Ridgeons League clubs left ‘shocked’ by proposals

CLUBS in the Ridgeons League have voiced their “shock” and “surprise” at plans to revamp football in the Eastern Counties and beyond.

The Football Association unveiled plans to clubs at the first of four regional meetings on Sunday which will see the number of Step 5 leagues across the country reduced from 14 to 12 from 2013/14 onwards.

The proposals will see the Premier Division of the 77-year-old Ridgeons League, as it is known, split in two. Fourteen clubs will form a new Eastern Division together with 11 clubs from the United Counties League. The other seven clubs will go into a London North East Division along with teams currently in the Essex Senior League.

Paul Rogers, secretary of Stanway Rovers, attended Sunday’s meeting and expressed his “shock” at the proposals.

“Although the FA were at pains to say that nothing has yet been decided, and that we are all in consultation, it was still a shock to hear their draft proposals for the re-organisation of Step 5, and especially that from 2013/14 seven current Premier Division Ridgeons League clubs would be placed into a new Step 5 League with Essex Senior League clubs.”

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Also at the meeting was Mike Powles, chairman of Walsham-le-Willows, who spoke of his “surprise” at the proposals considering the geographical aspects of distance and road links in East Anglia.

“My response to the re-organisation of football at Step 5 and the implications to clubs in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex is one of surprise that the FA can consider the proposed change to the Eastern Counties League.

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“At the meeting only Sussex clubs (their league to disband) and Ridgeons clubs present showed any opposition to the proposal. The United Counties League sides will have the chance to air their views at a meeting in Leicester and the feeling is that with their league to be disbanded at Step 5 they will also show opposition.

“Although these are only proposals without opposition they will be approved and if Eastern Counties clubs do not agree they must show their displeasure,” he said.

For full story and reaction see today’s EADT and Evening Star

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