EMIL ANDERSON TALKS ABOUT NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Time for change on promotion and relegation

Emil Anderson

Emil Anderson

First published in Sport

I HAVE raised my head above the parapet again and tabled a motion to be discussed at the North West Counties Football League AGM at The Imperial Hotel, Blackpool on Saturday, June 14.

Let me qualify that: I am not a perennial proposer of rule changes; I am not forever burning the midnight oil perusing the league handbook looking for statutes which need tinkering with.

In fact, it was the AGM of 2012 when I made my only other proposal and my record stands at won none, lost one.

However, like the Robert the Bruce and spider legend I have dusted myself down and I am having a second crack at changing the current rule of two up two down between the Premier Division and Division One to three up three down.

This year though I have added a pinch of spice with play-offs for the third promotion spot between the teams who finish third to sixth in the Division One. This motion has the backing of Rochdale Town and Oldham Borough.

In 2012, I was confident of success right up to when the motion was discussed but the Premier Division clubs were totally unenthusiastic about seeing three relegated, and who could blame them?

They realised what an ultra-competitive competition Division One was and when demoted it was unlikely an immediate return would be achieved.

I could have produced a rabble-rousing fire and brimstone speech of which Ed Milliband would have been proud, but it would have been to no avail.

There were 22 voters on the top table and they were in the majority. The Premier Division voted en bloc and it was curtains for my proposal. I was disappointed yet philosophical.

This year there are more teams in the competition – 22 in the Premiership and 19 in Division One and the league are actively seeking the full complement of 22 in each.

This figure might be reached for the start of next season and once this occurs there will be mandatory relegation of teams finishing bottom of the Division One. They would be replaced by teams in promotion positions from the feeder leagues.

I don’t have the space to list all the reasons why three up three down would be beneficial but I look at the standard of the second tier and am sure the top eight would be able to more than hold their own in the level above.

More liquidity between the divisions can only be a good thing. I also understand why the Premier Division teams may still be resistant to change.

A reason cited last time was the fact there was only one team promoted to the Evo-stik League. Perhaps we should start lobbying strongly for an increase.

We keep being told this is our league and if we want change it’s up to us to propose it.

I have made a proposal and recruited seconders but I’m not predicting which way the vote will go.

If a positive result is attained I want the rule to be called “The Anderson Rule”. Ha ha, only joking. “Emil’s Law” sounds so much better.

Roll on June 14 for the most important referendum in the UK in 2014.

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