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IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS: Steps 1 -7 Promotion, Play-Off’s & Relegation’s as it stands!

With just a week or so of the season (barring play-offs) here are the Steps 1 to 7 relegation and promotion placings as things stand. (Main photograph by Paul Tong)

Step 1 (National League)

Promotion is pretty straight forward, top spot is promoted to League Two which currently stands at Leyton Orient, who are currently 3 points clear, with the whole league having played 45 games, every club has 1 games left.

A second side is promoted via the play-off’s, which involves teams placed 2nd to 7th, with two Quarter-Final, two Semi-Final’s and a Final. Current teams are: Salford City, Solihull Moors, AFC Fylde, Wrexham, Harrogate Town and Eastleigh.

The bottom four teams are relegated from the National League and placed into the appropriate National League North/South, then a slight reshuffle may occur due to the split of N/S to ensure an even distribution between the leagues.

All four sides are confirmed as relegated: Havant & Waterlooville, Aldershot Town, Braintree Town and Maidstone United.

Step 2 (National League North/South)

A very similar scenario to Step 1 occurs, with the same promotion, play-off terms, but only three relegation spots.

Stockport County are currently leading the National League North, whilst Torquay United are 7 points clear at the top of the National League South and confirmed as Champions.

Play-off’s for National League North contains: Chorley, Brackley Town, Spennymoor Town, Altrincham, Bradford Park Avenue and Blyth Spartans. Whilst National League South contains: Woking, Welling United, Chelmsford City, Bath City, Concord Rangers and Billericay Town.

Currently in the relegation zone in National League North are FC United of Manchester, Ashton United and Nuneaton Borough. Whilst from National League South there is Truro City, East Thurrock United (Relegated) and Weston-Super-Mare (Relegated).

Step 3

Six teams overall will be promoted to Step 2 from Step 3. These will comprise the leading club in each Step 3 division, together with two of the four divisional play-off winners, following inter-divisional play-offs.

Currently the top leaders in the four Step 3 divisions are Dorking Wanderers (Champions), Farsley Celtic, Weymouth and Kettering Town (Champions).

The 16 sides inside the play-offs are: (Bostik Isthmian Football League Premier Division) Haringey Borough, Tonbridge Angels, and Carshalton Athletic and Bishop Stortford, (EvoStik Northern Premier Division) South Shields, Warrington Town, Nantwich Town and Buxton, (EvoStik Southern League Premier Division South) Met Police, Taunton Town, Salisbury and Poole Town (EvoStik Southern League Premier League Central) Stourbridge, King’s Lynn Town, Alvechurch and Stratford Town.

At Step 3, the bottom three sides will be relegated to Step 4. If any spaces are available at Step 3 due to clubs dropping out then the “unlucky playoff winner” at Step 4 with the best PPG will be promoted. If there are more than two vacancies then relegated clubs will be reprieved on a PPG basis. The bottom club of each division will not be eligible for a reprieve.

The 12 sides currently in the relegation places are: (Bostik Isthmian Football League Premier Division) Burgess Hill Town, Whitehawk and Harlow Town (R) (EvoStik Northern Premier Division) Mickleover Sports, Workington (R) and North Ferriby United (Folded), (EvoStik Southern League Premier Division South) Walton Casuals, Frome Town (R) and Staines Town (R), (EvoStik Southern League Premier League Central) St Neots Town (R), Halesowen Town (R) and Bedworth United (R).

To note at Step 3: North Ferriby United have folded in the Northern Premier. They will take bottom place.

Step 4

At Step 4, the side finishing 1st will be automatically promoted to Step 3. Sides finishing 2nd to 5th will go into playoffs. This will result in 7 sides winning their divisional playoffs. However, of these sides, only the 5 sides with the highest PPG will be promoted to Step 3, therefore 2 sides will win their respective play-offs and will NOT be promoted.

The current leaders of each Step 4 Division in terms of points-per-game are: Atherton Collieries (C), Morpeth Town (C), Peterborough Sports (C), Blackfield & Langley (C), Hayes & Yeading (C), Bowers & Pitsea (C) and Cray Wanderers (C).

