Another annual look at all the teams I saw during this season. Some had great seasons, some did not. Here’s the team review:
AFC Fylde –> Project 2022 when Fylde want to be a Football League club seems a long way away. A first season in the Northern Premier Div 1 North saw them finish disappointingly in 13th. An improvement will be wanted and expected next season so a possible play-off push could be on the cards.
AFC Wimbledon –> A first season in the Blue Square Premier saw the Dons on the cusp of the play-offs for most of the season until they finished in a promising 8th. Another team that look good for a play-off push next season.
Aldershot Town –> After finishing 6th in League 2, they tamely lost in the Play-Off Semi-Finals to Rotherham Utd 0-3 on aggregate. Pundits had tipped Aldershot for a relegation battle this season so the Shots coming in the Top 7 is excellent.
Bamber Bridge –> Another nothing season at the QED Stadium as Brig could only manage 14th in the Northern Premier Div 1 North. Really nothing more to add.
Barnstaple Town –> For the 2nd season running, it was a relegation Battle for Barnstaple Town in the Western Premier, but they recovered to finish 15th and 10 points clear of relegation.
Barrow AFC –> Fluttered with relegation all season but a large serge saw Barrow pull away from the drop in the Blue Square Premier and they finished 15th. They topped a great season off by winning the FA Trophy at Wembley with a 2-1 extra time win over Stevenage Borough.
Belper Town –> They crashed out of the FA Trophy to Clitheroe in a replay and finished just outside the playoffs in the Northern Premier Div 1 South in 6th place, two points off 5th and the final play-off place.
Bideford AFC –> Possibly their most successful season ever? Not only did they win the Western Premier, but having applied for promotion to see what ground improvements would be needed, they were actually accepted for promotion so will be playing 2010/11 in the Southern League Div 1 S&W. Not only that, but they also won the Devon FA St Lukes Bowl, beating Exeter City 2-1.
Blackburn Rovers Youth –> The FA Youth Cup Semi-Final appearance masked a disappointing season for the Ewood Park Academy side, finishing only 7th (out of 10) in the FA Academy Group C. Phil Cannon will hope for a better League campaign next time round at Brockhall.
Blackpool Wren Rovers –> The Wrens had already won the West Lancashire League when I saw them at the end of this season, and with no desires currently to make the step up to the Northwest Counties League, BWR will be looking to retain their title at this level again next season.
Charnock Richard –> A good unbeaten end to their season saw Charnock take 4th place in the West Lancashire Premier and this even included their points deduction earlier in the season. With the team wanting to make the steps up all the way to Northern Premier and the ground being developed to make the requirements for the leagues above, Charnock are a team to watch in the near future.
Chelsea Youth –> Clinched their 3rd Youth Cup title and their first since 1961 after beating Aston Villa 3-2 on aggregate in the final. They also had a fairly decent season in the FA Academy Leagues coming 3rd in Group A, behind Arsenal’s and Crystal Palace’s Academy squads.
Chippenham Town –> Another season of oh so close for the Bluebirds. Managed to finish a great 3rd place in the Southern Premier to reach the play-offs before 2nd place Nuneaton Town beat them 2-1 A.E.T in front of 3000+ to reach the Conference South at the expense of Chippenham. With Nuneaton and moneybags Farnborough now promoted however, Chippenham have a great chance next season.
Clitheroe –> Fairly non existent season for the lads at Shawbridge. No real FA Trophy or FA Cup run and finished 8th in the Northern Premier Div 1 North. They did reach the Lancs FA Trophy final but were hammered 5-0 by Southport.
Cullercoats –> The definition of a “mid-table” team this season for Cullercoats. Came 8th (out of 16) in the Northern Alliance 1st Division. Well away from relegation but nowhere near the promotion places.
Dagenham and Redbridge –> “The pub team from Essex” managed to overcome Rotherham Utd in the play-off final with a 3-2 win and will be playing next season in League 1. An outstanding achievement for such a small side. Their stay in League 1 may be the briefest of stays but with some decent players in their ranks and a canny coach in John Still, they may have a chance.
