The 2016-17 season of the Socialist Republic Football Alliance kicks off in less than three weeks now, on the evening of Friday 2nd September, with reigning champions Marine making the short trip across the Mersey to divisional newcomers Torpedo Tranmere in the curtain-raiser before the rest of the action gets under way on Saturday 3rd.
The Championship will retain its traditional format and comprise sixteen teams playing each other on a home and away basis in a 30-match competition , but below the top level a significant restructuring of the League has taken place.
A Third Division has been reinstated at national level after the previous two seasons' experiment with just two national sections. Both the Second and Third Divisions will comprise twelve teams who will play each other home and away during Phase One of the campaign (22 matches) before each of these two divisions split at the mid point of the respective tables to form two sections of six teams to compete in Phase Two, a Promotion group and a Relegation group, with each member playing each other home and away in a further 10 matches to decide the season's promotions and demotions - the top two clubs from each of the Promotion groups will achieve elevation to the division above, whilst the bottom two teams of each of the Alliance's three tiers will be relegated to the level below (the regional leagues in the case of those clubs finishing in the bottom two positions of the Third Division).
To accommodate this restructuring has necessitated a further two clubs being demoted from last season's Second Division in addition to the four who were relegated at the close of 2015-16: Manchester Newton Heath, who will join the new third tier and Inter-Italiano who have relocated across Manchester, subsequently re-branded as Urmston Villa and have also been awarded a place at the third level.
Prescot Cables and the recently merged Wimbledon, Tooting & Mitcham have been promoted to the Second Division from the regions, as Northern and Southern champions, whilst a whole host of new names along with returning former twice champions Matlock Town and rebranded/reformed Gateshead (as Trinity), Nelson (Proletariat) and Sunderland (Automotive) will complete the Third Division.
The full list of member clubs, in divisional order and with first-choice colours, is as follows:
Everton Stanley - blue and salmon pink halves/white/blue, salmon pink tops
Gateshead Trinity - green and black halves, red trim/white/black, red tops
Manchester Newton Heath - dark blue and dark red halves/black/dark blue, dark red tops
Newcastle Caledonia Thistle - purple and pink halves/white/purple and pink hoops
Red Star Bootle - dark red with navy LH stripe with red star/navy/navy, dark red tops
White Star Waterloo - royal blue and navy halves/white/navy, royal blue tops