After what can only be described as an incredible second season at Step 2 of the non league pyramid, there’s some key changes that will be in place for our third year of football at this level.
The first change, and most obvious, is that we will not be playing Conference South football in 2015/16! The Football Conference along with Vanarama have rebranded the three leagues in Step 1 & 2, with all reference to the “Conference” being removed. The top tier of non league will now be called the Vanarama National League, with the level below being the National League South & National League North. Personally I don’t understand the branding of the North & South divisions; it’s not national if it only covers one half of the country!
One of the biggest changes for Concord Rangers as a club is of course the management setup within the team. I would like to thank both Danny & Nicky Cowley for all they’ve contributed to the club over the years they’ve been here, and the same goes for their parents Steve & Gill who have become a massive part of the support network here. With that in mind I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Adam Flanagan to Concord Rangers, and I wish him all the success in the new role here at the club. Adam brings a wealth of non-league playing experience to the club, and has had recent promotion success with Brentwood Town, taking them to the Ryman Premier League via the playoffs this past summer.
The other changes are the new faces in our league this coming season. Whilst we lost Bromley and Boreham Wood to promotion, along with Farnborough and Staines Town to relegation, 5 teams have replaced them. Dropping from the Conference Premier into what will be the National League South is Dartford, whilst the others relegated from that league have been moved into the National League North. As a result of the geographical location of those other teams relegated, Oxford City have been moved from the into the South league given the location of all the sides being relegated from what was the much to the chagrin of Lowestoft Town!
Truro City have been promoted from the Southern League Premier, which will be by far the longest away trip we’ve ever had as a club (between 5 & 6 hours drive each way). Also joining us are two teams from our old Ryman Premier stomping grounds, the first being Maidstone United, who were promoted after winning the 2014/15 Ryman Premier League. After some lingering playoff issues surrounding Enfield Town, the eventual recipients of that second promotion slot were Margate, giving us another seaside away trip this coming season.
So there’s plenty of changes ready for the 2015/16 season, but ultimately Concord Rangers are still the same club punching above our weight and looking to upset a few people as we continue this journey! I, along with everyone else I’m sure, am looking forward to seeing what this year will bring our way.
You Are My Concord!