Dartmouth –> Saw the Darts twice this season, both away, both lost. They came an average 15th in the Southwest Peninsula Premier (out of 19 as Clyst Rovers withdrew mid season).
Devizes Town –> A club on a real downturn currently who may need some time in a lower division to regroup and come back strongly. After relegation from the Western Prem in 08/09, they ended up on one major slide and finished 19th (2nd bottom) in the Western 1st Division. Another season of struggle looms for the Wiltshire side for 2010/11.
Edinburgh University –> No idea how their BUCS team did this season, but the Uni team in the East of Scotland Premier came 8th out of 11. They also have another “uni derby” next season in the EOS League with Stirling University’s promotion up from Division 1.
Gretna 2008 –> After their opening game of the season and their crushing 5-0 win which I witnessed, Gretna looked great to coast to promotion in EOS 1st Division. However, only 7 wins all season in the league, saw them finish a disappointing 4th. 16 points off 2nd place and a promotion place.
Grimsby Town –> I can’t actually hide my delight at Grimsby’s terrible season in which their 99 year stay in the Football League came to a crashing end. After pathetically pulling out of the Southwest Challenge Cup final in July, Grimsby just struggled and Mike Newell was sacked and Neil Woods couldn’t stop the inevitable which should have happened last season. 23rd and relegated, hopefully they won’t come back.
Hamilton Academicals –> I believe that Falkirk’s relegation will mean lower crowds for the SPL rather than if the Accies went down but sadly the Accies were easily ahead of relegation this time out, coming 7th. They also gained more points than 6th place Hearts, but they had a far easier last 5 games than we did. Hopefully, the 3 men and his dog side struggle this time out.
Hearts –> 6th place this season would seem disappointing considering our 3rd place finish in 08/09, however we were nearly pulled into a relegation battle after being desperately woeful during November/December and big JJ pulled us clear after Csaba’s mess. A League Cup semi-final also in there shows this team have potential and with our most wage heavy, work shy players players off the books now, a decent season lies ahead for 10/11. Hopefully.
Holsworthy –> Hard to think of a team who had a worse season than Holsworthy. After their win against Dartmouth (in September), they picked up about 5 more points all season and finished bottom and were promptly relegated. The manager has gone now and the new man to step in, Graham Bedford must also start to prepare Holsworthy for Division 1 West, despite being in Devon as the leagues have been split like that. Never rains but it pores eh?
Ilfracombe Town –> After the relegation battle of 08/09, Ilfracombe’s finish of 3rd place in the Western Premier with 73 points this time out shows a decent team that is improving. More of the same hopefully for them in 2010/11.
Lancaster City –> In the end for Lancs, it was a season of disappointment as the team that led the Northern Premier League Div 1 North for most of the season let Halifax catch them up and in a winner takes all game at The Shay, Halifax shaded the match 4-0 to leapfrog Lancaster to go up automatically. Play-offs then for Lancaster who again got to a winner takes all game in the Play-off final against Colwyn Bay at home, but lost to a 90th minute penalty in a monsoon. Heartbreak for Lancs but they should give it another good go next season.
Launceston –> A fairly non-event for Launceston as they came 11th in the Southwest Peninsula Premier. Thats about it.
Liskeard Athletic –> Slightly too close for comfort as Liskeard finished in a fairly low 16th in the Southwest Peninsula Premier, only 3 places off relegation, they were lucky that Holsworthy were so poor this season.
Lothian Thistle –> Had times when they were challenging at the top of the East of Scotland League, but in the end they managed 3rd place in the EOS Premier.
Marlow United –> Strange one for Marlow’s 2nd team (no idea why Marlow have 2 teams anyway) as they came 17th (out of 22) in the Hellenic Premier, however after disagreements with landlords Marlow FC, they have a problem for 2010/11 – no ground. They resigned from the Hellenic League to drop two levels into the Reading League where they hope to regroup and recover soon enough to be back in the Hellenic.
