Marine to play in NPL Division One West next season…

The clubs that will form Marine’s League next season are as follows:

1874 Northwich


City of Liverpool



Glossop North End

Kendal Town

Kidsgrove Athletic

Leek Town


Market Drayton Town


Newcastle Town

Prescot Cables

Ramsbottom United

Runcorn Linnets


Warrington Rylands



We have also received the following update from NPL Chairman Mark Harris:

“Following the announcement by the FA of the club allocations for season 2021/22, I am writing to
update you on the rationale behind the allocations, together with other matters affecting NPL clubs.

Club allocations

League boundaries change almost every year depending on the location of member clubs. We were
unable to review our boundaries after the 2019/20 season was null and void, but the FA’s decision to
implement the NLS restructure for the coming season demanded that we do so now.

As in previous seasons, a small team led by NPL vice-chair Keith Brown calculated the total mileage
and time travelled by Step 4 clubs in different boundary options. The board of the LMC then endorsed
proposals for the composition of each Step 4 division that spread the travel costs and time equally as
possible whilst trying to maximise the number of local derby fixtures.

Following consultation with our fellow Trident Leagues, our proposals were submitted to the FA
Alliance Committee for consideration alongside alternatives. I am pleased to say that the Alliance
Committee agreed to support the NPL proposal, albeit with a couple of tweaks.

The decision creates three Step 4 divisions which we will designate NPL West, East and Midlands.

Travel in the West and East divisions will be centred on the M6 and A1 corridors respectively, although
lateral travel in the Midlands area is much easier than it is further north. It is also impossible to please

None of the vacancies in the NLS have been filled this time around. The NPL will comprise 81 clubs this
season, the 82nd slot relating to the vacancy created by the resignation of Droylsden. This means we
will again run one club short, this season in the East division. However, it is intended that all vacancies
will be filled in 12 months’ time ahead of the 2022/23 season.

Promotion, relegation, and reprieves

The NLS restructure will take a couple of years to implement fully, with adjustments made to divisions
at different steps along the way.

The expansion of the Step 2 divisions is currently scheduled for season 2023/24. Whilst this has no impact on the number of promotion places at Step 3, this does affect the number of clubs being relegated from Step 3 to Step 4, and those relegated from Step 4 to Step 5 next season and the season after that.

In season 2021/22:
At Step 3, of the 16 clubs who finish in relegation places across the four divisions, the three
clubs with the best PPG across the step, will be reprieved.
At Step 4, of the 32 clubs finishing in relegation places across the eight divisions, the five with
the best PPG record across the step will be reprieved.
At Step 5, 16 clubs will be automatically promoted, together with up to 16 additional clubs
based on the outcome of Play-Offs between the Step 4 clubs finishing in the next-to-bottom
and second next-to-bottom, and the second-placed club or Play-Off winners from Step 5.
At Step 5, the five, second-placed Step 5 clubs with the best PPG will be automatically

County cups and League Cup

Together with our fellow Trident Leagues, we are requesting that clubs are again able to opt out of
County Cup competitions this coming season without penalty. I would hope that the outcome of this
request is known within the next few weeks.

The NPL board has also considered the viability of staging a League Cup competition next season.
However, due to the need to make the 2021/22 fixture programme as flexible as possible to deal with
any Covid-related disruption, the board has decided that a League Cup is not viable this season.
Hopefully, we will be able to reinstate the competition in 2022/23 in a new, exciting format.

Trident Community Fund

Our League sponsors Entain are delighted with the response from clubs in the NPL, Isthmian and
Southern Leagues to the creation of the Trident Community Fund.

To date, 12 NPL clubs have either been, or are about to be awarded monies towards community related projects ranging from boys’ and girls’ football programmes to mental health initiatives and
food bank provision.

To date, £50,000 has been awarded to successful NPL applicants, with a maximum grant of £5,000

Each application is assessed by an independent panel, chaired by NPL director Chris Monroe. Chris’
sub-committee then submits a shortlist to the NPL board for endorsement, with the final awards being
made by the Trident Community Fund board, on which all three Leagues are represented.”

Mark Harris
Chairman, Pitching In Northern Premier League