The following is a list of teams currently in the play-offs of their respective leagues, with their points-per-game displayed. The bottom three sides however, if they currently won their play-offs would not be promoted due to their inferior points-per-game total.

TeamLeaguePPGGDMin PPGMax PPG
Bromsgrove SpS1C2.351662.2892.368
HorshamI1SE2.056352.0562.056
AveleyI1N2.056291.9472.105
Maldon & TiptreeI1N2.054342.0002.079
RadcliffeN1W2.027411.9742.053
Yate TownS1S2.027261.9742.053
Bracknell TownI1SC2.000471.9472.026
Corby TownS1C2.000451.9472.026
Coggeshall TownI1N2.000371.9472.026
Pontefract CollierN1E1.973341.9212.000
CheshuntI1SC1.973331.9212.000
MarlowI1SC1.973331.9212.000
Cirencester TownS1S1.946571.8951.974
Leek TownN1W1.919431.8681.947
Ramsbottom UtdN1W1.919371.8681.947
Brighouse TownN1E1.919321.8681.947
MoneyfieldsS1S1.919311.8681.947
Heybridge SwiftsI1N1.919181.8681.947
Hastings UnitedI1SE1.914311.8611.944
ColneN1W1.892261.8421.921
WestfieldI1SC1.892261.8421.921
Cinderford TownS1S1.892251.8421.921
Ashford UnitedI1SE1.857331.8061.889
Haywards HeathI1SE1.800181.7501.833
Ossett UnitedN1E1.784281.7371.816
SheffieldN1E1.784171.7371.816
Bedford TownS1C1.676311.6321.711
Sutton Coldfield TS1C1.595131.5531.632

The following sides have guaranteed a play-off spot:

Radcliffe, Pontefract Collieries, Brighouse Town, Bromsgrove Sporting, Corby Town, Bedford Town, Yate Town, Bracknell Town, Chestnut, Marlow, Westfield, Maldon & Tiptree, Aveley, Coggeshall Town, Heybridge Swifts, Horsham, Hastings United, Ashford United and Haywards Heath.

At Step 4, the bottom two sides will be relegated to Step 5. If any reprieves are available then the side with the best PPG will be reprieved. The bottom club of each division will not be eligible for a reprieve.

TeamLeagueCurrent PPGGDMin PPGMax PPG
RomfordI1N0.838-360.8160.895
Dunstable TownS1C0.838-400.8160.895
GuernseyI1SE0.829-270.8060.889
MoleseyI1SC0.757-390.7370.816
GresleyN1E0.676-510.6580.737
Fleet TownS1S0.432-710.4210.500
Skelmersdale UN1W0.351-860.3420.421

Currently in the relegation zones throughout Step 4 are Skelmersdale United (R), Gresley, Carlton Town, Dunstable Town, Aylesbury (R), Fleet Town, Molesey, Egham Town (R), Mildenhall Town (R), Romford, and Guernsey.

Note: Thamesmead Town resigned from the Isthmian 1 South East. They will take up the “20th position” in that division, therefore effectively will be relegated.

Aylesbury have indicated that they will be demoted from the Southern 1 Central due to ground grading issues. 19th in the division will be reprieved, if Aylesbury finish 18th or higher.

Colwyn Bay will be leaving the English pyramid at the end of the season. They are currently in the Northern D1 West and will effectively be placed bottom, meaning the club finishing in 19th in that division will be reprieved.

Thamesmead Town resigned from the Isthmian 1 South East. They will take up the “20th position” in that division.

Street will resign from the Southern 1 South. This will see them take up the “20th position” in that division, meaning the current 19th position is not a relegation place.

Step 5

Only the side finishing 1st in each Step 5 division will be promoted to Step 4, with NO play-offs.

The 14 sides currently occupying top spot in their respective leagues are Chertsey Town (C), Histon (C), Hullbridge Sports, Wantage Town (C), Ilkeston Town, City of Liverpool, Worksop Town (C), Dunston UTS (C), Chichester City (C), Cray Valley PM, Biggleswade (C), Daventry Town (C), Sholing (C) and Plymouth Parkway.

