed a two year contract with the ambitious Silkmen.

An understandably excited Ben said “I’m buzzing to sign my first professional contract and I can’t wait to get started.  I want to thank everyone at Stratford for the chance to play regular senior football and  I wish them all the best for the future.”

And in turn all Town supporters will thank him for his tremendous performances during his time at the MoodChimp and wish him every success in this next stage of his football career.

 

Pre-Season Friendlies

A provisional schedule of pre-season friendlies has been published and is as under.

Currently all the games are away due to the ongoing work on the MoodChimp pitch and  are subject to change nearer the time.

Thursday July 5th              –       Highgate United                     –      KO 7.30 pm

Saturday July 7th               –       Boldmere St Michaels          –       KO 3.00 pm

Saturday July 14th            –       Walsall Wood                           –        KO 3.00 pm

Monday July 16th               –      Coleshill Town                        –        KO 7.45 pm

Saturday July 21st              –       TBC

Saturday July 28th             –       Worcester City                      –        KO 3.00 pm

Wednesday August 1st    –        Nuneaton Griff                      –        KO 7.45 pm

Friday August 3rd              –        Sutton Coldfield Town       –        KO 7.45 pm

Saturday August 4th       –          TBC

New Season’s Fixtures

The Southern League has announced that the 2018/19 fixtures will be released at 10 am on Thursday July 19th.

This is one week later than the Northern Premier League and the Isthmian League, but the League Board state that “it was felt that the time frame between the AGM, outstanding appeals and the time available to look at the initial draft of the fixtures would be too limiting to achieve the same release date.”

League Reorganisation – More Changes

The recent sudden and unexpected demise of Northern Premier League side Shaw Lane AFC has had a knock-on effect on the new Central Division of the Southern League as it has been proposed that Hednesford Town be transferred across to take Shaw Lane’s place.

Hednesford have appealed against this decision on the grounds that both Coalville Town and Kings Lynn Town are further north and should therefore be considered instead, and the result of that appeal will be advised when known.

Banbury United are to be switched from the South Division of the Southern League to replace Hednesford and it is understood that they will also be lodging an appeal, while Wimborne Town being moved up from the West Division to take Banbury’s spot.

Meanwhile the FA have also announced the arrangements for promotion and relegation at the end of the 2018/19 season following the creation of the new Central Division which has meant that there are now four divisions at Step 3 of the Non-League pyramid.

But as before only three clubs will be relegated from each of the Step 2 divisions (National League South and North) making six in all and therefore only six clubs can be promoted from Step 3.

The FA have decided that the champions of the four Step 3 divisions will continue to be automatically promoted but that only two of the four play-off winners will also go up.

The play-offs in each division will go ahead as previously, but there will then be two further play-off matches involving the four divisional play-off winners which will be scheduled by the FA Leagues Committee on the most suitable geographically basis.

The winners of those two matches will be given the two remaining promotion spots while the losers – although being divisional play-off winners – will therefore miss out on promotion and stay where they are.

The relegation situation is rather more straightforward as twelve clubs will still be relegated to Step 4. When there were three Step 3 divisions it was the bottom four from each division which faced the drop, but with the introduction of the new division it will now only be the bottom three which will go down

Town’s New Squad Takes Shape

It has been a busy introduction to his new role as Town boss for Darren Byfield as he sets about assembling his squad for life in the newly formed Southern League Central Division.

Right from the start he had to deal with the departure of Liam Francis, Justin Marsden, Loyiso Recci and Lee Thomas who followed Carl Adams to Rugby Town, but he was commendably quick to emphasise that he only wanted players who “wanted to be at Stratford.”

He immediately impressed Town supporters by securing the return of former fans favourite Kieren Westwood from Stafford Rangers, and he was also able to convince Mike Taylor to continue at the MoodChimp after he had apparently been set to join the exodus to Rugby.

With skipper Jimmy Fry soon agreeing to extend his time at Town followed by Charlie Evans, Andy Gallinagh, James Hancocks, Jazz Luckie and Dan Summerfield the early signs were already encouraging, and Darren Byfield then pulled off a real coup by persuading the hugely influential playmaker Will Grocott to stay on as well.

He is however still awaiting to hear whether Ben Stephens will return following his successful stint at Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy which Ben described as “an unreal experience which I’ll never forget,” while so far no there has no news in respect of striker Edwin Ahenkorah, midfielder Eli Bako and keeper Louis Connor all of whom were regulars under Carl Adams.

But meantime the youthful and highly rated defensive duo of Jack Coates and Bradley Maslen-Jones have been recruited, and no doubt there will be other arrivals before the beginning of the pre-season friendlies schedule which is expected to be announced shortly.

Well Done Dan

Many congratulations to Town’s stalwart defender and Stratford Herald Player of the Year Dan Summerfield on gaining a 2.1 degree in BSC Economics from Birmingham University.