Another body blow for Ridgeons League

THE Eastern Counties League, already thrown into turmoil by the possibility of being split under reorganisation at Step 5 level, has suffered another body blow.

The Ridgeons Group, who have sponsored the league for the last eight years, today announced they will be ending their financial backing of the league at the end of the current season.

Nigel Spurling, secretary of the Ridgeons League, said in a statement: “The sponsorship of the Eastern Counties Football League by Ridgeons Group will come to an end at the conclusion of the current season.

“Our league has enjoyed a very successful period of sponsorship by Ridgeons Group and we are extremely grateful to them for all their assistance.

“We understand the company’s desire to explore alternative areas for sponsorship and we wish Ridgeons Group every success for the future.”

A spokesman for Ridgeons Group said: “We would like to thank the league for being our sponsorship partner over the last eight years.

“We are very pleased with the level of awareness gained for our company during this association and hope the league continues to grow and have success. We wish all the teams the very best for the future.”

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The announcement comes less than a fortnight after the existence of the Eastern Counties League, which was formed in 1935, was put under threat after plans to re-organise football at Step 5 level nationwide were unveiled.

Under the proposals, which will see the number of Step 5 leagues reduced from 14 to 12 from the 2013/14 season onwards, seven Ridgeons League Premier Division clubs - will be placed in a London North East Division with clubs from the Essex Senior League.

The remaining 14 clubs - those from Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and mainly west Suffolk - would form a new Eastern Division with clubs from the United Counties League, which includes teams from Corby, Peterborough, Stamford and Wellingborough.

The seven clubs provisionally placed in the London NE Division - Brantham Athletic, FC Clacton, Felixstowe & Walton United, Hadleigh United, Stanway Rovers, Wivenhoe Town and Woodbridge Town - are due to meet at Stanway’s ground on Friday evening to discuss the proposals.

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