At Step 5, the bottom two sides will be relegated to Step 6. If any spaces are available at Step 5, then the remaining Step 6 runner ups will be promoted. After they have been exhausted, reprieves will be available to the side with the best PPG. The bottom club of each division will not be eligible for a reprieve.

The 25 sides currently in the respective relegation zones are: Balham, Walton & Hersham (R), Great Yarmouth Town, Framington Town (R), Leyton Athletic (R), Barkingside(R), Abingdon United (R), Dunkirk (R), Wolves S C (R), West Didsbury & C, Abbey Hey (R), Harrogate RA, Goole AFC, Arundel, Eastbourne Utd, Croydon (R), Rusthall, London Tigers, Cockfosters, Kirby Muxloe (R), Wellingborough W (R), Bemerton H H (R), Andover New Street (R), Hengrove Athletic (R), Shortwood Utd (R).

Note: Both Blyth and Team Northumbria resigned from the Northern 1. They will be placed in the bottom two, meaning no relegation for other clubs from that division.

Oxford City Nomads resigned from the Hellenic Premier. They will be placed bottom of the division, meaning 19th will be reprieved.

Step 6

28 promotion spots available for Step 6 to Step 5. This will mean the Champion club from each division, plus the 9 runners up with the best PPG across the 19 divisions. Should there be any vacancies at Step 5, then the amount of runners-up being promoted will be increased.

At Step 6, promotion is compulsary. However, clubs in the SWP are allowed to turn down promotion due to location/costs. This could open up an additional promotion spot.

Due to Thamesmead Town folding at Step 4, there will be a vacancy at Step 5, thus a 10th runner up will be promoted.

Due to Colwyn Bay leaving the English pyramid, there will be a vacancy at Step 5, thus an 11th runner up will be promoted.

Plymouth Argyle Reserves will not be promoted and will be dropping lower than Step 6.

There is the possibility that North Ferriby United will be reformed at Step 5. IF that happens then one LESS club will be promoted from Step 6.

The 19 sides with the best PPG (not top of their leagues as some clubs have played more games than others in their respective leagues so to even it out we have selected it this way): Frimley Green, Selston (C), Swaffam Town, Hashtag Utd (C), Burnham (C), Easington Sports (C), Heather St Johns (C), Longridge Town, Rylands (C), Campion, Billingham Town (C), Tavistock, Alfold, Welling Town, Harefield Town (C), Lutterworth Town, AFC Stoneham, Tividale (C), Keynsham Town.

The top 11 sides from the 2nd Best PPG table would also be promoted, with the next 8 sides not qualifying.

At Step 6, the suggestion is that the bottom two sides will be relegated to Step 7. If any reprieves are available then the side with the best PPG will be reprieved. The bottom club of each division will not be eligible for a reprieve.

There are 26 vacancies at Step 6 due to the leagues not being filled to capacity (20 sides in each division). Therefore it is likely that some sides will be reprieved from relegation.

Currently, only 21 sides are eligible from promotion at Step 7. There were meant to be 38 sides coming up. That means there will be another 17 vacancies at Step 6, meaning more reprieves.

Eight clubs from outside the pyramid have applied to join Step 6.

With there being 35 vacancies at Step 6 next season (26 from existing spaces + 17 spaces from Step Seven – 8 new clubs), there is the potential that NO clubs will be relegated from Step 6. The normal rule of the bottom club being not being eligible for a reprieve does NOT count at Step 6. The promotion and relegation issues between Steps 6 and 7 are down to the FA’s League Committee. So in conclusion, none of us really know what will happen.

