SEVEN years ago I carried out a straw poll on behalf of The Bolton News in which 12 out of 13 of the top local amateur football clubs said they would be interested in playing in a Bolton league.

So it was with great interest that I read on Twitter last week the Bolton, Bury and District Football League had made a formal agreement with the Lancashire Football Association to set up an adult league.

Bolton has been lacking a top open-age league since the Bolton Combination folded almost 30 years ago.

The Combination was one of the most respected leagues in the area with all the top teams in the town and surrounding area playing in it.

But one by one they left to join the West Lancashire League, Lancashire Amateur League or Manchester League in search of better standards of play and facilities.

While those leagues are well run and established, they cover large areas of the North West and involve big financial and time commitments travelling to matches as far away at Barrow.

Regret is often expressed among some clubs that they have to travel long distances to play when there are so many local opponents of equal standard on their doorstep.

Bolton and the immediate surrounding area is so rich in amateur clubs it could easily accommodate several divisions of competitive football from a high standard down to teams who just want to play.

Promotion and relegation would bring extra interest and excitement while the lure of local bragging rights is always appealing.

The Bolton, Bury and District Football League is an organisation that gets things done.

It has grown into one of the biggest and most forward-thinking leagues in the country over the last 20 years and if they they have gone so far as to meet and secure an agreement with the county’s governing body you can rest assured there is a very good chance this league will get up and running.

The initial timescale is to do so from next autumn and there were immediate expressions of interest from a handful of clubs within hours of their announcement of the news.

My straw poll seven years ago was of the 13 local clubs who played in the Premier Divisions of the North West’s three leading leagues and led to a story you can read by visiting

Five of them said they would definitely play in a Bolton league as long as the standard of facilities and football were on a par with the three existing leagues. Another seven said it would be something they would consider, while all stipulated opponents must have their own grounds with changing facilities.