Concerns over proposed shake-up

Rye United 5/2/11'Clive Taylor (chairman) and Andy Laskey (asst manager)
Rye United 5/2/11'Clive Taylor (chairman) and Andy Laskey (asst manager)

Sidley United manager John Lambert and Rye United chairman Clive Taylor are against plans to restructure football at county league level.

The top flight of the Sussex County League - which Sidley are currently part of - will merge with its three neighbouring leagues at the end of next season under the Football Association’s plans for reorganisation.

Lambert said: “I don’t know a great deal about it, but it just seems like it’s been railroaded on us. It just seems a little unfair that it’s this end of the country that’s being restructured.”

Sussex County League Division One is currently one of 14 leagues nationally operating at step five of the non-league pyramid.

The FA plans to cut this number by two by creating 12 new leagues for step five teams to merge into, in changes set to come in for the start of the 2013/14 season.

It means the sides in Sussex Division One by the end of next season will be split to join either the new London South East League, London South West League or Southern League.

Teams joining the London South East League would merge with teams from the Kent League, and could include the likes of AFC Uckfield, Peacehaven & Telscombe, Rye United, Ringmer and Sidley.

The FA wants to have 12 leagues at step five so there are two leagues to feed into each of the six step four leagues. Currently the Wessex, Combined Counties and Sussex County League feed into Ryman Division One South.

Taylor, pictured, said: “It would add 50 per cent to the travelling that we have to do and cost-wise that would be a nightmare.”

See tomorrow’s Rye and Bexhill Observers for the full articles.