Melksham Town –> Desperation for Melksham as they were surprisingly relegated from the Western Premier coming 2nd bottom (19th). Their “goals for” tally reads just 41 goals in 38 games which is terrible and the clear reason why they have gone down.
Minehead –> Its even worse for Minehead as they finished bottom of the Western 1st Division again, however they were relegated this time round and will now be playing next season in the Somerset County League. It may not be all bad news for them however, they now have their derby vs local rivals Watchet again which should attract a big crowd. Something they were lacking being in the Western League.
Morecambe –> So losing 0-6 in the first leg of their play-off tie was just too much for the Shrimps but they can still be proud of the fact that they enjoyed their best ever season finishing 4th in League 1. Should Morecambe actually find some form in the opening months of the season (something they have failed to manage in each of their 3 seasons in the Football League) then an automatic promotion campaign could be on at the first season in the Globe Arena.
Nelson –> One of the worst teams I saw last season when St Helens cruised to a 4-0 win against them. Unsurprisingly they finished in a lowly 17th (out of 22) in the Northwest Counties Premier.
Northampton Town –> Disappointing for the team relegated from League 1 last season. They had hopes of promotion but a change of manager midway through the season meant the play-offs was the best they could have hoped for. In the end for Ian Sampson’s men, 11th was all they got.
Ormiston –> Somehow managed to get 7 wins in the East of Scotland 1st Division?! Finished 9th (out of 12) with 21 points.
Ossett Albion –> Dreadful seasons for the teams from Ossett. Ossett Town in the league above actually finished in a relegation place but were reprieved due to the high amount of teams going bust/folding throughout the season. Albion fared not much better in the Northern Premier Division 1 North, finishing 21st out of 22nd, missing relegation and doomed Rossendale United by just 3 points.
Percy Main Amateurs –> Percy Main kept their heads in their promotion challenge from the Northern Alliance 1st Division as after their 2-0 win over Cullercoats I saw, they won 5 out of 7 to secure promotion to the Premier with a 3-1 win at Berwick United. They also won the Combination Cup Final with a 1-0 win over Hebburn to complete a great season for the villagers.
Preston Athletic –> Quite a poor league season for PA as they slumped to 9th out of 11 in the East of Scotland Premier. Things were better in the Cups as they did reach the Semi-Final of the King Cup before losing 1-0 to Stirling University.
Preston North End –> Although they seem to be lurching from one financial crisis to another, PNE had a season of stability after early season form crashed faster than the sub-prime market. In the end, a TV boosting cup run ended with a visit from the eventual winners Chelsea, they also finished 17th and a few points away from relegation under the guidance of Darren Ferguson. Their financial troubles may catch up with them though so 2010/11 is an interesting one for them.
Ramsbottom United –> Oh so near and yet so far for Ramsbottom in the LFA Trophy when their last minute penalty against Lancaster flew well out the ground. In the Northwest Counties Premier, Rammy couldn’t keep up with Newcastle Town (although nobody did) as they romped away to promotion, Rammy finished a creditable 4th.
Reading –> Want a story of when changing a manager leads to great success? Look no further than Reading’s 09/10 season. After Brendan Rodgers (or Bodgers as Reading fans refer to him as) had led one of the Championship’s favourites for promotion into a relegation battle he was replaced by Brian McDermott who was given the simple task of avoiding relegation. In the end, they finished outstandingly in 9th, had a cheeky outside chance of the play-offs in the latter part of the season and even had an FA Cup run which saw them knock out Liverpool, at Anfield before losing to Aston Villa in the Quarter-Finals.
Rochdale –> After seeing Dale clinch promotion to League 1 in late April, they then proceeded to not bother with their final few games of the season, losing all of them. Not the best form to be going into a higher league with and also losing your main striker and promising defender is also not a great start for 2010/11. Their stay in L1 already looks like it will be an extremely brief one.
