Clubs ready to do battle over restructuring plans

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CLUBS in the Ridgeons League have hit out at Football Association plans to restructure their level of football and vowed to fight the proposals.

The FA’s current plan is to incorporate Ridgeons League teams from the Bury St Edmunds area in a wide Eastern League — stretching to north Norfolk, north of Peterborough and into Northamptonshire — with the likes of King’s Lynn Town, Deeping Rangers and Wellingborough Town 2004.

Although no decision is set to be made until the summer and the restructuring not set to take place until 2013, Walsham-le-Willows chairman Mike Powles has issued a rallying cry to his fellow Ridgeons League clubs to fight the changes.

“Where we are situated in East Anglia, the road links across the county are not good,” said Powles.

“It’s going to affect the players because they are going to be spending more time away from their families.

“If you have a problem with it you have to make some noise about it and possibly the clubs in the Ridgeons League need to get together and decide they are all singing off the same hymn sheet.”

Walsham would — as the current FA proposal stands — travel an additional 38 miles per match on average.

Powles also pointed out that although the structure would provide a clearer path up the pyramid, it is something not needed with just one club being relegated to the Ridgeons League in recent years — Wivenhoe Town — despite the likes of Bury Town, Needham Market, Lowestoft Town, AFC Sudbury, Leiston and Soham Town Rangers all going the other way.

“If you look at it you have got 14 leagues trying to get into 12 positions higher up, but that has never really happened because 12 teams have never come down,” he added.

“Teams higher up the pyramid pack up so others get reprieves.

“The FA are trying to do something that is ideal on paper but something there is not really a need for.”

Mildenhall Town chairman Martin Tuck is more concerned about what league the new setup will feed into than how far it is to travel under the new step five setup, with Hall facing an extra 16 miles per game.

“From my point of view the restructuring really will not make too much difference to our travelling,” he said. “We are pretty much central to the area as we sit.

“In some respects it will be nice to go to different clubs. My concern is what league would that feed into for step four?

“My concern is that it will feed into a northern league (the Zamaretto League) that centres around Birmingham and the Midlands.”

Although the Ridgeons First Division is directly bolted on to the bottom of the Ridgeons Premier, the FA are yet to explore any detailed proposals for that level — step six.