To note:
AC London were expelled from the CCL 1. They will effectively be placed bottom. This should mean that 17th in that division is no longer a relegation place.
Bicester Town resigned from the Hellenic 1 East during the season. They will effectively be placed bottom. This should mean that 12th in that division is no longer a relegation place.
Both Carteron and North Leigh United resigned from the Hellenic 1 West during the season. They will effectively be placed bottom and second from bottom. This should mean that no sides finishing the season will be relegated.
St Francis Rangers resigned from the Southern Combination 1 during this season. They will effectively be placed bottom. This should mean that 16th in that division is no longer a relegation place. 
Gravesham Borough resigned from the Southern Counties East Division 1 during the season. They will effectively be placed bottom. This should mean that 17th in that division is no longer a relegation place. 
Witheridge resigned from the South West Peninsula League during the season. Plymouth Argyle Reserves will be leaving the league at the end of the season. This means there will be no relegation from the division.
Phoenix Sports Reserves will leave the SCE1 at the end of the season. This means the side that finishes bottom will not be relegated.

The 29 sides currently in the relegation zones are Cove (R), Borrowash Victoria (R), Arnold Town (R), Felixstowe & W R (R), Wisbech St Mary (R), Fire United (R), Brightlingsea Res (R), Chinnor (R), Nuneaton Griff (R), Heaton Hayes, Daisy Hill (R), Atherton LR (R), Ellesmere Rangers (R), Stone Dominoes (R), Harworth Colliery (R), FC Bolsover (R), Brandon United (R), Durham City (R), Worthing United, Phoenix Sports R (R), Codicote (R), Hatfield Town (R), Raunds Town, Thrapston Town (R), Totton & Eling (R), Andover Town (R), Shifnal Town, Pegasus Juniors (R), Chippenham Park and Bristol Telephones (R).

Step 7

There are 45 divisions at Step 7 and just 38 sides promoted to Step 6. These sides will be ranked on a PPG basis with the top 38 being promoted and each division will only be able to promote one side. Here are PPG taken the top PPG from each division (not necessarily top spot due to games in hand etc).

Not all leagues have provided a club eligible for promotion. The FA have stated that only one side can be promoted from each division. In spite of this, I have created tables that show the eligible sides with the second best PPG in each division (and then third best PPG) just in case the FA do promote extra sides to fill the gaps at Step 6. Eligible sides on course to finish outside the top 5 are not shown in the PPG tables.
Hebburn Town Reserves can only be promoted if their first team is promoted to Step 4. They are not currently on course to do this, so Hebburn Town Reserves are not shown in the PPG tables.
The South West Peninsula divisions have different promotion rules this season due to expansion of step 6 in that area. Therefore they are not currently shown in PPG tables. Please see next tab for further details

This table shows the second best eligible side from each division, even though the FA have said only one club can be promoted from each division.

PosTeamLeagueCurrent PPGGDMin PPGMax PPG
1Golcar UnitedW Riding2.7502.5002.773
1St PanteleimonMddx2.7272.5002.750
1Hucknall TownCMS2.7082.5002.731
1RetfordCMN2.654
2New SalamisHerts2.5652.2692.615
1Newcastle UniNorthAll2.5192.2672.567
1Worcester RaidWMRL12.4522.3752.469
1Marlow UnitedThames2.4292.3182.455
1SheringhamAnglian2.3932.2332.433
1Shefford T & CBeds2.385
2Sunderland WEWearside2.3452.2672.367
2GNP SportsMidland22.333
1Lebeq UnitedGlos2.321
3Saffron DynamoLeics2.2222.0002.300
2Brigg Town CICLincs2.2002.0002.273
1Staplehurst MKent2.1722.1002.200
1PilkingtonCheshire2.133
2Berkhamsted RSpartan22.077
3RoffeySoCo22.0742.0002.107
2WestsideSurrey1.964
5Stafford TownStaffs1.786

This table shows the second best eligible side from each division, even though the FA have said only one club can be promoted from each division:

TeamLeagueCurrent PPGGDMin PPGMax PPG
Clay Cross TCMN2.462
Darlaston TownWMRL12.4192.3442.438
PFC Victoria LMddx2.4002.0002.500
Cranfield UtdBeds2.385
Matlock T ResCMS2.2802.1922.308
FC GNGLeics2.2122.0672.267
Moors AcademyMidland22.167
Stonehouse TGlos1.92925
Peckham TownKent1.929451.8002.000

Information extracted from Peter Miller’s excellent spreadsheet.

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