Monday, August 9, 2010

As regular readers will know, we love our non league football here at AFTN.

With some games pencilled in for attending later in the year, we're just awaiting the first four levels of the English non league pyramid to kick off this coming Saturday.

These four levels consist of the Conference Premier, North and South and the Northern Premier League, Southern League and Isthmian League Premier and First Divisions. Levels 5, 6 and 7 already got underway Saturday past.

This season the AFTN blog will be paying close attention to a number of teams.

In the Conference we'll be continuing our long standing support and bond with AFC Wimbledon and I'll be going to see them play Luton in November.

Alongside the Wombles though, we'll be following the fortunes of Newport County this season. It's been great to see that name back near the Football League again. We used to swap fanzines with the Newport guys that did "Never Say Dai" back in the day and we've had a soft spot for them since.

We'll also keep an eye on Bath City with all those Charlie Fleming connections and following on from they're exciting promotion last season.

The Conference gets stronger every year but this year in particular it looks like being one of the best and most competitive ever. There are so many teams that could win it and challenge for the playoff spots. Apart from all the usual suspects, Crawley Town have been spending big for non league level and could provide and outside bet.

This increased strength of the League, year on year, will only increase pressure for more promotion and relegation spots between the Conference and League Two and rightly so. You just have to look at how well most of the teams that have gone up from non league in recent years have done.

There is certainly a split in the division though between those Clubs who can challenge for Football League status and those, especially the part time clubs, who just aim to live within their means but stay in the top flight and build on that.

It's criminal that with all the pish football we get served up on our TV, the Blue Square Premier is still without a television deal since the demise of Setanta Sports in the UK.

Outside of the top division, AFTN will be following the fortunes with interest of Kingstonian and Cray Wanderers in the Ryman Premier League and our good friends down at Durham City (who now find themselves back in the Northern Premier League Division One North) and Salisbury City, who were cruelly relegated two divisions to the Southern League Premier Division.

Cray Wanderers are celebrating their 150th anniversary this season and are the second oldest football club in the world. We'll be covering them later this week in the blog.

For those of you wanting to keep up to date with all things Non League then we highly recommend tuning in every Monday to the BBC's Non League Football Show podcast.

The first edition for the 2010/11 season was aired this evening and you can listen to it HERE.

It's going to be a fantastic season at all levels of non league football. Don't miss out on where the real action is!

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