Is the Isthmian League our only hope ?

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Is the Isthmian League our only hope ?

Postby Mickeygee » Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:24 pm

This season’s league campaign has undeniably ended disappointingly for Chesham Utd. Today we are thirteen points off the playoffs with nine clubs above us. Perhaps six of those are seen as ‘big’ clubs who are likely to be strong again next season - and that doesn’t include Weymouth & Kings Lynn. They will finish below Chesham this season but are both ambitious clubs with substantially higher gates than ours.

Next season in the Southern League is going to be even tougher when we consider phoenix club Hereford will be promoted with their average home gate at 2,700. They will almost certainly win the Southern Premier league next season.

As if that weren’t bad enough, we may see Farnborough & Salisbury promoted via the playoffs & Gosport Borough, Weston Super Mare & Truro could be relegated to our league
It is even possible, although unlikely, that Poole Town & Hungerford, both of whom are strong play-off contenders in National Conference South, will be relegated over ground grading issues.
There could even be other enforced relegations from higher leagues.
In short, the Southern League is becoming much stronger.

Where does that leave Chesham Utd next season ? Probably only as ‘also-rans’ again with little chance of promotion either as champions or via the playoffs.

I often hear Chesham fans say we would be better off in the Rymans Isthmian League.
Next season that is likely to be especially true, particularly if our ultimate aim is National Conference South status.
With our Chairman on the board of the Southern League there is unlikely to be a lot of enthusiasm for a switch. Furthermore, the Southern League could be instructed to take Clubs from the Rymans next season for geographical reasons, (eg. Havant, Staines or Kingstonian), so a transfer for us in the opposite direction seems unlikely !

Hope must lie in much improved financial circumstances – ground sharing & social club revenue are great moves in the right direction but without a move away from the Southern League I fear we will be stuck here for a while.
Increases in gate money or sponsorship income are not very likely and how much could a benefactor be expected or be prepared to put in when the prospects are clearly challenging ?

Oh dear – can anyone think of anything positive about our prospects for next season ?

Are others hoping for a return to the Isthmian League ? I know I am.
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Re: Is the Isthmian League our only hope ?

Postby RyanW » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:28 am

Other the years, this discussion has been had multiple times and it is becoming increasingly less likely we would see ourselves moved to the Ryman.

There has been a concerted push in recent years for the Cambridgeshire sides as well sides like Hitchin to move across to the Ryman and for the West London and M3 sides that seem to have found they're way into the Ryman to move to the Southern League.

In an ideal world, we would attempt to go up next year but that seems unlikely for the reasons described above.

A strong set of promoted and relegated club's into the league only makes the league more difficult but in the first 30 games of the season that wasn't our problem and we seem to do better in the big games, last few results excepted.

But is the Ryman any weaker, it may not have the number of sides challenging as the Southern League would have but the quality of those sides is better. It looks likely that at least one or two of Billericay (owner with very deep pockets), Dulwich (amazing support and deep pockets) and Leiston (deep pockets) will still be there next year. Add in other big sides, Enfield, Havant, Wingate, Lowestoft and Staines. That's even before you consider that Stortford are coming down from above, and depending on how the run in goes maybe even Whitehawk and Margate. Both leagues are arguably as strong as each other.

Other objection i would have to the Ryman is travel, mileage is considerably shorter but the time is the same. The coach for the Dulwich game in the Trophy moved 5 miles in an hour, which is fairly standard for a Ryman trip. The squad we have currently are a Southern League squad, we would lose a few of them if we went Ryman and would have to rebuild. Only to be potentially moved again the year after with the introduction of the 1-2-4-7 pyramid rather than the 1-2-3-6 we have now.

I think our easiest shot at winning the league or the play offs was probably last year in recent years and then looking forward the year where it restructures which is currently 2018/19 looks like we may end up in a favourable league section.

All in all, I'd say we're better off in the Southern League than the Ryman League.
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Re: Is the Isthmian League our only hope ?

Postby Mickeygee » Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:19 am

Case well put RyanW. It’s one of those issues where it’s easy to see both sides but neither really suits !

Knowing FA/Football Adminstrators they’ll probably decide to do nothing.
With the proposals for a new Midland League progressing, that may be the right decision but perhaps one improved scenario (for Chesham’s promotion prospects ?) would be for the Southern League to take Havant & W, Staines, Wingate & Finchley, Met Police, Harrow Borough & Hendon from the Isthmian League and exchange them for Hitchin, Biggleswade, Kettering, St Ives, St Neots & Cambridge City, with Kings Lynn moving north.
Promotion prospects for Havant & W and Hitchin will be a factor too.

That re-shuffle would give Chesham’s ‘Isthmian League’ fans a halfway house solution and more 'local' games.

Of course, the non-league world doesn’t revolve around how we make it easier for Chesham to get promoted so perhaps we’ll just have to try and win more points than the other clubs.
Sadly that's unlikely to happen next season, thanks to Hereford !
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Re: Is the Isthmian League our only hope ?

Postby stanley » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:09 pm

Mickygee if things get too tough in the Southern you are always welcome at West London's finest!!⚽️⚽️⚽️
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Re: Is the Isthmian League our only hope ?

Postby Mickeygee » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:02 pm

Haven't been to Loftus Road since Terry Paine was playing on the wing for Southampton there !!

Why does anyone want to watch QPR (and others like them) when they could be at The Meadow
watching sensibly priced and often more entertaining football ? Beats me !
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