On Sunday, along with other member clubs of the CMFL I received an email from Frank Harwood stating the following:
ColleaguesThe Vice Chairman and I have had a meeting with Brian Waldron, The National League Chairman and Mike Appleby the National League Manager today and can confirm that the CMFL will continue on the present format for next season with Supreme & Premier Divisions.However it is almost sure to be rehashed to North and South Divisions for Season 2011/12. It can also be confirmed that no additional leagues will be accepted into the Pyramid of Football next season and an assurance has been given that the CMFL's status will be safeguarded in the future.This excellent news means that the CMFL can now look forward to continuing the superb reputation the league has, both on and off the field, for the foreseeable future.Regards Frank Harwood Chairman.
Later that day an official announcement followed on the CMFL Football Mitoo site, basically reiterating what the email said. However, by Tuesday, it had been amended slightly to read:
Season 2010/2011The CMFL Vice Chairman and I have attended a meeting with the National League Chairman, Brian Waldron and National League Manager, Mike Appleby today in Northamptonshire.The following decisions have been confirmed.1) The CMFL will remain with Supreme and Premier Divisions for the forthcoming season 2010/11. It is highly likely that the league will change to North/South Divisions the following seasonRegards Frank HarwoodChairman.
Interestingly, Point 2 (which stated that no additional leagues will be accepted into the Pyramid) had seemingly been removed. A point for concern perhaps?
Similarly should we be concerned by the change of terminology when referring to the proposed set-up for 2011/12 - from "almost sure" to "highly likely" in the space of a day?
These points aside the Statement confirmed the worst case scenario; our inability to claim the wins from the last two games that would have clinched second spot has consigned us to another season in a Premier Division of wide geographical spread.
Financially this will put more strain on the Club's coffers next season. Having yet to see the final figures of this season's balance sheet, it's estimated that we spent in the region of £1200 on travel alone, along with an average cost of match officials at about £115-120 per game (although a sizeable chunk of this will come back via the League's cost equalisation scheme). And although we weren't exactly blind to this in advance (indeed, we'd built up a handy-sized "war chest" ahead of our entry) a North-South split for 2010/11 would have reduced costs considerably and freed up funds for use in development elsewhere.
Still, the benefits of our move into the CMFL have far outweighed the negatives and everybody involved with the First Team acknowledges that the new surrounds have helped the development of what is still a very young squad. Dave will be disappointed if we're not in the title mix come May 2011.
That's if we remain in the Premier Division. As usual when announcements like this are made, much discussion follows on the various message boards about the potential set-up of the divisions next season.
In particular, several posters have speculated that up to five clubs could be promoted, with champions Church Warsop and runners-up Dronfield Town being accompanied by Parkhouse, Yorkshire Main and us.
The reason for this is down to the potential loss of five clubs from the Supreme Division. Champions Louth Town's promotion to the NCEL is rumoured to be accompanied by Forest Town's defection to the Notts Senior League, Grantham Rangers' demise and the "demotion" of Westella & Willerby and Kirkby Town due to their failure to acquire lights in the stipulated time. It must be added that aside from the case of Louth, to my knowledge none of the other "moves" have yet been officially confirmed.
Even if all five come to fruition, such a scenario throws up more questions. The main one for me being how comfortable I would feel in gaining promotion having "only" finished fifth. Although the top end of the table was unbelievably tight - a win at Bentley in our last game would have seen us join 3rd place Parkhouse on 59pts while just a draw would have clinched fourth - there are few precedents in a team going up from such a relatively lowly position.
However, the temptation to accept any such offer would be great. It would continue the ongoing progress made by the club in recent years as well as rewarding the First Team squad for a fine effort in their first season.
Still, until we hear something official from the League - probably at the AGM - it's pointless speculating further...either on this or the rumours that continue to circulate about all three East Riding clubs in the CMFL being in some way "coerced" into rejoining the Humber Premier League?!