League demotes struggling clubs

WORCESTER City will not face crisis clubs Kettering Town or Darlington next season after both were denied places in Blue Square Bet North.

The Poppies and Quakers, who finished bottom and third-bottom in the Conference Premier respectively, have been demoted lower down the non-league pyramid because of continuing financial problems.

Kettering drop two levels to the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division because they have debts of £1.2million and, consequently, are unable to remain in the Conference structure.

Darlington, who are still in administration, look set to be placed in Northern League Division One — a relegation of four divisions — after failing to agree a Creditors Voluntary Agreement (CVA) to repay debts.

With Hayes and Bath, the other two teams in the Conference Premier relegation zone, going into the south section, it means no team will be relegated to City’s division.

Brackley Town and Oxford City have both been promoted from the Southern League Premier Division, while Chester and Bradford Park Avenue come up from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.

Hinckley United have also been reprieved as a result of the shake-up, which still has to be ratified at the Football Conference’s annual general meeting on Saturday, June 9.

City manager Carl Heeley said: “It will be a tougher league next season.

“Brackley are big spenders and Chester have got a big support base and they will be very competitive.

“It’s a shame for clubs like Darlington and Kettering because they are big clubs but it’s not a major surprise. You need to have teams in there that can complete the season.”

Meanwhile, City will play a friendly at Leamington on Saturday, August 11 (3pm), adding to the warm-up match against West Brom at St George’s Lane on Tuesday, July 17.

Blue Square Bet North 2012/13 (proposed): Altrincham, Bishop’s Stortford, Boston United, Brackley Town, Bradford Park Avenue, Chester, Colwyn Bay, Corby Town, Droylsden, Halifax Town, Gainsborough Trinity, Gloucester City, Guiseley, Harrogate Town, Hinckley United, Histon, Oxford City, Solihull Moors, Stalybridge Celtic, Vauxhall Motors, Worcester City, Workington.

The club are looking for stewards for next season, preferably with experience. Anyone interested can call Phil Williamson on 01905-23003.

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