AGM: Three new clubs join league with rule changes approved

Three new clubs will join the West Lancashire Football League after existing clubs voted on a raft of changes at the annual general meeting.

Mill Hill FC, from the East Lancashire Football League, were voted by member clubs to join Division Two next season.

Also successful were Bamber Bridge Reserves and Barnoldswick Reserves, who will also play in Division Two.

Hawcoat Park, who finished bottom of Division Two last season and therefore had to seek re-election, secured enough nominations to stay in the league.

It meant fourth applicants, Maryport Athletic, of the Cumberland County Premier League, did not get voted into the league.

With Thornton Cleveleys playing in the North West Counties League next season, it means Thornton Cleveleys Reserves will be moved up to Division Two.

With the FA deciding no clubs will be coming down from the North West Counties League, third bottom Wyre Villa were given a reprieve and they will compete in the Premier Division next season.

The knock-on effect of that is Southport Hesketh were also reprieved in Division One.

There will be three new reserve sides next season – Stoneclough Res, Pause Res and Caton Res.

Freckleton Res and Rossendale A
will not be continuing in the league next season.

That means the divisional format will be
PREM – 16 teams
DIV 1 – 16 teams
DIV 2 – 16 teams
RES 1 – 12 teams
RES 2 – 12 teams

*The 2024/25 season will kick off on Saturday July 27 at 3pm with the annual Will Carr Memorial Cup final between CMB and Burscough Richmond.

*The regular league season will begin on Saturday August 3. Clubs were told they may have as many as nine league games in August with it being a five-Saturday month. The league encountered its worst season in living memory for call-offs last season with 346 matches postponed with the season only finishing on May 11 for Premier Division clubs.

* Chairman Andy Hosker said the league wants to finish the season as close to the final date of regular league fixtures in the North West Counties League, which is the end of April, hence the busy August schedule.

* The Stewart Rowe Memorial Cup, played by reserve sides, will revert to a straight knock-out next season. A group stage was introduced in 2023/24 to give reserve sides more games but Andy Hosker said it proved problematic.

* The end of season player signing deadline was moved forward from April 29 to March 31.

* A team shall now not include more than three players who have played in five or more senior competition matches during the current season playing season unless a period of 21 clear days has elapsed since they last played

*Referee fees are to set increase from £40 to £45 per match. Assistants (where appointed) will go from £25 to £28 and mileage will increase from 28p per mile to 30p per mile.

*New committee members – Aaron Hockham, Rob Pennington and Martin Benson – were welcomed on to the committee by Hon Gen Secretary John Brown.

Where next?

Glitzy night to celebrate the stars of the season Clubs from across the league donned their best clobber to celebrate successful seasons at the annual West Lancashire League Presentation Night.
All change as clubs announce new managers The annual managerial merry-go-round is in full swing with a number of West Lancashire League clubs making appointments ahead of the 2024/25 season.

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