Wednesday, 29 July 2015
Monday, 27 July 2015
Following a summer of much activity in terms of club name changes, mergers, relegations, promotions, resignations and additions, the most seismic in the 35-year history of the Football Alliance, it seems appropriate at this stage to take stock of these developments and how they affect the landscape of the Championship and Second Division going into the 2015 - 16 season, which kicks-off in earnest on 5th September.
The updated list of the 32 clubs who will compete in the two national divisions is, then:
Liverpool St Helens
Locomotive Crewe Alexandra
Red Star Mossley
Bradford Park Avenue
Manchester Newton Heath
Newcastle Blue Star
South Liverpool Red StarTorpedo Tranmere
Friday, 24 July 2015
The merger season continues with news of the incorporation of Nelson CBR into the Championship’s Burnley, thus creating something of a north Lancs ‘super club’, what with the former already being an amalgamation of Nelson, Colne Dynamoes and, last season, also former champions Blackburn Rovers: the new club will be named Dynamo Burnley, a suitably energetic name to launch the new venture and also an historical nod to Colne, of course, and will assume Burnley’s place in the Championship and play in their traditional claret, blue and white colours.
Wednesday, 22 July 2015
Bradford City are relocating across town, to the renovated Park Avenue ground of the club with whom they merged some years ago, and will henceforth be known as Bradford Park Avenue.
Monday, 20 July 2015
Newly-promoted to next season’s Championship, Crewe Alexandra have announced with immediate effect that they will be known as, in tribute to their home town’s rail associations, Locomotive Crewe Alexandra.
Friday, 17 July 2015
In another of the summer’s rebranding exercises, Second Division Gateshead Dynamo have announced a merger with Newcastle United, relegated from the Football Alliance at the conclusion of last season, and will henceforth be known as Newcastle-Gateshead Dynamo.
Thursday, 16 July 2015
As a result of recent events, the Football Alliance have announced that the two vacancies which existed in the Second Division due to the combination of Crewe Alexandra’s promotion and Matlock Town’s resignation will be allocated to the 3rd and 4th placed clubs in the 2014-15 regional league play-offs, the Newcastle-based Anglo-Scots Caledonia Thistle of the Northern League, and another team with ethnic origins and associations, Excelsior Benelux from the London and South-East Counties, whose home is Cambridge.
Monday, 13 July 2015
Following a weekend of rumour but official silence, the Football Alliance have today announced that the position in next season’s Championship vacated by the recent merger of Hartlepool United and Red Star Sunderland to create the new Hartlepool Petrochemical will be awarded to last season’s third-placed club in the Second Division, thus promoting Crewe Alexandra after they just missed out at the very last (having occupied one of the two promotion places for much of the season).
Crewe have responded to this development with both surprise and delight, with the expectation having been that Matlock Town, the second-bottom club to be relegated from the Championship last term, would be reinstated to the division, but it transpires that the authorities have refused to ratify the proposed merger between Matlock Town and their Midland League neighbours Derby County, leaving both clubs in limbo at the moment and Matlock in a position where they feel unable to continue as a viable national league entity, thus leading them to the decision to resign from the Football Alliance, an unfortunate turn of events to befall its inaugural champions, and, indeed, title winners as recently as 2012.
These developments have now created two vacancies in next season’s Second Division, the filling of which will be announced in due course.
Monday, 6 July 2015
News today of the announcement of a merger between two of the north-east’s Championship clubs, Hartlepool United and Red Star Sunderland. The new club will be known as Hartlepool Petrochemical, based in the town and who will assume the history of United, four times winners of the Football Alliance Championship in its first 13 seasons, and thus end three and a half decades of underachievement at Sunderland, who at times promised much, occasionally challenging for the title, but ultimately failed to deliver on the trophy front. By way of a curious coincidence, Hartlepool United and Red Star Sunderland met in what proved to be their last ever matches as such, ending in a 5 - 0 victory for the 'Pool in the final round of Championships fixture of last season.
The club colours will be closely related to Hartlepool United’s - light blue and white halved shirts with Sunderland’s red star on the left, white panel, white shorts and red socks with white tops.
Being an amalgamation of two clubs from the same division, Hartlepool Petrochemical will take a place in the Championship, but the equation of two-into-one means that a place in the top flight becomes vacant, of course, which the governing body have announced, somewhat opaquely, will be allocated “after due consideration of a number of factors”.
Wednesday, 1 July 2015
Following last season’s relegation from the Championship, it has today been announced that Oxford Excelsior have decided to merge with Marlow, who themselves only just retained their place in the top flight. The new club will be named Excelsior Marlow, based in Marlow, assume Marlow’s Championship status, their playing and honours history (including four league titles and a European Cup, of course), and sport the colours of Marlow, those famous blue and red quartered shirts with white shorts.