RRFC Montegnée –> Forgive me if this update is wrong, my French isn’t great! According to their website (I think), they came 3rd in Provincile 1 Liége where they were 10 points of 2nd. However, due to the strange way the Belgian system works, this qualified them for a play-off place where they won promotion to D3 (which I think is Level 3 too) after a 5-0 win over Herk-de-Stad.
Saltash United –> Disappointing end of season form saw Saltash finish only 9th in the Southwest Peninsula Premier. Will expect better next season.
Southampton –> Any fears the Saints had of relegation were quickly erased early on as Southampton smashed the 10 points deduction they had started with and actually finished 7th in League 1, just missing out on the play-offs. With two deadly strikers in Lee Barnard and Rickie Lambert, Southampton should cruise this division next season.
Southport –> Good season for the Sandgrounders who managed to keep their nerve in the Blue Square North against Fleetwood Town, especially when Farsley Celtic went bust and the promotion picture changed completely. Whether or not they perform like they normally do in the Blue Square Premier (straight back down) remains to be seen. Also won the LFA Trophy with a 5-0 win over Clitheroe.
St Helens Town –> The footballing team in the rugby league town seems to be being ignored, which is a shame, as St Helens does have the fan base to push a decent team up. They finished 9th in the Northwest Counties Premier and with Knowsley Road being demolished for the new St Helens Stadium at Peasley Cross, St Helens Town will be playing at another ground come mid October, so it will be interesting to see where they end up.
St Johnstone –> Had a great first season back in the SPL as they pushed Hearts all the way for that final spot in the Top 6. (They deserved it more than us to be honest) Although a disappointing end of season run saw Hamilton Accies undeservedly pip them to 7th. 8th is a decent finish for the newly promoted team though.
St Mirren –> Finally seasons of “underachievement” has seen Gus McPherson sacked as the Buddies flirted with relegation all season before coming 10th in the SPL. They also managed to lose the League Cup final to Rangers which may not seem too bad, however Rangers had two players sent off and still won. In 90 minutes.
Tavistock –> A team on the up it seems as Tavistock finished in a credible 5th place in the Southwest Peninsula Premier. A better run in the FA Cup + Vase would be wanted in 2010/11.
The Spartans –> Quite an outstanding season for The Spartans. Not only did they win the East of Scotland Premier, they managed to bag a treble of trophies winning the King Cup (vs Stirling Uni) and League Cup (vs Lothian Thistle) and South of Scotland Cup (vs Gretna). Also a strange merger may be in the offering with Cowdenbeath looking at possibly moving to Ainslie Park which would finally see The Spartans in the SFL.
Tiverton Town –> Dreadful. Utterly dreadful for Tivvy as they finished in a relegation zone in the Southern Premier Division, however they were another club that were helped by various withdrawals, such as Merthyr Tydfil, and were reprieved to fight another day.
Tottenham Hotspur –> Finally achieved the area of the promised land of the Champions League. With Liverpool in meltdown, it was Spurs vs Citeh to see who finished 4th in the Premier League. With a win at the City of Manchester Stadium over Man City, Spurs finished 4th and will be in the CL Play-off Round next season.
Wigan Athletic –> Their season was summed up by an 8-0 defeat to Chelsea on the final day of the season as Wigan slumped to 16th in the Premiership this season. Must be one of the clear favourites for relegation this upcoming season.
Willand Rovers –> Although it was a season of near misses for Willand, hopefully they will be proud as finishing 2nd in the Western Premier behind runaway team Bideford is still a decent achievement and they were only 4 points behind the North Devon club in the end. They also managed to get to Round 5 in the FA Vase, before losing to Barwell.
Woodley Sports –> Not helped by Stockport County’s financial meltdown, they only finished 19th (out of 22) in the Northern Premier League Division 1 North.
Yeovil Town –> Proved me quite wrong after I tipped them for relegation at the beginning of the season, they eventually came midtable-ish in League 1, finishing 15th.
Finally, I’ve found some pictures online (none taken by me) of games that I was at, as a final wee slideshow of 2009/2010. A new season preview is coming soon.